Tag: military industrial complex

$133 million a day, and we’re losing

The war in Afghanistan, which we are losing, is costing us $133 million a DAY.   That’s right, $133 million a day.  That’s over 5.5 million dollars an HOUR, every hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, forever and ever.

Why forever and ever?  Because we’re losing, not winning.

Says who, you might ask?  Some hand-wringing “liberal”?    No, none other than General Stanley McChrystal, the warmongering, warcriminal in charge of the whole mess for the Americans.

US losing in Afghanistan, top general admit.

The top American commander in Afghanistan declared that the Taliban are winning in Afghanistan in a startling interview published Monday – a striking contrast to the “Mission Accomplished” rhetoric of the Bush Administration as regards Iraq.

His remarks appear carefully tailored to lower expectations and shift public opinion in support of operations in the war-torn country where few foreign powers have ever seen victory. The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when they were routed by a US invasion.

Currently, US operations in Afghanistan cost taxpayers about $4 billion a month. That comes to roughly $133 million per day, or $5.5 million per hour.

Yeah, but we can’t afford anything here.  California is broke, prisons are melting down as prisoners riot for hours on end, schools are firing teachers, the entire social safety net is being set afire ….. why, so we spend money instead losing in Afghanistan?

Of course this begs the question:  why would the top General there actually admit to losing the war?  Well of course because we’re not spending enough money there yet.  And we’re not killing enough American troops!   So we need more American troops to sacrifice to the volcano gods of war:

McChrystal’s interview also appeared designed to augment support for increasing troop levels in parts of Afghanistan. Since President Barack Obama took office, the Pentagon has increased the number of US troops in the country. The strategy described suggests a “hearts and minds” approach which favors securing civilian areas rather than focusing on full-frontal engagement with militants.

“It’s a very aggressive enemy right now,” the paper quoted Gen. McChrystal as saying. “We’ve got to stop their momentum, stop their initiative. It’s hard work.”

The interview also quotes unnamed US officials arguing for a further increase in US troops.

Now to win an unwinnable war?   Spend more money.   Kill more boys.  Sure.  That works every time.  These people learn nothing from history.   Their egos are so huge they think they cannot lose, and the only reason they are losing is because those jerks in Washington aren’t giving them what they need!   Goddamn those jerks in Washington!   They’re not there man, they don’t know what it’s like!

Well, here’s what it’s like for some of the Afghani people we’re spending $5 million bucks an hour killing:

Killing children doesn’t come cheap.  Hell, you can’t do it here without getting in serious trouble!   But in Afghanistan, you can use the highest tech weaponry in the history of mankind to kill children and it’s just A-OK and the government will keep giving you more!


Hush little baby, don’t you cry ……

Yup, things can’t be that bad in America if we continue to kill innocent foreign children in faraway countries.

That means the war machine is working well.  Ratcheting up the demonic hatred, guranteeing that America will have more “enemies” to slaughter in the future, so we can keep the trillion dollar war machine moving right along.  God knows that employs a lot of people!  

The only problem I’m having with this is remembering when Afghanistan attacked us?  When did the Afghan people attack the United States of America?   I’m drawing a blank here.  Somebody help me out.

‘What was the fault of my innocent children? They were not Taliban,’ Rahim said. “Did they come here to build our country or kill our innocent children?’

Oh, Rahim, Rahim.  You just don’t understand.  We can’t withdraw from your country and we cannot quit killing your children because that would make our dear El Presidente look like a “failure!”  Or worse, a wimp!   So you and your children will continue to be sacrificed as part of the President’s PR machine.  And it’s okay, really, because most Americans will never see these photos, or hear about your kids, or anything.  Even the well-intentioned “liberal” of them will be more concerned with the rantings of an actor named Glenn Beck, or doing the bidding of their corporate leaders to keep themselves from having health care, than they will be with your dead children.

It’s all about the PR, baby.  It’s all about “image”.  We can’t have the President look like a failure, now, can we?  And he can only be a “success” if “you people” quit being terrorists!  Oh wait, you’re not terrorists?  Well, somebody there must be, or we wouldn’t be bombing you, right?  Right!

Who Is It that the UK and Spain Intend to Invade?

crossposted from My Left Wing

Earlier this month, the BBC covered a growing debate in the UK on its defense stance, and in particular on its £10b ($16.5b at current FX rates) program to build two aircraft carriers displacing about 70,000 tons … over three times the size of their current “cruiser” carriers, and larger than anything but the ~100,000 ton US behemoths.

The BBC said, with its typical understatement:

But it is not just that. Perhaps more than any weapons except nuclear ones, aircraft carriers tend to be seen as a statement of how a country views its military role in the world. And therein lies a lot of the controversy which seems to surround them.

Bringing back to my mind the question … who exactly are the EU planning to invade?

Def. Sec. Robert Gates: Radical Overhaul of the Pentagon’s Arsenal

Pentagon Chief: Why I Tore Up the Army’s ‘Future’

Of all the hard choices Defense Secretary Robert Gates had to make in his radical overhaul of the Pentagon’s arsenal, the toughest, he tells Danger Room, was the decision to gut Future Combat Systems, the Army’s $200 billion effort to design a fleet of next-generation tanks and troop carriers.

“Most difficult of all of these for me was the FCS program,” Gates says in a Pentagon conference call. “I actually didn’t make up my mind once and for all on it until this weekend.”

This link brings up Windows Media Player for conference call.

At the end of this phone conference, which last about thirty five minutes, the Defense Secretary talks about the Military and Veterans, as well as their families, care monies that have been off budget, or not even thought of or included, and in the supplementals these years of these two occupations, which now will be included in the Defense Budget, nothing hidden, we hope!


And the mindset should Always Be: “War as a very last resort!!”! No Wars Of Choice Which Damages Our Nations Security And Moral Standing!!

Failure in Government

I have supported Barack Obama, but every time he appoints a rightwinger or a centrist (who are nothing more than rightwingers with apologies IMO) I lose a little hope.

I quote my friend TocqueDeville in DrSteveB’s earlier diary, Sanjay Gupta for Surgeon General – worse than I thought:

I see it as a continuation of the same battle (20+ / 0-)

I’ve been having for the last 20 plus years.

If this pans out then it will be just another failed Obama appointment, along with a couple of good ones – maybe.

All of his appointments combined demonstrate what the late professor Carroll Quigley, of Harvard Princeton and Georgetown described about how the American political system is rigged so that we can have a great big election and real power never really changes hands. [emphasis my own ~ OPOL]

by TocqueDeville

The real power never really changes hands.


What a world!

How does one even begin to comment?

Not to diminish the achievement of President Elect Barack Obama, it does seem in some ways a dirty joke on African American aspirations that we would finally elect an African American just at THE moment in history when the country is about to tank, and tank hard.  Welcome to the presidency African America.  Here’s the big, reeking pile of dung we’ve turned the country into for you.  Good fuckin’ luck with that!

It Has to Stop!

I think some the angst I’m feeling comes from my fear that, even with our historic victory, that too little will change in time to make a difference.  Generals always want to fight the last war, while politicians want to wage the last campaign.  It’s easy to look backward and hard to look forward, and far too few seem to realize the extent to which the stakes have been raised.  Our circumstances have really become quite dire.  That doesn’t sink in easily for the many who want to pretend that the world is always going to be the way it’s always been.

The politics of yesterday are not going to serve us any longer.  We need more than change.  We need more than a mid-course correction.  We need the crazy to stop.

And I don’t mean just slow down a little, or be a little less crazy.  I mean it has to stop.  We have to reverse course in this damned country, not just modify it somewhat.  


October Surprises…….

Pepe Escobar Commentary: Al Gore campaigns for Obama in Florida; Bin Laden still not heard from

For months there has been relentless talk of an October surprise capable of swaying the US presidential election – just as the Osama bin Laden video “Message to the American people” released in late October 2004. Possible October surprises include former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsing Senator Barack Obama and former vice-president Al Gore campaigning for Obama in Florida – the state that cost him the election in 2000. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda has vaguely endorsed Senator John McCain. But many – including top US government officials – are still waiting for an Osama bin Laden video.

The Day After Memorial Day

With all due respect to those who serve in the armed forces, we owe it to them to ask hard questions about the sacrifices demanded of them and their families.

It’s fine and good and perfectly appropriate for us to honor our dead, but if we allow ourselves to be whipped into a patriotic frenzy every time some yahoo waves a flag it can serve to legitimize the military enterprise – and that is the point I wish to make.  The military enterprise is not legitimate.


Blackwater is Special

At first, it sounds like a step in the right direction. And maybe it is. A very small step. According to the New York Times:

The American military has charged a contractor with assault in a case that may emerge as a major test of the military’s legal jurisdiction over civilians who accompany the armed forces into the field, military officials and legal experts said Friday.

And it’s about time. Because, as Jeremy Scahill wrote in Salon, almost a year ago:

Before Paul Bremer, Bush’s viceroy in Baghdad, left Iraq in 2004, he issued an edict, known as Order 17. It immunized contractors from prosecution in Iraq, which, today, is like the wild West, full of roaming Iraqi death squads and scores of unaccountable, heavily armed mercenaries, ex-military men from around the world, working for the occupation. For the community of contractors in Iraq, immunity and impunity are welded together.

And as the Washington Post reported, in November:

That ruling remains in effect.

And as reported in Time Magazine, in February, the State Department and the Pentagon are fighting over whether or not to demand that the supposedly sovereign government of Iraq extend the immunity:

Contractor immunity may be unique to Iraq and difficult to demand of Baghdad, but the Pentagon still wants it. In interagency discussions arranged in preparation for the start of negotiations, the Department of Defense has said it want to ask the Iraqis to maintain status quo. The State Department, however, has argued strongly against that position. “We are just still internally discussing this, and still haven’t really come out with a position,” says the senior Administration official. A State Department official says discussions are underway. Says Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell, “Don’t confuse interagency discussions with disagreement. We’re all trying to achieve a single U.S. position on the way ahead in Iraq.”

Because nothing is greater proof of a nation’s sovereignty than allowing foreign corporations from an occupying foreign power to be immune from local laws. Laws against things like mass murder. So, it’s a good thing that a contractor is finally being charged for an act of violence. As today’s Times report continues:

Chicken Little As Red Herring

You’re waking up to the exciting news that a falling satellite has been shot out of the sky, thus preventing a potentially dangerous crash landing, with a potentially dangerous release of toxic gas. The Pentagon is proudly showing off the video. On television, it will likely be the most played clip of the day. You can expect much hyperventilated cheerleading from the usual professional hairpieces. But there’s one aspect to the story that I don’t expect the TV news to cover. It’s tucked in this New York Times report:

Completing a mission in which an interceptor designed for missile defense was used for the first time to attack a satellite, the Lake Erie, an Aegis-class cruiser, fired a single missile just before 10:30 p.m. Eastern time, and the missile hit the satellite as it traveled at more than 17,000 miles per hour, the Pentagon said in its official announcement.

It almost sounds good. As if the most expensive weapons system in human history was finally being put to positive use. But what if that was the purpose, all along? Two days ago, the science journal Nature had this:

A plan by the US government to shoot down an out-of-control spy satellite has been described as a cynical tit-for-tat move in response to China doing the same last year. Scientists and arms-control experts fear that the operation will create damaging debris and weaken international efforts to ban space weaponry.

On 14 February, officials from the Pentagon, White House and NASA announced plans to use a ship-based missile to strike the satellite as it passes roughly 240 kilometres overhead. The satellite, which belongs to the National Reconnaissance Office in Virginia, dropped out of control after its launch in December 2006, and would re-enter Earth’s atmosphere around early March if no action were taken.

The strike is necessary to prevent the dispersal of around 450 kilograms of hazardous hydrazine thruster fuel onboard, according to James Jeffrey, assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser. If the fuel survived re-entry, it could be dispersed over an area of roughly 20,000 square metres, although “the likelihood of the satellite falling in a populated area is small,” he says. “Nevertheless, if the satellite did fall in a populated area, there was the possibility of death or injury to human beings.” The Pentagon denies that the shoot-down is to protect classified technologies on the satellite.

But scientists familiar with both satellite re-entry and the US missile defence system question the decision. The chances that the tank, which is 1 metre in diameter, will survive and strike land are extremely small, says Geoffrey Forden, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “Most likely it will land in the ocean,” he says. The reasons given for the plan “don’t sound too credible to me”, he adds. “I think they’re doing it mainly to tell the Chinese that we can blow up a satellite too,” says Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “This gives the US cover to carry out a test.”

And I’m guessing that the corporate media will do their job to ensure that such cover is provided.

CIA now a venture-capital firm, funding tech start-ups

I found this over at Kos the other day and wanted to spread the word.  Nobody else seems to be.

Turns out the CIA has now created a venture-capital arm, whereby it provides venture capital to high-tech start-ups whose enterprises might, uh, “benefit” the CIA.  

I am not making this up.

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