Usually when U.S. citizens argue in favor of downsizing the military budget, they are treated as anti-American by neoconservatives and other "hawks." When presidential contender Ron Paul advocates bringing the troops home and reducing federal military spending, he is called an isolationist. But what can critics say of a military general who makes such assertions?
Brigadier General John Adams, in a piece for The Hill, makes such declarations. He claims that while the federal government has increased military spending, it has not increased national security, and such spending only serves to threaten economic security and fiscal sanity:
Earlier this month, a special task force assembled by General David Petraeus released the findings from its investigation that determined approximately $360 million in U.S. tax dollars landed in the hands of those that the American military have been fighting for over a decade: Taliban, criminals, and power brokers. More recently, however, another commission determined that the figure is actually closer to $60 billion.
An independent panel, the Commission on Wartime Contracting-established by Congress in 2008- asserts that $60 billion in American tax dollars has been lost to waste and corruption in Afghanistan and Iraq within the last decade.
The Commission’s 240-page report asserts that the United States is expected to have spent beyond $206 billion by the end of the 2011 budget year on its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Of that $206 billion, it has determined that approximately 10 to 20 percent has been spent on “contracting waste” while an additional 5 to 9 percent of that total was absorbed by fraud.
Elements of Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups were known to be key players in the NATO-backed uprising in Libya from the beginning, but now it appears that prominent Jihadists and terrorists are practically leading the revolution with Western support.
One terror leader in particular, Abdelhakim Belhaj, made headlines around the world over the weekend after it emerged that he was appointed the chief of Tripoli’s rebel Military Council. Prior to leading rebel forces against Gaddafi’s regime, Belhaj was the founder and leader of the notorious Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).
Eventually the terror “Emir,” as he has been called, was arrested and tortured as an American prisoner in the terror war. In 2004, according to reports, he was transferred to the Gaddafi regime — then a U.S. terror-war ally.
The persecution of Christians is the biggest untold story in the establishment media. Consider Iran, a nation that we fear because it may soon acquire nuclear weapons. This fear is so strong in the school of popular punditry that strategic military strikes, embargoes and a host of other fairly dramatic remedies are seriously discussed. But is not our true fear of Iran that it is a nation which is intolerant, warlike and barbaric?
We have lived for more than fifty years with Britain and France, which each has the power to destroy most major American cities on any given day. The Soviet Union and its offspring, the thuggish Russian nation, each have a vast nuclear arsenal, as does China, which bears us no goodwill. Israel, India, Pakistan, South Africa and probably a few other nations have nuclear capacity or could acquire it quickly. Our former Axis enemies — Germany, Japan and Italy — could all go nuclear fairly quickly, if they wished. What is it about Iran that makes us sweat?
While the truth about what is going on in Libya remains concealed behind aweb of lies from both sides, Gaddafi’s forces are still fighting as analysts discuss the future of the nation following “regime change.” Based on available information, it doesn’t look bright. Talk of protracted civil war, genocide, violent retaliation, plundering and deepening chaos is well underway as the bodies of Libyans continue to pile up. Thousands of civilians have already died — some killed by NATO air strikes and Western-backed rebels, others by the Gaddafi regime and its supporters.
And analysts expect the bloodshed and violence to continue for the foreseeable future. A spokesman for the regime said earlier this week that Gaddafi’s forces were able to fight on “for years.” Contingency measures and “alternative plans” have been made, he explained, to ensure that the battle for Tripoli will rage on indefinitely.
Media coverage of the NATO war in Libya has been marked by so much disinformation, lies and deception that it is becoming hard to tell fact from fiction, with both sides engaging in what is termed “psychological operations” to confuse and demoralize their opponents.
Blatant examples of the strategy occurred in recent days as President Obama claimed the Libyan regime was finished even as Gaddafi and his sons vowed to continue fighting “for years” if necessary. Wildly conflicting accounts — often from reporters on the scene — make it almost impossible to tell what has really been going on in Tripoli this week.
“The Gadhafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people,” Obama claimed in a televised speech on August 22. Two days later, the embattled Libyan ruler made a public statement vowing to fight and urging residents of the capital to “free Tripoli” from the “devils and traitors.”
In an effort to top the success of last year’s Restoring Honor rally, and to garner public support for Israel, conservative pundit Glenn Beck has launched his week of Restoring Courage events, which are taking place in Israel. When Beck announced this event earlier in the year, he said, “God is involved in man’s affairs, but so is the force of darkness. I believe I’ve been asked to stand in Jerusalem. Many in the history of man have had the opportunity to stand with the Jewish people … and they have failed.” For Beck, failure in this area is not an option. He asked his listeners to “stand with me, in Jerusalem” this summer.
And they did. While Restoring Courage could not garner the 500,000 attendees present at last year’s Restoring Honor rally, given this year's location in Israel, it still boasts a significant attendance and sold-out events.
The week of events began at the Caesarea Amphitheater in Israel, where Beck opened his remarks to a crowd of over 3,000 people with, “Welcome to the land of milk and honey!”
As protests and unrest continue to spread across Syria, Western pressure including sanctions and even open talk of military intervention is mounting against the regime of “President” Bashar Al-Assad.
Numerous sources report that NATO is already plotting an invasion as foreign powers covertly arm Syrian rebels. And some analysts believe military intervention against Damascus would merely serve as a prelude to an attack on Iran.
Mass demonstrations in Syria, sometimes violent, began in mid-March. Since then, human rights groups and various governments claim thousands of civilians have been killed by security forces trying to put down the unrest.
The European Union and the U.S. government already imposed economic sanctions on the Assad dictatorship. More might be on the way as EU officials consider joining the American embargo on Syrian oil imports.
Although the Obama administration has made much of the fact that U.S. forces are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, it clearly has no intention of leaving that war-ravaged country to its own devices. In fact, plans are afoot to keep as many as 25,000 American troops in Afghanistan for at least a decade longer than the official deadline, according to the Daily Telegraph.
“America and Afghanistan are close to signing a strategic pact which would allow thousands of United States troops to remain in the country until at least 2024,” the London newspaper reports. “The agreement would allow not only military trainers to stay to build up the Afghan army and police, but also American special forces soldiers and air power to remain.” Both sides hope to seal the deal by December.
Some observers have commented that, in short, the American empire is not about to relinquish control over one of its satrapies. As former Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar observed, “The ‘hidden agenda’ of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan can no longer be disowned. Quite obviously, the U.S. intends to plunge into the ‘great game’ in Central Asia.”