Talking About War, War Culture, Police, and the U.S. Military

W.J. Astore

On finding a better way forward for America

I recently sat down with Jim Wohlgemuth and Harvey Bennett with Veterans for Peace. We talked for about an hour and covered many topics I’ve written about here at Bracing Views and also at TomDispatch.com. Here is the link:

Or, if it’s easier, click here.

I’d like to thank Jim and Harvey for inviting me on their show and for their interest in my writing, but most especially for their work on promoting peace and sanity. Special bonus song at the end of the interview!

7 thoughts on “Talking About War, War Culture, Police, and the U.S. Military

  1. Totally Off-Topic and, at the same time, Totally On…:

    In case anybody missed it: The re-inauguration of the Governor of Florida, the bomb atmospheric rivers battering California, and the gaveled opening of the US House of Representatives can mean only one thing: That ELECTION2024 has kicked off in full gear, exactly 667 days before November 5, 2024.

    America may be entering what may turn out to be one of the most profoundly changing moments of its history since 162 years ago, and what may turn out to have been merely America’s First Civil War. Going to be an interesting ride, for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With this title, ‘Talking About War, War Culture, Police, and the U.S. Military’ not much can be off topic.

      I haven’t read anything more on it for quite a while but I distinctly remember reading Science is discovering signs and indications, there is an element smaller than atoms almost like a microscopic filament, that connects everything on earth and in the sky above.

      If that is confirmed at some point in the Future, if we don’t blow ourselves up before then, it could mean Jacob’s Ladder is real, just not in the form the letter paints it and we imagined it?

      Like

  2. On the weekend of February 17-19, 2023, the American People will have the opportunity and perhaps last chance to tell their government, those who govern them, those who command and control the governors, and the entire Planet exactly what they think about America’s Wars: Past, Present, and Planned… :

    RAGE AGAINST THE WAR MACHINE ANTI-WAR RALLY IN WASHINGTON, DC [and Elsewhere]

    A coalition of political parties and advocates, activists, and actionists for peace, justice, truth, and liberty is organizing an Anti-War rally in Washington, DC [and Elsewhere] on February 19, 2023. For details: [ https://rageagainstwar.com/#Home ]

    Here’s the Twitter link: https://twitter.com/rageagainstwar_/status/1605743843881603072?lang=en . And here is how Massachusetts Peace Action is preparing for it: https://masspeaceaction.org/event/rage-against-the-war-machine/ .

    COALITION: Organizers: Libertarian Party and People’s Party Sponsors: Mises Caucus. Peace in Ukraine. Liberty Speaks, Radical Caucus, Action 4 Assange, Punk Rock Libertarians, and World Beyond War. [ https://rageagainstwar.com/#Coalition ]

    For an interview with the Chairs of the Libertarian and People’s Parties on the Rally:

    DEMANDS:

    ~ 1. NOT ONE MORE PENNY FOR WAR IN UKRAINE: The Democrats and Republicans have armed Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars in weapons and military aid. The war has killed tens of thousands, displaced millions, and is pushing us toward a nuclear WW3. Stop funding the war.

    ~ 2. NEGOTIATE PEACE: The US instigated the war in Ukraine with a coup on its democratically-elected government in 2014, and then sabotaged a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine in March. Pursue an immediate ceasefire and diplomacy to end the war.

    ~ 3. STOP THE WAR INFLATION: The war is accelerating inflation and increasing food, gas, and energy prices. The US blew up Russian gas pipelines to Europe, starving them of energy and deindustrializing their countries. End the war and stop increasing prices.

    ~ 4. DISBAND NATO: NATO expansion to Russia’s border provoked the war in Ukraine. NATO is a warmongering relic of the Cold War. Disband it like the Warsaw Pact.

    ~ 5. GLOBAL NUCLEAR DE-ESCALATION: The war in Ukraine has brought us to the edge of WW3 and nuclear war with Russia. US intelligence agencies estimate a one in four chance of nuclear war, which would plunge the world into nuclear winter and kill almost all life on Earth. Adopt a no-first-strike nuclear policy. Drawdown nuclear weapons worldwide.

    ~ 6. SLASH THE PENTAGON BUDGET: Half of the federal discretionary budget goes to Pentagon. The military budget is $857 billion per year, and the Pentagon just failed its fifth straight audit. The Pentagon can only account for 39 percent of its $3.5 trillion in assets. Cut the military budget in half and return those funds to the American people.

    ~ 7. ABOLISH THE CIA AND MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL DEEP STATE: The CIA and deep state are an unelected permanent government of intelligence agencies that run our country outside of constitutional and democratic control. They surveille Americans, manipulate the media, curtail free speech, blackmail politicians, infiltrate activist organizations, torture people, overthrow governments, and assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Abolish the CIA and deep state and restore a government of, by, and for the people.

    ~ 8. ABOLISH WAR AND EMPIRE: War and empire subjugate billions of people around the world to enrich a small group of elites. In just the past two decades, the US has waged and backed wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Ukraine, and other countries. End all US wars and regime change. Stop all military aid to other countries. End drone strikes. Close all US military bases abroad. Bring all US troops home. Build a world that guarantees every person freedom from war and empire in place of the collapsing US hegemonic world order.

    ~ 9. RESTORE CIVIL LIBERTIES: Restore the constitutional liberties taken from us in the name of war and empire, including freedom of speech, the press, and assembly. End mass surveillance, repeal the Patriot Act, and restore the right to privacy and habeas corpus.

    ~ 10. FREE JULIAN ASSANGE: The US is charging Julian Assange with espionage and criminalizing our right to publish information that challenges the military-industrial deep state. He is imprisoned in the UK and being extradited to the US. The CIA plotted to assassinate him for exposing US war crimes. Free Julian Assange and all political prisoners.

    SPEAKERS [so far]: Jimmy Dore, Medea Benjamin. Scott Horton, Garland Nixon, and David Swanson [https://rageagainstwar.com/#Speakers]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I fervently agree with all ten demands as a first — and long overdue — step in reclaiming the Republic from the Empire. If anyone needs poems to recite in support of this worthy cause, I will happily supply any number of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank You, Bill, for sharing that. You guys covered a lot of territory, and it was good to hear You range across a variety of topics, as opposed to the singular focus in BV articles.

    First and foremost of all, Thank You for the bonus song at the end of the conversation.

    It’s been a while since i’d listened to and heard that; and remembered instantly [on the third or fourth chord] exactly how powerful and moving that piece was, is, and ever will be. Here’s an old video of the Youngbloods doing it in concert that adds a whole new dimension to the music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34YUI3CmckA

    Having said that, permit me to offer a comment on two of the assertions that You made in Your chat with the folks at VFP/The Hector Black Chapter:

    ~ 1. i believe ~ and am prepared to argue ~ that the MICC/National Security State is merely the Fifth branch of the federal government; not, as You said, the Fourth. The Fourth is The Federal Reserve, without whom the MICC/NSS could do absolutely nothing without keeping the rest of the government less than even moderately functional. [Which is about what it is now, eh?]

    ~ 2. Eisenhower did not “keep us out of Vietnam.” He refused to honor the Geneva Accords ending the French War ~ which we bankrolled up to the bloody, bitter end under his command. He then installed Diem and initiated the buildup of American military support for the regime. The only reason the Pentagon and CIA were able to try to push Kennedy into Vietnam was because of what was already on the ground and ready to go when Ike was calling the shots.

    Having said That, You said a three things that really caught my attention, Bill, and have given me something to chew on, particularly number 3:

    ~ 1. For Peace to have even the slightest chance of ever happening, You said, it’s “Gonna take people marching like back in the 60s… .”

    ~ 2. You spoke of a Nation and People “divided and distracted” which can easily lead to “depression and despair.”

    ~ 3. And then You concluded by calling for a “different way forward” to capture [or re-capture] the Potential that Americans have to confront and effectively deal with what they ~ the American People ~ have permitted America to become: a Flailing and Failing Nation State and Empire.

    i look forward to learning more about this “different way forward.” Thanks again for sharing the conversation.

    Like

  4. About WAR culture, I read this just this morning, “I wrote a political opinion piece on the hit TV series “Yellowstone” for the newspapers, (see below,) and then “1923,” the sequel to “Yellowstone” debuted, and so here we go, HOT GLOBE™ high-tails it into the tremulous world of movie criticism.”
    “tremulous” is that rare word Jeannie is accustomed to using, and I had to look it up. It encompasses the spirit of this article’s title in one word.

    I haven’t seen Yellowstone or “1923” in CanaDa, but I had to read it all after this, “OK, first episode of “1923.” Wow. Age 77, Helen Mirren as Cara Dutton slaughters some immigrant sheep herder with a double-barreled shotgun. Cut to Kenya. A Dutton progenitor fires what I guess is an elephant gun at a charging lion which in death falls upon him. Things do not slow down.

    Back to the Yellowstone. The stalwart cattlemen heroes led by Harrison Ford tell the immigrant sheepherders to get their stinking, close-cropping sheep off the cattlemen’s leased and drought-stricken land.

    It’s “The Sheep Wars,” which I’d never heard of, so I did a little digging, since I was born in Billings, Montana, along the Yellowstone River, myself, as was my father, in 1893, and my grandfather was the mayor in 1882, with Liver-Eating Johnson (recall the Redford movie?) his sheriff, and Calamity Jane helping out during outbreaks of tuberculosis. (When you read about Montana in the East Coast or LA press, you are following someone who wouldn’t know a quarter-horse from a wombat. See my Harper Collins NYT Notable, Kayaking the Full Moon.)

    First, there were no sheep wars along the Yellowstone, to speak of.

    In Montana, the real money was in copper and gold mining. It still is, along with software. However, I discovered “The Sheep Wars,” were very much real, just more of a Texas, Wyoming, Arizona thing, and they happened long before 1923, more like the 1870’s to about 1909. Native herders were beheaded, ISIS-style. Tens of thousands of sheep were driven over cliffs. Lots of people got shot, mostly by the Harrison Ford side. Interestingly, the sheep owners were often not small-potatoes immigrants, at all. Sheep ranchers lost tens of thousands of dollars, worth millions now, in these depredations by masked cattlemen killers.  The fights came to an end in Big Horn County, Wyoming, where to the surprise of all, sheriffs arrested a group of murderers, and they were sent to jail. Resource wars. Now we just invade other countries for their oil……..

    https://portside.org/2023-01-08/yellowstone-conservative-texas-rewriting-american-west-and-also-great-television

    Has anyone here seen ‘Yellowstone’ or ‘1923’ willing to comment on the tremulous pictures?

    Like

    1. After replying to JG above, I moved on to this which in a way confirms elements in the comment.
      ‘Pentagon hosts Five Eyes partners for zero-trust cybersecurity talks’

      Both zero trust and international cooperation are foundational to the Pentagon’s Joint ALL-DOMAIN Command and Control philosophy, or JADC2, which envisions interlinked forces and databases across land, air, sea, space and cyber. Such networking — seamlessly bridging old with new, close with far — does not yet exist.

      This tells us Science is working on it so it does exist for Military applications.

      https://www.c4isrnet.com/cyber/2023/01/06/pentagon-hosts-five-eyes-partners-for-zero-trust-cybersecurity-talks/

      Like

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