War State America

The ‘American Virus’ — A Naval Officer’s Spouse On Why The US Military Pushes Empire Over Public & Global Health

  Our ever-mobile military has become a significant conduit of its spread, both domestically and abroad. By Andrea Mazzarino TomDispatch (8/4/20) American military personnel are getting sick in significant numbers in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. As The New York Times reported in a piece buried in the back pages of its July 21st edition, “The infection rate in the services has tripled over the past six weeks as the United States military has emerged as a potential source of transmission both domestically and abroad.” Indeed, the military is sick and I think of it as both a personal and an imperial disaster….

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The Forgotten Mine & Ongoing Tragedy That Built The Atomic Bomb

The Congo’s role in creating the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was kept secret for decades, but the legacy of its involvement is still being felt today. By Frank Swain BBC (8/3/20) “The word Shinkolobwe fills me with grief and sorrow,” says Susan Williams, a historian at the UK Institute of Commonwealth Studies. “It’s not a happy word, it’s one I associate with terrible grief and suffering.” Few people know what, or even where, Shinkolobwe is. But this small mine in the southern province of Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), played a part in one…


Supersized Fear: Nation Witnessing Record-Breaking Gun Sales

  By Edward Helmore The Guardian (7/31/20) Fears over the Covid-19 pandemic, a perception of rising crime and worries over civil unrest and political instability in the wake of anti-racism protests have sparked Americans to buy firearms at a record pace – with about 40% being first-time buyers, according to one leading gun rights group. Pro- and anti- gun rights groups are also detailing how the stereotype of an older, white conservative-leaning male with a hoard of weaponry is being challenged by rising numbers of first-time buyers that represent sales to women, buyers from Black and other communities of color,…


“The Fight Isn’t Over,” Say Anti-War Groups As 139 House Democrats Betray The Nation & Join GOP To Reject 10% War Budget Cut At A Time Of Suffering

“Though our amendment didn’t pass, progressive power is stronger than ever. We will keep fighting for pro-peace, pro-people budgets until it becomes a reality. — Rep. Mark Pocan (D–WI). By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (7/21/20) Anti-war groups vowed to keep fighting to slash the bloated Pentagon budget after the House of Representatives on Tuesday rejected a proposal to cut U.S. military spending by 10% and invest the savings in housing, healthcare, and education in poor communities. The final vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amendment sponsored by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) was 93-324, with 139…


On Contact: Chicken Hawk Patriotism & Dissent With Anti-War Combat Veteran Danny Sjursen

By Chis Hedges On Contact (7/4/20) On the show this week, Chris Hedges discusses the nature of patriotism with West Point graduate and US Army combat veteran, Danny Sjursen. Sjursen’s newest book “Patriotic Dissent: America In The Age Of Endless War” will be published September 8, 2020. Link To 28-Minute Video (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2020. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org ) ***** Undercover Patriots: Trump, Tulsa & The Rise of Military Dissent By Danny Sjursen TomDispatch (7/9/20) It was June 20th and we antiwar vets had traveled all the way to Tulsa,…


Pentagon Already Knows Mighty U.S. Military Will Be Left Broken & With Nowhere To Hide In Future Wars

The United States has the most powerful military in the world by a wide margin but routinely “gets its ass handed to it” in simulated wars. The problem may get even worse. By Michael Beckley Foreign Policy (11/20/19) For most of its history, the United States has had the luxury of fighting its wars from safe havens. No major international battles have taken place on the continental United States in more than two centuries, and its offshore territory has not suffered a serious attack since Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in World War II. For the past few decades, even U.S. bases on foreign…


WAR Inc. — How Biden’s Foreign-Policy Team Got Rich

When it comes to foreign affairs, Biden and his advisers are nonideological and mainly transactional. By Jonathan Guyer American Prospect (7/6/20) They had been public servants their whole careers. But when Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election, two departing Obama officials were anxious for work. Trump’s win had caught them by surprise. Sergio Aguirre and Nitin Chadda had reached the most elite quarters of U.S. foreign policy. Aguirre had started out of school as a fellow in the White House and a decade later had become chief of staff to U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power. Chadda, who joined the Pentagon out…


Domination Over Democracy: How Our Bloated Military Strengthens The Police State

The violent U.S. domination of people of color overseas is inextricably linked to the oppression of people of color at home. By Shireen Al-Adeimi & Sarah Lazare In These Times (6/17/20) Nationwide uprisings over the police killing of George Floyd have forced a long overdue discussion about the injustices of U.S. policing—an institution that has consistently harassed and terrorized and, in the words of organizer, writer and educator Mariame Kaba, remains a consistent “force of violence against Black people.” As demands to abolish the police are thrust into mainstream discourse, promising—if uncertain and mixed—political changes are being debated and implemented every day. We are seeing a rigorous…


“Light ‘Em Up”: How America’s Forever Wars Came To Our Streets & Neighborhoods

Warrior-Cops Are the Law — And Above the Law — As State Sanctioned Violence Grips America. [Editor’s Note: This is one of the best assessments of what has happened with our now ‘occupying’ police force. Our wars of empire have come home. Think of it as a kind of brutal karmic payback for what the US has been doing to other nations for decades. There is a short introductory comment on the link, so scroll down for the rest of the story. — Mark L. Taylor] By William Astore TomDispatch (6/7/20) From their front porches, regular citizens watched a cordon…


National Guardsmen Struggle With Their Role In Controlling Protests

‘What I saw was just absolutely wrong’ By Daniel Lippman Politico (6/9/20) Pvt. Si’Kenya Lynch, a member of the D.C. National Guard, was on duty at Lafayette Square near the White House last Monday when U.S. Park Police cleared the area of protesters ahead of President Donald Trump’s now-infamous photo op. Lynch said she supports the protests, and that her brother was among the demonstrators on the other side of the line, adding that “he coughed a lot” due to the tear gas fired into the crowd. “I was happy to see him out there … to walk for me when I couldn’t,”…


Forward This On To Your Activist Contacts! Your First Amendment Right To Record The Police

By Sophia Cope & Adam Schwartz Electronic Frontier Foundation (6/8/20) Like the rest of the world, we are horrified by the videos of George Floyd’s murder. Once again, police brutality was documented by brave bystanders exercising their First Amendment rights. Their videos forcefully tell a painful truth that has further fueled a movement to demand an end to racism and abuse of power by police officers. Recordings of police officers, whether by witnesses to an incident with officers, individuals who are themselves interacting with officers, or by members of the press, are an invaluable tool in the fight for police accountability. Often,…


Pentagon War Game Includes Military Response To Possible Domestic ‘Gen Z’ Rebellion

Plotting war against our children. [Editor’s Note: Here’s a radical idea for all those geniuses planning out warfare against our children: How about addressing the very real issues they are facing that you think could lead to rebellion? If you ever thought the military was for our defense, think again. As we saw in D.C. this past week, it is solely an instrument of the bipartisan corporatocracy. — Mark L. Taylor] By Nick Turse Intercept (6/6/20) IN THE FACE of protests composed largely of young people, the presence of America’s military on the streets of major cities has been a controversial development. But this isn’t…


The Last Words Of George Floyd: Sign Letter Of Protest

These are the last words of George Floyd, the 46-year-old man who died as Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin pinned him down, kneeling on his neck for seven long, agonizing minutes, until he suffocated: “It’s my face man I didn’t do nothing serious man please please please I can’t breathe please man please somebody please man I can’t breathe I can’t breathe please (inaudible) man can’t breathe, my face just get up I can’t breathe please (inaudible) I can’t breathe sh*t I will I can’t move mama mama I can’t my knee my nuts I’m through I’m through I’m claustrophobic…


A Veteran’s Memorial Day Reflection: We Have Done Far Too Much Killing

Try Peace now before it’s too late! By Buzz Davis Veterans For Peace We approach Memorial Day honoring the ultimate sacrifices made by 1.4 million American military men and women who died in America’s wars since 1775. We must discuss the horrific impact of war on surviving soldiers and civilians. For only they can teach us working for peace is a better option than fighting wars. Each death in war brings everlasting tragedy to a family. Each death damages the hope of loved ones. Humans are brutal. We have many wonderful traits. But we must admit to a brutal streak. And we must hope that…


“The Longest War” — The US Lost In Afghanistan

40 years of involvement 20 years of war  $1 trillion (and counting) For what? Buried Treasure / Skullduggery (4/16/20) Greg Barker, the director of The Longest War documentary, joins Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman on Skullduggery’s “Buried Treasure.” The group discuss all things Afghanistan. From the origins of our involvement with the country to the current state of a potential peace deal with the Taliban. A puzzle that has yet to be solved from President Carter on through to President Trump. The Longest War Documentary on ShowTime. Link To 34-Minute Audio The Longest War  Trailer — This documentary feature unpacks the human stories…


Why Is There No Smedley Butler Today?

Why no retired generals oppose America’s modern forever wars. By Danny Sjursen Common Dreams (2/20/20) There once lived an odd little man—five feet nine inches tall and barely 140 pounds sopping wet—who rocked the lecture circuit and the nation itself. For all but a few activist insiders and scholars, U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Darlington Butler is now lost to history. Yet more than a century ago, this strange contradiction of a man would become a national war hero, celebrated in pulp adventure novels, and then, 30 years later, as one of this country’s most prominent antiwar and anti-imperialist dissidents. Raised…


UNCONSCIONABLE: American Universities Profit From Developing Nuclear Weapons

  By Beatrice Fihn Newsweek (11/13/19) Americans like a good comeback story, but the recent revitalization of the nuclear arms race is not one to be cheered. President Trump plans to charge the American taxpayer nearly $100,000 a minute to expand the nation’s nuclear weapons capabilities. Other nuclear-armed countries are doing the same. A new generation of nuclear weapons requires a new generation of workers to develop and maintain these weapons of mass destruction. The National Nuclear Security Administration reported to Congress that 40 percent of its workforce will be eligible to retire in the next five years. Defense spending produces…



US Government Lists Non-Violent ‘Valve Turner’ Climate Activists As Threat On Par With Murderous Neo-Nazis

The making of national security is rarely about security for the population. It’s about security for those in power. By Julia Conley Common Dreams (1/13/20) Climate action advocates on Monday condemned reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has placed non-violent environmental activists on a list of domestic terrorists alongside white supremacists and mass murderers. Citing documents received by the non-profit group Property of the People, The Guardian reports how the Climate Direct Action members who shut off tar sands pipeline operations in an act of civil disobedience in October 2016, were called “suspected environmental rights extremists” by DHS. In the document, the…


Southern Peace Activists Help Soldiers Become Conscientious Objectors

The South is arguably the engine of the U.S. war machine—but also a center for anti-war activism. By Olivia Paschal Facing South (1/17/20) The South is arguably the engine of the U.S. war machine. The region is home to Fort Bragg, the largest U.S. military base in the world. Southern states supply more soldiers than others; the region is home to three of the five states with the highest military recruitment numbers in 2016 – Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Its congressional delegations have historically been some of the most militaristic, and military contractors have long put many of their production facilities in Southern…


George Orwell, 70 Years Later

By John Rodden History News Network (1/20/20) Seventy years ago this Tuesday [1/21], George Orwell, the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, died alone in a hospital sanitorium in London.  He had struggled for years with pulmonary tuberculosis, and his weak lungs hemorrhaged for the final time.  He was just 46, and just on the verge of fame, having published his great novel just seven months earlier in June 1949. Would the visionary author of Nineteen Eighty-Four—who always insisted on the full eighteen letters as his novel’s proper title, not the four screaming digits “1984”—have ever imagined that George Orwell might become the most…


The Bipartisan American War State: The Liars That Over & Over Send Our Children Off To Pointless War For Profit

“We have a government that is so easily dominated by psychopaths and sociopaths.” [Editor’s Note: This whole video is worth the time, but if nothing else, watch the opening video mash-up of the Republican and Democratic lies that have repeatedly thrown the nation into wars for corporate profits. The take-down of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent kow-towing to Trump’s war actions are revealing of the bipartisan evil we face. — Mark L. Taylor] The Real News (1/10/20) Two Iraq war veterans explain why Congress has failed to stop the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and say the United States…


The Members Of Congress Who Profit From Sending Our Children To War

In the Senate, nearly one-third of the members of the Defense Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee own stocks in top defense contractors.  By Donald Shaw & David Moore Sludge (1/13/20) It was shortly after midnight in Baghdad on Friday, Jan. 3, when a missile strike ordered by President Trump killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. When stock markets opened the next day, dozens of members of Congress saw bumps in their portfolios as their holdings in defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon increased in value on the possibility of war. Over the next three trading days, the leading defense industry…


How Presidents Wage War Without Congress

By Lulu Garcia-Navarro Morning Edition / NPR (1/12/19) The Constitution limits the president’s power to wage war but presidents have gotten around that and Congress has only rarely asserted itself successfully. Lulu Garcia-Navarro: Last week, the House of Representatives voted to require President Trump to seek congressional approval before taking further military action against Iran. The measure now goes to the Senate, where its fate is less certain. And President Trump is not expected to sign anything that restricts his authority, which raises the question, what are the limits to a president’s power to make war? We posed that question…


War Is A Racket: If You Know A Young Person Thinking Of Enlisting, Buy Them This Book. It Might Save Their Life & The Lives Of Others

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify…


NPR Drops Obediently Into Place With Pro-War Interview

By Mark L. Taylor Commoner Call (1/6/20) On Friday morning (2/3) in a segment provocatively entitled Expert Warns Iran Likely Will Retaliate For U.S. Killing Of Top General, National Public Radio’s ‘Morning Edition’ host Steve Innskeep interviewed retired general Jack Keane, who the network website described as “a retired Army general who regularly talks to President Trump, about the U.S. strategy on Iran…”. But there is much, much more to the general than that bland, anodyne descriptor. A quick search found some very important information about Keane. Media Matters notes: “Jack Keane is a retired U.S. Army general and a longtime Fox News military…


Trump’s Past Tweets Accusing Obama Of Pending Attacks On Iran Expose His Own Personal Weaknesses

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (1/6/20) Psychological projection is an unconscious defensive behavior in which those with troubled and weak personalities angrily and snidely accuse others of the very weaknesses they can’t face in themselves. Donald Trump is a naked poster boy of the phenomenon. This past week Trump’s psychological projections were broadcast worldwide with his ordered assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, leading to well-founded fears of renewed war in the Middle East. Throughout Barack Obama’s presidency Trump launched tweets accusing Obama of what he himself is now doing. In the process, he projected his own personal…


Ralph Nader On Eisenhower’s Warning: Prophetic & Presently Understated

    The American Conservative (7/6/18) The American Conservative hosted its annual crony capitalism conference at which Ralph Nader delivered a speech on the military industrial congressional complex titled “Eisenhower’s Warning: Prophetic and Presently Understated.” Nader is an author, consumer advocate, and former presidential candidate. He is one of America’s most effective social critics, and has emerged as a leading voice against the growing convergence of government and corporate interests. He is the author of Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. Link To 32-Minute Video Eisenhower’s Famous Farewell ‘Military Industrial Complex’ Warning — Ike’s warning about the…


From Military Brig To Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s ‘Toxic’ Pet War Criminal Cashes In On Newfound Fame

Along with all sorts of items emblazoned with the logo “KILL BAD DUDES,” the site sells a “Waterboarding Instructor” shirt. By Dave Phillips The New York Times (12/31/19) A year ago, Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher was wearing drab prison scrubs at a brig near San Diego, facing murder charges that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life. Now he is modeling his own lifestyle clothing brand, endorsing nutrition supplements and positioning himself as a conservative influencer with close ties to the man who helped clear him — President Trump. Chief Gallagher was…


The 18-Year Afghanistan Debacle: A West Point Combat Ranger Vet Talks With Chris Hedges About The Rule Of Our Republican & Democratic War Criminals

Torching lives, reputation, treasure, national values and reputation in an 18-year bonfire of racketeering, ignorance & lies by both Republicans & Democrats. [Editor’s Note: This discussion is an excellent overview of the revelations from the recent Washington Post series on the Afghanistan War papers. Given the bipartisan fraud, lying and complicity in this 18-year long corrupt war crime, the story is not getting the attention it deserves in the corporate media. — Mark L. Taylor] By Chris Hedges On Contact / RT (12/21/19) Chris Hedges talks to Spenser Rapone, former combat veteran and US Army Officer, about the Washington Post’s…


‘The Afghanistan Papers’: Bipartisan War On Truth Revealed In The Washington Post Series

“The American people have constantly been lied to.” — John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). By Meghna Chakrabarti, Geoffrey Line & Stefano Kotsonis On Point / WBUR (12/23/19) The Washington Post’s massive investigation that U.S. officials misled the public about the Afghanistan War for almost 20 years. We talk with one of those same officials on what they said then, and what they think now. Guests: Craig Whitlock, investigative reporter focusing on national security for the Washington Post. (@CraigMWhitlock) Ryan Crocker, diplomat-in-residence, Princeton University. He has served as U.S. ambassador six times: Afghanistan (2011-2012), Iraq (2007-2009), Pakistan (2004-2007),…


The Phrase ‘White Nationalists’ Cut From Measure To Screen Military Enlistees

25% of American service members reported encountering white nationalists within their ranks. By Christopher Mathias HuffPost (12/19/19) A measure in the National Defense Authorization Act meant to keep white nationalists out of the U.S. military no longer mentions “white nationalists” after Congress quietly altered the text after it initially passed the House. The change, which has not been previously reported, could water down a House-passed amendment meant to address the threat of white nationalists in the military. The House language was specifically drafted to encourage screening for white nationalist beliefs in military enlistees. But after the Republican-controlled Senate passed its own…


Secret History Of The War In Afghanistan Reveals The Bipartisan Betrayal Of American Troops

  “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan. We didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.” — Gen. Douglas Lute, Afghan War “Czar” adviser to both presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. (Access NPR interview with Lute.) ***** “Truth was rarely welcome. Bad news was often stifled. Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible. Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced everything we were doing was right. And we became a self-licking ice cream cone.” — Col. Bob Crowley, retired Army counter…


‘Democrats Must Do Better’: As Poverty Spreads, Corporate Dems Ignore Progressives & Vote With GOP To Pass Bloated $1.4 Trillion War Budget & Funding Of Trump’s Wall

  “We must fund the government without funding hate.” — Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (12/17/19) The leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus condemned the $1.4 trillion spending package that passed the House Tuesday, calling the legislation a massive giveaway to the Pentagon and a green light for President Donald Trump’s “immoral mass detention policies.” “The bill before us today will not stop the abuse and wrongful detention of people in custody, nor will it prevent the Trump administration from misusing federal funds to advance their horrific mass detention and deportation agenda,” Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.),…


American Service Members & Vets Are Down Range Of Russian Online Lies & Manipulation

  By Jasper Craven National Review (9/18/19) The post popped up in select Instagram feeds shortly before the election in 2016. Its photo depicted an anonymous black-clad woman on an airport tarmac, crying over a metal casket covered in an American flag. “Killary Clinton will never understand what it feels like to lose the person you love for the sake of your country,” the caption began. “Honoring the high cost paid by so many families to protect our freedom. Buy a T-shirt—help a veteran.” A little money and deviousness goes a long way for foreign actors in propagandizing veterans, who…


The U.S. Government Lied About The Afghanistan War. They Couldn’t Have Gotten By With It Without Lapdogs Like The Washington Post

Whenever there is a foreign policy “crisis,” you will never read or hear or see someone completely opposed to U.S. involvement given a voice in the media. Certainly not in the Post. By Ted Rall Common Dreams (12/11/19) “In ten years or so, we’ll leak the truth,” the Dead Kennedys sang. “But by then it’s only so much paper.” But it might just score you a Pulitzer Prize. Award bait and bragging rights are no doubt the principal goals of The Washington Post’s self-congratulatory data dump, “The Afghanistan Papers.” As the headline implies, the 2000 pages that a court ordered the Office…


‘Destruction Born Of U.S. Conceit’ — The Real Outrage Of The Afghan War Papers No One Wants To Address

They didn’t count the Afghans because the Afghans didn’t count. By Sophia A. McClennen Salon (12/14/19) On Monday, December 9, The Washington Post released a confidential trove of 2,000 pages of government documents that revealed that senior U.S. officials repeatedly failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan. They document in detail a practice of lying, deception and whitewashing that covered up unmistakable evidence that the war had no grand plan, no end in sight and no consistent leadership. The series of articles published by Craig Whitlock in the Post, along with the original documents themselves, detail a horrifying pattern of deception and…


Endless War Without Strategy: Bipartisan History Of Secrecy & Lies About The Afghan War Revealed

“The documents show the American people were lied to.” The Washington Post (12/9/19) For nearly two decades of fighting in Afghanistan, U.S. leaders have sounded a constant refrain: We are making progress. Government interview records obtained by The Washington Post after a three-year legal battle show otherwise. [The Washington Post also produced the excellent video below to go with this story. — Ed.] Read more: At War With The Truth Link To 17-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org ) ***** ‘Read Every Word Of This’: Washington…


David Harvey Talks About The Fatal Fallacies & Militarized Crimes Of Capitalism

    By Jeremy Scahill Intercepted Podcast (1/17/18) For the past year, we’ve all experienced an intense sort of political or news vertigo. It’s making us dumber by the day. Of course, part of this is due to the fact that Donald Trump is president and he constantly scoops the story of the latest outrage about himself by performing yet another outrage just as we start discussing the previous one. It’s exhausting and brain melting. But this is also because major media organizations have all chosen to constantly chase the rabbit. In a way, all of us in media are…


Trump Trots Out Recently Pardoned War Criminals At Secretive Florida Fundraiser

“Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” — George Washington, orders to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775 By Tom Boggioni Raw Story (12/7/19) According to a report from the Miami…