Where are today’s Eisenhowers, Butlers, and Shoups?
As a teenager in the 1970s, I recall talking to my dad about fears of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. My dad took a broad view, suggesting that if U.S. and Soviet leaders were stupid enough to blow each other to smithereens, a billion Chinese people would be left to pick up the slack and move the world forward.
My dad was right about many things, but what he didn’t realize was that U.S. nuclear war plans (known as SIOPs) often called for the elimination of the USSR and China, even if China had had no involvement in events leading up to the war. Basically, the ruling U.S. nuclear war philosophy was: If you’re red, you’re dead.
Daniel Ellsberg wrote about this in his book, The Doomsday Machine. As I wrote in my review of that book:
“U.S. nuclear war plans circa 1960 envisioned a simultaneous attack on the USSR and China that would generate 600 million deaths after six months. As Ellsberg notes, that is 100 Holocausts. This plan was to be used even if China hadn’t directly attacked the U.S., i.e. the USSR and China were lumped together as communist bad guys who had to be eliminated together in a general nuclear war. Only one U.S. general present at the briefing objected to this idea: David M. Shoup, a Marine general and Medal of Honor winner, who also later objected to the Vietnam War.”
What’s truly startling is that only one U.S. military leader present, General David Shoup, objected to the SIOP that would lead to the death of 600 million people in six months. A decade later, scientists learned that such a huge nuclear exchange would likely cause a nuclear winter that would kill billions due to famine. Truly, the (few) living would envy the (many) dead.
Mention of David Shoup’s name leads me to this fine article: “The Marine Corps legend who tried to stop the Vietnam War,” by James Clark. Shoup was a remarkable American who helped to prevent the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 from escalating to a nuclear war. Once he retired from the Marines, he became a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War and militarism in general, a worthy successor to General Smedley Butler.
I urge you to read Clark’s article on Shoup, who quotes Shoup’s hard-won wisdom here:
About the Vietnam War, Shoup said “I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own.”
In the Atlantic Monthly, Shoup, echoing the warning of Eisenhower about the military-industrial complex, wrote bluntly about America’s war culture and its anti-democratic nature:
Somewhat like a religion, the basic appeals of anti-Communism, national defense and patriotism provide the foundation for a powerful creed upon which the defense establishment can build, grow, and justify its cost. More so than many large bureaucratic organizations, the defense establishment now devotes a large share of its efforts to self-perpetuation, to justifying its organizations, to preaching its doctrines, to self-maintenance and management.
You would think that a Medal of Honor recipient who’d proved his bravery and patriotism at Tarawa during World War II would be immune from charges of being unpatriotic or weak on defense, but you’d be wrong.
Where are today’s Shoups among the U.S. military brass? Where are the leaders who are against genocidal nuclear war and who are willing to speak out against it? Where are the leaders who reject a new cold war with China and Russia? Where are the leaders with the courage to advocate for peace whenever possible in place of more and more war?
Have we fallen so far under the spell of militarism that America no longer produces leaders like Dwight Eisenhower, Smedley Butler, and David Shoup, generals who truly knew war, despised it, and wanted above all to put an end to it?
20 thoughts on “The Madness of U.S. Militarism”
your ‘dri de coeur’ today, wja, has rendered my mepheligenous brain more opaque and fuzzy w/ despair, confusion, and defeasance than ever, as if the unrelenting militarism of your former employer is fundamentally secured in the tenebrous corridors occupied by cacoethes-besotted warmongers, rather than by peace-ophiles like you, smedley, david shoup, and ike. everytime we make a scintilla of progress in our respective efforts as peace actvists, we are forced to tergiversate into the shadows, b/c the thelemic pentagon, press, and congressional ‘reps’ stand proudly atop telemons and caryatids of esurient power-hungry men and women, while the rest of us fade into irrelevance and impuissance. ‘plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose’, no?
How would You rate America as far as the current active and growing presence of these Signs and recent and current implementation of these Strategies?… :
14 SIGNS OF TOTALITARIANISM and 15 HIGHLY-EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR MASS MANIPULATION by Jon Miltimore 121322 and 011023, respectively
SIGNS OF TOTALITARIANISM [ https://jjmilt.substack.com/p/14-signs-of-totalitarianism ]
~ 1. Dissent is equated to violence
~ 2. Media is controlled
~ 3. The legal system is co-opted by the state
~ 4. Power is exerted to quash dissent
~ 5. State police protect the regime, not the people
~ 6. Rights—financial, legal, and civil—are contingent on compliance
~ 7. Mass conformity of beliefs and behaviors is demanded
~ 8. Power is concentrated in inner ring of elite institutions and people
~ 9. Semi-organized violence is permitted (in some cases)
~ 10. Propaganda targets enemies of the state regime
~ 11. Entire classes singled out for persecution
~ 12. Extra-legal actions are condoned against internal regime opponents
~ 13. Harsh legal enforcement against unfavored classes
~ 14. Private and public levers of power are used to enforce adherence to state dogmas
HIGHLY-EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR MASS MANIPULATION [ https://jjmilt.substack.com/p/15-highly-effective-strategies-for ]
~ 1. Appeal to emotions. Avoid reason.
~ 2. Reduce idea to slogan. Repeat constantly.
~ 3. Recruit true believers.
~ 4. Disrupt & hijack existing belief structures
~ 5. Take power. Use to spread ideology.
~ 6. Criticize & attack enemies of the state
~ 7. Identify one special enemy for extreme vilification
~ 8. Never show the other side of the argument
~ 9. Use intimidation & fear to accelerate ideological adoption
~ 10. Gain control of media & entertainment channels
~ 11. Subvert educational system
~ 12. Use public spectacle for social pressure
~ 13. Create symbols of loyalty
~ 14. Channel discontent into hatred of specific targets
~ 15. Demand submission, not belief
Good link to Clark’s article and I urge everyone to read it too.
There were several comments that stood out from the beginning but this tells it like it is, as Bill and most others echoed since coming here supporting and encouraging Bill in his writing;
“Somewhat like a religion, the basic appeals of anti-Communism, national defense and patriotism provide the foundation for a powerful creed upon which the defense establishment can build, grow, and justify its cost. More so than many large bureaucratic organizations, the defense establishment now devotes a large share of its efforts to self-perpetuation, to justifying its organizations, to preaching its doctrines, to self-maintenance and management.
Warfare becomes an extension of war games and field tests. War justifies the existence of the establishment, provides experience for the military novice and challenges for the senior officer. Wars and emergencies put the military and their leaders on the front pages and give status and prestige to the professionals. Wars add to the military traditions, the self-nourishment of heroic deeds, and provide a new crop of military leaders who become the rededicated disciples of the code of service and military action.”
This is horrific: By the time the United States’ involvement in Vietnam ended in 1973, millions of service members had deployed there, either as volunteers or draftees, more than 58,000 were killed, and a further 153,000 were wounded. An estimated 2 MILLION Vietnamese civilians were killed during the war.
58,000 Military Dead vs 2 MILLION CIVILIANS DEAD!
There have been many MILLIONS more CIVILIANS DEAD because of the US Military since 9/11.
Here’s a prime example that sent Chelsey Manning and Julien Assange to prison of exposing it.
WAR is HELL and our Oligarchic-Plutocratic System is on the Highway to it bringing all of us along
This warning is so ridiculous when movies and TV show staged bombing and killing repetitively, but this actual WAR is covered up!
the deeper q, ray, is why violent tv and hollywood films are so erumpently embraced by the hoi-polloi of every generation. violent films and games are pursued here in southeast asia w/ a vengence that is dysphoria-inducing. as you presage, our species is on its way too an armageddon over which we have lost control.
‘Russia-Ukraine war: How the US paved the way to Moscow’s invasion’
Nearly a year after Russia’s invasion, the western narrative of an ‘unprovoked’ attack has become impossible to sustain
Hindsight is a particularly powerful tool for analysing the Ukraine war, nearly a year after Russia’s invasion.
Last February, it sounded at least superficially plausible to characterise Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops and tanks into his neighbour as nothing less than an “unprovoked act of aggression”.
Putin was either a madman or a megalomaniac, trying to revive the imperial, expansionist agenda of the Soviet Union. Were his invasion to go unchallenged, he would pose a threat to the rest of Europe.
Plucky, democratic Ukraine needed the West’s unreserved support – and a near-limitless supply of weapons – to hold the line against a rogue dictator.
But that narrative looks increasingly threadbare, at least if one reads beyond the establishment media – a media that has never sounded quite so monotone, so determined to beat the drum of war, so amnesiac and so irresponsible.
Anyone demurring from the past 11 months of relentless efforts to escalate the conflict – resulting in untold deaths and suffering, causing energy prices to skyrocket, leading to global food shortages, and ultimately risking a nuclear exchange – is viewed as betraying Ukraine, and dismissed as an apologist for Putin.
No dissent is tolerated………………………………………….
tnx for the link, sir cormier. everyone should bear witness to the sagacity, compassion, integrity, and the wide-ranging, tireless advocacy of the inimitable jonathan cook on behalf of those whom the hideous hillary dismissed and disdained as “the deplorables”. cook, pilger, chomsky, astore, assange, sjorgsen, dore, hedges, and a multitude of others grind away giving voice to those very ‘dismissed and disdained’.
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I do find it interesting that our current president was instrumental in pushing for NATO enlargement as far back as the mid-90s. Back then we were told that enlargement would NOT adversely affect US relations with Russia.
JAV, that’s because at that Time, the US was exhilarated it won the Cold War and was the unchallenged World hegemonic Power.
The Russians without the Warsaw Pact opposite NATO were down and out, at the mercy of the Americans who rushed into Russia subjecting the Russian People to a “hard crash” transforming the Soviet Communist System into a US style Capitalist System.
In their arrogant hubris, the US Power Elites thought they could do anything to aggravate Russia and Russia couldn’t do anything about it.
That was until Putin came to Power in 2000 and did do something about it. That’s why the US hates and demonizes him.
After Russia suffered more and did more to defeat Hitler as the US/British Ally, immediately after the War ended, Americans were brainwashed to see the Soviets as the main designated Enemy to keep the US Arms Industries in Business.
Surprise! Surprise! Foreign Policy published the views of a dissenter with the article header very similar to my Blog article from April 4 before the War, ‘US POLITICIANS ARE SLEEPWALKING TOWARD THE NUCLEAR ABYSS’
‘The West Is Sleepwalking Into War in Ukraine’
It’s not easy to make sense of how the United States and Europe are responding to Russia’s aggression.
With some notable exceptions, opinion and commentary in the West have solidified around a black-and-white view of the situation in Ukraine. The near-total consensus is it’s all Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fault; Russia’s stated grievances have no legitimate basis whatsoever; and the only conceivable Western response is to refuse to make any concessions, stand up to Moscow, send more U.S. troops to Europe (though not to Ukraine itself), and proceed with tough economic sanctions if Russia invades.
In some ways, I wish I could subscribe to this view because it would allow me to stop thinking about this complicated set of issues and join the chorus. But I can’t do that because key aspects of the crisis strike me as puzzling, and I keep hearing echoes of the same beliefs, tropes, and engrained orthodoxies that have led U.S. leaders astray in the past. These reflexive responses are making a bad situation worse and are likely to do further damage to Ukraine and to broader U.S. interests.
For starters, I’m puzzled by the gap between the level of resolve conveyed by the United States and NATO and the diplomatic position the alliance has taken. U.S. President Joe Biden has made it clear that the United States is not going to send U.S. troops to fight for Ukraine, and no important European countries are proposing to do so themselves. If anything, the United States has sent the opposite message by withdrawing U.S. military personnel and relocating its diplomats. Apart from a few hotheads, nobody in the U.S. foreign-policy establishment wants to fight a real war for Ukraine, a tacit acknowledgement that this is not, in fact, a truly vital interest…………………………………………….
I want to share a piece written back in 2008. Unfortunately the writer (Billmon) and his site (Whiskey Bar) have long since disappeared, but I had this copied for reference. I find it an interesting summation of how we got to where we are. Please excuse the long reply but there is no original link to provide anymore:
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Thanks. Very interesting.
There’s a strong clique within the U.S. government that believes NATO expansion is absolutely needed to defend against the new Russian Tsar, Vladimir Putin. They firmly believe NATO expansion to Russia’s borders is purely defensive and will not inflame Russia in any way. And when Russia responds, they point to that as “proof” of Putin’s aggressive irredentism and his imperial ambitions.
I am not part of this clique. Quite the reverse. NATO should have been disbanded after 1991, its very reason for being having been lost with the collapse of the Soviet Union. But here we are, more than 30 years later, and NATO, larger than ever, is still seen as a purely defensive entity even as it keeps growing.
Well, perhaps German Panzers won’t be driving on Moscow again, but if I were Russian, I would resent NATO expansion, economic and financial sanctions, and the constant vilification of all things Russian.
And yes, of course I’m against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
I think you can be both against Russia’s invasion and highly critical of US foreign policy. And considering the current president’s roll in NATO expansion, it isn’t surprising we are where we are.
I tried sharing the Google Books link to this, but I don’t see it showing up, so we will try this one. Then Senator Biden assured us that NATO expansion would no adversely affect US Russian relations. Search “Meeting the Challenges of a Post-Cold War World”. The entire hearing is quite an interesting read.
Thank you for saving and sharing this, if I may say JAV, as in Javelin, a word people are becoming aware of like never before.
And it’s really good, steady, Taxpayer funded business for Lockheed Martin.
The rest of the population has to tighten their belts to pay for this US War with Russia using Ukrainians as the Sacrificial lambs and cannon fodder.
EACH missile for the Javelin system costs $200,000 and the US alone gave Ukraine 4000 of them.
Ukraine needs $5 BILLION/month just to keep the government running. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecuting the WAR.
I am angry the Trudeau government, following the US lead to Armageddon/WWIII, gave Ukraine $2 BILLION in 2022 and will buy directly from Raytheon, a $409 MILLION, National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) and each missile costs $1.2 MILLION.
Before they were called Prophets, they were called Seers in the OT.
Billmon fits that description, seeing things most people don’t think about.
Few Americans and Canadians see the US Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex is making MORE BORROWED TAXPAYER MONEY OFF THE UKRAINIAN WAR that ever before!
The last record of Billmon being was in 2007. Since Billmon was just a Nom de Plume, writing like that I wonder if he could be just one of the disappeared?
US LAW since 2001 gives Organs of the US Government the Legal Authority to just grab any US Citizen off the street or out of their homes based on the “suspicion” of terrorist connections and make them disappear without a trace without going to Court to prove those suspicions and no Constitutional Protections or Rights
Just read this Report in the Washington Post, “https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/01/11/japan-prime-minister-rearmament-china-north-korea/
and made this 1st of a 2 part comment on it. That was 25 minutes ago and it’s still there.
Usually when The Washing Post doesn’t like what I spell out, it’s deleted within minutes.
What a contrast for me, watching and reading this from CanaDa not subject to US brainwashing the US is EXCEPTIONAL compared to all other Nations. In that regard, the US is joined at the hip with temporal Israel, recreated from the Bible after an absence of some 2800 years.
Has the Japanese Prime Minister been co-opted or coerced by the US,? This report US/NATO MSM are not highlighting repetitively so Americans become aware of the Power behind the Throne?
I came only to this WaPo article looking for this News Outlet to hype how big and exception it is for this Top Marine General in Japan to be ‘blowing the whistle’ on these US WAR PLANS already in the works.
The MSM portrays this conflict in terms of GOOD vs EVIL, convincing Americans they are the ALL GOOD side, and US designated Enemies are all EVIL.
That is a delusional belief in American self-proclaimed Exceptionalism.
If that is the Reality the US/NATO MSM promotes and magnifies, it confirms in Secular TERMS, THIS MATERIAL WORLD has FINALLY arrived at THIS TIME in THIS 2023rd Year of the Revelation of Jesus Christ,
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the FALSE PROPHET. (false beliefs about God and God’s purposes whether one is called Jew, Christian or Muslim)
For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth (Pope, Presidents, Prime Ministers, CEOs, and other IDOLS of the People) and of the whole world, (the rest of us) to gather them to the Battle of that Great Day of God Almighty.
Behold, I come as a thief. (when you least expect it)
Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon…………………….
Two slight problems:
№ 1: Thanks to new information (I say “new” but this goes back at least as far as 2008), it is estimated that the actual death toll of the Holocaust is closer to 18 million, and the 6 million Jews represent only one third of the victims. The rest were mostly Soviet POWs and resistance fighters (both actual and suspected) from France, Greece, and Poland. Also, why even use the Holocaust as a benchmark? Why not use the death toll from all of WWII itself (50-80 million, depending on if you include civilian famines that took place as a direct result of all the food being confiscated for the war effort) or the number of people who were killed in communist genocides in the 20th century (~100 million)? Seems weird, but then again, I recently heard a claim that the Holodomor killed only 6 or 7 million, rather than the 30 million that I always thought, so who the hell knows if any of these numbers are accurate?
№ 2: Funny you mention Smedley Butler, given that he wrote War is a Racket back in 1935, almost as if what I keep telling you – i.e. that the US was already an expansionist empire prior to WWII because of Wilsonian international interventionism – is actually true. Not only that, but I noticed that your suggestion, however sarcastic it may be, from a couple years ago about “what an actual department of defense would look like” is basically a paraphrased chapter 4. Please explain.
Strength is power: but power is an illusion. As history shows, hubristically, every great “civilization” eventually faces the war it is trying to avoid.
The Pope of Rome replaced The Roman Emperor eventually.
The Pope spoke about strength and power in other words recently.
The Pope in Bahrain November 5, “He noted that, although this sounds like a contradiction, as “we often notice that the more power is sought, the more peace is threatened”, the prophet announces the extraordinary news that “the Messiah to come will indeed be powerful, not in the manner of a commander who wages war and rules over others, but as the ‘PRINCE OF PEACE’ who reconciles people with God and with one another.”
For obvious reasons, I took note of what the Pope said 3 days after this was the opening sentence in the Message I emailed on ALL SOULS DAY, November 2,
Dear Francis, my Brother in Christ,
“This is the 3rd Time writing to you in the hope you will take a more active consistent and extraordinary role as the Vicar of the PRINCE OF PEACE, striving to end the War in Ukraine.”
The whole Message can be seen in the last article in my WordPress Blog, ‘FROM ALL SOULS DAY TO REMEMBRANCE DAY’
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