Tag Archives: war

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


Comparing US military to China: US has 20 times the nuclear warheads. Twice the tonnage of warships at sea. The US has over 800 overseas bases, China has 3. The US military has over 2000 fighter jets compared to China’s 600, and the Lockheed F-35 program is set to deliver 2500 nuclear capable jets.

Washington Post: The Pentagon is using China as an excuse for huge new budgets

https://twitter.com/FareedZakaria/status/1373696826205999107


“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 ~

The Costs of War: Panel and Discussion [Watch Recording]

link to recording
 Zoom Panel and Discussion on The Cost of War

We had an excellent lineup of guest speakers.
 

All wars have large costs, which the political, financial, and governmental elites instigating the conflicts would rather the citizens minimize –but pay for. With a “volunteer military”, outsourcing, drones, and “smart bombs”, the war-makers attempt to hide the costs of war. The true story, however, is much grimmer.


****************************************
Panelists:
 
***Veteran of the “War on Terror” Brittyn Calyx who will talk about the cost of war on the individual veteran and the impact of war on their own life.
 
***Vietnam veteran, artist, and peace activist David Giffey, who will speak on the societal costs of war,
 
***Dr. Eileen Ahearn, a long-time psychiatrist at the VA in Madison, Wisconsin who will take a look at war and moral injury and
 
***Rev. David Couper, who brings his experience as a veteran, former Madison police chief, and Episcopal priest, and will discuss the militarization of policing.
 

Each panelist will be given about 10 minutes to speak, followed by Q&A. We will use the Zoom chat box to field questions from our panelists.

Facebook Event for Costs of War Discussion

 

Peace
Fran Wiedenhoeft, faw231@aol.com608-576-7416
Primary organizer
Veterans for Peace Madison

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.”