Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ben Norton — “We are the death merchant of the world”: Ex-Bush official Lawrence Wilkerson condemns military-industrial complex

“I think Smedley Butler was onto something,” explained Lawrence Wilkerson, in an extended interview with Salon.
In his day, in the early 20th century, Butler was the highest ranked and most honored official in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps. He helped lead wars throughout the world over a series of decades, before later becoming a vociferous opponent of American imperialism, declaring “war is a racket.”
Wilkerson spoke highly of Butler, referencing the late general’s famous quote: “Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
Salon
“We are the death merchant of the world”: Ex-Bush official Lawrence Wilkerson condemns military-industrial complex
Ben Norton

47 comments:

John said...

But if you want to be the death merchant of the galaxy, you have to "rebuild the military". What's one thousand military bases on planet earth and a budget bigger than the rest of the world put together anyway? If you'd stuck with that pinko peacenik Jimmy Carter the military would be perhaps twice its current size, not that that would stop cries of "rebuild the military".

MRW said...

"pinko peacenik Jimmy Carter?”

You kidding me? When Walter Cronkite was interviewed in 2003 and asked who, among the seven presidents he covered, was the brightest of them all, he said without hesitation: Jimmy Carter. After both had retired, former presidents Ford and Carter became good friends. In an interview in the 80s (60 Minutes), Ford was asked about his unlikely friendship with Carter, and Ford replied, Without doubt the smartest man I have ever known.

Cronkite said that Carter’s grasp of micro and macro issues was so extensive and prodigious that he had to study for two days before interviewing him; he said Carter could shoot him down with data that Cronkite had no grasp of. Carter wore his learning like a light coat.

Are you aware that Carter fired 4,000 CIA operatives for thumbing their noses at US foreign policy directives and going rogue because they assumed Carter wasn’t keeping watch. The CIA operatives engineered the Iran coup (bringing in Khomeini by training his operatives in the south of France) thinking that Carter wasn’t paying attention. The resulting consequences of the CIA’s traitorous actions created the word “blowback.”

What you’ve done, John, is swallow the koolaid the burgeoning neocons created in the latter part of the 70s as retaliation and punishment for the Camp David Accords. The Israelis were PISSED that Begin had to submit to a US President strong-arming him and engineered Carter's ouster, mainly by using propaganda in the National Enquirer to dislodge Carter's popularity in the Deep South. That’s why Begin subsequently would not speak to Reagan directly, but only through Jerry Falwell--who installed a White House red phone on his desk--as Begin and Shamir created the Christian Right by uniting with them against social issues like homosexuality and abortion to take the presidency first away from Carter, then cementing the Christian Right’s political voting power with Reagan. This has been documented.

Warren sneers that Carter was too dumb to know what he was doing when he deregulated natural gas in 1978 to undermine the Saudi oil embargo, but Warren, in this instance, doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Reagan got the benefit of that regulation because it took two or three years for the power companies to retool.

MRW said...

There was a second part to the Camp Davis Accords: peace with Palestine that Carter wanted to implement. The Israelis and Israel-Firsters here, the brand-new neocons, DID NOT want that to happen. So they had to get Carter out of power. That’s why there were two years of full-on propaganda and anti-Carter rhetoric. Americans fell for it like cheap suits, and it continues to this day. Journalists were too busy trying to replicate Bernstein & Woodward’s fame and fortune to pay attention, pure jealousy and envy. Ditto the way they missed China’s stated 25-year goal to take America’s manufacturing prowess and business away from us, which happened in Beijing in front of international journalists over Xmas/New Years 1979/80.

MRW said...

Just to be clear: "There was a second part to the Camp Davis Accords: peace with Palestine that Carter wanted to implement . . . that Carter wanted to create under a new separate agreement. It was not part of the Camp David Accord as signed. It was to be the next step.

MRW said...

The neocons did not control the media in the late 70s. So they had to use available PR roll-out techniques--hence, the National Enquirer putsch, which exhausted them--until they could get the media ownership rules changed in 1985. Until then, the rules were pretty strict. Couldn’t own more than X news orgs in a state. Couldn’t own a state and national news org without an act of congress, etc etc. All highly restricted in the public interest to permit at least 50 news voices (because 50 states). This was also the big big push to get neocons into every manner of news org and print org. And once the rules changed, rapidly buy up news entities to control the message. That’s why there are five owners of the consolidated news orgs--all Israel-Firsters I might add--in the US today.

Victor de Rothschild carried out a similar scheme in Britain with the BBC in 1989 when he got the Chairman of the BBC trust to fire the trusted and excellent BBC Director who maintained lauded BBC reportorial equanimity, something that the Chairman admitted to about five years ago. I have that link and interview with the Chairman somewhere on a hard drive.

John said...

MRW,

Carter is widely considered and disparaged as some sort of hippy President. His military budget and strategy was far bigger and more aggressive than Reagan's. People forget that.

Intellectually speaking, Carter probably was the smartest in a very long time. Apparently his knowledge of detail was scary. He knew everything about everything about policy, no big picture stuff for him, he was all about the detail. He did a lot less damage than all those who followed, but then he and Washington were relatively saner back then.

On Israel, I'm afraid you've really got things badly wrong. In the 1973 Egypt nearly crushed Israel. Without US aid, Israel would have lost the war. Israel desperately needed a treaty that would keep Egypt at bay. Doing this would allow it free rein in its expansionary policies elsewhere. Carter and Camp David to the rescue.

It's possible I've got this wrong, but given Israel's desperation to pacify Egypt, the above sounds convincing. I'd be happy to read any reputable sources saying otherwise.

Matt Franko said...

MRW,

Look at this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45YX90rz_Sk


Cruz attended this thing! and Huckabee! Trump??? Nooooooo.....


You can't blame "the Jews!" for this that is some sort of scapegoating/conspiracy theory... these Evangelical/Pentacostal people are true OT believers they are not being "brainwashed by the conspriring Jews!" or whatever...

They dont know how to correctly interpret the OT aka The Hebrew Scriptures... its like they went to see a Star Wars movie and came home and thought they were Jedi knights and wrapped a brown blanket around themselves and made a fake light saber...theyre morons...



Tom Hickey said...

Zbig was Carter's protégé. For that alone, Carter will live in infamy, although subsequently to serving he has done a lot to redeem himself personally.

John said...

Matt, if only they were talking Persian...

Tom, no president can ever redeem what they've done. Congress is powerful and so are so many vested interests, but the president can, to quote Nancy, "Just say no", and decide to be a one term president.

John said...

Kevin Swanson: "America repent of Harry Potter", "America repent of How to Train Your Dragon"...

Hmmmm...

John said...

Matt: "They dont know how to correctly interpret the OT aka The Hebrew Scriptures..."

Other than some odd mystical stuff, they're easy enough to interpret. There's nothing to *interpret* about the dietary or sexual laws or almost any of it. Some interpretation is needed on some things, but I think Kevin Swanson was being accurate. He's highly selective about what the OT says and what he'd like to see come to pass in America. Selective but accurate.

MRW said...

John,

He knew everything about everything about policy, no big picture stuff for him, he was all about the detail.

I strongly beg to differ and so did Walter Cronkite. Carter's grasp of macro issues was exceptional according to Cronkite. What shocked him was that Carter knew the detail backing it up cold. Presidents have advisors hovering around them supplying that. Not Carter. Apparently, he could read a shitload of data and not only remember it, but interpret and apply it correctly.

On Israel, I'm afraid you've really got things badly wrong. In the 1973 Egypt nearly crushed Israel. Without US aid, Israel would have lost the war. Israel desperately needed a treaty that would keep Egypt at bay.

Yeah, you do have this wrong. But I don’t have the energy to go into it. If you’re interested, I’ve covered this on mondoweiss.net over the past five years. Go to mondoweiss.net/profile/mrw and put Carter in the search field, or try Kissinger or 1972 or 1973.

It was Kissinger as a member of Nixon’s National Security Council who in 1972 told Sadat he could start a little war and Israel would start negotiating with Sadat. Sadat was worried about being re-elected which wouldn’t happen as long as there was no movement on the 1967 war issues; he needed to negotiate with Israel. Kissinger offered to help with that ONLY IF Sadat expunged the Russians from Egypt. Sadat did as he was told (1972). The Israelis did nothing.

Then on Sept 22 or 23, 1973, Kissinger became Nixon’s Sec State, and urged Sadat to start “the little war,” which was what? October 9? Sadat had confided in King Faisal that Kissinger was helping. Golda Meir DESPISED Kissinger and wouldn’t talk to him. BBC Panorama journalist Alan Hart covers this in his three recent Zionism books (un fortunate title in my POV). There are also many other sources now, but Hart’s assertions were contemporaneous. He was friends with both Meir and Arafat. Faisal, btw, imposed the oil embargo to punish Kissinger and the Americans for going back on their word.

I cover the sequence of events over at mondoweiss with links and sources. You might have to do various search terms to catch it all.

Tom Hickey said...

Tom, no president can ever redeem what they've done.

That's what I said. What one does as president lives on as that no matter. But ex-presidents can reedmen themselves personally later as private citizens. However, the good that Jimmy Carter may have done since being president can never remotely approach the disaster than Zbig and Co. wrought, which continues to multiply.

MRW said...

matt,

You can't blame "the Jews!" for this that is some sort of scapegoating/conspiracy theory...

No. No. No. You didn’t read me correctly. Don’t put words in my mouth. These were specifically Israelis and the Israel-Firsters, not all Jews.

Menachem Begin called up Jerry Falwell in 1978 and said I know we have a lot of disagreements, but there are two things we can agree on: the scourge of homosexuality and the horror of abortion, so let’s work together. I happened to be in the room when top Israelis were discussing this in 1979 in NYC, but by no means, don’t believe me. Go search out Frank Schaeffer, son of Francis (Frances?) Schaeffer, the leading Evangelical of the 1970s. Check it out. Frank broke ranks with the Evangelicals in the 1990s or 00s and wrote about this in a series of mea culpas, and the birth of the political power of the Christian Right which Begin and Shamir concocted to get Carter out of office. What I wrote above is accurate, however brief.

John said...

MRW,

The sentence is confusing. What I meant was "not only big picture stuff" which is what a lot of presidents are in to, so they can be in bed by 5pm. Carter was macro and micro and it did seem like he had a photographic memory. Apparently, he also worked like a dog. Unlike all those who are seemingly always playing golf, he did have a sense that time away from the office was time wasted. He was a bad president, yet so much better than all those who followed him and many before him. History isn't going to be kind to him. Too many brain dead Reagan and Clinton groupies writing the history.

In the spirit of curiousity and willingness to be proven wrong, I'll check the other stuff out.

MRW said...

Tom,

Zbig was Carter's protégé. For that alone, Carter will live in infamy.

Perhaps, but given the temper of the times.... I think an uncontrolled Kissinger under Nixon was worse, and ditto Bush Sr. letting Charlie Wilson operate like Victoria Nuland.

MRW said...

John,

He was a bad president, yet so much better than all those who followed him

Yeah, I believed that too for the longest while until I started uncovering the sheer DEPTH of the propaganda applied, which has only happened within the last decade as I’ve realized that my high-priced multi-degree Ivy League education was a shitcan of bullshit. I was sneering about Carter from Day one. Hell, from his campaign days. So you’re not telling me anything new.

I don’t know about him being a good or bad president, but I can tell you the all-out push to turn the American people against him was a marvel of grassroots organization by the likes of Irving Kristol and Podhoretz.

John said...

Tom,

Yes, personally he's done a lot of good. He wasn't interested in making money. Perhaps former presidents didn't make the staggering fortunes then they routinely make now (Obama may become the first former president to become a billionaire). Perhaps he was persona non grata. He's never been interested in that, which is a good sign. I know he's a devout Christian and maybe he's repenting of what he did. The Christian angle is quite interesting. It was Carter who brought Christianity into the White House. Carter's Christianity was personal - he didn't use it politically. Reagan made it political, and so has everybody since. Carter is devout, no doubt about that. Reagan onwards, they're all frauds. They wouldn't know Corinthians from Exodus.

MRW said...

My bailiwick is press manipulation of the people. That’s my soapbox, not politics.

John said...

Tom, even now, the Zbig stuff never fails to horrify. The unbelievable madness, stupidity and arrogance of it all. It almost makes Nixon look sane. And yet the policy bifurcation in Washington is: Zbig or neocon. Rational imperialism or incompetent macho stupidity.

MRW said...

John,

The Christian angle is quite interesting. It was Carter who brought Christianity into the White House.

It was why Begin and Shamir used that angle.

Reagan made it political, and so has everybody since.

Begin and Shamir made it political. They forced Reagan’s hand. Read Frank Schaeffer’s account of it.

MRW said...

Mark Gaffney (think I have his name right) is another researcher who has done an absolute yeoman’s job of naming names and sources. Good luck finding his books. Someone is intent on eliminating even the used copies on Amazon. Some public librarians are saving them. I buy any I can find for posterity.

MRW said...

As I said, my rage against the press keeping the American people from knowing the truth is unfathomable. You wanna’ see me wiping someone’s face off the map, just bring up the topic. And I’ve spent a fortune backing up what I know. So, to warn you all, if I seem unreasonably touchy in this department, that’s why. ;-).

But I mean :-(((((( @#$%^&*()

Dave said...

MRW forgive me if I'm oversimplifying, but this is really interesting. Are you saying Israel, with neocons like Irving Kristol, and evangelicals like France's Scaffer, deliberately undermined the presidency of Jimmy Carter and ushered in the neocon era that we have had to endure for the past 36 years? And that this was done primarily to stop the US from forcing Israel to settle with its Arab neighbors peacefully?

MRW said...

@Dave,

YES.

The Israelis said this directly in the NYC living room conversations I heard directly that I have 100% no way of proving. I was a grad student then and no one thought me smart enough to (1) remember, or (2) put it all together. But Schaeffer does corroborate what I say and so does Alan Hart in his recent unfortunately-named trilogy. Also Mark Gaffney and other books that I source on mondoweiss.net.

YES.

Dave said...

I am definitely going to look into this more, thank you for the info.

MRW said...

@Dave,

Good luck. It’s a hornet’s nest. You cannot allow emotion to prevail...ever. Everything should be read in the spirt of “duly noted” until it all percolates, and you can distill it properly. For example, I published something on mondoweiss.net about a sequence of events and, lo and behold, one of the sources I cited as so-called definitive published a NyTimes op-ed within two weeks ostensibly disproving me. But I was already on to their tricks. I didn’t publish the Israeli historian proof that made his op-ed words a lie. And I haven’t yet.

Let me be clear. This is nationalistic. Not religious.

Dave said...

I know, you gave to be careful not to be labeled anti- Semitic. Everyone who criticizes Israel and supports Palestinian human rights is attacked as an anti-Semite.

Calgacus said...

I don’t know about him being a good or bad president, but I can tell you the all-out push to turn the American people against him was a marvel of grassroots organization by the likes of Irving Kristol and Podhoretz.

Yes. The contrast between the media coverage of 9/11 & the hostage crisis was striking. After 9/11, it was pretty much band together around & support Bush, not blame him for it. But the night that the Iranian hostages were taken I recall the talking heads saying it would destroy his presidency. The turning on Carter was immediate.

Another sidelight - I believe it was the very first revelation of it - Jimmy & Rosalynn were on Oprah Winfrey around 1986. He tentatively said that there were reports of the "October Surprise". Oprah & the audience were at first puzzled and then shocked, not believing what they were hearing. Rosalynn got a bit impatient and finally said "Jimmy, you know it happened." I naively expected there to be some mention of this in the media; teevee & print. Nothing at all. Tumbleweeds blowing through a ghost town. If it isn't repeated (ad nauseam) - it didn't happen in the mediaverse, and then in history.

MRW said...

@Calgacus,

My consistently wise online friend: Tumbleweeds blowing through a ghost town.

No shit.

If it isn't repeated (ad nauseam) - it didn't happen in the mediaverse, and then in history.

But it will be. These Millennials aren’t that dumb. There is going to be a horrific retribution. Some of us will be dead when it happens. But this new crew are going to wake up in their 40s.

MRW said...

@Dave,

I know, you gave to be careful not to be labeled anti- Semitic. Everyone who criticizes Israel and supports Palestinian human rights is attacked as an anti-Semite.

I no longer care about being labeled anti-semitic. Just someone try. Mental midgets.

Tom Hickey said...

Perhaps, but given the temper of the times.... I think an uncontrolled Kissinger under Nixon was worse, and ditto Bush Sr. letting Charlie Wilson operate like Victoria Nuland.

There have been and are a lot of bad apples in the American barrel. But Zbig was the guy with the bright idea to harness the Islamic radicals. He still thinks that the outcomes have been a huge net plus for the US.

MRW said...

@Tom,

So does his daughter, doesn’t she?

MRW said...

@Tom,

Clinton ended the long-term habit of calling non-government experts--emphasis on plural--to Camp David to make 15-20 minute presentations of opposing POVs to the President and his Cabinet ministers followed by Q&A.

This got around the current insular (and current since Bush and Obama) habit of listening to the obsequious insiders telling Obama what to do. [JESUS, THE MAN IS A PUTZ].

We’ve had 25 years of neocon insiders telling presidents the lay of the land as if it were the truth.

Tom Hickey said...

So does his daughter, doesn’t she?

His son Ian is more to the point than Mika. She is a mouthpiece. He is an agent.

Tom Hickey said...

We’ve had 25 years of neocon insiders telling presidents the lay of the land as if it were the truth.

Once a president enters the bubble, he is trapped and at the mercy of the deep state and the hidden agenda.

MRW said...

No shit, Tom. Unless he has that Camp David release which no longer exists because the idiots don’t know about it.

Tom Hickey said...

It would be interesting to see what would happen if Trump is elected. He considered himself a good negotiator, but he would be dealing with the country and world's most powerful people with unlimited power and trillions of dollars on the table. And these are all people who have no compunctions about "doing what it takes."

About the only way that Trump could really get control is by firing the lot of the time. But then there's the question of replacement when he has no loyal following.

Tom Hickey said...

"About the only way that Trump could really get control is by firing the lot of the time." should be "About the only way that Trump could really get control is by firing the lot of them."

Dave said...

Gaffney is a gnostic scholar. The plot thickens....

Matt Franko said...

"They wouldn't know Corinthians from Exodus."

Exactly!!!!

MRW said...

@Dave,

Gaffney is a gnostic scholar. The plot thickens....

I don’t know anything about that, nor what it means. There were two--could have been three--public librarians (located in different parts of the country) who provided extensive bibliographies of books that they witnessed being systematically removed from public libraries and were deeply concerned about it. These were librarians who were concerned about the public record, and its meaning for future historians. One detailed efforts by local Israeli Lobby groups who pressured their library to remove certain books on the basis that no one had taken them out and that the libraries could get a tax write-off for the full value, except that the topics were not general. The librarians said their library was forced to dump these books via Goodwill, and other charities. The bibliographies contained obscure Israeli historian scholars; that intrigued me. Much centered around the presidencies of Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan. Since I had experienced what I did as a grad student in NYC, I knew what they were referring to and set out to get as many used copies of the various books as I could find.

Gaffney’s book was a wealth of info in the footnotes. He wrote it before anybody knew what was up.

Dave said...

Sorry MRM, but I am a religion teacher, so I was sort of thinking out loud. Not great in a message board I know. The Gnostics were the original Christians, but they were mercilessly persecuted by the Orthodox Church, and much of who they were and what they believe has been lost. I suppose I was thinking that he who controls the story gets the power.

MRW said...

Ah. Thanks, Dave. I know who the Gnostics were. And I definitely agree with this: he who controls the story gets the power. Because that’s what’s happened since media was deregulated in the first round of 1985.

MRW said...

Wasn’t it Plato who wrote Those who tell the stories rule the world, or some such?

You only have to look at what Huffington Post publishes almost daily about Trump to see the hyperbole masquerading as truth. Screeching over-the-top absolutes derived from selected comments as if they were proven facts. (Their Climate Change coverage is equally egregious, and I say this as someone who slogs through the actual scientific papers none of them read nor have the ability to judge...in addition to my frequently contacting the various authors for clarification.)

Look at what the political editors at HuffPo deposit at the bottom of every article on Trump:
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

I don’t give a shit whether you’re for Trump or against him, this is beyond wrong. Not to mention inaccurate in detail; they sound like breathless 13-year-old Drama Queens trying to drum up support with a constant "You’re bad!" They don’t add these qualifiers to Clinton coverage, not has there EVER BEEN this sort of continued outrage on HuffPo directed at the lies Bush and the neocons told to get us into war: actual actions, not words. Of course, that doesn’t matter because it was onlcash-poor kids who entered the military to get a job who died on the field for no good reason. They’re expendable. Cannon-fodder.

It remains to be seen whether the hoi polloi is going to fall for this interference, this time.

MRW said...

only cash-poor

Dave said...

Trump makes it too easy for them. He says really stupid things, and acts like a two year old. Hillary is much more measured and polished as a candidate. But I agree, they rarely go after Hillary as the neocon she is.