Ridding the World of the Sickness of Pacifism

The Anti-Empire Report

Picture the scene: Afghanistan, two hijacked tankers filled with highly inflammable fuel, surrounded by a crowd of Afghans eager to syphon off some for free … What’s the last thing you want to do? Right — drop bombs on the tankers. That’s what a German military commander signaled an American drone airplane to do September 4. Kaboom!! At least 100 human beings incinerated. This incident has led to a lot of controversy in Germany, for Article 26 of Germany’s post-war Grundgesetz (Basic Law/Constitution) states: “Acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for a war of aggression, shall be unconstitutional. They shall be made a criminal offense.”

But NATO (aka the United States) can take satisfaction in the fact that the Germans have put their silly pacifism aside and acted like real men, trained military killers; although prior to this incident the Germans had engaged in some aerial and ground combat, there hadn’t been such a dramatic and publicized taking of civilian lives. Deutschland now has more than 4,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, the third largest contingent in the country after the US and Britain, and at home they’ve just finished building a monument to fallen members of the Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces), founded in 1955; 38 members (so far) have surrendered their young lives in Afghanistan.

In January 2007 I wrote in this report about how the US was pushing Germany in this direction; that circumstances at that time indicated that Washington might be losing patience with the pace of Germany’s submission to the empire’s needs. Germany declined to send troops to Iraq and sent only non-combat forces to Afghanistan, not quite good enough for the Pentagon warriors and their NATO allies. Germany’s leading news magazine, Der Spiegel, reported the following:

At a meeting in Washington, Bush administration officials, speaking in the context of Afghanistan, berated Karsten Voigt, German government representative for German-American relations: “You concentrate on rebuilding and peacekeeping, but the unpleasant things you leave to us.” … “The Germans have to learn to kill.”

A German officer at NATO headquarters was told by a British officer: “Every weekend we send home two metal coffins, while you Germans distribute crayons and woollen blankets.” Bruce George, the head of the British Defence Committee, said “some drink tea and beer and others risk their lives.”

A NATO colleague from Canada remarked that it was about time that “the Germans left their sleeping quarters and learned how to kill the Taliban.”

And in Quebec, a Canadian official told a German official: “We have the dead, you drink beer.” ((Der Spiegel (Germany), November 20, 2006, p.24))

Ironically, in many other contexts since the end of World War II the Germans have been unable to disassociate themselves from the image of Nazi murderers and monsters.

Will there come the day when the Taliban and Iraqi insurgents will be mocked by “the Free World” for living in peace?

The United States has also engaged in a decades-long effort to wean Japan away from its post-WW2 pacifist constitution and foreign policy and set it back on the righteous path of again being a military power, only this time acting in coordination with US foreign policy needs.

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized. — Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, 1947, words long cherished by a large majority of the Japanese people.

In the triumphalism of the end of the Second World War, the American occupation of Japan, in the person of General Douglas MacArthur, played a major role in the creation of this constitution. But after the communists came to power in China in 1949, the United States opted for a strong Japan safely ensconced in the anti-communist camp. It’s been all downhill since then. Step by step … MacArthur himself ordered the creation of a “national police reserve”, which became the embryo of the future Japanese military … Visiting Tokyo in 1956, US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told Japanese officials: “In the past, Japan had demonstrated her superiority over the Russians and over China. It was time for Japan to think again of being and acting like a Great Power.” ((Los Angeles Times, September 23, 1994)) … various US-Japanese security and defense cooperation treaties, which, for example, called on Japan to integrate its military technology with that of the US and NATO … the US supplying new sophisticated military aircraft and destroyers … all manner of Japanese logistical assistance to the US in its frequent military operations in Asia … repeated US pressure on Japan to increase its military budget and the size of its armed forces … more than a hundred US military bases in Japan, protected by Japanese armed forces … US-Japanese joint military exercises and joint research on a missile defense system … the US Ambassador to Japan, 2001: “I think the reality of circumstances in the world is going to suggest to the Japanese that they reinterpret or redefine Article 9.” ((Washington Post, July 18, 2001)) … under pressure from Washington, Japan sent several naval vessels to the Indian Ocean to refuel US and British warships as part of the Afghanistan campaign in 2002, then sent non-combat forces to Iraq to assist the American war as well as to East Timor, another made-in-America war scenario … Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2004: “If Japan is going to play a full role on the world stage and become a full active participating member of the Security Council, and have the kind of obligations that it would pick up as a member of the Security Council, Article Nine would have to be examined in that light.” ((BBC, August 14, 2004)) …

One outcome or symptom of all this can perhaps be seen in the 2005 case of Kimiko Nezu, a 54-year-old Japanese teacher, who was punished by being transferred from school to school, by suspensions, salary cuts, and threats of dismissal because of her refusal to stand during the playing of the national anthem, a World War II song chosen as the anthem in 1999. She opposed the song because it was the same one sung as the Imperial Army set forth from Japan calling for an “eternal reign” of the emperor. At graduation ceremonies in 2004, 198 teachers refused to stand for the song. After a series of fines and disciplinary actions, Nezu and nine other teachers were the only protesters the following year. Nezu was then allowed to teach only when another teacher was present. ((Washington Post, August 30, 2005))

Which brings us to Italy, the remaining member of the World War Two Tripartite, or Axis. Article 11 of the 1948 Italian Constitution says in part: “Italy rejects war as a means for settling international controversies and as an instrument of aggression against the freedoms of others peoples.” ((Wikipedia: “Article 11 of Italian Constitution“))

But Washington laid claim early to Italy’s post-war soul. In 1948 the United States all but took over the Italian election campaign to insure the Christian Democrats (CD) defeat of the Communist-Socialist candidate. (And the US remained an electoral force in Italy for the next three decades maintaining the CD in power. The Christian Democrats, in turn, were loyal Cold-War partners.) ((William Blum, Killing Hope, chapters 2 and 18)) In 1949, the US saw to it that Italy became a founding member of NATO. This was not seen as a threat to Article 11 because NATO has always painted itself as a “defensive” organization, even in 1999 when it carried out a 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia as both Italy and Germany supplied military aircraft and a NATO air base at Aviano, Italy served as the main hub for the daily bombing runs. For decades, Italy has been the home of US military bases and airfields used by Washington in one military adventure after another from Europe to Asia.

There are now some 3,000 Italian soldiers in Afghanistan performing a variety of services which enables the United States and NATO to engage in their bloody warfare. And 15 Italian soldiers have also lost their lives in that woeful land. The pressure on Italy, as on Germany, to become full-fledged combatants in Afghanistan and elsewhere is unrelenting from their NATO comrades. ((For further discussion of US opposition to Post-WW2 Axis pacifism, see “Former Axis Nations Abandon Post-World War II Military Restrictions“))

The Berlin Wall — Another Cold War Myth

Within a few weeks many of the Western media can be expected to turn on their propaganda machines to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, November 9, 1989. All the Cold War clichés about The Free World vs. Communist Tyranny will be trotted out and the simple tale of how the wall came to be will be repeated: In 1961, the East Berlin communists built a wall to keep their oppressed citizens from escaping to West Berlin and freedom. Why? Because commies don’t like people to be free, to learn the “truth”. What other reason could there have been?

First of all, before the wall went up thousands of East Germans had been commuting to the West for jobs each day and then returned to the East in the evening. So they were clearly not being held in the East against their will. The wall was built primarily for two reasons:

   1. The West was bedeviling the East with a vigorous campaign of recruiting East German professionals and skilled workers, who had been educated at the expense of the Communist government. This eventually led to a serious labor and production crisis in the East. As one indication of this, the New York Times reported in 1963: “West Berlin suffered economically from the wall by the loss of about 60,000 skilled workmen who had commuted daily from their homes in East Berlin to their places of work in West Berlin.” ((New York Times, June 27, 1963, p.12))

   2. During the 1950s, American coldwarriors in West Germany instituted a crude campaign of sabotage and subversion against East Germany designed to throw that country’s economic and administrative machinery out of gear. The CIA and other US intelligence and military services recruited, equipped, trained and financed German activist groups and individuals, of West and East, to carry out actions which ran the spectrum from terrorism to juvenile delinquency; anything to make life difficult for the East German people and weaken their support of the government; anything to make the commies look bad.

It was a remarkable undertaking. The United States and its agents used explosives, arson, short circuiting, and other methods to damage power stations, shipyards, canals, docks, public buildings, gas stations, public transportation, bridges, etc; they derailed freight trains, seriously injuring workers; burned 12 cars of a freight train and destroyed air pressure hoses of others; used acids to damage vital factory machinery; put sand in the turbine of a factory, bringing it to a standstill; set fire to a tile-producing factory; promoted work slow-downs in factories; killed 7,000 cows of a co-operative dairy through poisoning; added soap to powdered milk destined for East German schools; were in possession, when arrested, of a large quantity of the poison cantharidin with which it was planned to produce poisoned cigarettes to kill leading East Germans; set off stink bombs to disrupt political meetings; attempted to disrupt the World Youth Festival in East Berlin by sending out forged invitations, false promises of free bed and board, false notices of cancellations, etc.; carried out attacks on participants with explosives, firebombs, and tire-puncturing equipment; forged and distributed large quantities of food ration cards to cause confusion, shortages and resentment; sent out forged tax notices and other government directives and documents to foster disorganization and inefficiency within industry and unions … all this and much more. ((See Killing Hope, p.400, note 8, for a list of sources for the details of the sabotage and subversion))

Throughout the 1950s, the East Germans and the Soviet Union repeatedly lodged complaints with the Soviets’ erstwhile allies in the West and with the United Nations about specific sabotage and espionage activities and called for the closure of the offices in West Germany they claimed were responsible, and for which they provided names and addresses. Their complaints fell on deaf ears. Inevitably, the East Germans began to tighten up entry into the country from the West.

Let’s not forget that Eastern Europe became communist because Hitler, with the approval of the West, used it as a highway to reach the Soviet Union and wipe out Bolshevism forever. After the war, the Soviets were determined to close down the highway.

In 1999, USA Today reported: “When the Berlin Wall crumbled, East Germans imagined a life of freedom where consumer goods were abundant and hardships would fade. Ten years later, a remarkable 51% say they were happier with communism.” ((USA Today, October 11, 1999, p.1))

About the same time a new Russian proverb was born: “Everything the Communists said about Communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism turned out to be the truth.”

Health care: ignoring the huge red elephant in the room

In the frenzied search of recent months for a better way of delivering health care to the American people, the American media has often discussed health-care systems in other countries, particularly Europe. Usually, little, if anything, is mentioned about Cuba’s system, where everyone is covered, for everything, where pre-existing conditions do not matter, and no patient pays for anything; i.e., nothing at all. The reason the Cuban system is seldom mentioned in the mass media is probably that it’s kind of embarrassing that this otherwise poor country, laboring under the awful yoke of (choke, gasp) socialism, can deliver health care that most Americans can only dream of.

Now we have a new book by T.R. Reid, former correspondent for the Washington Post and commentator for National Public Radio. It’s called “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care.” Reid does not avoid giving some credit to the Cuban system, but he makes sure that the reader knows that he’s not taken in by any commie propaganda. He refers to the Cuban government as “a totalitarian Communist fiefdom”, and adds: “In every country (except, perhaps, a police state like Cuba) there is one group of citizens who are not bound by the unified health care system: the rich.” ((p.234 of Reid’s book)) Thus, the fact that Cuba has an egalitarian health care system is made to seem like something negative, something one could expect to find only in a police state.

In discussing the World Health Organization’s giving Cuba high marks for fairness in its system, Reid points out: “Of course, fairness and equal treatment extend only so far; when Fidel Castro himself fell ill in 2007, medical experts were flown in from Europe to treat him.” ((Ibid., p.150-1)) Aha! I knew it! Americans, and not just the right-wing crazies, would never accept a medical system where everyone got completely free care for all ailments if the president ever got any kind of special treatment. Would they? We could at least ask them.

Speaking of the right-wing crazies, there was a report in the New York Times which said: “Tomorrow night, getting right into the thick of the battle,” the president will “carry his message to the people in a nationwide television and radio speech” fighting for enactment of his health reform bill, which opponents tagged as “socialized medicine” and “an entering wedge for the takeover of private medicine by the federal government.” The president was John F. Kennedy, the program was Medicare, the Times story was published on May 20, 1962. Despite the speech, the effort failed until passage in 1964. ((Washington Post, September 9, 2009))

And speaking of the totalitarian communist socialist fascist Cuban police-state dictatorship, Mr. Reid and others might be interested in an article I wrote which demonstrates that during the period of its revolution, Cuba has enjoyed one of the very best human-rights records in all of Latin America.

But how to get past a lifetime of conditioning and reach the American mind with that message? At the recent convention of the AFL-CIO, the country’s leading labor organization, there was a very progressive resolution put forth calling for the right of all Americans to travel to Cuba and for an end to the US embargo against the island nation. But at the end of the resolution the authors reminded us that they’re Americans, calling upon Cuba “to release all political prisoners.” ((PDF of resolution))

To appreciate what’s wrong with that resolution one must understand the following: The United States is to the Cuban government like al Qaeda is to Washington, only much more powerful and much closer. Since the Cuban revolution, the United States and anti-Castro Cuban exiles in the US have inflicted upon Cuba greater damage and greater loss of life than what happened in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. Cuban dissidents typically have had very close, indeed intimate, political and financial connections to American government officials, particularly in Havana through the United States Interests Section. Would the US government ignore a group of Americans receiving funds from al Qaeda and/or engaging in repeated meetings with known leaders of that organization? In the past few years, the American government has arrested a great many people in the US and abroad solely on the basis of alleged ties to al Qaeda, with a lot less evidence to go by than Cuba has had with its dissidents’ ties to the United States, evidence gathered by Cuban double agents. Virtually all of Cuba’s “political prisoners” are such dissidents.

William Blum is the author of: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir, Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire. He can be reached at: bblum6@aol.com. Read other articles by William, or visit William's website.

26 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. Socialism: Only Salvation for USA said on September 30th, 2009 at 9:19am #


    Growing up in USA is so one-sided. Even the opinions all provided by CNN, FOX, Jay Leno, David Letterman and all talk shows. We cannot be any thing we want in this country, because the future is pre-decided, americans are detached and subdivided in this country which is really a mass production zone of Mcdonalds and cars and SUVs that look like Transformers

    Here is a good song and video which describes the US society:


    Its a song about non-conformity and how the american neoliberal society tries to make people into a conforming drone. This is particularily bad in most cities suburbs where homes are built exactly the same by the same builder, and high school is all about being part of the crowd. The song is about the need for conformity and mass consumerism in the capitalist society we live in. Modern capitalism cannot function without it. When I listen to it, I hear an amazingly written eulogy for society by Neil. I also think it represents Neil falling away a bit from his earlier beliefs, as he’s mentioned he had. There is nothing inherently wrong with suburbia or living in it, if that is what someone desires. A lot of people don’t have the desire to go to “the bright lights.” This song is clearly more about conformity, which can be found anywhere: the suburbs, in the city, or “the far unlit unknown.” In my opinion, the only flaw in this song is the focus on suburbia as the only place where conformity can be found. Popular opinion has been manipulated to belive that The Suburbs are the worst place for conformity.

    Conformity also occurs when many people seek the same thing, including excitement in The Bright Lights (Everyone else is doing “the cool thing”, so why shouldn’t I?). That being said, Subdivisions is my favorite Rush song, and the best synth song ever. So much to write about this song. Basically, it?s a song about the ? ticking traps? that so many people fall into. A nightmare world where a person’s main desire is a never ending escape from the suburbs. The suburbs can take many forms: from the boring, quiet life of suburbia to the pleasure seeking thrill ride of the big city. Ultimately, the suburbs offer nothing meaningful, and there is no escape within or between them.

    However, in the first verse an outlet is available: ?the far unlit unknown.? This unknown exist within each person-the unique thoughts and feelings that make an individual; tragically, few venture very far into this territory. I’m also inclined to think that it’s more about teens trying to breakaway from suburbia (and thier upper-middle class parents telling them HOW to think/beleive/be), only for some to discover (as Peart writes) ”

    …Some will sell their dreams for small desires – Or lose the race to rats – Get caught in ticking traps ”
    Afterwards these suburb-raised, city-stressed folk “…start to dream of somewhere – To relax their restless flight – Somewhere out of a memory – Of lighted streets on quiet nights… ” I think it’s more of a commentary on the seduction of city life and the potential trappings it brings. It is also a social commentary on how cliques are hurtful, and how expectations of comformity often drive away our best and brightest. Very much like the suburbs of Chicago

  2. Michael Kenny said on September 30th, 2009 at 11:20am #

    Does anybody take this man seriously? Stink bombs to disrupt political meetings! Really! The rest is anything but history! The problem is that Mr Blum is utterly ignorant of Europe (and probably the rest of the planet as well!), so he just blindly swallows US cold war propaganda as if it was true (which it wasn’t!) and stands it on its head. Whatever the propaganda says is good, he says is bad and vice versa. It’s like trying to prove that the Moon is not made of green cheese by arguing that it is made of blue cheese!
    There was a good documentary recently on German TV on the Fall of the Wall in which the old communist leaders, Egon Krenz in the lead, were interviewed. Naturally, he contradicts just about everything Mr Blum says, but did I really need to tell you that?

  3. Josie Michel-Brüning said on September 30th, 2009 at 2:10pm #

    Dear Michael Kenny, you should “this man” and his article take very seriously!
    I am a German woman grown up in Western Germany being in contact with people from Eastern Germany since the wall was fallen. One of my new friends has been a high officer in the former GDR counter intelligence force. And he can tell you in detail what happened in the headquarter of the CIA in Germany what the initiated in those days. He wrote books about his experiences and has just written a new book about Operation CONDOR, citing an US author John Dinges..
    Well, but you won’t find recensions or review within our mass medias about those books. And German TV would not tell the truth, if it comes to the former GDR, you cannot rely on documentations about that time in our TV.
    The majority of German people, as polls are revealing is against our sending of soldiers to Afhanistan. They tell us, that our soldiers are there for building up the country, building schools, drilling wells etc.
    But since the above mentioned incident it is more difficult to believe.
    In addition, what William Blum is telling you about Cuba is true.
    Germans are allowed to travel to Cuba and see by themself, although our government is joining the propaganda from Washington, and apart from left newspapers, the other medias are also spreading misinformations.
    If this article wouldn’t have been as extensive, I should have wanted the author to mention the “Cuban Five” imprisoned in the USA for having tried to protect their people from being attacked on the island.
    Cuba complaint in 1999 3.478 dead people and 2.099 invalid people because of terrorist attacks from exile Cuban groups based in South Florida, originally trained and armed by the CIA.
    Not to mention, what the US has done to Latin and Central America within the last decades from the 1950s in Guatemala to now on June 28 in Honduras.
    Despite international protests Obama seems to ignore all this.
    May be, he has to fear of being assassinated, if he tried to resist those mafia principles.
    Indeed, you would not believe it, but people from all over the world as soon as the really know Cuba do think: Cubans are the champions in human rights. And read the reports of the UNESCO.

  4. Josie Michel-Brüning said on September 30th, 2009 at 2:18pm #

    Sorry for some spelling mistake, I was so excited.
    I should mention the name of the German author Klaus Eichner yet, he is a lawyer and former officer of the GDR counter intelligence.

  5. Annie Ladysmith said on September 30th, 2009 at 2:32pm #

    About NATO’s pacifist beer- garden drinkers: there are no people on this planet who can militarize as fast and as efficiently as the German people, it is in their genes and they have done so throughout the centuries, it is what they do best.

  6. denk said on September 30th, 2009 at 9:02pm #

    annie ladysmith

    funny the irony seems to be lost on you

    you could perhaps postulate the same “gene” in the japanese,
    but its the yanks and brits who have been indulging in almost uninterrupted killing spree all over the world since ww2……
    and as blum points out, its the anglos who are trying their damndest to revive german and japanese militarism to serve pax amerikka
    at this very moment, its the anglos who are gunning for yet another gang bang of a soverign country iran.

  7. Josie Michel-Brüning said on October 1st, 2009 at 2:14am #

    Dear annie ladysmith,
    indeed, we Germans are in the majority still ashamed about our 12 years lasting “national socialism” or fascism. However, most of us seem to have learned. I was born in 1944, and our house was bombed in 1945 while my mother and I were in its cellar. Luckyly, we survived, and so my father did by chance as a soldier in Russia.
    My parents said to me when I was a child and when i asked them “why …?”
    “We did not know about the plans of Hitler, we did not realize the Holocaust.”
    However, when my mother was nearly in my current age she confessed, that she did realize that jewish children were transported …” and she wept.
    Well, my generation seems to have to carry their post traumatic experiences and their delegation to us: “Be aware! – Never again!”

  8. Josie Michel-Brüning said on October 1st, 2009 at 2:30am #

    Please, let me explain the following yet. While Obama had been in Moscow and said Manuel Zelaya would be the only President in Honduras those forces when working allegedly for the “prosperity of your country” neglecting both democratic principles and humanitarian grounds – as it turned out for instance persons such as Dick Cheney from the International Republican Organization, IRI, Otto Reich and John Negroponte, who are infamous especially in Latin America under his predecessor, have been actually pulling the strings – had already initiated the coup against him, and his administration seems to support the coup initiators as myopically as ever since, after several coups d’Etat against democratically elected governments those having been initiated by his predecessors not only within your “backyard” from the 1950s in Guatemala until now in Honduras on June 28, 2009, but also in Afghanistan when they in 1979 supported the Mudjahedin and Taliban by military equipment and training at modern arms against the democratically elected Nadjibullah regime after having begun an agrarian reform and to open universities for women. Please, compare to the confessions of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1998, Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998, Posted at globalresearch.ca 15 October 2001. (Translated from French into English by Bill Blum)

  9. balkas b b said on October 1st, 2009 at 7:39am #

    There is not much US ruling class won’t do to defend its ‘interest’ {or its perception what is best for it}.
    Its interest, appears similar to the ‘interests’ of other ruling classes in most lands, appears as total freedom of action and control of armed services, cia, fbi, judiciary, ‘education’, and disinformation.

    The nonruling classes everywhere shdl never be blamed for this. Imo, they had been mistauaght from age 5. US ruling class {003-2% of the pop} present to children an entirely fictive reality.
    EG, US is a great country; with best laws; standing in defense of freedoms, democracy, justice, etc.
    The pols are depicted as public servants. Are light onto amerika; sacrifycing so much for all americans.
    The ruling class teaches children to strive for independence and not interdependence. Interdependence, of course, wld make children and adults stronger, healthier; more knowledgable; less frighful; wld thus use fewer drugs; more active politically.
    But this wld seriously weaken ruling class’ grip on power and the branches and twigs of that power.
    Thus, US ruling class first renders chidren semantically blind. And one cannot flog a blind horse for eating some dung along with some weeds and hay.
    So, we don’t flog semantically-blinded kids and adults. A caveat! I am not implying that any poster or blum is doing that on this page. tnx

  10. David said on October 1st, 2009 at 8:51am #

    Mr. Blum:

    You should know better than to reference your own writing (see footnote 10) in support of your article, even if you do so to point others to citations contained therein.

  11. Douglas Jack said on October 1st, 2009 at 8:42pm #

    Thank you for the information given in this report as well as the references and names given to other reports and sources. US and NATO intelligence is a huge spider web with the world trapped in its economic grip. As the following letters support, there is a huge compilation of scattered research to be done for our understanding as well as a huge intelligence and foreign subversion of governments by US interests both public and private and mega tonnes of false information spread by corporate media to be undone.

  12. mary said on October 3rd, 2009 at 2:04am #

    A million deaths, a country laid waste to, millions of widows, orphans and refugees. ‘No victory’. No shame, no contrition, no saying we are very sorry, no nothing. Was it real? Did it really happen in my lifetime?

    Odierno: May not be possible to declare victory in Iraq
    U.S. Army Gen. Ray Odierno makes remark to reporters at Pentagon
    About 123,000 U.S. troops in Iraq; could drop to 110,000 by January, he says

    October 2, 2009
    From Mike Mount

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — It isn’t clear whether the United States will ever be able to declare victory in Iraq, the top U.S. commander there said Thursday.

    “I’m not sure we will ever see anyone declare victory in Iraq, because first off, I’m not sure we’ll know for 10 years or five years,” Army Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters at the Pentagon.

    About 123,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq now, and President Obama says all combat forces will be gone by the end of August 2010, leaving as many as 50,000 noncombat troops to advise and train Iraqi forces before leaving by the end of 2011.

    Odierno has said he wants to draw down the U.S. forces at a faster rate than planned if the security situation allows it. On Thursday, he said he expected the number of U.S. troops to drop to 120,000 by the end of October, and to as few as 110,000 by the end of 2009.

    “What we’ve done here is we’re giving Iraq an opportunity in the long term to be a strategic partner of the United States, but more importantly, be a partner in providing regional stability inside of the Middle East,” Odierno said.

    Odierno also highlighted continuing security issues inside the country, saying Iraqi security forces have recently seized several “very large” caches of Iranian-made rockets and armor-piercing munitions known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs.

    “If you’re training people … in Iran to come back into Iraq, and you’re providing them rockets and other things, I call that significant because it still enables people to conduct attacks not only on U.S. forces but on Iraqi civilians,” Odierno said.

    At a congressional hearing Wednesday, Odierno said the main threat to stability in Iraq are Arab-Kurd tensions, adding there has been difficulty bringing the two sides together for possible joint patrols.

    “We’ve had some very good meetings,” he said. “But we still have some ways to go on that.”

  13. veena said on October 3rd, 2009 at 6:19am #

    “About the same time a new Russian proverb was born: “Everything the Communists said about Communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism turned out to be the truth.””
    Awesome exept that in France we were saying the same thing 30 years ago (at least) when i was coming to political maturity at 14…

  14. balkas b b said on October 3rd, 2009 at 8:15am #

    According to ‘great’ americans, they made ameriga ‘great’. Yes, there are ‘greatest’; followed by ‘great’, not so ‘great’, and ending with insignificant blacks, indigenes, latinos people in ameriga.

    Thus, the ‘greatest’, ‘great’, and some of the not so ‘great’ amerigos have earned free healthcare, higher education, etc., while the insignificant lato-frikans have not.

    It is we, the ‘greatest’ and ‘great’ amerigos who have achieved the greatness of ameriga thru honesty, hard work, love for our ‘great’ country. We have never asked s’mthing for nothing.
    It’s the afro-latinos that constantly want s’mthing for nothing. So, shuttayaface and go to work! tnx

  15. Don Hawkins said on October 3rd, 2009 at 11:43am #

    s’miting for nothing and the great floods the great droughts the great mass movement of people, and so far the great stupidity on the part of our leaders is getting tiring and in just a few months the great change will begin. You know change you can believe in.

    Jeffrey Simpson
    Last updated on Saturday, Oct. 03, 2009 03:29AM EDT
    With about 10 weeks until the global summit on climate change in Copenhagen, what is the latest science telling us?
    In brief, climate-warming predictions of three or four years ago are already out of date. New science suggests an even faster warming than had been thought possible.

    In preparation for Copenhagen, the United Nations recently issued a summary report (Climate Change Science Compendium) based on 400 peer-reviewed scientific studies. It found, inter alia, that whereas carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel burning had grown by 1.1 per cent from 1990 to 1999, the increase was 3.5 per cent from 2002 to 2007.

    The growth exceeded the most alarming of the scenarios previously outlined by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The most recent report said: “No region is de-carbonizing its energy supply.” The obvious result will be a hastening and intensification of the adverse effects of climate change on the planet.

    Few places will be more affected than our Arctic. As the University of Toronto’s brilliant physicist Richard Pelletier told a meeting in Ottawa this week, “CANADA and Russia are the two countries on Earth in the northern regions that will experience the biggest changes.”

    If nothing is done to reverse current emission trends, the climate will warm on average by about 3.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, but by twice that amount in the Arctic. It’s part of what is called the Northern Hemisphere polar amplification effect. Warming in the Arctic means the retreat of sea ice and the exposure of more water to the sun’s rays. This pattern feeds upon itself, since both the water and the atmosphere get warmer.
    In 2007, according to the latest UN report, “the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank to its smallest extent on record, 24 per cent less than the previous record set in 2005” and 34 per cent less than the average minimum from 1970 to 2000.

    “This is clear evidence on a phenomenon of importance on a planetary scale,” it says.
    It is also part of a well-understood impact of global warming: that it worsens already extreme weather conditions such as drought and storms.
    The insurance industry knows this pattern, which is why rates in areas vulnerable to weather-related disasters have been rising.
    Weather anomalies abounded in 2008 and 2009, bringing with them tremendous costs. A few examples: Mexico had its worst drought in 70 years; central and southern Chile its worst drought in 50 years; parts of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay the worst drought in 50 years.
    The U.S. Southwest experienced its third-worst fire season in 2008 and a persistent drought. Spain and Portugal were struck by severe droughts. Australia had its warmest January since 1950, and drought conditions for a decade continued in some parts. Last month, Australia and New Zealand experienced their warmest August since record-keeping began.

    The same anomalies occurred elsewhere in other ways: severe rainstorms, hurricanes, cyclones, floods.
    With the scientific evidence continuing to harden, we might expect a focusing of the minds at Copenhagen. Instead, it would appear that hopes for an international agreement have been misplaced.
    Some countries, it must be said, are paying more attention to climate change.
    India, for example, was previously tone-deaf to pleas that it do something. But with the monsoon cycle being disrupted, Himalayan glaciers disappearing and dry areas becoming even drier, it is now at least willing to talk.
    China is proposing to reduce the intensity of its energy use, and is busting ahead with renewable energies, so that it, rather than tardy North American countries, will be manufacturing and selling renewable technologies worldwide.
    U.S. President Barack Obama is convinced of the importance of climate change. The House of Representatives has passed a bill, admittedly full of loopholes, that pledges a 17-per-cent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020 from 2005 levels. The Senate, however, will water down that target, and almost certainly will not pass a bill before the Copenhagen summit. This week, to show the administration is serious, the Environmental Protection Agency released regulations it could use against large emitters if the Congress does not pass a satisfactory bill.
    Despite this welcome attention, gaps among the countries appear too wide for a successful conclusion in Denmark. The most important negotiations are not really there anyway, but rather in Washington and Beijing. If the United States and China, the world’s biggest emitters, can make a deal, the rest of the world will follow.

    Meanwhile, the signs of science are becoming ever harder to ignore.

    Jeffrey Simpson

    “Ladies and gentlemen, I have a grave announcement to make. Incredible as it may seem, both the observations of science and the evidence of our eyes lead to the inescapable assumption that we are all in deep do do”. Unknown author

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain said on October 4th, 2009 at 11:19pm #

    Mr Blum’s pieces are always revelations. The present German situation is dire, as was evidenced by an article I read in Asia Times some years back. In it a German intelligence officer, anonymous for his own security, revealed how German military officers, seconded to NATO and transferred to the US for ‘training’ were returning thoroughly indoctrinated in the Israeli/US ideology of extreme hatred of Islam and Muslims, that was the motivating force of the War of Terror against the Islamic Middle East.
    The US has always used officer training, most notably at the infamous School of the Americas, to indoctrinate foreign military in fascism, class hatred, racism and loyalty to the US Reich. Here in Australia we seemed to escape the worst excesses of this death cult, but lately certain officers involved in the illegal wars of aggression and mass murder in Iraq and Afghanistan have, on retirement, begun zealously promulgating the whole Zionazi ‘Clash of Civilizations’ ideology, accompanied by unctuous lying that denies every Western atrocity, and defames all resistance to Western state terror as ‘terrorism’. Needless to say these creatures have become fixtures in the Rightwing media, including the ABC, with useful idiots fawning all over them and enthusiastically seconding all their lies. To no one’s surprise, surely, they have latterly been recruited to the Holy Work of demonising the Goldstone Report on Israeli crimes in Gaza, accusing it of aiding and abetting ‘terrorism’ (ie the elected Palestinian Hamas Government)and generally expressing complete solidarity with the Herrenvolk and their Holy Task of murdering as many Gazan children as feasible.
    The situation in Germany is the culmination of decades of Yankee evil. First you had the firm support of US business and Rightwing politics for Hitler and Mussolini. Then, when they proved not up to the task of destroying the USSR, the Yanks aided many fascists and Nazis to escape justice, arranging refuge and new work in suppressing Leftwing movements in South America. The Nazi intelligence chief, Gehlen, went straight on the Yankee payroll, and brought over his Eastern European networks, that the US supported in their sabotage and terror in the Soviet sphere, until the early 1950s.
    In West Germany, de-Nazification was a fraud, with a few prime monsters executed, but the Nazi/business establishment left untouched and converted into the CDP and CSU parties. In contrast, when the Anschluss of the GDR occurred, East Germany was thoroughly and viciously purged, and ‘Right-thinking’ Westerners imported to fill most posts.
    Of course the Yanks promised that ingenuous, but useful, idiot Gorbachev, that Germany would not enter NATO. But the Yankee elite lie as they breathe, and that one was soon forgotten. Now Russia is surrounded by NATO, populated by quasi-fascist Eastern European stooges of the US, with rank psychopaths like the irredentist lunatic, Saakashvilli, waiting to join the ‘Free World’. A nuclear first-strike missile apparatus, designed to soak up the remnants of the Russian missile force after the sneak first-strike that is central to Yankee nuclear warfare doctrine. has been temporarily moved off-shore by the ‘House Negro’, apparently to get Russia onside with the destruction of Iran. As ever the insatiably bloodthirsty Yankee Moloch grinds on, feverishly seeking new victims, new opportunities for psychopathologically rewarding ‘turkey-shoots’. Ultimate evil, risibly and terribly painting itself as virtue, its poisonous influence, clearly past its zenith, still is toxic enough, unless resisted, to see us all off. At a time when humanity requires international co-operation as never before, we are still being terrorised and intimidated by a psychotic state, founded in blood and horror, maintained ever since in violence and intimidation, that sees its 200 year adventure in applied homicide as a divine mission, as its ‘Manifest Destiny’. God help us all!

  17. Annie Ladysmith said on October 5th, 2009 at 12:05am #

    Mugla, wasn’t Road Warrior in outback OZ?? So was it America that wasted the cities and turned half the people into violent monsters or was it Lord Humongous, Lord of the Wasteland? He was a bad dude and he wasn’t even a Yank, how do you figure?

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain said on October 5th, 2009 at 2:33am #

    Annie, there are many ‘Yanks’ or ‘septics’ as we also know them (rhyming slang from septic tank)who were never born in America or even made the pilgrimage. In many individuals, being a Yank is a state of mind, a character formation, manifested in gigantic egotism, preposterous self-loving bombast, diabolical sadism and cruelty, unbounded greed and an insatiable blood-lust. In fact, there are ‘Yanks’ everywhere, and their spiritual (sic) home is the good old US of A.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain said on October 5th, 2009 at 5:27pm #

    Don, did you see the recent report on the rapid acidification of the Arctic and Antarctic seas? Apparently the seas at high latitudes are acidifying much quicker than elsewhere because their cold waters absorb CO2 more readily than warmer waters. Soon, ie in decades, the plankton will not merely not be able to lay down their calcium carbonate skeletons, but the water will be so corrosive that it will eat away their exo-skeletons. While reading the report I experienced that now familiar sensation-the dawning of awareness that it is years too late, that we are already going over the edge into the abyss. And to top it all, I’ve just been listening to some reptilian vermin from a Rightwing ‘think-tank’, infamous for its anthropogenic climate change denialism, accepting climate change, arguing against carbon taxes and emissions trading, and advocating ADAPTATION!!!! Like the dinosaurs adapting to the changed world after the comet impact. God, what is it that makes Rightwingers such awful, evil, imbeciles?

  20. joed said on October 5th, 2009 at 5:56pm #

    Hi Mulga,
    “God, what is it that makes Rightwingers such awful, evil, imbeciles?”

    well they are awful and evil but imbeciles they are not. They have you tied down to this FREE SPEACH ZONE aka Dissident Voice.
    If you would be effective you would hit the streets and hit’em hard.
    but you wont. So, just keep whining and crying here in the FREE SPEACH ZONE that the Rightwingers have allowed you to speak in.
    Oh, also, gettin’ angry at me is of no value.

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain said on October 5th, 2009 at 11:01pm #

    joed, getting out and hitting the street is just what the evil bastards want. They would eradicate any mass movement that threatened their rule and privileges in days. ‘People Power Revolutions’ are permissible in one direction only-to the Right, to yet firmer elite control, yet greater poverty and inequality, to bootlicking obeisance to the global Bosses, Israel and the US and to that Nirvana of market fundamentalist capitalism, neo-feudalism.
    I must say I’ve pondered what to do for years. Sending messages into the cosmos, in the hope that some enlightened intelligence might rescue us from the robopaths, now is certainly too late, unless they are already on the way. Sometimes I wish that all that singing the great whales engage in might just be their communication with their friends across the cosmos, who could have met them on visits to this planet and exchanged pleasantries any time in the last few million years, when the human plague was just a rabble of squabbling apes (not much has changed!).We have no time left, really, to avert total ecological collapse and mass, if not complete, human death. I wonder what you propose joed-I’m stumped. But you’re correct-most of my blathering is simple whinging-I find it cathartic, like Primal Screaming. I know that bottling it up would be worse. When I watch children playing, and ponder just what is in store for them, and their children, I’m moved to great pity and not inconsiderable anger at those responsible.

  22. Annie Ladysmith said on October 6th, 2009 at 12:15am #

    Mugla, “the human plague”? You are a misanthrope and a nihilist, you should join the anarchy NOW crowd. You must live alone to have such a dour outlook. I’m not big on antidepressants BUT there are times they can certainly help.

    NASA has apparently been in contact with ‘aliens’ for years. You might want to look at what some dying ex-NASA guys, like NasaJim, have to say about them. They say that the ‘greys’ liken killing someone to popping a balloon. Apparently, they have zero empathy and none of the scientists want to be around them for long. They killed one poor guy with ‘thoughts’, as an example.

    So be careful what you wish for. We humans may have the capacity to be as good as it gets. And, there is more to hope for than what you are seeing.

  23. Annie Ladysmith said on October 6th, 2009 at 12:32am #

    Also Mugla, i don’t agree with the ‘Yank” senario you have going on. If you are calling them thugs and murderers call them that, but frankly the ‘Yank” thing is confusing. I fined Australia to be a violent country, almost lawless. So i guess i can go around calling all the Thugs and Creeps in the world Aussies??

  24. Don Hawkins said on October 6th, 2009 at 2:53am #

    ADAPTATION oh yes the next step in the grand illusion to do nothing. Mulga it does look like the few would stop any movement to try and there must be a plan in place or being put in place. I have to say just the next few months with Copenhagen then the climate bill here in the States how these few deep thinking people handle the lies the illusion as it seems they are losing some ground it is harder to bullshit some. I am sure it’s the economy stupid will come up and never not one word on a new way of thinking. Still time maybe and the clock is running. Such awful, evil, imbeciles is true and just frightened people holding on to an old way of thinking and so afraid of losing what they have an out of control system, imbeciles.

  25. joed said on October 6th, 2009 at 4:31am #

    I am sure you know that ‘Nothing fails like prayer”. And, looks to me like you and most others here in the FREE SPEACH ZONE have foresaken the “primal scream” and taken up the “primal shrug”.
    except you, and most others just love to listen to your own blather.
    At least you are safe here in the FREE SPEACH ZONE. but, can you continue to live with yourself. how much rationalisation does it take to make your lives ok. to make it ok to just go to DV and blather.
    i would never go to a FREE SPEACH ZONE–never. people that go to the FREE SPEACH ZONE deserve to be there.
    fuck the pigs

  26. Mulga Mumblebrain said on October 6th, 2009 at 11:40pm #

    Well Annie, just look at the facts. An individual prickly pear is a fine thing, a useful and delicious plant. But when it reached Australia, and, free of its pests that live in balance with it in its native habitat, it became a plague, and covered millions of acres as densely as any thicket. Humans are like that. Most, I think, are nice enough, although a significant and dominant minority are evil, but, in the billions, they too are a plague, destroying their one and only home. I’m not a misanthrope, but I can read scientific reports. As to my ‘Yank’ thesis, the type, as I said, is universal and not confined to the United States. Believe me there are many ‘Yanks’ in Australia, the worst being the sub-type ‘Ocker’, a really unfortunate evolutionary dead-end.