Thursday, September 18, 2008

On warring

By Carol Gee

Increasing the U.S. military operations in Pakistan is a fact of life in recent months. There is increasing evidence that in recent years white supremacists have infiltrated the military in order to get combat training. There is increased suspicion among those of us who were against the war in Iraq, that the U.S. will initiate military operations in Iran before our current president leaves office. And even though increased militarism is a known fact of life since 9/11/01, it is now widely known that there are fewer veterans in Congress.

Increased militarism and yet there are fewer veterans in Congress? How can that be? This little piece titled, "The New Old American Militarism," by Robert Bateman, explains it at Intel Dump in The Washington Post.

. . . preferred defense intellectuals . . . one of my favorites is Andrew Bacevich. In my case what really awoke me to Bacevich was his earlier work, in particular one which I read while stationed in Baghdad. His 2005 book, "The New American Militarism" starkly lays out an apparent truth: The United States has become increasingly addicted to the trappings of militarism and the use of military force over time. Particularly over the past 30 years or so, this thesis has applied to both parties. But underpinning that basic assertion are some other disquieting observations, such as the idea that it has been one party in particular which has deliberately attempted to market itself as the party which supports "traditional" American trumpeting their nominal support of the military, and the fact that at some point a large number of evangelical Christians abandoned their historical role as supporters for the poor and the weak around the world, and instead also adopted a mantra which advocated support of the military and the use of force overseas.

. . . there may be a little irony in place here. "Militarism" is a behavior or set of beliefs which seems to be associated with people who have not actually been in the military. But the actual use of military force is inhibited when there are more former members of the military in Congress. Go figure.

While the U.S. military forces are drawing down in Iraq, after repeated demands from Congress, in recent months U.S. military operations into Pakistan have increased. The Guardian (9/12/08) carried an article explaining the "why?" and "how?" It was headlined, "Bush secret order to send special forces into Pakistan.*" To quote:

A secret order issued by George Bush giving US special forces carte blanche to mount counter-terrorist operations inside Pakistani territory raised fears last night that escalating conflict was spreading from Afghanistan to Pakistan and could ignite a region-wide war.

The unprecedented executive order, signed by Bush in July after an intense internal administration debate, comes amid western concern that the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and its al-Qaida backers based in "safe havens" in western Pakistan's tribal belt is being lost.

Warring in Iraq and Pakistan for the past 7 and 1/2 years has increasingly stretched the military to the breaking point. Our soldiers have fought bravely, sacrificed much, and done everything we have asked of them. And so have their families. Despite badly stretched armed forces, there are increasing suspicions that the U.S. will initiate military operations in Iran before our current president leaves office. This is why. The story was carried in Iran news Jerusalem Post on 9/1/08. Titled, "Dutch intel: US to strike Iran in coming weeks,"# I quote:

The Dutch intelligence service, the AIVD, has called off an operation aimed at infiltrating and sabotaging Iran's weapons industry due to an assessment that a US attack on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program is imminent, according to a report in the country's De Telegraaf newspaper on Friday.

. . . The impending air-strike on Iran was to be carried out by unmanned aircraft "within weeks," the report claimed, quoting "well placed" sources.

Warring is not indicated for just everybody. There is increasing evidence that white supremacists are infiltrating the military in order to get combat training and access to weapons and explosives."The Dangerous Consequences of Recruiting Nazis to Serve in Iraq"* was a post published on 8/29/08. It comes from To quote a few ugly facts and suspicions regarding this matter:

Two years ago, the Intelligence Report revealed that alarming numbers of neo-Nazi skinheads and other white supremacist extremists were taking advantage of lowered armed services recruiting standards and lax enforcement of anti-extremist military regulations by infiltrating the U.S. armed forces in order to receive combat training and gain access to weapons and explosives.

. . . But neither Rumsfeld nor his successor, Robert Gates, enacted any sort of systemic investigation or crackdown. Military and Defense Department officials seem to have made no sustained effort to prevent active white supremacists from joining the armed forces, or to weed out those already in uniform.

Furthermore, new evidence is emerging that not only supports the Intelligence Report's findings, but also indicates the problem may have worsened since the summer of 2006, as enlistment rates continued to plummet, and the military accepted an ever-lower quality of soldier in a time of unpopular war.

. . . According to the unclassified FBI Intelligence Assessment, . . "Sensitive and reliable source reporting indicates supremacist leaders are encouraging followers who lack documented histories of neo-Nazi activity and overt racist insignia such as tattoos to infiltrate the military as 'ghost skins,' in order to recruit and receive training for the benefit of the extremist movement." . . . The FBI report details more than a dozen investigative findings and criminal cases involving Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as well as active-duty personnel engaging in extremist activity in recent years.

In the future I hope to write less on warring and more on peace. That seems like a long time in the future, however.

Hat tips to regular contributors (#Jon) and ("betmo"*) for the excellent story leads.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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