On Patriotism: Examining the Firmware of War Reply

By Fred Reed

Patriotism is everywhere thought to be a virtue rather than a mental disorder. I don’t get it.

If I told the Rotarians or an American Legion hall that “John is a patriot,” all would approve greatly of John. If I told them that patriotism was nothing more than the loyalty to each other of dogs in a pack, they would lynch me. Patriotism, they believe, is a Good Thing.

Of course the Japanese pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor were patriots, as were the German soldiers who murdered millions in the Second World War. The men who brought down the towers in New York were patriots, though of a religious sort. Do we admire their patriotism?

More…

R.I.P. Gore Vidal, Enemy of the Empire 1

By Elaine Woo

Gore Vidal was impossible to categorize, which was exactly the way he liked it.

The reading public knew him as a literary juggernaut who wrote 25 novels —from the historical “Lincoln” to the satirical “Myra Breckinridge” — and volumes of essays critics consider among the most elegant in the English language. He also brought shrewd intelligence to writing Broadway hits, Hollywood screenplays, television dramas and a trio ofmysteries still in print after 50 years.

When he wasn’t writing, he was popping up in movies, playing himself in “Fellini’s Roma,” a sinister plotter in sci-fi thriller“Gattaca” and a U.S. senator in “Bob Roberts.” The grandson of a U.S. senator, he also made two entertaining but unsuccessful forays into politics, running for the Senate from California and the House of Representatives from New York.

More…

Geert Wilders’ “Marked for Death”: A Critical Review Reply

From Quisling’s Quest

I am currently reading Geert Wilders book “Marked for Death”. It is an interesting book with much useful information in it. I find it most interesting because some of his points I agree with and some I strongly oppose. In my way of defining points of view I would label Mr. Wilders as a PreModern nationalist. I would fall into the category of a PostModern nationalist. Let me explain.

I agree with much that Wilder says. If his were the main anti immigration party in the Netherlands I would be part of it. What I agree most with is the importance of controlling immigration so that the Netherlands (or Europe) does not become a Muslim Republic. If this were to happen the values, laws, and system would entirely change in an unfree direction. This must not happen. The freedom and values of the west must be preserved. This is a priority I agree with one hundred percent.

Where I disagree with Mr. Wilders is on his view of Islam and some of the tactics he would use. He is very clear and adamant in his view that Islam is not a religion but rather a totalitarian political movement and therefore should be treated as such. I see this as an incorrect and dangerous position to take. I agree that Islam is all inclusive and can intrude in every aspect of a person’s life. But this does not prevent it from being a legitimate religion. I know Evangelical Christians who stress that every aspect of their lives are under the Lordship of Christ. Hasidic Jews have rules and regulations that define even the most mundane of activities. Even a secular humanist of the atheist persuasion could argue that every aspect of his life is directed by the empirical method. Beliefs and religion are all consuming and we should not fault a person or faith for being such.

More…

Syria: Washington’s Latest War Crime Reply

By Paul Craig Roberts

One wonders what Syrians are thinking as “rebels” vowing to “free Syria” take the country down the same road to destruction as “rebels” in Libya. Libya, under Gaddafi a well run country whose oil revenues were shared with the Libyan people instead of monopolized by a princely class as in Saudi Arabia, now has no government and is in disarray with contending factions vying for power.

Just as no one knew who the Libyan “rebels” were, with elements of al Qaeda reportedly among them, no one knows who the Syrian “rebels” are, or indeed if they are even rebels (Antiwar.com). Some “rebels” appear to be bandit groups who seize the opportunity to loot and to rape and set themselves up as the governments of villages and towns. Others appear to be al Qaeda. (Antiwar.com)

The fact that the “rebels” are armed is an indication of interference from outside. There have been reports that Washington has ordered its Saudi and Bahrain puppet governments to supply the “rebels” with military weaponry. Some suspect that the explosion that killed the Syrian Defense Minister and the head of the government’s crisis operations was not the work of a suicide bomber but the work of a US drone or missile reminiscent of Washington’s failed attempts to murder Saddam Hussein. Regardless, Washington regarded the terror attack as a success, declaring that it showed the rebels were gaining “real momentum” and called on the Syrian government to respond to the attack by resigning. (reuters.com)

More…

Alexander Cockburn, RIP Reply

By Justin Raimondo

The death of Alexander Cockburn, columnist for the Nation and author of many books, is an irreplaceable loss not only personally, for those who knew him, but for the broad “progressive” movement, where his populist brand of anarcho-syndicalism — the leftist equivalent of “crunchy conservatism” — set him apart from the bullhorn-shouters and sloganeering ideologues of the haute cuisine Left. His passing, after a two-year battle against cancer, marks nearly the end of what remained vital and interesting about the American left in this country. There is simply no one even remotely like him. As Jesse Walker described his first encounter with Cockburn’s prose: “I had never read anything like this before.”

What’s particularly poignant about his passing is that we’ll never read anything even remotely like it again. With his death, a certain current in American politics, with its roots on the left, has lost its only remaining voice.

Accounts of Cockburn’s career in the obituaries describe him as a “radical leftist,” but this is only half-true. He was a radical, all right, but as for the “leftist” — I have my doubts. And so did his readers at the Nation, with whom he engaged in a long-running debate over what constituted proper left-wing orthodoxy. This debate included his editors: one “Beat the Devil” column in the Nation bears this footnote:

“The Nation’s editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, wishes it to be on record that she takes exception to the description of Dissent as ‘obscure.’ I suggest a poll of the American people.”

There was a running tension between vanden Heuvel and Cockburn over the Obama Question, and his other “deviations” from the left’s party line: approached by his critics, vanden Heuvel averred “I don’t read Counterpunch” — Cockburn’s feisty newsletter which featured material far too radical for the Obama-worshipping “respectable” Nation. Then there was the “Bush/Hitler” debate, and the climate change controversy — the latter brouhaha the final straw for the kind of up-marketsandal-wearing lefties who still read the Nation. After all, Cockburn was a shameless recidivist: when Bill Clinton was targeting the alleged danger posed by the militia movement in the 1990s, Cockburn defended them, likened them to the Zapatistas, and described one militia rally he attended as “amiable”: he was also staunchly opposed to gun control, a classical leftist position long-forgotten by today’s paladins of political correctness and federal control of everything.

More…

Bringing back the military draft is a terrible idea Reply

By Jason Pye

Draft

Draft

Perhaps one of my favorite Milton Friedman stories is when he was served on a presidential commission to look at military conscription. The Nobel Prize winning economist listened to General William Westmoreland, who was givening testimony before the commission. Here’s how it played out:

In his testimony before the commission, Mr. Westmoreland said he did not want to command an army of mercenaries. Mr. Friedman interrupted, “General, would you rather command an army of slaves?” Mr. Westmoreland replied, “I don’t like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves.” Mr. Friedman then retorted, “I don’t like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries. If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher.”

More…

Here Come the Draft-Nappers 1

By William Norman Grigg

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, demands the re-instatement of conscription so that next time Washington commits itself to a needless foreign war “every town, every city [will be] at risk.”

“I think we ought to have a draft. I think if a nation goes to war, it shouldn’t be solely be represented by a profession-al force, because it gets to be unrepresentative of the population,”McChrystal during a session of the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival. “I think if a nation goes to war, every town, every city needs to be at risk. You make that decision and everybody has skin in the game.”

Of course, when those who presume to rule us decide to go to war, they don’t have any “skin” in the game; instead, they are gambling with the lives of other people.

“This was the first time in recent years that a high-profile officer has broken ranks to argue that the all-volunteer force is not necessarily good for the country or the military,” exulted Thomas Ricks of a neo-con think-tank called the Center for a New American Security in a New York Times op-ed column. “Unlike Europeans, Americans still seem determined to maintain a serious military force, so we need to think about how to pay for it and staff it by creating a draft that is better and more equitable than the Vietnam-era conscription system”:

“A revived draft, including both males and females, should include three options for new conscripts coming out of high school. Some could choose 18 months of military service with low pay but excellent post-service benefits, including free college tuition. These conscripts would not be deployed but could perform tasks currently outsourced a great cost to the Pentagon: paperwork, painting barracks, mowing lawns, driving generals around, and generally doing lower-skilled tasks so professional soldiers don’t have to. If they want to stay, they could move into the professional force and receive weapons training, higher pay and better benefits.

More…

War On All Fronts: Russia and China Back in Washington’s Crosshairs Reply

By Paul Craig Roberts

The Russian government has finally caught on that its political opposition is being financed by the US taxpayer-funded National Endowment for Democracy and other CIA/State Department fronts in an attempt to subvert the Russian government and install an American puppet state in the geographically largest country on earth, the one country with a nuclear arsenal sufficient to deter Washington’s aggression.

More…

Egyptians pelted Hillary Clinton motorcade with tomatoes, chanted ‘Monica, Monica’ 3

Way to go, Egyptians!!

From YNetNews.Com

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed at Ben-Gurion Airport Sunday night for a two day visit. During her stay, Clinton is expected to meet with top level officials. Clinton arrived on a flight from Egypt shortly along with US Middle East envoy David Hale and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, who represents Washington at the talks between world powers and Iran.

More…

In Its Mad and Hopeless War on Cocaine, the US Has Destroyed the Lives of Millions of Innocent Farmers in Colombia Reply

By Tessie Castillo

What the U.S. government is doing in Colombia has not slowed drug trafficking, but rather, created millions more victims through fumigation and displacement.
July 9, 2012  |

Imagine for a moment that China, in an effort to reduce cigarette smoking and associated health costs among its population, declared war on U.S. tobacco production. Imagine Chinese planes flying over American tobacco fields, spraying crop-killing poison that destroys not just tobacco, but all vegetation, wiping out farmers’ livelihoods, displacing millions of families, and contaminating the environment. Such an act of hostility and disregard for national sovereignty would provoke, at the very least, military aggression from the United States. Yet, unbeknownst to most Americans, for the past 20 years the U.S. has conducted just such a campaign against Colombian coca farmers.

More…

Would You Dodge the Draft in Afghanistan? Reply

By Alexander Cockburn

Two years after he was sacked by President Obama as the top commander in Afghanistan for suggesting to Rolling Stone magazine that the real enemy were ”the wimps in the White House”, General Stanley A McChrystal has recycled a perennial chestnut: Bring back the draft – i.e. a conscripted army, not the volunteer army of today.

These days McChrystal teaches at Yale with what must be a protection unique in the annals of academic freedom. According to CounterPunch’s David Price, everything he tells his students is by contractual agreement off the record.

But he made his proposal about the draft in a public venue. McChrystal claimed:

“I think we ought to have a draft. I think if a nation goes to war, it shouldn’t be solely be represented by a professional force, because it gets to be unrepresentative of the population,” McChrystal said at a late-night event June 29 at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival. “I think if a nation goes to war, every town, every city needs to be at risk. You make that decision and everybody has skin in the game.”

It’s certainly true that the volunteer army is a mess. Suicides are surging among the troops. According to AP, the 154 suicides for active duty troops in the first 155 days of the year far outdistance the US forces killed in Afghanistan. The volunteer army also struggles with increased sexual assaults, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence.
 
Liberals like the idea of a draft army because they think it would curb any president’s eagerness to go to war. There are indeed sound arguments for a draft. They were put eloquently not so long ago by Bill Broyles, a Vietnam vet: “In spite of the president’s insistence that our very civilization is at stake, the privileged aren’t flocking to the flag.”

More…