Tag Archives: military

How Much is Enough? A Look at the US Military (Updated)

How much military does the US government have?  It all depends on what you consider a base or a site or a combat machine or what the government wants you to know and what is to be secret.

 

“The US today is the main imperialist power in the world and responsible for around 1,000 foreign bases in about 172 countries. This is around 20 times the number of foreign military bases as all other countries in the world combined. The countries with the second and third highest number of foreign bases are Britain and France, 2 of the US’s NATO allies.”

International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases


“U.S. bases represent 90-95 percent of the world’s foreign bases, constituting the largest collection of extraterritorial bases in world history…”

Military spending has many points of contention: Closing overseas bases isn’t one of them (2019)  
BY MEDEA BENJAMIN, JOHN TIERNEY, DAVID VINE, AND COL. (RET.) LAWRENCE WILKERSON

 


“…let’s talk military budgets:

The US will spend, if we want to be purists, $716 billion on the military. It’s actually a lot more because the National Security Agency is part of the military, and the CIA to all intents and purposes is military in nature and between them their secret budgets top more than the $50 billion that was leaked in a Congressional hearing eight years ago, and could be double that now since so much more US military activity is now handled by Special Forces acting under the direction of the CIA, but for sake of argument let’s just leave it at $716 billion.

Russia’s military budget is $65 billion, and even if you tripled that to account for how much more expensive everything is in the US from soldiers’ pay to weapons systems would represent less than a third of what the US spends.

China’s military budget is $183 billion, and again, you could double that if you like to account for different costs and it would still be less than half of the US military budget.

That is to say, even if you put the Chinese and Russian militaries together, their budgets would be significantly smaller than the US military budget.”

Counterpunch – MARCH 18, 2021

Let’s Stop Pretending Russia and China are Military Threats BY DAVE LINDORFF

 


 

 

“MEMBERS OF THE U.S. special operations forces deployed to 154 countries, or roughly 80 percent of the world’s nations, last year, but information about exactly where elite forces conduct missions, under what authorities they operate, who they’ve killed, and whether they’re adhering to the laws of armed conflict is closely guarded, buried in obscure legal provisions, shrouded in secrecy, or allegedly unknown even to Special Operations Command…”

The Intercept, March 20, 2021

WILL THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION SHINE LIGHT ON SHADOWY SPECIAL OPS PROGRAMS? by Nick Turse


At Least Seven Hundred Foreign Bases
“It’s not easy to assess the size or exact value of our empire of bases. Official records on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department’s annual “Base Structure Report” for fiscal year 2003, which itemizes foreign and domestic U.S. military real estate, the Pentagon currently owns or rents 702 overseas bases in about 130 countries and HAS another 6,000 bases in the United States and its territories…”

America’s Empire of Bases (2004)
By Chalmers Johnson


Military dot com: Base Guide  


National Park Service: Military Bases in the Continental United States


 

“While we are opposed to all foreign military bases, we do recognize that the United States maintains the highest number of military bases outside its territory, estimated at almost 1000 (95% of all foreign military bases in the world). Presently, there are U.S. military bases in every Persian Gulf country except Iran…”

Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases


David Vine on Closing U.S. Military Bases – November 30, 2018

The Scott Horton Show


“Today, while there are no foreign bases in the United States, there are around 800 U.S. bases in foreign countries…”

Trumping Democracy in America’s Empire of Bases (2017)
By David Vine


“It’s not a matter of whether the war is not real or if it is. Victory is not possible.
The war is not meant to be won. It is meant to be continuous. A hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance.”

~ George Orwell ~

End support for bombing and starvation of Yemen: Cassandra Dixon and Barb Olson

Letter to the Editor. Cap Times 25 January 2021

original article:

Cassandra Dixon and Barb Olson: Biden should end support for bombing and starvation of Yemen

“For over five years, Yemenis have endured a civil war which has already killed nearly a quarter-million people. Roughly half of those who perished died from war-induced malnutrition, disease and lack of basic services.

Intervening on one side, a Saudi-led and U.S.-supported coalition has used overwhelming military force — including laser-guided bombs and other high-tech weapons supported by our tax dollars — to systematically devastate huge areas of Yemen that their rivals control.

The U.S. has supplied combat ships that are vital to the naval and air blockade presently denying millions of people in Yemen essential food and medicine (90% of Yemen’s food supply is imported).

The U.S. has also directly carried out bombing raids against those it labels “terrorists.” Recently, Congress failed to stop the Trump administration from selling F-35s like those the Air Force wants to station at Truax to the United Arab Emirates, one of the countries bombing Yemen.

As was predicted, famine is now widespread. Two-thirds of Yemenis are hungry and many tens of thousands, especially children, are truly bloated-belly-and-stick-limbs starving. Moderate to severe malnutrition afflicts a quarter of the population, including more than 2 million children.

And now COVID-19 has joined cholera and diphtheria in exponentially compounding their misery.


related

  1. US Envoy to Yemen Is ‘Aggressively’ Pursuing Talks With Houthis to End War
  2. BIDEN WITHDRAWS U.S. SUPPORT FOR SAUDI “OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS” IN YEMEN
  3. UAE Ambassador Al Otaiba’s yells at Rep. Khanna over Yemen Changes
  4. Biden’s Bolt From Yemen?: Symbolic Step, Systemic Limits, and Linguistic Gymnastics

Bad Yemen policy predates the outgoing administration, but things got worse under Trump. Along with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the U.S. slashed contributions to international relief agencies trying to mitigate the carnage in Yemen.

Just as they applied “maximum pressure” to the recalcitrant Palestinians by eliminating U.S. funds to UNRWA, the UN agency critical to their survival, the Trump administration did not hesitate to further destroy the lives of the poor, weak, sick and elderly people of Yemen in pursuit of its foreign policy agenda.

Now the Trump administration has made good on its long-standing threat to label Ansar Allah, an Iran-supported Houthi militia in the coalition opposing our dear friends the Saudis, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. This is designed to tighten the already suffocating blockade of Yemen.

In November, major international humanitarian organizations begged U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to make this designation, warning that humanitarian relief could be crippled by charges of aiding terrorism for cooperating with rebels in delivery of relief to civilian populations.

Neither Ansar Allah nor the Houthis pose any threat to the U.S. or its citizens, but that didn’t keep the FTO designation from speeding ahead as Trump, egged on by his allies in Israel and Saudi Arabia, maneuvered to keep the Biden administration from altering our reckless, aggressive campaign against Iran.

 

No FTO designation has yet been reversed in less than two years.

Millions of Yemen’s children don’t have another two years.

Momentum is building to get the Biden administration to immediately reverse the FTO designation. Jan. 25 has been declared a worldwide day of action to finally stop the Yemen war.

Please contact your representative and Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, asking them to end the U.S. role in the vicious, criminal war on Yemen.

 

 


more…

War Criminals: Obama, Trump, every President (since WWII), A few reasons why…

Compiled by Brad Geyer

 

Wars of aggression are illegal under international law. Treaties ratified by the United States are no different than US law according to the Constitution. Preemptive war is illegal including Iraq, now Libya and a number of other places we are fighting around the world.

 

It is illegal to wage an aggressive war, aid rebels in a civil war, threaten another nation with aggressive war, and to use propaganda for war.

 

It is illegal to attack a hospital, destroy civilian food and drinking water supplies, destroy undefended targets, bomb neutral countries, and indiscriminately attack civilians.

 

It is illegal to use napalm, white phosphorus and depleted uranium as weapons. It is illegal to use chemical and biological weapons. It is illegal to fail to accept the surrender of combatants, it is illegal to pillage, to fail to attend to the wounded, to have extrajudicial executions. It is illegal to fail to discipline or prosecute subordinates who commit war crimes. It is illegal to fund war mercenaries.

There are more, but I think you get the idea…

There are simple truths. Some, which we are taught to ignore.  The people in power teach us to dehumanize other peoples, in order to make the killing easier or more efficient.

Simple truth: People have human rights.  Nations have sovereignty.

Aggressive warfare is a violation of law.  A nation must be under attack to use self defense, and still needs to work with the UN Security Council.

 

Why would people of other nations have any less rights and responsibilities or protections than we enjoy?  We would be better off in a world where there was liberty and justice for everyone, not just protections for those on the side of red, white and blue.

 

Charter of the United Nations, Chapter VII — Action with respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression

 

Convention II Article 2 Geneva Conventions  

“In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peacetime, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.

The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance. Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof. ”

Wikipedia:  “In international law, the term convention does not have its common meaning as an assembly of people. Rather, it is used in diplomacy to mean an international agreement, or treaty.

With two Geneva Conventions revised and adopted, and the second and fourth added, in 1949 the whole set is referred to as the “Geneva Conventions of 1949” or simply the “Geneva Conventions”. Usually only the Geneva Conventions of 1949 are referred to as First, Second, Third or Fourth Geneva Convention. The treaties of 1949 were ratified, in whole or with reservationsby 196 countries.[1]

 

Example specific to Syria that apply beyond those borders also.

“…The supply of arms to the Syrian opposition would amount to a breach of the customary principle of non-intervention and the principle of non-use of force under Art. 2 para. 4 of the UN Charter.”

The supply of arms to opposition groups in Syria and international law 

 

Is it legal to supply arms to Syrian rebels?

“International law prohibits states from intervening in the affairs of other states. Commenting upon and discussing situations in other states is not caught by this prohibition, but actions of a coercive nature are. The use of force is arguably the most obvious form of such coercion, whether manifested by direct intervention through the use of a state’s own military forces or indirectly through the provision of arms and training to opposition forces.

The only two established exceptions to the prohibition of the use of force in international law are actions taken in self-defence and those taken under the authorisation of the UN Security Council…”

 


Then there is the use of torture and assassinations. Illegal torture continues in secret and openly by our troops. The Joint Chiefs of Staff has a list compiled under the direction of now President Obama of Americans who shall be assassinated. One person they have admitted to being selected for assassination is Anwar al-Awlaki.

 

Congress has the power to declare war not the President.

 

About 90% of those killed when we wage war are now unarmed civilians regardless of the claims made by our leaders about our “precision” weaponry and great technology. They are also bringing this war mentality home, and the criminals will need to because eventually Americans will stand up to the tyrants.

 

The Posse Comitatus Act (and Title 10 of the United States Code) prohibits members of the US military from exercising law enforcement powers on non-federal property within the United States. The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act allowed the use the Armed Forces in major public emergencies after hurricane Katrina, but was repealed in 2008 reverting to Posse Comitatus Act and The Insurrection Act of 1807. (The Insurrection Act of 1807, in the opinion of a number of Constitutional scholars is unconstitutional and would be found so if they ever bothered to test it in court.)

 

America’s Economic Blockades and International Law

“Military blockades are acts of war, and therefore subject to international law, including UN Security Council oversight. America’s economic blockades are similar in function and outcome to military blockades, with devastating consequences for civilian populations, and risk provoking war. It is time for the Security Council to take up the US sanctions regimes and weigh them against the requirements of international law and peacekeeping…”

 

So much for accountability.  August 2013
Obama Gives Bush “Absolute Immunity” For Everything

 

Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War

 

US Has Killed More Than 20 Million In 37 Nations Since WWII 

 

U.S. War Crimes and The Need To Recognize The Psychology Of Evil

Also Carl Herman:
“Recognized facts of US wars:
No nation’s government attacked the US on 9/11. The US acknowledges the Afghanistan government had nothing to do with 9/11. The UN Security Council issued two Resolutions after 9/11 (1368 and 1373) for international cooperation for factual discovery, arrests, and prosecutions of the 9/11 criminals.

The Afghan government said they would arrest any suspect upon presentation of evidence of criminal involvement. The US rejected these Resolutions, and violated the letter and intent of the UN Charter by armed attack and invasion of Afghanistan.

For more detail, I recommend International Law Professor Dr. Francis Boyle’s “End the crime that is the war on Afghanistan.” The US government acknowledges Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. The UN Security Council issued a standing cease fire that no single nation could violate by resuming armed attacks. The UN Security Council also resolved for weapons inspections that were nearly complete when the US violated the cease fire, weapons inspections, and letter and intent of the UN Charter with armed attack.”

The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us – John Pilger

 

 

Lanterns for Peace 2020

Join us from your home for this family friendly event to commemorate the lives lost in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings 75 years ago and make sure that such nuclear attacks never again take place. We remember the past, so that we can envision and work for a peaceful, just and nuclear-free future. Due to COVID-19, there will be no public gathering for Lanterns for Peace but we will still be holding a lantern launch streamed online.

Lanterns for Peace 2020 Youtube Video

Lanterns for Peace: Physicians for Social Responsibility-Wisconsin

 

 

The use of nuclear weapons is a war crime.  The use of nuclear weapons violates multiple parts of the Laws of Armed Conflict.


Visitors to the National Air and Space Museum—America’s shrine to the technological leading edge of the military industrial complex—hear a familiar narrative from the tour guides in front of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped an atomic weapon on the civilians of Hiroshima 70 years ago today.

The bomb was dropped, they say, to save the lives of thousands of Americans who would otherwise have been killed in an invasion of the Home Islands. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were largely destroyed and the lives of between 135,000 and 300,000 mostly Japanese women, children, and old people were sacrificed—most young men were away at war—as the result of a terrible but morally just calculus aimed at bringing an intractable war to a close.

This story may assuage the conscience of the air museum visitor, but it is largely myth, fashioned to buttress our memories of the “good” war. By and large, the top generals and admirals who managed World War II knew better. Consider the small and little-noticed plaque hanging in the National Museum of the US Navy that accompanies the replica of “Little Boy,” the weapon used against the people of Hiroshima: In its one paragraph, it makes clear that Truman’s “political advisors” overruled the military in determining the way in which the end of the war in Japan would be approached. Furthermore, contrary to the popular myths around the atomic bomb’s nearly magical power to end the war, the Navy Museum’s explication of the history clearly indicates that “the vast destruction wreaked by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the loss of 135,000 people made little impact on the Japanese military.”
Indeed, it would have been surprising if they had: Despite the terrible concentrated power of atomic weapons, the firebombing of Tokyo earlier in 1945 and the destruction of numerous Japanese cities by conventional bombing had killed far more people. The Navy Museum acknowledges what many historians have long known: It was only with the entry of the Soviet Union’s Red Army into the war two days after the bombing of Hiroshima that the Japanese moved to finally surrender. Japan was used to losing cities to American bombing; what their military leaders feared more was the destruction of the country’s military by an all-out Red Army assault.

The top American military leaders who fought World War II, much to the surprise of many who are not aware of the record, were quite clear that the atomic bomb was unnecessary, that Japan was on the verge of surrender, and—for many—that the destruction of large numbers of civilians was immoral. Most were also conservatives, not liberals. Adm. William Leahy, President Truman’s Chief of Staff, wrote in his 1950 memoir I Was There that “the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.… in being the first to use it, we…adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

The commanding general of the US Army Air Forces, Henry “Hap” Arnold, gave a strong indication of his views in a public statement only eleven days after Hiroshima was attacked. Asked on August 17 by a New York Times reporter whether the atomic bomb caused Japan to surrender, Arnold said that “the Japanese position was hopeless even before the first atomic bomb fell, because the Japanese had lost control of their own air.”

Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two months after the bombings that “the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan…” Adm. William “Bull” Halsey Jr., Commander of the US Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946 that “the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment…. It was a mistake to ever drop it…. [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it…”

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, for his part, stated in his memoirs that when notified by Secretary of War Henry Stimson of the decision to use atomic weapons, he “voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives…” He later publicly declared “…it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.” Even the famous “hawk” Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Twenty-First Bomber Command, went public the month after the bombing, telling the press that “the atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.”
The record is quite clear: From the perspective of an overwhelming number of key contemporary leaders in the US military, the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not a matter of military necessity. American intelligence had broken the Japanese codes, knew the Japanese government was trying to negotiate surrender through Moscow, and had long advised that the expected early August Russian declaration of war, along with assurances that Japan’s Emperor would be allowed to stay as a powerless figurehead, would bring surrender long before the first step in a November US invasion, three months later, could begin.

Historians still do not have a definitive answer to why the bomb was used. Given that US intelligence advised the war would likely end if Japan were given assurances regarding the Emperor—and given that the US military knew it would have to keep the Emperor to help control occupied Japan in any event—something else clearly seems to have been important. We do know that some of President Truman’s closest advisers viewed the bomb as a diplomatic and not simply a military weapon. Secretary of State James Byrnes, for instance, believed that the use of atomic weapons would help the United States more strongly dominate the postwar era. According to Manhattan Project scientist Leo Szilard, who met with him on May 28, 1945, “[Byrnes] was concerned about Russia’s postwar behavior…[and thought] that Russia might be more manageable if impressed by American military might, and that a demonstration of the bomb might impress Russia.

”History is rarely simple, and confronting it head-on, with critical honesty, is often quite painful. Myths, no matter how oversimplified or blatantly false, are too often far more likely to be embraced than inconvenient and unsettling truths.

Even now, for instance, we see how difficult it is for the average US citizen to come to terms with the brutal record of slavery and white supremacy that underlies so much of our national story. Remaking our popular understanding of the “good” war’s climactic act is likely to be just as hard. But if the Confederate battle flag can come down in South Carolina, we can perhaps one day begin to ask ourselves more challenging questions about the nature of America’s global power, and what is true and what is false about why we really dropped the atomic bomb on Japan.”