The Giant War Robot that Rules America

Not exactly the “Great Society” envisioned by LBJ in the 1960s. How long before war becomes both programmed and automated into our society as an unstoppable force?

W.J. Astore

Readers, I admit to you I’m demoralized after seeing this news a couple of days ago:

The House on Thursday passed, 329-101, its version of the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which would authorize $840.2 billion in national defense spending.

I’ve been writing against massive and unnecessary spending on wars and weapons since the early 1980s, when I did a college project that was highly critical of the Reagan “Defense Buildup” under then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Those were the days when there was a real movement against Reagan’s pursuit of the MX “Peacekeeper” ICBM and the deployment of nuclear-tipped Pershing II and GLCMs (ground-launched cruise missiles, or “glick-ems”) to Europe. The Nuclear Freeze Movement helped to stimulate talks between Reagan and Gorbachev that led to the elimination of weapons like the Pershing II, the GLCMs, and Soviet SS-20s, introducing a small sliver of (temporary) sanity to U.S.-Soviet relations.

Then came the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and America’s unipolar moment of triumph. Who knew that 30 years later, America would be vigorously advancing and inflating a new Russian threat that would then be used to “justify” renewed spending on all sorts of esoteric, exorbitant, and wildly unnecessary weaponry to feed the never-satiated military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC). I didn’t predict it, that’s for sure.

For the last 15 years, I’ve been writing for, averaging six articles a year whose main theme has been the often colossal failures of the MICC and the total lack of accountability for the same. Never has failure bred so much success for an institution. And the institution itself, I truly hesitate to write, is woefully lacking in integrity. Whether it was the Pentagon Papers in Vietnam, the Afghan War Papers, the lies about WMD in Iraq that precipitated the disastrous Iraq War in 2003, or that hoary chestnut about babies being ripped from incubators in Kuwait that helped to justify Desert Shield/Storm in 1991-92, the American people have been told so many lies about war by “their” MICC that it boggles the mind.

And don’t even get me started about how the military lied about Pat Tillman’s death, tarnishing the legacy of a brave soldier inspired by service and idealism.

People with integrity who try to tell us the truth about America’s wars, like Chelsea Manning and Daniel Hale, end up in jail. The liars and the ones who always get it wrong end up being richly rewarded and often promoted to the highest levels.

This has to end, or America itself will come to an end. And it’s so frustrating because, again, I’ve been writing about this, off and on, for forty years, and steadily over the last 15 years. But nothing I say or write, or other critics like Andrew Bacevich and William Hartung say or write, makes any difference, so it seems, as the MICC continues to become the giant war robot that rules America.

117 thoughts on “The Giant War Robot that Rules America

  1. Lt Col, I surely understand your demoralization.

    I have been advocating for years that Chalmers Johnson’s three books, three examinations of the consequences of what he called the “American Empire”: Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis; The Last Days of the American Republic be compulsory reading in all American High School students syllabuses.

    These three books need to be taught and understood on the same level as the American Constitution is taught.

    “A nation can be one or the other, a democracy or an imperialist, but it can’t be both. If it sticks to imperialism, it will, like the old Roman Republic, on which so much of our system was modeled, lose its democracy to a domestic dictatorship.”

    Thanks for another great blog my man. Hang in there

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If Johnson’s books are taught and understood “on [and at] the same level as the American Constitution is taught” [and understood], absolutely nothing will change.’


    2. I wrote to the Senate and House Chaplains years ago suggesting instead of starting the Session with a long prayer probably few Senators or Representatives listen to, they should read Eisenhower’s CROSS OF IRON speech from the Beginning of his Presidency, to the WARNING of a growing Military-Industrial Complex spreading it’s tentacles throughout every level of the US Societal Structure at the end of his 8 year Presidency. Even he couldn’t change US System.

      They should read it often. It may be more effective than repetitive prayers that have fallen on DEAF EARS since the 60s.
      I suspect they’d lose their jobs if they did that even though it falls within the literal Biblical scope from the OT in contrast to what Bill laments here, evidence the Spiritual sickness Dr. King cited.
      “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, saying: ‘Not by military force and not by physical strength, but by My spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts.”


      1. Ray, you know this drives us atheists crazy! The SCOTUS strikes again! There is no way any session of Congress should be started with a prayer, let alone a long prayer! I don’t care what the religion delivers the damn “prayer” !

        Wiki- “The constitutionality of legislative chaplains was upheld in 1983 by the Supreme Court (Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783, related to chaplains in the Nebraska Legislature) on the grounds of precedent and tradition. The Court cited the practice going back to the Continental Congress in 1774 and noted that the custom “is deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country” from colonial times and the founding of the republic. Further, the Court held that the use of prayer “has become part of the fabric of our society,” coexisting with “the principles of disestablishment and religious freedom.” This decision was cited in Murray v. Buchanan, which challenged the House chaplaincy, the next year. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed the complaint “for want of a substantial constitutional question.” Subsequently, on March 25, 2004, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, citing Marsh v. Chambers, dismissed a suit that challenged the congressional practice of paid chaplains as well as the practice of opening legislative sessions with prayer.”



        1. In September 2000, guest chaplain Venkatachalapathi Samuldrala opened a session with a Hindu prayer sparking protests from some conservative Christian media figures.

          Pointing out the explicate reason this “prayer” is duplicitous (mendacious?) and pits the American people against each other!

          The SCOTUS and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia got this wrong!


  2. Our Greatest Enemy At Present Is The NeoCon Counterattack, Not The Woke Left Or MAGA Right by Keith Preston

    “What is going with the neocons’ alliance framework and its multi-front strategy right now is extraordinarily frightening. The Woke Left and MAGA Right are rookie leaguers in comparison, and the neocons, who have decades of experience in professional subversion and unlimited billionaire wealth behind them, are simultaneously working both angles to maneuver a return to power….


    1. So Jeff, what is your definition of “Neocon”?
      Other than a person who is reluctant to accept change and new ideas? Which would be the MAGA right.

      Is this what it means? “Basically a word synonymous to names like John Bolton, Pompeo, Dick Cheney, Elliott Abrams, Robert Lighthizer, Peter Navarro etc. A small, but constant clique in the US administration that is responsible for most of the recent US military invasions around the globe. – from the Urban Dictionary.


      1. You know the joke about the philosophy symposium where the first speaker says “good morning” and somebody from the audience yells out “define your terms”?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A neocon, so it seems to me, is someone who believes in American exceptionalism and the efficacy of war and empire to achieve, maintain, and enforce America as “Number One.” Someone who believes that America deserves “full-spectrum dominance” and that war and torture and mayhem mean never having to say you’re sorry because you’re an American on the side of the angels.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Phew – “Full-spectrum dominance” is military control over all dimensions of the World battlespace. Possessing an overwhelming diversity of resources in terrestrial, aerial, maritime, subterranean, extraterrestrial, psychological, and bio and cyber-technological warfare.

          Full spectrum dominance includes the World battlespace; air, surface, and sub-surface, space as well as the electromagnetic spectrum and information space.

          That’s a pretty humungous task eh Lt. Co.! Must be why it costs US$1.404-trillion!


          1. Maybe you Americans could help me with this?
            Where in the Constitution did the founding fathers talk about “Full-spectrum dominance”.
            In fact did they not warn about get tangled up in foreign wars?

            Jefferson summed up the noninterventionist foreign policy position perfectly in his 1801 inaugural address: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”

            “It’s easy to dismiss the noninterventionist view as the quaint aspiration of men who lived in a less complicated world, but it’s not so easy to demonstrate how our current policies serve any national interest at all. Perhaps an honest examination of the history of American interventionism in the 20th century, from Korea to Vietnam to Kosovo to the Middle East, would reveal that the Founding Fathers foresaw more than we think”. – Ron Paul, M.D., represents the 14th Congressional District of Texas in the US House of Representatives.


            1. Yes the Founding Fathers advised us not to get tangled up in foreign wars. Unfortunately our “evolved” modern Presidents think they know better. They don’t have much use for the Constitution anyway. It inhibits their power and they don’t like to be inhibited.


              1. Alex the way I understand it is the founding fathers set up the federal government with three branches. The Executive, (President and about 5,000,000 workers) Legislative (Senate and House of Representatives) and Judicial (Supreme Court and lower Courts).Their plan was for each to provide checks and balance of the other two. Do I have that right?

                It seems to me that what has evolved is an Executive branch exercising way too much power, and the other two branches shirking their responsibility to exercise their powers. Particularly the Legislative. Hence a President that can declare wars willy-nilly.


                1. Yes. Basically the Constitution says that only Congress can declare war. But it also says the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. So Presidents say, basically, it’s my army and I’ll fight who I want to (apologies to Lesley Gore). I don’t think this was the Constitutional idea but you know how Presidents are. They think they’re Kings. In 1973 in the shadow of Vietnam Congress passed the War Powers Resolution which became law in spite of Nixon’s veto. It theoretically limits the ability of the President to commit troops without a declaration of war. Presidents have violated it (Clinton’s bombing of Yugoslavia, for instance) but it’s probably had an inhibitory affect. It may be at least in part why Biden resists some escalations of the war on Russia, for instance. Of course if a President wants to ignore it the only recourse left to Congress is to impeach the President, a step which until this century was not taken lightly. Unfortunately we don’t have the equivalent of a UK no-confidence vote.


      3. Really “neocon” is a combination of two things. “Neo” as in new. And “con” as in conservative. So a neocon is someone who is newly a conservative, after having been a socialist/communist. Irving Kristol (Bill Kristol’s father) is a classic neocon. In his youth he was a Marxist but he turned against Marxism/communism and defended the push against Communism by people like Joseph McCarthy (fight the Communists). So neo-conservatism involved turning from Communist (or similar) and turning anti-communist. Which of course involved fighting Soviet interests wherever they appeared. Hence the military aspect. Typically neo-conservatives were members of the Democratic Party. I prefer the term “hawk” to describe people who easily resort to military intervention in foreign affairs. It’s difficult enough to define the word conservative without adding a prefix.


        1. As my widowed, working class mother (an FDR Democrat) used to say about newly converted religious proselytizers: “There is no one more sanctimonious than a reformed whore.” I think the same sentiment applies to the so-called and self-styled “neo-cons.” Nothing either new or conservative about them. They seem more like opportunistic nationalists in the extended sense that Orwell used that term in his famous essay: Notes on Nationalism.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism.
            Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved.

            By “patriotism” I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people.

            Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally.
            Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power.
            The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.


      4. What difference does it make how I define neocon, Dennis? What’s important here is how Mr Preston defined it in his article. And it looks like other folks have answered Your question.


      5. We talk about neocons starting wars because the people doing the defining are typically liberals. Liberals don’t like to admit they start wars too. In fact, libs (or progs if we keep the truncation consistent) got us involved in WWI, II, Korea, Vietnam, Ukraine/Russia, and assorted miscellaneous wars. Not including the American Civil War of course. Neocons have gotten us into Iraq and Afghanistan, so they are well behind if we’re keeping score. Alex Christoforou (of theduran) started recently talking about neolibs, in order to balance out his blaming the war on neocons. Neolibs makes even less sense than neocons. But at least Alex was trying to be balanced.


        1. Actually, Alex Christoforous and Alexander Mercouris will both regale you the long history of both NeoCons and Neolibs having a long running coordinated plan to initiate the Ukraine/Russia war. Both sides of the aisle have been wanting a hot war with Russia for many years now. Refer to Senator Richard Black’s discussion in the video I linked to below.


  3. Even more demoralizing Lt. Col when you realise that the $840.2-billion is not realistic. William Hartung, a Senior Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, recently calculated a more realistic figure – coming up with $1.404-trillion!

    Hartung says the Pentagon is just one element in an ever more costly American national security state. Adding other military, intelligence, and internal-security expenditures to the Pentagon’s budget brings the total upcoming “national security” budget to a mind-boggling $1.4 trillion. And note that, in June 2021, the last time my colleague Mandy Smithberger and I added up such costs to the taxpayer, that figure was almost $1.3 trillion, so the trend is obvious.

    And Hartung again…… Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn, however, that, in the wake of the Afghan disaster, the military establishment and hawks in Congress quickly shifted gears to touting — and exaggerating — challenges posed by China, Russia, and inflation as reasons for absorbing the potential savings from the Afghan War and pressing the Pentagon budget ever higher.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I would put the starting point to our foreign interference under LBJ and his Vietnam “adventure” as his VP called it. Fortunately that became the de facto end of the draft. Subsequent big wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) were fought with a volunteer army. Fortunately we seemed to have gotten tired of that, too. Unfortunately that has progressed to proxy wars when citizens of another country fight and we supply money and weapons. Hopefully we will get tired of that, too, but I’m guessing it will take a while.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. More of a UN operation, at least formally. As the dominant power the US did much or most of the fighting. Vietnam on the other hand was US pretty much alone.


        1. But was the Korean War necessary Alex?
          And why can’t we declare the war over after all these years?

          “……while the Korean War has largely faded in the memories of Americans—overshadowed by World War II and the Vietnam War—the precedent set by Truman’s actions in Korea has been used by U.S. Presidents as justification for military interventions in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and UN missions in Bosnia and Haiti. The first-of-its-kind decision has been debated ever since….”


        1. Lt. Col. in a comment to Dan Whites article you wrote this in 2013……

          The Korean War as it’s taught in America is a fascinating case of “conventional” one-sided history. I learned all about Mig Alley and how intrepid American pilots flying Sabre jets defeated the Migs over the Yalu River. What wasn’t mentioned was the incredibly destructive and indiscriminate bombing of North Korea, which formed a prelude to the even more destructive and indiscriminate bombing of Vietnam. Chosin Reservoir in U.S. history books is treated as a remarkable defensive stand rather than a perilous defeat. MacArthur is praised as a military genius at Inchon who got a little too full of himself, creating an opportunity for Truman to teach him and the country a valuable lesson in civilian control of the military. The war itself is ultimately treated as a victory for containment even though it ended in stalemate at tremendous cost to the Koreans and the Chinese (and a considerable cost to Americans as well).

          Korea also influenced Vietnam. In many ways, we tried to repeat the Korean experiment in Vietnam, allying ourselves with dubious leaders, using conventional big battalions and massive firepower (especially airpower) in an attempt to preserve South Vietnam and contain communist aggression from the north. This time, we failed.

          That we thought we won (sort of) in Korea emboldened us to pursue more aggressive policies in Asia regardless of history and context, thus setting the stage for massive intervention (and ultimate failure) in Vietnam ten years later.


          1. I guess that’s right then. World War II was our last declared war. Everything since has been WDP – War at the Discretion of the President.

            Liked by 2 people

  5. Of course even before that there was World War I (The Great War). We entered that war in 1917 in order to “make the world safe for democracy” as the Democrat President Woodrow Wilson put it. Wilson considered himself a “progressive”. So we entered the war, enabling France/England to triumph over Germany. They imposed a punishing treaty on Germany, which historians say led to the rise of Hitler and World War II. Some scholars say in hindsight we should have just let the European powers fight it out until they were exhausted, although that might have taken some time (the Hundred Years War between France and England during the Late Middle Ages actually took 116 years to finish).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Another comedian, like Jimmy Dore, with a huge following.
    Russell Brand has 5,770,000 subscribers!
    I used to think he was bit way out there – but lately his observations have been very astute.
    If only the World a was run by the George Carlin’s, Richard Pryor’s, Robin Williams, Bob Newhart’s, Lily Tomlins, Rodney Dangerfield’s and Jimmy Dores eh?
    Ooops forgot Zelenskyy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The first comment shown below that Russell Brand video by Ton Hoffman is rightly praised…

      “There is hardly anything more stupid and dangerous than putting important decisions in the hands of people who don’t have to pay a price for being wrong”.

      In the light of this comment, I am very concerned by the similarity in actions taken by the US and Israel, Israel paving the way for imitation by Uncle Same with pre-emptive attacks and disproportionate response. The so-called Powell Doctrine of hitting with overwhelming power was of long standing with Israel. Because the tiny country is made invincible by the US, it can put weapons and techniques to the test. Former PM Netanyahu said that Israel would always live by the sword and the US had no comment. In fact, many Israelis take great pride in the state being militaristic and pugnacious, admire the military and are inspired by what it does. Essentially, Israel is an attack dog proud of being so and one that the US refuses to leash.

      I don’t think any of us want to see the US in another war, but none of us would be surprised to hear of Israel attacking Syria (it does this regularly), Lebanon or Iran. Yet the US is so joined at the hip to Israel, can any of us doubt that Congress would cheer for us joining a war Israel starts?

      The relationship is dangerously cozy, having nothing to do with liberty and justice for all. To hear Biden speak about the long impossible “two state solution” then chide Democrats who quite rightly denounce apartheid reflects the fact that the neocons are uniformly hawkish fans of Israel and that our Congress is lobby controlled. That a war with Iran is being planned is not to be dismissed, likely awaiting a “9/11” moment to put the large stockpile of US armaments in Israel, and the US itself to use for Israel goals. I wish someone in Congress would talk this up as an alert to avoid a repetition of the Iraq disaster.

      BTW, I’ve always found Aaron Mate’s views accurate and well expressed. He avoids the drama of Brand and doesn’t waste a word.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Great comment as usual Clif.
        Meanwhile – US Rejects peace offering from Putin
        War clouds brewing over Iran.
        And if this guy believes it, so should we. Alex Mercouris is always correct


        1. Add this one to you list of must see video’s if you want to know the truth.
          You will never see this Interview with this great patriotic American on MSNBC, PBS or CNN.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. “The relationship is dangerously cozy, having nothing to do with liberty and justice for all. … ”


        Cozy, Scandalous
        (With apologies to the shade of Percy Bysshe Shelley and his immortal poem “Ozymandias”)

        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


    2. Except History shows many Revolutionaries from the Status Quo, having the most Noble ideas, once they get Power, change and abandon the ideals.

      Cuba is still hanging on in the face of US sanctions


  7. This is not directly related but must see…
    Biden’s claim of security, cooperation in the middle east and “not leaving a vacuum” will only benefit “Military Industrial Complex”… at the same time, humiliating the country. He was challenged by MBS about Abu Ghraib and Abu Akhleh killing by Israelis when he talked about Human Rights…..USA hypocrisy exposed by a probable killer!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Chris Hedges today……

    “The United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia are plotting a war with Iran. The 2015 Iranian nuclear arms accord, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which Donald Trump sabotaged, does not look like it will be revived. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) is reviewing options to attack if Teheran looks poised to obtain a nuclear weapon and Israel, which opposes U.S.-Iran nuclear negotiations, carries out military strikes.

    During his visit to Israel (who has nuclear weapons) , Biden assured Prime Minister Yair Lapid that the U.S. is “prepared to use all elements of its national power,” including military force, to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

    The duplicity is not lost on most of the world. They know who the U.S. is. They know that in American eyes they are unworthy. The inevitable demise of the U.S. on the world stage is cheered by the majority of the planet. The tragedy is that, as it goes down, it is determined to take so many others down with it.”


    1. Why doesn’t the US ask Israel to dismantle their weapons of mass destruction. Why only Iran?
      Who gave the US permission to have nuclear weapons? Or Israel?
      And begging the question – who gave the US the authority to say who has nuclear weapons?


    2. Iran views the US as the Great Satan and Israel as the little Satan.

      The 1979 Iranian Revolution was an expected shock to the West the month before the signing of the Camp David Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt.

      In September 1976, The Kansas City Times was quoting me, “¨There are 30 months before the fate of the world will be sealed with EITHER Destruction OR the Universal Brotherhood of Man,¨ he said. ¨The 30 month figure concerned a Treaty between Israel and Egypt.¨

      NOTE: This does not say Armageddon happens in 30 months from the article.

      Not 29 or 31, but exactly 30 months later, in March 1979, history shows a Treaty between Israel and Egypt was signed. The Camp David Accord. History shows talks broke down on the 12th day and no Treaty was to be signed. Begin and Sadat were leaving. It was on the 13th Day, as in the date of the Article and the picture accompanying it, an unexpected window of opportunity appeared and opened the way for the Treaty to be signed.

      This signified the Universal Brotherhood part of the quote.

      Dennis is telling us with his comment, The Destruction part in the 1976 Newspaper record is on the table Today, and may be getting closer those who pay attention can see.

      Like Bill, it too often appears to me this World has opted for the Destruction part from the 1976 choice, but I haven’t given up yet, also seeing encouraging signs!



      1. Iran views the US as the Great Satan and Israel as the little Satan.
        As the late great Christopher Hitchens said…. “Religion poisons everything”


          1. Bill, I never know how to respectfully respond to your “joking” about Hitchens, and especially about his position on problems that religion hoists upon the World. But as my mother said..”If you don’t have anything nice to say – don’t say anything at all!” Lets leave it at that.


            1. Well, Dennis, you should follow your mother’s advice and stop disparaging my Faith in God. You can ignore any comment I make referring to God and Scriptures, but you jump right in to fight it appears to me.


        1. The irony is that Christ Hitchens preaches with religious zeal against religion.

          I wouldn’t say religion poisons everything, but fanaticism and extremism do, whether it’s in the cause of religion or against it.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Lets leave this for another blog if you wish Bill. To say that “Christ Hitchens preaches with religious zeal” is not accurate in so many ways. But this is not the place to open that can of worms. And is name is Christopher.


            1. Bill, I could not think of the word! “pe·jora·tive”…….most of what he said was inflammatory and filled with pejoratives. Expressing contempt or disapproval. disparaging · derogatory · denigratory · deprecatory disapproving · contemptuous · invective · contumelious.
              Where is commenter JEANNIE when we need her?


                1. Ray respectfully, the great man, who always treated others with respect, always asked to be called “Christopher” in lieu of “Chris.” So when I hear him being referred to as Christ Hitchens I have to admit I find that mildly offensive.
                  But anyway, please do not let our different views on religion keep us from interacting with each other. I promise I will do that. Dennis


            2. Yes, I was being naughty for a reason. I think Hitchens may forgive me.

              I wanted to point out the irony of a man whose name includes “Christ” as being so doctrinaire against religion.

              Also, I note your reaction to my pejorative truncation of his name. You might also reflect on how religious believers may find your dismissals of their faith as pejorative, or worse.

              Hitchens surely has many sound points about the perils of blind faith and organized religions. But I depart from him because I believe religion can be a positive force in the life of so many believers around the world.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Thanks Bill. I have always regaled against Hitchens, Dawkins, and Sam Harris being called doctrinarian, zealots, and worse still “militant atheist’s”. I hate that term. Given all the abuse they take from Christian apologists, I always think they show undue restraint and respect in the face of the overwhelming stupidity that are faced with.


                And yes, both you and Ray have made me realize that my ad nauseum dismissal of faith can be taken as pejorative, or worse. My old parents always used to say there is two things you should keep to yourself. Your religion and politics! They were wise eh?

                Anyway – another great comment thread eh Lt. Col.


  9. Is Chris Hedges exaggerating in the above article?……

    “The idea that the U.S. represents and promotes virtue illustrates the self-delusion that accompanies America’s moral and physical degeneration. The rest of the world, which recoils in repugnance at what the U.S. has become, does not take it seriously. They fear U.S. bombs. But fear is not respect.

    They no longer envy America’s hedonistic mass culture, tarnished by mass shootings, social inequality, the decay of infrastructure, dysfunction and a Grand Guignol-style of politics that has turned civil and political discourse into a tawdry burlesque.

    America is a grim joke, one about to be made worse when the Christian fascists, bigots and conspiracy theorists take control of Congress in the fall, and I expect, the presidency two years later.”

    I gotta stop reading this stuff…its more than demoralizing Lt. Col. – its truly depressing!


    1. Reading Chris Hedges is sobering — and depressing.

      All I can say is that I hope he’s wrong; that it’s not as bad as he thinks it is.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hyperbole. “Christian fascists”. That’s funny. Christians saluting pictures of Mussolini I guess. Yeah that’s a real problem (sarc).


      1. Sadly Alex I don’t think its hyperbole….and hardly funny….

        “I do not use the word fascist lightly. My father was a Presbyterian minister. My mother, a professor, was a seminary graduate. I received my Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. I am an ordained Presbyterian minister. Most importantly, I spent two years reporting from megachurches, creationist seminars, right-to-life retreats, Christian broadcasting networks and conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with members and leaders of the Christian right for my book “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America,” which is banned at most “Christian” schools and universities. Before the book was published, I met at length with Fritz Stern, the author of “The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the German Ideology,” and Robert O. Paxton, who wrote “The Anatomy of Fascism,” two of the country’s most eminent scholars of fascism, to make sure the word fascist was appropriate.”


          1. Yeah I can see where you are coming from – he sometimes comes on too strong for me as well. But you can’t question his record, his history, his knowledge and his legitimacy. And he paid dearly for telling the truth at the New York Times.


    3. I don’t know if Bill has some way to retrieve my observations during the Trump Administration, for the support of the Christian-Fascists, while Congress will pass no Law to establish a State Religion, Trump was doing it through the back door via his appointments to the Supreme Court that is now exposed.


        1. Dennis, there is a difference between Religion and Faith.
          This Daily prayer after 47 years of seeking more of God in MY Life is very simple. It’s in the Spirit of this line from Psalms, “All who seek You shall exult and rejoice; those who love Your salvation shall constantly say, “May the Lord be magnified.”

          Lord, increase my Faith.
          Renew my mind and purify my heart.
          Grant me the Wisdom and Understanding so that I may be a Faithful and True Witness in Jesus’ Name.

          You don’t know my Life and the many Saving Graces God bestows on me, reducing my Cost of Living as it’s rising in the World.

          I thank the God of MY Faith, I have a large 1 bedroom apartment in the Downtown of CanaDa’s National Capital District, heated, with a parking space for $566/month. That’s a real Saving Grace when smaller apartments on my street are going for $1000-1500 per month. At 78, I’m a protected Species with Quebec’s Rental Board having lived here for 19 years.


          1. Ray, sounds like you have a very nice life there in Quebec. You are very fortunate.
            That’s great. I’m happy for you.
            I’m curious though – why has God chosen to bestow this nice life on you?
            And why has he decided to reduce your cost of living?
            And yet there are many other unfortunate souls in Quebec – sleeping in the streets homeless?
            Many struggling with mental illness.
            That have not met with God’s blessing? What Saving Graces do they get from God I wonder?
            Take care my good man.


            1. The eye has not seen, nor has the ear heard, the things prepared by God for those who love God. God takes care of God’s Children, not those who don’t call on God, yet rain falls on the Just and unjust.

              What I know is that February 1st, 1975 when I was 29 going on 30 being BORN AGAIN by God, I was realizing a 5 year Dream. A French Canadian Artist was moving from Montreal to Quebec City, selling all his possessions including artwork at a price I could afford. It was a beautiful place and my wealthy Jewish friend living on the heights of Mount Royal in Montreal said he was jealous of this 5 room flat right in the heart of Downtown between East and West. The rent in 1975 was $65/month with an oil burning stove for heating.

              That happened the Day after I quit the position my Business Card read as ‘National Marketing Representative, Mining Division, Dominion Engineering Works Ltd.’ of Montreal.

              I repented that Day in the sense of the word meaning a new way of thinking and looking at the World and the Spirit in a new Light. With this new life before me, I grew shoulder length hair, beard and 7 months later, gave up that Dream apartment, entering the US with a backpack September 1, 1975, hitch hiking through some 45 States over the course of 15 months to discover the Spirit of 76.
              Because of the unusually high level of visibility I reached at the 1976 Republican National Convention, I was arrested as an ALIEN to be deported back to CanaDa.

              God held that 1975 Dream apartment in Reserve for me. It was on Hotel de Ville Street in Montreal. I have come full circle, now having that Dream apartment I described above on Hotel de Ville Street in the Nation’s Capital. I have many reasons to give thanks.


              1. So if all those homeless just called on God – homelessness would be eliminated…..OK, if you say so Ray!
                And how do you know if all those homeless people love God or not? I bet many do, calling out to him in their prayers to provide to them what he has apparently provided you.

                I strongly suspect your inexpensive apartment was provided to you by the City of Quebec. By their Grace. Not by some imaginary super natural guy!


                1. Establishment Christianity totally ignores Christ when he says ‘hardly ever will a rich man enter the kingdom of heaven, and it’s easier for a camel to to enter through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’ He doesn’t exclude them. They make their choice on serving God or money.
                  That would require changing the system, and the people changing themselves 1st.

                  They could eliminate Global hunger and poverty if they didn’t want so much power for themselves. Don’t blame God to obfuscate the issue.


                2. I’m not sure I understand your reply Ray.

                  Are you saying that those poor homeless people, many mentally ill, who have fallen through the cracks of the system made a choice between serving God or money?

                  I guess all I’m pointing out is that an all loving and powerful God would help the homeless. If he choses not to – then he is not all loving. If he wants to but can’t, or doesn’t, he is not all powerful? So why call him a God?


                3. Ray, my man, I have it carefully several times.
                  Maybe I’m just slow today, but I still do not get your meaning.
                  Try it again, phrasing it a little differently perhaps.


                4. Bty way, when I moved in here so many years ago, my Jewish Landlord didn’t know me from Adam,.
                  To my surprise on our 1st meeting, he promised not to raise my rent as long as I live here, and he kept the promise.
                  He sold the building 2 years ago, and the new landlord raised my rent by $16 the 1st of May. Also in May, my Old Age Security with the Supplement went up $16.
                  As people are running faster and faster just to be where they were, God helps me to maintain my Balance of Payments so I have fewer stresses.


                5. @RAY JOSEPH CORMIER
                  Would it not make more senses to say your generous landlords, and The Government, helped you to maintain your Balance of Payments so that you have fewer stresses.
                  Why demean and detract from these guys, who where the ones who actually helped you, and attribute it to an imaginary super natural guy?


                6. We are truly straying from the subject here, gents.

                  I think you two should communicate directly.


                7. I agree. It shouldn’t have gone this far! I had no intention of answering Dennis any more on this. I came to the conclusion he was just trolling me.
                  I still like Dennis’ posts and videos


  10. A comment on Chris Hedges article in todays Consortium News…

    “The new Saudi open skies agreement announced by Biden allowing Israel to overfly Saudi Arabia is a guaranteed the Israelis military will attack Iran this autumn or winter, thereby throwing the world into the deepest economic turmoil it has ever experienced as Middle East oil supplies halt”


    1. Israel does not need Saudi Arabia’s permission to use its airspace to attack Iran. If Israel decides to bomb Iran and fly thru Saudi airspace to do it, what is Saudi Arabia going to do to stop it?

      When Israel jets destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor about 10 miles outside Baghdad on June 7, 1981, they flew directly across Saudi Arabia. i know that because i was enjoying a day at the beach about 30 miles south of Eilat, Israel, on the Gulf of Aqaba, and saw them fly directly east a couple hundred feet off the deck out over the Gulf and into Saudi airspace.

      If they chose to something like that today, again: Who and/or what is going to stop them?


      1. Yes I think you are correct Jeff…thinking about it, the Saudi’s won’t lift a finger to stop them, but probaly join in!

        “Saudi Arabia flaunted its new F-15SA fighter jet at an airshow in Riyadh on Wednesday, demonstrating that it has begun receiving items purchased six years ago in the priciest-ever U.S. arms sale to a foreign country.

        The Obama administration approved the $60 billion deal in 2010 amid mounting U.S. and Saudi tensions with Iran. The deal dwarfed previous multibillion-dollar sales to Saudi Arabia, which for years has been the biggest U.S. arms buyer.

        In addition to the 84 (!) Boeing F-15SA fighters, the deal included orders for upgrades to Saudi Arabia’s 70 older F-15s, HARM AGM-88 Anti-Radiation Missiles, Laser JDAM and Enhanced Paveway munitions.

        Riyadh placed its order for the fighter jets to support its chief foreign policy goal of rolling back Iranian influence around the region, according to statements by U.S. officials at the time.

        “There’s no question that impressive equipment has been a boon to the Saudi-led coalition,” said Adam Baron, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

        “But ultimately, state of the art weaponry is one thing and the situation on the ground is another.”

        Its going to be a helluva war! And once again the good old USA is complicit in facilitating war. And a war between Israel and its ally the US and Iran could make the Ukraine/Russia conflict look like child’s play.

        Iran has an active military over half a million strong, and another 350,000 reservists. It has developed drone and missile capacity, with an arsenal that the US describes as the largest in the Middle East. It has thousands of missiles, the most powerful with ranges over 2,000 km. Capable of hitting Israel, Gulf Arab states, US military bases in the region and parts of Europe. And of course, Iranian deterrence will be the threat to choke the world economy by shutting down the flow of oil in the event of conflict. Around one-fifth of the world’s traded oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

        What could go wrong eh?


      2. Israel has it’s Samson Doctrine when faced with an “Existential Threat” and I expect Russia and Iran have their version.
        Iran has showed it has the accuracy with it’s Missiles to retaliate against any Israeli attack and you can be sure the entire Middle East Oil Fields will have more fires burning than at the end of the 1991 Gulf War.
        The Global Economy will crash and NO NATION will be immune from the consequences


  11. We were talking about neoconservatives earlier in the thread..
    As one commenter says: First it was to save the heathens souls. Then it was to save them from communism. Now we are spreading the light of wokeness. Same conquests, different selling points.


      1. Alex, can you imagine Joe Biden holding a four-day programme discussing Global Shake-up in the 21st Century: The Individual, Values and the State, with over 15 in-persons and online sessions over 4-days? not a chance!

        Did you read any of Putin’s speeches at this meeting? Love him or hate him. These are impressive. Just the shear volume of discussion in this link you provided! Wow! Did he write his presentation? We will never know. But he surely did not use a teleprompter!


        1. Our leaders are too attuned to the news cycle. They would show up, have their pictures taken, say a few words, have their aides distribute some stuff to the press, and be on their way to the next event. BTW I highly recommend Oliver Stone’s “The Putin Interviews”. Putin is an interesting guy from what I can see.


          1. Those Oliver Stone interviews of Vladimir are brilliant.
            I must be a “Putin Puppet” because I think Putin is one of the most brilliant politicians/leaders of out time.
            I am also great admirer of Oliver Stone.
            Another guy, like Green Greenwald, that will never be invited on PBS, MNSBC, or CNN

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Alex, I was involved on the periphery a few years ago in the World Aerobatic Aircraft Championships in the USA. The Russians showed up. With their state-of-the-art wonderfully designed aircraft. Beautifully constructed with space age materials. And skillfully flown by dedicated professional pilots – and blew us Yanks into the weeds! After the event Westerns were queued up with the big bucks to purchase those incredible planes.

              This left an incredible impression on me, and many of my colleagues. Back in the day those guys would have defected to the West, if they could escape their Soviet minders. Not now. In the last few decades Putin and the Russians have transformed Russia, and their technology in many fields is now equal to the best in the World. They make all our space launch rocket engines now. Those F35 jockeys are going to get a huge shock going up against the latest Suhkoi’s, and underestimate them at the their own peril.


      2. “Once again, the key theme of the forum was put in a straightforward, I would even say, point-blank manner: Global Shake-up in the 21st Century: The Individual, Values and the State.” Putin is right on again!

        Isn’t that what Bill and all of us are trying to answer?

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Back in 2005, when I began writing polemical verse as a DIY antidote for having to helplessly watch the government of my country lurching off into another insane military debacle, this time in the middle east, I chose not characterize the monster as a robotic machine but as a Lunatic Leviathan. Looking back on the poem after the lapse of seventeen years I think it still holds up pretty well.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “As a part of a congressional push to rein in the White House’s war-waging authorities, three amendments have been passed that deal with Authorisation for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) legislation passed decades ago.

    Two of the amendments were introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who was the only US member of Congress to oppose the invasion of Iraq. The first would repeal the 2002 AUMF for Iraq, while the second Lee amendment would require any AUMFs to include a “sunset provision,” meaning that the authorisations could only serve for a limited time period before expiring.

    A third amendment, from Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, would repeal the 1991 AUMF for Iraq.

    However, none of the amendments would touch the 2001 AUMF, which gave the executive branch broad-ranging authority to wage war and launch military actions against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.

    Legal experts have said that the only way for the US to fully commit to ending its “forever wars” in the Middle East, birthed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, would be to fully repeal the 2001 AUMF.”

    And sadly, none of the amendments would touch the 2001 AUMF.


  14. The above amendments were in the US House of Representatives just last week passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). An annual piece of legislation that sets the budget for the Pentagon as well as guiding American military policy for the year to come.

    It still has to pass the Senate? Do I have that correct?


    1. Yes. If it passes the Senate as written it goes on to Biden for his signature. If the Senate changes it there’s a conference committee composed of some Congressmen and Senators that irons out the differences, at which point it goes back to the House and Senate for their approval. At that point they have to vote the bill up or down – no amendments allowed.


      1. Thanks Alex. How many people do you know that even pay attention to the machinations of passing Bills in Congress? And even if they did – what could they do eh?

        While it seems like people get all upset about the $840.2-billion, they pay little attention to what’s arguably as important – what these Acts, like the National Defense Authorization Act, authorize the military is by Law allowed to do! But as I say – what can Joe Blow in the street do about that? Its the Patty Murray’s, and the Senators for Boeing and Lockheed Martin, that decides this minutiae.


        1. And of course who polices the actions of the Military to see that they operate within the constraints of the the National Defense Authorization Act? There is only one Julian Assange, and look what they did to him! And as the Lt. Col, wrote the Chelsea Manning’s and Daniel Hale’s end up in jail. The Edward Snowdens’ permanently exiled.

          Maybe this question is more appropriate for another time eh?


  15. Want to read something that is really depressing Lt. Col and my friend Alex?

    Read the 18-comments written by well educated, deeply concerned, peace loving, Americans in the comment section on Chris Hedges Consortium News article – about Biden’s sabre-rattling towards Iran while he was fist bumping with the head chocking Saudi Arabians…

    Sure America has domestic problems, all countries do, but these foreign affairs problems are of the WA beltways makings and could be solved tommorrow – at least that what I like to think. These future wars these maniacs are thinking about are – well, unthinkable!


    1. DUBYA, maybe the Chinese aircraft carriers actually work – unlike the US ones!

      The head of the U.S. Navy admits the service added too much untested tech to its latest and greatest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford.

      When the Navy first built the Ford, it incorporated nearly two dozen new technologies, some of which are still giving the service headaches 4 years after the ship entered the fleet.



    “Great patriots have warned Americans of the possibility an Iron Curtain of authoritarianism could descend upon America, making America over in the image of its Fascist enemies… .”

    “An Iron Curtain is descending on America. Its every manifestation is an insult to America’s Great Charters of Freedom, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, that inform what it means to be an American Patriot: to put these inalienable universal Human Rights above party, above person, above life itself. Sickeningly, but unsurprisingly, much of the disdain for the rights of the people flows from the very persons entrusted with its protection: Presidents, Legislators and Judges!

    “History shows that the greatest danger to the rights of the people mostly comes from those entrusted with governmental office or power. Such miscreants can be identified from their cardinal rule of operation: divide the people amongst themselves, over some issue—for example, “the Jews stabbed Germany in the back”—and the divided people cannot unite to resist the erosion of their rights. Ask, “who benefits” from such division?

    “A trusting people have been complicit in erecting the Iron Curtain. They believed the lies and enabled the liars. The people allowed the very fear General MacArthur warned against to control their decision making, and thus enabled the domestic enemies of the rights of the people to inaugurate policies destructive of their liberty, and eroding of their communities, even violently assaulting the representatives of the people in Congress assembled to do the peoples’ work.”

    Full text a


    1. I can’t resist the question you always ask your fellow Bracing Views commenters in your posts on such lofty issues here Jeff…

      What are YOU going to do about it?



    … “The tendency of homo sapiens to overburden our ecosystem with our consumption is not unique to us, and is not new. In fact, it looks like we’ve been on this trajectory toward ecocide since our ancient evolutionary ancestors began evolving extra brain matter.

    “And it is possible to just stop there and conclude that we are no different from our chimp relatives in this sense. That we will simply keep overhunting the red colobus monkey until there are none left, that we will keep depleting and destroying our biosphere until it can no longer sustain life. THAT THE HUMAN BRAIN DIFFERS FROM THE CHIMPANZEE’S ONLY IN INTELLIGENCE, NOT IN WISDOM. THAT WE ARE IN ESSENCE NO DIFFERENT FROM THE CYANOBACTERIA AT THE DAWN OF THE PROTEROZOIC ERA, A NEW SPECIES SHOWING UP ON THE SCENE AND CAUSING A MASS EXTINCTION EVENT IN AN ECOSYSTEM OVERBURDENED BY THEIR RAPID FLOURISHING.

    “You do also however have the option of openness to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, our species is destined for greater things. That maybe, just maybe, we have within us the capacity to transcend the mindless patterning of our evolutionary ancestors and move into a mindful relationship with this planet and its life forms. That maybe, just maybe, this whole human adventure doesn’t need to end in disaster after all.

    “It is possible that our descendents will look back on humanity’s existence on this planet from prehistoric times up until this crucial present moment as a kind of bridge between animal life and a new terrestrial expression that isn’t driven by the unconscious conditioning patterns that have driven the movements of every species on this planet from the very first single-celled organisms onward. THAT WHAT WE’RE EXPERIENCING RIGHT NOW AT THIS CRITICAL JUNCTURE IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE BEFORE THE EMERGENCE OF THE EARTH’S FIRST CONSCIOUS SPECIES. [EMPHASES added.]

    Full text at


    1. Alex, its very encouraging to see Senator Rand Paul taking up the mantle his Dad has held for so long. If only Ron Paul’s ideas on Foreign Policy had been listened to by more people, and taken under advisement by committees like the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this Giant US War Robot dog could have been kept on the porch.
      Sadly, Rand and his Dad are too often lone voices on these issues. I like what Rand said to Romney and Shaheen….“Paul responded that Gold Star parents are likely more concerned with Congress going wobbly on the Constitution.” And why is it lately that it seems its Republicans who are the non-interventionists?


      1. The Democratic Party has completely sold out to the military-industrial complex.

        The Republicans, who generally don’t fear being called “weak” on “defense,” have more leeway to critique the MIC and its folly.

        There is, of course, no major anti-war party in America.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Lt. Co, I just learned that Ron Paul received one electoral vote from a Texas elector in the 2016 presidential election, making him the oldest person to receive an Electoral College vote!


  18. If this great patriotic man could be seen often on MSNBC, CNN and PBS…
    This would be a good start to reeling in the the Giant War Robot that Rules America

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Lt. Co Astore……….”Not exactly the “Great Society” envisioned by LBJ in the 1960s. How long before war becomes both programmed and automated into our society as an unstoppable force?”


    1. Readers will realize that the robot you see above, which actually exists, is the exact replication of the imaginary fictional one depicted in the Lt.Col’s cartoon drawing at the top of this blog! Was this drawing 1960?


  20. Well said that man……

    “The Biden administration is determined to keep the US ensnared in the conflicts and rivalries of the Middle East, and “great power competition” has become the latest excuse for our government’s continued intervention and meddling in the affairs of the region. During his recent trip to Saudi Arabia, Biden said, “We will not walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia or Iran.” It is doubtful that any of these other states would or could fill the “vacuum” if the US reduced or ended its military presence in the region, but “preventing” this is an absurd reason for the US to continue to accept the costs and burdens of military involvement and meddling in this part of the world. Both the US and the countries of the region would be better off if our government no longer obsessed over the Middle East and its problems, since it is clear from the record that the US has usually made any problems that it focused on worse than it was before…….

    ……Whatever value US client relationships in the Middle East might have had in the past, they do not advance US interests or make the US more secure today. The US would be wiser to disentangle itself from them as quickly as possible. Americans shouldn’t fear “losing” such unreliable and reckless clients to a rival power, and we shouldn’t allow our foreign policy to be defined by constant antagonism towards the major powers of Eurasia. If the US stays on the path it is following right now, it will find itself fighting many more unnecessary wars in parts of the world where the US has little or nothing at stake.


  21. I get about 100 email a day to read this or that in addition to the many others in my FB News feed. Somehow I missed this latest from Bill until just now.

    I just found this News Site with Intelligent, incisive, in-depth analysis and reporting.
    It’s free to join.


  22. When is this guy going to be allowed to appear on TV talk shows in the US?
    Why is this patriotic man being censured and essentially black listed?
    And on YouTube this guy only has 8k subs? How can that be?
    Thank you for speaking out Col. Black.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Sounds like “NONE OF THESE CANDIDATES” would make a pretty good showing if an election were held today, eh?
    See for details.

    Quinnipiac shows 71% don’t want Biden and 64% don’t want Trump byMark Niquette

    President Joe Biden’s job-approval rating fell to the lowest mark of his presidency, and a healthy majority of Americans don’t want to see either him or former President Donald Trump run again in 2024, a Quinnipiac University poll found.

    Biden’s approval rating fell to 31% with 60% disapproving of his job performance in the survey of adults conducted July 14-18. Seventy-one percent of Americans don’t want to see Biden run for re-election, including 54% of Democrats and 77% of independents, the poll found.

    Fully 64% of Americans don’t want to see Trump make another White House bid as he has teased — including 27% of Republicans and 68% of independents — and only 37% of adults have a favorable opinion of Trump, according to the survey.

    Continued at


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