Tag Archives | War and Peace

The War Addicts: The Pentagon and Military Would Do Almost Anything to Continue A Never-Ending War

Bad WarTom Engelhardt of TomDispatch via Alternet:

Sometimes it’s the little things in the big stories that catch your eye. On Monday, the Washington Post ran the first of three pieces adapted from Bob Woodward’s new book Obama’s Wars, a vivid account of the way the U.S. high command boxed the Commander-in-Chief into the smallest of Afghan corners.

As an illustration, the Post included a graphic the military offered President Obama at a key November 2009 meeting to review war policy. It caught in a nutshell the favored “solution” to the Afghan War of those in charge of fighting it — Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General David Petraeus, then-Centcom commander, General Stanley McChrystal, then-Afghan War commander, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, among others.

Labeled “Alternative Mission in Afghanistan,” it’s a classic of visual wish fulfillment. Atop it is a soaring green line that represents the growing strength of the notoriously underwhelming “Afghan Forces,” military and police, as they move toward a theoretical goal of 400,000 — an unlikely “end state” given present desertion rates.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Atomic Cake Controversy of 1946: A “Mission Accomplished” Photo-Op From Yesteryear

President George W. Bush and many of his top administration officials were often accused of hubris in their eight-year run, but I have to say this incident from 1946 really tops the literal cake. It has the haughtiness of President Bush’s 2003 “Mission Accomplished” photo-op aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, combined with an element as you see below, I can best describe as … callous. From CONELRAD Adjacent:

Atomic Cake

The celebratory event took place on Tuesday evening, November 5, 1946 at the Officers’ Club of the Army War College in Washington, D.C. The occasion was to mark the disbanding of Joint Army-Navy Task Force Number One, the body that organized and oversaw the first post-war atomic tests in the Pacific. These highly publicized detonations on Bikini Atoll are remembered today, if at all, for displacing an entire indigenous population of islanders, for inspiring a revealing line of swimwear for women and for unleashing the myth that movie star Rita Hayworth’s image was once affixed to an A-bomb.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The German Military Believes ‘Peak Oil’ May Bring About the End of Democracy and Free Markets

Hubbert Peak Oil

Hubbert peak oil plot. Chart: Hankwang (CC)

Der Spiegel reports that a German military think tank believes ‘peak oil’ may occur this year, and that it could cause the collapse of both democracies and free markets within 30 years.

The political and economic impacts of peak oil on Germany have now been studied for the first time in depth. The crude oil expert Steffen Bukold has evaluated and summarized the findings of the Bundeswehr study. Here is an overview of the central points:

  • Oil will determine power: The Bundeswehr Transformation Center writes that oil will become one decisive factor in determining the new landscape of international relations: “The relative importance of the oil-producing nations in the international system is growing. These nations are using the advantages resulting from this to expand the scope of their domestic and foreign policies and establish themselves as a new or resurgent regional, or in some cases even global leading powers.”
  • Increasing importance of oil exporters: For importers of oil more competition for resources will mean an increase in the number of nations competing for favor with oil-producing nations.
Read the rest
Continue Reading

Wikipedia Editing Courses Launched By Pro-Israeli Cause Groups

Rachel Shabi writes in the Guardian:
Flag

Since the earliest days of the worldwide web, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has seen its rhetorical counterpart fought out on the talkboards and chatrooms of the internet.

Now two Israeli groups seeking to gain the upper hand in the online debate have launched a course in “Zionist editing” for Wikipedia, the online reference site.

Yesha Council, representing the Jewish settler movement, and the rightwing Israel Sheli (My I srael) movement, ran their first workshop this week in Jerusalem, teaching participants how to rewrite and revise some of the most hotly disputed pages of the online reference site.

“We don’t want to change Wikipedia or turn it into a propaganda arm,” says Naftali Bennett, director of the Yesha Council. “We just want to show the other side. People think that Israelis are mean, evil people who only want to hurt Arabs all day.”

Wikipedia is one of the world’s most popular websites, and its 16m entries are open for anyone to edit, rewrite or even erase.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Robot Border Patrol at DMZ

croppedkoreanrobot_1

Photo: Samsung Techwin, SGR-1 gun bot

South Korea has begun using robots to survey and, if necessary, fire at intruders crossing the DMZ line from the North. It is operated by soldiers who verify intruders through audio visual equipment. It is designed to “detect threats,” but with the reliance on human operation, there is just as much room for error as a solider standing guard. From the Telegraph:

The 400 million won (£220,000) unit was installed last month at a guard post in the central section of the Demilitarised Zone which bisects the peninsula, Yonhap news agency said.

South Korea is also developing highly sophisticated combat robots armed with weapons and sensors that could complement human soldiers on battlefields.

The robot uses heat and motion detectors to sense possible threats, and alerts command centres, Yonhap said.

If the command centre operator cannot identify possible intruders through the robot’s audio or video communications system, the operator can order it to fire its gun or 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Japanese Artist Maps History of the World’s Nuclear Explosions (1945–1998)

NuclearArtOver 2,000 detonations! Really informative. Duncan Geere writes on Wired.com (UK):
A Japanese artist named Isao Hashimoto has created a series of works about nuclear weapons. One is titled "1945—1998" and shows a history of the world's nuclear explosions. Over the course of fourteen and a half minutes, every single one of the 2,053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are is plotted on a map. After a couple of minutes or so, however, once the USSR and Britain entered the nuclear club, the tests really start to build up, reaching a peak of nearly 140 in 1962, and remaining well over 40 each year until the mid-80s. It's a compelling insight into the history of humanity's greatest destructive force, especially when you remember that only two nuclear explosions have ever been detonated offensively, both in 1945. Since then, despite more than 2,000 other tests and billions of dollars having been spent on their development, no nuclear warheads have been used in anger.
Continue Reading

How To Stop The Economic War Sweeping The World

We are all still stuck in the “big Muddy.” No, not the wars of old or even the oil disaster.  The mud I am referring to is more like quicksand and it sucks anyone who wants to look at what happened in the financial crisis deeper and deeper into it.

Soon, you are buried in shifting sea of so-called “exotic financial instruments,” and tranches, derivatives, credit default swaps, naked short-selling, etc and so forth, ad fin item.  It’s murkier in there than in the oil-infested waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Stop, my head hurts.

A far simpler explanation, pervasive fraud and financial crime, has been ignored by most of our economic geniuses. As I made my film Plunder: The Crime of Our Time offering a “crime narrative,” I ran up against the denial that greeted my 2006 film In Debt We Trust warning of a meltdown. Then I was called, a “doom and gloomer.” Now I have just been ignored or considered simplistic.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

More Than 53% of Your Tax Payment Goes to the Military

Atomic BombI think this 53 percent number is debatable, but I don’t doubt that the U.S. government’s (i.e. the taxpayer’s) greatest expense is the military. Dave Lindorff writes on Common Dreams:

If you’re like me, now that we’re in the week that federal income taxes are due, you are finally starting to collect your records and prepare for the ordeal. Either way, whether you are a procrastinator like me, or have already finished and know how much you have paid to the government, it is a good time to stop and consider how much of your money goes to pay for our bloated and largely useless and pointless military.

The budget for the 2011 fiscal year, which has to be voted by Congress by this Oct. 1, looks to be about $3 trillion, not counting the funds collected for Social Security (since the Vietnam War, the government has included the Social Security Trust Fund in the budget as a way to make the cost of America’s imperial military adventures seem smaller in comparison to the total cost of government).

Read the rest
Continue Reading