Thursday, February 22, 2018

"The Death Merchant of the World," An Exercise in Cognitive Dissonance


Former CIA director James Woolsey unironically admitting that the U.S. continues to interfere in global elections. If anyone would know, he would — he runs the shop that does it (source).

by Gaius Publius

Though we're tilting at windmills, we in the Chair by the Window, it's difficult not to write this. Cognitive dissonance, like the torpedoes, be damned.

Consider these four data points.

1. "We are the death merchant of the world" — Lawrence Wilkerson on U.S. Foreign Policy

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson is a longtime top aide to Gen. Colin Powell. This is from Ben Norton's write-up of an interview he did with Wilkerson in 2016:
"I think Smedley Butler was onto something," explained Lawrence Wilkerson, in an extended interview with Salon.

In his day, in the early 20th century, Butler was the highest ranked and most honored official in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps. He helped lead wars throughout the world over a series of decades, before later becoming a vociferous opponent of American imperialism, declaring "war is a racket."

Wilkerson spoke highly of Butler, referencing the late general's famous quote: "Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

"I think the problem that Smedley identified, quite eloquently actually," Wilkerson said..."I think the problem is much deeper and more profound today, and much more subtle and sophisticated."
Just one example, not the obvious one, but pertinent to the news (emphasis added):
"Was Bill Clinton’s expansion of NATO — after George H. W. Bush and [his Secretary of State] James Baker had assured Gorbachev and then Yeltsin that we wouldn't go an inch further east — was this for Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, and Boeing, and others, to increase their network of potential weapon sales?" Wilkerson asked.

"You bet it was," he answered.
Wilkerson concludes: "We dwarf the Russians or anyone else who sells weapons in the world."

We dwarf them in our wars as well, he could also have said, at least since the Cold War era. To start, think just of the millions killed in Iraq from the two Bush invasions. Then consider the destruction in Afghanistan and Libya under Obama, and the seven countries he was at war with, as we are today.

Wilkerson: "We are the death merchant of the world."

2. The U.S. Intervened in 81 Global Elections Between 1947 and 2000

In an academic study of "Partisan Electoral Interference by the Great Powers," Professor Dov Levin has created a dataset listing and detailing just what the title says — partisan electoral interference by the Great Powers, both covert and overt, between 1946 and 2000.

Joshua Keating at Slate (emphasis added):
Using declassified documents, statements by officials, and journalistic accounts, Levin has found evidence of interference by either the United States or the Soviet Union/Russia in 117 elections around the world between 1946 and 2000, or 11.3 percent of the 937 competitive national-level elections held during this period. Eighty-one of those interventions were by the U.S. while 36 were by the USSR/Russia. They happened in every region of the world, though most commonly in Europe and Latin America. The two powers tended to focus on different countries, though Italy was a favorite of both, receiving eight interventions by the U.S. and four by the Soviets.
Let's not play tit for tat. Foreign interventions are common:
The U.S. and Russia aren’t the only countries that do this. China has interfered in several Taiwanese elections, for instance, and the late President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela gave support to several preferred candidates throughout Latin America[.]
Just note the numbers — at  81 U.S. interventions in foreign elections since 1946. As a percent of all interventions studied, it's more than two-thirds of them, a fraction shy of 70%. As a percentage of all competitive elections studied, the U.S. intervened in more than 10% of them.

This fails to account for 21st century interventions, such as the disaster we created in Honduras.We seem to do this for a living, or as a regular way of running our business.

3. We Intervene Gladly and Smugly

Watch the video above, again if you've already seen it. The "manly men" — the realists, the hard-nosed protectors of our freedom — who run these operations are blasé to the point of proud about them. Even smug. Note the laughter near the end of the clip.
Ingraham: We don't do that now, though? We don't mess around in other people's elections?

Woolsey: Well ... [smiles, makes deliberate muttering noises]

All laugh knowingly.

Woolsey: Only for a very good cause in the interest of democracy.
Smedley Butler was told he was acting in the interest of democracy as well.

4. An Act of War

Was presumed (still unproved, though not disproved either) Russian interference in the U.S. election an "act of war"? Mainstream Democrats have been saying so early and often.

From The Hill:
“I actually think that their engagement was an act of war, an act of hybrid warfare, and I think that’s why the American people should be concerned about it,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.).

“This past election, our country was attacked. We were attacked by Russia,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). ...

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s ranking member, has similarly described the election meddling as an “attack” and likened it to the United States’ “political Pearl Harbor.”
Would James Woolsey agree that meddling in elections is a "political Pearl Harbor"?

Are We at War with the World? Should the World be at War with Us?

Consider three questions:

     • If Russian interference, should it be proved, is an "act of war," a new "Pearl Harbor," how should we respond to that?

     • Have we committed "acts of war" against the world — 81 and counting by Dov Levin's dataset? If so, how should the world respond to us?

     • How should we respond to the world's response? By crying "no fair" and continuing as before, or admitting fault and stopping?

Then ask:

     • How would a principled, moral person answer the first three questions?

     • How is the government and corporate establishment answering them?

     • Whose pockets are you swelling if you agree with them?

This story is not what it appears to be. The real story is the story behind the story you're being told.

Some dissonant thoughts for your day's cognition, sent from The Chair by the Window. Sorry about that.


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At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did that number, 81, include our own elections since at least 2000 (it became obvious in 2000) both primaries and generals?

So that number could easily be in triple figures.

And when you add the fact that republicans and democraps have gooned our own elections pretty much every cycle since 2000, the hypocrisy of our whinging on about the Russians becomes gargantuan.

But of course, americans lack the gene(s) required to recognize hypocrisy.

Here is one more fact that might be appreciated: It would be nearly trivial to make our own elections fair, verifiable and unhackable. Yet it's beyond us/US to do so. And the threat of the Russians isn't the reason we just can't bring ourselves to fix it. It's because the republicans and democraps want/need to be able to ratfuck their voters when it amuses them to do so.

At 6:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Corporatist States of America will bring about WWIII and likely destroy all human life on Earth. I hope they will be proud of themselves.


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