By Ray McGovern, June 2, 2017
Ray attempts to inject some cool common sense into Tuesday’s (May 30) program of HEAT. As you can see below, the panel discussion got a little heated – in both 15-minute segments.
The following drawn from the set-up for the program:
First foreign trip completed, Donald Trump returned to the White House to face more challenges. Tonight’s panel will discuss the latest troubles in the Trump administration:
Musings from Ray on Mad-Dog Mattis and “Military Necessity”
When President-elect Donald Trump sent his talent scouts to the attack-dog kennel run by defense industry giant General Dynamics, in order to recruit former Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis to be secretary of defense, cries of apprehension were drowned out by smug one-percent reassurances.
Those who “know what’s best for the country” insisted: “NOT TO WORRY; actually Mattis is a Renaissance Man. Yes, he thinks, and says, it’s fun to shoot people. But after taking a hot shower in the evening, he reads Greek epic poetry.
Last Sunday, Mattis told CBS it’s gonna be more fun again. At a time when civilian casualties are extremely high in Syria, thus spake James Renaissance Man Mattis to CBS’s Face the Nation:
“We have already shifted from attrition tactics, where we shove them from one position to another in Iraq and Syria, to annihilation tactics where we surround them.”
Mattis was asked what about civilian casualties.
“Civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation,” he replied, adding that the U.S. military does “everything humanly possible consistent with military necessity.”
This brings to mind the Feb. 7, 2002 Executive Order signed by President George W. Bush authorizing another kind of war crime – torture. That Memorandum concluded with identical reassurance – in this case, that detainees would be “treated humanely, and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva.”
Worse still (if there can be a “worse still”), Mattis reportedly is weighing how many thousands more troops from the U.S. poverty draft to send to – hold your breath – AFGHANISTAN!
Instead of reading Homer and reflecting on the Trojan War 33 centuries ago, Mattis ought to fast forward and read more “modern” history on Afghanistan. He might fast forward to “just” 27 centuries ago, when Alexander the Great made, but did not follow through on, an abortive attempt to conquer Afghanistan. “Abortive” is the key word here. He faced stiff resistance from the locals, who for some reason did not like being invaded and lacked the respect due the “sole superpower the world” of those times.
Alexander was smart enough to realize that he had bit off more than he could chew. He brought his army back west, before many more of them got killed, to where he knew what he was doing. On that count alone he deserves the moniker “Great.” Unlike those who have tried to conquer Afghanistan in the 22 centuries that followed, he decided the game was not worth the candle.
This adage is attributed to Alexander: “There is nothing impossible to him who will try.” ( οὐδὲν τοῖς θαρροῦσιν ἀνάλωτον ) The corollary, of course, is that some things DO happen to be well nigh impossible – and, as such, not worth the cost of trying for some dimly perceived, non-essential gain.
Fools Walk In
In the centuries that followed, many powerful “statesmen” – powerful, but not so “Great” in terms of knowing when to avoid trying the impossible – have attempted to subdue those incorrigible tribes in Afghanistan. The long, sad, fools’ list includes: Arabs, Mongolians, Persians, Indians, British, Russians – and now Americans.
Let’s hope ‘Renaissance Man” Mattis will leave Homer and the Trojan War behind and read up more “recent” history. A good way to start would be to get a hold of Barbara Tuchman’s classic “The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam.”
The bomb blast last night in Kabul that killed more than 80 and wounded 300 will probably tempt Mattis and his delusional boss to lash out militarily. That could include the next surge in the fool’s errand into Afghanistan. It would be a piece of what Mattis’s predecessors browbeat the benighted Barack Obama into doing as soon as he came into office, playing on his campaign rhetoric that Afghanistan was some kind of “good war,” in contrast to the one in Iraq.
Since greeting WBTE (Wet-Behind-The-Ears) Barack Obama in March 2009 with a piece titled “Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President,” Ray has tried to keep at it. He says the effort runs no risk of getting boring, given the high stakes involved. A lot of people are dying – just a small portion of whom are the American “heroes” celebrated over the weekend as “the fallen; the lost.” (They were neither lost nor fallen; they were pushed to death – many of them with the help of a supremely unjust poverty draft).
But the vast majority of dead and injured are non-American “others” – mostly civilians – a fact of death, which Mad Dog Mattis rationalizes as “a fact of life … consistent with military necessity.”
Maybe someone can give him a history book about Alexander the Great and how it was not such a bad idea to “chicken out” and withdraw from Afghanistan. He could be told that history would be happy to call him “Mad Dog The Great,” should that appeal to him. He desperately needs to educate himself on the indomitable folks in that poor country (and their equally determined supporters across the border in Pakistan). Please, someone suggest to Mattis that it would be “Renaissance-Man-like” to follow Alexander’s example and avoid confronting the impossible – even aside from the human and other costs – when it is “a fact of life” that neither the strategic stakes nor “military necessity” warrant it.
It would be nice, too, if one of his aides could replace Homer with one or two of the following articles under his pillow – on the chance he can be brought to realize that it’s not “fun” – just dumb – to go around shooting people. And that that goes in spades for Afghanistan.
|VFP: 1404 N. Broadway St. Louis 63102 (314) 725-6005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Susan Schnall, email@example.com, 917-620-0189
Michael McPhearson, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Barry Ladendorf, email@example.com, 619-997-2772
Veterans Oppose Trump Policies, Wars; Rally at Lincoln Memorial; March to White House
On Tuesday, May 30, at 11:00 am, veterans and supporters will mass at the Lincoln Memorial. Speakers include Veterans For Peace President Barry Ladendorf, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Medea Benjamin, David Swanson, Chris Hedges, Jonathan Hutto, Brian Becker, Col. Ann Wright, Mara Verhayden Hilliard, Michael McPhearson, Matt Hoh, and Ray McGovern. Music will be provided by Lyla June Johnston, Pat Scanlon, Ariel Zevon, and the Fugs, who will lead an attempt to exorcise the White House as they did 50 years ago.
“Donald Trump and company are hell-bent on destroying what’s left of our democracy, the environment, and whatever chance we have of world peace. Veterans will not be silent while he does it,” says Matt Hoh, former Marine Captain (two tours in Iraq) and State Department official, who resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan over U.S. strategic policy and goals.
Veterans For Peace President Barry Ladendorf has sent a letter to President Trump requesting a meeting to discuss military policy and to refocus spending on peace and issues at home. The letter said, in part:
“We speak for the majority of U.S. citizens, who believe your policies are taking innocent lives and endangering more of our young soldiers, who have already given so much in the needless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now you have sent more Marines into Syria. Your policies are also causing suffering and despair among immigrants, Muslims, communities of color, women, Native Americans, and LGBTQ communities, and if implemented, these policies will further destroy the environment. Ultimately, they make all of us considerably less secure.”
After the rally, veterans and allies will march down Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues to the White House, where they will present a list of ten demands for peace at home and abroad.
On the Day Before, (Memorial Day, May 29) Veterans For Peace will gather for a solemn and respectful occasion to deliver letters at the Vietnam Memorial Wall and to remember all combatants** and civilians who died in Vietnam and all wars. We will mourn the tragic and preventable loss of life calling for people to abolish war in the name of those who have died and for the sake of all those who live today. The Swords to Plowshares Memorial Bell Tower has been set up within sight of the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial Wall. The Bell Tower has been visited by thousands as it has traveled around the country.
** Ray’s letter to a college friend, Capt. Edward Krukowski, USAF, shot down over Cambodia on October 24, 1964, is copy/pasted in below.
* * *
Veterans For Peace is an international organization made up of military veterans, military family members and allies; accepting veteran members from all branches of service. Our networks are made up of over 120 chapters across the United States and abroad. We are dedicated to building a culture of peace, exposing the true costs of war, and healing the wounds of war.
** Letter to Ed Krukowski
May 27, 2017
This week, as Memorial Day draws near, I was writing an article about the 34 sailors of the USS Liberty who were deliberately killed by fire from Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats off the Sinai 50 years ago. My eye caught a name on a rubbing I made many years ago from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall: “Edward S. Krukowski.”
What fun we had at Fordham studying Russian together. Remember how our Moscovite Russian teacher, Mrs. Lindsay, used to yell at us when we acted up – and our uproarious laughter as she kept repeating: “What are you laughing? Who are you laughing? This is nothing to laugh!” (I’m glad no one broke our mutual pledge never to let her know that in English, “laugh” normally requires a preposition.)
Your heritage is Ukrainian, if memory serves, and I have been thinking about that amid the hostilities in Ukraine. I do hope that whatever extended family you have there is safe.
You were in the Air Force ROTC, while I was in the Army ROTC. You graduated and were commissioned in 1960, a year before I was. Just a few years later I vividly remember reading the sad notice:
“Capt. Edward Krukowski, USAF, was flying a C-123 on a resupply mission in Vietnam when shot down on Oct. 24, 1964, six days short of his 26th birthday, leaving a wife and three small children.”
I remember weeping with your widow and three small children at your wake, funeral, and burial in Arlington cemetery. You had planned for the worst, leaving a request to be buried within view of the grave of President John F. Kennedy, whom we both admired so much. That’s where your body lies today; it’s a direct-line view. They tucked your tombstone onto the end of a row with that view.
It is a good place to sit and think – with you at my back and President Kennedy in front. What Kennedy knew, but you didn’t, is that a year before you and your crew were killed, he had ordered a phased withdrawal of almost all U.S. troops from Vietnam. Many believe – including me – that this is one of the reasons he was assassinated.
On Memorial Day a few years ago, I wrote about you, and the article caught the attention of your son, Ed, the dentist in Florida. That put him in touch with me; it was a blessing to have a new, Ed Krukowski as a tangible reminder of my college buddy Ed – you.
In just two days, this year’s Memorial Day (May 29) falls on President Kennedy’s 100th birthday:
‘Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.’
ПОКОЙСЯ С МИРОМ! до скорого,
Your old friend,
By Ray McGovern, May 27, 2017
This speculative article suggests that, eventually, the dunning of NATO nations to chip more money into the military alliance may inadvertently cause some Europeans to rethink the over-the-top anti-Russian propaganda and the need for all that money for the arms makers and arms dealers.
Ray wrote this piece after the curtain went down on the official blessing by self-important leaders of NATO of its spanking new $1.1 billion palatial headquarters in Brussels. A more appropriate use, in Ray’s view, would be to shelter some of the refugees from wars, fought/endorsed by NATO that create such massive uprooting and pain. But that should be obvious, no? Not, apparently, to Europe’s “one percent.”
Mark Thomas of WBT Radio (Charlotte, NC) asked Ray to tell the story of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967 during the Six-Day War. In his intro, Thomas spoke of the U.S. sailors “lost” that day.
Ray cannot abide the words “lost” or “fallen” when applied, as in this case, to murder. The 34 were not “lost;” they were killed, and 170-plus others were wounded – deliberately. Intercepted messages leave no doubt that the Israeli authorities were fully aware the Liberty was a U.S. naval ship in international waters, and that their aim was to sink it and leave no survivors. That was thwarted by the courageous action of seaman from Texas, Terry Halbardier, who skated across a napalm-laden deck to enable an SOS to the 6th Fleet – at which point the Israeli torpedo boats and aircraft got out of Dodge.
May 24 2017 (Ray’s segment runs from minute 31:40 to 48:00.)
The other portions of Mark Thomas’s hour-long “Memorial Day Reflections” are also worth a listen.
By Caitlin Johnstone, May 16, 2017
Also, can the Deep State delete offending on-line articles from The Nation?
Is the Washington Post embarked on a thorough investigation of L’Affaire Seth Rich? Would that Woodward and Bernstein had been able to resist becoming gentrified and domesticated! See what you think of this from the Washington Post Editorial Board this morning:
By Editorial Board May 23
LET’S DISPENSE with calling the frenzy of reports about Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich’s death last summer fake news. So overused and misused is the phrase — by those seeking to disparage things they simply dislike or disagree with — that it risks losing real meaning. And there must be no ambiguity or confusion about the recent reports about Mr. Rich. They are lies. They do great harm. And those peddling them, including most recently former House speaker Newt Gingrich, are either ignorant of the facts or without scruple.
Mr. Gingrich on Sunday during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” gave a boost to conspiracy theories that Mr. Rich was not killed during a botched robbery — as D.C. police believe based on all available evidence — but rather was “assassinated” to cover up how tens of thousands of internal Democratic Party emails were leaked to WikiLeaks. Never mind that U.S. intelligence officials have conclusively determined that Russia hacked the accounts. The absurd notion that operatives working on behalf of Hillary Clinton killed the 27-year-old staffer has been a staple of far-right websites but given little acknowledgment or credence from mainstream media. That changed last week when local Fox affiliate WTTG 5 aired a report claiming Mr. Rich had been in touch with WikiLeaks before his death.
Within a day, the story had been thoroughly debunked by reporters at NBC News, CNN and The Post. The lone “source” for the report — a contributor whose previous claim to the national spotlight was his report that pink-pistol-packing lesbian gangs were terrorizing the nation — recanted and the station issued a clarification. None of that, though, stopped Sean Hannity and then Mr. Gingrich, with no pushback from Fox News hosts, from trying to peddle the bogus story.
“Pizzagate,” the insane conspiracy theory that Ms. Clinton was operating a child-abuse ring out of a popular family pizzeria in Northwest Washington, demonstrated the damage that can be caused by lies. A North Carolina man believed the reports on social media and stormed the restaurant with an assault-style rifle. The cost this time is anguish for a grieving family as attempts are made to sully their son’s memory. They have made clear they have confidence in the D.C. police. Does anyone really think that this mother and father don’t want their son’s murderer brought to justice or that they would be willing to look the other way to give someone political cover?
It is preposterous. Those suggesting otherwise should apologize.
“Preposterous.” Gosh! Apologize?
Does this look a little like a pre-emptive attack, using all-too-familiar charges to denigrate so-called “conspiracy theorists?” Is there enough interest in who killed Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich early in the morning of July 10, 2016? Are there enough honest and fearless investigative reporters still around – that one can expect the truth to come out?
And if/when it comes out, will U.S. citizens be able to “handle the truth” beneath a cover up? Libyan President Gaddafi “had it coming to him.” But Seth Rich?” Was it: “He came; he saw; he died?”
Has anyone else noticed the woman always sitting outside the Washington Post building – always, always knitting? It’s the weirdest thing. If you look closely at the knitting, you can decipher names on a list a little bit like the drone target list. Says her name is Thérèse Defarge.
From Scott Horton: Co-Founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern is on the show to discuss his new article Not Remembering the USS Liberty and the new book by Philip Nelson, “Remembering the Liberty”. Scott and Ray discuss the Israeli attack on the Liberty, how it all ended, and how the captain of the USS Liberty was given the Medal of Honor – not in the White House, but on the aromatic bank of the polluted Anacostia River (so as to keep the event low key and not offend the Israelis!). Also discussed is the 2013 chemical weapons attack in Syria and Obama’s response, and an occasion when Ray gave Joe Lieberman a lesson in constitutional law.
Ray also comments on the formidable power of the Israel Lobby; events over the past three years in Ukraine; the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 and the sanctions imposed on Russia nine days later; machinations of ex-NATO commander Strangelove/Breedlove and his “fixed” intelligence on Russia’s troop movements; and the key question as to how much longer the world will have to wait before the Germans realize they can start acting like adults.
May 22, 2017 (minute 1:25 to 1:26:30)
John B. Wells, who runs the live radio show Caravan to Midnight, asked Ray to be interviewed on May 20 about what has been going down in Washington over recent weeks – especially issues distorted or ignored by the media. The conversation pretty much covered the waterfront – from “Russian hacking of the DNC” to breaking news regarding former DNC worker, the late Seth Rich, who seems to have been the person who leaked – not hacked – DNC emails and got them to WikiLeaks.
Ray’s segment starts at minute 25:20, and there is a break between minutes 41:50 and 44:30. Otherwise the relaxed tour d’horizonruns until 2:06:40. (But listeners can easily press STOP, whenever they wish.)
What about the Cyrillic found on a hack of the DNC? Ray explains why he believes it more likely that source of the celebrated “Russian hack” (including Cyrillic) was the sophisticated, “obfuscation”-enabling software developed by CIA/NSA at huge cost over the past 15 years. Your tax dollars at work.
By Ray McGovern, May 21, 2017
Is there a chance that President Donald Trump will have the guts to confront Israel – at long last – about its indisputably deliberate attempt to sink the USS Liberty and leave no survivors? Does Trump owe this to the remaining Liberty survivors and their families?
Or is it more likely that Trump will choose the safer political course and become the tenth president in a row to cover up Israel’s crime on the high seas? This article includes the text of a Foreword Ray wrote for a new book by Philip Nelson titled: “Remember the Liberty: Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas.” Nelson’s book is a must-read for those who “can handle the truth” about when Israeli leaders learned that they could, literally, get away with murder, because U.S. presidents would be afraid to hold them to account.