Gebleven is slechts het labyrint van rituelen, en niemand herinnert zich meer de ingang en de uitgang en al evenmin de zin van het labyrint.
Federico Fellini. Gesprekken met Fellini. 1985
U.S. Ends Losing Streak with Successful Missile Intercept Test
June 23, 2014
By Rachel Oswald
Global Security Newswire
The United States on Sunday intercepted a target ballistic missile, ending a long losing streak of failed tests of its homeland antimissile system.
The test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system took place Sunday over the Pacific and involved a strategic Ground Based Interceptor fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and an intermediate-range missile target launched from the Reagan Test Site in the Marshall Islands.
Considerable political attention has been focused on the outcome of the test, given that the three most recent intercept attempts all ended in failure. Before Sunday's test, the last time a Ground Based Interceptor successfully eliminated a target missile was late 2008. Additionally, Sunday's event marked the first time that a second-generation kinetic kill vehicle mounted atop a GBI missile performed correctly. Both previous missile intercept attempts using the 'CE-2' Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle were unsuccessful.
'I am very proud of the government and industry team conducting the test today,' Navy Vice Adm. James Syring, head of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, said in a press release. 'This is a very important step in our continuing efforts to improve and increase the reliability of our homeland ballistic missile defense system.'
Syring said the agency would continue with its plans to deploy additional Ground Based Interceptors. The Defense Department last year announced plans to spend $1 billion to field 14 more GBI missiles at Fort Greely in Alaska by 2017, but senior officials have been circumspect in their recent statements about what would happen to those plans if Sunday's test had been unsuccessful.
The Missile Defense Agency said 'initial indications' show that all components in the test -- including the interceptor, kill vehicle, an AN/SPY-1 radar onboard the USS Hopper and a sea-based X-band radar system -- performed as intended. Over the next few months, program specialists will use telemetric information and other data collected during the test to conduct a more thorough analysis…
U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chair of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, in an emailed statement called the test 'a critical success to rebuild[ing] the reliability of the only system currently deployed to defend our country from the threat of ballistic missile attack.'
'Yesterday’s successful missile intercept test is great news for our nation’s security,' said U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) in a statement to Global Security Newswire. 'Ground-based Midcourse Defense is critical to our efforts to protect the U.S. and our allies from rogue and unpredictable nations who seek to do us harm.' […]
Of the 30 interceptors currently fielded at bases in Alaska and California, 10 missiles are equipped with the second-generation kill vehicle. The 14 new interceptors slotted for deployment in Alaska are to be outfitted with the CE-2 version.
Russia Loses Another One of Its Early-Warning Satellites
Source: Global Security Newswire, 26 June 2014
The odds of a nuclear-arms miscalculation by Moscow could increase because another one of its threat-detection satellites has ceased working.
The Russian defence ministry has revealed that its last geostationary satellite, which remains in permanent orbit above the United States, has stopped functioning, according to the science news website io9. Russia has other satellites capable of detecting intercontinental ballistic-missile launches, but they travel in highly elliptical orbits instead of being positioned directly above the United States, as was the case with the now-defunct Cosmos 2479 satellite, the Moscow Times reported on Wednesday.
An anonymous ministry source told the Kommersant newspaper that the Cosmos 2479 was originally supposed to operate until 2017-2019, but that it began showing performance problems not long after it was launched in 2012. The space-based sensor was able to maintain a certain level of performance but that ended in April, the source said.
Russia's ability to detect ICBM threats has been getting worse over the years as more and more of its constellation of Soviet-era missile-detection satellites have ceased operating. At present, the former Cold War power can only monitor for US missile launches for three hours a day.
Without comprehensive antimissile satellite coverage of the Earth, it becomes more difficult to distinguish a possible ICBM launch from a scientific rocket firing or a naturally occurring phenomenon. An inability to distinguish innocuous events from missile threats raises the likelihood of a strategic nuclear miscalculation, particularly during a time of already high East-West tensions.
De neoliberale macht in Washington en op Wall Street is weer een stap verder op weg naar de totale heerschappij. Hoewel er nog vele testen moeten volgen, is duidelijk dat binnen het raamwerk van een Full Spectrum Dominance de Amerikaanse elite met haar ruimteschild streeft naar een zogeheten first strike-capaciteit, waarbij de vijand met strategische kernwapens in één klap wordt uitgeschakeld:
In nuclear strategy, a first strike is a preemptive surprise attack employing overwhelming force. First strike capability is a country's ability to defeat another nuclear power by destroying its arsenal to the point where the attacking country can survive the weakened retaliation while the opposing side is left unable to continue war. The preferred methodology is to attack the opponent's launch facilities and storage depots first. The strategy is called counterforce.
De Mutual Assured Destruction-doctrine wordt onschadelijk gemaakt zodra de VS in staat is massavernietigingswapens te onderscheppen, waardoor de vijand niet kan terugslaan zodra de VS het land met kernbommen aanvalt. Of de Amerikaanse dr. Strangelove's hierin zullen slagen is niet eens de belangrijkste kwestie; het feit dat de Amerikaanse macht alles op alles blijft zetten om de alleenheerschappij op aarde te bemachtigen, spreekt boekdelen. Het Star Wars-scenario zal óf een nieuwe wapenwedloop inluiden, óf een alles vernietigende oorlog uitlokken. Bovendien zou de VS binnen afzienbare tijd de wereld kunnen chanteren met zijn ruimteschild. Het zal een extra aansporing zijn om de wereld in een permanente staat van oorlog te houden, en om de wereldbevolking in een voortdurende staat van mobilisatie te houden. Zelfs de meest succesvol geïndoctrineerde moet nu toch kunnen beseffen dat het Amerikaanse expansionisme de mensheid naar de afgrond voert.
Welk belang heeft het Europa van 'Geen Jorwert zonder Brussel' bij deze Amerikaanse confrontatie-politiek?
Published on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 by Common Dreams
DRONE MEMO EXPOSES 'DANGEROUS' US CLAIM TO BOUNDLESS WAR POWERS
'The idea that the United States could use war time power and lethal force in situations that are not battlefields, that don't have battlefields, is extremely dangerous'
- Sarah Lazare, staff writer
The U.S. government claimed broad war powers far beyond battlefields to justify its 2011 extrajudicial killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi in Yemen, the recently-released "drone memo" reveals, in what critics warn sets a dangerous precedent for U.S. and foreign citizens alike.
The 41-page memo was penned in 2010 by David Barron, then head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, and is addressed to attorney general Eric Holder. It draws heavily on a broad and controversial congressional act—the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force—to justify the killing of Anwar al-Aulaqi a year before his death.
'[W]e believe the AUMF's authority to use lethal force abroad may also apply in appropriate circumstances to a United States citizen who is part of the forces of an enemy organization within the scope of the force authorization,"'reads the document.
The 2001 AUMF authorizes the president to 'use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.' […]
Meanwhile, virtually nothing is known about the justifications underpinning the U.S. drone killings of over 4,000 people since 2009, many of them children and civilians, and the vast majority of them foreign citizens.
'The drone program has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, including countless innocent bystanders, but the American public knows scandalously little about who is being killed and why,' said ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer in a statement released Monday.
Nog meer feiten, die door de mainstream-pers worden verzwegen:
SEPTEMBER 28, 2006
The Bully is a Loser
America Has Just Lost Two More Wars
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
For a country which takes excessive pride in flags, uniforms, and marching bands and spends more than the rest of the planet combined on its military, the record of America’s forces since World War II is depressing. In dozens of quickie invasions against weak opponents, Americans indeed have prevailed, but when faced with tough and determined enemies, they have remarkably often been defeated or stalemated.
The failure of America’s military could be explained by the notion that failure is only what happens when you seek the wrong success. A poorly governed people, as Americans certainly are, keeps being sent to wars in which they have no vital interest or commitment. Whatever the reason, the record is unmistakable.
It includes Korea after MacArthur’s insane march to the Chinese border.
It includes Vietnam, where, despite the slaughter of millions, the US left in shame, abandoning desperate associates clinging to helicopter undercarriages.
It includes America’s smaller-scale but long and vicious war on Cuba. The US was embarrassed by failure time and again, shamefully resorted to the terror tactics it now claims to despise, and wasted immense resources supporting thousands of hangers-on. Fidel Castro outlived two generations of American presidents and over six hundred assassination plots.
The record of failures includes the American military’s confusing its humanitarian-assistance role in Somalia with Gary Cooper facing down the bad guys in High Noon, an error which gave it an ugly surprise and saw America turn and go home.
The record includes Reagan’s poorly considered landing of Marines in Lebanon. A base blown up by resisting guerrilla forces, the Marines left with a battleship hurling sixteen-inch shells into the hills, killing who knows how many innocent civilians and having achieved nothing.
Of course, in battles or war generally, victory is not always easy to determine. There were many battles in history where victory was claimed or loss assumed in error.
Higher casualties don’t always mean losing a battle or even a war. The sacrifice of great numbers sometimes improves a strategic or tactical position, as General Grant in America’s Civil War well understood. Vietnam’s General Giap understood this also, for despite a horrific slaughter of his people, America suffered defeat.
It was an early sign of the coming defeat when body counts began to dominate American news. It is easy to kill large numbers of people, especially when you have complete air superiority and high-tech weapons, but constant killing may mean little progress against a serious opponent. Often, as in the Blitz, bombing people is completely counter-productive.
In recent weeks, body counts re-appeared in Afghanistan, much the same way opium poppies re-appeared after America’s claim to victory over the Taliban (who had suppressed opium). The bodies are supposed to be Taliban, but who can tell whether a dead villager is Taliban?
Even when the body is Taliban, how do we regard that as a victory? The Taliban is a loosely-knit organization, a kind of political party and anti-invader guerrilla force, bound to conservative traditions in a hardscrabble land of tough mountain people. Death does not intimidate where people typically live to forty-seven.
Except in the bizarre mind of George Bush, the Taliban is not a terrorist organization. So when one of them is killed, does it really represent a victory? Or is it viewed by many in Afghanistan as murder by unwelcome foreigners? Clearly, this is the view of many because the Taleban is becoming stronger, surprisingly so according to expert observers.
The recent refusal of NATO countries to commit more troops and resources to Afghanistan was telling. Pressure from the US must have been immense, but the response was virtual silence. Of course, most NATO countries are simply looking after their own best interests. Many of them understand terrorism far better than does the US, having lived with it for decades, and none of them are exhibiting death-wishes or dementia.
They know Al Qaeda has been scattered to the four winds–anything but an achievement from a security point of view–and they see little point in trying to occupy Afghanistan for years. They understand the impossibility of significantly changing so ancient and poor a land. They are not taken in by American Potemkin village projects for bettering life there, after having bombed the hell out of the place. NATO countries in general do not accept Bush’s tale about everyone’s security depending upon success in Afghanistan for the very good reason that it is false.
On the other hand, those supporting the US in Afghanistan are following Bush’s interests, whatever those are, for I’m not sure Bush ever has had a clear grasp of what he is doing himself.
The other lost war is, of course, Iraq. American efforts there have done little but kill civilians and destroy the economy and now threaten to destroy the country itself. Even in Washington, the reality of civil war is dawning. America’s real goals in the war are not going to be achieved, the major one of which was to establish a regime friendly to American policy, especially as that policy pertains to Israel. Instead, years of bloody chaos lie ahead. The outcome, who knows? Three separate warring rump states, each willing to do almost anything to gain an advantage, including taking assistance from those most hostile to American policy?
But the American loss in Iraq is far greater than this. The illegal and unjustified invasion has muddied America’s reputation, aroused suspicions of its intentions, and put new geopolitical forces into play only dimly perceived at this time.
When are we going to learn how stupidly unproductive war is? And when is the US going to learn how bad it is at war despite its monstrous expenditures preparing for it?
Almaar meer feiten:
In this incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO’s intervention in Libya. He traces the origins of the conflict, situates it in the broader context of the Arab Spring uprisings, and explains the expanded role of a post-Cold War NATO. This military organization, he argues, is the instrument through which the capitalist class of North America and Europe seeks to impose its political will on the rest of the world, however warped by the increasingly outmoded neoliberal form of capitalism,
aldus Horace G. Campbell a noted international peace and justice scholar and Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.
Nine Reasons Our Foreign Policy Makes Us Look Like Complete Hypocrites
By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News
24 June 2014
In Chapter 7 of the Book of Matthew, during Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks directly to hypocrites who judge the actions of others while being oblivious to their own faults.
'How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.' -Matthew Chapter 7, verses 4 and 5
Our political leadership should take some cues from this passage as we approach a solution to deal with the turmoil of Russia’s intrusion into Ukraine, Iraq’s impending downfall that came as a direct result of our past meddlings, and other foreign policy crises to come. We look tremendously foolish to the rest of the world when we try to dictate how other countries should behave, considering the vast number of critical problems the US faces internally.
Here are a few logs the US should take out of its own eye before telling Iraq and Russia how to handle the specks in theirs.
- We have the worst health care system in the developed world.
A recent study showed that of the top Western industrialized nations, the United States has the worst health care system. That’s no surprise, considering that only in the US is it acceptable for the illness and injury of citizens to be a commodity from which others can profit. To put this into perspective, the average hip replacement in the US costs $40,364. In Spain, that same operation costs $7,731. This means one can fly to Spain, live in Madrid for two years, learn Spanish, run with the bulls, get trampled, get their hip replaced again, and fly back to the US while still coming out ahead. Britain’s National Health Services came out on top of the survey, as citizens who are critically ill or injured can get life-saving medical treatment and be sent home just as a result of paying taxes.
2. We intentionally saddle college students with a lifetime of debt servitude.
The student debt bubble has now surpassed the $1.2 trillion mark, which is even more than America’s accumulated credit card debt. This is a direct result of states investing less in public higher education and making students pay for the bulk of their education. And because wages are already so low, student loans are, in many cases, used for basic survival rather than tuition payments. The average amount of debt each college graduate owes is just under $30,000. This means that even if a student manages to secure a job in an economy where there at least two applicants for every job opening, it will take years of consistent payments for that graduate to be in the black again.
To contrast, most other developed Western nations allow students to go to college for little to no cost of their own, seeing the education of a citizen as an investment in the country’s well-being. When Quebec proposed a tuition increase from $2,200 to $3,800 over a six-year period, hundreds of thousands of students took to the streets in protest.
3. We effectively have an oligarchy, where the rich can buy their own politicians.
The idea of the US invading Iraq to 'spread democracy' is laughable, considering the complete absence of democracy in our own country. In a country of 310,000,000 people, we have a body of a little over 500 people making decisions on the behalf of all of us. Most of those few hundred people are millionaires. And most of the time, these millionaires who supposedly represent us spend more time – roughly 30 to 70 percent of it – with other millionaires, courting donations for their next re-election campaign, than they do listening and responding to the needs of their constituents. One study from Princeton University concluded that the US government in its current form has more in common with an oligarchy – where a small number of wealthy people run the government – than a democracy. Another study found that members of Congress were more free to schedule meetings with people who identified as donors than with people who identified as constituents. It isn’t hard to see why there’s such an uptick of “insurgents” in Iraq who don’t want to see the US spread what we call “democracy” in their country.
4. We punish poor people for enduring the circumstances we forced them into.
In Detroit, Dan Gilbert, the billionaire owner of Quicken Loans, became known as "Subprime Dan" when he made a killing before the burst of the housing bubble by pressuring homeowners into risky subprime loans. Since the 2008 housing market crash, roughly 60,000 Detroit homeowners have been forced to vacate their homes, which has led to massive urban blight and enabled billionaires like Dan Gilbert to buy those homes for pennies on the dollar to gentrify and develop into housing that only the rich can afford.
Now, the few Detroiters who are still lucky to have a place to live are paying increasingly higher rates for water, and in the down economy of Detroit, many have fallen behind on water payments. The city of Detroit has responded by shutting off water for 150,000 households, and is doing so at a rapid rate of 1,500 to 3,000 houses per week. When Detroit raised $1 billion in bonds to pay for infrastructure like water in 2011, Detroit’s unelected emergency manager Kevyn Orr, appointed by bank-friendly governor Rick Snyder, allowed big banks to take a big $537 million bite in interest payments. Even after the big industries made a profit by shipping jobs overseas, and the big banks made a profit by swindling people out of their homes, Detroit’s corporate-owned government won’t allow people owing as little as $150 in water payments to have access to a basic human right.
Another example: a poor single mother in New York had landed a job interview, but no babysitter for her two children, ages 6 and 2, was available during the time scheduled for the interview. She had no choice but to leave her two children in the car for 70 minutes. After the interview, she was arrested for alleged child endangerment. And just recently, child protective services took the two children away from their mother for this alleged endangerment. To sum it up, a woman doing everything she could to earn an income to support her family was punished to the point of having her family taken from her, simply because she couldn’t find a babysitter for 70 minutes.
We have an economy that rewards the rich for being rich, and punishes the poor for being poor. Is it any wonder that foreigners scoff at Americans who say their country is the best in the world?
5. We allow a rape epidemic on our college campuses to go unchecked.
On American college campuses, an average of 1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault. And this is just taking into account the number of instances which are actually reported. The number is likely much greater, because reporting a rape and reliving the traumatic experience for campus authorities is itself a daunting task.
In one case of a student at James Madison University in Virginia, her assailants, who actually recorded video of their sexual assault, were allowed to graduate on time before being expelled from university grounds. The survivor of the assault saw her grades drop as a result of the trauma she suffered, and she lost her financial aid. She had no choice but to drop out.
Why should anyone take our claims of making their country safer at all seriously, when we can’t even make our college campuses safe for women?
6. We send people off to die, and don’t take care of the ones who come back alive.
While politicians reserve two months out of the year, May and November, to honor war veterans, they fail to back up their words with effective policies. After the recent VA scandal that culminated in General Eric Shinseki resigning as the sacrificial lamb, Congress has yet to do anything meaningful to address the years-long backlog that stands between veterans and the health care they earned through their service. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
On any given night, there are between 130,000 and 200,000 veterans sleeping on the streets, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. And every time Congress has had an opportunity to address the plight of veterans, it’s been filibustered by Republicans. In 2010, Senator Patty Murray’s bill to provide aid for homeless veterans with children was filibustered by Mitch McConnell. A bill that would have spent $1 billion to hire veterans for jobs in the public sector was filibustered by 40 senate Republicans in 2012. And just this past February, Senate Republicans once again blocked a bill aimed at providing health care and education to veterans.
The fact that neocons are once again clamoring for troops in Iraq, while they continue to deny returning veterans the help they need and deserve, proves that at least one of the two major parties sees our troops only as cannon fodder not worth a penny if they manage to survive the battlefield. I can’t imagine any country seriously believes we care about their welfare given the way we treat our own war veterans.
7. We make it profitable to systematically incarcerate poor people and minorities.
In America, incarceration is a profitable enterprise. Counties in rural areas hard up for cash are willing to guarantee a certain percentage of occupancy for private prisons, meaning that law enforcement is working extra hard to fill the jails by any means necessary. Usually, this involves heavily patrolling communities of color and low-income neighborhoods, and busting young black men and women for negligible amounts of marijuana. Portugal has done the opposite with great results – a decade ago, the country decided to approach drug addiction as a public health issue rather than a crime, and treated addicts instead of sending them to jail. As a result, Portugal’s addiction rate has gone down by half in the last decade.
The drug war costs us an estimated $20 billion dollars per year from both federal and state governments, while drugs have only been made more widely available in the process. The continued war on drugs has led to the United States having more black men in prison than there were black men as slaves in the Confederate South. And in a sad parallel to slavery, private prisons are now essentially contractors for major corporations, where work that once paid a livable wage to a unionized employee has been 'insourced' to prisoners who do the work for pennies. It’s laughable for the US to deplore slavery in other countries while allowing it to continue at home.
8. We cut our own public services while letting billion-dollar corporations dodge taxes.
Our infrastructure was given a “D+” by architects and engineers, who say our roads and bridges are badly in need of repairs. Our failure to invest properly in public education means our kids are falling far behind students in other countries who are learning much more than we are. And we’ve allowed the last line of hope for the long-term unemployed to be cut off permanently, as Congressional Republicans refuse to extend unemployment compensation for the hardest-hit victims of the economy, saying we “can’t afford” the social safety net. Congressional Republicans also succeeded in cutting the food stamp programby billions of dollars in the last farm bill.
But while Republicans are running around screaming about the deficit, they somehow ignore the more than $100 billion in tax revenue we lose every year through corporate tax loopholes. Major corporations like GE, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Boeing, Verizon, and dozens of others have paid $0 in federal taxes for several years now, even getting tax refunds in the hundreds of millions instead of paying federal taxes. While there has been extensive awareness about the prevalence of tax loopholes like transfer pricing schemes like the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich,” and while there’s been plenty of news about corporations like Apple having more untaxed cash than the U.S. Treasury, members of Congress owned by these same corporations turn a blind eye to this hemorrhaging of funds.
The people of Iraq and Ukraine have reason to scoff when we say we care about building up their public infrastructure, given the neglect those same political leaders have shown about American infrastructure.
9. Our police forces have become unaccountable paramilitary organizations.
As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down, all the surplus military equipment not getting used in the battlefield is being used at home, by local police forces. All a municipal police department has to do is apply for a grant through the Department of Homeland Security, and it can get tanks, drones, firepower, armor, water cannons, flash bang grenades, LRAD sound devices, and other equipment that has no purpose enforcing the law amongst civilians. As the crackdown on the Occupy movement showed, this military equipment is often used to suppress the democratic rights of citizens nonviolently assembling in public spaces.
When countries like Egypt or Russia use military equipment to suppress peaceful citizen protests, our government is the first to condemn it. But through the continued auspices of the “War on Terror,” our government has sanctioned everything from the mass surveillance of calls and emails to the indefinite detention of US citizens in military jail under the flimsiest of accusations. How can America “bring freedom” to another country when American citizens live under the thumb of a militarized police state?
Before we start sending off troops to bring all the wonderful things we love about America to the rest of the world, maybe we should tend to our own affairs first. Let’s take the log out of our own eye before we talk about the speck in the eye of other countries.
Carl Gibson, 26, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary 'We're Not Broke,' which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on twitter at @uncutCG.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.
Tegen deze achtergrond dient men de klemmende oproep te beoordelen van mainstream-opiniemakers om nog meer belastinggeld aan het militair-industrieel complex te verspillen, natuurlijk ten koste van gezondheidszorg, onderwijs, kunsten, bejaardenzorg, uitkeringen, volkshuisvesting etc.:
Sven Kockelmann: Terug naar de werkelijkheid: u had het net over Poetin. De meeste Europese landen besteden véél te weinig aan hun defensie-uitgaven. Dat is een belangrijk politiek onderwerp op dit moment. We dragen véél te weinig bij aan de NAVO, in ieder geval in verhouding tot de afspraken die zijn gemaakt. Als wij straks te maken krijgen met agressie uit het Oosten, wat we nog maar moeten afwachten, maar sommigen vrezen daarvoor, en het ziet er in ieder geval tamelijk eng uit, dan kunnen wij niet zonder de hulp van de Amerikanen, en de Amerikanen vinden Europa minder belangrijk tegenwoordig dan de Pacific.
Geert Mak: De Amerikanen zullen Europa waarschijnlijk wel helpen, strategisch is het te belangrijk, maar met steeds grotere tegenzin. Het dwingt Europa om meer aan defensie uit te geven, en om dat onafhankelijker van Amerika te doen en veel meer onderling samen te werken. Dus geen JSF kopen, maar een Europees vliegtuig. Maar ja, we zitten al in dat schip, maar het is een onzin-uitgave.
Eén op Eén. 5 mei 2014
Miljarden NAVO-euro's verdwijnen in zwart gat
Miljarden NAVO-euro's verdwijnen in een boekhoudkundig zwart gat. De volksvertegenwoordigers van Nederland en de 27 andere NAVO-lidstaten weten niet hoeveel belastinggeld hun land exact uitgeeft aan het militaire bondgenootschap en wat daar vervolgens mee gebeurt. De oorzaak is een rammelende boekhouding en het bijna standaard drukken van het stempel 'geheim' op uitgaven.
A translated version of this story can be found here.
De NAVO-ambassadeurs zijn op de hoogte van de rommelige boekhouding, maar dat heeft niet geresulteerd in een oplossing, stelt de Rekenkamer
Dit blijkt uit onderzoek van de Nederlandse Algemene Rekenkamer, waarvan de resultaten vandaag worden gepubliceerd op een Engelstalige website. 'Misschien verspilt de NAVO heel veel, of komen ze veel tekort. We hebben geen idee', zegt Rekenkamer-president Saskia Stuiveling…
Na zes jaar touwtrekken is het de Rekenkamer niet gelukt om ook maar een begin te krijgen van de omvang van de totaalbedragen die lidstaten - inclusief Nederland - hieraan kwijt zijn. Wel heeft de Rekenkamer ontdekt dat er 378 NAVO-projecten die tussen 1970 en 1994 zijn gestart nog als 'niet afgesloten' in de boeken staan. De omvang van deze achterstand is 3,3 miljard euro aan belastinggeld.
Nederland heeft 5 miljoen euro uitgegeven aan vier van deze NAVO-projecten, die financieel nooit zijn afgerond en dus ook nooit verantwoord zijn. De afgelopen twintig jaar doet Nederland voor een onbekend bedrag mee aan nog eens 32 NAVO-projecten. Stuiveling: 'De matige transparantie nu lijkt mij niet goed voor het draagvlak voor de NAVO bij de belastingbetaler.' Vandaag in de Volkskrant: Rekenkamer-president Saskia Stuiveling hamert al zes jaar op de deuren van de NAVO.
De Volkskrant. Miljarden NAVO-euro's verdwijnen in zwart gat. Dinsdag 10 juni 2014
Ondertussen gaat de mainstream-propaganda onweersproken door:
De oproep van de Amerikaanse president Barack Obama aan Europese landen om meer te spenderen aan hun krijgsmacht en niet langer disproportioneel op de Amerikanen te leunen als het gaat om de veiligheid heeft de discussie aangewakkerd. Maar ook de spanningen in de Oekraïne maken veel los.
Dit land - op slechts 2 uur vliegafstand en gelegen aan de grenzen van de EU - laat namelijk zien dat een schijnbaar stabiele situatie zo kan omslaan en dat veiligheid helemaal niet vanzelfsprekend is. Sommigen noemen het niet voor niets een wake-up-call. Wie had immers 4 maanden geleden gedacht dat de verhoudingen zo snel konden verslechteren?
Dat geeft ook te denken. Zo liet de schrijver Geert Mak in het programma ‘Eén op één’ weten: 'We waren zo bezig met die soft power - en dat is ook goed - alleen Poetin reageert op een 19e-eeuwse manier.' Mak, ooit pacifist, meende daarom dat we 'Defensie niet moeten afbreken' en dat we 'meer moeten samenwerken met anderen.' [...]
Of we het nu leuk vinden of niet, in veiligheid en vrijheid moeten we blijven investeren. Of zoals Geert Mak in de uitzending ‘Eén op één’ concludeerde:
'Vrijheid komt niet vanzelf. Voor vrijheid moet je knokken. Moet je concessies doen. Moet je ruzie over maken. Rode koppen krijgen en uiteindelijk weer naar de stembussen sjokken. Dat is allemaal vrijheid. Vrijheid moet je verrekt alert op zijn, want anders glipt het zo door je vingers.'
Generaal Tom Middendorp,
4 november 2012 concludeerde de Amerikaanse onderzoeker en assistant professor of history at the United States Naval Academy and a Marine reserve officer Aaron B. O’Connell, met betrekking tot de 'permanente militarisering van de Amerikaanse maatschappij':
Our culture has militarized considerably since Eisenhower’s era, and civilians, not the armed services, have been the principal cause. From lawmakers’ constant use of 'support our troops' to justify defense spending, to TV programs and video games like 'NCIS,' 'Homeland' and 'Call of Duty,' to NBC’s shameful and unreal reality show 'Stars Earn Stripes,' Americans are subjected to a daily diet of stories that valorize the military while the storytellers pursue their own opportunistic political and commercial agendas. Of course, veterans should be thanked for serving their country, as should police officers, emergency workers and teachers. But no institution — particularly one financed by the taxpayers — should be immune from thoughtful criticism.
Like all institutions, the military works to enhance its public image, but this is just one element of militarization. Most of the political discourse on military matters comes from civilians, who are more vocal about “supporting our troops” than the troops themselves. It doesn’t help that there are fewer veterans in Congress today than at any previous point since World War II. Those who have served are less likely to offer unvarnished praise for the military, for it, like all institutions, has its own frustrations and failings. But for non-veterans — including about four-fifths of all members of Congress — there is only unequivocal, unhesitating adulation. The political costs of anything else are just too high.
The United States will spend an astounding $653 billion on the military in 2014, more than 56 percent of the entire discretionary budget. In fact, yearly US military spending exceeds that of the next 13 nations combined. It's no wonder that, on average, Americans want to cut military spendingby 18 percent. Congress should heed the advice of the bipartisan task force that found $1 trillion in fat over the next 10 years hiding in the Pentagon budget - and start cutting.
Een 'trillion' is een biljoen, is een miljoen keer een miljoen. De cijfers spreken voor zich. Alleen worden ze verzwegen door mainstream-opiniemakers als Geert Mak, Henk Hofland en al die andere bejaarde praatjesmakers die teruggrijpen op de Koude Oorlog-retoriek. Wat niet tot hen doordringt is dat de VS sinds de Tweede Wereldoorlog geen enkele oorlog heeft gewonnen, ondanks het feit dat de militaire uitgaven sinds 2001 zijn verdubbeld. Men dient dit voor ogen te houden wanneer een propagandist als Geert Mak weer eens de geesten probeert rijp te maken voor een nieuwe wapenwedloop met beweringen als:
Kijk, er is iets heel geks gebeurt. In Europa waren we zo bezig met die soft power en op een andere manier een internationale orde te scheppen, en Europa is daar heel succesvol in geweest. Alleen Poetin doet dat weer op een negentiende eeuwse manier. Het is een andere manier van denken die hij ineens weer de Europeanen door de strot douwt. Wij moeten er wel op voorbereid zijn dat her en der de negentiende eeuw ook nog heerst. Dus defensie kun je niet helemáál afbreken.
Nog afgezien van de bedrieglijke voorstelling van zaken, verzwijgt Geert Mak uit Bartlehiem in de polder dat zelfs als het 'Europa' van 'Geen Jorwert zonder Brussel' het defensiebudget zou verdubbelen, dit nog steeds geen enkele garantie biedt dat oorlogsgeweld het gewenste resultaat zal opleveren, zoals de politiek van Washington keer op keer bewijst. Zelfs het versterken van het Europese militair-industrieel complex zal geen vrede brengen. Alleen de rijke grootaandeelhouders van de oorlogsindustrie profiteren van het door Makkianen bepleite beleid. Weliswaar zal het de miljonair Mak nog meer Europese erekruisen opleveren én geld, maar de gewone belastingbetalende burger zal er zeker niet van profiteren. De gedachte dat meer wapens meer veiligheid oplevert is een waanidee, zoals een serieuze bestudering van de geschiedenis aantoont.
If there's one thing we should have learned in the Bush/Cheney years, it's that swagger and invasion are overrated as foreign policy instruments.
Nicholas Kristof. International New York Times. vrijdag 27 juni 2014
Oorlog is grootschalig bloedvergieten, vernietiging en chaos, de slachtoffers zijn allereerst de zwaksten in een samenleving. Bovendien is oorlog de oorzaak van nieuwe oorlogen. En toch dringt niet tot de Makkianen door dat bijvoorbeeld
If there's one thing we should have learned in the Bush/Cheney years, it's that swagger and invasion are overrated as foreign policy instruments.
Nicholas Kristof. International New York Times. vrijdag 27 juni 2014
Oorlog is grootschalig bloedvergieten, vernietiging en chaos, de slachtoffers zijn allereerst de zwaksten in een samenleving. Bovendien is oorlog de oorzaak van nieuwe oorlogen. En toch dringt niet tot de Makkianen door dat bijvoorbeeld
The $4 trillion lesson from the Iraq war is that while our military capabilities are dazzling and sometimes intoxicating, they cannot be the solution to every problem.
zoals Nicholas Kristof, columnist van de New York Times op vrijdag 20 juni 2014 opmerkte. 4 biljoen dollar, is 4 maal een miljoen maal een miljoen, alleen maar om via het zaaien van dood en verderf een zeer kleine rijke elite nog rijker te maken, dit alles ten koste van de rest van de wereldbevolking. En wat betreft de juridische en morele kant van de zaak:
Just War Theory
U.S. Military Academy, West Point, April 20, 2006
Transcription courtesy of Mariko Sakurai, corrected and improved by Scott Senn.
Thanks. I think a useful place to start might be with a recent academic study, by an Oxford professor, of 'traditions of war,' which contrasts two leading paradigms in the study of just war: what the author calls the 'Grotian' and 'republican' interpretations [Karma Nabulsi, Traditions of War]. The first paradigm traces back to Hugo Grotius, famed 17th century humanist, who founded the dominant framework of thinking on laws of war. Within this paradigm, law war is an act of states and just war proposals are a means to humanize and to introduce humanity in warfare. That's one tradition. The contrasting 'republican' paradigm traces back to Rousseau and the uprising against monarchy and feudalism in the late 18th century including the American Revolution. This paradigm blends war with justice, with liberty, equality, individual and community rights, whatever else may fall within our concept of justice. Well, these positions are of course idealizations; the real world is more complex. The formal implementation of efforts to introduce humanity into warfare do not simply disregard questions of justice, but they do put them to the margins. They're not central to the codification of the principles of world order in practice, with the single exception of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has a pretty tattered history. Well, despite real world complexities, the differences between these two approaches to war, I think, deserve attention in considering both the issues that are addressed and those that are ignored. We might ask whether that itself is just.
There are at least three major sources of insight into the concepts of just war. The first is the scholarly literature. The second is the underlining notions of human nature that underlie our moral judgments. And the third is the international codifications. So I'd like to say a few words about each of these topics. I think it may help to indicate in advance where I'm heading: In brief, my own conclusions are that the literature merits careful attention, but is ultimately not very instructive about just war; secondly, that the notions of human nature should be at the heart of the discussion, although serious inquiry into this is still in its early stages; and third, that the codifications are -- seem to me -- sensible, but actions in the real world all too often reinforce the famous maxim of Tacitus that 'the strong do as they can, while the weak do as they must' [quoting the imperial Athenians in Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War 5.89; elsewhere Chomsky calls this the maxim of Thucydides]. So let's start with some remarks on some of the current literature on just war.
One of the most recent studies is Michael Walzer's book Arguing About War, which merits particular attention not only because of the high praise it's received but also because Walzer is responsible for the -- largely responsible for the recent revival of just war theory. The strengths -- I think the book reveals both the strengths and the weaknesses of just war theory. The strengths are that many of the conclusions seem plausible enough, at least to me, but particularly those conclusions that pretty much reiterate standard codifications. The weakness is that, despite the book's title 'Arguing About War,' it's very hard to find an argument. You might try that as an experiment. More accurately, while arguments are sometimes detectable, they rely crucially on such premises as 'seems to me entirely justified' or 'I believe' or 'no doubt.' And there is almost no effort to bring in relevant background information and evidence. Walzer gives two paradigm examples in which case he simply asserts that the wars are just, in fact so obviously just that argument is unnecessary. The two examples are Afghanistan and Kosovo. He describes the invasion of Afghanistan as a 'triumph of just war theory' [Chapter 1], which stands alongside the bombing of Serbia in 1999 as an uncontroversial case of 'just war.' No argument is felt to be necessary though in either case it doesn't take much effort to think of possible evidence that might bear on the pronouncement that these are triumphs of just war theory. And these are considerations that would certainly be brought up by just war theorists if the responsibility for the military actions lay elsewhere. Well, for lack of time, I'll skip the illustrations but can come back to them if you like.
To be clear, I'm not asking whether the bombings of Afghanistan and Serbia were right or wrong; maybe they were, maybe they weren't. I'm asking a different question: namely, what does this just war theory have to say about it? And I think if you look closely you'll find that the answer is that it has nothing to say about it. We're left with assertions of the authors, that state violence was justified, uncontroversially so. And any consequences, whether anticipated or not, are entirely 'no doubt' the fault of the official enemy.
Well, another recent and also highly regarded inquiry into just war theory is by moral-political philosopher, Jean Bethke Elshtain. The paradigm of just war, she writes, is the bombing of Afghanistan [Just War Against Terror, pp. 61-62]. And she adds that 'nearly everyone with the exception of absolute pacifists' and a few lunatics 'agree' that the bombing of Afghanistan was clearly a just war ['A Just War?,' Boston Globe, 6 Oct 2002]. Argument ended. In reality, 'nearly everyone' excludes substantial categories of people, the majority of the world's population, for example, even in Europe, far more so in Latin America, and also leading Afghans who had been fighting the Taliban, including US favorites, and virtually all aid agencies working there. But what's relevant is that this constitutes the sole argument to establish that the war was just, in fact uncontroversially so. Facts are irrelevant, and no further argument is needed. Well, Elshtain does provide criteria for just war. So we at least have the rudiments of a theory. Four criteria. I'll read them.
First criterion: the 'war must be openly declared or otherwise authorized by a legitimate authority.' Second: It 'must begin with the right intentions.' Third: Force is justified if it 'protects the innocent from certain harm,' as when a country 'has certain knowledge that genocide will commence on a certain date.' Fourth: It 'must be a last resort after other possibilities for the redress and defense of the values at stake have been explored.' [Elshtain Just War Against Terror, pp. 57-58]
Well, the first two conditions are vacuous: declaration of war by an aggressor confers no support whatsoever for a claim of just war. And even the worst criminals claim right intentions. The third and fourth conditions sound reasonable, but they have no relevance at all, clearly, to the case of Afghanistan. So, therefore Elshtain's paradigm example collapses entirely under her own criteria.
Let me add just one word on the classic, modern work, Michael Walzer's Just and Unjust Wars, which I believe you've been reading. My personal judgment is that his conclusions are generally very reasonable, also pretty much in accord with the conventional reading of the United Nations Charter. But what's relevant here is that the conclusions, just about invariably, rely crucially on the ubiquitous phrase 'it seems to me' and so on. Again, you might test. So, just as an illustration, take what he regards as 'the hardest question,' in his words. That is, the British bombing of urban centers in Germany up to the end of the war. Walzer concludes that such bombing (quoting him) 'after the immediate threat posed by Hitler's early victories had passed...was entirely indefensible.' Maybe so, but if you check you'll find there's no argument, apart from the statement that 'the policy seems cruel.' [Walzer pp. 323-324] Well, I think it does; it seems cruel to me at least. But what does just war theory have to say? Where does it enter into the argument, and why are relevant facts disregarded? There are, after all, relevant facts.
Well, the character of the theory is revealed further when we look at the examples that Walzer gives; he gives about half a dozen examples, which are just listed -- no argument or discussion -- to show that just war theory applies, leaving in his words 'no doubts' [p. 292]. The examples are mostly uncontentious, although one might well ask why some of these examples are chosen but not others. For example, the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia is given as a case where there is 'no doubt'; but not given is the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which I suppose had about a hundred times as many as casualties, and many more during the 22 years of occupation of southern Lebanon in defiance of Security Council orders. So maybe there's a reason, maybe there isn't; but whatever it is, it's not given. That's all examples, except one. The last example of a case where just war theory applies leaving "no doubt" is the Egyptian challenge to Israel in 1967. That's the sole example in a long period covered where just war theory allegedly demonstrates that a preemptive strike was just beyond all doubt. Well, maybe the selection of cases and the conclusions are correct, maybe they're not, but what's relevant here is that just war theory plays little if any role in the argument, which reduces pretty much to declarations of personal preference.
Well, I won't go on, but these are to my knowledge fairly representative selections from the most highly regarded literature and I think it's fair to conclude more generally that we learn very little about just war from just war theory, although we do learn something about the prevailing intellectual moral climate in which the theory is presented and honored.
Well, let's turn to the second source of potential insight -- the second source of potential insight into just war theory: that is, our intuitive moral judgments. Well, here, we are turning to what was traditionally called 'moral philosophy.' I think it's more aptly described as 'moral psychology' in modern terms; that's after the divorce of science and philosophy in the mid-19th century. A century before that, David Hume had done his classic work on what he called 'the springs and origins' of human nature. Hume recognized that knowledge and belief are grounded in what he called a 'species of natural instincts,' part of our inherent mental nature [An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, sect. 5 part 1]. He recognized also that something similar must be true in the domain of moral judgment. His reason was that our moral judgments are unbounded in scope: we're constantly applying them in systematic ways to new circumstances in a manner that's intelligible to others. Hence, they too must be founded on general principles that are part of our nature, although beyond what he called our 'original instincts,' meaning the narrower instincts that we share with animals [A Treatise of Human Nature book 3 part 1 sect. 2].
Well, that insight, which I think is accurate, should lead directly to efforts to develop something like a grammar of moral judgment. That's an enterprise very much like the inquiry into the principles that are encoded somehow in our brains but permit us to do what you and I are now doing, and more broadly to produce and understand linguistic expressions over an unbounded range and use them in a way which is appropriate to circumstances and intelligible to others, even though they may be quite new in our own history, our own experience, in fact all of history. Well, as was recognized a century before Hume, these principles must be universal, hence grounded in our nature and the basis for acquisition of any particular language. Today we would say that the principles of language and moral judgment are part of our genetic endowment, part of human biology. In both cases, there are culturally specific and universal aspects, in both the case of internal faculty of language and moral judgment. These things can be studied -- they are part of science -- in fact studied in rather similar ways.
Inquiry into the moral faculty in these terms was undertaken by the leading American moral and political philosopher of the late 20th century, John Rawls, who relied explicitly on the analogy of two linguistic theories that were being developed in the 1960s at the time that he was writing his classic work Theory of Justice. Rawls in fact put this aspect of his work aside under severe criticism by moral philosophers, turned to core issues for him. The criticisms were re-examined and I think adequately refuted in a doctoral dissertation a few years ago by John Mikhail, who is now a law professor at Georgetown. A forthcoming book of his [Moral Grammar: Rawls' Linguistic Analogy and the Cognitive Science of Moral Judgment], based upon the dissertation develops this, and also presents empirical investigation of moral judgments in puzzling thought experiments that have been designed by moral philosophers. This experimental work reveals that intuitions in these quite puzzling cases are typically instantaneous and reflexive in adults and children, with systematic changes through early childhood development, much as in other aspects of development. He then goes on to develop a theoretical explanation in terms of fixed principles that can be regarded as a development of Rawls' Theory of Justice and the much earlier work of Hume in other classical writers on our natural instincts.
There's another book soon to come out by Harvard primatologist and cognitive scientist Marc Hauser carrying such inquiries further. [It] includes comparative studies and more general ideas about what he calls 'the moral organ,' analogous to the language organ, other subcomponents of the cognitive systems that are a core part of our biological nature. Well, in recent years, these topics have become a lively field of theoretical and empirical inquiry, from many points of view, incidentally; these are study of principles that underlie intuitive conceptions of justice and rights and their cultural variety -- their limited cultural variety and their universal properties. That could someday provide foundations for a more substantive theory of just war. But it remains largely a task for the future; it's underway in interesting ways.
Well, finally a couple of words on the codification of these intuitive judgments in the past century. I'll keep it to the period after World War Two, though the earlier conventions have very clear and significant contemporary relevance: Hague Conventions of 1907 for example. I can come back to that it if you like. The post Second World War codification of laws of war consists primarily of the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg principles later adopted by the General Assembly. Well, as you know, I'm sure, the Charter bars 'the threat or use of force' except in two instances: if authorized by the Security Council of the United Nations; or, under Article 51 of the Charter, in 'self-defense' against 'armed attack' until the Security Council acts. The phrase 'armed attack' is conventionally interpreted in terms of Daniel Webster's principle, which extends armed attack to cases where, in his words, 'the necessity' for action is urgent -- is 'instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment of deliberation.' Any other resort to force is a 'war crime,' in fact 'the supreme international crime,' encompassing all the evil that follows, in the words of the Nuremberg tribunal.
There was a High-level UN Panel -- meeting issued its report in December, 2004, included, among others, former National Social Security advisor Brent Scowcroft. It concluded that 'Article 51 needs neither extension nor restriction of its long-understood scope.' It 'should be neither rewritten nor reinterpreted.' Last September , the UN World Summit reaffirmed -- I'm quoting -- that 'the relevant provisions of the Charter are sufficient to address the full-range of threats to international peace and security.' The summit further endorsed 'the responsibility to commit ourselves… to helping States build capacity to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and to assisting those which are under stress before crises and conflicts break out.' The summit granted no new 'right of intervention' to individual states or regional alliances whether under humanitarian or other professed grounds, and it established no 'responsibility to protect,' contrary to what was widely alleged in news reports and commentary.
The High-level Panel of December 2004 had reached the same conclusion, in words that were specifically directed at international -- [correction:] at intellectual opinion and state practice in the West in recent years. Its words were these: 'For those impatient with [declaring Article 51 to be appropriate as formulated], the answer must be that, in a world full of perceived potential threats, the risk to the global order and the norm of non-intervention on which it continues to be based is simply too great for the legality of unilateral preventive action, as distinct from collectively endorsed action, to be accepted. Allowing one to so act is to allow all.' Allowing one to so act is to allow all. Here the panel is presupposing the principle of universality, namely that we apply to ourselves the same standards we do to others, if not more stringent ones. That's perhaps the most elementary of moral truisms and it's the foundation of just war theory if that theory is to be taken that all seriously. The principle, however, is flatly rejected in the elite intellectual, moral and political culture of the most powerful states and it's explicitly rejected by official doctrine. That includes the expositors and advocates of just war theory, also includes a substantial legal literature; it's pretty easy to illustrate -- there's plenty of material in print about it -- and we can draw some conclusions from that.
In this connection, let me end by saying that it's worth remembering some eloquent words on the principal of universality, the foundation of just war theory and any serious moral theory: the comments by Justice Robert Jackson. He was the chief for the council for the prosecution at Nuremberg. He informed the tribunal that: 'If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are the crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.' 'We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants to a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well.'
The 'supreme international crime' for which the defendants were hanged at Nuremberg was defined clearly enough by Justice Jackson at Nuremberg. He proposed to the tribunal that an 'aggressor' is a state that is the first to carry out 'invasion of its armed forces, with or without a declaration of war, of the territory of another state.' Illustrations of that too are easy enough to find and others are on the horizon. It's again noteworthy that these considerations are virtually excluded from the dominant intellectual and moral culture in the West rather generally, although we have no difficulty at all in applying them to official enemies. Well, once again, there's nothing special about our own country in this respect, except that it's more powerful than others. Such evasions with regard to the acts of one's own state are close to universal; they disfigure intellectual history as far back as you go. To the maxim of Tacitus that I quoted, we may add an observation by the President John Adams: 'Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak.' I think that's another near universal, again all too easy to illustrate from the traditional practice of governments and the educated classes within them.
Well, to return to the beginning: what can one learn from just war theory? My feeling is that from the literature on just war, we learn mostly about the prevailing moral and intellectual climate in which we live. Scientific inquiry into moral psychology and its roots in our nature may someday provide important insights; but practice cannot wait for that day, any more than engineering has waited for physics or medicine for biology, for centuries in these cases, which are much simpler ones and much more accessible to inquiry than human nature. Thirdly, the codification of laws of war has over time had a notable civilizing effect, but the gap between professed ideals and actual practice is much too large to be tolerated in my opinion. Thanks.
[Q & A]
Chomsky: Your chance to talk. [I should] repeat that the questioners won't be filmed. So you can feel free to talk.
Questioner #1: Sir, I was just wondering if you believe the United States of America has a responsibility to intervene in cases where just war says that it is justified to intervene?
Chomsky: Do I think that there's a responsibility to intervene in cases where just war theory concludes that it is correct to intervene? Is that the question? Personally, I agree with the UN Charter, the High-level UN Panel of December 2004, and the UN World Summit, which I quoted. But I can't really answer the question because as far as I can determine -- you can tell me if I'm wrong -- just war theory never tells you anything. It doesn't tell you when it's proper to intervene. What it tells you is: 'I think it is proper to intervene.' Well, you know, I may also think so, but there's a big gap between assertion and argument, between surmise and evidence. So if you can tell me where just war theory entails that we ought to intervene, we can consider the question. But until that's done, we can't really consider the question.
Questioner #2: Sir, I was wondering, do you believe that it would have been right to reassess Article 51 of the UN Charter? And do you believe that by not reassessing and not rewriting it, it loses relevancy?
Chomsky: I'm sorry, I didn't get it. By...? By...? Could you say it again?
Questioner #2: By not reassessing it…
Chomsky: ...not reassessing it…
Questioner #2: ...and not rewriting it…
Questioner #2: ...do you believe it loses its…?
Chomsky: Well, it has been reassessed, repeatedly. For example, by the High-level UN Panel of December -- that issued its report on 2004 -- with many distinguished participants. I mentioned Brent Scowcroft, but there are others. Yes, that's exactly what they did: They reassessed the UN Charter. And their conclusion is what I read. The UN World Summit last September again reassessed the UN Charter and that's what it concluded. Maybe there should be a further reassessment; fine, then let's undertake it, and let's consider their arguments, or other arguments. But we can't say that it hasn't been reassessed. I mean, we can say that we haven't paid any attention to it. Well, that's possible, in fact true. But it certainly has been reassessed by very respectable and leading figures. And their conclusions in my opinion at least are pretty justified. However, to get back to the main topic, I don't think just war theory tells us anything about that. When we judge these things, we're judging them on another basis: on the basis of actual evidence about what happens in particular cases in terms of our fundamental moral principles which we should try to explicate and apply, like the principle of universality. That's the way we should reassess it. Also we should, I think, think seriously about the statement that I quoted of the December 2004 Panel, that was directed to people like us. It was directed to intellectual opinion in the West. And you can read it again, but what they said is: the foundations of world order -- based on the principle of non-intervention in the affairs of others, not forcible intervention -- is too important and too fragile to be destroyed, or the consequences will be terrible, because for one to act is to grant the authority to all, at least if we believe in elementary moral principles. That's a heavy burden to bear. Maybe we could come up with a different conclusion in some cases. Actually personally I think we can, but it has to be argued.
Questioner #3: Sir...you said that it's possible that Article 51 needs to be reassessed, but you mentioned earlier when you were referencing Walzer's book that he said that the Israeli preemptive strike was justified -- that he said that the Israeli preemptive strike was justified.
Questioner #3: You also stated that his arguments did not really have justification by his theory. However, in the case of the preemptive strike, he does say that there are several criteria that are necessary for the Israeli attack to be justified: specifically the fact that the Egyptian army was standing at a state of readiness that the Israeli army was incapable of holding. So under Article 51, even though Egypt had not yet invaded Israel -- they were not at war. However, what Egypt was doing tactically put Israel at a severe disadvantage. So under our modern definition of war, it seems to me that it ought to be -- 'it seems to me.' [laughs] It seems logical that it ought to be called an act of war: what Egypt was doing, putting Israel at such a disadvantage. So doesn't Article 51 definitely need some reassessment?
Chomsky: Well, Article 51 clearly does not apply. I read Article -- I mean, we can argue that it was justified, but we can't say that Article 51 justifies it, not under Daniel Webster's characterization or any other one that's accepted by the international community. We might argue -- and here's where I think you could make an argument -- that if you consider the range of issues that arose at the time, the preemptive strike was justified. Maybe one can give such an argument. But the point is that no argument is given to that effect, none of the relevant facts are considered, and this is regarded as one of the half dozen cases where just war theory entails that the use of military force was legitimate. Just war theory doesn't entail that. It doesn't entail anything. What it tells you is: "well, I, Michael Walzer, believe this was justified", but without giving any reasons and without looking into the background. If you look into the background, it's a lot more complex than that. There's a lot of literature and scholarship on it: The US didn't happen to agree. There were all sorts of possibilities: you could've taken -- I mean I don't want to -- if you want, I'll run through the background. But it's quite intricate and complex, going back to the question of free passage through the Straits of Tiran, and whether that should be brought to the World Court, which the US and Israel refused to do and Egypt insisted on. It involves Israeli strikes against Syrian targets. All sorts of things. So, yes, there's a complicated background; you can look at them; you could decide, maybe, that in the light of these complex circumstances, perhaps Israel was entitled to make a preemptive strike. But that's not what's claimed. What's claimed is that without looking any evidence, just war theory -- whatever it is, it's not easy to determine -- just war theory entails that this is one of the half dozen cases in the last century in which the use of force was "no doubt" legitimate, and the only case in which the preemptive strike was legitimate. And we can also raise the question of universality. I mean I don't believe and I'm sure you don't believe that Iran has a right to, say, carry out terrorist acts in the United States right now. But undoubtedly it's under a serious threat. And undoubtedly the threat is simply overwhelming as compared with Iran's capacities. But it would be outrageous to suggest that, of course. And if it's outrageous to suggest that, why is it legitimate in this case? I mean, for one to act is to give the right to all. And we can give a whole lot of other examples. I mean, let me give an even more outrageous one, ok, not 'cause I accept it of course, but just as an example. Nobody I know of who's semi-sane goes out every December 7th and celebrates Pearl Harbor Day. However, if we use these arguments, you can do it. Japan, on December 7th, attacked US military bases in, effectively, two US colonies, territories claimed by the US -- Hawaii and the Philippines -- attacked military bases. The Japanese were perfectly capable of reading what was being written in U.S. public journals. And in fact US intelligence which had cracked the Japanese codes know that they knew about it. What was being written -- going all way up to the high military command, being reported by, you know, political commentators in the New York Times -- was that the United States was -- that B17s were running off the Boeing assembly line, designed to be able to burn to the ground -- what they were called -- the "ant heaps" in which the Japanese lived, these wooden cities; you could burn them to the ground with our B17 attacks. Furthermore, B17s were being shipped from the Atlantic, where they were needed, to Pacific bases in preparation for such attacks [Arthur Krock, 'Philippines as a Fortress: New Air Power Gives Islands Offensive Strength, Changing Strategy in Pacific,' New York Times, 19 November 1941, p. A4]. Well, you know, is that a threat? Yes, it's a pretty serious threat. Does that justify Pearl Harbor? I mean, not in ten million years. But if that doesn't, why does this justify it. ([December 7th is] my birthday incidentally, so I have a special interest in that day. [laughs])
Questioner #4: Sir, up here. Cadet Hobson. I just want to know if you thought that our operations in our war were preemptive or preventative, and…
Chomsky: Sorry I couldn't hear the first part.
Questioner #4: Do you think our operations in Iraq are preventive or preemptive, and do you think that our operations in Iraq are just or unjust?
Chomsky: Well, there was interesting terminology in that. The administration presented it and in fact the National Security Council described -- you know, they had that in mind, but more generally -- as preemptive war. But it certainly isn't preemptive war by any stretch of the imagination. More accurately you could call it "preventive" war. OK, you could say, "We have to prevent a potential attack against us." Personally, I don't see much justification for that, even if you accept that they believed all the reports that Colin Powell was giving at the UN Security Council and so on. Even if we accept that all that was believed, it doesn't seem to me that preventive war in such a case is legitimate. And as you know the world didn't think so either. There were international polls taken on this. And outside the United States and -- to a less -- to a more limited extent -- England, you could barely find a country in the world where support for it was above 10%. In fact, the only two exceptions in the international polls that were taken were India and Israel. But both of them had something different in mind. What they had in mind was their own repression of occupied territories: Kashmir and the [Israeli-]Occupied Territories. You know, they liked the idea of preventive war by the powerful. But they weren't talking about this. However, in the rest of the world, it was almost nonexistent: you know, 10% or less. Again, we have the same question: If preventive war is legitimate under those circumstances, it's legitimate for everybody. OK, that means it's legitimate for Iran today. I mean, to take another case: it is simply undeniable -- I mean you read it right in US official documents -- that the United States has been carrying out a terrorist war against Cuba since 1960. I mean, at first it was with direct participation. In more recent years, it's just with tolerance. But that it happened isn't even questionable. You know, John F. Kennedy assigned his brother Robert Kennedy the task of running the terrorist war. It was to be his highest priority. Robert Kennedy's official -- you know, more or less official biographer, the historian Arthur Schlesinger, who is a well-known historian, who was a Kennedy -- member of the Kennedy team -- a Latin American advisor. He writes that Robert Kennedy's task was to bring "the terrors of the earth" to Cuba [Robert Kennedy and His Times]. And if you look back at the record, it was no joke. And it continues, now still based on US soil. And the US harbors -- happily harbors terrorists who were involved in it. Does that give Cuba the right to carry out terrorist acts in the US to prevent this. Did it ever give them the right? Well, I don't think so and I'm sure you don't think so. But if preventive war is legitimate, why not? And in fact, you know, there are many other cases where -- take, say, Lebanon in 1982, when Israel was preparing the attack, and in fact trying desperately to conjure up an excuse for the attack. They were bombing Lebanon, hoping for some retaliation that can be as used as a pretext. And that was a serious attack, killed probably -- maybe 20,000 people, you know, destroyed a large part of southern Lebanon, the city of Beirut, much of it. Did that give Lebanon -- or the Palestinians in Lebanon the right to carry out terrorist acts in Israel, prior to it, to prevent the war? Well, I certainly don't think so; I'm sure you don't. But if preventive war is legitimate under such ambiguous cases as Iraq, why isn't that legitimate? So, no, I don't think it was just; I think it was aggression.
Questioner #5: Sir, Walzer's 'Legalist Paradigm' -- when he describes it, he also describes three provisions, one of which being the human rights provision, saying that it is justified to intervene if human rights are being violated. Would you give any credence to the argument that Saddam Hussein was in fact a tyrant that did violate human rights…?
Chomsky: Oh, he certainly did.
Questioner #5: ...even though there were other reasons given for war, such as WMD? And additionally, aggressors -- Walzer also describes aggressors as also being just to go against -- to go to war against. One. And did he ever lose his status as an aggressor from the first Gulf War?
Chomsky: He lost his status as an aggressor when he was driven out of Kuwait, just as Israel lost its status as an aggressor when, after 22 years, it pulled out of Lebanon. But -- and I can give plenty of other examples close to home. But as for the human rights violations, they were horrendous. And here's one of the cases where it really is important to look at facts before you make decisions. And we know the facts. They're not secret. So, yes, Saddam Hussein carried out horrendous human rights violations. In fact he's on trial for them right now. But have a look at the trial. Saddam Hussein is on trial for crimes that he committed in 1982, right? Killed -- charged with killing -- probably accurately -- killing about 150, or signing the death warrant for 150 or so Shi'ites who were involved in an uprising. Yeah that's a crime. 1982 happens to be an important year in US-Iraqi relations. This should be headlines in a free press in my opinion. It was a very important year. 1982 was the year in which Ronald Reagan dropped Iraq from the list of states supporting terrorism so that the US could start providing him with extensive aid, including military aid, including means to develop biological and chemical weapons and missiles and weapons of mass -- and nuclear weapons. He was dropped from -- and Donald Rumsfeld the next -- shortly after went to firm up the agreement. The next charge against Saddam Hussein -- the one that's going to come along, it's been announced -- is a much more serious crime: the atrocities against the Kurds in 1987-1988, the al-Anfal massacres of Halabja. Yeah, they were terrible, probably killed 100,000 people. The US didn't object. In fact the Reagan administration blocked efforts in Congress even to protest against it. Furthermore the support for Saddam increased and continued.
In fact Saddam was given an extraordinary privilege, remarkable: I mean he was allowed -- he got away with attacking a US naval vessel [the USS Stark] and killing 37 soldiers -- seamen in 1987. That's pretty astonishing; nobody can get away with that. But we were supporting -- the Reagan administration was so strongly in support of Saddam, right through the worst atrocities, they even let him get away with that. I mean, in 19 -- this continued after the end of the war with Iran, after the worst atrocities. In 1989, Iraqi nuclear engineers were invited to the United States to take part in a conference -- this was in Portland, Oregon -- in which they were trained in how to develop weapons of mass destruction. I mean, that's 1989. And furthermore George Bush #1 told us why it was being done. He said, we have to provide aid to Saddam because it's our responsibility to help "US exporters" and because he contributes to 'stability in the region.' In fact that continued. I mean, take the -- After the invasion of Kuwait, after he was driven out of Kuwait, you know, Iraq was practically bombed into the rubble, the US had total control of the area. There was an uprising -- April -- March/April 1991 -- Shi'ite uprising in the south, probably would've overthrown him. There were rebelling Iraqi generals. Good chance he would have been overthrown. Well, the Bush administration determined that they would essentially permit Saddam to crush it. They [Saddam's forces] used military helicopters, other armed equipment. They [the Bush administration] didn't have to do that. That led to a huge massacre. And it was described. You know, you can go back and read the New York Times right after that. They said, well, you know, it's regrettable but there's a consensus among the US and its allies -- meaning Saudi Arabia and Britain -- there's a consensus that -- I'm virtually quoting -- that Saddam Hussein offers more 'hope' for the 'stability' of the region than those who were trying to overthrow him [Alan Cowell, New York Times, 11 April 1991]. That's 1991, you know. Yeah, the human rights violations were horrendous. Does that have anything to do with the invasion? No, nothing, you know.
Ik wil deze serie over de mainstream pers, die ik 244 dagen lang heb samengesteld aan de hand van citaten, eindigen met een verwijzing naar Fellini's meesterwerk:
In een tot oratorium omgebouwde Middeleeuwse Romeinse kapel komt een orkest bijeen voor een repetitie. De muzikanten arriveren en er wordt uitgelegd dat er een TV ploeg aanwezig is om opnamen te maken. De muzikanten vertellen over hun instrumenten. De Duitse dirigent arriveert en de repetitie begint. De dirigent schreeuwt en beledigt. Dan wordt er een pauze van 20 minuten ingelast. In zijn kleedkamer legt de dirigent uit hoe de muziekwereld is verandert en dat er geen respect meer voor een dirigent is. Hij keert terug naar de oefenruimte en vindt een orkest terug dat volledig in opstand is gekomen. Wat kan hen weer doen terugkeren naar de muziek?
With the current state of affairs in the world and the recent death of Italian composer… Nino Rota (Coppola's The Godfather, 1972; Fellini's Casanova, 1976), one movie deserves to be unearthed at last. This unfairly forgotten film is Federico Fellini's Orchestra Rehearsal (1979) (Prova d'Orchestra. svh). It depicts the artistic and political struggle between a (German) conductor and his (Italian) orchestra. A movie about music, absolute power, terror and humanity.
This film is also Nino Rota's last score (he passed away after the recording sessions) and it is consequently the ultimate work of Felini-Rota - after several masterpieces such as 8 1/2 (1963), Roma (1972), Amarcord (1974)… As soon as the opening titles of Orchestra Rehearsal come through, the idea of chaos appears to us as the very main theme. Fellini did not begin his movie with the traditional musical overture (as he often did with Rota), or the sounds of musicians warming up their instruments before the show. While the names of the performers and technicians are presented on the screen, one can hear the noises of urban traffic (although none of the film takes place outside).
It is thus a sort of 'melting pot' made of city sounds, with firemen's sirens, roars of motorcycles, car tires skidding noisily on the asphalt, tramway bells, the motors of planes. Fellini makes us imagine here an army prepared to go off to war. All these sounds are eventually mixed up. Fellini compares in a way the circus of contemporary life to the circus of movie making and scoring sessions… It is in fact not the idea of chaos that really interests Fellini, but, more probably, the idea of polyphony, the true Ariane's thread in Orchestra Rehearsal.
The film opens as a war alert; an announced danger and an upcoming apocalypse. But this opening 'war of sounds' (it is something of a techno-like musical overture) reveals perhaps also the difficult relationship between master Federico Fellini and the grand world of sounds.
When you research Fellini, it clearly appears that Music had never been vital to him, a rather surprising fact for such an Artist. 'In private,' Fellini said, 'I must confess I prefer not listening to music. Music conditions me, worries me, possesses me as a reproachful voice that tortures me because it shows me a dimension of peace, of harmony and completion in which I feel excluded, exiled. Music is cruel.' Fellini's Orchestra Rehearsal deeply tackles this personal suffering, as the amazing confession of over-sensitivity vis-a-vis music from one of the most musical film makers ever.
'I cannot listen to someone tapping a table with his or her fingers: I am immediately disturbed, struck by this sort of breath led by rhythm.' […]
Fellini explored in Orchestra Rehearsal the inner world of the musicians but also, gradually, a social, universal and current reality. 'Musicians are workers like others,' the orchestra union leader claims. Fellini shows then the conductor's dissatisfaction about that : 'If Wagner had to obey to the strikes and union leaders' demand, he would have never succeeded in writing his operas and symphonies.' A musician then retorts that 'It is not, in any case, the union leaders' fault if Wagner wrote pompous music!'
The war announced in the opening titles eventually breaks out. After an enforced break, the conductor returns to the music auditorium and sees an authentic and spectacular mutiny. The musicians have painted obscene graffiti on the walls, some musicians play horrible and noisy music and others cry vehemently: 'The orchestra is the terror and the conductor is death!' At times, the musicians' fury seems to provoke small earthquakes in the studio.
Electricity has been cut; several candles now light the whole studio, as in a prehistoric cavern. Fellini films the musicians' shadows on the wall and on the music sheets. It is an army of shadows. In the noisy and dark chaos, you can see a musician sleeping, a couple making love under the piano, a man listening to soccer with his radio, and a woman saying to the camera : "A child once asked me where does music go when music ends? "
Some rebelling musicians replace the conductor's music stand with a giant metronome similar to a coffin, but it is quickly destroyed by other musicians refusing any kind of leadership. But suddenly, one of the walls crack, and dust and small rocks fall onto the musicians. Then, coming from outside or nowhere, an enormous bowl in steel destroys the wall in front of the musicians. The fury is replaced by the sound of wind. The sudden intrusion of this mysterious giant bowl has the impact of a nuclear bomb. This subconscious image reminds us of the big fish on the beach at the end of Fellini's Dolce Vita (1960), or the big rhinoceros in And The Ship Sails On (1983).
When Orchestra Rehearsal was released, Fellini said something that seems strangely compelling today in 2002: 'All the horrible events we are living are not politics, but confusions, disasters and deeper rifts. I don't know what can be done to change society, what I want to show is always directed at the individual. Then, instead of exchanging pieces of political information, let's share the information of our unconscious. The film [Orchestra Rehearsal] talks about the consequences of that 'super-consciousness' which is politics, instead of taking care of our own unconscious.'
'Music saves us, let's hang on the notes '
The harpist has been killed by the collapse and evacuated. The conductor gets up and says to everyone in the studio: 'Music saves us, let's hang on the notes.' Without a word, one of the rebelling musicians gives the conductor's music stand back, and all the musicians take their instrument in silence. Everyone starts performing Nino Rota's music in homage to the dead (fateful omen). Rota's music has a subtle gypsy perfume, in an ironic opposition to the Nazi-like conductor.
Rota's music (as often with Fellini) also reminds you here of the music written for circus and silent films, as a return to the origins of cinema, questioning its roots and thus the present day. Rota's music is the innocence and childhood in Fellini's films. But for this last piece, Rota used most of all a rather tragic theme and a tragic orchestration as well. Behind the clown-like music, a deep darkness, a cry as a secret, fateful farewell, the ultimate demonstration of Rota's musical genius.
Despite the collapse and the dust in the auditorium, the musicians play vehemently, all standing in the middle of the chaotic studio. Some are crying while playing Rota's music. Fellini: 'I was just astonished to note that after many takes, this heterogeneous group eventually formed a unique, abstract, whole, which is music. That organization made out of chaos just overwhelmed me.'
This is the end
Fellini did not choose what he called 'an easy sentimentality' for the end, though. The conductor takes his authoritarian voice back and says to the orchestra, on a crescendo tone : 'You must put less colors in the music, noise is not music, nor a tramway!' He starts yelling at them (fade in on the screen, we continue hearing this Nazi-like voice in the darkness) : 'Do you think you are on a soccer field? Am I a referee? Where are your lungs? Your breath?!' The conductor's last words: 'Da capo!' (Again).
The end of the world may not exist: it does not stop repeating itself as a sad leitmotiv. What occurred in the States in September 2001, or what happens in the Middle East is more evidence. Fellini's Orchestra Rehearsal tells a part of the story of our world, but Fellini prevents himself from being too explicit at the end. Are all the leaders necessarily monstrous? Are the people always innocent? But are they born to obey? Who has to cultivate freedom: the leadership or the individual? Both? How can we remain ourselves inside the orchestra of life? Is the death of our relatives the only way to make us understand the grandeur of life, the beauty of tolerance and the necessity of listening?
'I refuse happy endings,' Fellini claimed, 'because it prevents the audience from having any responsibility. On the contrary, I prefer ending my film with a question mark; it is then to the viewer to find the right end to my story. In all my films, I have been faithful to these suspension points in the conclusion. Besides, I have never written the word "End" on the screen.' Fellini does not bring a 'final solution,' he leaves us with our own imagination, leaving us to interpret.
Alexandre Tylski is the editor of Cadrage. He has written numerous articles on the art of film music for filmscoremonthly and traxzone and he also has directed two short-movie portraits on film composers Philippe Sarde and Antoine Duhamel.
Alexandre Tylski, Cadrage avril/mai 2003
Nu de stem tot zwijgen was gekomen keerde alles terug tot de gewone orde: de wanorde.
G. Tomasi di Lampedusa. De Tijgerkat. (1958)
Ik stop met deze serie over de mainstream-pers. Ik heb mijn best gedaan u een indruk te geven van mijn vak, zoals ik dat vier decennia van nabij heb meegemaakt. Een prettige zomervakantie iedereen. Rust uit, en geniet.