America’s Costliest Wars Unjustified and ‘Stupid’

The decision by the US to fight both of those “stupid” wars was made by powerful people in government and industry for their own selfish economic and political purposes.
The little people who actually had to do the fighting and dying had no say in the matter and either went because they had to, or volunteered because they had been lied to and convinced that it was the patriotic thing to do.
These US soldier testimonies educational, heartbreaking and valuable.


In the latest scandal precipitated by Commander in Chief Donald Trump — a man who notoriously got a doctor to lie for him about his having debilitating “bone spurs” so he wouldn’t have to serve in the military during the Vietnam War — we have a president who is the leader of the military but who, it is reliably confirmed, has disparaged the people who fought in those wars.

He has called them “losers” for being killed or captured in battle. He has declined to memorialize them.

He has had wounded veterans kept out of military parades because he felt vets in wheelchairs and on walkers or crutches or missing limbs “are not a good look.”

He has called soldiers who served in Vietnam “losers and suckers” for going and fighting and dying there, since, as he knew from his own experience, the draft was “easy to get out of.” 

And he has declined to visit the graves in France of US dead from WWI, calling them “losers” for getting killed. 

It’s all pretty outrageous, particularly for a man who as president of the US, has for four years been sending American military personnel into battle or keeping them in battle zones in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the globe, creating more dead “losers” in the process.

But let’s also at least acknowledge that, whether by accident or not, the president did say two correct things, for which he should not be criticized.

One was that Vietnam was a “stupid” war.  The other was that, in the case of World War I, it was hard to know “Who were the good guys in this war?” 

Braindead US pundits have reflexively attacked the president for saying these things about these two wars as though that is a sacrilege and somehow an insult to American veterans, but they’re wrong.

Those wars were indeed both stupid and unnecessary.

There are two issues to be raised here. One is the national policies and leadership that have historically sent Americans abroad into battle to kill, fight, be maimed for life and even to die.

The other is the behavior in battle of those soldiers who have been dispatched to fight America’s wars.

And let me be clear: Trump’s dismissal of WWI and Vietnam as “stupid” wars is not indication that he is anti-war.

His unilateral abrogation of the multi-national agreement with Iran on limiting its nuclear power program, his pull-out from the Reagan-Gorbachev Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, his continuation of President Obama’s trillion-dollar nuclear-weapons “modernization” and development program, his creation of a US Space Force, officially militarizing outer space, and his record expansion of the US military budget make it clear that he is as much a warmonger as most of his predecessors.

That still doesn’t mean we should criticize the two valid criticism he has made about two of America’s major wars.

Trump’s problem, as a man of supreme self-importance with a complete lack of human empathy, is that he cannot see the difference between criticizing a war, and criticizing the soldiers who had to fight in it.

To Trump, a man who casually used his father’s money and connections to escape a draft that less wealthy and powerful young men couldn’t avoid, those who ended up in the “stupid” Vietnam War probably deserved whatever happened to them.

They were to Trump “losers and suckers” for ending up in Nam. The same for the soldiers and marines who ended up being chewed up on the front line trenches in France during World War I.

I happen to know a bit about World War I and the sacrifices US fighting men made. My maternal grandfather, a gifted athlete who had a potential Olympic opportunity as a sprinter that was forfeited because of the war, was hit with mustard gas on the front which left his lungs scarred for life, ending his athletic career.

He wound up being a coach and head of the athletic program for the school system in Greensboro, NC.  My other grandfather on my father’s side earned a silver star for heroically driving an ambulance on the front lines in France through that war, rescuing allied and German wounded.

It was an experience so horrible that my father, a Marine in WWII, said his dad never once spoke of it to his children.

My silver-star grandfather, the son of two German immigrants to this country, who died in his 40s of colon cancer, probably had no idea why he was fighting soldiers from the nation of his parents; origin. Trump is right that there was no real moral issue in that most bloody of wars.

It was simply a war of competing empires — the old British and French and Italian ones on one side, and the rising German and Austria-Hungarian one, aided by the declining Ottoman Empire on the other. 

(The picture was complicated by the convergent timing of the Russian Revolution which ousted the Tsar and eventually led to the Communist government which sued for peace and left the field of battle, only to become the target of the WWI victors, including the US, after the so called Great War ended in 1918.)

I know a bit about the Vietnam War too, as a war resister who decided before my 18th birthday that the US invasion of Vietnam was a criminal enterprise against a nation simply seeking independence and that I would not allow myself to be drafted to fight in it.   

Trump, certainly not for any intellectual or moral reason (which would be beyond him),  is nonetheless correct that both wars were stupid and never should have been fought.

But that doesn’t make the men who fought and died in those wars “stupid” or “losers.”

First of all, most of the people who fought for the United States in those wars were drafted into the military. They went because they had little alternative.

Those who enlisted “voluntarily” were often driven to do so by the promise of a job or out of a sense of patriotism —  itself the response to massive government and media propaganda.

In the case of WWI, the target of that propaganda was the “evil Germans” while with Vietnam, it was about an imagined “Communist menace” that we were warned would sweep the globe if Vietnam, half a world away, were to “fall” under the sway of that alien ideology of worker revolution against the rich.

We can say that American military enlistees were brainwashed or deluded in volunteering to fight such wars, but that doesn’t make them “losers” or “suckers.” 

In fact many American soldiers, sailors and marines have shown themselves in battle to be courageous, selfless in defending their comrades in arms, often noble in extending compassion and generosity to those that they have captured or defeated, and heroism in risking or sacrificing their own lives in order to save others. 

(Of course there are plenty of examples of US soldiers, just as with soldiers of other countries, behaving criminally and brutally, but that too, is not a reflection on soldiers in general.)

The point is, as Commander in Chief, President Trump, himself a draft-dodging liar, has demeaned, as a class of people, American soldiers for whom he, as their commander and chief policy maker when it comes to sending them into battler or ending the battles they are engaged in, has exhibited a reprehensible disrespect for their service and their sacrifice.

But at the same time, let’s not condemn the president for the two truthful things he has said in this latest Trump scandal:  that the Vietnam War and World War I should never have been fought. 

It’s no dishonor to those who fought, died or were gravely injured in those wars that they fought in them.

The decision by the US to fight both of those “stupid” wars was made by powerful people in government and industry for their own selfish economic and political purposes.

The little people who actually had to do the fighting and dying had no say in the matter and either went because they had to, or volunteered because they had been lied to and convinced that it was the patriotic thing to do. 

They deserve to be honored for doing their duty or for going beyond the call of duty for what they at least thought was right, and Trump should be tossed out of the White House and his role as Commander in Chief for mocking them and dishonoring them.

At the same time, let’s also acknowledge that this nation still has a great reckoning that is overdue. We all need to recognize too the honor, courage and heroism of those brave people who, when the war drums were beating in the early days of World War I, and during the late 1950s and early 1960s as US involvement in the Vietnam War grew and through the course of those two wars, struggled to oppose them, who refused to fight them, and who as a result lost jobs, went to jail, left the country, were deported, and were condemned by the more deluded of their fellow citizens.

We especially need to honor those servicemen and women who, once in the military, realized the true nature of the wars they were being sent to fight, and who refused to continue, either deserting or simply refusing to fight, facing arrest and prison, a life of struggle with a dishonorable discharge, exile and public disrespect.

Why did US just drop 40 TONS of bombs on this Iraqi island?

Iraqi anger at the US is partly due to what some of them say is a “weak” American stance over recent attacks on the bases of Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq, which the PMF have blamed on Israel.

The promotional video of US jets carpet-bombing an “ISIS infested” island in Iraq comes amid tensions between Washington and Baghdad, and may have more to do with that than with the supposedly long-defeated terror group.

The video, complete with dramatic music, shows F-15 as well as F-35 jets dropping what was said to be 80,000 pounds of munitions on Qanus Island, north of Baghdad. Operation Inherent Resolve officials said in a statement that the mission was intended to hamper the terrorist group’s “ability to hide in thick vegetation” in the area. 

Video presented by and commentary from an American patriot.

Towards the end of the video, several Iraqi officers are shown watching the pillars of smoke rise up from the island, smiling approvingly as the US advisers accompanying them.

While Western media enthusiastically replayed the video-game style footage, hardly anyone gave the full context behind the bombastic air raid.

It just so happens that tensions are rising between the US and Iraqi governments, with members of the Iraqi parliament making moves to amend or bring to an end a security deal signed between Washington and Baghdad in 2008. 

While Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) cells are still believed to be active in Iraq, the group is considered largely defeated – US President Donald Trump has said as much, repeatedly – and many Iraqis believe it’s time for US troops to finally leave the country for good.

Iraqi anger at the US is partly due to what some of them say is a “weak” American stance over recent attacks on the bases of Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq, which the PMF have blamed on Israel.

US forces invaded Iraq in March 2003, claiming the country was aiding terrorists that attacked New York and Washington on September 11, 2001 and possessing weapons of mass destruction. Both of those claims were decisively debunked long before 2011, when the US occupation troops finally withdrew – only to be rushed back in 2014 to counter the rise of ISIS.

UPDATE: Iraq Will Play First-Ever Football Game in Palestine

Jewish terror free! In the coming months, Iraq has a match against Uzbekistan in September and South Korea in October.

I would call this a brave move indeed!

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It’s been going on a long time…Israel targets ALL the young men and children in Palestine, to maim them if not kill them for the future.

Israeli forces attacked two teenage Palestinian cousins and soccer players, Jawhar Nasser Jawhar, 19, and Adam Abd al-Raouf Halabiya, 17, shooting them repeatedly in the feet and legs – ten bullets into Jawhar, two into Adam – before unleashing attack dogs and finally beating them in what critics call another egregious targeting of Palestinian athletes in a place where “soccer is politics.”

Dave Zirin, The Nation’s sports editor, has much more on “what’s left of Palestinian soccer”: four members of the Palestinian national team killed in their homes by Israeli forces, at least three jailed in Israeli prisons without trial, “real people, with real families, whose lives and deaths are testament to a story that needs to be told.”

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Iraq national football team is set to travel Thursday on its first-ever visit to the Israeli occupied West Bank where it will face the Palestine national squad.

Iraq fought in wars against Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973 and has still technically yet  (NEVER!) to make peace with the Jewish state, AFP reported.

Most teams in Arab countries refuse to visit the Palestinian territories because Israel controls the West Bank’s borders and blockades the Gaza Strip and SHOOTS ATHLETES.

But Palestinian leaders have for years called on Arab countries to send sporting and cultural delegations to help ease their isolation.

The friendly match with Iraq will be held Saturday in Ramallah, the West Bank’s administrative center.

Israeli warplanes in Yemen

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Saudi-Led Coalition Bombs Yemen Wedding with US Weapons, Killing 131 Civilians

Back-drop quicki–The Israeli goal is to take out Iran. But first they needed US to take out Syria for them to neutralize Syria and make the path clear for Israel to reach Iran without getting a bloody nose.  US planned to use a chemical attack false flag in Syria to blame on President Al-Assad but before they could, Syria agreed to become a signatory of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which it did and is. That took away US excuse to invade Syria for “humanitarian” reasons. So the US sent Al-Qaeda to Iraq and came back with “ISIS” to terrorize the Syrians etal, thus the US used ISIS terrorists as an excuse to go into Syria.

As it happened, Putin went into Syria also to fight ISIS with Iran’s help. That was for the purpose of embarrassing the US since they created ISIS to last long enough for Israel to get to Iran. Putin exposed the fact that US wasn’t fighting ISIS at all and Israel was aiding the wounded. Yemen was a part of the counter-terror coalition in the region and realized that US was not fighting ISIS but on the contrary was aiding the terrorists. They saw the war on ISIS was a fraud. So Yemen quit the coalition. Saudi Arabia soon led a coalition against  Yemen.

presstv.com

Houthi said Israeli jets have been seen in Hudaydah’s skies over the past few days amid a push by Saudi mercenaries to seize the city, Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported.

“Yemen is actually fighting against a Saudi-Zionist coalition,” he said, referring to a military campaign which Riyadh has been carrying out against Yemen since 2015.

Several Western countries, the US and the UK in particular, are widely known to be helping Saudi Arabia in the aggression, but this is the first time claims of Israeli complicity have been made.

Referring to close ties between Israel and terrorist groups in Syria, Houthi noted that the Takfiri elements in Yemen are also the “mercenaries and servants” of Tel Aviv and Washington.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have no diplomatic relations, but latest reports say the two regimes are working behind the scenes to establish formal contact.

A senior Israeli nuclear expert revealed recently that Tel Aviv was selling Saudi Arabia information that would allow the kingdom to develop nuclear weapons.

Israel is providing Saudi Arabia with the kind of information that allows Riyadh to develop nuclear weapons, warns an Israeli nuclear expert.

Ami Dor-On, a senior nuclear commentator with the Israeli military organization iHLS, said the cooperation has been made possible in the wake of widening ties between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Hudyadah situation

Hudaydah, home to about 400,000 people, is a lifeline for aid to war-torn Yemen. Riyadh claims the Houthis are using the key port for weapons delivery, an allegation rejected by the fighters.

The city, which lies on Yemen’s western Red Sea coast, has witnessed renewed tensions over the past few days. Saudi-backed forces have closed in on Hudaydah, sparking fears of an all-out assault.

The UN and humanitarian organizations have warned that a potential Saudi attack on Hudaydah could result in a disaster.

Jan Egeland, a former UN aid chief who now heads the Norwegian Refugee Council, told Doha-based Al Jazeera broadcaster on Saturday that a Saudi attack would make the situation “much worse.”

“We must avoid war at all costs in Hudaydah, not only because of the hundreds of thousands of people who would get in the crossfire but also because the port and the lifeline will be destroyed,” he said.

Egeland further demanded “a ceasefire and peace talks” to resolve the crisis in Yemen.

“What we asked for is that the United States, the United Kingdom and France who have influence over the Saudi-led coalition – they sell arms, they have close military relations, close diplomatic and intelligence cooperation – guarantee that attacks stop,” he added.

Earlier this week, the UN voiced grave concerns about the situation around Hudaydah.

The United Nations voices grave concern over the Saudi-backed militant attack on Yemeni city of Hudaydah.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also warned that fighting in Hudaydah would make “an already catastrophic situation even worse.”

“The ICRC is line with international humanitarian law urges all the parties to the conflict to respect civilian lives by taking every possible measure to protect civilians,” the Geneva-based humanitarian institution said in a statement.

Yemenis conduct retaliatory attacks

Separately on Saturday, al-Masirah reported that Yemeni army soldiers and fighters from allied Popular Committees had destroyed seven Saudi armored vehicles in the kingdom’s southern regions of Asir and Najran.

The Yemeni attacks came in retaliation for the Saudi-led military campaign on the impoverished state.

Yemeni forces further managed to prevent the advance of Saudi and Sudanese mercenaries in Asir and killed dozens of them, the report said.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a war on Yemen in March 2015 in support of Yemen’s former Riyadh-friendly government and against the Houthis.

The military campaign has killed and injured over 600,000 civilians, according to the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights.

Saudi Arabia has also imposed a blockade on Yemen, which has smothered humanitarian deliveries of food and medicine to the import-dependent state.

IRAQ: War Launched to Protect Israel – Bush Adviser

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Our military now literally serves Israel..inside Israel!

Analysts who reviewed Zelikow’s statements said they are concrete evidence of one factor in the rationale for going to war, which has been hushed up.

WASHINGTON, Mar 29 2004 (IPS) by  – Iraq under Saddam Hussein did not pose a threat to the United States but it did to Israel, which is one reason why Washington invaded the Arab country, according to a speech made by a member of a top-level White House intelligence group.

IPS uncovered the remarks by Philip Zelikow, who is now the executive director of the body set up to investigate the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001 – the 9/11 commission – in which he suggests a prime motive for the invasion just over one year ago was to eliminate a threat to Israel, a staunch U.S. ally in the Middle East.

Zelikow’s casting of the attack on Iraq as one launched to protect Israel appears at odds with the public position of President George W. Bush and his administration, which has never overtly drawn the link between its war on the regime of former president Hussein and its concern for Israel’s security.

The administration has instead insisted it launched the war to liberate the Iraqi people, destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to protect the United States.

Zelikow made his statements about “the unstated threat” during his tenure on a highly knowledgeable and well-connected body known as the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which reports directly to the president.

He served on the board between 2001 and 2003.

“Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I’ll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990 – it’s the threat against Israel,” Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia on Sep. 10, 2002, speaking on a panel of foreign policy experts assessing the impact of 9/11 and the future of the war on the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation.

“And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don’t care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell,” said Zelikow.

The statements are the first to surface from a source closely linked to the Bush administration acknowledging that the war, which has so far cost the lives of nearly 600 U.S. troops and thousands of Iraqis, was motivated by Washington’s desire to defend the Jewish state.

The administration, which is surrounded by staunch pro-Israel, neo-conservative hawks, is currently fighting an extensive campaign to ward off accusations that it derailed the “war on terrorism” it launched after 9/11 by taking a detour to Iraq, which appears to have posed no direct threat to the United States.

Israel is Washington’s biggest ally in the Middle East, receiving annual direct aid of three to four billion dollars.

Even though members of the 16-person PFIAB come from outside government, they enjoy the confidence of the president and have access to all information related to foreign intelligence that they need to play their vital advisory role.

Known in intelligence circles as “Piffy-ab”, the board is supposed to evaluate the nation’s intelligence agencies and probe any mistakes they make.

The unpaid appointees on the board require a security clearance known as “code word” that is higher than top secret.

The national security adviser to former President George H.W. Bush (1989-93) Brent Scowcroft, currently chairs the board in its work overseeing a number of intelligence bodies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the various military intelligence groups and the Pentagon’s National Reconnaissance Office.

Neither Scowcroft nor Zelikow returned numerous phone calls and email messages from IPS for this story.

Zelikow has long-established ties to the Bush administration.

Before his appointment to PFIAB in October 2001, he was part of the current president’s transition team in January 2001.

In that capacity, Zelikow drafted a memo for National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice on reorganizing and restructuring the National Security Council (NSC) and prioritizing its work.

Richard A. Clarke, who was counter-terrorism coordinator for Bush’s predecessor President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) also worked for Bush senior, and has recently accused the current administration of not heeding his terrorism warnings, said Zelikow was among those he briefed about the urgent threat from al-Qaeda in December 2000.

Rice herself had served in the NSC during the first Bush administration, and subsequently teamed up with Zelikow on a 1995 book about the unification of Germany.

Zelikow had ties with another senior Bush administration official – Robert Zoellick, the current trade representative. The two wrote three books together, including one in 1998 on the United States and the “Muslim Middle East”.

Aside from his position at the 9/11 commission, Zelikow is now also director of the Miller Centre of Public Affairs and White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia.

His close ties to the administration prompted accusations of a conflict of interest in 2002 from families of victims of the 9/11 attacks, who protested his appointment to the investigative body.

In his university speech, Zelikow, who strongly backed attacking the Iraqi dictator, also explained the threat to Israel by arguing that Baghdad was preparing in 1990-91 to spend huge amounts of “scarce hard currency” to harness “communications against electromagnetic pulse”, a side-effect of a nuclear explosion that could sever radio, electronic and electrical communications.

That was “a perfectly absurd expenditure unless you were going to ride out a nuclear exchange – they (Iraqi officials) were not preparing to ride out a nuclear exchange with us. Those were preparations to ride out a nuclear exchange with the Israelis”, according to Zelikow.

He also suggested that the danger of biological weapons falling into the hands of the anti-Israeli Islamic Resistance Movement, known by its Arabic acronym Hamas, would threaten Israel rather than the United States, and that those weapons could have been developed to the point where they could deter Washington from attacking Hamas.

“Play out those scenarios,” he told his audience, “and I will tell you, people have thought about that, but they are just not talking very much about it”.

“Don’t look at the links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, but then ask yourself the question, ‘gee, is Iraq tied to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the people who are carrying out suicide bombings in Israel’? Easy question to answer; the evidence is abundant.”

To date, the possibility of the United States attacking Iraq to protect Israel has been only timidly raised by some intellectuals and writers, with few public acknowledgements from sources close to the administration.

Analysts who reviewed Zelikow’s statements said they are concrete evidence of one factor in the rationale for going to war, which has been hushed up.

“Those of us speaking about it sort of routinely referred to the protection of Israel as a component,” said Phyllis Bennis of the Washington-based Institute of Policy Studies. “But this is a very good piece of evidence of that.”

Others say the administration should be blamed for not making known to the public its true intentions and real motives for invading Iraq.

“They (the administration) made a decision to invade Iraq, and then started to search for a policy to justify it. It was a decision in search of a policy and because of the odd way they went about it, people are trying to read something into it,” said Nathan Brown, professor of political science at George Washington University and an expert on the Middle East.

But he downplayed the Israel link. “In terms of securing Israel, it doesn’t make sense to me because the Israelis are probably more concerned about Iran than they were about Iraq in terms of the long-term strategic threat,” he said.

Still, Brown says Zelikow’s words carried weight.

“Certainly his position would allow him to speak with a little bit more expertise about the thinking of the Bush administration, but it doesn’t strike me that he is any more authoritative than Wolfowitz, or Rice or Powell or anybody else. All of them were sort of fishing about for justification for a decision that has already been made,” Brown said. (END/2004)

Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States