Tag Archives: military

Boondoggle or Quagmire?

By Dom Nozzi

February 16, 2017

Not only are our road “improvements” counterproductive (our road system is more dangerous and congested now than it has ever been — after a century of “improvements”), but our 15-plus years of fighting against terrorism has created way more terrorists today than existed when the fighting started in 2001.

Our nation (and Europe) is more in danger of terrorism now than it has ever been. This would all be comical were it not so tragic. Let’s see…how many trillions of dollars have we spent on road “improvements” and the “war” on terror?headlineImage.adapt.1460.high.US_war_on_terror_a.1428940320745

Isn’t this similar to how the Roman Empire fell? Or the Soviet Union?

This is the very definition of a boondoggle. Or is it a quagmire?

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Did Leftists Oppose Hillary Clinton Due to White Privilege?

 

By Dom Nozzi

November 7, 2006

A common charge I heard from supporters of Hillary Clinton when they learned that I, a political leftist, was opposed to Clinton, was to claim that my opposition was due to my “white privilege” status. In other words, I was able to overlook the horrible things that her opponent, Donald Trump, would do to minorities and lower-income folks — if he were elected – because it would not affect me nearly as much as those groups.

Over and over this charge was unfairly directed toward those of us on the left who refused to vote for Hillary.

Why unfair?

Because Hillary and her supporters must explain how it is okay that Hillary, as Secretary of State and Senator (and now in her statements as a presidential candidate), strongly pushed for Kissinger-like warfare in the Middle East and Central America.gty_david_petraeus_hillary_clinton_jt_140209_16x9_608

That bombing killed tens of thousands of innocent Muslims, Blacks/Browns, and single mothers in the Middle East and Central America. Those people are just as human and deserving of life and freedom from US aggression as those in the US.

But wait, there’s more.

Hillary has supported NAFTA, TPP, deregulating Wall Street, fracking, and deportation of women and children back to Central and South America. She seemingly has no sympathy for Israeli aggression/apartheid for the Palestinian women and children (and Muslims). Her policies have destroyed many Black/Brown, Muslim, Hispanic, and single working mother lives with her full-throated support of the ruinous war on drugs. As Secretary of State, she intervened on behalf of the corporate garment industry exploiting defacto slave labor and had the rate changed back to 31 cents.

In sum, she is at least partly responsible for many deaths of Hispanic, Black/Brown, Muslim, and single women, and as an apparently callous multi-multi-multi one percenter millionaire, the economic policies she supports have financially crushed those same groups.

Seems to me, given this sordid laundry list I just summarized, it is those who support Hillary who are more appropriately labeled white, privileged white people in a bubble who have no qualms about crushing Hispanics, Blacks/Browns, Muslims, or single mothers.

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Middle East Blowback

 

By Dom Nozzi

July 3, 2016

After spending 15 years and trillions of military dollars to obliterate Afghanistan and Iraq (and a number of other places in the Middle East) over the past 15 years (and counting), US presidents and the US military have made the US much less safe.

We are certain to see “blowback” (violent retaliation for wrongs suffered at the hands of the American military) from understandably enraged people from the Middle East throughout the US for the rest of our lives.

We are periodically seeing violent shootings in the US committed by US veterans who have returned from the Middle East and appear to be suffering from PTSD or other forms of war-related mental disorders. This sort of blowback is, of course, not the traditional lblowback of foreigners who have attacked America in retaliation, but US citizens who have served in the US military. This “internal” blowback was something America continues to suffer from the Vietnam war.

I am certain that we will see a lot of blowback for a long, long time. The past 15 years of military misadventure is one of the most tragic, counterproductive mistakes in US history. A terrible loss of life and money.

And because it has made us less safe, it can also be rightly called a gigantic boondoggle. The only “beneficiaries” are those in the military and surveillance industries, who have been greatly enriched.

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Overthrow: A Review

By Dom Nozzi

I just finished reading a book written in 2006 called Overthrow, by Stephen Kinzer.

I highly recommend it.

overthrowHow many of us know of the shameful, sordid history of our US government overthrowing leaders in Hawaii, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, Grenada, Iraq, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Vietnam, Iran, and Afghanistan? How in nearly all cases, we did so to secure access to resources, or were doing the bidding of multi-national corporations which desired continued easy access to such resources? How in each case, we cloaked our attack not on such exploitative reasons, but based on the false claim that we are doing so to “liberate oppressed people,” to “bring democracy and freedom,” to “stop a dangerous tyrant,” or to “help people who could not govern themselves”? How most all of the nations we overthrew became much worse off during and after our “regime change” actions?

Many of us, the author points out, believe such fairy tales of our “bringing democracy and freedom” because of the common belief in “exceptionalism,” where the US is seen to be inherently more moral, godly and just than all other nations, and therefore a country that can only do right and never do wrong.”

A friend responded to the above by saying, “Don’t we already know this?” To which I replied with the following…

In The New American Militarism, Andrew Bacevich notes the terrifying reality that America has now reached a political consensus: The vast majority of Republicans and Democrats are now flag-waving supporters of ramped up and never-ending US militarism, which clearly shows that the majority does NOT already know this (unless most of us are barbarians, and support such aggression even though it is in support of multi-national corporations rather than our security).

In Morality Wars, Charles Derber finds that cloaking barbaric “gunboat diplomacy” as bringing “democracy and freedom” has been in existence for many centuries for nearly all empires, and few, if any, societies were able to see through the hysteria and deception. I see no evidence, to this day, that the vast majority of Americans (including most Democrats) oppose wars of aggression by the US. The majority of Democrats and Republicans have cheered Obama adopting the largest military budgets in US history, as well as his many wars of aggression, and there seems to be a near political consensus that US aggression is justifiable.  Where, for example, is the outrage about Obama’s drone war, his on-going war of aggression in Afghanistan (which a HUGE number of liberals and feminists heartily support as a way to bring “democracy” and “women’s rights” to that ravaged nation), his saber rattling over the Ukraine, and his military action in Libya (which most Democrats supported)?1280511495

If “we” Americans already knew this, why did we re-elect one of the most warlike presidents in our history (Obama)?

Or maybe by “we” you mean you and me?

PS – I’m one of the most well-read people I know, and I knew only a tiny amount about the awful US history since 1898 of orchestrating regime change. I would say over 99 percent of Americans know nothing about that history. Most of the Overthrow book was news to me. Maybe I’m a moron, but maybe not. The book sickened me to the point where I am both utterly ashamed to be an American, and startled that educated citizens continue to vote for major party US presidential candidates, given how many wars of aggression presidents of both parties have called for over the past century.

 

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The Deserter’s Tale (2007), by Joshua Key as told to Lawrence Hill. Review by Dom Nozzi

When I reported on Facebook that a book I had just read – Morality Wars – was a profound, must-read book detailing how the American Empire justifies and legitimizes its criminal, imperialistic global warfare to American citizens by describing the morality of US atrocities around the world, a Facebook friend urged me to read a book she has just read. After reading only half of it, I am so stunned by the shocking criminality of what the US was doing in the Bush/Obama Iraq war in the first decade of the 21st Century that I must also provide shocking excerpts from this book as well.

Key starts the book by describing his lower-income status, his lack of an education beyond high school, and his lack of DesertersTalehealth insurance. He was a patriotic American as a young man, and when the US Armed Forces offered him income, higher education, and health insurance, it was as if they were offering him a chance to win the lottery (and a chance to stop terrorism before his children would have to fight them in the US) when he was offered a chance to serve in the armed forces.

His recruiters assured him repeatedly that he would be placed in the US Army “bridge repair” corps and that he would be at a “nondeployable” base. He would not be deployed to fight a war overseas, he was repeatedly assured as he repeatedly asked for assurance.

He then learned that it was all a lie.

In boot camp, he is stunned to learn he is assigned to a combat unit, where recruits are incessantly told by commanders that Iraqis – including children – are to be dehumanized. They are all sand nigger terrorists all deserving to be killed. He visits Lieutenant Joyce and asks permission to speak. He tells Joyce that when he joined the military, he was told he was being sent to a nondeployable base, but then learns he is assigned to a combat unit. Can he fix this problem, Key asks?

“Soldier,” Joyce responds, “you obviously don’t understand the military way of life. Get the hell out of my office.”

The next day, his squad leader screams at Key: “You broke rank by speaking to…Joyce and you’re a fucking piece of shit!”

Key is deployed to Iraq and is shocked that immediately upon arrival, his platoon is engaged in seemingly endless atrocities that would make the Nazis look like boy scouts: regular raids of residential homes looking for “terrorists,” terrorizing those in the homes by blowing up the front door, rushing into the homes armed to the teeth, and completely vandalizing and ransacking the contents of the home. NEVER finding “terrorists” or weapons in ANY of the many homes they raid.

In all instances, the raids and killings are directed against completely defenseless, unarmed civilians.

It seems clear from the description of the author that on a regular basis, a Vietnam-like My Lai Massacre was being committed by the US military in Iraq. And no reports and not a peep of protest was made about any of them. I cannot see how any Iraqi, who witnessed any of the many hideous actions by the US troops in Iraq, could feel anything but utter, lifelong anger against all Americans. That all witnessing Iraqis would become lifelong terrorists dedicating their entire lives to wanting to kill any and all Americans they ever see. Key asks, “How would I react if foreigners invaded the US and did just a tenth of the things that we had done to the Iraqi people?” He admits that if this were the case, he “would be right up there with the rebels and insurgents, using every bit of my cleverness to blow up the occupiers…I would lob all the mortars and rocket-propelled grenades I could buy. No doubt about it. If someone blasted into my home and terrorized my family, I would become a force to be reckoned with. I would invent my own booby traps and come up with the most unexpected…mayhem. I would give the occupiers hell and keep at it until I was dead…”

The enormous number of incidents of atrocities committed by the US military in Iraq shocked Key. “I suspect the total number of victims [killed in Iraq by the US] would shock and astonish Americans just as profoundly as did the discovery of the My Lai Massacre.” In reading this book and thinking of the LACK of outrage expressed by Americans compared to My Lai, I must wonder if Americans have become so desensitized to the enormous number of atrocities US troops now commit, in our name, around the world that we no longer care how evil we have become. By contrast, Key retains a sense of outrage and shame. “I shudder to imagine the thousands upon thousands of Iraqi families who this very day are struggling still with the loss of a loved one who died, completely innocently, at American hands.”

Key relates the bitter irony of his previous understanding that the US was the paragon of virtue and justice. “When American soldiers beat up, stole from, and killed Iraqi civilians during my six and a half months at war, I was them do so with complete impunity. We were far more than soldiers fighting enemy insurgents. To civilians of Iraq, we became police officers, prosecutors, jailors, and executioners. We claimed to be bringing democracy and good order to the people of Iraq, but all we brought were hate and destruction.”

Have we reduced the chance of terrorism in the US by what we did in and to Iraq? Key answers clearly: “The only thing we gave to the people of Iraq was a reason to despise us – and perhaps to want to kill us – for generations to come…The young Iraqis who survive our raids, abuse, and detentions have all the motivation they need to seek revenge. I am not looking forward to the day they get organized.”

Are Americans more civilized than Iraqis? “Whenever I remember standing with 300 military trainees in Missouri shouting ‘Kill the sand niggers’ as loud as we could while stabbing and slashing with our bayonets at straw dummies, I say to myself that I hope the Iraqis who survive our war prove to be more civilized than we were.”

Key was shocked to witness murder of an Iraqi child, random violence against civilians to vent anger for the frustration of not finding terrorism, and sexual abuse of innocent women, all committed by American Soldiers and officers.

He then goes on to describe a scene so horrifying that I feel compelled to write this review of the book. He notes spotting four decapitated Iraqis while on a late night patrol, allegedly looking for a riot and assault against US troops, but finding nothing of the kind. They had their heads sheered off by an overwhelming hail of US gunfire.

Two of the US soldiers are playing soccer with the heads of the decapitated Iraqis.

He describes, understandably, being utterly revolted and horrified by the scene.

There were no rioting Iraqis. The only armed men he saw were US soldiers.

He then learns that his commanding officer that night had swerved the military vehicle he was driving Key’s platoon with so that he could run over one of the decapitated heads.

Key then goes on to express his horror over the fact that his commanding officers had been silent when they came upon the scene (and one of them had actually join in the inhumane act by running over one of the heads). Key, a patriot going into the war, notes that this event snapped the “last threads of belief I had in my country and what it was doing at war. I had always seen my fellow Americans as upholders of justice in the world, but now I had come face to face with the indecency of our actions in Iraq.”

Key hoped that a report would be written on what had happened that night, and asked if he could see such a report. A commanding officer tells him it is none of his damn business and that Key should leave it alone. “I didn’t know much about the Geneva Conventions, but I knew one thing: what I had witnessed was wrong. We were soldiers in the US Army. In Iraq, we were supposed to be stomping out terrorism, bringing democracy, and acting as a force for good in the world. Instead we had become monsters in a residential neighborhood…I don’t have to be a a lawyer to know that armies at war were not supposed to rape, plunder, loot or pillage. They were not supposed to harm civilians or mutilate the bodies of the dead…it is wrong to attack defenseless people.”

Key goes on to describe how he will never be able to forget how US soldiers were playing around with the decapitated heads of Iraqis that were killed by the US troops. His nightmares – in which he replays that scene over and over in his head – tells him what he “was slowly realizing: that the American military has betrayed the values of my country. We had become a force for evil, and I could not escape the fact that I was part of the machine.”

Over and over, Key notes the anger and frustration felt by fellow US troops in Iraq, and how they regularly chose to do so by taking out this fury by massacring defenseless civilians. “Some of the men in my company wanted to take revenge, to go out and kill as many Iraqis as they could. My own anger, however, was reserved for the president of the US…I could find no justification for our role in Iraq and could not think of a single positive thing we had done in the country. My friends had had their legs blown off, and what was it for?”

The author notes his anguish and fear in deciding he must become a deserter. That he must leave the country which he had once loved and was unquestionably loyal to. “I didn’t want to participate in an unjust war, and I didn’t believe it was right that I should become a prisoner in my own country for refusing to act like a criminal in Iraq.”

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Car is the Enemy book coverMy book, The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607

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