Posting has been low because I’m taking care of an ailing cat for a friend who has to be away.
Anyway, I was eating dinner with another acquaintance yesterday when I mentioned one line from the atrocious blog I linked to over the weekend.
“How was California lost?” it asked plaintively. Keep in mind, this is from someone who puts a picture of Ronald Reagan at the top while peddling a T-shirt with the somewhat baffling Tea Party-esque motto: “This Abdication Nation will not stand!”
So my friend almost fell off the chair laughing when I quoted this line to him:
Was it the communism and socialism promulgated through Hollywood?
It is momentarily amusing in it’s total lack of clue. Here’s a young guy who has been to the other side of the world — Afghanistan. But geographic travel, even being part of a long war, hasn’t broadened him. He dumbly believes Hollywood was a source of commies.
However, it’s also a pathetic indication of why the US isn’t much of an overachieving country these days unless one counts the executed technical perfection of bombing a feeble enemy’s military.
Next, small items from Bombing Moe. When the A-10 Thunderbolts and Spectre gunships were ordered up for Libya it more-or-less confirmed that we’re in a war aimed at dissecting all of Moe’s military.
These are very close air support assets, used for blowing tanks and artillery out of the way in deserts, hamlets or cities, so the rabble parade of small pick-up trucks with old commie machine guns mounted in the back can pass by and flash the victory sign to western cameras. At those times, of course, when they’re not stopping the parade to jump up and down on one of the blown up remnants of Moe’s army.
QAF Flying Emirs! Odyssey Dawn 2011! We stayed out of the way and helped fence the oil!
Spam funny of the day: More fake neighborly comment on politics and national debt by the bot-person trying to get an ad pointing to a service that facilitates offshoring and tax-avoidance in Panama published.
So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home.
Welcome to America in the second decade of the 21st century. An army of long-term unemployed workers is spread across the land, the human fallout from the Great Recession and long years of misguided economic policies. Optimism is in short supply. The few jobs now being created too often pay a pittance, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle-class standard of living …
When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.
G.E. is the nation’s largest corporation. Its chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, is the leader of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. You can understand how ordinary workers might look at this cozy corporate-government arrangement and conclude that it is not fully committed to the best interests of working people.
Not fully committed. Ya think?
I’ve never commented on other posts at SITREP on Globalsecurity but a post today takes the piece of cake.
It’s in the slot for Derek Reveron, a professor at the Naval War College. At SITREP he generally contributes a variety of pep talks on Afghanistan.
The post, is by someone named Gary Good, recommended by Reveron, professor. Good is a soldier who regularly deploys to Afghanistan and the piece is here.
It’s on Afghanistan, too, and leads to the author’s blog. One sentence jumps out.
And not in a good way:
We are here because me must Make Might Right.
Anyway, after reading it I was curious about the contributor’s blog. It’s here, called GoodWrites, where the fellow calls himself “The Writer.”
It’s understandably disappointing.
Wha’ happen’d to California, it asks. Was it the stinky hippies? And all the illegal immigrants cheating up the representation? And what about that 2010 census and all the Democrats?
Was it the drugs and free love in the by-gone 60s?
Was it the change in the law that required the Census to attempt to count illegal immigrants and then apportion Congressional seats based on both citizens AND illegal immigrants?
Was it the communism and socialism promulgated through Hollywood?
What was it that killed this wonderful, beautiful state?
Actually, there was no change in law requiring the census to count illegal immigrants. Census-takers, and the census, did not ask whether a human being living in a residence was a citizen or not. It was not part of the mission. And there was no category on the census form for
legal or illegal status.
But it has always been the census’ mission to make the best full accounting of everyone living in the United States, something census workers patiently explained many times to all those polled.
Anyway, I think the appropriate response to this is: We are here because me must Make Might Right.
Moving along to Bombing Moe. Readers now know when referring to an armored column, rebel, in Libya, we always mean a line of pick-up trucks with machine guns mounted in the back speeding along Libya’s coastal highway. And whenever the US has blown up one of Moe’s tanks, the rebel armored column will stop, all the men will dismount, run over to the tank, climb on top of it and jump up and down, often shooting their guns in the air.
These are the future leaders of Libya. Or at least the new jailers and militia.
So a good bet is that the “one sortie” was Qatar’s transport plane flying to Souda AFB in Greece.
So what about Qatar? It’s just the kind of “ally” you’d want to show other Arab nations are supporting the US in this Libyan fight — a very wealthy oil country run by the usual scumbags who import indentured labor to work for them.
Qatar is a destination country for men and women from South and Southeast Asia who migrate willingly, but are subsequently trafficked into involuntary servitude as domestic workers and laborers, and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation; the most common offence was forcing workers to accept worse contract terms than those under which they were recruited; other conditions include bonded labor, withholding of pay, restrictions on movement, arbitrary detention, and physical, mental, and sexual abuse.
According to the Trafficking in Persons Report by the US State Department, men and women who are lured into Qatar by promises of high wages are often forced into underpaid labor.
I think this calls for T-shirts. Perhaps with a flag of the country, or the image of the American-made transport plane Qatar flies. Along with the motto:
QAF Flying Emirs! Odyssey Dawn 2011! We stayed out of the way!
However, it’s only fair to mention most of the military action, other than ours, has been token in Odyssey Dawn.
“British Tornado GR4 Aircraft, on a mission over Libya yesterday afternoon in support of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 took part in a co-ordinated missile strike against units of Colonel Gaddafi’s Libyan Military.
“The Tornado aircraft launched a number of guided Brimstone missiles, destroying three armoured vehicles in Misrata and two further armoured vehicles in Ajdabiya. Brimstone is a high precision, low collateral damage weapon optimised against demanding and mobile targets.
This map from the Pentagon, furnished through Globalsecurity, shows the US still doing the heavy lifting over Libya yesterday. Everyone else, by the images, has virtually token presence. Of course, it may change. Or maybe not. However, the message continues to be that this is a big allied campaign.
The Odyssey Dawn order of battle shifts daily, seemingly dependent upon the unease various members of the ‘coalition’ have with their role and profile, particularly any alleged contribution by members of the Arab league.
For example, while Qatar was said to be sending a force on the first day of action, their yachts and US-made jets have yet to show.
The United Arab Emirates air contribution, said to be six F-16’s and six Mirages, is shown here. Whether they’re actually in action is another matter.
A Turkish diesel submarine, mentioned yesterday, is listed in the naval portion of the Libyan action here. As is Spain’s.
As I said, little submarines (as well as glorified merchantmen) seem to be a big way to get mentioned as a ‘coalition’ partner.
Watch tv and you know the ‘rebel’ force Odyssey Dawn is supporting is just a lightly armed rabble.
The pictures of the favorite weapon of the impoverished, a light pick-up truck with an old surplus Eastern bloc machine gun mounted in the back, are inescapable. The plastic gun story, all over television, has made this ‘force’ look like a collection of clowns yelling for close air support from Uncle Sam.
Libya was involved in a series of significant transactions with Italy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1978 the Italian aircraft company Siai-Marchetti secured a contract to supply SF-260 light aircraft intended for training and reconnaissance. The G-222 military transport plane assembled by Aeritalia was also supplied to the Libyans. The Italian firm of Oto Melara received orders for a large number of Palmaria 155-mm self-propelled howitzers.
Saudi F-15 pilots in Mountain Home, Idaho, will lead to cultural intermingling? Ludicrous. Say it again, might have to break fingers.
This one is so astonishingly emblematic of the clapped out American system DD had to laugh.
It is an ace piece of reporting, published at al Jazeera’s website, even employs a song title from the B-52’s, “Private Idaho,” as a heading.
The story itself is about training the inept Saudi military so it can handle F-15 Strike Eagles. And it’s going to be done in Idaho.
The fur is already flying, of course.
Some of it reads:
On the morning of September 11, 2001, a Saudi pilot trained to fly in the US slammed a Boeing 757 jetliner into the Pentagon, killing more than 180 people.
Less than a decade later, with the Middle East in a state of upheaval and following the recent arrest of a Saudi college student on bomb charges, the Pentagon is planning to bring dozens of Saudis to the US to train them to fly – and to kill …
Last December, amid the holiday rush, the US air force quietly announced that it had selected Mountain Home Air Force Base as the preferred location for the long-term training of a contingent of pilots and flight crews from the Saudi Royal Air Force as part of a $60bn arms deal between the US and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that autumn.
Under the mammoth military package, Saudi Arabia is set to receive 84 new F-15E Strike Eagles – advanced fighter aircraft designed for air-to-air and air-to-ground combat missions. Capable of flying day or night in all weather conditions and reaching speeds in excess of twice the speed of sound, each F-15, packing missiles, bombs and a 20mm cannon, is a formidable weapon.
Under the air force’s proposal, Saudi pilots will learn how to fly the advanced fighters at Mountain Home Air Force Base for five years, from 2014 to 2019, with the possibility of a longer commitment left open.
“Mountains of money for Mountain Home,” it continues, explaining how the air base was mothballed around 2005, throwing the local Idaho economy into a slump.
With the training of Saudi pilots, it’s estimated the community will receive $1 billion.
However, this pales in comparison to the $60 billion dollar deal paid to US arms manufacturers for the Saudi weapons deal.
Yep, arithmetically, the locals are getting a big .016 off the taxpayer dollars sent to the the US arms companies — like McDonnell Douglas — making the stuff for the oil kingdom. That’s a great deal.
“Anger at the proposed project, however, is brewing,” reads the piece.
The resentment is a minority view, says one retired Air Force man for the article.
It’ll be good for ‘cultural intermingling’ (in Idaho? C’mon now, get real. You could probably get away with the claim in LA County. In Mountain Home, ludicrous.) says someone.
The US, it ads, has been training Saudi pilots since 2007. The better to use all that gear we’re selling them as part of the war boom.
The piece — one again — is here. Paradoxically, it has a providence from American journalism. (Read to the footer.)
The classic arguments by the celebrity pundits and serious people arranged like gilt furniture in Washington never mix in what’s going to continue to happen to the the middle class because of more big war adventure.
There are several reasons why the U.S. shouldn’t be seen as taking the lead. For one thing, the U.S. is already occupied with the aftermath of one war in Iraq and attempting to bring a more than decade-long operation in Afghanistan to its conclusion. The U.S. does not have unlimited military resources, and other countries that demanded intervention should take responsibility and offer contributions rather than free-riding off of the United States.
The same idea was taken up by Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC at lunchtime yesterday, including the additional suggestion that others in the “Coalition” ought to eventually issue a check for all the munitions the US military was expending to flatten Moe’s defense.
Everyone who talks like this knows it’s just an exercise in taking up space.
First, it’s immaterial whether or not that America’s military resources are not unlimited. For the sake of what’s gone down in the last decade, they are treated that way. And for practical purposes, the cash sack for war is unlimited.
There’s no political will to change it and the populace, whether or not it supports endless war, has lost all democratic control over it. Serwer contributes stock bathwater, stuff anyone pickled in Beltway culture and dependent upon it to keep the paycheck coming, could write.
Because it’s passed off as wisdom it’s even kind of more contemptible than material, like this, written by Ted Nugent at the WaTimes:
“Africa is an international scab” and “Kill all those people [by flattening the area where Ghadafi lives in Tripoli] and get it over with.”
Nugent, at least, has never been taken as much of a voice for reasonable wisdom. Everyone knows he’s the guy who makes his bread touring rib shacks in the summer, cutting his leg in a chainsaw accident for reality television, and getting his hunting license revoked in California for unsportsmanlike behavior. Nugent, unlike Serwer and the other serious people writing on the war, can’t be passed off as a source of reasonable argument. And there’s more honesty in that, although not by much.
In the Economic Treason series I’ve written of a thought experiment, one that imposed a tax on arms sales made by US companies, that money to be returned to the American people — food stamp recipients — as a dividend check.
For that story, here, the theoretical war tax dividend returned a check for $1,140.88 for everyone on food stamps.
In fifteen minutes over the weekend, the US military burned up well over $100 million in Tomahawks (around $155 million was the high-ball figure), all of which will be replenished by Raytheon, a US arms manufacturer.
We can posit at least a figure of, perhaps, $150 million a week for Odyssey Dawn, which extrapolates to 0.6 billion a month. Of course, it could be more because cost is never an object in the bottomless cash sack for war.
There are a couple variables. If the rebels continue to try and advance on Tripoli and the ‘Coalition’ is forced to provide effective close air support to prevent them from being slaughtered by Moe’s army, the costs go up. If Odyssey Dawn turns into just exercises in observational missions over geography with no air defense and occasional radar and flak suppression, it goes way down.
Add to this 159.3 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Continuing in the thought exercise, assume Odyssey Dawn continues until the end of the year, for an outlay of 8-9 months equaling at least
$5.4 billion. This seems absurdly low for American war.
In any case, added to Iraq and Afghanistan, it comes to $164.7 billion.
The original war dividend tax was 20 percent.
Clawing back twenty percent, as an example, from any check cut by the US government to Raytheon for replenishment of Tomahawk missiles seems quite reasonable. And this is because war has caused a
continuous boom in arms-manufacturing in this country, growth and financial success not enjoyed by anyone else. (Except Wall St.)
It’s aptly illustrated here by the much used by me illustration from the New York Times:
The war boom: Rewards and monumental profit for arms-manufacturing. The bottom of the barrel for everyone else.
Again, it’s not unreasonable to make the argument that the stressed in the middle class ought to receive something back for the country’s primary business product/export, one its taxes bankroll and grow. A 20 percent war dividend for 2011 might look like this:
20 percent of 247 billion in arms sales = $49 400 000 000
20 percent of 164.7 billion for direct war = $32 940 000 000
Total war dividend clawback = $82 340 000 000
Bonus check cut for 49.3 million people on food stamps, adjustable for increases = $1670.18.
That’s up $529.30 from the last exercise.
Such checks are not insubstantial to people who have just lost their jobs.
And it is clear from the war dividend thought exercise that the tax alone covers the so-called budget cuts in the posted video, cuts which will cost even more jobs. While the arms manufacturing plants get more orders.
The exercise is about bringing fairness to any argument about bombing Moe. And because it’s not considered as anything but delusional outside the halls where very serious upper class people ruling the country reside, it can only be an exercise. Never happen. Instead, it’s time to go ahead with giving everyone not involved in the machine of war hardship or the chop. Because the middle class has absolutely no say in the matter. In the biggest ‘democracy’ in the world.
“And of course, the cost of ‘overseas contingency operations’ will continue to rise, stressing both men (and women) and machines to the breaking point,” writes J. at Armchair Generalist. “The good news being, of course, that this means the US government can’t possibly afford to cut defense funds now.”
J. points out the savings inherent in losing an old $30 million F-15 over Libya as opposed to the $120 million F-22.
If the real goal of the United Nations is to topple the Libyan leader, kill him and all his henchmen. Flatten the area of Tripoli where it is believed he is holed up with a human shield surrounding him. Kill all those people and get it over with. Implement total war for a week, and cockroach Gadhafi will be entombed in a pile of rubble.
British Prime Minister David Cameron told the nation’s parliament Monday that the coalition has “neutralized” Libyan air defenses and made “good progress” in achieving its mission to protect civilians. He also said coalition operations had averted what he called “bloody massacre” of Benghazi residents by Gadhafi loyalists.
Plus, the Brits might just not have the right stuff for the heavy lifting.
And if they launch all their Tomahawks, there’s a big check for replenishment they’re going to be cutting for Raytheon, messing with the British balance of trade.
So what’s the difference between not-bombing whatsisname in Bahrain and Moe in Libya?
At least three today, actually.
One — it’s because in Bahrain, it is whatsisname. No one knows whatsisname like they know Moe. Whatsisname needs to be on television more, a lot more. But as long as we still have Moe that’s not likely to happen.
Two — there’s a US Fleet parked there.
Three — Bahrain is all about banks and financialization. The US never does anything about banksters and Wall Street proxies. (By way of Digby.)
“Twenty-five percent of Bahrain’s G.D.P. comes from banks,” Mr. Abdulmalik said as he sat in the soft Persian Gulf sunshine. “I sympathize with many of the demands of the demonstrators. But no country would allow the takeover of its financial district. The economic future of the country was at stake. What happened this week, as sad as it is, is good.”
Remember, we never never bomb bankers even if it might be right thing to do.
The dilemma of choosing to support the most inept rebel force in the world in Libya is pretty clear.
Unless we’re prepared to do overwhelming close air support whenever they march or stumble west down the highway to Tripoli, ‘our guys’ are going to get slaughtered.
It took fifteen minutes over the weekend to demonstrate one of the most important reasons for Bombing Moe. The photos of Tomahawk missile launches and the pics of Libyan tracked artillery pieces with their turrets upside down blew everything else off the news. One can always count on one thing: The western media loves the entertainment value of watching the US military and all its great machines beating up pathetic opposition.
In obvious respects it’s a repeat performance. Not a squeak of political opposition and immediate talk on the nobility of it and the alliance — “a Coalition” — forged to carry it out. Sunday morning, we even through in the tidbit that mighty Qatar would be taking part, presumably with a a couple armed yachts or French Mirages to sail and fly around the periphery of the action for show.
There’s the usual pack of misdirection, this time from the Obama administration on how the US wouldn’t be taking the lead. The pictures from Saturday night and Sunday morning immediately put the claim in the trash. Odyssey Dawn is our property. A hundredweight of Tomahawks, B-2’s, F-15’s and F-16’s, among other things, ruined the cover.
Really, think about that one. B-2’s. Is that enough firepower reserved for Moe?
“Operation Odyssey Dawn” would not be complete without the combined power of war wankers. The wanker army, consisting of retired generals, TV reporters, administration fuglemen, and national pundits, stroke and soothe the polity with … war glee.
The operation is conducted by suppressing pictures of horror — mass blood and guts — or delivering only the most fleeting images of it. Into this void it jams stock US war tale-telling, the imagery of missile launches and bombs going off.
The stock tales:
• Odyssey Dawn will establish a ‘no-fly’ zone. Yeah right, nice try. It’s the standard Pentagon method of overpowering a 98-pound weakling, including bombing his armor and transport as the opportunities present.
• U.S. forces are better equipped and trained than their adversaries.
Stupidly obvious. The U.S. faces an enemy that couldn’t be more outmatched.
The war wanker dwells lovingly on wonder weapons from the land of the brave, prattling on from sanitized news production studios. Sunday morning, some retired Navy man — now in investments — went on about the Tomahawk missile.
The Tomahawk was “neat”, he said. It could attack from any direction and hardly ever missed. Fabulous.
Another, Barry McCaffrey on MSNBC, said “We’re off to a good start.”
“The B-2 has a huge shock value,” he added.
“This has been fascinating,” contributed Jonathan Alter. “It is fascinating that Qatar has signed up … This could be really helpful in the long term.”
The best thing about the war wankers, however, are that they come cheap. Their salaries are less than the cost of machinery of destruction. However, they’re still more than what the middle class, noticeably absent, earns.
Nb: For a bit of humor, you need to click the link to Jonathan Alter. Check the picture of, I think, Sheryl Crow. Coincidence?
Another bit of accidental humor, from the GlobalSecurity mirror of this post. A pic of the “explore content” world cloud spun out by Asterpix Searchlight.
Postscript: The President poked his head in from Brazil where he was pumping the value of free trade and ‘jobs’ for Americans, meaning those ‘jobs’ that are involved in making weapons for sale to … Brazil.
“[Brazil's military] modernization plan includes holding a bidding for the purchase of 36 modern fighter-bombers in which the French firm Dassault Aviation’s Rafale aircraft is in the running, along with the Gripen built by Sweden’s Saab and the F-18 Super Hornet manufactured by the U.S. firm Boeing,” reads a newspaper story here.