Terminology is so important. There was a time when America spoke honestly of a Department of War. But not everyone is keen on war, even Americans, so in 1947 the national (in)security state slyly changed its name to the Department of Defense (DoD). And who can be against “defense”?
The problem is that America’s fundamental vision is offensive. We speak openly of global reach, global power, global vigilance. We never speak of regional or hemispheric defense. Regional power? Forget about it! Everything has to be “global.” Indeed, not just global but soaring above it into space. And not just outer space but virtual space and inner space, into one’s mind, so-called information dominance. For that’s what “full-spectrum” dominance is all about. To be safe, to “defend” us, the DoD must dominate everywhere, so we’re told.
This vision serves to generate yearly budgets that consume more than half of federal discretionary spending. It’s used to justify 750 military bases around the world. It’s consistent with dividing the globe into commands headed by four-star generals and admirals, e.g. AFRICOM, CENTCOM, NORTHCOM, and the like. It generates U.S. involvement in wars that few Americans know anything about, e.g. Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. It’s a vision consistent with a state of permanent warfare driven by imperial ambitions.
I don’t think there’s ever been a military more ambitious and vainglorious than the U.S. military and its various straphangers (industry, congress, intelligence agencies, the media, academe, think tanks, hence the term MICIMATT).No wonder its “thought” leaders keep demanding and getting more and more money: at least $858 billion for FY2023 alone. The DoD is supposed to be a means to an end. Clearly, it’s become an end in and of itself; it may yet lead to the end of everything.
He who has the gold makes the rules—and no government agency gets more gold to dominate rule-making than the DoD/Pentagon. It’s a golden fleecing of America, as the Pentagon after five attempts has yet to pass an audit. The war on terror, including failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost America as much as $8 trillion, yet those failures have already been largely forgotten, with no senior officials called to account.
Our future is being stolen from us by wanton military spending. At the same time, our past is being rewritten. Lincoln’s ideal that "right makes might" and Washington’s ideal of the citizen-soldier have been replaced by might makes right enforced by warriors. Orwell rules the moment as war is sold as peace, surveillance as privacy, and censorship as free speech.
I remember my military oath of office: to support and DEFEND the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I still believe in defending the Constitution. I just don’t see that we’re doing it when we spend $858 billion (and more) on a global quest to dominate everyone everywhere all at once.
Defense? Nonsense. It’s all offense.
MICIMATT: military-industrial-congressional-intelligence-media-academia-think-tank complex. Awkward acronym that has the virtue of capturing the size and scope of Ike’s old military-industrial complex.
'NATO Decides to Attack Russia in Ukraine'
Ukraine is unable to defeat Russia. The next step is for direct NATO involvement.
NATO has always been very clear: Ukraine CANNOT LOSE. For Washington, the only solution would therefore be for NATO forces to enter Ukraine, hoping that this will end the Russian offensive. The calculation is that Vladimir Putin will not want to directly face NATO with the possible (nuclear) consequences, and will therefore then retreat.
The idea here is that the entrance of NATO into the conflict will strike fear into Russia and Putin and his generals and they will rethink the SMO and retreat with tails tucked.
Not going to happen.
In any case, this is a very bad calculation since it is clear that Russia will go to the end of the mission assigned by Vladimir Putin. Counting that our forces will retreat in the face of a few NATO regiments whose arms problems Russia is experiencing is a ridiculous calculation… and which will very quickly prove to be extremely deadly.
Is it possible the USG and NATO believe their own lies about Ukraine?
The war propaganda corporate media insists Ukraine is winning. “Russia is losing the war it started against Ukraine thanks to military support from the West. Now, NATO should provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with the offensive firepower and air defense Ukraine needs to end it,” writes a USG propagandist working for the 1945 website, a site churning out pro-war commentary for the propaganda media...........................................................................
THE STORY OF THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914—AND ITS ETERNAL MESSAGE: Even enemies can become friends when we reject violence and see people as they truly are—as individuals. The British and German troops who on Christmas Eve enjoyed a night of joy amid the carnage of 1914 could attest to that. by Jon Miltimore 122122
War had already been waging in Europe for months when Pope Benedict issued a plea from Rome on Dec. 7, 1914 to leaders of Europe: declare a Christmas truce.
Benedict saw how badly peace was needed, even if it was only for a day. The First Battle of Ypres alone, fought from October 19 to November 22, had resulted in some 200,000 casualties (mostly German and French soldiers, but also thousands of English and Belgians). The First Battle of the Marne was even worse.
In light of this carnage, the pope asked "that the guns may fall silent at least upon the night the angels sang."
The European leaders ignored his plea.
Then something miraculous happened on the eve of Christmas. From No Man’s Land—the area between the trench works of Allied and Central forces—German troops, in a spontaneous act, put down their weapons and invited English soldiers to celebrate Christmas with them. It’s remembered today as the Christmas Truce.
The British cartoonist Bruce Bairnsfather was one of many who chronicled the event. A machine gunner in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Bairnsfather was shivering in the muck of a three-foot trench on a cold night, munching on stale biscuits and chain-smoking, when he heard a noise at about 10 p.m. Via History:
“I listened,” he recalled. “Away across the field, among the dark shadows beyond, I could hear the murmur of voices.” He turned to a fellow soldier in his trench and said, “Do you hear the Boches [Germans] kicking up that racket over there?” “Yes,” came the reply. “They’ve been at it some time!”
The Germans were singing carols, as it was Christmas Eve. In the darkness, some of the British soldiers began to sing back. “Suddenly,” Bairnsfather recalled, “we heard a confused shouting from the other side. We all stopped to listen. The shout came again.” The voice was from an enemy soldier, speaking in English with a strong German accent. He was saying, “Come over here.”
After some back and forth talk, British troops laid down their weapons, climbed out of their trenches, crossed the barbed wire, and joined the Germans. They traded handshakes and songs; they chewed tobacco and drank wine and laughed together—these men who earlier that day had been doing their best to kill each other.
Some accounts describe German and British soldiers playing “football” (soccer) on makeshift fields. Others mention British soldiers setting up barbershops and offering haircuts in exchange for cigarettes. The one thing all the accounts have in common is a general feeling of merriment among the soldiers.
“There was not an atom of hate on either side,” Bairnsfather recalled.
Afterwards, not everyone was pleased with the gaiety. Some military leaders reportedly seethed over the Christmas truce. But Bairnsfather suggests the soldiers themselves cherished the moment, which they sorely needed.
“For those who participated, it was surely a welcome break from the hell they had been enduring. When the war had begun just six months earlier, most soldiers figured it would be over quickly and they’d be home with their families in time for the holidays. Not only would the war drag on for four more years, but it would prove to be the bloodiest conflict ever up to that time.”
I’ve always found the Christmas Truce moving, and also telling. While the leaders of Europe may have loathed one another, the German and English people clearly did not, at least not once they met one another.
On that Christmas night, the nationalism that had divided German and British soldiers evaporated when they met face-to-face, traded, laughed, drank, and discovered their common humanity.
I recently read Stille Nacht (Silent Night): The Story of the Christmas Truce—a new children’s book written by Rory Margraf—to my youngest son. He had many questions, but mostly he wanted to know why the soldiers were fighting in the first place. (I suspect many soldiers—Belgians and Germans, French, Englishmen, and beyond—themselves wondered this very same thing many times during that war.)
I didn’t have a good answer for him. But I’ve thought on the matter some since, and I think THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE HOLDS A CLUE ABOUT WHY WE FIGHT.
People who for weeks and months had been shooting and bombing one another found themselves laughing, singing, and trading—and they did so because they defied their orders. THE SAD TRUTH IS NATION-STATES—WHICH THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE DONE A MAGNIFICENT JOB OF CONVINCING HUMANS THAT PEOPLE THEY NEVER MET ARE THEIR ENEMY—OFTEN ARE NOT PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN PEACE.
“War is the health of the state,” the radical writer Randolph Bourne famously noted.
The truth is WAGING WAR IS WHAT GOVERNMENT DOES BEST, AND THE PEOPLE WHO WAGE THEM AND WIN ARE THE ONES LAUDED IN THE HISTORY BOOKS. THE LOSERS, OF COURSE, ARE NOT; WHICH MAKES WINNING A WAR THAT HAS BEGUN ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT. (IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT THAT THE PEOPLE WHO DECLARE WARS RARELY SEE THEIR OWN BLOOD SPILLED DURING THEM.)
I don’t wish to oversimplify something as serious and terrible as war, but I do wish to demonstrate there is another way. THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE SHOWS US THAT PEACE IS ACHIEVED BY REJECTING STATISM AND NATIONALISM AND COLLECTIVISM IN ALL FORMS; IT IS WON BY EMBRACING OUR COMMON HUMANITY AND THE THINGS THAT BRING US TOGETHER.
Even bitter enemies can become friends when we reject violence and see people as they truly are—as individuals. (Especially on Christmas, a holiday that celebrates the birth not of a conqueror, but of a lamb.)
The British and German troops who on Christmas Eve enjoyed one night of joy amid the carnage of 1914 could attest to that.
WWI's Christmas Truce: When Fighting Paused for the Holiday, A.J. Baime & Volker Janssen in HISTORY https://go.fee.org/e/808113/author-aj-baime-volker-janssen/m9v14/345856125?h=dl46oa1PtXhJm0L9R2aXgQR6PPMzkF1cqm39i5nq-a4
Stille Nacht (Silent Night): The Story of the Christmas Truce, Rory Margraf https://go.fee.org/e/808113/3WxXvpt/m9tzq/345856125?h=dl46oa1PtXhJm0L9R2aXgQR6PPMzkF1cqm39i5nq-a4
The Christmas Truce of World War I, William N. Grigg in FEE https://go.fee.org/e/808113/hristmas-truce-of-world-war-i-/m9v17/345856125?h=dl46oa1PtXhJm0L9R2aXgQR6PPMzkF1cqm39i5nq-a4
Source: https://go.fee.org/webmail/808113/345856125/391eb21131150efa876f18cc7f3e72abf033c9cf489daea0bf9443f27548b10d [EMPHASES added.]