Wilson’s Contribution to the Cold War

“To love truth for truth’s sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the

John Locke published in Popular Science Monthly Volume 66 1904 or 1905

John Locke published in Popular Science Monthly Volume 66 1904 or 1905

seed-plot of all other virtues.” — John Locke

Oft quoted in my youth, I lost contact with John Locke’s advice over the years.  Ricochet’s Daily Shot and a strong ‘cuppa’ re-awakened Locke’s view of truth in an explosive burst of energy that rocked my head and dragged me to the dreaded keyboard.  Loving truth and finding it in the labyrinth of life are two entirely separate actions tangled together in a Gordian knot suspended above each individual’s ‘La Vida Loca’.  President Woodrow Wilson’s contribution to a future, unforeseen Cold War is a leading example of my search for truth in the political rabbit warrens of war and peace.  Actions, ego, and being “the smartest guy in the room” have consequences—good and bad.

Was there a line of people eagerly awaiting support and ‘lessons learned’ about ditching colonial yokes, freedom, self-determination, and the rights of individuals from the United States? Although difficult to say with any certainty, the U.S. was, at that time, admired for its triumph following a bitter fight with its colonial master, England.  We know that the U.S. commitment to trade rather than conquest as a prime directive was a new, novel, and successful model.  We also know that the WWI Paris Peace talks in 1919 attracted

Council of Four at the WWI Paris peace conference, May 27, 1919 (candid photo) (L - R) Prime Minister David Lloyd George (Great Britian) Premier Vittorio Orlando, Italy, French Premier Georges Clemenceau, President Woodrow Wilson Edward N. Jackson (US Army Signal Corps) - U.S. Signal Corps photo

Council of Four at the WWI Paris peace conference, May 27, 1919 (candid photo) (L – R) Prime Minister David Lloyd George (Great Britian) Premier Vittorio Orlando, Italy, French Premier Georges Clemenceau, President Woodrow Wilson
Edward N. Jackson (US Army Signal Corps) – U.S. Signal Corps photo

slightly fewer than twelve present and future leaders from various colonies testing independence and sloughing their colonial bonds. Some, including Nguyễn Sinh Cung (Hồ Chí Minh) from Vietnam, attempted to meet with Wilson.[1]   It had, after all, been a mere 136 years since representatives from the rebellious colonies in North America and England gathered in Paris to sign the 1783 treaty with England to end the American Revolutionary War.  The United States had been tested by a great Civil War and found wanting.  It’s model, however, provided for growth and society to take cyclical steps toward a more perfect union. The new model was battle tested and  tough.  How quickly we forgot. Continue reading

The Foreign Policy and FUBAR Correlation

News Year’s Eve has found its way to Arizona’s outback and, although I haven’t checked,FE_121025_globe425x283 probably to the rest of the world this side of the International Dateline.  While the celebrations wind-up, my thoughts turn to the legacy of the Cold War and what we may have learned.  A likely candidate for consideration is the U.S.’s foreign policy and the accompanying foreign relations.  I love the rich, stand-up comedy fodder the subject offers until thoughts of the millions of affected people sober the tone.  The Cold War became the test bed for ‘new’ foreign policy trials. As newly deployed policies failed and yielded to military adventures, the federal government ‘doubled-down’ rather than admit an error.  As bad foreign policy and relations are implemented they come back to haunt ordinary U.S. citizens and the citizenry is being engulfed by its own government’s fear and paranoia; FUBAR.

FUBAR

This post will discuss wars and some of the dumb decisions (in my opinion) that were made by policy makers who did not have the moral backbones to stand up and take the heat.  It is not about the honor and integrity of American soldiers, who fought; many of whom died or were wounded physically or emotionally.  I am grateful to you for your service. It is also not about the millions of civilians who were carried by the tide of policy into harm’s way.  And it is not about the policy decisions currently in the public debating forums.  The post is about the past that brought us to where we are today.

The Greek army opening fire on guerrilla troops during the Greek Civil War.

The Greek army opening fire on guerrilla troops during the Greek Civil War.

In Greece, the U.S. threw its policy weight and money at the Greek Civil War with the passage of The Truman Doctrine in 1946 by the Republican Congress.  Oops, the Soviet Union had already refused to assist the Greek Communists in the struggle so the Civil War was just that.  The Truman Doctrine set the tone of American interference in other countries’ business going forward, though.

The Marshall Plan in 1947 seems to have worked out well for everyone concerned, although Asia, without a ‘Marshall Plan’, did even better and faster.

The battle over Berlin took a hard turn straight into crisis on June 23, 1948 when the U.S. and

Berlin Partition

Berlin Partition

its allies, England and France, talked about forming a federation with their three slices of the Berlin pie.  The allied discussions spooked the Soviet Union so they closed the Berlin border to allied vehicle and rail traffic.  The confrontation over the closures was passive/aggressive; the Berlin airlift response kept Berlin provisioned-just barely.  The airlift was sufficient, however, for the Soviets to assess the will and capacity of the allies and they came to the table after seven months. The result was years and years of tension over the East-West German borders. Millions of American soldiers’ rite of passage to man and womanhood occurred under the constant, unrelenting threat of World War III at the German border as they stared into the eyes of their counterparts under the same pressure.

Mutually Assured Destruction

Mutually Assured Destruction

The sustained tension at the German border coupled with the assumed military strength of the Soviet Union was the genesis of the nuclear arms race and the Mutually Assured Destruction Doctrine (MADD).  It was the second plank in Eisenhower’s New Look National Security Policy in 1953: “relying on nuclear weapons to deter Communist aggression or, if necessary, to fight a war”.[1]  Both sides geared up and built tens of thousands of nuclear weapons that could be fatefully delivered on any platform.  It also spurred the unanticipated consequence of everybody wanting a nuke.  Now, twenty six nations are capable of exercising the incredible destructive force of the nucleus of an atom.

Let us not forget NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the U.S. sponsored joint military that has grown in both size and strength.  NATO clung to its initial policy of not attacking

NATO

NATO Aircraft

unless attacked as long as the Soviet Union was a force to be reckoned with.  On the sidelines, those of us old enough to remember, watched helplessly and in horror as our Western governments let calls for help from East Europeans challenging the Soviet iron fist go unanswered; Czechoslovakia in 1948, Hungary in 1956, the Czechs again in the Prague spring of 1968 and the Poles in the 70’s.  After the Soviet Union fractured and retreated, NATO changed its tune and went aggressive.  NATO beat up feckless Yugoslavia in Kosovo and sent troops into Bosnia and Afghanistan.  The neighborly NATO took U.S. taxpayer money by the wheelbarrow but decided not to replace or augment U.S. troops in Iraq. NATO has also stimulated a new arms race:

“…The treaty between west European nations, inaugurated as a barrier to Soviet aggression, graduated to new prominence in 2011 with establishment of a “free fly” zone for Libyan insurgents, and aerial attacks on Libya. The spread of NATO actions to several continents redefines NATO as an arm of western political and military policies, and replaces the policy of deterrence against a defunct Soviet Union. Coupling that with the anti-missile system the U.S. and NATO allies propose to deploy in Eastern Europe, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appeared on Russian First Channel program Cold Politics (Kholodnaya Politika) and exclaimed that this anti-missile system “is undoubtedly aimed at neutralizing the nuclear rocket capability of Russia.”[2]

Russia has fought back with its recently announced initiative to place nukes along its border to defend itself from NATO.[3]  Game On. Continue reading

Freedom’s Soul: The Greatest Legacy

Cold War Warriors are the keepers of the flame of liberty. They picked up the smoldering lantern within which the flame is carried from their WWII brothers and sisters and, today, continue to spread its light. It is a bold statement to be sure but true none the less.

A warrior is, according to the dictionary, “one who is engaged in or experienced in battle.”[1] The

This house was right on the 38th parallel in Korea and was separated by a wall. Guess which side is in North Korea. (Courtesy of Steve Traywick)

This house was right on the 38th parallel in Korea and was separated by a wall. Guess which side is in North Korea. (Courtesy of Steve Traywick)

definition is woefully inadequate. In this instance the dictionary is blatantly misleading. Not every individual who fights or prepares to fight a war is a warrior. The Naval Academy’s Prof. Shannon E. French points out that laying a claim to the title ‘warrior’ is reserved to those who meet measures other than simply fighting. He says, “Before we call any collection of belligerents a culture of warriors, we should first ask why they fight, how they fight, what brings them honor, and what brings them shame. The answers to these questions will reveal whether or not they have a true warrior’s code.”[2]

A recent Mark Dice video[3] illustrates the point. Dice is asking people to sign a ‘petition’ to get rid of the Bill of Rights in The Constitution. Every person he approaches signs the ‘petition’, no questions asked. About three minutes into the video, Dice has filled a page with signatures and is waiting for one more. A man on a bicycle rides up and the approach is made. Dice makes his spiel. The guy on the bike looks flabbergasted and says, “No, you’re crazy, it’s part of The Constitution” and threatens to rip the ‘petition’ up. The man on the bike explains that he took an oath to defend and uphold The Constitution.  He was in the military and he is the warrior I am talking about.

Pursuing my interest in the lives and times of today’s Cold War (1947-1991) veterans, I petitioned and was accepted as a member of the American Cold War Veterans[4] ‘facebook’ page as well as

Berlin Airlift. C-46s on Ramp 1024

Berlin Airlift. C-46s on Ramp 1024

several other Cold War groups like Vet Connect[5]. What were others thinking and saying about the Cold War era, I wondered. It quickly became clear that I fell into a bunch of Americans that are exceptional. Norman Podhoretz, in the Imprimis article, Is America Exceptional?[6] defines the whats and whys of American exceptionalism.

“First of all, unlike all other nations past or present, this one accepted as a self-evident truth that all men are created equal. What this meant was that its Founders aimed to create a society in which, for the first time in the history of the world, the individual’s fate would be determined not by who his father was, but by his own freely chosen pursuit of his own ambitions. In other words, America was to be something new under the sun: a society in which hereditary status and class distinctions would be erased, leaving individuals free to act and to be judged on their merits alone. There remained, of course, the two atavistic contradictions of slavery and the position of women; but so intolerable did these contradictions ultimately prove that they had to be resolved—even if, as in the case of the former, it took the bloodiest war the nation has ever fought.”

The Cold War engaged citizens by the tens of millions. Scientists, engineers, technicians, administrators, constructors and paint scrapers, military and civilian were used in every nook and cranny of the twisted landscape in that war. The military personnel sacrificed with little notice unless the ‘Cold War train jumped the track’. The military’s men and women manned icebreakers, drove

Bosnia

Bosnia

tanks, stood post in Berlin, walked the line in Korea, serviced and flew helicopters in Vietnam, handled medical emergencies in hostile situations where they could have been killed by friendly fire, served on aircraft carriers and submarines, and, generally ‘took care of business’. The human beings, our fellow citizens, who served in the military were, most generally, young men and women who had just graduated from high school. Some landed fun, cushy jobs. Most did not.

The youngsters frequently lived in tough situations. Their mommies were not there to help them through but the Master Sergeant, or equivalent, and their buddies were. Some times were hard like

Cold War Berlin Wall. East Germany Peter Fleicher shot while trying to defect. He was left lying there as a lesson. (1962)

Cold War Berlin Wall. East Germany Peter Fleicher shot while trying to defect. He was left lying there as a lesson. (1962)

watching the Soviets kill people trying to defect or seeing a buddy die. Many times were stressful whether they were coping with boredom, challenge or horror. Many of the Cold War veterans didn’t make the cut or learn the lessons the Cold War offered. They were not meant to be warriors and fell by the wayside.

Many more veterans, however, did make it through the Cold War’s trial by fire. These are the warriors that keep the flame of freedom alive and well. It is possible to read the lessons they learned in their stories, in the poking they do at each other’s units, in their humor, in their gentle reminders to each other about not revealing classified information, and in some instances in the astounding pictures they took. For most, it seems the realization of the value of their time served dawned with the advent of the wisdom born of years of living. They live their various post-Cold War lives’ ups and downs asking for nothing while supporting their fellow servicemen, whether they made the warrior cut or not. The humor I read in their stories is so very American. Whether they mooned a Soviet ship, were pitched overboard to tend an injured sailor, or traded for East German helmets they were and are exceptional and, to a person, deny or decry any accolade.

It is not good or healthy to idealize an organization, even the military. While we should always be respectful and grateful for each soldiers’ sacrifice and service, soldiers are people; old/young,

Cuban Missile Crisis. Running giant extension cordsto power up the Minuteman Missiles in Montana(Photographer Unknown)

Cuban Missile Crisis. Running giant extension cordsto power up the Minuteman Missiles in Montana(Photographer Unknown)

good/bad, well/sick, wealthy/poor. The Cold War soldiers who evolved into warriors would, however, make the fifty six signers of the Declaration of Independence proud. Like the fifty six who signed the Declaration of Independence, the Cold War Warriors had everything to lose and little to gain from their time in military service and yet they went. Like the fifty six signers, many Cold War Warriors lost their lives, their health, their fortunes and their families to the Cold War. The fifty six who signed the Declaration of Independence in which they “…mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”[7] The signers kept their pledge. Cold War Warriors took an oath to uphold all that the fifty six signers fought, died and sacrificed for to bequeath to our nation and they honor that oath today, irrespective of their walks in life.

Today, as I write this post, the flame in the Lantern of Freedom is being passed to those who served, fought and still serve and fight in the Mid-East and around the globe so that we may continue OUR way of life. Freedom is the greatest legacy.

Author’s Note: The Cold War took a toll on all Americans. Civilians carried water alongside their military counterparts for even less recognition. It was a ‘secret’ war and many died, just simply disappeared or had ‘training accidents’. Many more were left behind, labeled as deserters or Missing In Action. POWs were abandoned to the Gulag or Soviet ‘hospitals’. There are legacies of valor and of governments behaving badly. These are the subjects of other posts.

Recently, however, a Globemaster emerged from the ice of an Alaskan glacier and fifty two more soldiers and their families can rest once more. “Relics from an Air Force cargo plane that slammed into a mountain in November 1952, killing all 52 servicemen on board, first emerged last summer on Colony Glacier, about 50 miles east of Anchorage.”[8]

 


[2] The Warrior’s Code; Prof. Shannon E. French, Ph.D.; http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/jscope/french.htm

[3] Mark Dice; Obama Supporters Sign Petition to Repeal the BILL OF RIGHTS; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0he0cqHH20

[6] Imprimis; Norman Podhoretz; October 2012; Is America Exceptional? http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=2012&month=10

[7] The Declaration of Independence; http://www.constitution.org/us_doi.pdf

[8] Reuters; Yereth Rosen; As glacier melts, secrets of lost military plane revealed; http://news.yahoo.com/glacier-melts-secrets-lost-military-plane-revealed-120221443.html

Korea; A Game Changing Legacy

June 25, 1950 dawned cool and cloudy like the day before and the day before that at the 38th parallel, an invisible but very real line across the Korean Peninsula. Like the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, seasons in Korea change smartly. In October, the Manchurian

Map of the Korean War

Map of the Korean War

and Siberian gates open, releasing bitter cold and icy winds from the northwest. In May and June the winter gates are forced shut by the southerly monsoon flows and Korea becomes hot and humid. In June the days are mostly cloudy and 98 percent comfortable, except for June 25, 1950, when the North Koreans swept across the 38th parallel and caught almost everyone by surprise. The North Korean invasion heated up the South Koreans and the remaining U.S. forces. In two days, the North Koreans were knocking on Seoul’s back door.

Gaining the reigns of Korean War history and legacy approximates the challenge of bringing a run-away 24-mule team back under harness. Everything—Korean Peninsula historical context, foreign policy, post WWII military mission re-alignments, Communist hysteria, egos, and politicians—played into the complexity. Once the U.S. finally decided the Korean situation was serious and it really, really wanted to contain the ‘communist’ threat, it came very close to having its hind-quarters kicked courtesy of politicians passing the general-for-a-day card around a table.

Historically, the poor little Korean Peninsula has been on somebody’s ‘to occupy’ list for centuries but it has been a tough nut to crack. It always amuses me to read about China’s lack of imperial ambition. Imperial ambition is why China’s boundaries are in place and it still fights for more. The Sui, Tang, Ming and Manchu Dynasties of China all had eyes on the Korean Peninsula and tried, with various degrees of success, to take it. Japan recognized the strategic value of Korea as a buffer from and path to conquer China. In the late 1500s, Hideyoshi mounted Japan’s first effort at Korean conquest. Through the centuries, Japan’s Yamato emperors, who still rule today, also tried at various times to occupy Korea. Japan, in fact, had control of Korea at the end of WWII in the Pacific. Japan was ousted by the allies and Korea was divided roughly according to the two ancient original Korean countries and is the North and South Korea we know today. In 1950, North Korea was ruled by the government the Soviet Union had enthroned. South Korea had held a successful elections and the U.S. was on its way out.

The U.S. considered Korea a victim of Japan, not an ally. The United States, China, and Great Britain issued a joint statement in December 1943, after the Cairo Conference, which said: “The aforesaid three great powers, mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea, are determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent.”[1] As a victim, South Korea was assisted back to independence. The South Korean army was built to a point the U.S. considered adequate for self-protection and, beginning in 1947, the U.S. military began to withdraw to its home with the 8th Army in Japan. The Soviet Union went a different direction in North Korea and by 1947, the Soviet’s hand-picked leader, Kim Il Sung, had violently suppressed any opposition. The U.S. did not view Korea as a strategic area but it knew that Russia did. Korea, like many countries freed from the Germans or Japanese, was at risk of becoming a political football in the rising tide of American-Soviet interests, which was apparent well before WWII ended.[2]

U.S. foreign policy was in the shop for a major overhaul in 1950. The Truman administration was re-tooling for the Cold War (1947-1991). The primary mechanics were George C. Marshall and Dean G. Acheson under the direction of Truman. Their work was mostly focused on the perceived Communist threat to Europe but they also had an opinion or two on Asia. Right up until June, 1950, the folks ‘in the know’ were convinced the U.S. would not defend South Korea in the event of an attack by North Korea.

“The decision to intervene in Korea grew out of the tense atmosphere that characterized Cold War politics. On the eve of the North Korean invasion, a number of events had made Truman anxious. The Soviet Union exploded an atomic bomb in 1949, ending the United States’ monopoly on the weapon. In Europe, Soviet intervention in Greece and Turkey had given rise to the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, which funneled aid to war-torn Europe in the hopes of warding off communist political victories. In early 1950, President Truman directed the National Security Council (NSC) to conduct an analysis of Soviet and American military capabilities. In its report, known as “NSC 68,” the Council recommended heavy increases in military funding to help contain the Soviets.”[3]

The U.S. Military was in transition in Japan as well as in Korea on that fateful June day in 1950. Kim (don’t forget last names are first in Korea) had asked Papa Stalin for permission to invade South Korea many times before he received the two thumbs up in 1949. Stalin had waited for the U.S. to withdraw the last of its ground troops before approving any aggression. In support, Stalin sent significant amounts of both supplies and ‘advisors’ to support Kim. The U.S. was of the general opinion that the Soviets would not risk WWIII over the likes of Korea. The U.S. was wrong.  The U.S. was also of the general opinion that it could not lose, militarily. The U.S. was almost wrong; it was close.

The North Koreans were well supplied. Kim, in possession of a Soviet invasion plan, controlled an

A member of the 231st Transportation Truck Battalion at the 38th Parallel in Korea. (Courtesy of George Brooks)

A member of the 231st Transportation Truck Battalion at the 38th Parallel in Korea. (Courtesy of George Brooks)

invasion force of 135,000, about half of whom were trained veterans. He also controlled eight complete divi­sions and two half-strength divisions, an armored brigade with 120 Soviet tanks; and 5 border constabulary brigades. The Soviets also supplied 180 Soviet aircraft, mostly fighters and attack bombers, and a few naval patrol craft. However, Stalin drew the line at permitting the Soviet advisers to accompany the North Koreans once they crossed the 38th parallel.

The South Koreans, on the other hand, controlled an Army of 95,000 men, which was a light infantry force. Its artillery totaled eighty-nine light 105-mm howitzers, which could shoot farther than North Korea’s artillery, which is handy. Unfortunately, South Korea had no tanks or antitank weapons that could have countered the Soviet tanks. While the North and South Korean navies were fairly evenly matched, the South Korean Air Force had only a few trainers and other light airplanes. “U.S. equip­ment, war-worn when furnished to South Korean forces, had deterio­rated further, and supplies on hand could sustain combat operations no longer than fifteen days.”[4]

The ranking U.S. officer in South Korea was Major General William F. Dean and, according to

Major General William F. Dean

Major General William F. Dean

military historians, he fought gallantly as the U.S. rushed to fortify the south. Eventually, he was wounded and captured. General MacArthur’s Pacific survey showed he had limited capacity to respond. He would be able to muster the “1st Cavalry Division and the 7th, 24th, and 25th Infantry Divisions, all under the Eighth U.S. Army in Japan, and the 29th Regimental Combat Team on Okinawa”, according to the military records. It took until about the middle of July to even mount a faint-hearted counter attack.

Meanwhile back at the United Nations, UN, fifty three countries ratified United Nations Security Council Resolution 82 on June 27th, 1950 clearing the way for an internationally sanctioned military response. Twenty nine of the approving countries offered a variety of types of support that ranged from medical and logistical support to full military support. The Soviets could have blocked the resolution with a veto but did not do so because they were, at the time, boycotting the UN. Truman was in a tough spot. Senator Joseph McCarthy was ramping up his anti-communist rhetoric. Then, too, the Alger Hiss espionage trial was fresh. Truman certainly didn’t want to come across as ‘soft’ on Communism and, like Stalin, he did not want a third world war. Both leaders danced. Stalin refused to have his Soviet troops cross the 38th parallel and Truman stopped just short of saying the Soviets were behind the June 25, 1950 invasion. Instead, the invaders were labeled ‘communists’ and the Soviets were never directly blamed.

The Korean War’s legacy continues to define today’s conflicts. It was a political war fought to ‘contain’ an enemy; not to win. Today Korea looks very much like it did 60 years ago. The 38th parallel still cuts the country in half, including the road and railway infrastructure and over 50 rivers. There has never been a peace treaty so the war never officially ended and no one ever won; the Soviets were not out by the end of 1950, the Koreas were not united, and the U.S. did not significantly impede the progress of ‘communism’. A Kim ruled North Korea and repeatedly made threats, eventually carrying one out. A Kim still rules North Korea and repeatedly makes threats but, so far, has not carried any out. Political wars fought with political egos playing general-for-a-day do not accomplish anything except the loss of American service members. Over 50,000 died in Korea. The U.S. maintained in Korea but lost in Viet Nam, and accomplished little in Bosnia. The U.S.failed in Nicaragua and the Congo, and broke even in Panama and Grenada. At the moment the U.S. is engaged in another political war it has no intention of winning, just fighting. So far, the U.S. has been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan for over a decade with no end in sight and little progress. The only difference is the technology. Now the politicians can ‘see’ what each soldier ‘sees’ and direct the soldiers’ actions on a moment-by-moment basis without ever leaving the comfort of the command center. As John Wayne would say, “that is a helluva way to run a railroad.”

 

 



[1] Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States: The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, Dept., of State Publication 7187 (Washington, 1961), p. 448.

[2] American President: A Reference Resource; http://millercenter.org/president/truman/essays/biography/5

[3] National Archives; Teaching With Documents: The United States Enters the Korean Conflict; (Originally published in Social Education, the Journal of the National Council for the Social Studies).

[4] The US Army Center of Military History; Chapter 8, the Korean War; http://www.history.army.mil/

Wizard’s Chess

The pieces on the geopolitical chess board are in play in all three dimensions. Politically, nations are reacting to cultures in transition. Economically, there is a reordering of monetary and commodity values. Militarily, there is movement on a global scale. The tension mounts. The fishmongers ramp-up the volume as they compete for our attention with their wares wrapped in newsprint, byte segments and blog-tissue. The neurons that, in a single black box fleck of time, take data and make information we can understand, are fairly glowing with activity. Scandals riddle the federal government. Gold is dropping like a rock and oil is skyrocketing. The U.S. is hunting Snowden, the NSA whistleblower. Egypt is in flames. North Korea is playing games. India and China are facing off. So much is happening simultaneously, it is difficult to focus the present picture of our little globe. We humans do like our patterns and pictures to help us understand how events impact us individually. What is going on?

Is there, as some believe, a conspiracy of the global elite? It is no theory that a group of elite people, the Bilderberg Group, representing “government, finance, industry, labour, education and communications”[1] have been meeting annually to discuss the world situation for over fifty years. The Bilderberg Group even summons individuals from the bourgeoisie to attend from time-to-time. In Montreal, they interviewed President Obama before his first run. While I have no doubt they would like and, perhaps, even try to be puppet masters, there are too many variables. Humans, as individuals and groups of individuals, are too unpredictable.  On the other hand, it would not make sense to discount the Bilderberg Group and their agenda. There is no doubt that the members are players on the global stage and specific initiatives, such as the United Nations Agenda 21, are integrated into plans and vigorously promoted.

What is the problem with the UN’s Agenda 21 and its benign label of ‘Sustainable Development’? “Agenda 21, Sustainable Development, is the action plan implemented worldwide to inventory and control all land, all water, all minerals, all plants, all animals, all construction, all means of production, all energy, all education, all information, and all human beings in the world.  INVENTORY AND CONTROL.”[2]—Rosa Koire.  For a start, it removes resources from the hands of individuals and places them in the hands of a bureaucracy and it herds people into central population centers. Agenda 21 is the antithesis of the founding principles of the U.S., the concept of Natural Law. “Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man.” Frédéric Bastiat, The Law (written in 1850). The U.S. Agenda 21 process is well underway in central planning processes.

If not a global puppet master, what then? Wizard’s Chess in three dimensions-political, economic, and military- appears to be the game of choice.  In Wizard’s Chess, the pieces move of their own

Let the games begin.

Let the games begin.

accord when commanded by the player. “When a piece is taken, it is removed by the attacking piece, often in a barbaric manner where the losing piece is smashed violently by the winning piece.”[3] Depending upon the number of players, the chess board can become a chaotic place.

China, the Wizard’s Rook, is trying the wings of its newly found economic growth. With the tentative measure of placing troops in Mali, China is stepping off-continent. At the economic chess board, China is also ‘stepping out’, broadening its horizons with arms sales according to Reuters. “China’s volume of weapons exports between 2008 and 2012 rose 162 percent compared with the previous five-year period, with its share of the global arms trade rising from 2 percent to 5 percent, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.”[4] For instance, China’s recent sale of missiles to Turkey has NATO all abuzz.[5]

China is busy taking care of business politically as well. Overcoming past bad blood with Russia, China is reaching out for an alliance. The Diplomat points out that managing expectations about the relationship; expanding bilateral trade in energy and arms; and cooperation on international security affairs was the focus of a March 2013 conference between Russia’s Putin and China’s Jinping.[6] In the Indian Ocean, China is building harbors for trade but according to Stimson’s Ellen Laipson, “China’s maritime objectives in shipbuilding and port construction around the Indian Ocean are driven by commercial interests, although it’s reasonable to assume that the large investments could later evolve or be adapted for military purposes.”[7]

While the U.S. is the reigning superpower in the region, its light is fading. Combinations of other countries, like India, Pakistan, China, and the Koreas, are moving their respective chess pieces to fill in the voids and take up the slack. The U.S. is, arguably, the largest super power the world has ever seen. For the decades it engaged the Cold War (1947-1991), it grew to be a full service super

Waiting in the wings.

Waiting in the wings.

power provider. It built infrastructure, protected and manipulated countries without conquest, bolstered, bought and traded its way to its objectives, fought political wars, and ‘policed’ the world.  The U.S. played its pawns; installed and toppled leaders, bought and sold countries, and befriended and betrayed rogue groups. The U.S. may be a poor empire builder but she is a great super power who, until recently, controlled the seven seas. She is the Wizard’s queen and she is on the run. No one with any wisdom, however, would count the queen in check.

Russia, the Wizard’s Bishop, is on the move, double-time, since Vladimir Putin re-ascended the presidency. Putin does not trust the U.S. and most in the U.S. do not trust Putin. Each side has valid reasons for their distrust. Putin senses that the U.S. is a tired super power and is moving to fill some of the void. Putin knows, as we all do, that the U.S. is strapped for cash as he bolsters his oil and gas resources and backs Syria’s Assad. Putin has noted the U.S.’s current penchant for kinder, softer tactics like ‘winning hearts and minds’ and ‘leading from behind’ as he backs Iran. Arming both hemispheres of the world, a business area traditionally under the almost exclusive control of the U.S., has become a pastime for Putin’s government. The Wizard’s Bishop and Rook have teamed up on some policy fronts. Their combined capabilities rival the Wizard Queen’s.

Others of the Wizard’s pawns are moving smartly to avoid becoming victims of the super-storm cells that are swirling about in an apparently random fashion. India has a rocket, Agni-V, which can accurately deliver a payload over 3,000 miles. Pakistan is redoubling its nuclear saber rattling in its dispute with India over the Kashmir region, a legacy of the colonial breakup. Of course, India is reciprocating. Venezuela is buying missiles and submarines. North Korea is bellowing about its nuclear capability. Brazil, if it doesn’t disintegrate, is an emerging giant and prepared to defend its position. The Arab conflicts, mostly a Shi’a/Sunni issue and a legacy of decolonization, are ripping the Middle East apart. Every player, except the U.S., is amassing gold bullion; a sign of coming monetary upheaval.  Bread baskets in countries across the world are being fortified with defenses; yet another sign of global insecurity.

The Wizard’s chess boards are chaotic on all three levels; political, economic, and military. While chaos is disconcerting and unsettling to the human psyche, creative solutions frequently precipitate from the mess. While the Wizard’s chess game is unfolding quickly, others are preparing to play the next game. The odds-makers cipher the probabilities and the poker players are amusing themselves shuffling the geopolitical deck.  If the old Queen is placed in check, the world will look different. The key to stability on all three levels of Wizard’s chess, is the behavior of the Queen. Can she withdraw to her color without sacrificing her power? At the moment it is dicey. As China and Russia emerge from socialism and communism to trade-based economies, the U.S. is rocketing headlong into that failed experiment. It has never been more important that the U.S. hold onto its founding principles for it is a dangerous game being played. If the U.S. Queen fails in her withdrawal strategy and is captured, the destruction will be monumental and cultures of the world will reel backwards.




[2] Behind the Green Mask; Rosa Koire; http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/

[4] Reuters; China replaces Britain in world’s top five arms exporters: report; http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/18/us-china-arms-exports-idUSBRE92G0L120130318

[6] The Diplomat; April 12, 2013; A Russia-China Alliance Brewing?; http://thediplomat.com/2013/04/12/a-russia-china-alliance-brewing/

[7] International Business Times; June 27 2013; Ellen Laipson; New Geopolitics In The Indian Ocean Region?; http://www.ibtimes.com/new-geopolitics-indian-ocean-region-1326305

Soldier

Haunted? Yes, I think haunted is the right word to describe the American ‘soldier’. Revered as a hero or reviled as a devil incarnate, in the end a ‘soldier’ is simply a person with all the complexity that word implies. In some philosophical circles ‘hero’ replaces ‘soldier’ and heroes must, by definition, die. One may not, after all, return to a world of peace with a skill set fit for wars alone. Lisa Guliani, whose premise is based on the ‘all volunteer’ military, recently wrote …”How can you say you support the troops when the troops are engaged in the outright murder of people who have never done a damn thing to the American people OR the U.S. government? It makes ZERO sense.”…[1] She is correct, of course, at least as far as she takes it.

At the other extreme, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a report that claims twenty-two soldiers, active and veterans, commit suicide every day.[2] The suicide note of Daniel Somers, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, gives a special meaning to the word ‘pain’. In his last effort to share his thoughts, he wrote…“To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has

turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.”… “I am free.”[3] Daniel’s story is recent but it is echoed at the end of WWII, when American POW’s disappeared into

Working in the Gulag.

Working in the Gulag.

the soviet gulags, and throughout the Cold War (1947-1991). It is a disturbing movement. The U.S. government abandonment of the ‘soldier’ while claiming it leaves no one behind is inconsistent with its preferred icon of the hero with the white hat riding in to save-the-day.

The white hat illusion is one the U.S. government will defend at any cost. Benghazi is a recent example of the lengths to which the players will go to preserve the image. Even with the truth that these Americans did not need to be abandoned to die horribly on full display, the deception is kept alive.

‘And’, during the first Gulf War, comes the story of Scott Speicher whose betrayal and abandonment is detailed in Amy Waters Yarsinske’s book An American in the Basement: The Betrayal of Captain Scott Speicher and the Cover-up of His Death. You may recall the clues that Speicher was still alive when the U.S. invaded Iraq. It was covered by several news sources. Speicher apparently ejected from his F/A-18 Hornet on the first night of the Persian Gulf War and was taken in by a Bedouin group.[4] New evidence suggests he was repeatedly promised a deal for his repatriation by an American intelligence asset.  Speicher fell into Saddam Hussein’s hands and spent the next eight years in a Baghdad prison. He was killed after the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003.

‘And’, from Vietnam, comes the story of Bobby Garwood, captured while on a mission for the military intelligence organization. He was declared a deserter and a Special Forces mission was deployed to assassinate him. According to Joseph D. Douglass Jr., “When informed in 1978 that Garwood was still a prisoner, the State Department discarded the message. Only when Garwood managed to get a second message out in 1979 was he released. He managed to slip a note to a Finnish executive

POW L. Hughes (center), a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, is paraded barefoot and with a bandaged face through the street by two Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War, Vietnam.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

POW L. Hughes (center), a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, is paraded barefoot and with a bandaged face through the street by two Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War, Vietnam. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

who was in Hanoi. The Finn made the note public and Garwood was released to avoid the embarrassment. Upon his return, the Marine Corps put him on trial for behavior unbecoming a prisoner of war and seized all his back pay. Then they rigged the trial and prevented those who could attest to his prisoner status, such as the former North Vietnamese official Col. Tran Van Loc, from telling the truth at the trial.”[5]

‘And’, from Korea, Colonel Phillip Corso ( US Army Ret.Dec.), testified before the Dornan subcommittee on military personnel of the House National Security Committee, held a hearing on the POW/MIA issue in which Corso stated he had personally told Eisenhower of the U.S. POWs being used for experimentation.[6]

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” said Vladimir Lenin, Russian Communist politician & revolutionary (1870 – 1924); but it doesn’t. A lie is just a lie. Until the American people become clear about the value of a ‘soldier’ and demand the government respond truthfully about foreign affairs nothing will change. To paraphrase former Sen. Herb Kohl, a ‘soldier’ must trust the government to train and equip them, and do everything it reasonably can to protect them and care for them.  If the government fails the integrity test of doing what it is supposed to do even when no one is looking,

Government likes the idea of wearing a White Hat.

Government likes the idea of wearing a White Hat.

then why would a ‘soldier’ even leave home let alone follow orders? Why would a ‘soldier’ be a ‘soldier’? When the American public finally became incensed, Congress passed the 2002 Bring Them Home Alive Act,[7] which provides refugee status to foreign nationals of specified countries who assist in returning to U.S. control a live American POW or MIA from the Vietnam or Korean Wars. Navy Capt. Red McDaniel, who survived 6 years as a POW in North Vietnam, pretty well says it all: “I was prepared to fight, to be wounded, to be captured, and even prepared to die, but I was not prepared to be abandoned.”[8]

What then shall we teach our children? We should teach them the truth. There are great military heroes and sometimes a country needs to fight but now is not that time. I have been an advocate of the ‘soldier’ all my life. On the other hand, for that same period I have been critical of the military command structure; in particular those in the command structure that could not find a battlefield if their lives depended on it. More recently, I have become a strong critic of the use of the military as a political extension to achieve the whim of the day. Post 9/11/2001, the nation responded and the military ranks swelled with those who believed the threat to the U.S. was real. The ‘soldier’ in this military is being severely abused and our best and young people are being sacrificed for political ambition. Eventually the U.S. military may even be turned against its citizens. The dangers of a standing military are well documented throughout history and cannot be overstated; no nation can afford one for very long, it is a power tool for politicians, the best and brightest are sacrificed, and eventually it is turned against the people.

Fifty years ago, I believed we should serve to keep our great country free. Today, I still believe we should serve to keep our great country free. But the shores of our great country are not directly threatened so the military should stand down. The Cold War propaganda was excellent. We, the people, bought the standing military hook, line and sinker. It is time to shake off the hook, realize we’ve been hoodwinked, and demand accountability.



[1] Sott.net; Lisa Guliani; , 22 Jun 2013; ‘Supporting the troops’ is supporting your own destruction; http://www.sott.net/article/263040-Supporting-the-troops-is-supporting-your-own-destruction

[2] Forbes; Melanie Haiken; 2/05/2013; Suicide Rate Among Vets and Active Duty Military Jumps – Now 22 A Day; http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2013/02/05/22-the-number-of-veterans-who-now-commit-suicide-every-day/

[4] CNN Washington Bureau; Barbara Starr; January 10, 2003; Report suggests missing pilot alive in Iraq; http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/01/10/sproject.irq.scott.speicher/

[5] The Long Goodbye, We Shall Never Forget; Joseph D. Douglass Jr.; http://vetstribute.com/thelonggoodbye/abandoned.htm

[6] Library of congress; United States Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs; http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/pow/senate_house/investigation_S.html

[7] THE BRING THEM HOME ALIVE ACT and THE PERSIAN GULF WAR POW/MIA ACCOUNTABILITY ACT; http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/laws_directives/documents/BTHAA2000.pdf

[8] This article is a condensed version of a talk given to Indiana Chapter 1 of Rolling Thunder on November 9, 2002. The material is taken from Betrayed: The Story of Missing American POWs by Joseph D. Douglass Jr., published in 2002 and available through book stores (ISBN 1-4033-0131-X)

 

The Tyranny of a Standing Military

In 1787, while addressing the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on his view of aJAMES-MADISON-550x439 standing military, James Madison said, “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.”  He wasn’t alone. Well before James Madison addressed the Constitutional Convention, Samuel Adams admonished, in 1776, that a standing military was “always dangerous to the Liberties of the People.”  The first standing military in the history of the United States is a legacy of the Cold War (1947-1991) and it is now time to revisit the ‘buzz’ from the 1700s.

Madison, a proponent of a strong central government, is the last person I would have

even Years War - The Battle of Wilhelmstahl, 24th June 1762, in North West Germany

even Years War – The Battle of Wilhelmstahl, 24th June 1762, in North West Germany

suspected of opposing a standing army. What I lacked, of course, was context; the Revolutionary War. The British Monarchy was forced to double its debt to finance the Seven Years’ War. Sounding familiar? During the late 1760s, over half of the British tax revenue generated was dedicated to pay the interest on that debt. The Dutch bankers who financed the war smiled, but the people of Great Britain were taxed to the limit; they were enslaved by the cost of war. Living on less than half of the tax revenues generated was painful for Parliament so they began to pursue other sources of income. Hu-umm, the colonies in the New World were far away and could certainly foot part of the tax bill and ease the burden at home. Over a ten year period, Parliament passed a series of acts to increase tax revenues to maintain the standing military (in the opinion of the revolutionaries). To add insult to injury, The Quartering Act meant that the colonists had to provision and house the very troops that enforced the king’s policies at the end of a bayonet[1]. The new taxes and the coarse, profane drunkards that filled the ranks of the regular (standing) British Army in the colonies enraged a vocal, active minority and voilà, the American Revolution was born.

To their credit, Monroe and the other authors of The Constitution attempted to prohibit a standing military, other than the Navy. The Navy was supposed to protect commerce byNavy keeping the sea lanes open and free of pirates. That more or less worked for about 170 years. Armies were raised, wars were fought, and the armies stood down. It almost worked at the end of the WWII hostilities. The demobilization in 1947 resulted in a postwar low of $10 billion in real military spending. Enjoy that number, it is the last time you will see it! The Cold War was about to start and, with it, the beginning of the standing military and the enslavement of the American people.

By 1947, under the Truman administration, the seeds of the cold war were sewn. The American people, however, had other priorities. There appeared to be a growing awareness of Soviet aggressiveness, according to the polls of the time. Those same polls also reflected that most Americans were still not ready for another major overseas venture like opposing Russia. In November 1946, the Republicans gained control of Congress by promising a return to the good old days.. “We are not the British Empire” said they[2]. A crisis was needed to justify additional money for defense and the 1947 clashes over Greece and Turkey just didn’t cut it. Britain was close to bankruptcy and requested that the U.S. assume its role with the two countries.  At that time Truman, in accordance with the Truman doctrine, wanted to keep Greece and Turkey out of the hands of the Soviets by sending aid for military spending.  Greece was in the middle of a nasty civil war so was particularly vulnerable to communism, in Truman’s opinion. Truman argued that, because of the historic rivalry between the two nations, both nations had to be funded equally. Eventually, the Republican congress sent $400 million but no military support.

Luckily, a crisis availed itself when the Communists took over Czechoslovakia in 1948.

Communists takeover Czechoslovakia in 1948

Communists takeover Czechoslovakia in 1948

Lieutenant General Lucius Clay, military governor of the U.S. Zone in Germany, fanned the fire with his telegram warning that war between the United States and the Soviet Union might occur “with dramatic suddenness”. Congress was quick to approve over $3 billion when President Truman called for a supplemental defense appropriation. Truman’s re-election speech denouncing the Soviets for their “ruthless action” and their “clear design” to dominate Europe was the opening salvo of the Cold War, a state of permanent national emergency and military readiness. The standing military was here to stay. Just in case we, the people, needed reminding of how bad things were in the world, the Berlin crisis began in mid-1948, NATO was formed in 1949, and, in 1950, the outbreak of the Korean conflict kept the need for military spending at the forefront. By 1952, military spending authorization was over $180 million normalized to 1982 dollars.

In 1965, Vietnam ramped up, supported by the domino theory. By 1973, Viet Nam was not

In this Sept. 21, 1966 file photo, U.S. Marines emerge from their muddy foxholes at sunrise after a third night of fighting against continued attacks of north Vietnamese 324 B division troops during the Vietnam War.  AP / Henri Huet

In this Sept. 21, 1966 file photo, U.S. Marines emerge from their muddy foxholes at sunrise after a third night of fighting against continued attacks of north Vietnamese 324 B division troops during the Vietnam War. AP / Henri Huet

sustainable, but by then we’d spent $1.6 trillion and lost countless lives. There were down-sizing of forces after both Korea and Viet Nam but the military was, in both cases, left standing. The Cold War was declared over in 1991 and, yet, the military stands. In 2012, the military budget, which funds Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, now reporting to the Department of Homeland Security, was $553 billion[3]. The conflicts in Iran and Afghanistan were funded through other appropriations with a 2011 estimated cost of approximately $3.7 trillion[4] and more lives lost.  We are being enslaved by the debt of a standing military.

Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, and Iran are examples of conflicts that could not have happened, how they happened, without a standing military. These conflicts fall under Madison’s characterization of Rome’s use of its standing military, “…Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended...”.  When the military must be ‘called-up’, the Prescient and Congress are forced to air the issue during the light of day and the citizens have the opportunity to express their opinion. That is as it should be.

Mother and Father, Mary and Frank Moore before deployment in 1942

Mother and Father, Mary and Frank Moore before deployment in 1942

I can sit here and write this piece today because my father and mother, along with 16.1 million[5] others fought in WWII. My relatives, along with yours, have fought in every war and conflict this nation, the U.S., chose to engage, including both sides of the Civil War. It is not about the individual soldiers who left their homes and family to fight and, sometimes die, at the behest of their government. It is not about whether or not there is a draft or an all-volunteer force. It is about whether or not those soldiers get to put down their weapons and return home to their families. Since a standing military became the norm in the U.S., the government has enforced its will on all nations it touches through direct or indirect threat. We, the people who pay the bills, are not immune from the explicit or implicit threat of the military machine. Throughout history a standing military has become too seductive for power brokers to resist, today is no exception. While I understand that The Constitution has become an emotional icon, the ideas are fresh. The U.S. was great once, it could be again but not as long as there is a standing military and an advancing empire. If nothing else, the cost will consume the nation’s creative energy and still its motive power.

 


[1] The historical novel Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes is well-researched and provides an interesting view of the pre-revolutionary period through the opening salvos.

[2] Stephen E. Ambrose, Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy since 1938, 4th rev. ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 1985), pp. 71, 79-82, 93-94.

[3] Department of Defense; Fiscal Year 2012; http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/factsheet_department_defense

[4] Trotta, Daniel (29 June 2011). “Cost of war at least $3.7 trillion and counting”. Reuters.