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Offline RE

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The West is finished, but why?
« Reply #105 on: February 10, 2017, 02:54:35 AM »
Another philosophical explanation for why Western Culture is in decline.  Put this one on the library shelf with Morris Berman, Pepe Escobar, Dmitry Orlov and The Saker.

Andre neglects to inform that not only the West is going down the Toilet, so is the East.  He also attributes all the problems to culture, without ever addressing issues of population overshoot and resource depletion.

This is a rehash of Mo Berman's "Why America Failed".  It's old lefties making political and cultural arguments without looking at the core issues.

RE

http://dissidentvoice.org/2017/02/the-west-is-finished-but-why/

The West is finished, but why?

by Andre Vltchek / February 9th, 2017

Despite certain economic and social setbacks, the Western Empire is doing remarkably well. That is, if we measure success by the ability to control the world, to condition the brains of human beings on all continents, and to crush almost all substantial dissent, at home and abroad.

What almost entirely disappeared from life, at least in such places like New York, London or Paris, is that simple human joy, which is so obvious and evident when it exists. Paradoxically, in the very centers of power, most people seem to be living anxious, unfulfilled, almost frightened lives.

It all somehow doesn’t feel right. Shouldn’t citizens of the conquering part of the world, of the victorious regime, be at least confident and optimistic?

Of course, there are many reasons why they are not, and some of my comrades already outlined in details and in colorful language at least the main causes of depression and dissatisfaction with life, which are literally devouring alive those hundreds of millions of European and North American citizens.

The situation is mostly analyzed from a socioeconomic angle. However, I think that the most important causes for the present state of things are much simpler: the West and its colonies almost entirely destroyed the most essential human instincts: people’s ability to dream, to feel passionate about things, to rebel and to ‘get involved’.

Single-mindedness, optimism, naiveté are almost entirely gone. But those are exactly the qualities that used to move our human race forward!

*****

Despite what is now commonly perceived in the West, it is not ‘knowledge’ and definitely not ‘science’ that were behind the greatest leaps forward achieved by the civilization.

It has always been a deep and instinctive humanism, accompanied by faith (and here I’m not talking about some religious faith) and by tremendous dedication and loyalty to the cause. Without naïveté, without innocence, nothing great could have ever been attained.

Science was always there, and it was important for improving many practical aspects of human life, but it was never the main engine propelling a nation towards some just, balanced, and ‘livable’ society. When employed by an enlightened system, science had played an important role in building a much better world, but it was never the other way around.

The progress was always triggered and fueled by human emotions, by seemingly irrational and unachievable dreams, by poetry and wide scale of burning passions. The finest concepts for improvement of civilization were frequently not even logical; they were simply born out of some beautiful human instincts, intuitions and desires (logic was applied later, when practical details had to be nailed down).

Now ‘knowledge’, rationality and ‘logic’, at least in the West, are forcing human feelings into the corner. ‘Logic’ is now even replacing traditional religions. Obsession with ‘facts’, with ‘understanding’ everything, is actually becoming absurdly extreme, dogmatic, even fundamentalist.

All this fanatical fact collecting often feels unreal, ‘metallic’, cold and to many of those who are coming from ‘the outside’ (geographically or intellectually), extremely unnatural.

Let’s not forget that ‘facts’ consumed by the masses and even by the relatively educated Westerners are generally coming from the identical sources.  The same type of logic is being used, and several undistinguishable tools of analyses applied. Consuming excessive amount of news, ‘facts’ and ‘analyses’ usually doesn’t lead to understanding anything in depth, or to truly critical thoughts, quite the contrary – it very effectively murders one’s ability to consider totally new concepts, and especially to rebel against the intellectual clichés and stereotypes. No wonder that the middle class Europeans and North Americans are among the most conformist people on earth!

Collecting mountains of data and ‘information’ in most cases leads absolutely nowhere. For millions, it is becoming just a hobby, like any other one, including video games and PlayStation. It keeps a person ‘on top of things’, so he or she can impress acquaintances, or it simply satisfies that neurotic need to constantly consume news.

To make things worse, most Westerners (and almost all Westernized foreigners) are incessantly locked in a complex ‘information’ and perceptions web with the members of their families, as well as with their friends and co-workers. There is constant pressure to conform while extremely little space and almost no rewards for true intellectual courage or originality.

*****

Regimes already managed to a great extent to standardize ‘knowledge’, mainly by utilizing pop culture and indoctrinating people through its ‘educational’ institutions.

People are actually voluntarily locking themselves for years at schools and universities, wasting their time, paying their own money, even getting into debt, just in order to make it easier for the regime to indoctrinate them and turn them into good and obedient subjects of the Empire!

Already for decades the system has been successfully producing entire generations of emotionally dead and confused individuals.

These people are so damaged that they cannot fight for anything anymore (except, sometimes, for their own personal and selfish interests); they cannot take sides, and cannot even identify their own goals and desires. They constantly try (and fail) to ‘find something meaningful’ and ‘fulfilling’ they could do in life. It is always about them finding something, not about joining meaningful struggles or inventing something thoroughly new for the sake of humanity! They keep going ‘back to school’, they keep crying for ‘lost opportunities’ because they ‘didn’t study what they think they really should have’ (no matter what they actually study or do in life, they mostly feel dissatisfied, anyway).

They are constantly scared of being rejected, they are petrified that their ignorance and inability to do anything truly meaningful would be discovered and ridiculed (many of them actually sense how empty their lives are).

They are unhappy, some thoroughly miserable, and even suicidal. Yet their desperation does not propel them into action. Most of them never rebel; never truly confront regime, never challenge their immediate milieu.

These hundreds of millions of broken and idle people (some of them actually not stupid at all) are a tremendous loss to the world. Instead of erecting barricades, writing outraged novels or openly ridiculing this entire Western charade, they are mostly suffering in silence, some succumbing to substance abuse or contemplating suicide.

If the opportunity to thoroughly change their lives really arrives, they cannot identify it, anymore; cannot grasp it. It is because they cannot fight; they were ‘pacified’ since early age, since the school.

That is exactly where the regime wants to have its citizens. It’s where it got them!

Shockingly, almost no one calls this entire nightmare by its real name – a monstrous crime!

*****

People buy books in order to make sense of it all, but they hardly manage to read them to the end. They are too preoccupied; they are lacking concentration and determination. And great majority of books available in the stores are giving no meaningful answers, anyway.

Still, many are trying: they are analyzing and analyzing, aimlessly. They ‘don’t understand and want to know’. They don’t realize that this path of constantly thinking, while applying certain prescribed tool of the analyses, is one huge trap.

There is really nothing much to understand. People were actually robbed of life, robbed of natural human feelings, of warmth, of passion, even of love itself (what they call ‘love’ is often surrogate, and nothing more).

All this is never pronounced not even in fiction books anymore, unless you read in Russian or Spanish. The success of the Empire to produce obedient, scared and unimaginative beings is now complete!

Big corporations are thriving; elites are collecting enormous booty, while great majority of people in the West is gradually losing its ability to dream and to feel. Without those preconditions, no rebellion is possible. Lack of imagination, accompanied by emotional numbness, is the most effective formula for stagnation, even regression.

That is why the West is finished.

*****

Grotesque obsession with science, with medical practices, and with ‘facts’, is helping to divert attention from the real and horrific issue.

Constant debates, analyses, and ‘looking at things from different angles’, leads to nothing else but passivity. But taking action is too scary, and people are not used to making dramatic decisions anymore, or even gestures.

This also leads to the fact that almost no one in the West is now ready to gather under any ideological banner, or to embrace full heartedly what is called derogatorily ‘labels’.

For millennia, people flocked intuitively into various movements, political parties and groups. No significant change was ever achieved by one single individual (although a strong leader at the head of a movement, party of even government could definitely achieve a lot).

To be part of something important and revolutionary was symbolizing often a true meaning of life. People were (and in many parts of the world still are) fully committed, dedicated to the important and heroic struggles. Trying to build better world, fighting for better world, even dying for it: that was often considered the most glorious what a human being could achieve in his or her lifetime.

In the West, such approach is dead, thoroughly destroyed. There, cynicism reigns. You have to challenge everything, trust nothing, and commit to nothing.

You are expected to mistrust any government. You should ridicule everyone who believes in something, especially if that something is pure and noble. You simply have to drag through filth any grandiose attempt to improve the world, whether it is happening in Ecuador, Philippines, China, Russia or South Africa.

To show strong feeling for some leader, for political party or the government in a country that is still capable of some fire and passion, is met with mocking sarcasm in places like London or New York. “We are all thieves, and all human beings and therefore governments, are similar”, goes deadly and toxic ‘wisdom’.

How lovely, really! What a way forward.

Yes, of course: if hours and hours are spent analyzing some fiery leader or movement, for instance in Latin America, at least some ‘dirt’ would always emerge, as no place and no group of people is perfect. This gives Westerners great alibi for not getting involved in anything. That’s how it is designed. ‘Give up on hope for perfect world, say that you simply cannot believe in anything anymore, and go wiggle your ass in some club in London or New York’. Then, go back to school or get yourself some meaningless job. Or get stoned.

It is actually much easier than to work extremely hard to save the world or your country! It is much easier than to risk your life and to fight for justice. It is easier than trying to really think, to attempt to invent something thoroughly new, for this beloved and scarred planet of ours!

*****

Old Russian ballad says: “It is so hard to love… But it is so easy to leave…”

And with the revolution, with the movements, struggles, even governments that one full heartedly supports, it is, to a great extend, very similar as with love.

Love can never be fully scrutinized, fully analyzed, or it is not really love. There is nothing, and should be nothing logical or rational about it. Only when it is dying one begins analyzing, while looking for excuses to slam the door.

But while it is there, while it exists, alive, warm and pulsating, to apply ‘objectivity’ regarding the other person would be brutal, disrespectful; in a way it would be a betrayal.

Only “new Westerners” can commit such travesty, by analyzing love, by writing ‘guides’ about how to deal with human feelings, how to maximize profits from their emotional investments!

How could a man who loves a woman just sit on a sofa and analyze: “I love her but maybe I should think twice, because her nose is too big, and her behind is too large?” That’s absolute nonsense! A woman who is loved, truly loved, is the most beautiful being on earth.

And so is the struggle!

Otherwise, without true dedication and single-mindedness, nothing will ever change; never improve.

But let’s not forget – the Empire doesn’t want anything to improve. That’s why it is spreading limitless cynicism and nihilism. That’s why it is smearing everything pure and natural, while implanting bizarre ‘perfection models’, so the people always compare, always judge, always have doubts, never feel satisfied, and as a result, abstain from all serious involvements.

The empire wants people to think, but think in a way it programs them to do. It wants them to analyze, but only by using its methods. And it wants people to discard, even reject, their natural instincts and emotions.

The results are clear: grotesque individualism and self-centrism, confused, broken societies, collapsed relationships between people, and total spite for higher aspirations.

It is not only about the Marxist or revolutionary political parties, about the rebellions or internationalist, anti-imperialist struggles.

Have you noticed how shallow, how unstable became most inter-human relationships in the West? Nobody wants to get truly ‘involved’. People are testing each other. They constantly think, hardly feel. Powerful passions are looked down at (emotional outbursts are considered ‘indecent’, even shameful): now it is suddenly all about one’s ‘feeling good’, always ‘calm’, but paradoxically, almost no one is actually feeling good or calm in this “new West”, anymore.

It all, of course, mutated into exact opposite of what love, or a true revolutionary work (political, or artistic) used to be, and just to remind you, it used to be the most beautiful, the most insane turmoil, total departure from dismal normalcy.

In the West, almost no one could even write great poetry, anymore. No haunting melodies, no powerful lyrics are created there.

Life became suddenly shallow, predictable and programmed.

Without ability to love passionately, without capacity to give, to sacrifice everything unconditionally, one cannot expect to become a great revolutionary.

Of course, in the passionless West obsessed with type of knowledge that somehow keeps failing to enlighten, with the applied sciences and deeply rooted egocentricity, there is no fertile ground for powerful passions left, and therefore no chance for the true revolution.

“I rebel: therefore we exist”, declared Albert Camus, correctly.

Collective rebellion culminates into revolution. Without a revolution, or without constant aspiration for it, there is no life.

The West lost ability to love and to rebel.

And that is why it is finished!

*****

There is a good saying: “You cannot ever understand Russia with your brain. You can only believe in it”. The same goes for China, Japan and so many other places.

To come to Asia or Russia and begin journey by trying to ‘understand’ these places is nothing short of insanity. There is no reason for it, and no chance that it could be achieved in a few months, even years.

Neurotic and thoroughly Western approach of constantly trying to ‘understand’ everything with one’s brain, can actually ruin all irreversibly and right from the beginning. The best way to start to truly comprehend Asia is by absorbing, by being gently guided by others, by seeing, feeling, discarding all preconceptions and clichés. Understanding doesn’t come necessarily with logic. Actually, it almost never does. It involves senses and emotions, and it usually arrives suddenly, unexpectedly.

The revolution, in fact the most sacred and honorable struggles – they are also brewing for a long time, and they also come unexpectedly, and straight from the heart.

Whenever I come to New York but especially to London or Paris, and whenever I encounter those ‘theoretical leftists’, I have to smile bitterly when I follow their pointless but long discussions about some theory, which is totally separated from reality. And it is almost exclusively about them: are they Trotskyists and why? Or perhaps they are anarcho-syndicalists? Or Maoists? Whatever they are, they always begin on the couch or a bar stool, and that’s where they end up, late in the evening.

In case you are just coming from Venezuela or Bolivia, where people are fighting true battles for survival of their revolutions, it is quite a shocking experience! Most of them, in Altiplano, never even heard about Lev Trotsky, or anarcho-syndicalism. What they know is that they are at war, they are fighting for all of us, for a much better world, and they need immediate and concrete support for their struggle: petitions, demonstrations, money, and cadres. All they get is words. They get nothing from the West: almost nothing at all, and they never will.

It is because they are not good enough for the Brits and French. They are too ‘real’, not ‘pure enough’. They make mistakes. They are too human, not sterile, and not ‘well-behaved’. They ‘violate some rights here or there’. They are too emotional. They are this or that, but definitely ‘one could not fully throw his or her weight fully behind them’.

‘Scientifically’, they are wrong. If one spends ten hours in the pub or living room, discussing them, there would definitely arise enough arguments for withdrawing all support. The same applies for the revolutionaries and for the revolutionary changes in the Philippines, and in so many other places.

The West cannot connect to this way of thinking. It doesn’t see absurdity in its own behavior and attitudes. It lost its spirit; it lost its heart, its feelings, from the right and now even from the left. In exchange for what, brain? But there is nothing significant that comes from that area either!

And that is why it is finished!

People are now unwilling to get themselves behind anything real; behind any true revolution, any movement, any government, unless they are like those plastic and toxic looking women from glossy fashion magazines: perfect for men who lost all their imagination and individuality, but thoroughly boring and mass-produced for the rest of us.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are the revolutionary novel Aurora and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: Exposing Lies Of The Empire and Fighting Against Western Imperialism. View his other books here. Watch his Rwanda Gambit, a documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo. He continues to work around the world and can be reached through his website and Twitter. Read other articles by Andre.
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From New World Order to Hazy Global Disorder
« Reply #106 on: February 11, 2017, 12:16:14 AM »
http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/02/10/from-new-world-order-hazy-global-disorder.html

Wayne MADSEN | 10.02.2017 | OPINION
From New World Order to Hazy Global Disorder


The Donald Trump administration and the Brexit severance of ties between the United Kingdom and the European Union have, in a matter of a little over a half year, changed the world from a post-Cold War «new world order» based on American supremacy to a global «disorder» of altered alliances on a multipolar geo-political chessboard. In many respects, the new global disorder has also placed in jeopardy various post-World War II contrivances, including NATO, the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Australia-New Zealand-United States (ANZUS) alliance.

Every international relations textbook and playbook can be thrown away with the advent of the new global disorder. Trump has kicked off his foreign policy by introducing an incoherent foreign policy. On one hand, Trump claims he wants to partner with Russia on the war against «radical Islamic terrorism». Yet, Trump has also indicated, through his UN ambassador Nicky Haley and Defense Secretary James Mattis, that he is committed to NATO and wants Russia to withdraw from Crimea. It is well known that the annual National Football League’s Super Bowl coordinates its patriotic military-oriented events with the Pentagon. In recent past years, U.S. troops serving in places like Afghanistan and Iraq were featured during and after the game on the host stadium’s jumbotron television screens.

The 2017 Super Bowl in Houston was different. This year the live shot of U.S. troops with the 3rd Brigade Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, was from a military base in Zagan, Poland. The Pentagon’s psychological operations specialists wanted to convey the message that under Trump, the new U.S. front lines were no longer in Afghanistan and Iraq in a war against Muslim radical insurgents but in Poland with Russia as the new «enemy». The optics simply do not match Trump’s statements about seeking closer ties with Russia.

Trump has indicated he hopes to increase the U.S. «defense» budget to accommodate a 90,000 troop increase in Army ranks; a 350-ship Navy, including new aircraft carriers at $12 billion per vessel; an increase in Marine Corps battalions from 23 to 36; and 100 additional advanced fighter planes for the Air Force. That is equivalent to an increase in the military budget from $500 billion to $1 trillion over a ten-year period.

Essentially, Trump’s national security team desires a military that can fight both Russia and China and that can be able to match every Russian and Chinese warplane, tank, and naval vessel in a battle space.

Trump and his national security team of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Mattis, and other war hawks are also laying the ground for a military confrontation with Iran. Team Trump has helped ratchet up tensions with Iran by authorizing the sale to Saudi Arabia of $300 million worth of precision-guided missiles and billions of dollars of advanced F-16 fighters to Saudi Arabia’s vassal state of Bahrain. These packages were suspended by the Obama administration because of Saudi war crimes in Yemen and Bahrain’s bloody suppression of its Shi’a majority. Trump is greenlighting continued Saudi genocidal aggression in Yemen’s civil war. The Saudis and Bahrainis are now being positioned by Trump to gain a military advantage over Iran. Trump’s executive order banning Iraqis with valid U.S. visas, refugee documents, and, originally, permanent U.S. resident «green cards», irritated the Iraqi government, an ally of Iran, to the point that it vowed to limit Iraqi visas for U.S. contractors and journalists. That will only embolden Islamic State and Al Qaeda irregulars fighting U.S. military forces in the country. Anything that threatens the Baghdad government is welcome news to the Saudi regime.

Trump, in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, emphasized close U.S.-Turkish relations. In July 2016, after an attempted coup against Erdogan, Trump, in an interview with The New York Times, praised Erdogan’s handling of the insurrection. Since the coup attempt, Erdogan has ordered the arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of journalists, military and police officers, professors, civil servants, politicians, and businessmen for allegedly supporting the so-called «Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO)», a pejorative term for those affiliated with Turkish exile leader and former Erdogan ally Fethullah Gulen.

Gulen is currently exiled in Pennsylvania and has been under the protection of the Central Intelligence Agency. However, Flynn and others part of the Trump security apparatus favor extraditing Gulen, a political refugee, to Turkey to face trial and certain imprisonment, torture, and possibly, execution.

Trump’s dalliance with Erdogan will also jeopardize the safety of the Kurdish forces in Syria, which have been allied with the United States against the Islamic State, and the Kurdish Regional Government in Erbil in Iraq. Turkey considers the Syrian and Iraqi Kurds to be supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and if Trump sides with Erdogan against Kurdistan it will represent another double-cross by Washington of that beleaguered unrecognized nation. U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger abandoned the Kurds in the 1970s when he sacrificed their interests to the Iraqi military regime.

Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon is believed to have gotten involved in an internal «civil war» within the Vatican and which saw a virtual takeover of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) in Rome by Pope Francis. Bannon opposes what he considers the Pope’s «socialist ways». The Vatican may be a micro-state without a grand army, but a fracture in Vatican-Washington relations can only have a negative impact on the EU, NATO, and other traditional alliances.

Trump’s rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal has thrown the Asia-Pacific region into «controlled chaos». Mattis’s first foreign trip as Secretary of Defense was to reassure South Korea and Japan of America’s military commitment. But the abandonment of the TPP by its largest cheerleader, the United States, has provided impetus to China’s alternative trading bloc, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). America’s longtime ally Australia, a supporter of the TPP, is now anxious to join the RCEP. Trump’s bellicose phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refugee swap, has Australia incensed with Trump. While they are friendly adversaries with Australia over sports and national pride, New Zealand came to Australia’s defense in its spat with Trump. The bottom line is that the ANZUS alliance is now severely damaged but, in any event, it had long outlived its usefulness.

Other testy phone exchanges between Trump and German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande also shook Euro-Atlantic bonds with Washington. Trump thundered to Hollande that the French and other NATO countries should pay the U.S. back for NATO expenditures. European Council president Donald Tusk called Trump a «threat» to the European Union.

After a meeting at the White House with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Trump shocked the Israeli government when he told Israel that it should stop announcing new settlements in the West Bank. While Trump’s rhetoric suggests that he is the most pro-Israeli president to ever occupy the White House, his mercurial attitude toward Israel has some Middle East observers wondering whether Trump’s promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is merely window-dressing for a different U.S. policy in the region.

The venerable, but relatively staid and useless OAS, headquartered in Washington, is not likely to survive Trump’s promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border or his saber-rattling toward Cuba, which has returned to the OAS and the Inter-American political system. Latin America and the Caribbean has more worthwhile alternatives to the OAS, including the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), all of which are free of U.S. membership and influence.

It is a new global disorder but in this chaos, a return to a multipolar world and the end of «sole U.S. superpower» status may be a blessing in the long run. In the short run, however, the chaos will confuse every foreign ministry and international organization bureaucracy on every continent.
Tags: NATO  Pentagon  Asia-Pacific  Middle East  US  Trump 
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Yemen: In the Shadow of Death
« Reply #107 on: February 13, 2017, 06:33:35 AM »
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/02/12/yemen-shadow-death

Yemen: In the Shadow of Death
by
George Capaccio


Nawar al-Awlaki (l) and her half-brother Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki (r)

It is my intention to make my entire life a rejection of, a protest against the crimes and injustices of war and political tyranny which threaten to destroy the whole human race and the world ... If I say no to all these secular forces, I also say yes to all that is good in the world and in humanity. I say yes to all that is beautiful in nature ... I say yes to all the men and women who are my brothers and sisters in the world.

—   Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, poet, philosopher, teacher, and activist (1915-1968)

How did Nawar al-Awlaki, an 8-year-old child, die at the hands of a Navy Seal during last month’s nighttime raid in Yemen? We know from credible reports that she was shot in the neck at close range and received no medical aid throughout the remaining two hours of her life. Some questions come to mind: Was the shooting intentional? Did the soldier deliberately and with “malice aforethought” point his weapon at Nawar and squeeze the trigger, fully aware that he was murdering in cold blood an innocent child? For that matter, might he have been influenced, if only subliminally, by our Commander-in-Chief’s prescription for winning the so-called “war on terror? During his campaign for the presidency, Trump announced that a sure-fire strategy for defeating ISIS had to involve eliminating their families as well as the terrorists themselves. Here are his exact words:

When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives. Don't kid yourself. But they say they don't care about their lives. You have to take out their families.

Nawar was part of a family that has the dubious honor of having lost several members to extrajudicial assassinations carried out by CIA drones and their pilots, safely embedded in military bases thousands of miles away. In 2011, Nawar’s father, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen living in Yemen, was successfully “neutralized” despite his having never been charged with or convicted of a crime. (At one time, Awlaki had been viewed as a “moderate Muslim cleric” whom the Pentagon, soon after 9/11, consulted about how to deal with extremism. His subsequent radicalization, however, and his advocacy of a violent response to the violence inflicted by the United States on Muslim countries landed him on Obama’s hit list. For Awlaki, born and educated in America, the Constitutional provision for due process of law simply did not apply.)

“Two weeks after the killing of Awlaki,” journalist Glen Greenwald writes, “a separate CIA drone strike in Yemen killed his 16-year-old American-born son Abdulrahman, along with the boy’s 17-year-old cousin and several other innocent Yemenis.” These murders were the handiwork of our beloved, peace-loving former president Barack Obama. And now Donald Trump, having picked up where Obama left off, authorized the commando raid by the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 that resulted in the death of one U.S. service member and the deaths of 30 civilians, including 10 women and children. The justification for the raid was the purported existence of a compound where al Qaeda masterminds had gathered and where computer records and other data might possibly reveal the group’s plans for future terrorist attacks, like the one carried out in Paris from January 7-9, 2015 in which three French-born assailants murdered a total of 17 people at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, a kosher grocery store, and in a Paris suburb.

Some critics are calling the January 30 raid in Yemen a botched affair. Insufficient or incorrect intelligence and poor planning, they argue, are responsible for the chaos that erupted when the Navy Seals launched their raid and ended up causing excessive “collateral damage.” Sean Spicer, Trump’s adversarial press secretary, lashed out at anyone — including Arizona Senator John McCain — who calls the raid a failure. In Spicer’s view, such malcontents and naysayers owe an apology to Ryan Owens, the soldier who was killed in the raid: “It's absolutely a success, and I think anyone that would suggest [the raid is] not a success does a disservice to the life of Chief Ryan Owens."

What about the life of Nawar al-Awlaki and the lives of the other women and children whom the soldiers ended up killing? Don’t they deserve an apology? Better than an apology, don’t their families deserve some form of compensation for the loss of their loved ones? Even more to the point, don’t we all deserve an explanation for why the United States is conducting drone strikes and clandestine military operations against the poorest country in the Middle East while supporting the Saudi-let coalition against Houthi rebels and allied military forces?

Again and again, my thoughts return to Nawar, the beautiful child whose all-too-brief life ended when a U.S. commando unit, acting under orders, unleashed their awesome firepower in the course of storming an Al Qaeda outpost in central Yemen. And I can’t help but ask myself, in this scenario, who are the terrorists? How much difference is there between masked militants opening fire on innocent civilians in Paris, Istanbul, or any number of other places in the world, and heavily armed soldiers conducting a surprise attack that led to so many unnecessary deaths and will likely inspire more disillusioned young people to join the ranks of extremists.

Nawar, sadly, is not alone. She is one of countless children killed or wounded in the course of America’s relentless “war on terror” in which, apparently, we are entitled to bomb, shell, sanction, or otherwise immiserate any country or people that somehow threatens our national security — and to do so with absolute impunity. In the case of Yemen, the U.S. is complicit in the ongoing destruction of the country. The biggest culprit, of course, is Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the United Arab Emirates. In 2015, the Saudis intervened in Yemen’s civil war to put down the Houthis, a minority sect within Shi’a Islam, believing that Houthi forces were supported by Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival — Iran. Since the Saudis began their assault, the U.S. has provided intelligence, logistical support, and weapons, in addition to mid-air re-fueling of Saudi bombers. Since 2009, when Obama began his first term, the U.S. has sold more than $115 billion in weapons, including cluster munitions, banned in 2008 under the terms of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, a treaty signed by 116 nations. The United States and more than 80 other countries have not agreed to ban the manufacture or deployment of cluster munitions, though in May 2016 the Obama Administration chose to stop selling cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia in response to the growing number of civilian casualties attributed to the use of this indiscriminate weapon.

However one parses the various players in Yemen’s two-year-old conflict and their reasons for continuing the bloodshed, one thing is certain: the people of Yemen are undergoing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. According to the latest report from UNICEF on conditions in Yemen, the war that began in 2015 (and has been fueled by U.S support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign) about 70 percent of the population, or 18.8 million people, are in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 10,000 people have died and 3 million have been displaced as direct results of the conflict. Over one thousand of those deaths have been children like Nawar al-Awlaki. The war has only worsened the already debilitating effects of Yemen’s longstanding poverty, including the near collapse of the county’s healthcare system and a 200 percent increase since 2014 in children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. At least 2.2 million children are in need of urgent care in a country where Saudi coalition aircraft have bombed over fifty-eight hospitals and where access to medical facilities is extremely limited.

In the absence of a functioning healthcare system, safe water and sanitation, and with high rates of malnutrition, many of the children are dying from easily preventable diseases. Heartbreaking photographs of severely malnourished children in Yemen remind me of those I visited in public hospitals in Iraq where years of U.S.- and UK-enforced sanctions led to severe shortages of life-saving drugs and nutrient-poor diets for mothers and their children. Like the children in Yemen, the Iraqi children were wasting away and given palliative care at best. They would die, and their deaths would go unnoticed and unmarked in the countries that bore the lion’s share of responsibility for what Hans Von Sponeck and Denis Halliday, former UN officials, have rightly called genocide.

In a family photo taken before her death, Nawar al-Awlaki is wearing a bright red bow in her hair and holding her smiling face in her hands. The photo will no doubt become a lasting emblem, an iconic moment in this little girl’s life. Other imperishable images come to mind, like the one of Alan Kurdi, the 3-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed up on the shore of a Turkish beach. Alan, his older brother Galip, and their mother Rehan all perished at sea while the family was hoping to find refuge in Canada. Just as wrenching is the image of 5-year-old Samar Hassan, an Iraqi child whose parents were killed by U.S. soldiers in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar in 2005. In the photo, Samar is screaming in terror and spattered with the blood of her parents.

Several years ago, I encountered another Iraqi family who suffered the same fate at the hands of U.S. soldiers. While driving from Mosul to Baghdad to spend the holidays with relatives, they came too close to a U.S. military vehicle. The soldiers, following protocol, opened fire. The driver died instantly. The car went up in flames. The father managed to crawl out of the burning vehicle and pull his two young sons to safety. Then he went back to rescue his wife, but it was too late. The soldiers restrained him, knowing he too would die in the flames if they let him go.

When we met in Boston, he was with the younger of his two boys. The child had been severely burned and would need multiple surgeries and skin grafts over the next several years. But the trauma he had suffered, watching his mother burn to death inside the car they had been riding in, will be with him for the rest of his life.

But of course none of this really matters, certainly not to the apparatchiks who devise America’s foreign policy, nor to the generals who implement policy decisions. Civilians killed in a botched raid in Yemen? Entire families blown to pieces by a Hellfire missile? To quote Harold Pinter, British playwright and 2005 Nobel Prize winner in literature:

It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them.

We can do more than talk about them. We can open our hearts to the suffering of people in places like Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Libya where the U.S. government and its military, under the pretext of advancing “freedom and democracy,” have committed or abetted crimes against humanity. But even that is not enough. We have a responsibility to speak out against these crimes and the ones who perpetrate them, and to work toward creating an effective, politically motivated, nonviolent resistance to the ongoing and seemingly non-ending imperial wars. Above all, we can respond to the violence of war with a deepening sense of shared humanity and an activism motivated, ultimately, by love.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

George Capaccio

George Capaccio is a writer and activist living in Arlington, MA. During the years of US- and UK-enforced sanctions against Iraq, he traveled there numerous times, bringing in banned items, befriending families in Baghdad, and deepening his understanding of how the sanctions were impacting civilians. His email is Georgecapaccio@verizon.net. He welcomes comments and invites readers to visit his website: www.georgecapaccio.com
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Offline luciddreams

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #108 on: February 13, 2017, 09:25:00 AM »
Yemen is a reality that most Merikans don't want to think or talk about.  It's a reality better kept swept under the rug lest you begin thinking about such things as peace.  Well...what do you expect from the bowels of the Military-Industrial-complex?  Of course it wants to kill people.  What other reason would you base so much of an economy on weapons of mass destruction.  Nobody beats Merikans for knowing how to make better and better industrial means for killing people.  We kill people because it supports our real economy.  At least the economy that keeps all of those corporations making missiles for drones that kill people.

All of this is likely why the Nurse Practitioner that diagnosed me with "PTSD" may be correct.  That's something I never considered before she said it to me.  I didn't see the young children I was killing, but in the end I was making the steam in a reactor power plant on an aircraft carrier that was launching those jets to Afghanistan days after 911.  A lot of people died due to my ship dropping 3 million tons of ordinance.  Well...it wasn't my ship, the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, but it was the ship I served on during "Operation Enduring Freedom."  Do I have PTSD?  Fuck if I know...I don't really care.  What I know is that I feel badly about contributing to the deaths of all of those innocent people.  It has taken a toll on my soul.  Maybe I have "post traumatic soul disorder"?   ;D :D

These things are necessary for a global empire.  They have become necessary because we have built a civilization that both encourages reproduction energetically, and does so under a limited resource paradigm.  Things could have been different, but they weren't.  This is the world that we have now.  So open your eyes and look at it before they change the definition.  Our empire murders, kills, assassinates, commits genocide, and makes war for profit.  It does so while it pumps the Earths blood for a profit and burns it in effigy to be praised and worshiped. 

But why would anybody talk about this shit?  Much less pay it any attention.  It didn't happen right?  Even when it was happening. 

I guess people are gonna die on this planet with a growing population and a shrinking energy base...one way or the other.  In the Merikan Empires case, it's going to do so while profiting on the weapons that do the killing.  Why else would we train and fund terrorist organization? 

There really are people who want to kill Merikans...cause they're goobermint and armed forces have been killing them.  Wouldn't you want to kill a country that invaded Merika?  If there was a foreign military force killing you and your family wouldn't you pick up a weapon and fire back? 

Now we're in an area of discussion that gets dangerous though.  Heaven forbid somebody say that maybe we should fight back against the forces that are killing and oppressing us.  I don't want to get locked up at Juantaunomo...or whatever the fuck it's called  ;) ;D  I've got a habbit of mispelling wurds, especially foreign ones. 

Offline Palloy2

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #109 on: February 13, 2017, 09:32:29 PM »


The world has been into The Collapse Phase since 2008, but it still has a long way to go.  Financial collapse, energy collapse, environmental collapse, food collapse and population collapse.  It's not just due to any one of those things, they are all interdependent, and it's due to ALL of them at the same time.  Energy works according to the simple rules called The Laws of Thermodynamics, so I find it easiest to be sure about that aspect, but others may focus on different aspects.  It all leads to the same conclusion.



It's bigger than Trump/Xi/Putin can handle, so of course it's bigger than little old you can handle.  We call it "Cognitive Dissonance" when you don't "get it" yet.  When you do, they call it "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" or "Asperger's Spectrum Personality Disorder" or "Oppositional Defiant Disorder" or "Nihilist's Syndrome" or ... whatever.

There is no solution to it. 

Hiding behind a gun, or in an old missile silo, or behind a pile of gold bars, or a shed full of solar panels, isn't going to help.  You can hide in the wilderness, if you and your family are all super-fit and lucky - just like the gorillas and chimpanzees.  But Nature tells us over and over again that it doesn't allow the old, sick or hungry to survive for long. 

Zoo animals live approximately twice as long as their cousins in the wild, but what a price they pay.  So if you are a Killer Whale and you want to live a long time, go live at SeaWorld and do tricks in a pool for the audience. 



But if you want to grab that fucking seal and toss it in the air for fun, then better to do that in the ocean somwhere.



Civilisation breeds the survival instinct out of people, and instead gives them Human Rights - notwithstanding that this all takes energy.  I was watching a sob story on TV last night about this poor woman whose unborn babies all had Spina Bifida and had to be aborted, until the most recent one, where a team of 40 surgeons operated on her foetus in utero to correct the faults.  Amazing - that anyone should bother.  But then we kid ourselves that we are clever and we deserve it, because we all have Human Rights, don't we?  Cue violins.


"Old man and his family"

"The State is a body of armed men."

Offline RE

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #110 on: February 13, 2017, 10:02:24 PM »


The world has been into The Collapse Phase since 2008, but it still has a long way to go.  Financial collapse, energy collapse, environmental collapse, food collapse and population collapse.  It's not just due to any one of those things, they are all interdependent, and it's due to ALL of them at the same time.  Energy works according to the simple rules called The Laws of Thermodynamics, so I find it easiest to be sure about that aspect, but others may focus on different aspects.  It all leads to the same conclusion.

Fill out the text a bit more and add it to the blog.

RE
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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #111 on: February 13, 2017, 10:05:02 PM »
I don't want to get locked up at Juantaunomo...or whatever the fuck it's called  ;) ;D  I've got a habbit of mispelling wurds, especially foreign ones.

Guantanamo.  Just use GITMO though, it's easier to remember.

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Offline luciddreams

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #112 on: February 14, 2017, 05:19:42 AM »
I don't want to get locked up at Juantaunomo...or whatever the fuck it's called  ;) ;D  I've got a habbit of mispelling wurds, especially foreign ones.

Guantanamo.  Just use GITMO though, it's easier to remember.

RE

Yeah, well, I was making a joke.  I can fucking google shit just like you can.  As far as misspelling words go...there's the squiggly red line and a right click to fix it.  However it can't correct for a word that is spelled correctly but used inappropriately like to and too, or martial and Marshall...which I should have spelled marshal and not Marshall...which is a name.  The other spelling actually applies to the military and law, so I wasn't that far off the mark. 

Either way, you can be the spelling gestapo.  My ego is not bruised.  If it weren't for the red squiggly line I would misspell probably 40% of the words I type.  I would have just misspelled "misspell" by only using one s instead of two, and I would have misspelled "squiggly" because I tried to add an "e." 

English makes no sense where the rules of spelling are concerned.  It's the most confusing and confounding language the world has.  A hodgepodge (would have misspelled that one to) of different languages all mixed in a pot with a rule for every other situation.  The only fucking person who could know all of the rules would have to be a professor of syntax whom has written a few books on where to put a fucking comma...and even that fucker would misspell a word (did I use whom correctly?). 

My syntax is shit, just as my spelling is.  Ironically I tutored for literature 101 and 102 while I was in college.  But when you have functionally illiterate high school graduates with minority scholarships...well even someone who's syntax and spelling sucks can be of use tutoring.  I've always known how to use a dictionary, and syntax you can get right 80% of the time.  I wouldn't be surprised if I got it wrong 80% of the time however. 

You are a spelling Nazi RE...so be it.  Thanks for pointing out when I misspell a word.  I'm sure it will eventually make my report card better.   
 

Offline RE

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Obama-sama Ranks #12 as Greatest POTUS of All Time!
« Reply #113 on: February 20, 2017, 02:02:02 AM »
OK, let me see if I can guess the 11 who got ranked higher than Obama-sama:

Honest Abe Lincoln
George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
John Adams
FDR
Teddy Roosevelt
JFK
James Madison
Andrew Jackson
Ulysses S. Grant
Woodrow Wilson

Disclaimer: I didn't watch the video, so no clue if I got the higher ranking POTUSES correct.

I wonder where The Donald will rank on the Historians List of Great Presidents? ???  :icon_scratch:

RE

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Offline Eddie

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #114 on: February 20, 2017, 07:14:22 AM »
The video doesn't even mention #'s 2 thru 11.

But any group of historians that picks Lincoln as #1 is lost in the woods anyway. Hey, did you know he grew up in a gen-u-ine log cabin?
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Offline JRM

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Re: Obama-sama Ranks #12 as Greatest POTUS of All Time!
« Reply #115 on: February 20, 2017, 07:47:06 AM »

I wonder where The Donald will rank on the Historians List of Great Presidents? ???  :icon_scratch:

<iframe src='//players.brightcove.net/624246174001/82f79524-152c-485f-bcb0-09197a216c87_default/index.html?videoId=5329104334001' allowfullscreen frameborder=0></iframe>


Rock bottom, I'll guess.

I sincerely doubt trump will be president for very long -- with the measure of "very long" being weeks or months, not years.  He will not be president in 9 months.  He may not be president in three months, or six weeks.  But he won't last long.  Whether he is impeached and removed or resigns (in order to enjoy a long stay in a mental hospital), I don't know. But he has a very short shelf life.

One thing which could happen while he's president, however, is the beginning of an actual revolution.  He could trigger that, and the revolutionaries would throw him out of office in a hurry.
My "avatar" graphic is Japanese calligraphy (shodō) forming the word shoshin, meaning "beginner's mind". --  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin -- It is with shoshin that I am now and always "meeting my breath" for the first time. Try it!

Offline RE

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Re: Obama-sama Ranks #12 as Greatest POTUS of All Time!
« Reply #116 on: February 20, 2017, 07:57:46 AM »

I wonder where The Donald will rank on the Historians List of Great Presidents? ???  :icon_scratch:

<iframe src='//players.brightcove.net/624246174001/82f79524-152c-485f-bcb0-09197a216c87_default/index.html?videoId=5329104334001' allowfullscreen frameborder=0></iframe>


Rock bottom, I'll guess.

I sincerely doubt trump will be president for very long -- with the measure of "very long" being weeks or months, not years.  He will not be president in 9 months.  He may not be president in three months, or six weeks.  But he won't last long.  Whether he is impeached and removed or resigns (in order to enjoy a long stay in a mental hospital), I don't know. But he has a very short shelf life.

One thing which could happen while he's president, however, is the beginning of an actual revolution.  He could trigger that, and the revolutionaries would throw him out of office in a hurry.

Making timeline predictions is very dangerous in the Nostradamus Bizness.

However, at the rate he is going, things are not looking good for him.  The Dems are talking about invoking "Article 25" of the Constitution which says the POTUS can be taken out if deemed unfit or incapable of fulfilling his duties.

The problem of course is if/when he is given the boot, we get Mike PencilHead for POTUS, which is not much better (and maybe worse).

RE
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 07:59:45 AM by RE »
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #117 on: February 20, 2017, 08:18:51 AM »
The Donald is nowhere near being taken down. It takes a lot more to invoke Article 25 than what's happened so far, and I wouldn't look for that to happen, ever.

The Dems couldn't possibly get enough support to even get an impeachment party going. Even if there were good reason, and so far, there isn't. Being pissed off is not grounds to remove a sitting President.
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Offline RE

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #118 on: February 20, 2017, 08:33:20 AM »
The Donald is nowhere near being taken down.

I tend to agree with that.  However, he is a long way toward being completely impotent.  Besides not having major Cabinet members installed and in charge, there are 1000's of lower level appointments he hasn't made.  He'll only approve people who will tow the Trump Party Line, and even most Repugnants won't do that.  He looks for Yes-Men and Syncophants and Toadies, and there aren't enough of them with any credentials to find out there.

It looks like a 4 year long slog of stupidity and bickering.  He'll almost certainly be defeated by anyone the DemoDopes put up, and he may even lose the nomination of his own Party in the primaries.

RE
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #119 on: February 20, 2017, 08:37:29 AM »
I expect he'll be hard to beat in 2020. His supporters are largely incapable of understanding the nuances of politics, and will listen to the "jobs" mantra he's so careful to repeat about every ten minutes. That and making us safe from ISIS and lightning strikes.
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