You would be right if you think Americans lack character, empathy and the ability to think things through.
From the BBC, citing a Quinnipiac Poll, it is determined that Half of Americans don’t want war with Syria but half said they’re “open” to it if it means pushing a button and shoving 200 remote-controlled guided bombs into a barrel willy-nilly:
This option is more palatable to the US public than the deployment of ground troops … Indeed, remotely controlled attacks such as air strikes have been called ‘the American way of war’ by the authors of an article in Foreign Affairs magazine.
More palatable, yes, if you can be cooking hot dogs over the weekend and getting revved up for college football.
“Foreign affairs” implies a foreign policy and a state department.
The state department hasn’t done anything for decades except say “OK!” when someone suggests unleashing the bombers.
Here’s the American way of war, from over a decade ago.
If you recall, the opening round of the Iraq War involved much publicity surrounding a midnight strike on “Dora Farms,” a place where Saddam Hussein was said to have a command hideout.
The hope was, in flattening it, that he could be buried in the rubble, bringing a quick end to things.
Dora Farms turned out to be another American technological gaffe. The missiles and bombers hit an empty field.
More junk war journalism: The most powerful nation in history is planning to toss a cruise missile volley into one of the world’s most miserable places but an alleged “Syrian” hacker attack has been plaguing the New York Times. Fuckin’ ay!
Syria’s cyberattack: First wave of a bigger war?
CNN — Server Not Found — Those three ominous words — especially for an organization in the highly competitive news business — were seen on computer screens nationwide as customers tried to access The New York Times website this week. The newspaper’s site was crippled for more than 20 hours. A notorious group of hackers called the Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility. Beyond the crippling of one high-profile newspaper website, the incident has people asking broader questions about U.S. cybersecurity: How vulnerable are U.S. websites to attack? Who are our potential cyberenemies? Is there more to come? The answers aren’t comforting: Computer and homeland security experts now warn of a broader cyberwar if the U.S. launches military strikes on Syria.
Heavens, they’ll strike back with cyberwar — “asymmetric warfare.”
Asymmetric warfare, one of the great defense industry weasel phrases of our times, invented by the Department of Defense to describe what kind of attacks all countries and groups that spend less money on their military forces than the US are said to be up to. The perceptive will grasp this defines every other country and group in the world. Combined.
All the Davids, always plotting and thinking of ways to strike the Goliath with their slingshots.
The US has the biggest cyberwar machine in the world, along with the most powerful military, period.
And two certified idiots — journalists at CNN — are today writing about the national threat said to be illustrated by a petty hack of the newspaper of record.
It’s worth adding there’s little to no evidence the “Syrian Electronic Army” is even Syrian.
Yeah, boy howdy!
We’re about to smash them with 200 cruise missiles but think of the horror of cyberattacks on us!?
Mein Gott! Has all honor been lost!
Anyway, I had no trouble reading the NYT on-line this week. Musta been the 20 hours when I was in a coma.
Actually, not everyone saw error messages or suffered problems, mileage varied. But cyberwar, people, look out!
Today the news is afilled with pieces on the arrest of Shemane Nugent, wife of ol’ Shredded Wheat, by the TSA for having a firearm in her carry-on luggage at Dallas/Ft. Worth airport.
DD cannot confirm or deny whether Ted Nugent passed a kidney stone last night.
Ol’ Shredded Wheat and Shemane Nugent on the range in Waco.
All the nausea-provoking cliches of American war junk journalism have returned: “What would a military strike on [fill in the blank] look like?” 
Followed by numbing, intelligence-insulting descriptions of weapons platforms, maps with potential targets and quote from “experts” at US think tanks, all career dependent on continuous war. Tried to counter it with a column lampooning it, “Weapon of the Week,” at the Voice a decade ago. (Google.)
That did a damn fucking lot for my reputation.
There was also a big piece in the Post with said “experts” — alleged thinking of wise men — on whether or not a good bombing of Syria would be a “just war.” At this juncture it would not have occurred to me that any discussion of a remote-controlled strategic bombing campaign against any puny country, no matter how bad and which can barely defend itself, belongs on the same page as the word “just.”
No link, mostly because there’s nothing in it you can’t imagine.
Andrew Bacevich, the official retired military man voice-for-the- left, says it’s a bad idea, the same thing he said a decade ago about Iraq.
A Brookings flunky takes the opposite side of the coin, predictably.
A handful of religious men are nervous about the subject. They don’t much like talking about the US and the concept of “just war.”
One of them admits the US is not the sword of God, something that’s probably occurred to quite a lot of people. This is the only bit unusual as anything like it would usually be edited out.
And it’s mildly startling to see some people actually getting fidgety in print over discussions on the the US and prosecution of “just war.” Since they believe in a deity and an afterlife they are perhaps starting to think that eventually they’ll have to do some explaining and that “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” was always a pretty sickening tune.
You can say “God bless America” in the knee-jerk way of politicians and citizens but does he when you’re pushing the launch-cruise-missiles button? Or are you just feeling like you’re pushing your luck? Such teleological questions are real brain-twisters.
And, finally, at the end of the day, the Britishes showed some sense, many — a majority — thinking that dumping 200 cruise missiles and stealth bomber strikes into Syria at midnight will not likely make it a better place.
From the NYT:
“Prime Minister David Cameron said that Britain would not participate militarily in any strike against Syria after he lost a parliamentary vote by 13 … It was a stunning defeat for a government that had seemed days away from joining the United States and France in a short, punitive cruise-missile attack on the Syrian government …”
Which raises the question: “Why can’t we have nice things like ‘stunning defeats’ every now and then?”
[1.] War junk journalism, example provided by the Christian Science Monitor, a website that should not exist at all as its entire purpose is to furnish, as fast as possible, three or four paragraph blog posts on whatever is trending in search nationally:
[What] would a US attack look like?
First, it will probably start at night. US night-fighting capability is unsurpassed, and night attacks reduce the risk of civilian casualties, given that any civilian workers at Syrian military installations are likely to be home in bed. This could occur within days, perhaps as early as Thursday.
Second, the weapon of choice will almost certainly be precision-guided munitions. The US Navy has four destroyers within range of Syrian targets. Each Arleigh Burke-class destroyer has 90 vertical launchers for Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles and defensive missiles, according to a Syria attack plan produced by Christopher Harmer, senior naval analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. Depending on the mix of munitions loaded in these launchers, four ships should easily be able to hit Syrian targets with 180 Tomahawks.
US cruise missiles have a 1,000-mile range, meaning they can be launched hundreds of miles at sea. If they operate as intended, their accuracy carries them to within a few meters of their intended targets.
No link. That place sucks and so do those who work there.
The Bombing Paupers tab is, once again, officially open.
Nothing could be more American than McDonald’s and wage theft. It’s tradition, supplanting apple pie.
Hard to choose this week. Missouri was in the running for a brief period. So was Uncle Sam. But since they’ve held off until next week the remote-control bombing of paupers in Syria, he may get another shot.
In e-mail today, an ad for a Line 6 device to turn an iPhone into a Pocket Pod (the latter of which I have.)
The SonicPort can be “[the] centerpiece of your GarageBand mobile studio,” it reads.
Never liked recording on iOS platforms, never will. Pretty pictures in the linked video. But it doesn’t rock.
You want rock? Call me.
You ought to hear what the Pocket Pod, sans iJunk, sounds like with me going through it live into a guitar amp. And I’ll have an example for you soon.
Missouri takes the lead as the new heart of sedition in Civil War 2. Honest Abe maneuvered the South into firing on Fort Sumter by sending a resupply convoy into Charleston harbor. Maybe the President can instruct the ATF and FBI to send expeditions to the Show Me State after its crazy legislature makes criminals of them when they try to enforce national gun law, provoking an armed confrontation.
“Missouri is only the beginning,” one of the new rebels against federal tyranny tells the New York Times newspaper.
“I’ve got five different states that want a copy [of our bill].”
I think it would be great entertainment to fire a volley of cruise missiles into Jefferson City, Missouri, instead of a piss ant country like Syria, for a change, don’t you? They’re very precise, I hear.
From the NYT:
Unless a handful of wavering Democrats change their minds, the Republican-controlled Missouri legislature is expected to enact a statute next month nullifying all federal gun laws in the state and making it a crime for federal agents to enforce them here. A Missourian arrested under federal firearm statutes would even be able to sue the arresting officer.
The law amounts to the most far-reaching states’ rights endeavor in the country, the far edge of a growing movement known as “nullification” in which a state defies federal power.
The Missouri Republican Party thinks linking guns to nullification works well, said Matt Wills, the party’s director of communications, thanks in part to the push by President Obama for tougher gun laws. “It’s probably one of the best states’ rights issues that the country’s got going right now,” he said.
What would be your tactical operational plan to strike the legislature in Jefferson City? Discuss.
Labor Day, as defined at the DoL: “The first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.”
I look forward to the expostulations and op-eds we get this time of year: Anti-labor and anti-union essays, bits on right-to-work-for-less, tributes to the biggest corporations for their innovation in trimming the workforce & making work not pay, how the boot heel of Obamacare on the throat of said corporations will cause them to fire good Americans and how the Middle Class can be restored by not raising the minimum wage or perhaps even eliminating it.
Also, school is about to begin and teacher unionization is totally evil, California is an economic basket case/Texas is business paradise, and bad minimum wage workers should take the day to reflect on all they have been given and stop causing hardship for Wal-Mart and McDonalds.
Remember that food stamps should not be given to people who won’t work even though most who get them do and if you are working and still poor it is either a bad lifestyle/bad personal responsibility thing or because you have zero skills compared to everyone else in the global economy and deserve it.
Feel free to add your own variations on the familiar American homilies to the value and sanctity of human capital.
Remember to buy the hot dogs and beer, they’re on special, and college football begins this weekend, one part of the economy where the workers receive very good pay and benefits.
On Friday, Charlotte Sexauer, a reporter from the Santiago Times contacted GlobalSecurity.Org over news of an old stash of botulinum toxin, discovered as part of a Pinochet government clandestine program.
An initial story, in the Santiago Times, explains the circumstances:
Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship possessed biological weapons capable of killing “thousands,” it was revealed by a former government official Thursday.
Former Public Health Institute (ISP) director Ingrid Heitmann told the German Press Agency (DPA) that “two boxes of syringes full of Botulinum toxin” — dating back to the 1980s — were found underneath the ISP in 2008. Initially, Heitman claimed the amount could wipe out “half of Santiago,” though later revised this estimate to the thousands without giving a precise number.
Heitmann said the toxins were destroyed without then-President Michelle Bachelet’s office or the Justice Ministry being informed, and added she “panicked” when her colleagues made the discovery …
Legal evidence and reports had previously demonstrated that botulinum toxin was tested on in labs, and sarin gas and thallium were manufactured during Pinochet’s military dictatorship. Secret police (DINA) agent Eugenio Berríos was charged with carrying out the production and use of sarin gas under Pinochet’s orders.
The toxins found underground in 2008 were believed to have been sent from the Butantan Institute of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in the 1980s. Heitmann added Chile did not have the capacity to produce botulinum toxin.
The reporter asked me, “If Botox is legal, why is Botulinum Toxin considered a chemical weapon? What makes it prohibited by the Geneva Protocol?”
Botulinum toxin is the single most deadliest poison known. It is prohibited because of this and because of its history as a weapon manufactured in historical bioweapons programs. The Japanese used Clostridium botulinum in WWII and the US military developed it as a weapon at the same time because of fears Germany was pursuing it. It was also a tested part of the Soviet bioweapons program.
Botulinum toxin weaponization is within the capability of national programs and there is no antidote for poisoning by it except sustaining measures. People must be maintained on ventilators until the body repairs the part of the synaptic junction eaten away by the toxin. This can be a relatively long period and it is easy to see that a large number of botulinum poisoning cases, as might result in use of a weapon, would stand a good chance of overwhelming medical facilities.
Botox, on the other hand, as used in the cosmetics industry, is the same poison but is not shipped in dosages that can prove problematic or lethal to human beings. It would be a lot of work, impractical really, to actually collect enough botox vials from the cosmetic industry, recombine them, and then concentrate the contents without loss into a usable weapon.
One American company produced botulinum toxin for research purposes and was lax in its procedures and oversight during the years of the war on terror. It sold reagent grade botulinum toxin in concentrated pure form to quacks masquerading as researchers in the time period ca. 2003-2004 without oversight.
The cosmetic industry quacks who bought botulinum toxin from the American private sector laboratory were interested in diverting it for resale in their cosmetic surgery businesses. The operation was discovered when one of them administered the concentrate to himself and patients/acquaintances without realizing it was so dangerous. They all suffered acute botulism and had to be maintained on ventilators for months. This drew the attention of the FBI which rolled up the ring and raided the American lab.
The lab, named List in the San Francisco Bay area, was forced into bankruptcy by the incident.
It has apparently emerged from that bankruptcy and continues to sell and research botulinum toxin along with other biochemical agents of interest.
“Since 1978 List has advanced research through quality products,” reads a description on its “about” page.
I published a detailed write-up on the rogue botulinum toxin operation and the involvement of List Laboratories here at GlobalSecurity.Org in 2010.
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