The Illusion of War Without Casualties

America’s wars in the post-9/11 era have been characterized by relatively low U.S. casualties, but that does not mean that they are any less violent than previous wars, Nicolas J.S. Davies observes.

By Nicolas J.S. Davies

Last Sunday’s Oscar Awards were interrupted by an incongruous propaganda exercise featuring a Native American actor and Vietnam vet, featuring a montage of clips from Hollywood war movies.

Coffins of dead U.S. soldiers arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware in 2006. (U.S. government photo)

The actor, Wes Studi, said that he “fought for freedom” in Vietnam. But anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of that war, including for instance the millions of viewers who watched Ken Burns’ Vietnam War documentary, knows that it was the Vietnamese who were fighting for freedom – while Studi and his comrades were fighting, killing and dying, often bravely and for misguided reasons, to deny the people of Vietnam that freedom.

Studi introduced the Hollywood movies he was showcasing, including “American Sniper,” “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” with the words, “Let’s take a moment to pay tribute to these powerful films that shine a great spotlight on those who have fought for freedom around the world.”

To pretend to a worldwide TV audience in 2018 that the U.S. war machine is “fighting for freedom” in the countries it attacks or invades was an absurdity that could only add insult to injury for millions of survivors of U.S. coups, invasions, bombing campaigns and hostile military occupations all over the world.

Wes Studi’s role in this Orwellian presentation made it even more incongruous, as his own Cherokee people are themselves survivors of American ethnic cleansing and forced displacement on the Trail of Tears from North Carolina, where they had lived for hundreds or maybe thousands of years, to Oklahoma where Studi was born.

Unlike the delegates at the 2016 Democratic National Convention who broke out in chants of “no more war” at displays of militarism, the great and the good of Hollywood seemed nonplussed by this strange interlude.  Few of them applauded it, but none protested either.

From Dunkirk to Iraq and Syria

Perhaps the aging white men who still run the “Academy” were driven to this exhibition of militarism by the fact that two of the films nominated for Oscars were war movies.  But they were both films about the U.K. in the early years of the Second World War – stories of British people resisting German aggression, not of Americans committing it.

Like most cinematic paeans to the U.K.’s “finest hour,” both these films are rooted in Winston Churchill’s own account of the Second World War and his role in it.  Churchill was roundly sent packing by British voters in 1945, before the war was even over, as British troops and their families instead voted for the “land fit for heroes” promised by the Labour Party, a land where the rich would share the sacrifices of the poor, in peace as in war, with a National Health Service and social justice for all.

Churchill reportedly consoled his cabinet at its final meeting, telling them, “Never fear, gentlemen, history will be kind to us – for I shall write it.”  And so he did, cementing his own place in history and drowning out more critical accounts of the U.K.’s role in the war by serious historians like A.J.P. Taylor in the U.K. and D.F. Fleming in the U.S.

If the Military Industrial Complex and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are trying to connect these Churchillian epics with America’s current wars, they should be careful what they wish for.  Many people around the world need little prompting to identify the German Stukas and Heinkels bombing Dunkirk and London with the U.S. and allied F-16s bombing Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and the British troops huddled on the beach at Dunkirk with the destitute refugees stumbling ashore on Lesbos and Lampedusa.

Externalizing the Violence of War

In the past 16 years, the U.S. has invaded, occupied and dropped 200,000 bombs and missiles on seven countries, but it has lost only 6,939 American troops killed and 50,000 wounded in these wars.  To put this in the context of U.S. military history, 58,000 U.S. troops were killed in Vietnam, 54,000 in Korea, 405,000 in the Second World War and 116,000 in the First World War.

But low U.S. casualties do not mean that our current wars are less violent than previous wars.  Our post-2001 wars have probably killed between 2 and 5 million people.  The use of massive aerial and artillery bombardment has reduced cities like Fallujah, Ramadi, Sirte, Kobane, Mosul and Raqqa to rubble, and our wars have plunged entire societies into endless violence and chaos.

But by bombing and firing from a distance with very powerful weapons, the U.S. has wreaked all this slaughter and destruction at an extraordinary low rate of U.S. casualties.  The U.S.’s technological war-making has not reduced the violence and horror of war, but it has “externalized” it, at least temporarily.

But do these low casualty rates represent a kind of “new normal” that the U.S. can replicate whenever it attacks or invades other countries?  Can it keep waging war around the world and remain so uniquely immune from the horrors it unleashes on others?

Or are the low U.S. casualty rates in these wars against relatively weak military forces and lightly armed resistance fighters giving Americans a false picture of war, one that is enthusiastically embellished by Hollywood and the corporate media?

Even when the U.S. was losing 900-1,000 troops killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan each year from 2004 to 2007, there was much more public debate and vocal opposition to war than there is now, but those were still historically very low casualty rates.

U.S. military leaders are more realistic than their civilian counterparts.  General Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has told Congress that the U.S. plan for war on North Korea is for a ground invasion of Korea, effectively a Second Korean War.  The Pentagon must have an estimate of the number of U.S. troops who are likely to be killed and wounded under its plan, and Americans should insist that it makes that estimate public before U.S. leaders decide to launch such a war.

The other country that the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia keep threatening to attack or invade is Iran.  President Obama admitted from the outset that Iran was the ultimate strategic target of the CIA’s proxy war in Syria.

Israeli and Saudi leaders openly threaten war on Iran, but expect the U.S. to fight Iran on their behalf.  American politicians play along with this dangerous game, which could get thousands of their constituents killed.  This would flip the traditional U.S. doctrine of proxy war on its head, effectively turning the U.S. military into a proxy force fighting for the ill-defined interests of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Iran is nearly 4 times the size of Iraq, with more than double its population.  It has a 500,000 strong military and its decades of independence and isolation from the West have forced it to develop its own weapons industry, supplemented by some advanced Russian and Chinese weapons.

In an article about the prospect of a U.S. war on Iran, U.S. Army Major Danny Sjursen dismissed American politicians’ fears of Iran as “alarmism” and called his boss, Defense Secretary Mattis, “obsessed” with Iran.  Sjursen believes that the “fiercely nationalistic” Iranians would mount a determined and effective resistance to foreign occupation, and concludes, “Make no mistake, U.S.military occupation of the Islamic Republic would make the occupation of Iraq, for once, actually look like the ‘cakewalk’ it was billed to be.”

Is This America’s “Phony War”?

Invading North Korea or Iran could make the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan look in hindsight like the German invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland must have looked to German troops on the Eastern front a few years later. Only 18,000 German troops were killed in the invasion of Czechoslovakia and 16,000 in the invasion of Poland.  But the larger war that they led to killed 7 million Germans and wounded 7 million more.

After the deprivations of the First World War reduced Germany to a state of near starvation and drove the German Navy to mutiny, Adolf Hitler was determined, like America’s leaders today, to maintain an illusion of peace and prosperity on the home front.  The newly conquered people of the thousand-year Reich could suffer, but not Germans in the homeland.

Hitler succeeded in maintaining the standard of living in Germany at about its pre-war level for the first two years of the war, and even began cutting military spending in 1940 to boost the civilian economy.  Germany only embraced a total war economy when its previously all-conquering forces hit a brick wall of resistance in the Soviet Union.  Could Americans be living through a similar “phony war”, one miscalculation away from a similar shock at the brutal reality of the wars we have unleashed on the world?

How would the American public react if far greater numbers of Americans were killed in Korea or Iran – or Venezuela?  Or even in Syria if the U.S. and its allies follow through on their plan to illegally occupy Syria east of the Euphrates?

And where are our political leaders and jingoistic media leading us with their ever-escalating anti-Russian and anti-Chinese propaganda?  How far will they take their nuclear brinksmanship?  Would American politicians even know before it was too late if they crossed a point of no return in their dismantling of Cold War nuclear treaties and escalating tensions with Russia and China?

Obama’s doctrine of covert and proxy war was a response to the public reaction to what were in fact historically low U.S. casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq.  But Obama waged war on the quiet, not war on the cheap.  Under cover of his dovish image, he successfully minimized the public reaction to his escalation of the war in Afghanistan, his proxy wars in Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen, his global expansion of special operations and drone strikes and a massive bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria.

How many Americans know that the bombing campaign Obama launched in Iraq and Syria in 2014 has been the heaviest U.S. bombing campaign anywhere in the world since Vietnam?  Over 105,000 bombs and missiles, as well as indiscriminate U.S., French and Iraqi rockets and artillery, have blasted thousands of homes in Mosul, Raqqa, Fallujah, Ramadi and dozens of smaller towns and villages.  As well as killing thousands of Islamic State fighters, they have probably killed at least 100,000 civilians, a systematic war crime that has passed almost without comment in the Western media.

“…And It Is Late”

How will the American public react if Trump launches new wars against North Korea or Iran, and the U.S. casualty rate returns to a more historically “normal” level – maybe 10,000 Americans killed each year, as during the peak years of the American War in Vietnam, or even 100,000 per year, as in U.S. combat in the Second World War?  Or what if one of our many wars finally escalates into a nuclear war, with a higher U.S. casualty rate than any previous war in our history?

In his classic 1994 book, Century of War, the late Gabriel Kolko presciently explained,

“Those who argue that war and preparation for it is not necessary to capitalism’s existence or prosperity miss the point entirely: it simply has not functioned in any other way in the past and there is nothing in the present to warrant the assumption that the coming decades will be any different…”

Kolko concluded,

“But there are no easy solutions to the problems of irresponsible, deluded leaders and the classes they represent, or the hesitation of people to reverse the world’s folly before they are themselves subjected to its grievous consequences.  So much remains to be done – and it is late.”

America’s deluded leaders know nothing of diplomacy beyond bullying and brinksmanship.  As they brainwash themselves and the public with the illusion of war without casualties, they will keep killing, destroying and risking our future until we stop them – or until they stop us and everything else.

The critical question today is whether the American public can muster the political will to pull our country back from the brink of an even greater military disaster than the ones we have already unleashed on millions of our neighbors.

Nicolas J S Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq. He also wrote the chapter on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.

90 comments for “The Illusion of War Without Casualties

  1. acomfort
    March 16, 2018 at 15:16

    Not mentioned is the number of killed –
    US mercenaries,
    US contractors,
    US militia,
    US hired guns,
    US paramilitary – and
    US moderate rebels.
    This is part of fighting on the cheap with no flag draped body bags coming home.
    Another list would be the same only replacing ‘US’ with ‘CIA’
    The CIA seems more like an ally of the US government.
    Sometimes their rebels fight with the pentagon’s rebels and
    sometimes (at least once) they fight each other’s moderate rebels.

  2. Wayne Luney
    March 12, 2018 at 14:45

    I am not in basic disagreement with Nicolas Davies’ post. My comment is to question his statement that 18,000 German troops were killed in the invasion of Czechoslovakia. I had always thought that that invasion had little if any resistance. If 18,000 Germans were killed in that country it must have been due to to the resistance to the incoming Red Army late in the war.

    • Mild- ly - Facetious
      March 12, 2018 at 16:51

      Most Americans don’t recognize that, but for the Russians’ defeat of the German Army, the war would’ve gone on many more months.

      Millions of Russians died in their defeat of Hitler’s army.
      How did we (the US) show appreciation for their great human sacrifice?

      We initiated Operation Paperclip and ushered in thousands of German Nazi’s into Europe and America. Many went directly into Allen Dulles’ CIA. The “bad guys” became OUR Good Guys… -That’s America.

      • CitizenOne
        March 12, 2018 at 21:55

        You should watch Oliver Stone’s “The Untold History of the United States
        Chapter 1: World War Two”

        In it he describes how Russia was winning the war after the Nazi defeat at Stalingrad and the surrender of General Friedrich Paulus and his staff who were captured on the morning of 31 January 1943 after a long fight to gain control over Stalingrad. Stone goes into detail about how the near defeated Russian Military under Stalin relocated its factories to locations beyond the Ural Mountains in record time out of the range of German aerial planes and began to manufacture planes and tanks that could counter the Germans. By the time of the surrender of Paulus and his army early in February 1943, the Russians were already busily equipping themselves to launch an offensive in June 1944 which would smash Nazi positions in Operation Bagration. This operation had all of the suspense of D-Day and was successful along the same lines as the Allied invasion. By August 1944 the Russians had smashed the Nazi advances and were within 300 miles of Berlin. All this happened in just two months of fighting. The Russian planes such as the Shturmovik ground attack plane and the T34 tank proved their worth and showed how the Russians had managed to build superior weapons in short order which could effectively engage the Germans.

        Russia saw around 20 million casualties during the War measured against the US which suffered less than a half million. Their country had been invaded by the Nazis and much of the casualties were civilians who were murdered as part of the scorched earth policies of both the retreating Russian and retreating German armies at the beginning and the end of the war.

        Operation Bagration, combined with the Lwow-Sandomierz offensive in the Ukraine, dramatically turned the tide of war against the Third Reich as much as the Allied landing at Normandy Operation Overlord and was instrumental in the defeat of the Germans. Yet this operation is lost to the history books in the West.

        We owed a great debt to the Russians for their part in helping to win WWII yet we quickly saw Russia as an enemy after the war and began the process which led to the cold war. No doubt that there was a determined effort on both sides to turn former allies into new enemies but we squandered and the Russians also squandered an opportunity to make peace at the end of the war.

        Military forces like a hammer see every problem as a nail. There is no ability to tone down the war machine and quickly the victors square off in a new conflict against each other. Former allies become mortal enemies and the war machine rolls on. Such was the creation of the cold war.

        As long as the military runs the show there will be permanent hostilities on either side with each side threatening to annihilate the other. This is the world we live in whether it is our new cold war with Russia or our continuing cold war with North Korea.

        It is as if we cannot solve our disputes without killing each other. How much of that intractable problem solvable only via war is real and unavoidable and how much of that is used to justify military budgets and keep the war machinery well oiled and funded is surely a matter of both answers are correct.

        However we cannot indefinitely keep creating the means to launch a new war as the only means to go forward. Eventually there will be a new war as a result. It is a matter of when not if as long as both sides hurdle down the path of an ever accelerating arms race hurling insults and allegations at each other.

        It is time to see the squandered opportunities at the end of the last great war as a cautionary tale of the continuation of war after the war has ended and to learn some lessons from the successful efforts to deescalate the arms race during the last decades and to purpose ourselves at this hour to not make the mistakes of the past by not squandering opportunity for militaristic gain and realizing that the increase in military power if left unchecked on both sides will eventually ignite another war.

        It is time to negotiate.

      • Daniel
        March 13, 2018 at 01:30

        If Germany had not invaded the Soviet Union in the first place, there’s a good chance they would have “won” the war before US provocations against Imperial Japan led to the Pearl harbor attack that was the casus belli for US entry into that war.

  3. Mild- ly - Facetious
    March 11, 2018 at 17:22

    CitizenOne – “Okay… We all know what a shitshow our media is. We also know we are mostly about as dumb as any third grader because of the misinformation, disinformation and most abundantly the lack of information provided by the media.”

    Use of the word/term “media” speaks not simply “news” but speaks of movies, music, the arts and now, social media — mis & dis informations abound with,by and for an increasingly economically disparate American citizenry. “Them that’s got shall HAVE, them thats’ Not shall LOSE…”

    The dogmatic predicate present in these United States is the fiction of ‘American Exceptionalism’. This false assertion is corruptly attached to the speech closing remark, “God Bless America”, as if we were some divinely endued conservator/protector of some Consecrated Lineage of people — all “others” become subjected to the FORCE of our Military Might.

    That we are narcissistically blind to the pernicious horrors we’ve inflicted upon Other peoples is indicative of the near-sighted disdain we have for those poor souls who aren’t ‘US’. That fact starts with American History of Indian Wars and extends to Africa, Asia (Japan/Korea/Philippines/Hawaii) , Central America, South America, the Balkans to, currently, the Middle East. Atrocity after Atrocity committed inside and outside this nation thru out 400 years of our national existence and we have been Accountable To None !!!

    700 Billion $$$ has been allocated to our military in our current National Budget ! ! ! But teachers in West Virginia, earning $30,000 a year were forced into a wildcat strike just to achieve a frugal 5% wage hike !

    Homeless Vagabonds accumulate on American city streets and rural collectives as “Rescue Missions” facilitate the expanding numbers of The Homeless in America, even as Weapons Manufacturer profits increase exponentially and humans die in HUNDREDS under our bombs, bullets and destruction of normal living.

    Yes, the ignorant are misinformed and/or disinformed. BUT THEY ARE WILLINGLY IGNORANT by reason of the Oligarchic 1% “Citizens United” Plutarch’s who’ve purchased their way into the ascendancy of governance in America and The World.

    Meanwhile, the ‘have-nots’ struggle and shout for some ‘equal rights’ that are more and more unattainable, even as the specter of a life in prison looms in viable alternative to the beggarly life of some skid-row existence.

    ” our country, tis of thee – sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. ”
    (yeah, right… .)

    • CitizenOne
      March 11, 2018 at 22:42

      I would add that the term “media” refers also to all books and other information. It is an expansive term and I will agree that inclusion of all the various forms of “media” implies they have all conspired on a grand scheme to misinform and disinform the majority of the people the majority of the time. What evidence do I have to support this conclusion?

      The media created the Tea Party to turn US citizens anger over the economic collapse of the big Wall Street banks into a tool to get the support from the population to blame the government and more specifically the tax structures and to successfully get them to vote for candidates to repeal taxes and give the wealthy more money. Fairly obviously that is what happened.

      The media lied to us and caused us to acquiesce to a war in Iraq with fake news providing all the evidence from our intelligence agencies which were more concerned with supporting and growing the wealth of our major defense contractors rather than providing truth.

      The media has also lied to us about recent coups such as Ukraine with the Washington Post and the NY Times steadfastly blaming Russia for attacking Ukraine and starting the fight when the fight was clearly started by US election meddling in Ukraine.

      The Obama administration enacted economic sanctions on Russians and now the NY Times has urged more sanctions based on the Mueller Indictments which did not list Russia or Putin in the indictments. Yet in an Op Ed by the NY Times Editorial Board the Board urged new sanctions against Russia based on the indictments which did not list Russia. It is probably going to happen.

      The media deliberately is confusing the fact that some Russians attempted to influence the election with blame of Russian government for doing it. The rush to judgement has permeated the fake news media which has become obsessed with propagandizing us 24/7/365 with stories about Russia’s blame.

      The recent attack in London was also pointed at Russia as the likely culprit but cooler heads are prevailing and not instantly assigning blame probably to the chagrin of the US media which seeks to pin any event on Russia absent of facts.

      The problem of the media is that just 5 giant commercial corporations provide Americans with everything they see on TV, read in books and magazines or hear on the radio.

      The one place that Americans can find independent information outside the corporate bubble is the Internet. That avenue is about to be cut off as soon as Net Neutrality is officially repealed. Russia is seriously concerned that its news channels will be blocked by the ISPs when Net neutrality is ended leaving even people who use the Internet to get their information blocked and locked into a one way viewpoint which is what they have on all the other available means to get diverse information to make informed decisions.

      Recently the alarm bells have been going off as Trump has agreed to speak with NK and they are already sending messages that the talks cannot begin until an impossible set of conditions are met by NK namely they agree to disarm. The Sunday talk shows were filled with opinions that preconditions had to be met by NK before any talks could begin. In effect, the media is putting words in DTs mouth and attempting to run the show via a microphone linked to intelligence and defense power players which spins the events to suit their agenda.

      They spun it in Ukraine and they spun it in Iraq.

      We can all look through the rear view mirror to see how none of the reasons for war with Iraq ever were proven. Only some can see how all of the allegations against Russia in the conflict in Ukraine were spun by the former administration and the media and the defense corporation lobbyists. The NY Times bemoaned the fact that so few people understood that Russia had invaded Ukraine in a hand wringing self assessment of their failure to properly propagandize us no doubt leading to their doubling down on Russia Gate and the election hacking as front page stories at every opportunity. They are determined to get it right this time and fool us.

      But hey, perhaps democrats are waking up to the fact that time and time again whether it is the American People being fooled by the Tea Party or democrats who are suckered into a group think when they are also angry about current events that the media and the forces behind it can and often do launch propaganda missions to turn anger whether from the public sector or a government political party into useful propaganda and spin to get frustrated people wanting to find a villain. The villain that they choose to blame is for their own for their own purposes. First and foremost is to get rich.

      We need to wake up to the fact that our media system and our corporations be they banks or giant defense contractors will spin any event into a narrative in which they will benefit and our media system will fully support it with a barrage of propaganda.

      The effect of the propaganda is so large we cannot see it. But by comparison we can see it.

      Rather than financial institutions being slapped with regulations after the banking disaster they were handed giant payouts and tax breaks. Rather than adopting to a new post cold war era, the propaganda machine ginned up wars and every reason to keep the military spending high by picking fights around the World which we all supported because we were fed a pack of lies.

      There has never been any accountability because the media corporations and all the other corporations don’t want there to be any accountability for themselves and they control the government and the media so they have the ability to do so. Yet their control is so complete and their ability to influence our decisions so powerful that they can turn events that expose them into no only hiding the real reasons for the events but by turning public anger toward something they think will make them rich like a fake party to grant them tax breaks or fake stories about WMDs which will support and propagandize us to go to war or fake news to hide the corrupt election process that keeps corrupt politicians in power and shift blame onto a foreign enemy which also boosts their profits by launching a new arms race.

      This is the fake news and fake media which is controlled by giant corporations that is using freedom of speech to lie to us and propagandize us into supporting their mission to get rich by trampling over people and antions and never being held accountable for it.

      I think you were right to mention our wars against Native Americans. Those long wars were also times when America saw its Manifest Destiny and made that happen by making war on indigenous peoples. The wars in the Middle East can be viewed in the same light.

      So what to do. Tell all the people you know that everything they think they know is a crock of shit. It won’t win you any converts or friends but at least you will know you did your best to enlighten them. It will be a personal victory for self integrity and your ability to discern the truth and not buy into the BS.

      Other than that you can choose to vote although I am fairly sure you will be presented with a fake choice as you are bombarded with fake news. Guaranteed you will probably choose poorly. Also your vote might not count or not even be counted. That’s because all of those folks are unaccountable too

      • Mild- ly - Facetious
        March 12, 2018 at 12:37

        A few authors for truth seekers:
        Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Ralph Nader, James Loewin, Steven Kinzer, David T. Ratcliffe.

        Who remembers Radio Free Europe ??

      • March 14, 2018 at 01:04

        @ “But hey, perhaps democrats are waking up …”

        In my opinion, democrats who might wake up will no longer be democrats. We have a single War Party with two factions. It’s way past time for people to stop hoping to reform either of those factions. It’s time for a Peace Party or some such.

  4. March 11, 2018 at 11:47


    (Quote:) ‘In a statement, the Pathway Home said: “These brave women were accomplished professionals who dedicated their careers to serving our nation’s veterans, working closely with those in the greatest need of attention after deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    “Yountville mayor John Dunbar, a member of the Pathway Home’s board of directors, said: “We lost three beautiful people. We also lost one of our heroes who clearly had demons that resulted in the terrible tragedy that we all experienced here.”

    Wong served in the army reserve from 1998 to 2002, enlisted for active duty in May 2010 and was deployed to Afghanistan in April 2011, according to military records.

    He was awarded the Expert Marksmanship Badge. But that meant that he was tasked with dangerous assignments in which he saw “really horrible things” that affected his mental wellbeing, said Cissy Sherr, his legal guardian when he was a child.”‘ (Unquote)

  5. Gregory Herr
    March 11, 2018 at 02:13

    Edwin Starr has it right:

    what is it good for? absolutely nothin’! good god y’all

  6. Gregory Herr
    March 11, 2018 at 02:06

    Edwin Starr has it right:

  7. Liam
    March 10, 2018 at 16:10

    Latest on White Helmets and US Psyops related to Syria –

    New images added: Massive White Helmets Photo Cache Proves Hollywood Gave Oscar to Terrorist Group

    In Latest US State Department Psy Op “Last Men In Aleppo” Terrorists Meet With Heather Nauert Who Expresses US Direct Support (Extensive Evidence including Screen Captured Images and First Person Videos)

    The #ISIS man also doubles as the #WhiteHelmet man. Part-time White Helmet, full-time Terrorist.
    Obeida Muhammed al Hussein was one of the #ISIS fighting in the NE #Hama pocket in #Syria.

  8. CitizenOne
    March 10, 2018 at 12:49

    Okay… We all know what a shitshow our media is. We also know we are mostly about as dumb as any third grader because of the misinformation, disinformation and most abundantly the lack of information provided by the media. Great article pointing out the obvious that our corporate state has sanitized war so there will be no resistance to conducting it.

    However I believe that the situation will get worse. It has already gotten worse and it is going to get a bunch worse. The reason is we are likely to see the number of US casualties go to zero. That has been the goal all along. We will really have nothing to feel sorry about when only our enemies die. The threshold for taking military action as opposed to the already extinct notion of diplomacy will also fall to zero.

    Already we have seen administrations refusing to put troops on the ground and if they do they call them advisors. They rely on aerial bombardment or cruise missiles or some other action at a distance technology such as drones. Even the drone pilot is about to be removed from the equation to further insulate us from responsibility for our actions (if there is any left to remove).

    The ultimate strategy is to use AI to make all decisions since it will have superior intelligence and can out think humans. China’s leadership has made it their top priority. They firmly believe that whoever wins will win with advanced AI and that the nation that possesses the most sophisticated and intelligent AI will dominate the planet.

    Unfortunately I’m not making it up. Once again we are shielded from so much so as not to disturb our slumber.

    So the biggest threat of all is not only from a trillion dollar a year war machine that needs to constantly identify, vilify and make war on our enemies all for the goals of obtaining ultimate justice and freedom for the entire planet.

    The biggest threat is that we are busily creating along with our competitors the smartest war fighting AI. It reminds me of the Terminator or War Games. But it’s real.

    What happens when AI figures out or understands our wickedness and sinfulness. Unlike some forgiving understanding God who loves us where we are saved through worship, there could be any outcome of an AI programmed to fight and win wars which will result in the death of of people. It obviously has to be programmed to ignore killing through its own action.

    And what of the form of the destroyer? Will it be the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? I doubt it. The prediction of drones or missiles or drones with missiles or missiles with drones inside are all coming in neck and neck with more traditional ground based robots such as the spooky, super agile, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound robots we have all seen everywhere but just not on TV to keep us shielded from the horrific reality of the WWII like devastation in places like Aleppo. The lack of adequate coverage of such horrors are obvious when a presidential candidate Gary Johnson didn’t even know about the city we were bombing and the hundreds of thousands of dead or injured and refugees.

    In fact, although he was called out about the gaff by the media the situation is different in a campaign and there are no doubt many other elected government leaders even further lost in ignorance who are unaware of even the basic realities around the World and who say stupid stuff all the time that don’t get called out.

    We even hand pick them. The famous recent example was the Federal Judge pick being grilled by senators who revealed he was completely not qualified for the job. Apparently the requirement is you are a loyal conservative and a tool for the lobbyists.

    So it is not just Americans that are becoming more imbecilic every day but it is also through a deliberate strategy to hire the stupid, the gullible, the ignorant and the loyal conservatives as our judges thorough the land.

    Clarence Thomas would be a good example of the damage just one dumb judge can do. Imagine thousands of them. That’s what the billionaires are imagining. Ask yourself if you can imagine that there will be any justice in the land under the rule of law in the future if things keep progressing the way they are.

    We are provided every convenience, shielded from any bad news and lulled by propaganda that everything we do is in the name of freedom and justice while we build militarized AI powered robots to wage war around the world to keep the peace while protecting our troops because there are no troops.

    Incongruous seems like the wrong descriptor for such a thing. It goes beyond Orwellian too.

    Any thoughts?

    Hold on, my Alexa is laughing at me and the doorbell just rang with my drone delivery. Gotta go.

  9. Jeff
    March 10, 2018 at 12:06

    We (and, plausibly, the world) have only one hope – the United States experiences financial destruction before we go much further. The United States has not experienced the horror of war on our own soil for 150 years – during the Civil War. I consider it quite unlikely that the American population will rise up to put a stop to the warmongers now. It will take one of two events to bring the American people to their senses. Either (a) we experience war here in CONUS or (b) our financial system collapses under the stress of massive government debt (currently $20+T and growing with the advent of our nice fat tax cuts) in much the same way that Sparta’s did.

    But we’d better hope that it isn’t (a) because the argument (that I first heard in the 60’s) that we were no longer protected by the two oceans on either side is bullshit. No other country is going to be able to mount a conventional assault on the US. They aren’t going to be able to do it over the oceans and the only other way is through either Canada or Mexico which is equally unlikely. The only other choice is nuclear. And that would suck to put it mildly. Aaaannnnd we’d better hope it isn’t (b) either. The current system dates back to the ’70s when OPEC jacked the price of oil up and the US didn’t have the money to pay for our consumption (or just about anything else) since we blew all our money trying to bomb Vietnam back to the stone age. That cycle got us the petrodollar and special drawing rights and it also allowed a succession of Republican presidents to prove that the Republican party was the borrow and spend party, running up the national debt and getting the power to screw with the rest of the world through financial sanctions that rely on everybody needing US dollars which are only available from the US. The new Chinese oil futures exchange that is supposed to open this month will settle in gold backed Yuan. And China is the world’s largest buyer of oil. We’d better hope that the world continues to need the US dollar because if they don’t, a lot of countries aren’t going to buy our debt, and if they don’t buy our debt, the US dollar becomes less valuable and our standard of living starts to drop even faster than it already is. And that would really suck too. There is a third option where everybody drops on one knee and accepts American suzerainty. But I doubt that’s likely.

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 10, 2018 at 13:48

      I have been saying for a longtime of how the U.S. will sanction other nations into U.S. isolationism. Read this…

    • March 14, 2018 at 00:30

      @ “No other country is going to be able to mount a conventional assault on the US. They aren’t going to be able to do it over the oceans and the only other way is through either Canada or Mexico which is equally unlikely. ”

      I’ve often thought that so long as we have our nukes, all we need for actual defense (as opposed to empire maintenance) are very small conventional forces to protect from a “Mouse that Roared”-style invasion. The so-called “defense budget” is really about empire, not defense.

  10. Indrid Cold
    March 10, 2018 at 11:04

    Germany didn’t invade Czecho-slovakia. They supported the declaration of a separatist government of Slovakia in March 1939, whereupon the Czechoslovakian state imploded adn the Germans wlked in large unopposed aside from a minor company sized firefight. Other bits were occupied by Poland (a very agressive and authoritarian state in those days) and Hungary A bit like Victoria Nuland’s perfomance in Ukraine.

  11. Skip Scott
    March 10, 2018 at 09:50

    The latte sippers have been lulled into sleep by our MSM, and will not wake until the mushroom clouds appear on the horizon. Maybe as homage to them our drone pilots should wear pink pussy hats.

  12. Michael Kenny
    March 10, 2018 at 09:03

    “If the Military Industrial Complex and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are trying to connect these Churchillian epics with America’s current wars, they should be careful what they wish for”. It seems more likely that it is this author who is trying to connect WWII to Vladimir Putin’s current wars. From his earlier articles, we certainly know what this author wishes for! The rather hysterical, scaremongering tone of the present article suggests panic on the author’s part. We can only speculate why he sees Putin as being in such deep trouble.

  13. godenich
    March 10, 2018 at 06:03

    ‘In his classic 1994 book, Century of War, the late Gabriel Kolko presciently explained,

    “Those who argue that war and preparation for it is not necessary to capitalism’s existence or prosperity miss the point entirely: it simply has not functioned in any other way in the past and there is nothing in the present to warrant the assumption that the coming decades will be any different…”’

    The author does not distinguish the free market (capitalism) from a monopoly (capitalism) and compares the economics of capitalism with the politics of totalitarianism and empire. Blind conformance and patriotism from public school indoctrination, propaganda from yellow journalism, the farce of the income tax and Hollywood hawking of liberty bonds(US Treasuries) fueled the ‘Century of War’. The critical question may be refined to ask how and when we will stop funding the madness of war with our labor and our children’s future labor (our income tax dollars).

    The notion of oil as a vital energy resource in the future is no longer valid. Petrol and the petrodollar are out of fashion. Hydrogen storage and fuel cells are coming into vogue. Lightweight battery storage is limited by scarce and exhaustible mineral resources so will eventually be priced out by hydrogen. That kills the energy crisis argument for peak oil, the charade of the petrodollar, and our appetite for exploiting world resources like oil, lithium and graphite for raw energy and energy storage. We have enough oil, coal and natural gas resources for transitioning to solar, hydro, wind and chemically recycled energy in a distributed hydrogen production infrastructure. Distributed energy production, down to the individual home, may make our lives and the nation more secure.

    The war tax (income tax), sales tax, excise tax and tariffs have become regressive with tax loopholes and tax havens. We now have computer technology for transitioning to a uniform progressive flat tax* that may be used to distribute tax revenues to municipal and state governments in our nation (away from a centralized super-state**) that may provide greater poltical accountability and access to meaningful civic participation.

    * Edgar Feige’s Automated Payments Transaction (APT) Tax
    ** The Fate of Empires | John Glubb | Internet Archives | 1976

  14. Eddie
    March 9, 2018 at 23:15

    Great article and comments — these are the reason I long ago gave up reading MSM. The MSM doesn’t even mention the stats that are in the article, they just omit KEY concepts and facts, because the MSM readers virtually demand it. I have to most of all agree with Annie’s statement about lack of concern with.’the other’ as being probably the major (though not ONLY) underlying cause of this indifference to the utterly HORRIBLE things the U.S. is doing to certain other countries. But let even ONE person (assuming it’s a white, middle-class person of course) get killed in THIS country by a terrorist bomb, and the MSM and the general public can barely keep from having apoplexy and we are deluged with outraged commentary about the inhumanity of it all!! (Classic example was the bomb in Sterling Hall @ UW-Madison in 1970 that truly accidentally killed a person, and the attendent outrage, while at the SAME TIME we were dropping THOUSANDS of bombs per week (conservatively) in SE Asia with the very definite intention of killing LOTS of people.)

    • Daniel
      March 10, 2018 at 01:21

      For years now, I’ve implored people to give USAmericans some empathy. We are, after all victims of a more pernicious and powerful propaganda apparatus than Goebbels and Bernays could have wished for.

      But more and more it’s becoming apparent that most folks are willfully ignorant. Most know at some level that the only way they can buy a pair of pants so cheap is because a lot of people are being horribly exploited. I’m typing on a Mac, wondering how many Chinese workers were caught by the suicide-prevention netting FoxComm installed in their labor concentration camp (and face it, that’s what their assembly plants with barracks are).

      And the lithium for its battery may come from Afghanistan. And the coltan is likely from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which was on its way to actually being that before Dulles and Co. had their President tortured to death back in 1961, and has been a murderous poverty-riven Hellhole ever since.

      So, out of greed and selfishness, most people choose not to know. And for those of us who do have some level of understanding and abhor the reality, well, what can we do?

      Mass strikes and boycotts like Chris Hedges suggests?

      • orwell
        March 11, 2018 at 15:35

        Hey, Daniel, USA has killed MANY MANY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE
        and YOU SAY AMERICANS ARE VICTIMS?!?!?!?!?!?!

        • Daniel
          March 13, 2018 at 01:21

          Reading comprehension not one of your strong suits, I see. If you can reread my posts and actually present an argument, please do. For you will find nothing except criticism of US foreign policy in anything I’ve posted.

  15. Zachary Smith
    March 9, 2018 at 20:09

    The critical question today is whether the American public can muster the political will to pull our country back from the brink of an even greater military disaster than the ones we have already unleashed on millions of our neighbors.

    In my opinion the author made this question relatively meaningless with another observation he wrote previously.

    How many Americans know that the bombing campaign Obama launched in Iraq and Syria in 2014 has been the heaviest U.S. bombing campaign anywhere in the world since Vietnam?

    Make that Point #1. They don’t know.. The Corporate Media tells us only what it feels we need to know, and only their version is permitted. Why else would the PropOrNot scheme and others like it be pushed as much as they are?

    Point #2 – In the event Americans ever learn, what are the chances they’ll give a hoot? People can be “desensitized” – or manipulated into the belief the victims of the bombings deserved every bit of it. Once again, they must make their decisions based on what they believe to be the truth. “Russia Invaded Crimea.” “Saddam will kill us all with his WMDs very soon.” “Syria keeps using poison gas on its own people.” “Israel is both God’s Favorite People and the ONLY democracy in the mideast.” “The ABM systems surrounding Russia are there to protect us from Iran and North Korea.”

    Only after looking at the first two Points can we address the third about American Political Will. But does that one mean a thing? Consider my case here in Indiana. Fake Democrat Joe Donnelly has NOBODY running against him in the upcoming primary. I’m going to have the “choice” between a character who votes Republican 95% of the time and a genuine Republican who wouldn’t be much more reliable than that. My vote will be “counted” with an unverifiable electronic device which can be easily manipulated to report the results the highest bidder (or smartest technicians) want it to say. All of a sudden that Political Will business looks like a bad joke.

    Americans have a declining standard of living. Declining incomes. Yet few of them understand what is happening, for we’re constantly told everything is just great and we’re Exceptional in every way imaginable. These days I’m seeing clerks at the check-out trying to sneak looks at their handheld devices between customers. Those types of people don’t have a clue about US wars, and I’d venture to say a lot of body bags aren’t going to trouble them much – if it’s nobody they know.

    Adolf Hitler was determined, like America’s leaders today, to maintain an illusion of peace and prosperity on the home front.

    And like Hitler, “America’s leaders” are taking steps to keep the peasants happy. Happy with almost unlimited legal and illegal psycho-drugs. Happy with mostly adequate if crappy food. The obesity epidemic in the US population and US military is due to extremely high levels of cheap fat and sugar. Again, the peasants aren’t informed about the real cost of this. (antibiotic resistance, everything laced with homones, and the (usually) sterilized shit and other dirt we eat.

    Hitler solved the labor problem in Germany by importing slaves by the millions. Guess what the US elites are proposing?

    What If You Could Get Your Own Immigrant? was promptly renamed Sponsor An Immigrant Yourself.

    Make slavery legal again simply by calling it “sponsored immigration”!


    But getting back to the central theme of the essay, that’s something The Saker addressed last fall.

    The End of the “Wars on the Cheap” for the United States


    The Saker has another essay up today about the level of “denial” he predicts The Power Elites is going to display about the end of the Gravy Train. He says they’re going to deny it, and keep on trucking with the useless weapons and the extremely profitable foreign murder rampages.

    Newly revealed Russian weapons systems: political implications

    I’ve no reason to quarrel with his assessment.

      • Daniel
        March 10, 2018 at 01:03

        Yep on each point.

        “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

        ~ Frank Zappa

        Or, George Carlin’s “It’s a big club and you and I aren’t in it” leads to his final verdict.

        Lately, the closest I seem to get to bliss is when I try to duplicate George’s verdict/ world view. To wit: We can’t do anything about it anyway, so just sit back and enjoy the show. We humans had our chance, and we blew it, so at least seek entertainment in the horror show before we drive ourselves to extinction.

        But gosh, that’s such a depressing view when I’m not in Carlin’s frame of mind.

  16. Nels Wight
    March 9, 2018 at 17:23

    Superb article followed by wondrous comments. Thank you all. 90 yr old WWII & Korea survivor in Maine.

    • Lois Gagnon
      March 10, 2018 at 11:58

      Hi Nels.

  17. March 9, 2018 at 17:23

    Shame about Wes Studi. I didn’t (and don’t) watch the Oscars. Studi has always been one of my favorites but I won’t be able to watch him the same way anymore.
    That kind of thing seems to happen to some actors who get luckier than others. Tom Selleck is another one who seems to think he is were he is because he earned it more than anyone else. Once he went serious on “(whatever [it shifted]) blue,” and then began shilling for the mortgage-buy scam I haven’t been able to watch him at all, not even the old Hawaiian private eye series where he seemed so likable. I just keep seeing him take himself too seriously and trying to bilk retirees, and others my age, out of their life’s investment in a home. Seems to have no shame. He’s not even talking to you, just acting to you.

    • March 9, 2018 at 17:24

      “where” not “were” – sorry, thought I corrected that.

  18. mark
    March 9, 2018 at 17:07

    Americans will only start to learn some manners and clean up their act when they are cured of their addiction to war the same way the Germans were. Millions of them killed, starving, reduced to destitution and misery in ruined cities. That’s what it will take. Nuclear war. Then they will finally learn war is not a computer game and realise what they have inflicted on so many other people for so long.

  19. mike k
    March 9, 2018 at 16:11

    Violent movies, TV shows, and video games prepare kids early to accept violence as just a natural part of life, and even as a neat form of entertainment. How sick is this??

  20. Smack MacDougal
    March 9, 2018 at 15:47

    What? The North Vietnamese were fighting to impose communism over the whole of Viet Nam. They were not fighting for freedom. Freedom means the absence of law in the presence of law givers.

    Communism is totalitarianism. There is no freedom under totalitarianism.

    The South Vietnamese were fighting for their independence. The US Congress prosecuted a proxy war against the commie Russians and commie Chinese in siding with the South Vietnamese.

    • mike k
      March 9, 2018 at 16:07

      Maybe dinosaurs still roam the world? I thought the view expressed above died long ago………….

    • nonsense factory
      March 9, 2018 at 16:43

      If the United States had wanted a free and independent Vietnam then the 1956 elections would have been allowed to go forward, all French troops would have been ejected, and the U.S. would have been unconcerned about the election of a highly socialist government headed by Ho Chi Minh (who, lest we forget, liked to quote the Declaration of Independence as a basis for freeing Vietnam from French and Japanese colonialism).

      Eisenhower, at least, honestly described U.S. aims in ‘Indochina’ in an Aug 4 1953 speech to the Governor’s Conference:

      “Let us take, though, for example, one simple problem in the foreign field. You have seen the war in Indochina described variously as an outgrowth of French colonialism and its French refusal to treat indigenous populations decently. You find it again described as a war between the communists and the other elements in southeast Asia. But you have a confused idea of where it is located–Laos, or Cambodia, or Siam, or any of the other countries that are involved. You don’t know, really, why we are so concerned with the far-off southeast corner of Asia.”

      “If Indochina goes, several things happen right away. The Malayan peninsula, the last little bit of the end hanging on down there, would be scarcely defensible–and tin and tungsten that we so greatly value from that area would cease coming. . . So, when the United States votes $400 million to help that war, we are not voting for a giveaway program. We are voting for the cheapest way that we can to prevent the occurrence of something that would be of the most terrible significance for the United States of America–our security, our power and ability to get certain things we need from the riches of the Indonesian territory, and from southeast Asia.”

      Honesty from a U.S. President! The U.S. was just going to run a colonial empire as the French and British had before, that was the post WW-II Washington consensus vision. However, they soon realized that such honesty was bad public relations.

      So along came JFK (who ran against Nixon on a non-existent ‘missile gap’ with the Soviet Union), who preached the virtue of the humanitarian pro-democracy intervention in the name of freedom line that U.S. presidents have promoted ever since, be it Johnson or Nixon, Ford or Carter, Reagan and Bush or Clinton and Obama, it’s the same PR line. And no, JFK was not going to pull out of Vietnam, he just thought the puppet regime he installed would be able to control the South Vietnamese and crush any resistance, as the puppet regime in South Korea had managed to do. Johnson did exactly what JFK would have done as the puppet regime in Saigon failed to maintain control.

      So no, these wars have not been waged to free the suffering locals from oppressive governments, they have been waged to gain economic advantages and to promote imperial agendas. Of course, the Soviet Union had a similar agenda; the Central Asian Soviet states were little more than economic colonies that served Moscow’s interests.

      There were no good guys in the Cold War, just two different sets of greedy little bastards out to pillage the Third World by any means available, picking up where France and Britain and Germany and Belgium left off after Europe burned itself to the ground.

      • Daniel
        March 10, 2018 at 00:24

        Even Eisenhower’s quote misinforms to some degree. It’s not that the countries he lists would stop selling us their resources. It’s that socialist governments would provide for their citizens, and so those resources would cost us a bit more.

        Chomsky convinced me years ago that the US goal in “IndoChina” was to prevent Vietnam from becoming a good example for other countries that would then seek socialist independence. Knowing the war could never be “won” in a conventional sense, the decision was made to “bomb them into the stone age” and turn them into a warning to others. In that, we achieved our objective and then pulled out.

        Yes, the Kennedy brothers got into the White house as “tougher” Cold Warriors than even Nixon. But I do recommend reading James Douglass’s excellent book, “JFK And The Unspeakable” to get a sense of how they evolved once faced with the existential choices they faced.

        And remember that JFK toured Vietnam in the 1950s and wrote that “winning” a war there was impossible. And he did seem to genuinely relate other countries’ colonial experience to his own Irish heritage.

      • godenich
        March 10, 2018 at 13:24

        Yes, the formation of mining cartels for war materiel sold to governments has been common practice long before the 100 Years War and 30 Years War[1]. The Steam Engine began a revolution at the end of the 18th century[2], continued through to WWII [3] and beyond, i.e. more war, more empire, more profit,… more war taxes.

        [1] The Fugger Family Firm, The Most Important Firm of it’s Time | 2014
        [2] Engines and Steam Technology | Cornish Mining World Heritage Site
        [3] Seeking Out and Building Monopolies (1830-1940) | IDEA/RePEc | 2010

      • Gregory Herr
        March 11, 2018 at 07:46

        There’s no evidence for the speculation that Kennedy “would have” committed hundreds of thousands of American ground troops to prosecute a war on Vietnam. There is evidence that Kennedy’s thinking evolved during his time in office vis-a-vis the “Cold War mentality”. There is evidence the policy of American involvement in Vietnam was under review per Kennedy’s orders and that his personal inclination at the time of his assassination was for withdrawal.

  21. Bob Van Noy
    March 9, 2018 at 15:41

    “America’s deluded leaders know nothing of diplomacy beyond bullying and brinksmanship.”
    Nicolas J.S. Davies

    Thank you Mr. Davies for your excellent essay. It was the simple sentence above that really resonated for me, because it not only aptly describes the Neocon attitude but as you say, “America’s” deluded leaders.

    I originally thought this was a G.W. Bush phenomenon, but like a disease, it has spread to our entire government and Media. I can only hope that it will be possible to change America’s mind.

    At least we still have Consortiumnews! Thank you…

    • Silly Me
      March 10, 2018 at 06:12

      I find it hard to believe they are fully deluded. To some extent, we all are. Yet they have an agenda that the rest of us can’t afford to counter.

  22. Adrian E.
    March 9, 2018 at 15:27

    “Only 18,000 German troops were killed in the invasion of Czechoslovakia and 16,000 in the invasion of Poland.”

    18,000 German troops were killed in the invasion of Czechoslovakia?

    Czechoslovakia stopped to exist even before the Second World War had started in Europe. After the Western powers had decided not to help Czechoslovakia (the Soviet Union offered help, but the Czechoslovak president did not want to resist militarily without Western support), was divided, Slovakia became a puppet state dependent on Nazi Germany, and today’s Czech republic directly became a protectorate of Nazi Germany.

    There was no real military fight. After the Czechoslovakian government had gone to exile, there was some guerillia-type resistance against Nazi Germany, and there were mass executions of Czechs by the Nazi occupiers as a reprisal. But it is certainly not plausible that, even though there was no real war, 18’000 German troops were killed in the invasion of Czechoslovakia, even more than in the subsequent invasion of Poland, which is generally seen as the start of the Second World War in Europe.

    • mark
      March 9, 2018 at 17:11

      Czechoslovakia – nil casualties. Bloodless invasion.
      Poland – about 10,000 dead.
      France and the West – 40,000 dead.

      July 1941, first full month of fighting in the East – 48,000 dead.

    • Nicolas J S Davies
      March 9, 2018 at 19:01
    • Nicolas J S Davies
      March 9, 2018 at 19:03

      Here’s my source for German casualties in the invasion of Czechoslovakia. Sorry for not including a link:

      • David G
        March 9, 2018 at 20:43

        Jesus, that’s a frikkin’ *alternative history* website, Davies!!! It’s avowedly fiction, hence “althistory”.

        In our own timeline in the quantum multiverse, the Czech lands were absorbed by Nazi Germany virtually without military opposition. (Subsequently, of course, there was war and resistance.)

        It’s one thing not to know the basics of 20th-century European history – regrettable, but we all have a lot to learn – but to use a figure from your first web-search hit, without even realizing what you’re looking at would be problematic in a middle schooler.

        Holy Hanna, I think I’m going to tell on you to the CN eds.

        • backwardsevolution
          March 10, 2018 at 02:22

          David G – “Jesus, that’s a frikkin’ *alternative history* website, Davies!!! It’s avowedly fiction, hence “althistory”.

          What is accepted history, David G? What Churchill says? Dick Cheney? White Helmets? Hillary Clinton? The New York Times/Washington Post?

          History is spun. As Churchill said, “Never fear, gentlemen, history will be kind to us – for I shall write it.” Exactly. Do you think someone who said a line like that would be above lying? I don’t think for a second he told the truth.

          Consortium News is considered by many to be an “alternative” site, fake news, and yet I believe we get a lot closer to the truth than others do.

          • David G
            March 10, 2018 at 03:29

            So Davies, searching for quick factoids on WWII, about which he knows nothing apparently, finds himself on a website where people – for intellectual and imaginative stimulation – openly create an alternative timeline in which WWII began in 1938 with the Luftwaffe divebombing Prague, and he puts a fictional number from a never-happened battlefront in his piece here on CN, which he expects people to take seriously.

            When a commenter points out the basic history, Davies takes the time to reply here, but only to smugly point to his “source”, not engage with the basic historical literacy shown by the commenter.

            I then call B.S. on Davies (who, I note, has not reappeared on this thread to bolster his assertions with citations to, say, “The Man in the High Castle”), and all of a sudden I’m a supporter of the White Helmets?

            I’m tempted to tell you to go to hell, but instead how about I do you a favor and let you buy some of my concentrated-dark-matter rocket fuel. I learned the formula on the Rick & Morty wiki, and I’ll give you a good price.

      • Zachary Smith
        March 9, 2018 at 20:47

        Mr. Davies, I fear that your link was to an Alternate History site. I’ll grant that it looked so authentic that I’ve spent the past half hour going through my history books to see if it was something they had glossed over. Being fooled by a fake “Wiki” (as I also was at first) doesn’t distract from your thesis the least bit.

        Good essay!

        • David G
          March 9, 2018 at 20:57

          You’re a nicer person than I am, Zachary Smith.

          I feel indefensible sloppiness like this detracts not only from the credibility of this article (whose basic position I too am sympathetic with), but from that of CN as a whole.

          • Zachary Smith
            March 9, 2018 at 21:05

            It was surely an error, but I’m going to put most of the blame on “Wiki” for allowing it to look identical to their usual stuff. Besides, this was a minor point, and deleting it entirely wouldn’t detract from the essay.

            I make so many similar mistakes that “casting the first stone” on spelling or trivia issues isn’t something which would do me any good at all.


          • David G
            March 9, 2018 at 21:31

            Yeah, but – and I’ll drop it after this – Davies not only was so ignorant of history that he included this in the first place, *and not only* sourced it with his first search-engine hit without even asking what he was looking at, *BUT ALSO*, when cogently challenged about it by commenter Adrian E., blithely referred him back to the same damn sci-fi website, without manifesting any interest in ascertaining the truth.

            It’s that last part that is really indefensible here, in my opinion.

          • backwardsevolution
            March 10, 2018 at 02:26

            David G – why don’t YOU provide us with the truth, David G. Cite the books and sites that you think are telling the truth. Let’s have it.

          • David G
            March 10, 2018 at 03:41

            backwardsevolution –

            As I said in my reply to you above, I consider to be generally authoritative on most matters.

            Davies and you seem to want to side with the mainstream establishment types over at, but I don’t see why I have to submit to such orthodoxy.

          • backwardsevolution
            March 10, 2018 at 05:16

            David G – well, I asked you: “Why don’t YOU provide us with the truth, David G. Cite the books and sites that you think are telling the truth. Let’s have it.”

            I got exactly what I expected – nothing.

        • Daniel
          March 10, 2018 at 00:11

          The “real” Wiki is not so reliable either. Corporations, Intelligence Agencies, Nation-States and various “Interest Groups” have mastered “editing” Wikipedia for “perception management.”

          I learned right after I first heard of Wiki that even as uncontroversial a subject as sailboats is vulnerable to disinformation. Entries I made were altered to present false information almost immediately.

        • backwardsevolution
          March 10, 2018 at 01:18

          Zachary Smith – “Being fooled by a fake ‘Wiki’…..”

          Wiki is known for leaving out critical pieces of information – on purpose. Whoever edits the site, especially on historical matters, must have an agenda.

          I still use Wiki, but I take it with a grain of salt.

          • Silly Me
            March 10, 2018 at 06:10

            Wikipedia and its alternatives are not acceptable sources, because their authors bear no responsibility.

            For a unknown years, paid (not Russian :)) agents have been posting on such sites whose contributions remain questionable.

          • David G
            March 10, 2018 at 06:37

            Silly Me –

            Please don’t follow backwardsevolution down the garden path and get confused about what we’re talking about here.

            You are quite correct that Wikipedia is not an acceptable authority in serious academic and professional contexts (for various reasons), but it’s darn useful in general and I certainly rely on it plenty.

            But what’s at issue here is completely different: Nicolas J.S. Davies’ clueless reliance on one of the countless “wikis” at on every subject under the sun, in this case one created by alternative-history enthusiasts, who I imagine would only be chagrined to see their creative writing cited as real history on an essential news/commentary site like CN, and defended as such by certain self-righteous commenters.

  23. Annie
    March 9, 2018 at 15:25

    It’s rather obvious that the US did away with the draft, and resorted to US bombings rather then boots on the ground to reduce US casualties in order to avoid blow back from the American people so they can fight their endless wars. I personally find that the American people care little about the lives lost in Muslim and African countries, and one cousin in response to my mentioning these casualties said all countries engage in “sneaky and underhanded things.” I’ve heard two people, one coming from a Jewish perspective on Muslims said every single Muslim should be killed,and I asked was she talking about children as well. Her answer was yes. Another who made the same statement was a former nun. Again I asked, children too? Her answer was yes. I really don’t believe that Americans justify our wars in their own minds because they think we are trying to bring democracy and a better life to the countries we invade, even though it’s the propaganda lie put forward, but they care little about the death and destruction of the “other.” The Me generation more engaged with -self-fulfillment” than social responsibility has a very non-inclusive perspective on the world, as well as in their own country. Hollywood has certainly encouraged and pushed this self indulgent attitude as well.  

    • Silly Me
      March 10, 2018 at 06:03

      It doesn’t seem to make much difference what people believe, except that if they share it in public (as I am doing it here), they become easier to manipulate.

      Those who have the power to make the decisions couldn’t care less about Americans or, for that matter, anyone else.

  24. Joe Tedesky
    March 9, 2018 at 14:42

    We Americans need to go to the top of the mountain and dig deep into our moral conscience. I will say this that U.S. Army Major Danny Sjursen to me is a real American. His opinions are based on his reality of his serving in our military, and his questioning of this all the time any time war ideology is proper and patriotic.

    I know I’ve been harping on this, but with Putin’s revealing the Russian weapons achievements, which were all accomplished on a next to nothing budget got to be making American MIC heads spinning. This isn’t good news for an industry who only knows how to profit, or is it good for the many congressional parasites who are excited to feed of them.


    • john wilson
      March 9, 2018 at 15:25

      Joe; Americans (and we British) don’t have any conscience moral or otherwise. As far as war without casualties goes, I suggest the writer ask the people of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere if there is such a thing as war without casualties. As far as Putin’s revelations about his new arms equipment go, I suggest the war industry is delighted about this as now they can claim they need more cash to catch up.

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 9, 2018 at 16:33

        John on the subject of Americans with a conscience, we the ones with one are at this moment the citizens who are described as our being the un-American ones, or at least that’s what we are being labeled now a days. I agree more emphasis should be put on the innocent lives where our two countries have inflicted this pain upon. In that you will find the incubator for terrorist, and this too our corrupt Deep State (both in the U.S. & U.K) is to them but merely some great job security. On the subject of American’s MIC budget increases, because of Putin’s announcement of Russia’s new and improved weaponry you make a strong point that Putin only helped to increase these out of sight MIC budgets, but on the other hand what a ‘talking point’ Putin also gave us advocates for defensive spending cuts if you think about it. In any case the U.S. loss the status of it being the mightiest military, all because of it’s military outrageous spending, and drastic social cuts be damned attitude so as America’s quality of life has sunk to new all time low’s. Now America is a country with no there, there to it, when it comes to actually having any hard assets. We now can yell back, ‘hey why you spending so much, Putin doesn’t need to’ and see how the greedy elite like that. Joe

        • Dave P.
          March 10, 2018 at 04:32


          You wrote: Americans with a conscience who are being described as un-American; yes that is how it is. If I even very softly try to explain to our social friends that it is not entirely true, and that there is no evidence of what is being said on TV networks about Russia/ Putin interfering in our 2016 election and destroying our democracy; they tell you in your face what you said, about being un-American.

          I do not know about other people who comment on this websites. But we have social friends, many of them, unlike us, are in very financially lucrative professions. All their information comes from CNN, MSNBC. They have never read anything about American History or history of their own country. Many of them do not even know who Thomas Jefferson was. All their time is spent in making money and finding tax loopholes to avoid paying taxes. And many of them profess to be liberal democrats. This is your new America.

          Most Americans, including immigrant citizens have been completely brain-washed. I have come to conclusion that there is no point in talking to them about these issues. How can you deprogramme these people now?

          I do have cousins in Toronto, who understand what we are talking about. I visited Toronto last spring, they have RT channel there in Toronto, and they often watch it.

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 10, 2018 at 10:38

            Dave in all my years I have never heard, or experienced quite the confrontational attitudes that I see all around me being displayed so rudely and openly, as I see today. I blame a lot of this on our MSM’s tabloid style of reporting. This is a media which leaves so much of the news to be disregarded, that it creates a very misinformed public. The 1st Amendment doesn’t matter, as much as a particular persons opinions do. In someways I think certain Americans take pride in shutting down another American persons opinion from being known. Irritation only aggravates and brings on more irritation.

            I never have a definite answer for you Dave, but like you we both need to struggle through this. I love my country, and I want to help add diverse opinion to make it better, but one person can only do what one person may do. We all need to stay calm and talk. Joe

      • Annie
        March 9, 2018 at 17:04

        I think most individuals have a moral conscience when it comes to relating to other people, here and in Britain, but what is lacking is our ability to identify with the suffering of the “other.” We encourage people to have a strong nationalistic spirit, but not a global one. If your background is in ecology you certainly are not taught to be solely concerned about your local ecosystems and indifferent to those on other continents, so you care about ecosystems in Asia, Africa and Australia, etc. It’s natural to identify with your own, it’s part of our makeup, but we can further inculcate that, or encourage people to have a broader perspective. I had an uncle who was in the Merchant Marines and he sailed to every port in every country on every continent and he had that sense of belonging to the world, and I liked it. People who post here seem to embrace the world with a sense of conscience, but it seems most don’t.

        • Annie
          March 9, 2018 at 17:18

          My reply was to John Wilson, but Joe you’re right about challenging America’s position in the world, and being labeled un-American. A useful tool employed by countries to have you tow their line. I guess we’re rebellious spirits.

        • Annie
          March 9, 2018 at 17:20

          My reply was to John Wilson, but Joe you’re right about challenging America’s position in the world, and being labeled un-American. A useful tool employed by countries to have you tow their line. I guess we’re rebellious spirits.

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 10, 2018 at 19:13

            Not a problem, but when it comes to reply’s I prefer the free for all method, I mean just jump in there and state you views. Oh the other hand Annie I do appreciate being polite. Whatever…. Joe

        • Peter Loeb
          March 13, 2018 at 05:21

          DO I ” LOVE MY COUNTRY”…?

          I was born in the USA (on an island known as Manhattan). With what
          I know now, I am not sure that I really “love my country”.

          I do know that for many reasons, personal and physical., leaving it
          is not an option. (Perhaps, for the remainder of my life, this is where
          I belong after all.)

          Like Joe Tedesky, I try to make a little light shine through the overwhelming
          gloom. I try to learn, often to the irritation of who do not want to see.

          Nicolas Davies’ marvelous article fails to take into account Gabriel Kolko’s
          ECONOMIC analyses. These are made clear in his 1976 book MAIN
          CURRENTS IN MODERN AMERICAN HISTORY, (See especially Chapter 5)
          and Kolko’s last article (in “counterpunch”) THE ILLUSION OF THE NEW
          DEAL . In both these pieces, Kolko highlights the role of American
          capitalism as well as the failures of the “New Deal”.

          War was a solution to domestic economic problems. War, not the
          New Deal (etc.) solved the Great Depression.

          I do not have the link of that article at hand and will forward it in a
          subsequent reply if I locate it.

          Thanks to Davies for his continued faith in Kolko. Kolko had
          the unfortunate (!!) habit of writing the analyses he found relevant
          often to the distress of so-called “liberals-progressives-Democrats”.

          —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • Nicolas J S Davies
        March 9, 2018 at 18:56

        Please read the article.

        • Annie
          March 9, 2018 at 19:14

          I read the article. You may disagree with my assessment of things, but each to their own. I also posted a comment below. I always read the articles.

          • David G
            March 9, 2018 at 20:03

            Annie, Nicholas J.S. Davies was replying to john wilson, not you.

            Specifically, I think he was reacting to this lame statement by john wilson, which indeed looks like a reaction to the headline, without benefit of having read the piece:

            “As far as war without casualties goes, I suggest the writer ask the people of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere if there is such a thing as war without casualties.”

          • Annie
            March 9, 2018 at 20:27

            Thanks David G I find links confusing here. I even reread the article because I thought I was missing something. Thanks again.

      • Joanne Yarwood
        March 9, 2018 at 22:33

        They all ready are claiming we need to give Israel more mo eye fir war .Because of Iran acting up in Syria .

    • orwell
      March 11, 2018 at 15:11

      Hey Joe Tedesky ! Americans HAVE NO MORAL CONSCIENCE !!!!!

  25. stan
    March 9, 2018 at 14:32

    War is an animal behavior to conquer territory, conquer resources, and conquer people. Anyone who thinks war is fought for ideas like freedom, democracy, or my personal favorite, freeing someone else’s slaves, has been brainwashed by the cultural propaganda which begins in kindergarten. We were all brought up to believe war is fought for a noble purpose, for an idea. But war is to conquer the necessities of life.

    And there is a difference between war against armies and plain murder of innocent civilians, women, children, and babies. The latter is just murder, not war. Our “wars” are just mass murder of civilians. The War Party of Lincoln has been invading other peoples for the last 150 years. Lincoln was the first president of the Republican Party which represents big banks and big business. The political parties are business gangsters, just like Al Capone. I don’t think Al Capone killed women, children, and babies.

    • Silly Me
      March 10, 2018 at 05:56

      You still believe in parties?

      I recommend Santa. He is more real.

  26. Drew Hunkins
    March 9, 2018 at 14:30

    The whole notion that American soldiers “fight to protect freedom here at home and abroad” is the biggest propaganda accomplishment in global history.

    This line of self delusional reasoning finds favor in the United States because it obviously provides moral and ethical support to otherwise brutal and imperialist ventures. These bromides about fighting to protect freedom and democracy assuage the American psyche. If American soldiers never fought for a noble cause, then the human carnage, death, bloodshed, destruction, genitals getting blown apart, people being disemboweled, children having limbs severed off, parents witnessing kids getting tortured, etc. would have all been a horror beyond human comprehension. It’s absolutely essential that it all be put in some sort of justifiable apple-pie order, hence the self serving platitudes.

    Since the end of WWII Washington militarists (and over the last 30 years their Zionist sidekicks) have committed crimes against humanity after crimes against humanity after crimes against humanity…

    • Charles Watkins
      March 9, 2018 at 14:41

      They also fight ‘to keep us safe’. When has that ever happened?

      • geeyp
        March 10, 2018 at 03:13

        “America’s deluded leaders know nothing of diplomacy”, and they know nothing of real war.

    • orwell
      March 11, 2018 at 15:07

      The USA since its founding has been “A HORROR BEYOND

    • Bob Martin
      March 12, 2018 at 15:32

      Totally agree.

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