Washington’s Wars

The New York Times reported on October 22 that the United States has “just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories,” which is a staggering total. But in an intriguing revelation the Times reported that there are a further 37,813 troops deployed “on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as ‘unknown.’ The Pentagon provided no further explanation.”

It is not surprising that Washington’s war-spreaders do not supply information to the American public concerning the location of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen involved in clandestine operations around the globe, because this might bring to light the lack of justification for such deployments. Concurrent with denial of information, however, is an energetic campaign aimed at convincing Americans that everything to do with military strength is laudable and that those who voice the slightest criticism of the armed forces are unpatriotic or even traitorous.

The American public, including the many who maintain a sane and even-handed approach to military expansion, are in general (if one may use that word in this context) much in favour of the military. For example, they love seeing and hearing marching musicians at public functions, but it is not the love of music that has motivated the Pentagon’s conductors to allocate over 400 million dollars a year on 130 military bands.

Don’t get me wrong: as a former soldier I am much in favour of these bands. There are few things more rousing and toe-tapping than a drumming, thumping, immaculately dressed, triple ranked, step-perfect batch of hooters and tooters. They’re marvellous. And they’re one of the best psychological operations weapons that the Pentagon has got to convince the citizens of America that their military is perfect.

The bands draw vast crowds at sports events and all sorts of community gatherings, and even the most kind-hearted, sweet tempered pacifist citizen can hardly fail to be moved to ecstatic flag-happiness by the joyful tunes of unbridled patriotism.

Then across the sky roar some superbly-piloted military airplanes, flashing, twisting, turning at unbelievable speed with immaculate precision and wonderful professional technique. The twelve aerial display teams of the US military services are astonishing in their skilfulness and, for example, the USAF Air Combat Command F-16 Demonstration Team performs no fewer than 25 times this year, while the Blue Angels, the Navy’s wonderful aerobatic artists appear at 35 airshows, of which I was at the first in 2017, after their winter training, on March 11 at the Naval Air Facility El Centro in California. It was a classic display of aerial mastery. Their virtuosity is breathtaking.

And so is the expense to US taxpayers, of course, because the military services are giving 290 aerial displays in 2017, all attended by thousands of people who leave them, understandably, with memories of wonderful pilots performing amazing feats of dexterity.

Bands and aerobatics have the effect of pumping up the public’s already high regard for the armed forces, but even then there’s secrecy. In a telephone interview from Doha, Qatar, the leader of the Air Force rock band, Max Impact, Senior Master Sergeant Ryan Carson, said that “Until you see what we do, it’s hard to really understand the impact music can have,” which is certainly true, but then he told the interviewer that his band had played in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait — and a number of what he called “undisclosed locations.” Now why should the US public be denied information about where Max Impact performs? By definition, it’s difficult to keep bands quiet about where they are, and their whereabouts must have been known to their audiences.

It’s difficult to believe that Max Impact has an undercover mission, but perhaps they are tasked with playing to some of the 37,813 troops deployed “on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as ‘unknown’.” You could compose a song about it, but it’s a great deal more serious than that.

Following the debacle in Niger on October 4 in which four American special forces soldiers were killed by unknown assailants there were questions asked concerning numbers and locations of US troops engaged in combat in Africa and elsewhere. The Secretary of Defence, General James Mattis, declared that the soldiers in Niger were there because the US is involved “in the campaign to throw ISIS and the terrorists, the radicals, those who foment instability and murder and mayhem, off their stride.” It is questionable whether this is consistent with the general’s insistence that “any time we commit our troops anywhere it’s based on answering a simple first question. And that is ‘Is the well-being of the American people sufficiently enhanced by putting our troops there?’ [where] we put our troops in a position to die.”

To judge from the mainstream media’s cover of the Niger tragedy the citizens of the United States do not appear overly concerned about soldiers dying. The magic of marching bands and swooping wings have gone far in persuading citizens that wherever their armed forces are fighting, there is a good sound patriotic rationale for their operations, as made clear by Senator Lindsey Graham who announced that in regard to the US confrontation with North Korea, “If we have to, we’ll go to war. I don’t want to, but if we have to, we’ll go to war. And I’ll tell you who’ll win that war: We will” which is fairly typical of the mood in Congress, just as it was in the quagmire years of the catastrophic Vietnam War.

Graham had to admit that “I didn’t know there was 1,000 troops in Niger,” although he quickly added that after he “got a little insight on why they were there and what they were doing. I can say this to the families: They were there to defend America. They were there to help allies. They were there to prevent another platform to attack America and our allies.” But even he had to confess that “We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world, militarily, and what we’re doing” which is the most open acknowledgement of confusion to emanate from Congress in some time.

US forces are engaged in open warfare in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, in addition to carrying out offensive military operations — mainly drone and other airstrikes, but also involving special forces and CIA crash and bash raids — in many other countries, including Libya, the Philippines, Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen. There will continue to be an increase in the numbers of troops, ships, drones and strike aircraft based in and around the 172 countries in which the New York Times tells us they are already present, and Washington’s wars will expand in complexity and purpose.

Unfortunately, the American public appears unconcerned about the spread of war around the world, and it has to be remembered that two days after the US invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003, a Gallup poll showed that 72 percent of Americans supported war. In November 2001, as Afghanistan was being attacked by US forces, Gallup indicated “that Americans favour the use of ground troops in Afghanistan by more than a four-to-one margin, 80% to 18%.”

When the Vietnam War ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon, after countless Vietnamese and over 58,000 Americans had been killed, the NBC reporter David Brinkley stood among the rows of gravestones in Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC, and delivered a most pungent warning. Clearly and impassively he said “When some future politician for some reason feels the need to drag this country into war, he might come out here to Arlington and stand right over there somewhere to make his announcement and tell what he has in mind. If he can attract public support speaking from a place like this, then his reasons for starting a new war would have to be good ones.”

Are there good reasons for all of the troops and planes and ships that are based all over the world? Good reasons for all the airstrikes and drone attacks and clandestine special forces operations? Were there good reasons for the deaths of the four special forces soldiers in Niger and the Navy Seal in Yemen on January 29 and the special forces soldier in Afghanistan on November 4?

The marching bands play on, although often the buglers play ‘Taps’ at military funerals, and most American citizens seem content to accept expansion of Washington’s wars, which will continue to destabilise the regions in which they are waged.


Originally published on 2017-11-22

About the author: Brian Cloughley is British and Australian armies’ veteran, former deputy head of the UN military mission in Kashmir and Australian defense attaché in Pakistan.

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
On October 20, 2011, Libya’s Muammar al-Gaddafi was brutally murdered by a mob of NATO-backed ‘rebels’, after first being beaten and violated in the most barbaric fashion. History leaves no doubt that not only was the Libyan leader murdered on this day but Libya itself. The regime-change crew who dominate Western governments have a long indictment sheet against their names. Since 9/11 they have wrought havoc and human misery on a grand scale in their determination to reshape and own a world that has never been theirs to own. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya – Syria currently embroiled in a pitiless conflict for ...
READ MORE
The Complete History of Monsanto, “The World’s Most Evil Corporation”
First published by Waking Times, posted by Global Research in May 2014, this article provides a historical viewpoint. It is of particular relevance in relation to the Monsanto-Bayer merger. Of all the mega-corps running amok, Monsanto has consistently outperformed its rivals, earning the crown as “most evil corporation on Earth!” Not content to simply rest upon its throne of destruction, it remains focused on newer, more scientifically innovative ways to harm the planet and its people. 1901: The company is founded by John Francis Queeny, a member of the Knights of Malta, a thirty year pharmaceutical veteran married to Olga Mendez Monsanto, for which Monsanto Chemical Works ...
READ MORE
Russia Or The Neocons: Who Endangers American Democracy?
Political discourse of American mass media is inundated with another wave of Russophobia and fear mongering. Besides the obvious military threat (Russia’s nuclear arsenal), or the challenges to the US foreign policy (the conflicts in Ukraine or Syria), a new fear has been introduced into the news: the US political system is endangered by Russia’s computer hacking, informational warfare, and its support of Donald Trump. The newspaper titles sound like a commercial for the upcoming Invasion of the Body Snatchers sequel. The Washingon Post announces: “Russia Is Now a Threat. The US Should Treat It Like One.” Time magazine raises the ...
READ MORE
German Researchers: Berlin Owes Greece €185 Bln in WW II Reparations
Two German researchers claim that Germany owes Greece 185 billion euros in World War II reparations, of which less that 1 percent has been paid. German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reviewed a book called “Reparation Debt Mortgages of German Cccupation in Greece and Europe”, in which historian Karl Heinz Roth and researcher Hartmut Rubner, present documents of the dispute and conclude that, even though Berlin claims the war reparations issue was resolved in 1960, in fact nothing has been done about it. According to their calculations, based on the study of mainly German documents, the total debt to Greece is 185 billion euros. The book ...
READ MORE
The Nation-State: Post-Mortem
“Balkanization” is the weaponized perversion of anti-colonialism taken to its ultimate extreme, and it’s being wielded by the declining Unipolar World Order to divide and conquer the Eastern Hemisphere in order to prevent the natural emergence of multipolar civilizational blocs as the inevitable outcome of Silk Road Globalization. The rising trend of separatist and autonomous movements in Western Europe, the cradle of the modern-day nation-state system, has prompted concern that the end of the nation-state era is drawing near. To be clear, a nation-state isn’t the same as an ethnic state, although there’s sometimes an overlap such as in the ...
READ MORE
The Real Reasons Why FBI Director James Comey Reopened the Hillary Email Investigation
This last Friday it became public record that FBI Director James Comey reopened the Hillary Clinton email server investigation after repeatedly testifying before Congress and the world up to last July that he’d closed the case, after in his words not finding sufficient evidence of “any criminal wrongdoing” to indict her in spite of her four years as Secretary of State egregiously breaching our national security:’  -committing obstruction of justice and willful tampering with evidence,  -deleting 30,000 emails after receiving a court subpoena constituting destruction of evidence, -not to mention repeatedly engaging in perjury before Congress and the FBI. But obviously a federal investigation still in process in late June never stopped Bill Clinton’s illegal ...
READ MORE
Prof. Vladislav B. Sotirović About The Situation In Ukraine
Professor Vladislav B. Sotirović, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer of: “Middle East Studies” at the Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania; “Mediterranean Studies;” “Ethnicity, Multiculturalism and Globalisation;” “Balkan Nationalism and Ethnic Conflicts”and “Europeanisation: Process and Results.” Prof. Dr. Sotirović is a distinguished expert on the History of the Early Byzantine Empire, 330–846”, Comparative History of Central and South Eastern Europe and Ottoman History, History of Lithuania and Ukraine. He is well known abroad for his influential books and popular lectures about Lithuania, Russian Federation, the Balkans and Baltic Nations and the Multiculturalism. Professor Sotirović has studied at the Central European Summer University, Budapest, ...
READ MORE
The Syrian War of Imperialism
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. Save
READ MORE
The Quisling Of Belgrade
Tributes to Zoran Djindjic, the assassinated prime minister of Serbia, have been pouring in. President Bush led the way, praising his “strong leadership”, while the Canadian government’s spokesman extolled a “heralder of democracy” and Tony Blair spoke of the energy Djindjic had devoted to “reforming Serbia”. In western newspaper obituaries Djindjic has been almost universally acclaimed as an ex-student agititator who bravely led a popular uprising against a tyrannical dictator and endeavoured to steer his country into a new democratic era. But beyond the CNN version of world history, the career of Zoran Djindjic looks rather different. Those who rail against the ...
READ MORE
The Crimean ‘Question’
There are more questions than answers to the Crimean ‘question’. After more than two decades belonging to an independent Ukraine, the Crimean peninsula has become part of Russia, which has thereby gained an extra 27,000 km2 of territory and over two million new citizens. Ukraine and the West see this unprecedented event as annexation and a sign of the Kremlin’s neo-imperial ambitions. To countries not directly involved in the Ukrainian crisis, it is a dangerous violation of the Eurasian status quo that could cause widespread destabilisation in the area, while in Moscow’s eyes it is ‘the return of Crimea and Sevastopol ...
READ MORE
Putin’s New World Order
Is Vladimir Putin the most popular Russian leader of all time? It certainly looks like it. In a recent survey conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center,  Putin’s public approval rating soared to an eye-popping 86 percent, which is twice that of Obama’s when he left office in 2016.  And what’s more surprising is that Putin’s popularity has held up through a severe economic slump and nearly two decades in office. Unlike most politicians, whose shelf-life is somewhere between 4 to 8 years, the public’s admiration for Putin has only grown stronger over time. And the phenom is not limited to Russia either.  According to a recent survey by the pollster YouGov, “Putin is the third most admired man in Egypt, the fourth in China, ...
READ MORE
Koszovó Csomója (1999)
A „rövid” XX. századot a balkáni lôporos hordó robbanása vezette be, és úgy látszik, addig nem is tud befejezôdni, amíg ezt a hordót jó mélyen és örökre el nem temetik. A koszovói konfliktus új fázisa – ha nem akarunk éppenséggel visszamenni az ôsidôkig, de legalábbis a rigómezei ütközetig (1389) vagy Arsenije Carnojevic és népe nagy elvándorlásáig (1698 – a tartomány szerb lakosága ekkor menekült el a török megtorlás elôl, és ekkor kezdôdött dél felôl az albánok tömeges betelepedése a lényegében lakatlanná vált területre) – nagyjából az elsô balkáni háborúval kezdôdött, és kisebb-nagyobb megszakításokkal tart ma is. A tartomány szerencsétlen helyen ...
READ MORE
A Government of Morons and War Criminals
It has become embarrassing to be an American. Our country has had four war criminal presidents in succession. Clinton twice launched military attacks on Serbia, ordering NATO to bomb the former Yugoslavia twice, both in 1995 and in 1999, so that gives Bill two war crimes. George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and attacked provinces of Pakistan and Yemen from the air. That comes to four war crimes for Bush. Obama used NATO to destroy Libya and sent mercenaries to destroy Syria, thereby committing two war crimes. Trump attacked Syria with US forces, thereby becoming a war criminal early ...
READ MORE
Barack Obama: The Nobel Peace Prize Winner Who Bombed Seven Countries
U.S. jets are bombing Syria again this month, part of an overall pattern of military expansion during the Obama administration that’s seen military involvement in dozens of conflicts. As the United States renews a bombing campaign against ISIS forces in Syria, it seems like America’s penchant for waging war knows no bounds. During the first seven years of Barack Obama’s presidency, the U.S. bombed seven countries while supporting other destabilizing military actions throughout the Middle East. Here’s a look at these seven countries and the effects of bombing: Afghanistan — Despite the announced “end” of the Afghanistan War, significant U.S. military presence ...
READ MORE
N. Chomsky on the U.S.: ‘This is a Very Racist Society’
Professor Noam Chomsky said it would be “no small trick” for the Ferguson protests to turn into an anti-racism and social justice movement, considering America’s founding principles are slavery and the extermination of the indigenous population. In a sweeping interview covering everything from Iraq and Syria to China, capitalism, and the protests in Ferguson, MIT linguistics professor Chomsky told GRITtv’s Laura Flanders that events in Ferguson and the protests that have followed show how little race relations in the United States have advanced since the end of the Civil War. “This is a very racist society,” Chomsky said. “It’s pretty shocking. ...
READ MORE
America Now Preparing for World War III
Because this article states so many things that might be likely to contradict what most people in Western countries have been led to believe, readers here are especially strongly encouraged to click onto any allegation which seems at all questionable, in order to get to the sources behind any given questionable allegation. And wherever a clicked-onto source turns out to be another article, one is encouraged similarly to do the same there, so that the reader will be able, in this way, to probe down to the ultimate sources, which are the sources upon which this article is finally based. After ...
READ MORE
** FILE ** President Bush declares the end of major combat in Iraq as he speaks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast, in this May 1, 2003 file photo. Democratic congressional leaders on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 sent Iraq legislation setting timetables for U.S. troop withdrawals to President George W. Bush and a certain veto.  On the fourth anniversary of the president's "Mission Accomplished" speech, Senate Majority Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that Bush "has put our troops in the middle of a civil war. A change of course is needed."  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
As the recent PBS documentary on the American War in Vietnam acknowledged, few American officials ever believed that the United States could win the war, neither those advising Johnson as he committed hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, nor those advising Nixon as he escalated a brutal aerial bombardment that had already killed millions of people. As conversations tape-recorded in the White House reveal, and as other writers have documented, the reasons for wading into the Big Muddy, as Pete Seeger satirized it, and then pushing on regardless, all came down to “credibility”: the domestic political credibility of the politicians involved ...
READ MORE
Nightmarish Global Military Agenda
Warring hotspots all over the world are flaring up in 2016 in what amounts to preparation for World War III between the military forces of the US led Western Empire against the forces of the Eastern axis led by Russia and China joined by Iran and North Korea. Let’s be clear – the globalists are the puppet masters behind the Western forces intentionally provoking catastrophic world war. We live in a time when the earth’s ruling elite has willfully created this foreboding, seemingly suicidal endgame scenario, using US Empire to prod, orchestrate, and push the world into two enemy camps in a West ...
READ MORE
Why Is NATO In Yugoslavia?
Editor’s Note This paper was presented by the late Sean Gervasi at the Conference on the Enlargement of NATO in Eastern Europe and the Mediterrenean, Prague, 13-14 January 1996. It was published on Global Research when the Global Research website was launched on September 9, 2001. The late Sean Gervasi had tremendous foresight. He understood the process of NATO enlargement several years before it actually unfolded into a formidable military force.  He had also predicted the breakup of Yugoslavia as part of a US-NATO project. See also Sean Gervasi’s 1993 video interview Introduction The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has recently sent a large task force into ...
READ MORE
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
The Complete History of Monsanto, “The World’s Most Evil Corporation”
Russia Or The Neocons: Who Endangers American Democracy?
German Researchers: Berlin Owes Greece €185 Bln in WW II Reparations
The Nation-State: Post-Mortem
The Real Reasons Why FBI Director James Comey Reopened the Hillary Email Investigation
Prof. Vladislav B. Sotirović About The Situation In Ukraine
What is a Politics?
The Syrian War of Imperialism
The Quisling Of Belgrade
The Crimean ‘Question’
Putin’s New World Order
Koszovó Csomója (1999)
A Government of Morons and War Criminals
Barack Obama: The Nobel Peace Prize Winner Who Bombed Seven Countries
N. Chomsky on the U.S.: ‘This is a Very Racist Society’
America Now Preparing for World War III
How America Spreads Global Chaos
Nightmarish Global Military Agenda
Why Is NATO In Yugoslavia?