From the archives, “That’s Logistics,” satire using a ubiquitous v commercial ditty and one of the deadening news stories from America’s war on terror.
If you’been here all along it now seems like ancient history.
What should be obvious by now is that it’s inspired by a longstanding admiration for Tom Lehrer.
From his Wiki bio:
In 1953, inspired by the success of his performances, Lehrer paid $15 for some studio time to record Songs by Tom Lehrer. The initial pressing was 400 copies. At the time, radio stations would not give Lehrer air time because of his controversial subjects. He sold his album on campus at Harvard for $3 (equivalent to $27.00 today), while “several stores near the Harvard campus sold it for $3.50, taking only a minimal markup as a kind of community service. Newsstands on campus sold it for the same price.” After one summer, he started to receive mail orders from all parts of the country (as far away as San Francisco, after The Chronicle wrote an article on the record). Interest in his recordings was spread by word of mouth; friends and supporters brought their records home and played them for their friends, who then also wanted a copy. Lehrer later recalled, “Lacking exposure in the media, my songs spread slowly. Like herpes, rather than ebola.”
The album—which included the macabre “I Hold Your Hand in Mine”, the mildly risqué “Be Prepared”, and “Lobachevsky” (regarding plagiarizing mathematicians)—became a cult success via word of mouth, despite being self-published and without promotion. Lehrer embarked on a series of concert tours and in 1959 recorded a second album, which was released in two versions: the songs were the same, but More of Tom Lehrer was studio-recorded while An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer was recorded live in concert. In 2013, Lehrer recalled the studio sessions:
“The copyist arrived at the last minute with the parts and passed them out to the band… And there was no title on it, and there was no lyrics. And so they ran through it, ‘what a pleasant little waltz’… And the engineer said, ‘”Poisoning Pigeons in the Park,’ take one,” and the piano player said, ‘”What?”‘ and literally fell off the stool.”
The Tomahawks are back in use, those missiles Americans love to see, being shot off at night, almost always in bombardment of people or desperately poor and wrecked places which have no equivalent method of retaliation. This time, fired by the USS Nitze, at targets vaguely indentified as hostile radar sites in Yemen.
And it’s part of the war in Yemen, waged by American-proxy Saudi Arabia, whose military is adept at bombing civilians, carrying out various war crimes and atrocities in that country.
“The U.S. has been providing logistical support and refueling to the Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthis and other rebels,” reads an NBC News report. The Houthis are the ones being bombed by the Saudis — with the best US-made weapons and training their money can buy.
This most recent exhibition of American military might came about as a result of a missile attack that badly damaged a United Arab Emirate ship conducting operations off Yemen.
NBC news describes it this way:
An Emirati-leased Swift boat came under rocket fire from Houthis in the area last week, suffering serious damage. The United Arab Emirates described the vessel as carrying humanitarian aid and having a crew of civilians, but Houthis said it was being used as a warship.
And here we see the American news media being somewhat deceptive, as is its fallback position when something uncomfortable has been uncovered and judged necessary to finess.
Because the “leased Swift boat” doesn’t quite pass muster as a humanitarian ferry. In fact, any web survey of it (the ship is designated HSV-2, paradoxically, similar to the mouth/venereal virus) shows it has spent most of its years as a logistical support unit in the US Navy.
Indeed, for the USN, HSV-2 did not look like a “ferry” at all. It looked like a warship.
And even the densest among us will have to concede something that looks like a warship, even if only a logistical one, is fair game in a bitter civil war.
As a consequence of the attack on the HSV-2, we sent two warships into the area, probably knowing full well they’d draw some manner of attack. Which they did. This, in turn, can lead to what our Sec’y of Defense, Ashton Carter, weirdly might call a virtuous cycle, one in which the US military deliveries retaliations upon mostly defenseless targets all out-of-proportion to the nature of whatever insult to American power has previously occurred.
Virtuous cycles, a much better term than hit jobs, right?
Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East.
On the latest Designated Survivor, Kiefer Sutherland as President Tom Kirkman is confronted with a crisis: Michigan, Michigan (!) under the governor, cast to vaguely look like the guy who poisoned Flint, won’t recognize the federal government and its governor has ordered a pogrom against Muslims which results in the a young man being beaten to death by batons, captured on smartphone. Plus there’s a general roundup of Muslims, one vignette with a B-list character getting a stop-and-frisk.
Kirkman gets the governor to order his police force to stand down and release its prisoners by telling a lie, that undercover Feds have been jailed and must be set free to continue their investigations.
Remarkable that the President can make a video conference call and get this done. Too bad the country can’t jump into the Hollywood script and order a stop to street executions, eh?
The second installment of Designated Survivor continues down its awkward path of unintentional cognitive dissonance. I’m sure Sutherland and a few other cast members are acutely aware of it, too.
From an Associated Press story on August 23rd, on exotic weapons and emerging technologies in the hands of terrorists:
UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that technological advances have made it easier for terrorist and criminal groups to obtain materials needed to make weapons of mass destruction, and some are actively trying to obtain nuclear, biological and chemical weapons to target civilians …
Gregory Koblentz, director of the Biodefense Graduate Program at George Mason University, said there are several emerging technologies that present challenges to international efforts to curb WMDs, including gene editing.
“Instead of gene drives being used to eliminate disease, they could be used to introduce new diseases into plant or animal populations,” he told the council.
Other potentially dangerous emerging technologies include the use of drones and the use of the Dark Web, which can only be accessed using special encryption software, guaranteeing anonymity to its users.
Koblentz said that in 2014 the U.S. arrested two people who had sold the toxins abrin and ricin — ricin is classified as a chemical weapon under the Chemical Weapons Convention — to customers in Austria, Canada, Denmark, England, India and the United States via a Dark Web marketplace called Black Market Reloaded.
“The global reach and anonymity of the Dark Web provides a new means for criminals and terrorists interested in dual-use equipment or materials to do business,” he said.
Black Market Reloaded was fairly quickly infiltrated by US law enforcement. Agents subsequently used identities on it to initiate sting operations involving the promised sale as well as the buying of poisons like ricin and abrin.
The two arrested on the Dark Web, specifically — users of Black Market Reloaded, were both Americans. Jesse Korff and James Christopher Malcolm.
Both accepted plea deals from the federal government with Malcolm sentenced to five years, Korff much longer.
Both were connected to the case of Ryan Chamberlain for which I served as a science consultant to the defense.
Considering the nature of the investigations and the results (there were about half a dozen arrests coming off BMR), the continued belief that the Dark Web provides anonymity in such instances is rather laughable.
In the fall of 2016, fifteen years in, college football games suddenly need war-on-terror bags and some metal detector screening.
At Beaver Stadium, where Nittany Lion football still makes State College the third largest city in Pennsy every Saturday. Metal detection.
USC institutes metal screening at the Coliseum:
With the first home game coming this week, USC officials were urging fans to comply with new security rules in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
All patrons will be subject to new metal detector screening, said USC spokesman Tom Tessalone.
Bags that are carried into the stadium must have clear plastic sides and be no larger than 6 inches wide, 6 inches deep and 12 inches long, USC officials said.
Cal at Berkeley:
In response to terrorist attacks around the world, Memorial Stadium will only allow fans to bring clear bags into the venue during football games, starting with the this season’s first home game on Sept. 17.
The new policy was adopted to increase security in the stadium after high-profile attacks in Europe and Asia. UC Berkeley Associate Athletics Director Wesley Mallette said the changes in policy are in line with security measures adopted in stadiums for professional baseball and football.
The same security measures will be put in place at Haas Pavilion, starting with the volleyball season this month. Eight of the PAC-12 stadiums have implemented similar policies.
The Rose Bowl for Bruins games.
The University of Central Florida.
KNOXVILLE – Football season is kicking off next week with a new bag policy at Neyland Stadium.
UT introduced the new rules last month. They state that fans will only be allowed one clear plastic bag no larger than 12 inches, by 6 inches by 12 inches.
With just over a week until the first game, fans are stocking up and clear bags are proving to be difficult to find.
Do you think there are terrorists plotting against Texas Tech out in Lubbock?
Texas Tech fans going into Jones AT&T Stadium for Red Raider football games starting Saturday should keep one thing clear: their bags.
Texas Tech athletics department officials, along with local business owners and managers, have been reminding Red Raider fans that only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags will be allowed into sporting venues after Tech officials announced the new policy ahead of this football season.
The clear bags must be smaller than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, or fans can bring a 1-gallon clear plastic freezer bag to carry their belongings.
The list goes on and on. It’s nationwide. Not a coincidence. Someone issued an order.
Now does this look to you like the American Wehrmacht’s bombing of the Middle East is making life better?
Note the exploding market for Homeland Security-approved public gathering and event plastic I-am-not-a-terrorist bags.
To reflect on this longest of American wars is to confront two questions. First, why has the world’s mightiest military achieved so little even while itself absorbing very considerable losses and inflicting even greater damage on the subjects of America’s supposed beneficence? Second, why in the face of such unsatisfactory outcomes has the United States refused to chart a different course? In short, why can’t we win? And since we haven’t won, why can’t we get out?
With regard to the first question, one explanation stands out above all others. In stark contrast to the Cold War, American purposes and U.S. military policy in the Islamic world have never aligned. Rather than keeping threats to U.S. interests at bay, a penchant for military activism, initially circumspect but becoming increasingly uninhibited over time, has helped to foster new threats. Time and again, from the 1980s to the present, U.S. military power, unleashed rather than held in abeyance, has met outright failure, produced results other than those intended, or proved to be largely irrelevant. The Greater Middle East remains defiantly resistant to shaping.
Not for want of American effort, of course … — Andrew Bacevich, America’s War for the Greater Middle East
A disenfranchised white working class vents its lust for fascism at Trump campaign rallies. Naive liberals, who think they can mount effective resistance within the embrace of the Democratic Party, rally around the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, who knows that the military-industrial complex is sacrosanct. Both the working class and the liberals will be sold out. Our rights and opinions do not matter. We have surrendered to our own form of Wehrwirtschaft. We do not count within the political process. — Chris Hedges, The Illusion of Freedom
Wehrwirtschaft: “The principle or policy of directing a nation’s economic activity towards preparation for or support of a war effort, esp. (Hist.) as applied in Germany in the 1930s.”
The United States has the best military in the world today, by far. U.S. forces have few, if any, weaknesses, and in many areas—from naval warfare to precision-strike capabilities, to airpower, to intelligence and reconnaissance, to special operations—they play in a totally different league from the militaries of other countries. Nor is this situation likely to change anytime soon, as U.S. defense spending is almost three times as large as that of the United States’ closest competitor, China, and accounts for about one-third of all global military expenditures—with another third coming from U.S. allies and partners…
Precision-guided bombs accounted for about ten percent of the ordnance used in the Gulf War. In recent conflicts, they have accounted for about 90 percent, with a dramatic impact on the course of battle. As a result, Pentagon officials now talk of a “third offset”—the hope, championed by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, among others, that it will be possible to rely on modern-day ISR and precision assets to counter, say, larger Chinese missile, aircraft, ship, and submarine forces in the waters of the western Pacific.
For all this progress, however, there are limits to what standoff warfare and advanced technology can achieve by themselves. To make precision bombing effective, for example, targets need to be located accurately—something that can be difficult if those targets are in cities, forests, or jungles, or are concealed or underground … — David Petraeus & Michael O’Hanlon — America’s Awesome Military
Those who measure security solely in terms of offensive capacity distort its meaning and mislead those who pay them heed. No modern nation has ever equaled the crushing offensive power attained by the German war machine in 1939. No modern nation was broken and smashed as was Germany six years later. — Dwight Eisenhower, 1949, in St. Louis
Some Generals der Flieger and Hauptmanner responsible for the American Wehrmacht’s proxy war via Saudi Arabia in Yemen have quietly being withdrawn. Don’t chalk it up to doing the right thing or aerial refueling, targeting services, intelligence gathering and replenishment for Saudi Arabia & Co’s US-armed military would have been stopped after a week or two, probably sometime last year.
The U.S. military has withdrawn from Saudi Arabia its personnel who were coordinating with the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen, and sharply reduced the number of staff elsewhere who were assisting in that planning, U.S. officials told Reuters.
Fewer than five U.S. service people are now assigned full-time to the “Joint Combined Planning Cell,” which was established last year to coordinate U.S. support, including air-to-air refueling of coalition jets and limited intelligence-sharing, Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey, a U.S. Navy spokesman in Bahrain, told Reuters.
That is down from a peak of about 45 staff members …
But wait, wait, wait, there’s no taking of responsibility. Quite the opposite.
“The U.S. officials said the reduced staffing is unrelated to the growing international concerns over civilian casualties in the 16-month civil war that has killed more than 6,500 people in Yemen, about half of them civilians,” reads Reuters.
“The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, stressed that as the strikes intensify again, the U.S. might decide to readjust its support.”
Sources deny the US aids in Saudi targeting, an unverifiable assertion.
Nothin’ makes America’s Wehrmacht stop doing what it does except, hmmm, orders from the Commander-in-Chief?
Presumably, this news story, or leak, was furnished because, finally, the pool of blood from fucking the dog on the global stage for the sake of counter-terrorism operations and “strategic alliances” has grown too big to totally ignore.
At another defense news/p.r. site it is noted that at least 20 American-made panzers (the Abrams tank) in the lastest Saudi Arabian arms deal are being supplied as replacements for those lost in action in Yemen.
One of the toadies of America’s global Wehrmacht, Saudi Arabia, bombed a potato chip factory in Yemen last week. Today they bombed a hospital, This on top of bombing supermarkets, aid organizations, cement factories and civilians — with American support.
We provide the training, the bombers, the bombs, the targeting and refueling.
The bombing campaign is considered a war crime by various organizations, like Human Rights Watch and Doctors Without Borders.
The civil war, in which American weapons have cratered Yemen is all because the Houthi tribe kicked out the US and Saudi-backed government, forcing it to flee offshore. The Houthis occupy the capital, Sana, and the bombing hasn’t changed their minds, just created another humanitarian crisis, another rubble-ized Middle Eastern country and more atrocities. (The other big driver is Saudi Arabia’s hot war with anyone seen as proxies of Iran, in this case, the Houthis. Secondarily, we enable and support them in it.)
In any case, nothing can be allowed to escape the technological gaze of our military targeting systems, not even potato chip factories.
And today even the New York Times couldn’t stand by anymore:
A hospital associated with Doctors Without Borders. A school. A potato chip factory. Under international law, those facilities in Yemen are not legitimate military targets. Yet all were bombed in recent days by warplanes belonging to a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, killing more than 40 civilians.
The United States is complicit in this carnage…
Given the civilian casualties, further American support for this war is indefensible. As [a Connecticut politican] told CNN on Tuesday: “There’s an American imprint on every civilian life lost in Yemen.”
Without the United States Air Force as a refueling linchpin for the Saudis, the bombing campaign in Yemen would collapse.
From the Air Force Times:
As of Aug. 8, “we’ve flown 1,144 aerial refueling sorties totaling approximately 9,793 flying hours and providing 40,535,200 pounds of fuel to 5,525 receiving aircraft,” Dougherty told Air Force Times in an email Monday. The latest statistics show sorties in support of the Saudi-led coalition against Yemeni rebels have increased roughly 61 percent since AFCENT last provided data in February …
Drily, the Air Force paper describes a vicious cycle of bombing.
The bombing campaign against the Houthis “dislodged” them from some areas, creating a “vacuum” in which alleged operations of al Qaeda were said to have increased. This has resulted in another bombing campaign over Yemen, one conducted directly by America’s Wehrmacht. In addition to the black bag operations conducted in a fractured country on the ground.
Historically, think Guernica, only with far more might, as it’s now obvious we have our own Condor Legion and a variety of Operation Rugens.
Technically, I should probably call it America’s Luftwaffe. But when you get down to it, globally the US military is a joint operation. The biggest arm of the Third Reich’s military was the army, the Heer. Operationally, at high tide, it reached from deep inside the old Soviet Union to the Atlantic, south to North Africa, to the islands of Greece and north to the Arctic Circle.
The Wehrmacht, while generally thought of in the US as the army of the Third Reich (entertainment, you see), encompassed all the service arms: the Kriegsmarine, the Luftwaffe, the regular army, and the Waffen SS. Because the German army was, by far, the dominant service, its command organization, OKH, or Oberkommando das Heer, was frequently in conflict with the joint command staff, OKW, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht.
Therefore, in terms of understanding, America’s Wehrmacht is apt.
And I will continue to ram home the point. Americans, all of us, have no more say in the matters of their military than citizens of the Third Reich did. It’s a fact.
Hulu has been pushing four seasons-worth of “Homeland,” a TV show I’ve read a lot about but still avoided. Finally took the plunge and watched season 1 (from way back in 2011) over the weekend. I laughed at the season finish: Nuts CIA operative Carrie Matheson being given electroshock, the cliff-hanger suspense delivered by whether or not she would remember the name “Issa”. For a show on terrorism, it consigns its “terrorists” to secondary roles and makes the idea of two Marines being traitors (Brody really isn’t, it seems, just someone with a conscience) more odious by shooting the African-American at the end just to wrap things up.
And the security of the “homeland,” resting on the result of electroshock? Please. “The first season received near universal acclaim,” reads Wiki. Did it fill a need for upper middle class Americans who wanted a war on terror drama about snivelling white people (Carrie, Saul, Nick)?
Do all teams of government agents drive Chevy Suburbans?
America’s Wehrmacht continues its press campaign on the new rebombing of the region formerly known as Libya.
You’ll recall that recommending the bombing of Libya, which turned it into a failed state, was HRC’s highest achievement as Sec’y of State. So if you rebomb a failed state can you make it unfailed?
Perhaps the American Wehrmacht has been influenced by the high school science experiment in which you beat a magnet with a hammer which causes it to demagnetize, to be failed, so to speak. But if it it is totally demagnetized, the beating will restore a little magnetism to it. Or maybe not, it’s hard to follow.
Ashton Carter, the Sec’y of Defense, has been fond of using cancer as a metaphor to describe ISIS. The US military must fight the ISIS cancer by removing the “parent tumor” bits of it and to combat its “metastases.”
But if you have known loved ones or friends who have died of cancer, you may have seen the phenomenon first hand in which cancer treatment, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, indeed kills cancer cells but also selects for the most hardy so that, eventually, the cancer doesn’t respond at all to treatment. And the patient dies.
And unlike the US military, often doctors stop treatment because it does no good, making even worse the time the patient has left.
The Pentagon’s treatment of terrorism in foreign countries is never halted, no matter the consequences for the patient.
Ashton Carter is just another high-button apparatchik whose career was in buying weapons systems and writing pamphlets about the MX missile and communications systems for thermonuclear war before becoming Sec’y of Defnse so perhaps another medical definition for the war on terror is in order.
How about this?
The US military is like an HIV infection. If it infects a country in the Middle East or Africa, whether it be by special operations in the night, drone attacks, so-called surgical bombing, the training and equipping of local proxy hit squads or a combination of all these things, all the functions that keep a society together are eaten away and weakened, just like the HIV destroys the body’s white T-blood cells for fighting infection. And eventually your country is so depleted and burned out it collapses, becoming a shell of warring factions that cannot be restored.
By this time the US military, like the HIV, is off working over another country, perhaps a close neighbor, someone with which it normally had relations.
In America today, HIV is a very serious disease but manageable through the use of effective anti-viral drugs and medications to stop secondary infections. However, there is nothing that can be used to make a country survivable once the US military has been turned loose in and on it.
« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »