us army afghanistan war civilian control military spending

Occupy & Tea Party Join Forces to Protest NDAA
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Officer says US Paints False Picture of Afghan War

When people are courageous enough to speak out, let’s listen! We trim, blend, and append five 2012 articles from: (1) Common Dreams, Feb 7, on war’s reality; (2) Downsizer-Dispatch, Feb 8, on military spending by J. Wilson; (3) Downsizer-Dispatch, Feb 7, on the DHS by J. Wilson; (4) Occupy Medford, Feb 11, on a protest; and (5) Financial Times, Feb 8, on the roots of war by Nicholas D. Rosen.

by Common Dreams, by James Wilson, by Occupy Medford, and by Nicholas D. Rosen

Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis, US Army, broke ranks with the official portrayal of the war in Afghanistan after spending a year in the country, issuing a grim assessment and accusing his superiors of covering up the harsh realities that plague the mission.

"When it comes to deciding what matters are worth plunging our nation into war and which are not, our senior leaders owe it to the nation and to the uniformed members to be candid -- graphically, if necessary -- in telling them what’s at stake and how expensive potential success is likely to be. U.S. citizens and their elected representatives can decide if the risk to blood and treasure is worth it."

"Likewise when having to decide whether to continue a war, alter its aims or to close off a campaign that cannot be won at an acceptable price, our senior leaders have an obligation to tell Congress and American people the unvarnished truth and let the people decide what course of action to choose. That is the very essence of civilian control of the military. The American people deserve better than what they’ve gotten from their senior uniformed leaders over the last number of years. Simply telling the truth would be a good start."

"What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by US military leaders about conditions on the ground," Davis wrote in an article published in Armed Forces Journal, a private newspaper not affiliated with the Pentagon.

"Instead, I witnessed the, absence of success on virtually every level," he wrote under the headline, "Truth, Lies And Afghanistan: How military leaders have let us down."

"How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding and behind an array of more than seven years of optimistic statements by US senior leaders in Afghanistan?" he said in his article.

“No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan. But we do expect -- and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve -- to have our leaders tell us the truth about what’s going on.”

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: One of the things that makes war easy is that it’s a good paying job for many, a hugely lucrative investment for a few, and the financing extracted from taxpayers is hidden, indirect, and prolonged -- but it’s still too much.

The U.S. should stop garrisoning the globe, subsidizing rich friends, and reconstructing poor enemies.

Military spending must be cut, and that's sancrosanct to the Republicans. If you want the budget balanced, you need to shame the "Pork Hawks".

Former Reagan administration member, Doug Bandow, explains that the Department of Defense spends most of its money to protect other nations, including those that are populous and prosperous such as Europe, South Korea, and Japan.

The US spends more than the rest of the world, combined.

Such overcapacity encourages ideologues in Washington to meddle in foreign conflicts.

Does combating terrorists require massive spending on conventional arms and forces? No. Al-Qaeda has been wrecked by relatively cheap techniques short of conventional war: timely intelligence, Special Forces strikes, international cooperation, and financial sanctions.

It is possible to make deep cuts in the Defense budget and still have, by far, the most feared and powerful force on earth.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: War costs us both public revenue and civil rights.

When the Department of Homeland Security was created the year after 9/11, it lumped in 22 agencies from other departments. Many of the agencies have only minor or tangential roles in possible terrorist attacks or response, and the DHS overseas far-flung responsibilities from anti-counterfeiting to flu epidemics.

Neither the CIA nor the FBI has been placed under the DHS umbrella. Which makes a coordinated, DHS-led antiterrorism strategy impossible; leaving the FBI and CIA out defeats the very purpose of the DHS.

DHS has failed. Most foiled "terror plots" were really sting operations of the FBI.

Its budget jumped from $19.5 billion in 2002 to $44.1 billion in 2010. It's a new avenue for pork-barrel spending. Only 25% of DHS anti-terrorism "grants" to local governments goes to actual terrorism prevention and response.

It is funding pernicious, totalitarian, Minority Report-style, "pre-crime" experiments. Anyone who dissents or is dissatisfied with the status quo might be a terrorist. And don't get me started on the abuses and humiliations inflicted by the TSA!

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: Some of DHS agencies should go back to the Departments they belonged to before 2002. Others should be abolished together, as should the DHS itself. Such demands are being made by many from all over the ideological spectrum.

Southern Oregon libertarians, progressives, conservatives and the Tea-Party joined to protest NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012).

The indefinite detention clauses within this year's NDAA are a direct attack upon the civil rights of all Americans, and represent another step taken toward eroding the freedoms which lay at the foundation of our society.

Speakers were Gil Gilbertson, Josephine County Sheriff, Joseph Snook, Wake Up America, Ben Playfaire, Occupy Medford, Linda Sturgeon, Occupy Ashland, and Jeff Golden, Immense Possibilities. Note that the first speaker is the Josephine County Sheriff. I don't imagine that protest got pepper-sprayed.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: While protest helps keep democracy alive, protestors need to know how wars come about, what happens at the deepest level to make people feel desperate enough to turn to such an evil degree of violence.

Anthony Murray (Letters, February 6) attributes the economic crisis of the Weimar Republic to “catastrophic austerity”. It should be recognized that while Heinrich Brüning’s government was catastrophically austere to wage-earners, it was all too generous in granting favors to landowners, both urban landowners and the Junkers of East Prussia. When the Depression hit, business revenues fell, but businesses still had to pay their “fixed costs”, meaning land rents. They had to cut something, and it was payrolls. Thence the high unemployment that provided recruits for the Nazi SA and SS (and for the Communists, but the Nazis ended up winning).

Bruno Heilig's succinct book Why the German Republic Fell explained this in very clear terms. The problem was not frugality in government, but government subsidies, bailouts, and other favors for special interests, especially the owners of land, together with the tendency of material prosperity to be absorbed in higher ground rents, instead of wages.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: As long as people think that the profit to be made from land is something an individual is entitled to by any means, people will go to war. Once people understand that the profit from land is something an individual is entitled to in equal amounts, by sharing with all other members of one’s society, then people will cease waging war for territory and for the favors from the state that make land and resources more valuable.

If society were to repeal the power of politicians to spend any amount of public revenue any way they see fit and instead disburse surplus public revenue to the citizenry as a dividend, that would take care of the military budget, and remember, wars are not waged for free.

Further, if society were to repeal the power of politicians to tax any thing any amount and instead recover the values that society generates, such as the values of land and resources, then owners would clearly understand their duty to their society (pay land dues or land taxes). This totally reversed psychological dynamic also makes war far less attractive, enough so that, most likely, peace would break out permanently.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

As China, the US, etc confront corruption …

For the US Government ...

Senator Levin Questions U.S. Aid

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