Israel Is a Threat to the Entire World

Israel Is a Threat to the Entire World

Don’t believe a word by the following Zionist assholes:

Pelosi, Itzik talk tough on Iran

in speeches to Hadassah

Hadassah National President Nancy Falchuk, left, introduces Israeli Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, center, and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi at Hadassah’s national convention in Los Angeles on July 13, 2008.

By Tom Tugend

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Iran’s nuclear ambitions are a security threat to the entire world, two of the top female politicians in the United States and Israel told more than 1,800 delegates in attendance at the opening session of the 94th annual Hadassah convention.

the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik of the Kadima Party on Sunday joined in warning the West not to underestimate the seriousness of the Iranian threat as did Hitler’s intentions in the years before World War II.

“We must take the madmen in Tehran seriously,” Itzik said. “Their nuclear plans threaten not only Tel Aviv but also New York and Los Angeles.”

Pelosi called for “far-reaching and tighter sanctions that recognize that Iran is a threat to the entire world,” adding that global security “demands that Iran give up its nuclear ambitions.”

The San Francisco Democrat, who led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Israel in May to help celebrate the Jewish state’s 60th anniversary, demanded the return of Israeli soldiers held by the Iranian-supported Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations.

Pelosi said the wife of one the soldiers presented her with a set of her husband’s military dog tags.

“I wore the dog tags when I was meeting the kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia,” Pelosi related.

She also warmly praised the work of the Hadassah Medical Organization and its two medical centers in Jerusalem.

Pointing out that the Hadassah hospitals were open to anyone, regardless of race or religion, Pelosi told the delegates, “Hadassah accepts all patients, not because they are Jewish, but because you are Jewish.”

Pelosi also called on the Jewish community to strongly support a series of health-related bills, ranging from stem cell research to Medicare reform, passed by both houses of Congress but vetoed by President Bush.

“But it won’t be long until these bills become law,” she promised. “The next president will sign them.”

Hadassah’s national president, Nancy Falchuk of Boston, standing between Pelosi and Itzik, referred to them jokingly as “stereo speakers” and praised the lawmakers as women pioneers who had broken the glass ceilings in their respective countries.

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, has about 300,000 female members in the United States and an additional 30,000 male associate members.

The group’s four-day convention here will end Wednesday.

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Vietnam: THE SOLDIER’S REVOLT

The Soldier’s Revolt
by Joel Geier

Our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and noncommissioned officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near-mutinous Conditions exist among American forces in Vietnam that have only been exceeded in this century by…the collapse of the Tsarist armies in 1916 and 1917.

Armed Forces Journal, June 1971

The most neglected aspect of the Vietnam War is the soldiers’ revolt–the mass upheaval from below that unraveled the American army. It is a great reality check in an era when the U.S. touts itself as an invincible nation. For this reason, the soldiers’ revolt has been written out of official history.

The army revolt pitted enlisted soldiers against officers who viewed them as expendable. Liberal academics have reduced the radicalism of the 1960s to middle-class concerns and activities, while ignoring military rebellion. But the militancy of the 1960s began with the Black liberation struggle, and it reached its climax with the unity of White and Black soldiers.

A working-class army

From 1964 to 1973, from the Gulf of Tonkin resolution to the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam, 27 million men came of draft age. A majority of them were not drafted due to college, professional, medical or National Guard deferments. Only 40 percent were drafted and saw military service. A small minority, 2.5 million men (about 10 percent of those eligible for the draft), were sent to Vietnam.

This small minority was almost entirely working-class or rural youth. Their average age was 19. Eighty-five percent of the troops were enlisted men; 15 percent were officers. The enlisted men were drawn from the 80 percent of the armed forces with a high school education or less. At this time, college education was universal in the middle class.

In the elite colleges, the class discrepancy was even more glaring. The upper class did none of the fighting. Of the 1,200 Harvard graduates in 1970, only 2 went to Vietnam, while working-class high schools routinely sent 20 percent, 30 percent of their graduates and more to Vietnam.

College students who were not made officers were usually assigned to noncombat support and service units. High school dropouts were three times more likely to be sent to combat units that did the fighting and took the casualties. Combat infantry soldiers, “the grunts,” were entirely working class. They included a disproportionate number of Black working-class troops. Blacks, who formed 12 percent of the troops, were often 25 percent or more of the combat units.

When college deferments expired, joining the National Guard was a favorite way to get out of serving in Vietnam. During the war, 80 percent of the Guard’s members described themselves as joining to avoid the draft. You needed connections to get in–which was no problem for Dan Quayle, George W. Bush and other draft evaders. In 1968, the Guard had a waiting list of more than 100,000. It had triple the percentage of college graduates that the army did. Blacks made up less than 1.5 percent of the National Guard. In Mississippi, Blacks were 42 percent of the population, but only one Black man served in a Guard of more than 10,000.

The middle-class officers corps

The officer corps was drawn from the 7 percent of troops who were college graduates, or the 13 percent who had one to three years of college. College was to officer as high school was to enlisted man. The officer corps was middle class in composition and managerial in outlook.

Superfluous support officers lived far removed from danger, lounging in rear base camps in luxurious conditions. A few miles away, combat soldiers were experiencing a nightmarish hell. The contrast was too great to allow for confidence–in both the officers and the war–to survive unscathed.

Westmoreland’s solution to the competition for combat command poured gasoline on the fire. He ordered a one-year tour of duty for enlisted men in Vietnam, but only six months for officers. The combat troops hated the class discrimination that put them at twice the risk of their commanders. They grew contemptuous of the officers, whom they saw as raw and dangerously inexperienced in battle.

Even a majority of officers considered Westmoreland’s tour inequality as unethical. Yet they were forced to use short tours to prove themselves for promotion. They were put in situations in which their whole careers depended on what they could accomplish in a brief period, even if it meant taking shortcuts and risks at the expense of the safety of their men–a temptation many could not resist.

The outer limit of six-month commands was often shortened due to promotion, relief, injury or other reasons. The outcome was “revolving-door” commands. As an enlisted man recalled, “During my year in-country I had five second-lieutenant platoon leaders and four company commanders. One CO was pretty good…All the rest were stupid.”

Aggravating this was the contradiction that guaranteed opposition between officers and men in combat. Officer promotions depended on quotas of enemy dead from search-and-destroy missions. Battalion commanders who did not furnish immediate high body counts were threatened with replacement. This was no idle threat–battalion commanders had a 30 to 50 percent chance of being relieved of command. But search-and-destroy missions produced enormous casualties for the infantry soldiers. Officers corrupted by career ambitions would cynically ignore this and draw on the never-ending supply of replacements from the monthly draft quota.

Officer corruption was rife. A Pentagon official writes, “the stench of corruption rose to unprecedented levels during William C. Westmoreland’s command of the American effort in Vietnam.” The CIA protected the poppy fields of Vietnamese officials and flew their heroin out of the country on Air America planes. Officers took notice and followed suit. The major who flew the U.S. ambassador’s private jet was caught smuggling $8 million of heroin on the plane.

The war was fought by NLF troops and peasant auxiliaries who worked the land during the day and fought as soldiers at night. They would attack ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) and American troops and bases or set mines at night, and then disappear back into the countryside during the day. In this form of guerrilla war, there were no fixed targets, no set battlegrounds, and there was no territory to take. With that in mind, the Pentagon designed a counterinsurgency strategy called “search and destroy.” Without fixed battlegrounds, combat success was judged by the number of NLF troops killed–the body count. A somewhat more sophisticated variant was the “kill ratio”–the number of enemy troops killed compared to the number of Americans dead. This “war of attrition” strategy was the basic military plan of the American ruling class in Vietnam.

For each enemy killed, for every body counted, soldiers got three-day passes and officers received medals and promotions. This reduced the war from fighting for “the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese” to no larger purpose than killing. Any Vietnamese killed was put in the body count as a dead enemy soldier, or as the GIs put it, “if it’s dead, it’s Charlie” (“Charlie” was GI slang for the NLF). This was an inevitable outcome of a war against a whole people. Everyone in Vietnam became the enemy–and this encouraged random slaughter. Officers further ordered their men to “kill them even if they try to surrender–we need the body count.” It was an invitation to kill indiscriminately to swell a tally sheet.

Rather than following their officers, many more soldiers had the courage to revolt against barbarism.

Ninety-five percent of combat units were search-and-destroy units. Their mission was to go out into the jungle, hit bases and supply areas, flush out NLF troops and engage them in battle. If the NLF fought back, helicopters would fly in to prevent retreat and unleash massive firepower–bullets, bombs, missiles. The NLF would attempt to avoid this, and battle generally only occurred if the search-and-destroy missions were ambushed. Ground troops became the live bait for the ambush and firefight. GIs referred to search and destroy as “humping the boonies by dangling the bait.”

Without helicopters, search and destroy would not have been possible–and the helicopters were the terrain of the officers. “On board the command and control chopper rode the battalion commander, his aviation-support commander, the artillery-liaison officer, the battalion S-3 and the battalion sergeant major. They circled…high enough to escape random small-arms fire.” The officers directed their firepower on the NLF down below, but while indiscriminately spewing out bombs and napalm, they could not avoid “collateral damage”–hitting their own troops. One-quarter of the American dead in Vietnam was killed by “friendly fire” from the choppers. The officers were out of danger, the “eye in the sky,” while the troops had their “asses in the grass,” open to fire from both the NLF and the choppers.

When the battle was over, the officers and their choppers would fly off to base camps removed from danger while their troops remained out in the field.

Of the 543,000 American troops in Vietnam in 1968, only 14 percent (or 80,000) were combat troops. These 80,000 men took the brunt of the war. They were the weak link, and their disaffection crippled the ability of the world’s largest military to fight. In 1968, 14,592 men–18 percent of combat troops–were killed. An additional 35,000 had serious wounds that required hospitalization. Although not all of the dead and wounded were from combat units, the overwhelming majority were. The majority of combat troops in 1968 were either seriously injured or killed. The number of American casualties in Vietnam was not extreme, but as it was concentrated among the combat troops, it was a virtual massacre. Not to revolt amounted to suicide.

Officers, high in the sky, had few deaths or casualties. The deaths of officers occurred mostly in the lower ranks among lieutenants or captains who led combat platoons or companies. The higher-ranking officers went unharmed. During a decade of war, only one general and eight full colonels died from enemy fire. As one study commissioned by the military concluded, “In Vietnam…the officer corps simply did not die in sufficient numbers or in the presence of their men often enough.”

The slaughter of grunts went on because the officers never found it unacceptable. There was no outcry from the military or political elite, the media or their ruling-class patrons about this aspect of the war, nor is it commented on in almost any history of the war. It is ignored or accepted as a normal part of an unequal world, because the middle and upper class were not in combat in Vietnam and suffered no pain from its butchery. It never would have been tolerated had their class done the fighting. Their premeditated murder of combat troops unleashed class war in the armed forces. The revolt focused on ending search and destroy through all of the means the army had provided as training for these young workers.

Tet–the revolt begins

The Tet Offensive was the turning point of the Vietnam War and the start of open, active soldiers’ rebellion. At the end of January 1968, on Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, the NLF sent 100,000 troops into Saigon and 36 provincial capitals to lead a struggle for the cities. The Tet Offensive was not militarily successful, because of the savagery of the U.S. counterattack. In Saigon alone, American bombs killed 14,000 civilians. The city of Ben Tre became emblematic of the U.S. effort when the major who retook it announced that “to save the city, we had to destroy it.”

Westmoreland and his generals claimed that they were the victors of Tet because they had inflicted so many casualties on the NLF. But to the world, it was clear that the U.S. had politically lost the war in Vietnam. Tet showed that the NLF had the overwhelming support of the Vietnamese population–millions knew of and collaborated with the NLF entry into the cities and no one warned the Americans. The ARVN had turned over whole cities without firing a shot. In some cases, ARVN troops had welcomed the NLF and turned over large weapons supplies. The official rationale for the war, that U.S. troops were there to help the Vietnamese fend off Communist aggression from the North, was no longer believed by anybody. The South Vietnamese government and military were clearly hated by the people.37

Westmoreland’s constant claim that there was “light at the end of the tunnel,” that victory was imminent, was shown to be a lie. Search and destroy was a pipe dream. The NLF did not have to be flushed out of the jungle, it operated everywhere. No place in Vietnam was a safe base for American soldiers when the NLF so decided.

What, then, was the point of this war? Why should American troops fight to defend a regime its own people despised? Soldiers became furious at a government and an officer corps who risked their lives for lies. Throughout the world, Tet and the confidence that American imperialism was weak and would be defeated produced a massive, radical upsurge that makes 1968 famous as the year of revolutionary hope. In the U.S. army, it became the start of the showdown with the officers.

Mutiny

The refusal of an order to advance into combat is an act of mutiny. In time of war, it is the gravest crime in the military code, punishable by death. In Vietnam, mutiny was rampant, the power to punish withered and discipline collapsed as search and destroy was revoked from below.

Until 1967, open defiance of orders was rare and harshly repressed, with sentences of two to ten years for minor infractions. Hostility to search-and-destroy missions took the form of covert combat avoidance, called “sandbagging” by the grunts. A platoon sent out to “hump the boonies” might look for a safe cover from which to file fabricated reports of imaginary activity.

But after Tet, there was a massive shift from combat avoidance to mutiny. One Pentagon official reflected that “mutiny became so common that the army was forced to disguise its frequency by talking instead of ‘combat refusal.'” Combat refusal, one commentator observed, “resembled a strike and occurred when GIs refused, disobeyed, or negotiated an order into combat.”

Acts of mutiny took place on a scale previously only encountered in revolutions. The first mutinies in 1968 were unit and platoon-level rejections of the order to fight. The army recorded 68 such mutinies that year. By 1970, in the 1st Air Cavalry Division alone, there were 35 acts of combat refusal. One military study concluded that combat refusal was “unlike mutinous outbreaks of the past, which were usually sporadic, short-lived events. The progressive unwillingness of American soldiers to fight to the point of open disobedience took place over a four-year period between 1968-71.”

The 1968 combat refusals of individual units expanded to involve whole companies by the next year. The first reported mass mutiny was in the 196th Light Brigade in August 1969. Company A of the 3rd Battalion, down to 60 men from its original 150, had been pushing through Songchang Valley under heavy fire for five days when it refused an order to advance down a perilous mountain slope. Word of the mutiny spread rapidly. The New York Daily News ran a banner headline, “Sir, My Men Refuse To Go.” The GI paper, The Bond, accurately noted, “It was an organized strike…A shaken brass relieved the company commander…but they did not charge the guys with anything. The Brass surrendered to the strength of the organized men.”

This precedent–no court-martial for refusing to obey the order to fight, but the line officer relieved of his command–was the pattern for the rest of the war. Mass insubordination was not punished by an officer corps that lived in fear of its own men. Even the threat of punishment often backfired. In one famous incident, B Company of the 1st Battalion of the 12th Infantry refused an order to proceed into NLF-held territory. When they were threatened with court-martials, other platoons rallied to their support and refused orders to advance until the army backed down.

As the fear of punishment faded, mutinies mushroomed. There were at least ten reported major mutinies, and hundreds of smaller ones. Hanoi’s Vietnam Courier documented 15 important GI rebellions in 1969. At Cu Chi, troops from the 2nd Battalion of the 27th Infantry refused battle orders. The “CBS Evening News” broadcast live a patrol from the 7th Cavalry telling their captain that his order for direct advance against the NLF was nonsense, that it would threaten casualties, and that they would not obey it. Another CBS broadcast televised the mutiny of a rifle company of the 1st Air Cavalry Division.

When Cambodia was invaded in 1970, soldiers from Fire Base Washington conducted a sit-in. They told Up Against the Bulkhead, “We have no business there…we just sat down. Then they promised us we wouldn’t have to go to Cambodia.” Within a week, there were two additional mutinies, as men from the 4th and 8th Infantry refused to board helicopters to Cambodia.

In the invasion of Laos in March 1971, two platoons refused to advance. To prevent the mutiny from spreading, the entire squadron was pulled out of the Laos operation. The captain was relieved of his command, but there was no discipline against the men. When a lieutenant from the 501st Infantry refused his battalion commander’s order to advance his troops, he merely received a suspended sentence.

The decision not to punish men defying the most sacrosanct article of the military code, the disobedience of the order for combat, indicated how much the deterioration of discipline had eroded the power of the officers. The only punishment for most mutinies was to relieve the commanding officer of his duties. Consequently, many commanders would not report that they had lost control of their men. They swept news of mutiny, which would jeopardize their careers, under the rug. As they became quietly complicit, the officer corps lost any remaining moral authority to impose discipline.

For every defiance in combat, there were hundreds of minor acts of insubordination in rear base camps. As one infantry officer reported, “You can’t give orders and expect them to be obeyed.” This democratic upsurge from below was so extensive that discipline was replaced by a new command technique called working it out. Working it out was a form of collective bargaining in which negotiations went on between officers and men to determine orders. Working it out destroyed the authority of the officer corps and gutted the ability of the army to carry out search-and-destroy missions. But the army had no alternative strategy for a guerrilla war against a national liberation movement.

The political impact of the mutiny was felt far beyond Vietnam. As H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff, reflected, “If troops are going to mutiny, you can’t pursue an aggressive policy.” The soldiers’ revolt tied down the global reach of U.S. imperialism.

Fragging

The murder of American officers by their troops was an openly proclaimed goal in Vietnam. As one GI newspaper demanded, “Don’t desert. Go to Vietnam, and kill your commanding officer.” And they did. A new slang term arose to celebrate the execution of officers: fragging. The word came from the fragmentation grenade, which was the weapon of choice because the evidence was destroyed in the act.

In every war, troops kill officers whose incompetence or recklessness threatens the lives of their men. But only in Vietnam did this become pervasive in combat situations and widespread in rear base camps. It was the most well-known aspect of the class struggle inside the army, directed not just at intolerable officers, but at “lifers” as a class. In the soldiers’ revolt, it became accepted practice to paint political slogans on helmets. A popular helmet slogan summed up this mood: “Kill a non-com for Christ.” Fragging was the ransom the ground troops extracted for being used as live bait.

No one knows how many officers were fragged, but after Tet it became epidemic. At least 800 to 1,000 fragging attempts using explosive devices were made. The army reported 126 fraggings in 1969, 271 in 1970 and 333 in 1971, when they stopped keeping count. But in that year, just in the American Division (of My Lai fame), one fragging per week took place. Some military estimates are that fraggings occurred at five times the official rate, while officers of the Judge Advocate General Corps believed that only 10 percent of fraggings were reported. These figures do not include officers who were shot in the back by their men and listed as wounded or killed in action.

Most fraggings resulted in injuries, although “word of the deaths of officers will bring cheers at troop movies or in bivouacs of certain units.” The army admitted that it could not account for how 1,400 officers and noncommissioned officers died. This number, plus the official list of fragging deaths, has been accepted as the unacknowledged army estimate for officers killed by their men. It suggests that 20 to 25 percent–if not more–of all officers killed during the war were killed by enlisted men, not the “enemy.” This figure has no precedent in the history of war.

Soldiers put bounties on officers targeted for fragging. The money, usually between $100 and $1,000, was collected by subscription from among the enlisted men. It was a reward for the soldier who executed the collective decision. The highest bounty for an officer was $10,000, publicly offered by GI Says, a mimeographed bulletin put out in the 101st Airborne Division, for Col. W. Honeycutt, who had ordered the May 1969 attack on Hill 937. The hill had no strategic significance and was immediately abandoned when the battle ended. It became enshrined in GI folklore as Hamburger Hill, because of the 56 men killed and 420 wounded taking it. Despite several fragging attempts, Honeycutt escaped uninjured.

As Vietnam GI argued after Hamburger Hill, “Brass are calling this a tremendous victory. We call it a goddam butcher shop…If you want to die so some lifer can get a promotion, go right ahead. But if you think your life is worth something, you better get yourselves together. If you don’t take care of the lifers, they might damn well take care of you.”

Fraggings were occasionally called off. One lieutenant refused to obey an order to storm a hill during an operation in the Mekong Delta. “His first sergeant later told him that when his men heard him refuse that order, they removed a $350 bounty earlier placed on his head because they thought he was a ‘hard-liner.'”

The motive for most fraggings was not revenge, but to change battle conduct. For this reason, officers were usually warned prior to fraggings. First, a smoke grenade would be left near their beds. Those who did not respond would find a tear-gas grenade or a grenade pin on their bed as a gentle reminder. Finally, the lethal grenade was tossed into the bed of sleeping, inflexible officers. Officers understood the warnings and usually complied, becoming captive to the demands of their men. It was the most practical means of cracking army discipline. The units whose officers responded opted out of search-and-destroy missions.

An Army judge who presided over fragging trials called fragging “the troops’ way of controlling officers,” and added that it was “deadly effective.” He explained, “Captain Steinberg argues that once an officer is intimidated by even the threat of fragging he is useless to the military because he can no longer carry out orders essential to the functioning of the Army. Through intimidation by threats–verbal and written…virtually all officers and NCOs have to take into account the possibility of fragging before giving an order to the men under them.” The fear of fragging affected officers and NCOs far beyond those who were actually involved in fragging incidents.

Officers who survived fragging attempts could not tell which of their men had tried to murder them, or when the men might strike again. They lived in constant fear of future attempts at fragging by unknown soldiers. In Vietnam it was a truism that “everyone was the enemy”: for the lifers, every enlisted man was the enemy. “In parts of Vietnam fragging stirs more fear among officers and NCOs than does the war with ‘Charlie.'”

Counter-fragging by retaliating officers contributed to a war within the war. While 80 percent of fraggings were of officers and NCOs, 20 percent were of enlisted men, as officers sought to kill potential troublemakers or those whom they suspected of planning to frag them. In this civil war within the army, the military police were used to reinstate order. In October 1971, military police air assaulted the Praline mountain signal site to protect an officer who had been the target of repeated fragging attempts. The base was occupied for a week before command was restored.

Fragging undermined the ability of the Green Machine to function as a fighting force. By 1970, “many commanders no longer trusted Blacks or radical whites with weapons except on guard duty or in combat.” In the American Division, fragmentation grenades were not given to troops. In the 440 Signal Battalion, the colonel refused to distribute all arms. As a soldier at Cu Chi told the New York Times, “The American garrisons on the larger bases are virtually disarmed. The lifers have taken the weapons from us and put them under lock and key.” The U.S. army was slowly disarming its own men to prevent the weapons from being aimed at the main enemy: the lifers.

Peace from below–search and avoid

Mutiny and fraggings expressed the anger and bitterness that combat soldiers felt at being used as bait to kill Communists. It forced the troops to reassess who was the real enemy.

In a remarkable letter, 40 combat officers wrote to President Nixon in July 1970 to advise him that “the military, the leadership of this country–are perceived by many soldiers to be almost as much our enemy as the VC and the NVA.

After the 1970 invasion of Cambodia enlarged the war, fury and the demoralizing realization that nothing could stop the warmongers swept both the antiwar movement and the troops. The most popular helmet logo became “UUUU,” which meant “the unwilling, led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary, for the ungrateful.” Peace, if it were to come, would have to be made by the troops themselves, instituted by an unofficial troop withdrawal ending search-and-destroy missions.

The form this peace from below took came to be called “search and avoid,” or “search and evade.” It became so extensive that “search and evade (meaning tacit avoidance of combat by units in the field) is now virtually a principle of war, vividly expressed by the GI phrase, ‘CYA’ (cover your ass) and get home!”

In search and avoid, patrols sent out into the field deliberately eluded potential clashes with the NLF. Night patrols, the most dangerous, would halt and take up positions a few yards beyond the defense perimeter, where the NLF would never come. By skirting potential conflicts, they hoped to make it clear to the NLF that their unit had established its own peace treaty.

Another frequent search-and-avoid tactic was to leave base camp, secure a safe area in the jungle and set up a perimeter-defense system in which to hole up for the time allotted for the mission. “Some units even took enemy weapons with them when they went out on such search-and-avoid missions so that upon return they could report a firefight and demonstrate evidence of enemy casualties for the body-count figures required by higher headquarters.”

The army was forced to accommodate what began to be called “the grunts’ cease-fire.” An American soldier from Cu Chi, quoted in the New York Times, said, “They have set up separate companies for men who refuse to go out into the field. It is no big thing to refuse to go. If a man is ordered to go to such and such a place, he no longer goes through the hassle of refusing; he just packs his shirt and goes to visit some buddies at another base camp.”

An observer at Pace, near the Cambodian front where a unilateral truce was widely enforced, reported, “The men agreed and passed the word to other platoons: nobody fires unless fired upon. As of about 1100 hours on October 10,1971, the men of Bravo Company, 11/12 First Cav Division, declared their own private cease-fire with the North Vietnamese.”

The NLF responded to the new situation. People’s Press, a GI paper, in its June 1971 issue claimed that NLF and NVA units were ordered not to open hostilities against U.S. troops wearing red bandanas or peace signs, unless first fired upon. Two months later, the first Vietnam veteran to visit Hanoi was given a copy of “an order to North Vietnamese troops not to shoot U.S. soldiers wearing antiwar symbols or carrying their rifles pointed down.” He reports its impact on “convincing me that I was on the side of the Vietnamese now.”

Colonel Heinl reported this:

That ‘search-and-evade’ has not gone unnoticed by the enemy is underscored by the Viet Cong delegation’s recent statement at the Paris Peace Talks that Communist units in Indochina have been ordered not to engage American units which do not molest them. The same statement boasted–not without foundation in fact–that American defectors are in the VC ranks.

Some officers joined, or led their men, in the unofficial cease-fire from below. A U.S. army colonel claimed:

I had influence over an entire province. I put my men to work helping with the harvest. They put up buildings. Once the NVA understood what I was doing, they eased up. I’m talking to you about a de facto truce, you understand. The war stopped in most of the province. It’s the kind of history that doesn’t get recorded. Few people even know it happened, and no one will ever admit that it happened.

Search and avoid, mutiny and fraggings were a brilliant success. Two years into the soldiers’ upsurge, in 1970, the number of U.S. combat deaths were down by more than 70 percent (to 3,946) from the 1968 high of more than 14,000. The revolt of the soldiers in order to survive and not to allow themselves to be victims could only succeed by a struggle prepared to use any means necessary to achieve peace from below.

The army revolt had all of the strengths and weaknesses of the 1960s radicalization of which it was a part. It was a courageous mass struggle from below. It relied upon no one but itself to win its battles.

The only organizing tools were the underground GI newspapers. But newspapers became a substitute for organization.

The hidden history of the 1960s proves that the American army can be split. But that requires the long, slow patient work of explanation, of education, of organization, and of agitation and action. The Vietnam revolt shows how rank-and-file soldiers can rise to the task.

http://www.isreview.org/issues/09/soldiers_revolt.shtml

Is it Genocide?

Crisis in Food Prices Threatens

Worldwide Starvation:

Is it Genocide?

By Richard C. Cook*
Rising worldwide food prices are resulting in shortages, riots and protests, promises by governments to expand food aid, expressions of concern by international bodies like the World Bank, and stress on household budgets even in developed countries like the U.S. Did this just ‘happen” or is there a plan?
Plenty of commentators think they have it figured out and blame such factors as
greater demand for high-end protein menus by the increasingly upscale populations of China and India , weather factors relating to global warming such as drought in Australia , and the diversion of animal feed crops such as corn and soybeans to ethanol production. L.H. Teslik of the Council on Foreign Relations speaks of ‘bubbling inflation and rising oil prices:’

There is also the question of whether a role is being played by conunodity speculation. The idea is that faced with the global financial crisis and the collapse of mortgage-based securities, investors are flocking to resource-based tangibles as a hedge against recession and the decline of the U.S. dollar. Hence gold is at record levels with oil keeping the same pace. How else to explain, for instance, the doubling ofthe price of rice in Asian markets in less than two months? Standard Chartered Bank food commodities analyst Abah Ofon says, “Fund money flowing into agriculture has boosted prices. It’s fashionable. This is the year of agricultural commodities.”
But the idea that speculation is at fault is disputed by no less than New York Times columnist Paul Krugmaii, one of the world’s leading monetary economists, who writes:
“My problem with the speculative stories is that they all depend on something that holds production — or at least potential production — off the market. The key point is that the spot price equalizes the demand and supply of a commodity; speculation can drive up the futures price, but the spot price will only follow if the higher futures prices somehow reduce the quantity available for final consumers. The usual channel for this is an increase
in inventories, as investors hoard the stuff in expectation of a higher price down the road. If this doesn’t happen if the spot price doesn’t follow the futures price
then futures will presumably come down, as it turns out that buying futures produces losses.”
Solid data in this area is hard to come by. Probably the chief common denominator among commentators, especially those advocating a supply and demand or global
INDIA. New Delhi lndan tarmers walk past stacks of grain at a wholesale grain market In New Delhi an AprIl 24. 2008. AFP PI-IOTO’Manan VATSYAYANA
warming perspective, is that they have so little solid information. Thus itis refreshing to find a study that contains meaningful statistics such as one appealing on the Executive Intelligence Report website entitled, “To Defeat Famine: Kill the WTO” by Marcia Meny Baker. One particularly telling item is that after global food supplies were boosted through the Green Revolution and related programs lasting into the 1970s, more recently, world food production has actually declined.
Baker writes, “World per-capita output of grains of all kinds (rice, wheat, corn, and
others) has been falling for twenty years. Whereas in 1986 it was 338 kilograms per person, it went down to 303 by 2006. This decline in no way has been made up for by increasing amounts of other staple foodstuffs—tubers, legumes, or oil crops, which likewise are in insufficient supply.” Furthem; ‘In twelve of the last twenty years, less grain has been produced than utilized that year (for all purposes—direct human consumption, livestock feed,
industrial and energy uses, and reserves). Accordingly, the amount of carryover stocks of grain from year to year has been declining to extreme danger levels. The diversion of food crops into biofuels is the nail in the coffin. The latest estimate is that worldwide stockpiles of cereal crops of all kinds are expected to fall to a twenty-five- year low of 405 million tons in 2008. That is down twenty-one million tons, or five percent, from their already reduced level in 2007:’
Further, an increasing proportion of food crops is being produced by large multinational corporations whose power and reach has ballooned under the World Trade Organization and spin-offs like NAVA even as small family-run fanus have lost the protection of parity pricing and beemi priced out of business. But the data suggest that a) the output of agribusiness has failed to match the older; more diversified systems of farming; and b) as nations lose their ability to feed themselves, agricultural pricing becomes more subject to monopolization.
The loss of agricultural self-sufficiency has been exacerbated in much of the developing world by International Monetary Fund leiidingpolicies. Underthe “Washington consensus,’ entire nations have been forced to give up agricultural self-sufficiency and convert farmland to export commodities while displaced rural populations migrate to the slums of large cities such as Lagos, Nigeria. Today those

populations are the ones most grievously threatened with starvation.
Then what is really going on? First of all, let’s get rid of the idea that we are seeing “impersonal market forces” at work. “Supply and demand” is not a “law’—it’s a policy If a seller has an article in demand it’s a matter of choice whether he charges a premium when he offers it for sale. If he’s a decent, honest soul, maybe he won’t necessarily charge all the market will beai; particularly if the item is a necessity of life, such as food. Or maybe there will be a responsible public authority around that will prohibit price gouging or else subsidize the purchaser, as often happens in credit markets. Of course public spirited action like this is itself a declining commodity in a world afflicted with the kind of market fundamentalism and rampant privatization that has been the rage since the 1980s Reagan Revolution. Second, let’s ask the question which any competent investigator should pose when starting out on the trail of a possible
clime: “Who benefits?” Indeed we may be speaking of a crime on the scale of genocide if the events in question are a) avoidable; in which case the crime is one of negligent homicide; or b) planned, where we obviously have a conspiracy among the contributing parties.
Those who benefit are obviously the ones who finance agricultural operations, those who are charging monopoly prices for the commodities in demand, the various middlemen who bring the products to market after they leave the fann, and the owners or moi-tgagees of the land, retail space, and other assets required to conduct the production/consumption cycle.
In other words, it’s the financial elite of the world who have gained complete control of the most basic necessity of life, This includes not only the international financiers who provide capitalization, including the leveraging of trading in commodity futures up to the 97 percent level, but even organized crime groups
which the U.S. Department of Justice says have penetrated world materials markets.
And is all this part of a long-term sti’ate’ by international finance to starve much of the world’s population in order to seize theii’ land, control their natural resources, and enslave the rest who fear a similar fate? Already millions of people are losing their homes to housing inflation and foreclosure. Is actual or threatened physical starvation the next part of the scenario?
And where are the governmental authorities whose job it is to protect the public welfare both at the national and international levels? These authorities long ago allowed a situation to develop, including in developed nations like the U.S. , where people in localities no longer have the simple ability to feed themselves, even in emergencies. And not one of the candidates remaining in the U.S. presidential election—John McCain,

Hillary Clinton, nor Barack Obama—has addressed the food pricing issue. Indeed, all three are part of a government that has gone so far as to exclude much of the rising cost of food from measurements of inflation, an innovation that took place on Bill Clinton’s watch.
It is now ApriL Already food has run out in some parts of the world. In a few months winter will come, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. What will happen then? Are you certain food will be on your table?
And suppose you wanted to make a contribution to your own well-being and to that of your family and conununity by going into farming. In most parts of North America you can look around and see plenty of underutilized land.
But could you do it? Could you buy or lease land and pay taxes on it after the galloping inflation of the real estate bubble? Could you get bank loans for equipment and operating expenses under today’s constrained credit conditions? Could you afford fuel for your equipment when petroleum costs over $115 a barrel?
Is water readily available from developed supplies and is electricity available at regulated prices? Could you purchase anything other than genetically-modi fled seed? Would local supermarkets buy your produce when your prices are undercut by massive corporate distributorships importing food from abroad? Does the system even exist in your home town for marketing of local farm products?
And does anyone in power even care?
Well, whether they do or not, ‘We the People” should care. One of the worst aspects of the consumer society is the separation between the individual and the products of the earth we utilize. We always assume that whatever we need will be there so long as we have money in our bank account or the ability to charge on a credit card and pay Iatei;
Such assumptions are losing their validity. Back in the 1960s people who were starting to understand these things began a modest “back to the land” movement. Today it is time to start one again. Except this time we need to do it
right by demanding government policies that support it. This means low-cost credit, price supports, affordable utilities, favorable tax policies, and decisions by government and businesses to “buy local.” Food production cannotsafelybe left in the hands of agribusiness and international finance capitalism any longer.

Richaid C. Cook is a former U.S. federal government a,aalyst, whose career included service with the U.S. CivilServiceCom,nission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, NASA, and tile US. Ti’easurv Department. His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared on numerous websites. His book on monetary reform entitled We Hold These Truths: The Promise of Monetary Reform is jn preparation. He is also the author of (halleisger Revealed: An Inside, “s Account of How the Reagan Ad:,iinistration caused the Greatest Tragedy of time Space Age, called by one reviewe,; “the most ilnportalst spaceflight book of the last twenty veal’s,” His webs ite is at http://www.ricliaiylccook cons
Already food has run out in soMQl’s ófthe world.
In a few months winter will coin.; at’least In the –
Northern Hemisphere1 What will happen then?.
Are you certain food will be on.your table?

Israel and Resistance

Israel and Resistance:

An Interview with Jacqueline Rose

By Jon Baifes & Cihan Aksan
“The Zionist mythology of making the desert bloom and a land without people for a people without a land was so powerful in terms of the imaginative conditions under which Zionism could justify to itself its own ruthlessness, that to challenge that would provoke a kind of generalised melancholia.”
Jon Bailes & Cihan Aksan You clearly value literature as a form of resistance; for its ability to give shape and an audience to realities often excluded from our vision of the world and to force both the reader and the writer into the minds of others, to attempt to connect with them. What do you think is the current state of Western literature, in terms of its critical content and social influence?
Jacqueline Rose: I would never make a conunent on the general state of Western literature. I’m interested in specific writers who I feel have something to say about post 9/11 culture on the one hand, and on other writers who I feel have had a particular value in exposing the underside of political realities which were sedimenting from the ‘30s onwards. Into that first category would fall people like Nadine Gordiiner and David Grossman, and into the second category would fall writers like Arnold Zweig and Ze’ev Jabotinsky. So rather than make a broad statement about Western literature, I can say that I think these writers, especially in the case of someone like Ze’ev Jabotinsky, are speaking about things that are intolerable for a certain kind of political discourse to hear, and in his case intolerable for his own political persona to hear — that’s what makes him such a
fascinating test case.
My argtuuent has been for some time that Zionist rhetoric and indeed any fixed political rhetoric is always inherently unstable, even if it spends an awful lot of its time, rhetorically speaking denying that inherent instability in the name of a certain kind of political logos or certainty The reason why Jab otinsky is so fascinating is because he was a founder of the most right wing revisionist Zionism there is, but in his fictional writing it’s as if he’s exploring the path not taken or the
milived life of his own political fanaticism. Therefore he becomes an internal critic of himself, and I’m very interested in how that happens in his case. For someone like Arnold Zweighowevei; it’s much more that he is exploring with his fiction a refusal of emergent nationalist identifications, both in Gennany for a Jew and in Palestine for a Jew, which will become the terms through which Jewish history is going to be played out; tragically in Europe and redemptively but also ultimately tragically, certainly for the Palestinians, in the Middle East as well.

So that’s what interests nie about those writers. And Grossman and Gordiiner are critical thinkers for whom fiction is a way of challenging orthodoxy So that’s about as general as I feel I can get.
t&C: So you wouldn’t make any sort of general evaluation as to whether there has been a decline in critical literature when compared to past generations?
IR: I don’t think I’d want to say that because it would depend on whom we’re talking about. I mean if we take someone like Coetzee, who I also discuss in my book. I think in his early writing he was one of the most brilliant exponents of

the underside and the unconscious of apartheid. But I think he’s lost his way now, although he remains of course the most gifted explorer of what that means. This is to do with the end of Apartheid and the failure of a certain kind of possible identity, or counter identity. But that’s vely specific to post-Apartheid South Africa.
J&C;
One of the key themes of The Last Resistance is a psychoanalytic definition of resistance, as opposed to a political definition. This is essentially a resistance in the mind to change a blockage of outer influences. You analyse David Grossman’s idea that an Israeli consciousness which

accepts the status quo is more a result of this kind of denial than a hegemonic cultural illusion, which has by now disintegrated. To what extent do you think that in Israel there is a psychological denial of the horrors of real world events rather than control of consciousness by a ruling ideology?
JR: It’s interesting you should raise this because of course in Israel there is a wider disparity of views and a stronger set of dissident voices about Israel than there is, say, in America. Or rather in Israel it is more easily spoken. It is actually a very articulate culture about its malaise, and Ha’aretz is more critical of Israel than any

74 EurasiaCritic May 2008

newspaper in America is and so forth. So there is surely a culture of dissent in Israel. The sad thing is that it is, certainly at the moment, politically ineffective. In The Iron Wall, Avi Shlaim argues that this is in fact grounded in the founding ethos of one dominant strand of Zionism that precisely starts with Jabotinsky’s articles on the iron wall of 1923 which argued that the Jews in Palestine must be invincible in order to survive, and the Arabs, as they were then known, must bang against the wall of that invincibility as a first stage to any sort of solution to the conflict. It is also, paradoxically, to his credit that he acknowledged, unlike so many of the early Zionist leaders, that the conflict would necessarily entail violence. Shlaim argues that this is the mindset that has triumphed against dissident voices over and over again. The classic example he gives is the silencing or the failure of Moshe Sharett in relationship to Ben-Gurion, and the triumph of BenGurioii’s vision of what Zionism and Israel should be. So it’s important to say that on the one hand there is a strong dissident culture but on the other hand it has been politically ineffective and that seems to be more and more to be the case.
Howevet; Grossman is talking, as far as I understand him, about something rather different. This is not outside censorship or coercion by the state, but is to do with some forms of internal constitutive blindness in a certain Israeli mindset, which means that it cannot see what is happening to it and it cannot see that it has become
and hei’e I’m quoting him
a more ‘militant, nationalist and racist’ country than ever before (he was talking in 2002). He reiterated that sentiment in his speech at the Rabin Memorial in 2006. After his son had died he gave this incredible speech in Olmert’s presence about the missed opportunities and the failure of what is still for him a miraculous vision. But he has used expressions like scotomisation and sleepwalking and marching towards the abyss, as if the nation blinds itself.
Now my way of understanding this is that the Zionist mythology of making the desert bloom and a land without

people for a people without a land was so powerful in terms of the imaginative conditions under which Zionism could justifr to itself its own ruthlessness, that to challenge that would provoke a kind of generalised melancholia. It really is a niatter of a survival, not of the state in terms of external threats, but the internal survival of the nation to go on imagining itself in a certain way. And that’s why there’s been such terrible fights about the New Historians and whether they should be taught or not, because what’s at stake there is a damage to the internal self image of the nation, for example in acknowledging the violence of the army towards the Palestinians in 1948. There are many Israelis, as I understand it, who are happy to say, “Things went wrong in ‘67 but don’t touch ‘48 we mustn’t go there, we mustn’t talk about it.” Or else you have someone like Benny Morris who was one of the first historians to expose the awfulness of what happened in ‘48. People made the mistake of thinking he therefore believed it shouldn’t have happened, but in fact what he believes is it should have happened more that there should have been complete ethnic transfer of peoples in 1948.
So I am using psychoanalysis to talk about the way in which a nation constitutes a collective vision of itself, which becomes intractable because the psychic price to be paid for damaging or fragmenting it would be too high. I’ll give you an example: one of the people to whom the book is dedicated, Ronit Tlalim, an important scholar of Tibetan Buddhism, appears in Asher Tlalim’s film Galoot Asher Tlalim is a very distinguished Israeli filmmaker and this is a documentary about exile. In the film Ronit Tlalim is interviewed at length and she says something along these lines, “If I went back I would have to put myself in a state of denial to live there.” For her it is almost impossible to live there and take on fill accountability for the birthing of the state in a moment of constitutive violence against anothem’ people. This is of course true of many nation states let it be said, not only Israel, but nonetheless she says there is a real impasse there. And I think psychoanalysis can help us think

about things which are not just state censorship or a refusal to acknowledge reality imposed from the outside, but things that are too psychically painful to deal with, which involve a different kind of clampdown in the mind.
1&C: You describe Freud’s notion of the “misdirected piety” of
Zionism that the symbolic value of the land of Palestine was magical, ‘omnipotent’inqualityto the point where the Jewish settlers could ignore the Palestinian people who stood on it again the idea of psychological resistonce. How has it managed to survive the constant reminder that the Palestinians have always been in truth very much a presence?
JR! Well they didn’t ignore them ofcourse. That formula ‘a land without a people for a people without a land’, nobody ever really believed it. If you read Weizmann and Ben-Gurion and so on they were fully aware of the presence of the Palestinians, as indeed was Balfoum: So I don’t think it was blindness. But the question of the land and the investment in the land is a vemy complex one. There is a biblical investment in the land, which I think can help explain the reluctance to relinquish the settlements, because actuallythe lands which constituted the original nation state of Israel in 1948 were relatively thin in biblical connotations. It was the land occupied in ‘67 that really fulfilled the biblical destiny of the Jewish people, which is why certain right wing Zionists will refer to the occupied territories as Judea and Samnaria, wrapped as they are in invoking their biblical investment.
Having said that, even the secular Zionists saw the biblical history as constitutive of Zionist identity Ben-Gurion said ‘The Bible is our mandate”, and a
number of early Zionists said they would not get the Jews to go to any land other than Palestine this was when the debate was about the Uganda option, which in fact Theodor Herzl supported, pragmatically
because this was their ancestral home, this was the site of some form of early nationhood, this was where the temple was destroyed, this is where they could reconstitute themselves therefore as a

EurasiaCritic May 2008 75

people rather than as a minority inside other nation states. So this is a people constituting its own imaginative histoiy and there’s no nation that doesn’t do that. The peculiarity is that for someone decisive like Ben-Gui-ion, history consists of 2,000 years ago and the Shoah and there’s nothing in between. What needs explaining therefore is not blindness, but the complete dismissal, despite that lack of blindness, of the Palestinian presence on the land, which was justified, not just in terms of this Biblical history, but also on the ground that they were not adequately working or transforming the land, It became an argument about labour as entitlement on the one hand, and a fully colonialist vision of the indigenous peoples as primitives on the other (the two supporting each other), that is, a barren, undeveloped, land with an undeveloped backward people. Weizmann repeatedly said that he believed you possess something by building it with your own hands. This is pragmatic, labour Zionism
— the slow incremental working and transfonnation of the land gives you your entitlement to it. So the Zionists weren’t blind, they knew there were Palestinians there, but they believed that what they were doing to the land gave them a right to it. If you sanction that with biblical tradition, then that is pretty forceful when you think about it — quite hard to budge.
1&C: So has this biblical tradition always retained the same strength?
1R It got much stronget’ after 1967 of course, because, as Daniel Barenboim said in a conference on dissent on Edward Said in the European University of Budapest a few years ago, ‘67 changed everything because the miraculous nature of the victory was such that the religious parties, many of whom had been vety hostile to Zionism up to that point, came on board. The orthodox had been very hostile to Zionism because it meant the hastening of the advent of the Messiah, for which one should only ever prepare and whose arrival one should absolutely not force. Naturei Karta, many of whom are based here in the East End of London, see it as sacrilege and are very

76 EurasiaCritic May 2008
anti-Zionist. So one reason why it became so hard to budge after ‘67 was because it felt like this miraculous victoly I think the biblical tradition has always been there, but it’s intensified since ‘67 and the religious discourse of the settlers has increased.
In their new book, Lords of the Land, Idith Zertal and Akiva Elder point out there has not been a government since ‘67 which hasn’t been completely complicit with the process of settlement, even when the discourse of the settlement went against the secular rhetoi’ic of statehood. There’s a strange complicity if not a vocabulary of intent, which has meant that the settlements have gone on expanding with this biblical underpinning. Even if the govennnents haven’t necessarily bought into that language, they’ve bought into the process, which you could argue means they’ve effectively bought into the language as well. Of course, when Gaza was evacuated two years ago that biblical rhetoric was defeated in some sense. I remember people writing in Ha’aretz and so on saying, “This is the beginning of the end for a certain biblical conception of the land and a beginning of a new pragmatism.” I’m not sure, however, that that’s what’s happened. After all, the evacuation from Gaza has simply created a prison, and the claim to the land is still being evoked in ancient tenns.
J&C: The goal of nationhood for israel has been a paradoxical one — it was a separation, an escape from assimilation with other peoples, but at the same time a desire to become like other peoples by having a home nation Is it this psychology which pro bleinatises Israel’s position in the international community — as a countiy which, to be a real nation, must assimilate itself with other nations, but which also, perhaps understandably, wanted to distance itselffroin the dictates of the rest of the world?
JR: Well, the assimilation issue is a very difficult one. I think the person who writes about this issue most interestingly is Hamvth Arendt, who says in fact Zionism was a form of assitnilationism, because it wanted Jews to be like other
nations, and the anti-Zionists were in fact the anti-assiinilationists, because they wanted to remain as Jews inside these other nation states. And Martin Buber of course argued that Zionism should not be assimilationism because Israel was to be a nation unlike other nations. Neither wanted Israel to be a normal nation — Buber wanted Israel to be a model of nationhood, if that was the right word, but not statehood, which would precisely differ from the nation states of Europe. So this is veiy complex because it was the failure of assimilation, in a way, that provoked the desire for a national self determination for the Jewish people. I don’t think Israel can be judged for that, I think it’s wrong to judge it for that desire. The paradox was always that it transposed into the Middle East a notion of nationhood based on religion, ethnicity land and descent, which was of course the very concept of nationhood the Jews were fleeing from in Europe. This is not to say that Zionism is the same as National Socialism at all, but to say that there is a certain concept of romantic nationalism which it lifted from out of Europe and transposed into the Middle East.And that’s been a tragedy and a huge problem. So, for example, in Israel today Sharon can say at the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz that the Jewish people can only rely on themselves (forgetting the occasion one might say) and anybody who criticises Israelis criticising the might of the Jews to defend themselves. This isolationism is then coupled with anothem the peculiar isolationism of Israel wanting to be a European nation in the Middle East. The writer and critic Yitzhak Laor has said that it’s because the Jews could not be Europeans in Europe — they were the Semitic other in Europe — that they came to the Middle East where they could be the Europeans, in relation to another Semitic element called the Palestinians.
J&C: To return to the theme of psychoanalytical resistance; to what extent could it be said that the support of the international community for israel’s policies has helped prolong this condition? Clearly there are economic and militaiy

77

gains, but what about the psychological influence of such encouragement?
IR: Well, I think the outside support is terrible, and playing a key, if not the decisive role, in perpetuating the conflict. Israelis the fourth most powerful military nation in the world and it gets more money from America than any other country bar Erpt. And that money is completely unconditional. As Chomsky pointed out after the outbreak of the second Intifada, there had been a certain amount of stone throwing by Palestinians to which Israel responded with an attack on civilian structures, and Clintoii then responded by making the biggest deal of helicopter paits for a decade with Israel. There is something profoundly disturbing about this. Also Israel benefits from favoured European trading status with the European Community and so on. I think these things allow it to go on thinking it can do what it wants, and the belief that it can do what it wants is a very complex belief to do with feeling it is the nation of a uniquely persecuted people who are stifi uniquely persecuted, which allows the state to ignore the fact that it is the agent of violence. This is a point that Mark Ellis has been making for a long time — he’s an American theologian who Sara Roy discusses in her wonderful new book, Failing Peace — that it is very hard for Israel to think about itself as the agent of violence; it always thinks of itself as the potential victim of violence, despite the fact that it enjoys such strong more or less unconditional, Western support, such a huge influx of funds and military backing. It becomes a cycle — we need the support because we are threatened, and the more support we get the more it shows that we are threatened and the more it justifies the amount of hardware and power that we are being given. This links to the Zionist idea that the Israeli Jew was to be the opposite of the Diaspora Jew; that he or she must be a new non- passive Jewish.
I think that it is massively over determined, to use a psychoanalytic word, but it does mean that Israel can go on doing what it wants. Also, just to make
a very simple point, it was only when Bush senior threatened to withhold some of the money for the settlements that the Madrid Peace Conference took place. That’s what sparked it off and then led eventually to Oslo. But the current administration has not done this, and it looks as though the likely next President
— which could well be Hillary Clinton, but I don’t want to presuppose that — is going
to be no different on this issue.
*Jacq,Ieli,le Rose is Professor of English at Queen Mary University, London, Her books inchide The Question of Zion (2007), On Not Being Able to Sleep (2003) and Albertine: A Novel (2001).
*10,1 Boiles & (‘Than Aksan are the editors of State of Nature Journal

ISRAEL. ret Aviv Picture dated 74 May 1948 shows Israeli Pnrne t1inister Daiad Ben Gurion (1886-7 973) flanked by members of his provisional government read.ng lsraets declaration of independence in Tel Aviv under a portrait of founder of zionism Theodor Herzl 1)860— 904).AFP
– EurasiaCritic May 2008 77

Crisis in Food Prices Threatens Worldwide Starvation

Crisis in Food Prices Threatens Worldwide Starvation:

Is it Genocide?


By Richard C. Cook*


Rising worldwide food prices are resulting in shortages, riots and protests, promises by governments to expand food aid, expressions of concern by international bodies like the World Bank, and stress on household budgets even in developed countries like the U.S. Did this just “happen” or is there a plan?
Plenty of commentators think they have it figured out and blame such factors as greater demand for high-end protein menus by the increasingly upscale populations of China and India , weather factors relating to global warming such as drought in Australia , and the diversion of animal feed crops such as corn and soybeans to ethanol production. L.H. Teslik of the Council on Foreign Relations speaks of “bubbling inflation and rising oil prices.”
There is also the question of whether a role is being played by commodity speculation. The idea is that faced with the global financial crisis and the collapse of mortgage-based securities, investors are flocking to resource-based tangibles as a hedge against recession and the decline of the U.S. dollar. Hence gold is at record levels with oil keeping the same pace. How else to explain, for instance, the doubling of the price of rice in Asian markets in less than two months? Standard Chartered Bank food commodities analyst Abah Ofon says, “Fund money flowing into agriculture has boosted prices. It’s fashionable. This is the year of agricultural commodities.”
But the idea that speculation is at fault is disputed by no less than New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, one of the world’s leading monetary economists, who writes:
“My problem with the speculative stories is that they all depend on something that holds production — or at least potential production — off the market. The key point is that the spot price equalizes the demand and supply of a commodity; speculation can drive up the futures price, but the spot price will only follow if the higher futures prices somehow reduce the quantity available for final consumers. The usual channel for this is an increase in inventories, as investors hoard the stuff in expectation of a higher price down the road. If this doesn’t happen — if the spot price doesn’t follow the futures price — then futures will presumably come down, as it turns out that buying futures produces losses.”
Solid data in this area is hard to come by. Probably the chief common denominator among commentators, especially those advocating a supply and demand or global warming perspective, is that they have so little solid information. Thus it is refreshing to find a study that contains meaningful statistics such as one appearing on the Executive Intelligence Report website entitled, “To Defeat Famine: Kill the WTO” by Marcia Merry Baker. One particularly telling item is that after global food supplies were boosted through the Green Revolution and related programs lasting into the 1970s, more recently, world food production has actually declined.
Baker writes, “World per-capita output of grains of all kinds (rice, wheat, corn, and others) has been falling for twenty years. Whereas in 1986 it was 338 kilograms per person, it went down to 303 by 2006. This decline in no way has been made up for by increasing amounts of other staple foodstuffs—tubers, legumes, or oil crops, which likewise are in insufficient supply.”
Further, “In twelve of the last twenty years, less grain has been produced than utilized that year (for all purposes—direct human consumption, livestock feed, industrial and energy uses, and reserves). Accordingly, the amount of carryover stocks of grain from year to year has been declining to extreme danger levels. The diversion of food crops into biofuels is the nail in the coffin. The latest estimate is that worldwide stockpiles of cereal crops of all kinds are expected to fall to a twenty-five-year low of 405 million tons in 2008. That is down twenty-one million tons, or five percent, from their already reduced level in 2007.”
Further, an increasing proportion of food crops is being produced by large multinational corporations whose power and reach has ballooned under the World Trade Organization and spin-offs like NAFTA even as small family-run farms have lost the protection of parity pricing and been priced out of business. But the data suggest that a) the output of agribusiness has failed to match the older, more diversified systems of farming; and b) as nations lose their ability to feed themselves, agricultural pricing becomes more subject to monopolization.
The loss of agricultural self-sufficiency has been exacerbated in much of the developing world by International Monetary Fund lending policies. Under the “ Washington consensus,” entire nations have been forced to give up agricultural self-sufficiency and convert farmland to export commodities while displaced rural populations migrate to the slums of large cities such as Lagos , Nigeria . Today those populations are the ones most grievously threatened with starvation.
Then what is really going on?
First of all, let’s get rid of the idea that we are seeing “impersonal market forces” at work. “Supply and demand” is not a “law”—it’s a policy. If a seller has an article in demand it’s a matter of choice whether he charges a premium when he offers it for sale. If he’s a decent, honest soul, maybe he won’t necessarily charge all the market will bear, particularly if the item is a necessity of life, such as food. Or maybe there will be a responsible public authority around that will prohibit price gouging or else subsidize the purchaser, as often happens in credit markets. Of course public spirited action like this is itself a declining commodity in a world afflicted with the kind of market fundamentalism and rampant privatization that has been the rage since the 1980s Reagan Revolution.
Second, let’s ask the question which any competent investigator should pose when starting out on the trail of a possible crime: “Who benefits?” Indeed we may be speaking of a crime on the scale of genocide if the events in question are a) avoidable; in which case the crime is one of negligent homicide; or b) planned, where we obviously have a conspiracy among the contributing parties.
Those who benefit are obviously the ones who finance agricultural operations, those who are charging monopoly prices for the commodities in demand, the various middlemen who bring the products to market after they leave the farm, and the owners or mortgagees of the land, retail space, and other assets required to conduct the production/consumption cycle.
In other words, it’s the financial elite of the world who have gained complete control of the most basic necessity of life. This includes not only the international financiers who provide capitalization, including the leveraging of trading in commodity futures up to the 97 percent level, but even organized crime groups which the U.S. Department of Justice says have penetrated world materials markets.
And is all this part of a long-term strategy by international finance to starve much of the world’s population in order to seize their land, control their natural resources, and enslave the rest who fear a similar fate? Already millions of people are losing their homes to housing inflation and foreclosure. Is actual or threatened physical starvation the next part of the scenario?
And where are the governmental authorities whose job it is to protect the public welfare both at the national and international levels? These authorities long ago allowed a situation to develop, including in developed nations like the U.S. , where people in localities no longer have the simple ability to feed themselves, even in emergencies. And not one of the candidates remaining in the U.S. presidential election—John McCain, Hillary Clinton, nor Barack Obama—has addressed the food pricing issue. Indeed, all three are part of a government that has gone so far as to exclude much of the rising cost of food from measurements of inflation, an innovation that took place on Bill Clinton’s watch.
It is now April. Already food has run out in some parts of the world. In a few months winter will come, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. What will happen then? Are you certain food will be on your table?

And suppose you wanted to make a contribution to your own well-being and to that of your family and community by going into farming. In most parts of North America you can look around and see plenty of underutilized land.
But could you do it? Could you buy or lease land and pay taxes on it after the galloping inflation of the real estate bubble? Could you get bank loans for equipment and operating expenses under today’s constrained credit conditions? Could you afford fuel for your equipment when petroleum costs over $115 a barrel? Is water readily available from developed supplies and is electricity available at regulated prices? Could you purchase anything other than genetically-modified seed? Would local supermarkets buy your produce when your prices are undercut by massive corporate distributorships importing food from abroad? Does the system even exist in your home town for marketing of local farm products?
And does anyone in power even care?
Well, whether they do or not, “We the People” should care. One of the worst aspects of the consumer society is the separation between the individual and the products of the earth we utilize. We always assume that whatever we need will be there so long as we have money in our bank account or the ability to charge on a credit card and pay later.
Such assumptions are losing their validity. Back in the 1960s people who were starting to understand these things began a modest “back to the land” movement. Today it is time to start one again. Except this time we need to do it right by demanding government policies that support it. This means low-cost credit, price supports, affordable utilities, favorable tax policies, and decisions by government and businesses to “buy local.” Food production cannot safely be left in the hands of agribusiness and international finance capitalism any longer.

*Richard C. Cook is a former U.S. federal government analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, NASA, and the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared on numerous websites. His book on monetary reform entitled We Hold These Truths: The Promise of Monetary Reform is in preparation. He is also the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age, called by one reviewer, “the most important spaceflight book of the last twenty years.” His website is at http://www.richardccook.com

The 666 Microchip

The 666 Microchip

Transcribed from a Power Point Slide Pesentation ‘The 666 Microchip’ – July 15, 2008

Motorola is the company producing the microchip for the MONDEX SMARTCARD.

More than 250 corporations and 20 countries are involved in the distribution of MONDEX to the world and many nations are “privileged” to use this system, among them: Great Britain, Canada, U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, India, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, El Salvadore and Brazil.

They have developed several implants for humans using the “Bio-chip”.

The “bio-chip” measures 7mm in length and is .075mm wide, about the same size as a grain of rice. It contains a transponder and a rechargeable Lithium battery. A thermocouple circuit that produces an electrical current with the fluctuation of body temperature recharges the battery.

MONDEX spent more than $1.5 million dollars in research just to find the best place to insert the “Bio-chip” into the human body. They found only two satisfactory and efficient places – THE HEAD, underneath the scalp and the backside of the hand specifically … THE RIGHT HAND!

Revelation 13:16, 17

(v16) He causes all, both great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, (v.17) and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Revelation 13:16,17

How much of a coincidence is that?

One billion “bio-chips” are being produced by MONDEX a year. Its been in production for at least a year.

They discovered that if the chip were in a card, they would encounter serious problems. The chip could be cut and information changed or falsified. The value could be manipulated, stolen or lost. After you receive the card it will expire in one to two years.

In the end real money will be insecure in the general market.

There is only one solution for this problem, embraced by MOTOROLA … implanting the “biochip” in the right hand or head, where it cannot be removed. If it is removed by surgery, the small capsule will burst and the Lithium and chemicals in the microchip would contaminate the individual.

Moreover, the Global Positioning System (GPS) will detect if it was removed and alert the authorities.

Notice MONDEX means “money in you hand”.

MON = MONetary

DEX = DEXter = Right-hand side.
www.esnips.com/nsdoc/43c74768-f538-45ea-8da7-6fdfb4ae370b/?action=forceDL

Will the Antiwar Movement Strangle the State?

Will the Antiwar Movement Strangle the State?

by Karen Kwiatkowski

This is the text of a talk given at the sixth annual Pigstock, held at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, Wisconsin and sponsored by Veterans For Peace, Chapter 115 in Red Wing, Minnesota on July 12, 2008.

I want to start out today with something written by an early American revolutionary. This man was key to the armed revolution we fought against the King of England beginning in 1776, and more than that, was key to the revolution of ideas that had begun to grip the American colonies for several generations. This man was born poor, remained poor throughout his life, and he died in a tenement house. Yet, he was also a key American statesmen, publisher, orator, and held a number of government positions. He was a friend of Thomas Jefferson, and he was throughout his life, a self-educated person who valued liberty and justice. He opposed the concentrated power of the hereditary elites, and he believed that imperial wars were immoral.

His name was Thomas Paine. During the winter of the first year of revolution, in what would be the second of a series of pamphlets called The American Crisis, he described what we were fighting. It’s a long quote, but I want you to hear what he had to say:

If ever a nation was mad and foolish, blind to its own interest and bent on its own destruction, it is Britain. There are such things as national sins, and though the punishment of individuals may be reserved to another world, national punishment can only be inflicted in this world. Britain, as a nation, is, in my inmost belief, the greatest and most ungrateful offender against God on the face of the whole earth. Blessed with all the commerce she could wish for, and furnished, by a vast extension of dominion, with the means of civilizing both the eastern and western world, she has made no other use of both than proudly to idolize her own “thunder,” and rip up the bowels of whole countries for what she could get. Like Alexander, she has made war her sport, and inflicted misery for prodigality’s sake. The blood of India is not yet repaid, nor the wretchedness of Africa yet requited. Of late she has enlarged her list of national cruelties by her butcherly destruction of the Caribbs of St. Vincent’s, and returning an answer by the sword to the meek prayer for “Peace, liberty and safety.” These are serious things, and whatever a foolish tyrant, a debauched court, a trafficking legislature, or a blinded people may think, the national account with heaven must some day or other be settled: all countries have sooner or later been called to their reckoning; the proudest empires have sunk when the balance was struck; and Britain, like an individual penitent, must undergo her day of sorrow, and the sooner it happens to her the better.

Tom Paine was observing the imperial stance of Great Britain, circa 1777. His audience was an army of ragtag revolutionaries who were faced with limited funding, a series of military losses against a great imperial army, and diffidence and doubt of a majority of their friends and neighbors. The revolutionary war depended on the leadership and ideas of the landed and wealthy class in the American colony – yet many of this class were opposed to both independence and to republicanism, seeing it as a threat to their own property and position.

In describing Great Britain – arguably near the height of her glory – Paine told the truth. A nation blessed with great wealth, and great commerce, had proudly idolized her own “thunder,” ripping up the bowels of whole countries for what she could get – this country would and should receive its due in this world, not in the next one.

This, of course, happens to be the legacy of our current president, George W. Bush. Paine describes another George, George the III, who had been levying new taxes to raise government funds to pay previous British war debt – as a foolish tyrant, unconstrained by a debauched court, mollified and motivated by a “trafficking legislature” and lastly, tolerated by a blinded people.

One wonders what Thomas Paine would say about the United States today. On reading his words, I was certainly struck by how well it describes America’s government today, how well it describes our courts, our legislatures, and sadly, many of our people.

We have a judiciary that generally does not understand the Constitution, as originally written with its first ten amendments. Some would argue that the Supreme Court recently got it right on the Heller case, a Second Amendment case. In the sense that five of nine judges think that the right to bear arms is an individual right, they did. But in determining that a wide variety of government restrictions and constraints on private ownership of weapons is constitutional, the door is open for no change in the status quo at all. As with England of the 1700s, no change in the status quo is what Washington wants, at home and abroad.

I bring up the second amendment because my talk today is on how we can prevent and end wars, and the waste, corruption, tragedy and wholesale destruction of lives and livelihoods it entails. Most who protest war valiantly work to exercise their rights of assembly and speech, their rights to due process, to have a speedy and public day in court, to never be forced into self-incrimination, or to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. Yet many who oppose war for all the right reasons also have some ambiguity about the idea of weapons in the hands of average people.

Fewer people who oppose the wars of the state demand to see the second amendment exercised broadly and openly here at home, and fewer still really take the third amendment seriously. Remember the third amendment? The third amendment prohibits the quartering of soldiers in private homes, which in the 1700s meant that soldiers might come through your home or farm, slaughter some of your sheep or cattle, take a horse, and have you make their beds, and feed them out of your pantry for a day or a week or a month. In the list of grievances contained in the declaration of independence, these offenses were described as follows:

[The king] has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. …For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

We like to think the third amendment is passé, old-school. Last year, in 2007, the federal government alone collected $2.6 trillion in taxes, making its take nearly 20% of US Gross Domestic Product. With a significant proportion of this money, the government wages war around the globe, and increases the size of what the founders referred to as a standing army. Furthermore, to finance the wars and the empire, the government produces paper money – causing inflation, which is just another tax, another theft of the people’s wealth and property.

The crux of the third amendment is that we the people own our property and our earnings – they are not to be consumed at will by a government, stolen from us without a proper bill of sale or reimbursement, on behalf of the wars of unaccountable governments and kings.

There is no doubt that we owe reparations to Iraq, for the wanton damage done there. That price will go unpaid, of course, as it generally does. But what about what is owed to Americans for the expense of Iraq? The war’s cost is now running at nearly $5000 for every household in America – and those are using the Pentagons numbers that show the invasion and occupation of Iraq consuming half a trillion dollars so far. Nobel laureate in economics Joe Stiglitz and his team calculated a few years ago that this was a two trillion dollar expense on the people of this country, and they are now projecting a three trillion dollar neo-colonialization in Iraq. His latest book, with Linda Bilmes, is entitled The Three Trillion Dollar War. That’s 30 thousand bucks for each household in America. The third amendment IS relevant, and using tax receipts for unlawful and unjust war, or worse, borrowed money our children and grandchildren must pay, is a clear violation of the third amendment of the Constitution in our 21st century world.

A quick reminder on the bill of rights – it does not delineate rights granted by government to us – but unalienable rights we have by virtue of our existence as human beings. Welcome to the enlightenment, circa 1776. We have these rights not because we vote, or pay our taxes, or keep our front yards mowed properly, not because we wear a flag pin or have a support the troops sticker on our car or are legal citizens – we have the rights simply and wholly because we exist as human beings, endowed thusly by our Creator. Government – king, president or congress – has no business interfering with, redefining, or constraining these rights. That’s what these first ten amendments are saying to the federal level – they say, quite clearly, back off. Don’t tread on me.

Why should anyone be paying for the Iraq War, anyway? The fact that we can’t even describe why we are there with a straight face epitomizes the gross immorality of the whole venture. I’ve long held that those who wish to liberate Iraqis, or secure greater Israel, or colonize Iraq for its strategic location and resources ought to be free to suit up and take it on. Strangely, the ideologues, particularly neoconservatives and warmongering Christian preachers in big churches across this country seem the least likely to venture beyond the sound bites into a real, bloody, soul-ripping battlefield.

But I digress. If we wish to stop a war, any particular war – we have to stand against all wars. Wars are created, designed, implemented and lost by the state, by governments. War is the health of the state, as Randolph Bourne wrote. By definition, the state is a centralized re-allocator of wealth and justice – like a parasite and contrary to popular opinion, it produces neither wealth nor justice. The state uses war primarily to increase and to exercise its own nature. When there is a war on – whether a war on drugs, a war on terrorism, a war against the Japanese, the Vietnamese, the Iraqis, the Iranians, the Venezuelans, the Cubans, the insurgents, you name it – citizens are no longer completely free to move within and travel beyond the country. Citizens are now subject to unwarranted detention, restriction, surveillance, and all without government accountability – because there’s a war on. In a state of war, government openly breaks the law, and tells us we are “safer” for it.

When the state is at war – the government apparatus seems more justified, more needed, and we the people – if we are frightened and uneducated in history and economics and common sense – tend to make excuses for government stupidity and overreach. That is, until we begin to feel angry over a reduced standard of living, high gas and food prices, and we actually start to notice how incredibly banal and inane our politicians really are.

There is no good war – and I think conservative politico Pat Buchanan has done a great job in his new book examining that so-called good war, World War II. But why does it take so many years after the fact to come to that conclusion? Vietnam is a good case in point – Daniel Ellsworth and many of his peers in the Pentagon, uniformed officers, understood the war must end in 1967. Yet we did not leave Vietnam until 1975, after nearly 50,000 more young Americans had died there. For what? Why does it take so long?

Today, Iraq and Afghanistan are still active wars. Five years running, and if you ask the Congress or the people, they will all say, yes, we ought to come home, the sooner the better. But Congress votes more money to sustain Iraq operations, and we the people continue to consent to it, silently. No wonder the antiwar movement is frustrated. Many hope a different president will make a difference, you know, like that different congress did a few years ago. But Obama and McCain are political peas in a pod – both will illegally continue the Iraq fiasco until we are departing from our monster embassy roof under heavy fire.

It is time for a revolution, not dissimilar from that whereby Englishmen living in America asserted their own self-rule. Asserting self-rule – this is not unlike the recent Ron Paul campaign within the GOP establishment. And the word “revolution” has certainly been popularized by the Ron Paul campaign, which broke new ground and tapped into a strain of independence that has been percolating in this country for a long time. The Ron Paul revolution is peaceful, a war of ideas, of education and of principle. It works through communication, discussion, and raising the historical and economic understanding of enough Americans so that real change happens, as the whole transforms. I hope that the revolution will be peaceful, but I suspect that to win this war against our own warmongering state, we need to, at a very minimum, strengthen the obstinacy of our passive resistance, our civil disobedience.

A real strength of the greater antiwar movement is in raising awareness of the costs of war, the immorality of it, clarifying to the many taxpayers and families who generally support the government that the Iraq invasion and planned occupation was – as most wars have been – the result of crimes and misdemeanors – not in a foreign country, but in Washington.

However – where a revolution is needed, we have a problem in the antiwar movement, a problem that has crippled its effectiveness.

Who are we? Intellectuals and disillusioned soldiers. Mothers and grandmothers and fathers of soldiers, people who have paid some price, who have some keen awareness that war is waste, destruction, and wrong-headed.

But who are Americans – the “we the people” who truly have the power to bring down whole governments? These people are busy and hard-working, and many don’t have time to watch five minutes of the mainstream media between picking up kids, the second part-time job, or taking care of grandkids and aging parents. Many are consciously anti-intellectual! Headline news, neoconservative talk radio, and fast food takeout have all capitalized on the fact that people in American don’t have time to think a single reflective thought.

Of those who do have time on their hands, the preteens, teenagers, underemployed younger and older people, many have been so impacted by a cultural disrespect for learning that they cannot be reached by traditional top-down educational approaches. Yet – these same people do understand – they do get that there is something very wrong in this country. They get that a good country is about rule of law and justice, but they see a reality that is lawless and unjust. They understand that our political leadership is clownish at best, and evil at worst. They have contempt for political parties, and no time for political foolishness posing as serious debate. Many of them watch the Colbert Report and link up to The Onion to get their news – and it works for them. They have already stepped outside of the political mainstream, and both pro-government and anti-government forces complain that “the people” have become self-absorbed, focusing only on what matters in their own personal life and ignoring the larger picture.

And how is the antiwar movement selling the message to the people out there who must be on board if you want to end American wars, and become a prosperous country again? We are telling the 60% in the country who are disengaged – and they are disengaged for good reason – that they should vote!? We are telling them that in the future, they should support a state that will give them health care and funded social security, instead of one that is wasting incredible resources today in a distant war for hegemony in the Middle East. Think about it – if antiwar voices love the state, its taxation and financial schemes, and value the state’s ability to take care of all our needs – it’s just the wars of the state we don’t like – that message is way too complicated to be picked up quickly and to motivate more thinking of the kind that citizens must do. That message is also about as true as those first budget estimates for the war in Iraq when the White House told us that it wouldn’t exceed $50 billion and Iraqi oil would pay for it.

The state needs war, it craves war, and it will have war. If you love the state, you necessarily love war. If you respect the state, you embrace war. And some, perhaps many, in the antiwar movement, really believe that the state, that national level government, is or can be a real source of solutions for community and for the country.

This is the first problem that the antiwar movement faces – and that is its hypocrisy. Much of it still loves the state. And for the 60% of the people out there who are disengaged but sense that something is very wrong in this country – they sense that what is wrong is indeed the state – the government. The judicial and incarceration system here (including the war on drugs, three-strikes mandates that disallow common sense in sentencing, incredible focus on victimless crimes that has caused this country to incarcerate at some time 1 in every 99 Americans) – this system is a self-perpetuating juggernaut, consuming lives and creating make-work jobs that produce no security, no rehabilitation, no innovation and no value. And we – average Americans – have to pay for it. The social security system – sure it’s great – but when average and especially younger Americans see that for every older person living on a fixed income and barely making ends meet, there are two or more others who are collecting social security for vacations, golf club memberships, and going to Vegas six times a year. Here’s a fact that we don’t talk about – but much of America senses. The median income for singles and couples over age 65 has nearly doubled since the 1960s – even after adjusting for inflation.

We defend the government taking care of us in our old age – yet in hard times, this argument doesn’t fly for the 60% of disengaged Americans – many of whom are under age 65 – and who are financially responsible for these current insolvent government programs, and who don’t expect to see the favors reciprocated in their own old age.

I have attacked the penal and justice system, the expensive and counterproductive government war on drugs, social security – what about the government education system? That is a hugely expensive service, albeit mostly funded by the states and local governments – and are we getting readers, informed young people, thinkers and entrepreneurs from that system? You know the answer to that. If antiwar activists want to activate the rest of the uninvolved and underinformed country to resist the state on its overseas wars – we can’t have it both ways.

Chances of someone knowing a soldier who has died in Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, and Vietnam or as a result of poisoning on the battlefield, suicide, and other war-related deaths – we are talking maybe two million people out of 300 million. But the chances of being personally exposed to the state justice system – well that’s 1 in 100. Knowing a social security recipient who is better off than the young taxpayer who is paying that bill – probably one in 20. Having processed through a particularly idiotic and authority-obsessed public school education – make that just about everyone. Being aware of corruption in the political system, be it local, state or federal? Well, I suspect even tiny babies have heard of this.

My point is – we must understand that war is the federal government’s lifeblood – and to end war we really have to starve, disable, restrict, constrain that state. We ask that Washington take the money it is spending on war – those trillions of dollars – and instead rebuild the country’s infrastructure, solve the education, health care, and aging-population crisis. But what do we get? Always, more spending, and always more war. It is easy to understand – this country is economically oriented around offensive and security related industry. So when government gets a buck, it is beholden to the security, offensive and war-related lobbyists, industrial and political. It really can’t help itself.

I believe that most Americans at some level understand this. A July 3rd Rasmussen poll on the constitution revealed that “only 14% of voters think the Constitution places too many restrictions on what government can do, while 39% say it is not restrictive enough and 38% say it’s about right as is. Fifty-nine percent (59%) say the bigger danger in the world today is a government that is too powerful. Only 23% worry more about a government that is not powerful enough.”

Because this is how they feel, frankly – they are not convinced when antiwar activists promise that war moneys can be diverted or altered by a big government to do actual good things for people. I mean, isn’t that the lesson the average people got from Katrina? My God, we had federal agencies and the army down there – and yet the only rebuilding, the only productive work is being done by individuals and entrepreneurs, local people and their sweat equity.

Americans already understand that the state loves war – what they need to get more consistently from antiwar activists is that our enemy is this very same state.

This is a hard pill to swallow. But constitutional constraints on federal powers were designed by people we still admire today – who believed that to keep tyranny and war at bay, you need to keep the federal government small, perpetually underfunded, and of course, the antifederalists opposed any form of central government bank that could print money to get out from under this chronic underfunding situation. It is no coincidence that the 20th century was an era of state murder, setting fantastic global records of human slaughter by governments, and it was also the century of national and state banks, whereby government could fund wars without actually asking the people if they wanted these wars.

Now – if you buy this argument that to end war we must strangle the state, send it to its room for some long deserved time-out, how do we do that short of armed revolution?

We can vote, but that’s mainly symbolic. Remember, urging people to vote in many ways, undermines credibility of the movement, especially after the 2004 elections, where many antiwar candidates were brought to Washington. Common sense evidence tells us that voting at the federal level is about as effective as it was for the soviets in the old Soviet Union. They voted religiously for the establishment’s candidates, and had near 100% turnout for elections. But nothing changed until the people and the elites together got the message that the stupidity wasn’t working.

The ludicrosity and humor of voting, by the way, seems to be accurately portrayed in the new movie, Swing Vote. In an imaginary world, one man’s vote changes a national election – a wonderfully entertaining concept. Of course, what changes government is awakening the national imagination. A very different thing than voting.

We can keep educating people about what is happening in our overseas wars, but most people don’t have time for the ugly reality, unless it directly affects them.

We can boycott government agencies and politicians and media that are pro-war, point out their inconsistencies, their crimes, their sellouts to defense industries and prowar lobbies.

We can boycott the primary offensive industries. Do not allow one red cent of yours to support or patronize companies who get a large proportion of their income on the state’s business of misnamed defensive security. And let the company execs know what you are doing. Or – take an alternative approach – become a stockholder and try to create havoc in the company that way. This takes some effort, but it’s something some people will be able to do.

We can boycott agencies and entities that advertise in support of the state. Unfortunately – this means no more mainstream news, mainstream newspapers and magazines, and turning off much of the radio. How many of you have heard Boeing and Lockheed Martin advertising on the radio and TV, patriotic, prowar advertisements? Or seen the big print ads in newspapers and magazines? What, we are going to buy a C-5 next week? These ads aren’t for us as much as they are to ensure positive press – these big ads signify who really owns the media. We say the corporate media – well – it is the military-industrial complex corporations who ensure that CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX, and New York Times, and Washington Post dutifully reprint and rebroadcast the White House talking points on the goodness of this war or that. We demonize our idiot president and vice president. But they aren’t paying for all this prowar bull – Dick Cheney hasn’t touched his $50 million stash to buy a single ad on one of the major news outlets. He doesn’t have to.

What else can we do? We might be able to end our employment in the warfare state, and the military industrial complex. This might be hard to do, but if we have to devote our talents and energies to a government- or offense-oriented job to survive and feed our families, we might do so with our eyes open. Without a loyalty to the perpetual warfare mission that is often rationalized as patriotism. If we need to work for the warfare state or its enabler, the military-industrial establishment, then we should be aware of our larger responsibility to the country – to keep it honest. To blow the whistle when it needs to be blown, and certainly to support whistleblowers when they do what they have to do.

If we attend church or support a charity – we ought to be sure that church and charity isn’t taking state funds under the auspices of doing good works. We do not tend to bite the hand that feeds us – and yet, that hand must be bitten if we want to end the American empire, and bring the troops home.

We can keep our friends and acquaintances out of the warfare state meat grinder. This means talking about hard issues like the meaning of citizenship, the ideals of the constitution, the meaning of patriotism – and for those who attend a church that confuses the state with a higher power, educating your pastor and your congregations – or leaving that church.

We can encourage and enable our kids and grandkids to stay away from the state-funded education system, and to learn to think for themselves.

We can work to reduce the income of the federal government. Pay less taxes. Earn less, earn in cash, pay in cash, donate as much as you can, maybe set up a scholarship for a college kid so he doesn’t have to take a student loan and be beholden to the state, do whatever you can to pay fewer taxes to the state. Millions of people are doing this voluntarily and due to the recession, because they have to. But if it constrains the state – it is a good thing.

If we send less human and capital booty to the state – it follows that we should demand less of it as well. Make the Congress both poor, and irrelevant to our lives. If we do that, the lobbyists will evaporate. We demand campaign and lobbying reform – but organizations and companies purchase votes in congress because it is a cheap deal for those who want to use the government to gain a political or more likely business advantage. Make it not only a cheap deal, but a worthless deal, because the congress has so little largesse to redistribute. Problem solved.

To be opposed to political war is the moral and correct position. We know this from our history, and we know this from our ethical and religious upbringing. On this, we are on the right side. If we do nothing at all in limiting and opposing war, we will still win, because imperial wars especially go bankrupt, and decline, and finally end. Imperial and indebted governments, unaccountable to the people that pay for them, collapse and are destroyed. We don’t need to hasten this if we don’t want to, because the sins of the nation must and will be paid in full. As Thomas Paine said, “the national account with heaven must some day or other be settled: all countries have sooner or later been called to their reckoning; the proudest empires have sunk when the balance was struck.”

In that lengthy quote I used at the beginning of this talk, I left off a final sentence. Tom Paine continued, very kindly, “like an individual penitent, [Britain] must undergo her day of sorrow, and the sooner it happens to her the better. As I wish it over, I wish it to come, but withal wish that it may be as light as possible.”

We are on the right side, at least if America is to someday be a peaceful, constitutional republic, prosperous and free, happy and again a model for the rest of the world. We need do nothing at all and we will still be correct in our antiwar position, and our antiwar beliefs. But if we love our country, and believe in her, we do need to step up the revolution, and we need to fully understand that the health of the state is war. To excise war from the state, we will indeed need to excise a large portion of the state with it. If we act, we may be able to save our country, and help her weather the major shift from a war-based existence to one based on peace and liberty.

Tom Paine was libertarian, but he was not an anarchist, nor was he a pacifist. When you read his writings on democracy and his writings on the proper role of government, he epitomizes many of the concerns on social and economic justice, as well as peace, that recall the Democratic Party of the late 1960s. Most libertarians and members of the old-right – devoted as they are to small government and strong communities – are antiwar. Ron Paul ran a remarkable campaign that tapped into this underground river of American political thought. But many so-called libertarians reflexively support the state when it comes to war, seeing it as either useful or patriotic. The larger body of antiwar sentiment in this country is found in those traditional democrats who naturally feel a connection to Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson’s great friend and fellow idealist Tom Paine, and to the antiwar sentiments of Eugene McCarthy and of Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel.

For the antiwar movement to succeed in the near-term, and to bring real peace, we need to do what we can to connect with that majority – to mobilize the minds of those people – and we need to do so through, as Thomas Paine saw it, common sense, not by blowing smoke up the collective skirt of the country. To end wars and sustain peace, the state – epitomized by the great gilded castles, tyrants and war traffickers of Washington, DC – must be strangled, and the antiwar movement must lead this charge, in thought and in deed.

July 14, 2008

LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for MilitaryWeek.com, hosted the call-in radio show American Forum, and blogs occasionally for Huffingtonpost.com and Liberty and Power. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here.

Copyright © 2008 Karen Kwiatkowski