Imagine If America Had A Real Department of Defense

W.J. Astore

In my latest article for TomDispatch.com, I ask a simple question: What would real national defense look like? Here are some answers.

What would real national defense for this country look like?  Rarely do any of us pose this question, no less examine what it might truly mean.  Rarely do we think about all the changes we’d have to make as a nation and a people if we were to put defense first, second, and last, while leaving behind both our imperial wars and domestic militarism.

I know what it wouldn’t look like.  It wouldn’t look like today’s grossly inflated military.  A true Department of Defense wouldn’t need 800 foreign military bases, nor would the national security state need a budget that routinely exceeds a trillion dollars annually.  We wouldn’t need a huge, mechanized army, a navy built around aircraft carriers, or an air force that boasts of its global reach and global power, all of it created not for defense but for offense — for destruction, anytime, anywhere.

As a country, we would need to imagine a new “people’s” military as a force that could truly defend the American republic. That would obviously mean one focused above all on supporting the Constitution and the rights we (at least theoretically) hold sacred like freedom of speech, the press, and assembly, the right to privacy and due process, and of course the right to justice for all, not just for the highest bidder or those with the deepest pockets.

What might such a new military look like?  First, it would be much smaller.  America’s current military, including troops on active duty, reservists, and members of the National Guard, consists of roughly 2.4 million men and women.  Those numbers should gradually be cut at least in half.  Second, its budget should similarly be dramatically cut, the end goal being to have it 50% lower than next year’s proposed budget of $715 billion.  Third, it wouldn’t be based and deployed around the world. As a republican force (note the lower-case “r”), it would instead serve democratic ends rather than imperial ones.  It would certainly need far fewer generals and admirals.  Its mission wouldn’t involve “global reach,” but would be defensive, focused on our borders and this hemisphere.

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A friend of mine, a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, speaks of a military that would consist of a Coast Guard, “militias” (that is, the National Guard) for each of the fifty states, and little else.  Yes, in this America, that sounds beyond extreme, but he has a point.  Consider our unique advantages in terms of geography.  Our continent is protected by two vast oceans.  We share a long and peaceful border with Canada.  While the border with Mexico is certainly troubled, we’re talking about unarmed, desperate migrants, not a military invasion flooding into Texas to retake the Alamo. 

Here, then, are just 10 ways America’s military could change under a vision that would put the defense of America first and free up some genuine funds for domestic needs as well:

  1. No more new nuclear weapons.  It’s time to stop “modernizing” that arsenal to the tune of possibly $1.7 trillion over the next three decades.  Land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles like the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, expected to cost more than $264 billion during its lifetime, and “strategic” (nuclear) bombers like the Air Force’s proposed B-21 Raider should be eliminated.  The Trident submarine force should also be made smaller, with limited modernization to improve its survivability.
  2. All Army divisions should be reduced to cadres (smaller units capable of expansion in times of war), except the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and the 10th Mountain Division.
  3. The Navy should largely be redeployed to our hemisphere, while aircraft carriers and related major surface ships are significantly reduced in number.
  4. The Air Force should be redesigned around the defense of America’s air space, rather than attacking others across the planet at any time.  Meanwhile, costly offensive fighter-bombers like the F-35, itself a potential $1.7 trillion boondoggle, should simply be eliminated and the habit of committing drone assassinations across the planet ended. Similarly, the separate space force created by President Trump should be folded back into a much-reduced Air Force.
  5. The training of foreign militaries and police forces in places like Iraq and Afghanistan should be stopped.  The utter collapse of the U.S.-trained forces in Iraqin the face of the Islamic State in 2014 and the ongoing collapse of the U.S.-trained Afghan military today have made a mockery of this whole process.
  6. Military missions launched by intelligence agencies like the CIA, including those drone assassination programs overseas, should be halted and the urge to intervene secretly in the political and military lives of so many other countries finally brought under some kind of control.
  7. The “industrial” part of the military-industrial complex should also be brought under control, so that taxpayer dollars don’t go to fabulously expensive, largely useless weaponry. At the same time, the U.S. government should stop promoting the products of our major weapons makers around the planet.
  8. Above all, in a democracy like ours, a future defensive military should only fight in a war when Congress, as the Constitution demands, formally declares one.
  9. The military draft should be restored.  With a far smaller force, such a draft should have a limited impact, but it would ensure that the working classes of America, which have historically shouldered a heavy burden in military service, will no longer do so alone. In the future America of my military dreams, a draft would take the eligible sons and daughters of our politicians first, followed by all eligible students enrolled in elite prep schools and private colleges and universities, beginning with the Ivy League.  After all, America’s best and brightest will surely want to serve in a military devoted to defending their way of life.
  10. Finally, there should be only one four-star general or admiral in each of the three services. Currently, believe it or not, there are an astonishing 44 four-star generals and admirals in America’s imperial forces. There are also hundreds of one-star, two-star, and three-star officers.  This top-heavy structure inhibits reform even as the highest-ranking officers never take responsibility for America’s lost wars.

Pivoting to America

Perhaps you’ve heard of the “pivot to Asia” under the Obama administration — the idea of redeploying U.S. military forces from the Greater Middle East and elsewhere in response to perceived threats from China.  As it happened, it took the new Biden administration to begin to pull off that particular pivot, but America’s imperial military regularly seems to be pivoting somewhere or other.  It’s time to pivot to this country instead.

Echoing the words of George McGovern, a highly decorated World War II bomber pilot who unsuccessfully ran for president against Richard Nixon in 1972, “Come home, America.” Close all those foreign military bases.  Redirect resources from wars and weapons to peace and prosperity.  Focus on restoring the republic.  That’s how Americans working together could truly defend ourselves, not only from our “enemies” overseas, almost always much exaggerated, but from ourselves, the military-industrial-congressional complex, and all our fears.

Please read all of this article at TomDispatch.com.

67 thoughts on “Imagine If America Had A Real Department of Defense

  1. I had a vision of a big, open-plan office at the Pentagon, with a worker-bee type from each service, sitting around planning maintenance schedules for the minimum necessary ships, planes, tanks, etc. There’d be a big-shot from each service, just in case a decision would be needed.

    Other than that, the Pentagon would be home to a cyber-intelligence group, and the rest of the space would be given over to….any useful civilian purpose we could devise.

    Yes, get rid of the monumental pile of equipment we don’t need. Recycle the scrap for civilian uses. Convert extra ships to, say, housing for the homeless, or plant hydroponic gardens on the decks of carriers, or something.

    Re the draft, I agree, but would allow the alternative of some type of [peaceful] national service, such as the Peace Corps, Climate Corps, participation in food bank initiatives, and so on, with the proviso that slacking results in immediate rendition to the military for deployment.

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  2. I think it could start with better diplomatic engagement. Full diplomatic relations with all nations recognized by the UN or at least a diplomatic representation. Commitment to encouraging all countries to place the welfare of their citizens above corporate profit motives, and encourage international norms for preventing corporations from country shopping to avoid taxes and exploit workers. Encourage the right of unions to have a seat at the table with shareholders. Loosen restrictions on cross border travel and work permissions. I could add a long list but none of it will ever happen so that’s my thoughts for now.

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  3. I pretty much agree with your 1 – 10 list but you seem to have left out eliminating the causes of wars. That is, how do you expect the United States to PROTECT ALL our VITAL INTERESTS ABROAD? It was our last president who seems to have claimed, “…that’s our oil…”. And then we will need to protect our lithium sources abroad, and our labor sources abroad, etc. Did you forget?

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    1. Whose “vital interests” are we talking about? How do other countries manage to secure oil, lithium, etc. without having a vast military establishment to “protect” them? We need to think deeply about those questions.

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    2. What right do we have to claim resources (e.g., lithium) abroad as ours? They belong to the countries in which they’re located. Would you be accepting of some other nation’s protecting its source of, say, coal or copper here in the U.S.?

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      1. There’s a lot of private military contractors out there. The colonizing mantras need to be put to rest; along with the romance of imperialism. If there’s a creator, then maybe the resources of creation are where they are to enhance the populations that exist in these places. When did any nation get to call the shots regarding the distribution and processing of other populations property? So, if your a mammoth corporation; pony up and buy your own security; please keep this or any other nations youth out of your schemes.

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  4. Very excellent analysis and a practical ten points towards a solution.

    Point 9 is especially near and dear to my heart.
    I have repeatedly said that a universal draft is the best measure to educate the general public about what the military and its duty to defend is all about. The draft should include women just as the Israelis do.
    I believe that if all of the general public sees military duty, they would be much less likely to embrace war. They would also know when they were being lied to about weapons systems and other expensive options that do not work.

    I agree with Denise that anyone who has an objection to military service should have an option of something like the Peace Corps.

    I wrote to my congress people about the need for a real National Guard. This would be one that was completely under the control of each state. That way the objection that the federal government could subvert the state’s militia would be avoided. Also each guards-person would be allowed to keep their weapon and ammunition at home as the Israelis do. This would also avoid the argument of the Second Amendment people about disarming the populace. Assault weapons would then be banned from general use. No need to have those persons who are unwilling to train with the weapon to have one ( or several ).

    I know the Israeli Defense Force used to make it a policy for their soldiers to take their weapons home, but since 2006 have curtailed this. The reason was an increase in suicides! I am not sure how to get around this sort of argument and still maintain a National Guard that is ready at a minutes notice.

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    1. In response to anyone suggesting that the United States emulate, in any way shape or form, the land-grabbing Apartheid Zionist Jews currently occupying (ever more and more of) historic Palestine, I cannot recommend highly enough the following informed analysis:

      Is the Tide Finally Turning?
      A desperate Israel seeks to silence critics
      Phillip Giraldi, Unz Review (July 27, 2021)
      https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/is-the-tide-finally-turning/

      Just one of many relevant examples:

      “If anyone does not have a problem with the behavior of Israel and its proxies in the United States I will attempt to explain. Wealthy Israel, which has been taking the United States taxpayer for a ride for over seventy years, is a major strategic liability for the US and a moral cesspit due to its genocidal policies towards the Palestinians and its incessant promotion of war within its region and beyond.”

      As for the debilitating host/parasite relationship between the United States and the Apartheid Zionist Entity (I refuse to dignify with utterance the Biblical “I”-word misnomer), I can only call that one-sided relationship:

      Cozy, Scandalous*

      I met a refugee from Gaza Strip,
      Who spoke to me with empty, staring eyes
      Dumb words whose depth of pain I could not grip
      With all the helping hands the world denies
      While lapping up the lurid lies that slip
      And roll so greasy off the practiced tongue
      Of Zionists whose caged and wounded prey
      Are told to flee and leave their dying young
      To weep beside the corpses of their old
      In darkened shattered former homes where they
      Cannot refute the garbage we’ve been told
      By glib Israeli liars trained to spread
      A veil of darkness over crimes they’ve sold
      As “Peaceful Co-Existence” — with the dead.

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2009

      NOTE * With apologies to the shade of Percy Bysshe Shelley and his immortal poem “Ozymandias,” I offer here a brief meditation on the current, continuing, and contemplated depredations of the Apartheid Zionist Entity upon those captive Palestinian Arabs who had absolutely nothing to do with the German/Christian persecution of Jews in Europe before and during World War II.

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      1. And for those U.S. taxpayers and Poverty-Draft military conscripts who can’t understand why they must lavishly subsidize (with their money and blood) a wealthy foreign parasite instead of the parasite paying tribute to the “mighty” United States, the “answer” lies in Chapter 17 of the Book of Genesis which Sunday School preachers and our parents required us impressionable children to “read” (to the extent that anyone actually can read that sort of rubbish):

        Boobie Contractual Circumcision
        (from Fernando Po, U.S.A., America’s post-literate retreat to Plato’s Cave)

        Like Abram prostrate on the ground
        In Jewish tribal lore
        George Dubya Bush “fell on his face”
        Thus promising to score
        Some skin from off his penis tip
        So “GAWD” would not get sore

        The Boobies couldn’t get enough
        They cheered and stomped and grinned
        And held their bloody penises
        (Appropriately skinned)
        So “GAWD” and George could see at once
        That none of them had “sinned”

        Thus did the Church and State combine
        In prehistoric days
        And soon the Boobies learned to stage
        Those awful Passion plays
        Which featured killing Boobies in
        Excruciating ways

        And Cicero in Roman times
        Inquired of something odd,
        “Is there a man so mad who thinks
        He drinks and eats a god?”
        The mack’rel-snapping Boobies blushed
        And answered with a nod

        If eating flesh and drinking blood
        Sounds like a lousy deal
        Consider Neolithic times
        When savages would steal
        A cave man from a nearby tribe
        And make of him a meal

        Since dinners in those bygone days
        Were far apart and few
        A dead piece of organic meat
        Made quite a hearty stew
        To dimwit troglodytic brains
        It seemed the thing to do

        But still some lazy cave man types
        Declined to toil like beasts
        They shunned the work of killing foes
        And serving them at feasts
        So some forgotten con man thought
        Of parasitic priests

        Someone would have to say the words
        Someone would have to curse
        Someone would have to gather beads
        And drop them in his purse
        For later use in living high
        While others fared the worse

        And so the classes formed at once
        With kings and priests on top
        And all the others down beneath
        With nothing left to stop
        The sword and “GAWD” from draining them
        Of every living drop

        Two thousand years of eating fish
        On Fridays hasn’t changed
        The need for human sacrifice
        Felt by the more deranged
        But only caused the ghouls to have
        The menu rearranged

        And so, in time, some Jews returned
        As strangers, like before,
        To claim what local Gentiles owned
        Igniting strife and war.
        But this time, Empire smiled upon
        Apartheid’s viral spore.

        Once more some skin from off the dick
        Proclaims a mythic “deal”
        Between an old Jew and a Spook
        A “covenant” to steal
        From Muslims who clip their dicks, too,
        Yet still must bow and kneel.

        This Boobie Abraham, it seems
        Refused to take a stand
        And tell The Great Big Spook that IT
        Could go pound desert sand
        And skin IT’s own dick if IT wished:
        The knife in either hand.

        But mutual self-interest means
        That Church and State defend,
        In concert, any lie which serves
        The Truth to break or bend.
        And so the Golden Calf prevails,
        Most likely till Time’s end.

        Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2005-2021

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        1. michael murray, you propine us w/ an elutriating intake of rain-cleansed air! thank you for your argute insights, alarmingly accurate fatiloquence, and arresting poetry. having struggled to support and promote the palestinians for nearly 35 years since our regnancy in the hashemite kingdom of jordan during the 1st and 2nd intifadahs, i repine that you cannot be cloned into a cadre of outspoken eleemosynaries and honourable human life forms. you have gifted this flaming pessimist a torchlight to help illuminate her way toward optimism. never a pollyanna, of course, at least you offer a scintilla of hope, which emerges from your creative polemics, that the genocidal human rights abuses against palestinians by zionists, well before the invidious balfour declaration, will one day be redressed. you, suhad babaa, and other courageous activists at JUST VISION are unsung heroes.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Michael, the God of the Old Testament creates Good and Evil, and makes War and Peace.
          The God and Father of Jesus in the New Testament is all Good, a Peacemaker, Healer and a Forgiver of sins.

          Genesis 17 describes the events of 3900 years ago in Human History, before Jews and Israel existed.
          God promised Abraham he would be the Father of MANY Nations, and having the benefit of those 3900 years hindsight, in the REAL World, we can see the Promise was kept by the material facts of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Nations.

          As for the practice of circumcision, Paul argues in the New Testament,
          For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
          But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
          Romans 2:28-29

          What got Jesus crucified was overturning the tables of the bankers and merchants working the shopping mall the priests allowed to operate on Temple property in a kosher deal. When asked by what authority Jesus did that, he replied Is it not written, My house shall be called of ALL NATIONS the house of prayer? but you have made it a den of thieves.
          Mark 11:17; Matthew 21:13; Luke 19:46
          The Religious Establishment had to silence him for effectively saying Jews no longer have exclusivity with the God of Abraham.

          For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
          For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
          There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
          And if you be Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
          Galatians 3:26-29

          All these Centuries later, it’s still Human Nature to seek control, each of the 3 major religions tracing it’s roots back to Abraham claiming moral superiority or supremacy over the other two.

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  5. William, I would hope all People with Good Will and Common Sense, having a recognition of OUR Common Humanity, would not only embrace the logic in the 10 points you promote, but would actively speak to Family & Friends of the need to make the changes, no matter how disruptive it would be to maintaining the Status Quo.

    I shared this Asia Times article on my FB page yesterday, but unlike your site, there is so little discussion. This is my intro to the article,
    Diffferent People notice different things reading anything, from the Bible to every other Book, and Newspaper printed.
    I took note of this in this article, “The latest war game only reaffirms results in earlier war games run by Rand Corporation, the US Marines and a number of think tanks. But the difference is that now the Pentagon has come to the realization (if it hadn’t known before) that its war fighting methods no longer can work in peer-to-peer or peer-to near-peer conflicts.
    There’s a simple explanation for this American Awareness that the US cannot win against other developed Nations Military having relatively equal capabilities to the US.
    Since WWII, the US has invaded and bombed only POOR, 3rd World Nations, and couldn’t get a win in any of them. There was NOTHING left to bomb in North Korea and still, would not surrender to the American Goliath.
    Washington refused General MacArthur’s request to use nukes and terrorize the North Koreans into submission and surrender.
    The best the US could get was a Truce that has lasted up to now.

    It is an example of Divine Justice at work in this Material World, when the most expensive Military in the History of Nations, can’t get a win invading Poor Nations, but now has to deal with Nations that can strike back, no invasion necessary!

    https://asiatimes.com/2021/07/americas-great-retreat-is-well-underway/

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  6. I can’t recall when I first read this, but it seems that a visiting Frenchman (Alexis de Tocqueville?) once expressed his admiration for America’s natural geographic defenses which he described in the following manner: “To the North, a weak neighbor. To the South, a weak neighbor. To the East, fish. To the West, fish.

    So: Canada, Mexico and the fish in two oceans require the United States to raise and maintain a globe-spanning gargantuan military bureaucracy notable mainly for its absence whenever America actually requires any “defending”? You know, like when Timothy McVeigh’s fertilizer truck bomb or a few hijacked commercial airliners brought down four buildings, killing around three thousand persons. That kind of “defense”?

    Now, come again with the “reason” why the United States requires a “Defense” Department when its soldiers and sailors most nearly resemble bandits and pirates? As the Chinese have discovered through several millennia of history: “You don’t use good iron to make a nail and you don’t use a good man to make a soldier.” Overextended, exhausted empires in decline always look the same.

    Finally, as my Taiwanese wife pointed out the other day: with the entire western coast of North America going up in flames, most civilized countries would have turned their military forces to work extinguishing the fires so as to preserve natural resources, lives, and property. The U.S., naturally, uses overwhelmed, cheap convict labor from privatized prisons, a specialty of the former California Attorney General (and now U.S. Vice President) Kamala Harris. And so the fires rage on.

    With the above in mind, I want to see what passes for a U.S. “Defense” establishment defunded, disarmed, and demobilized. World War II ended more than seventy years ago and trying to keep it going, perpetually, just to enrich some already wealthy corporate stock speculators — not to mention generations of medal-encrusted, stuffed-shirt, ticket-punching military officers — elevates venal stupidity into the realm of insanity. Fifty state militias, a coast guard, and a few dozen nukes ought to suffice quite well. And if Canada, Mexico, and some fish “overwhelm” and “conquer” America as a result, then so what?

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  7. We have an empire that was pioneered by the British when Britannia ruled the waves. That was all about protecting British dominated commerce/mercantilism and we eagerly stepped into the role when Britain went broke as a tiny country with far more pins to juggle than it could handle. Interestingly, they simply withdrew when the end of empire was clear…from India, from Greece, from the Middle East and after a period of time that makes our 20 year stay in Afghanistan look very brief.

    The US came across a wonderful thing that the British couldn’t manage. Whereas they robbed their colonies of resources and couldn’t continue that with worldwide de-colonization because it was in-broad-daylight obvious theft (read the history of Iran and the British), we have really pulled off a neat trick to cover the robbery by getting foreign governments to voluntarily be robbed.

    We convince the world’s frequently woeful governments that they absolutely must have “defense” and of the highest quality as provided by the US. The British relied on the actual presence of British troops ready for action around the world. We deploy mere handfuls of troops and a zillion contractors (The US Iraq embassy is the biggest by far of any embassy in the world) in a feeding frenzy. We then can say that each country is merely defending itself, few seeing that we are robbing as much or more than the British did but making it look like prudent purchasing from a US only concerned with helping out though curiously very stingy with non-military aid.

    Now we face an unprecedented difficulty in selling empire in this way. Our professed defense of freedom (read: capitalism) worldwide is challenged by another mighty country, China, that is full on capitalist but has no use for political freedom.

    China is pulling something off that is even more clever than the US advance over the British model.
    China skips the military sales and goes with offers of actual people pleasing infrastructure and commerce improvements with its neighbors and even as far afield as South America. China is not selling arms but usable technology and know-how.

    How absurd it is, then, to see an effort being made to pump China up as The Enemy even as we depend on them, and they upon us, for commerce. This is because they have checkmated us and we are at a loss about what to do.

    We could bluster our way into a global disaster. I hope we don’t, but meanwhile I’d rather be in China’s situation of actual help for people being traded for obvious influence, of good things being built to show before the world than our pushing of ultimately worthless, if not deadly beforehand, military hardware that not only allows us to be robbers (in Ike’s sense) but enables foreign governments to rob their own people to pay us.

    If you were a president or prime minister with Uncle Sam presenting a load of missiles, fighter jets and bombs and China offering infrastructure planning, railroad, highway and solar technology, which would you choose?

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    1. From these Western figures, it’s only an illusion/delusion Americans think they’re the richest Nation on Earth, as American Leaders and the Mass Media Propagate the Fantasy.

      The American Dream could become a Nightmare suddenly, as already happened in 2008!

      CENTRAL GOVERNMENT DEBT
      China – $1.04 Trillion
      US – $12.26 Trillion

      EXTERNAL DEBT
      China – $729 Billion
      US – $16 TRILLION

      EXTERNAL DEBT PER CAPITA
      China – $275 per Citizen
      US – $40,679 per Citizen

      In the US, there is ALWAYS more money for War!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Cliff, this part of your commentary, ‘Now we face an unprecedented difficulty in selling empire in this way. Our professed defense of freedom (read: capitalism) worldwide is challenged by another mighty country, China, that is full on capitalist but has no use for political freedom” is the perfect segue to share this video in my blog. It’s a little dated, but it makes your point.

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        1. I think that in the vast majority of cases, they believe “want” and “need” are the same thing: “I have to have that new model 27G phone,” “Gotta get that 96-inch flat-screen for the game.”

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  8. Fantastic blog Mr. Astore.
    But what do think of the chances we will see your 10-points enacted in our lifetime? (I’m 73)
    After all Chalmers Johnson wrote three great books on exactly the same theme.
    And died before he saw anybody take notice of anything he wrote.

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    1. How right you are. I was just watching an interview with Chalmers Johnson from 2007. We need his ideas more than ever.

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      1. William, thanks for bringing Chalmers Johnson to my attention. I was not aware of him, and your comment moved me to learn about him.

        In one of his last interviews, Democracy Now described his transformation from a right wing Conservative to an Icon of the left.
        Such an extreme transformation is similar to the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus to find and arrest members of the new Jewish Sect called Christians, becoming the most passionate propagandist for Christ Jesus.

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        1. When this interview was conducted (in 2007?) there were 737 military bases.
          Now it is estimated there are 900+ bases.

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          1. Inflation! :-). Seriously, it’s the very opposite of a sane foreign policy. But if we keep giving the military a trillion plus dollars a year, they’ll find ways to spend it.

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        1. We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire. Once a nation is started down that path, the dynamics that apply to all empires come into play – isolation, overstretch, the uniting of forces opposed to imperialism, and bankruptcy. Nemesis stalks our life as a free nation.

          — Chalmers Johnson, Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (2006)

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  9. Bill, I live in New Zealand.
    Retired to my country of birth after living and working in Seattle for 47-years.
    We must be one of the few countries on the planet that have no US military bases.
    And a few years ago the Kiwi’s prohibited US nuclear ships in our waters and at our ports.
    Which really upset the Imperialists in WA DC.

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      1. Sadly New Zealand sent military troops to Iraq to train the Iraqi military.
        Many Kiwi’s were not too pleased about us participating in that fiasco.
        It just goes to show how strong the US military influence is over our politicians.
        I am also a devoted admirer of Jacinda. We are very lucky.
        Take care.

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      2. Denise, you might have to stand in line. I read an article saying NZ is THE place for the ultra rich to build their emergency mansions for escape if “things get bad”

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        1. No surprise there. The island is incomparably beautiful. And with its exemplary leadership….well, that might not be all that attractive to super-rich corporate types, come to think of it. It would seem that PM Ardern isn’t susceptible to bribery or intimidation. I wouldn’t ask for much—just a little bungalow somewhere in the interior. I’d be glad to help with the koala preservation effort!

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  10. I think that in the vast majority of cases, they believe “want” and “need” are the same thing: “I have to have that new model 27G phone,” “Gotta get that 96-inch flat-screen for the game.”

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    1. As my brother jokes: Gotta have it!

      The power of advertising: Who says you can’t have it all? Treat yourself!

      If you haven’t seen it, “The Joneses” with David Duchovny and Demi Moore is a wicked satire of boundless materialism. It anticipated the whole “influencer” craze.

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  11. I think at the heart of our American Foreign Policy and by extension our Military-Industrial Complex is the concept of “We”. Not the “We” of the commons but the “We” of the Oligarchs, 1% and the Multi-National Corporations, i.e., the Ruling Class.

    You could make the case that the We of the Ruling Class began in our American History when slavery was enshrined in our Constitution, the 3/5 people. The Constitution simply put into writing that the quaint idea of All Men are Created Equal was false advertising. Some men deserved to own others, as property or in the case of Native Americans we could just take their land, since they did not “own” it anyway. The Native Americans were just squatters, who could be and were removed when necessary.

    Smedley Butler in his book War is a Racket detailed that by his time the “Ruling Class” had determined the “Ruling Class” knew no ethical, moral or legal bounds when bigger profits could be made outside of the USA.

    As Butler said, “The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.”

    It was not enough for The Ruling Class to access to what they wanted it had to be controlled so it could be denied to others. Thus, it became necessary for an Anglo-American Coup in Iran in 1953.

    At another point in time, the Military-Industrial Complex discovered it could make billions by making weapons by finding “Enemies” all over the world, that we needed to deter like China and the Soviet Union or out right attacked in South-East Asia. We tried to use the French as proxies in Vietnam. When that failed, The Ruling Class brought in the “A Team” – Our own military.

    The Generals and Admirals learned the best way to be lavished with weapons and promotions was to promise victory. Although, I was only a high school boy in 1964 when LBJ ordered the bombing of North Vietnam, there was a euphoria in the air. The North Vietnamese would learn a harsh lesson. It did not work so in 1965 Operation Ruling Thunder began.

    Certainly, by the time I arrived in Vietnam from 1970-71, the esprit de corps of the draftees infected with hippie thoughts was a concern of the “lifers” who viewed their tour in Vietnam as a way to get their ticket punched for higher promotion. An all volunteer force would have committed Warriors, rather than draftees marking their short timer calendars.

    Now we have a Chip Shortage. Holy Cow, like the missile gap, the mine shaft gap, high oil prices. Surely, our Generals and Admirals with all their ribbons can offer their sage advice, a plan to take Chips away from someone else (satire intended).

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    1. Our forefathers were infected with the colonial genetics of the European nations; so they all knew the drill. They just decided to perform their script on steroids. These are exactly what the times during Kali Yuga call for; it seems like the USA is fulfilling the predictions. Hyper materialized experience that has lost it’s connection to the subtle aspect of the Creators Nature. There are many ancient beliefs that speak of these realities. Dense solidification of everything from our thinking to our materialistic manufactured lifestyles. We cannot help ourselves because we are addicted to this false narrative and it doesn’t end well.

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      1. Since World War II, during a supposed golden age of peace, the United States military has killed or helped kill some 20 million people, overthrown at least 36 governments, interfered in at least 85 foreign elections, attempted to assassinate over 50 foreign leaders, and dropped bombs on people in over 30 countries.

        The US has dropped 326,000 bombs on people in other countries since 2001! Most Recently in Syria. On February 25th, President Biden ordered U.S. air forces to drop seven 500-pound bombs on Iraqi forces in Syria, reportedly killing 22 people.

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        1. Dennis, this what America means by Peace in Our Time, or could be Pieces in our Time of body parts all over the globe. I often wonder why the Russians, Iranians, Chinese or North Koreans do not bring up our world wide destruction, maybe they do but we are not permitted to hear it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. perhaps that is b/c the oligarchs and 1% in aforementioned countries are in some twisted collusion w/ the oligarchs and 1% in these dis-united states. esurient levels of power and greed wave no flags or gonfalons to any unit of governance or enterprise. the advocates addicted to power and greed seek only perpetual pathways toward amplifying their bank accounts, investments, power structures, and whatever other accruals they can enjoin to their ever-amassing accumulations…. geopolitical boundaries be damned!

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          2. They are now the colonial masters of mankind. Make no mistake about this; humanity is living within the digitized fences of imperial fantasies’ connectivity to the World Wide Web. Every square inch of terra firma, from seabed to the Van Allen Belts towered, routered, now satellite gridded,; the beckoned bodies and minds are mesmerized by colorful,entertaining electro-magnetic movement within plasma. Herding, calling, driving all through their targeting marketed messaging to comply with the colonized freedom of digital media. All those crooning necks, every curious eyeball yanked out of socket, drawn toward the
            1%‘s perspective of a tantalizing artificial life well lived. All the while the promise of the real beckons from outside the millimeter waved fencing; strumming on the heart strings and singing the sirens call…. break on through to the other side… go back the way you came. Altruism awaits us all.

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          3. are we ever a sad bunch… your thoughts, so refreshingly rendered, utejack, should ‘shiver the timbers’ of the moral gorgons, but i fear the only ones who will absorb your words are the odd choir members… such as those who raster-scan wja, counterpunch, tomdispatch, and chris hedges radio sites… not the bulk of the congregation, who will flee the temples, synagogues, and churches in a stampede to their homes, flip the switches on their plasma-ambits, stoke up the BBQ, and cheerfully settle into their virtual worlds. when their virtual lives induce sufficient ennui, the bored zombies will be gung-ho to attack another small country unable to protect itself. in the spirit of ike eisenhauer’s and smedley butler’s exhortations, we have reached the nexus in our sorry history wherein weapons and wars have switched places: “weapons were once manufactured to fight wars; now wars are manufactured to sell weapons” [can’t recall where i read that quote].

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  12. @JEANIE MCEACHERN
    I don’t think its global oligarchs. Certainly not Russian ones. And is there such a thing as a Chinese oligarch?
    Neither Russia nor China has 900+ overseas military bases.
    Sadly the desire for World control is the sole domain of the US hegemonic oligarchs.
    If you are looking for some twisted collusion you would do worse than look to all the Zionists that are in the US Congress, and who dominate American foreign policy thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. unfailingly, unwaveringly, unequivocally, dennis; what you exhort is an accurate, unexaggerated mis-en-scène. it is the most reprehensible situation i have encountered in my 80-yr seigneury among the living. as divulgated multiple times on wja’s, denise’s, and several other blog-sites, my family and i have perfervidly promoted palestinian rights since the mid-1980’s intifadas, during our years in the hashemite kingdom of jordan and the red sea governorates of egypt.

      yet, all that i’ve managed to accomplish in these past 35 years is hermetic hatred and charges of anti-semitism from jews, israelis [NOT the israeli peace-crwth], and the politicians whom the zionists own in the US and canada. my fevered polemics and diatribes have been long-dismissed as the ravings of a radicalized virago. patience is not one of my virtues [of which i house rather too few], so the funding of reputable organizations like JUST VISION, gaza-relief agencies, COUNTERPUNCH alternative news, and pro-palestinian politicians has become my path of least resistance. at least, due to open-minded, honourable people like you, i no longer feel like a lone-wolf maverick disdained by the media.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jeanie, you would enjoy some of the posts of Yasha Levine (Immigrants As A Weapon). He tells the tale of Israel’s governing class and their operations inside Russia and America to move the Russian Jewish community into the occupied territories to become a buffer to the motherland faithful.

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        1. tnx for sharing the yasha levine info, utejack. will search his name straightaway. am impressed and grateful for the rich repository of knowledge selflessly and voluntarily shared on wja’s site.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. https://yasha.substack.com/p/immigrants-as-a-weapon-global-nationalism

            Here’s one of Yasha’s articles.
            A lot of his material is subscriber only.
            But I donate to his cause because after reading his epic book,
            Surveillance Valley; I wanted him to tell more about the weaponized immigrants.
            I’m sure the book he creates on this topic will be equally relevant. I can already say he is making me understand more and more about the Palestinian cause you are so passionate about. Thanks for the links about where to help.

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    2. “The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has
      owned the government of the United States since the days of Andrew Jackson.” 􀀂Franklin D.
      Roosevelt

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      1. w/ certitude, raymond. the oligarchs and money-mongers are synonymous, one in the same, and they have controlled the halls of ‘gubemare’ [latin for ‘to steer or control the sea’], probably from the too tenebrous times in our murky history to calculate. they gain suzerainty over others in most countries b/c they are the accumulators and manipulators of sufficient assets to fund and control the weapons-drenched minions in their ‘for-hire’ militaries, as well as their myrmidons in parliaments, congresses, and state houses across the planet, w/ new zealand as one of the rare exceptions.

        your name ‘ray-mond’ is suggestive: literally, a ray [of sun] in the world.

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        1. In my humble opinion, all 1%’ers sleep in the same corrupt bed. They serve neither country or God. They have exalted their throne above the original….and have wielded the shuttle and together have woven a woolen blanket to comfort themselves and cover our eyes.

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