The Perpetual Business Of War

Authored by Leonard Savin via Oriental Review,

Shortly before its attack on Syria, the US declassified its “Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the United States’ Use of Military Force and Related National Security Operations.” As its name implies, this paper concerns itself with US military operations abroad. The word “war” is never officially used, as you may notice, because the procedure for declaring war is a rather complicated process.

According to the report, “US. forces remain in Afghanistan for the purposes of stopping the reemergence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten the United States or its interests.” In regard to Iraq and Syria, the picture is much the same. US armed forces are deployed “to conduct operations against ISIS with indigenous ground forces.” Such evasive wording in regard to the second group suggests that this is a reference not only to terrorists, but also to Syrian government troops. This is confirmed a bit further into the document, where it states that “US Armed Forces participating in the Defeat-ISIS campaign in Syria have taken a limited number of strikes against Syrian government and pro-Syrian government forces.” As for the Kurdish divisions, only the Iraqi Peshmerga are mentioned, although in Syria the US has also provided military assistance to the Kurdish units of the SDF.

Only a relatively small contingent of American troops have been posted to Yemen, where they are conducting operations against the local branches of al-Qaeda. In addition to taking part in combat operations, the US provides logistical assistance from Saudi Arabia against Houthi rebels.

In Somalia, the US carries out both air strikes as well as ground operations, which includes cooperation with the African Union mission in Somalia. The US has designated al-Qaeda, ISIS, and al-Shabaab as its military targets.

Libya has mostly been on the receiving end of air strikes that are supposedly coordinated with the Libyan Government of National Accord.

The seventh country mentioned in the document does not often come up in any of the various news reports about the military hostilities. This is Niger, and the official reason for the presence of the US military there is to train, assist, and advise the local government in the fight against ISIS. Moreover it states that “United States and Nigerien partner forces responded with armed force in self-defense.”

General Wesley Clark

In 2007 General Wesley Clark claimed in a television interview that after the attack on New York in 2001, the US planned to conduct seven wars in the Middle East region over the course of five years. The Pentagon would start with Iraq and then move on to target Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

The fact is that all of these countries, with the exception of Iran, have been the subject of direct or indirect aggression and political pressure from the US and its satellites. There are US military forces that remain stationed in some of them still to this day.

With regard to the legal framework, which is based on both local as well as international law, this document states that there has been no change that would apply to the presence and actions of the US armed forces there. Only in Yemen are certain restrictions in place. The section about the capture and detention of the citizens of various countries who are seized in conflict zones, as well as the sadly infamous Guantanamo prison, includes a similar statement. Despite the fact that this prison is actually even physically located on an illegally occupied part of Cuba at Guantanamo Bay, Washington continues to maintain that “detention operations at Guantanamo Bay are legal, safe, humane, and conducted consistent with U.S. and international law.” It reports that the detention operations at the prison will continue and new prisoners will be sent to Guantanamo.

Long War or Perpetual War?

To understand the US practice of warfare, one must turn to systematic studies that have been done on this subject, as this report is a logical continuation of the strategic research and development conducted by American academic and military institutions. In 2008, the RAND Corporation released a study, called “Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prospects, and Implications for the U.S. Army.” The document was drafted on the basis of the grimmest forecasts, i.e., the assumption that the US will be involved in conflicts against a unified Muslim world that will seek to supplant Western dominance until at least 2020, thus making it necessary to identify the ambiguities and actors in that war, as well as how it might unfold, and to come up with potential strategies to contend with that scenario.

The authors of the report suggest that methods such as capitalizing on the Sunni-Shiite conflict be used to sway US enemies in a future long war. For example, shoring up the region’s traditional Sunni regimes is suggested as a way to contain Iran and limit its influence in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

Another proposal is that the US might adapt its strategy to focus more on the long-term, relying less on forceful aggression in the Middle East. Under this option, the State Department, USAID, Peace Corps, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Justice could become the primary actors in this new American strategy.

It is revealing that the term “long war” was not simply added to the lengthy backlist of numerous other theoretical analyses, but has instead been transformed into a concept that is part of the common parlance of the current Washington establishment. This was confirmed by the relatively recent testimony presented by Seth Jones on April 27, 2017 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, titled “Managing the Long War: U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan and the Region. ”

Given that Afghanistan is located in an important geopolitical region — between Iran and Pakistan and relatively close to the Central Asia states of the former USSR — this country is doomed to be the object of a long and perhaps even perpetual US war.

But apparently the Pentagon is gearing up to wage an unending war on three fronts — not only in Afghanistan, but also against China and Russia. At least that’s the claim of Professor Michael Klare, who calls this evolution of events “an invitation to disaster” and cautions officials in Washington to think hard before committing to any strategies that involve the use of force.

War is Business

On April 16, 2018 the news broke that some US senators were drafting a new war authorization bill. Its authors are Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. and Tim Kaine, D-Va. and its co-sponsors include Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del.; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Todd Young, R-Ind. The bill would regulate the president’s power to press the US armed forces into service. But if one bothers to scrutinize even a bit all the work done by defense contractors and the political decisions related to combat operations, one can quickly see that there is a definite connection between the two. Therefore, any such restrictions can be not only political in nature, but also aimed at business interests. Both of the US missile strikes in Syria (April 2017 and April 2018) used Tomahawk missiles, which are manufactured by the American company Raytheon. In April 2017, when the US attacked a Syrian airbase (firing 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles), Raytheon surged 3% before paring its gain by half, but closed above its 50-day moving average and a 152.68 flat-base buy point. That put the stock back in buy range. Other Pentagon contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing, also edged higher. Interestingly, after April 11, 2018, Raytheon shares began to creep upward, rising from $219 per share to a ceiling of $228 by April 17. And this was despite the fact that most of the Tomahawks landed wide of their target.

The U.S. Senate

One would have thought that this would have put the Russian company Rosoboronexport in a better position, since it supplies weapons systems to Syria (and some of those systems prevented the Tomahawks from reaching their target), but not Raytheon, whose products were virtual duds. However, on April 16, Russian companies suffered a bad day on the stock market due to the latest US sanctions, with financial analysts claiming that Rosoboronexport, along with Rusal, took the biggest beating.And that was despite the fact that military products from Russia are in high demand on the global arms market.   In other words, some other kind of mechanism exists that makes it possible to manipulate the quotes for securities and the exchange rates. And sure enough, back in 2015 Business Insider reported that Donald Trump’s investment portfolio included stock holdings in Raytheon. At the time, a number of publications suggested that Trump’s financial interests benefited from the 2017 missile strike.  If someone has administrative leverage and the assistance of brokerage firms, a military campaign could be used for personal enrichment. And the whole shebang could be branded as a “defense of national interests” or “protection of democracy.”

The oil market also reacted to the attack on Syria. The price of crude oil jumped. Analysts explained this as a side effect of the potential danger that the conflict might escalate, thereby affecting the entire Middle East. And that could jeopardize the existing supplies. But those prices had changed before the US and Great Britain launched their missile attack. As early as April 11, Brent crude had risen to $71.96 a barrel, its highest point since December 2014. If one tracks the momentum of oil prices and the work of oil companies and traders on the global market, it’s easy to see who cashed in on this price hike.

Given that the US political system is based on “iron triangles” — the intersecting interests of corporations, government officials, and special-interest groups — it is unlikely that any truly sensible decision will be made in the US in regard to the use of armed force that would make it possible to resolve conflicts by means of diplomacy instead. The interests of the American military-industrial complex are clearly more compelling than those of the organizations that specialize in negotiations and consultations. War (or, to use the official rhetoric: “military operations abroad”) will be long, perpetual, and lucrative for the many actors involved.

Comments

BennyBoy Déjà view Fri, 04/27/2018 - 05:17 Permalink

 

"The interests of the American BANKING complex are clearly more compelling than those of the organizations that specialize in negotiations and consultations. BANKERS War will be long, perpetual, and lucrative for the BANKS involved."

Truthed it.

In reply to by Déjà view

withglee BennyBoy Fri, 04/27/2018 - 11:16 Permalink

"The interests of the American BANKING complex are clearly more compelling than those of the organizations that specialize in negotiations and consultations. BANKERS War will be long, perpetual, and lucrative for the BANKS involved."

Truthed it.

 

A war with the bankers could be won without blood, tears, or treasure ... probably in less than 12 months.

All it takes is a "real" money process to compete with their corrupt and opportunistic process. Institute the process in competition with theirs.

Attributes of a real money process are:

  • Perpetual free supply of money
  • Perpetual perfect supply/demand money balance ... zero INFLATION
  • Zero INTEREST load on responsible traders
  • INTEREST load commensurate to DEFAULT propensity on irresponsible traders.
  • Process is simple arithmetic and totally objective ... no monetary policy ... no LIBOR
  • No "profit" to be made in operation of the process
  • Virtually zero cost in operation of the process

Institute such a process and the banks would wither on the vine. With no profit to be made by trying to compete, they would naturally have to just shut down their business.

It is traders (and only traders like you and me) who create money. It has always been this way and always will be this way. As traders, we just need to take the reins ... game, set, match ... poof to money changers.

    In reply to by BennyBoy

    Mr. Ed withglee Fri, 04/27/2018 - 12:17 Permalink

    It's all the "bankers" fault???  C'mon, it's not that simple.

    In reality, the US depends on the military's budget!  All that money going into defense fertilizes an enormous range of economic activity.  Without it, the US economy would die.

    And there's no alternative: the weight of ever present regulation and business-negative social meme's has nearly snuffed out the life of new business formation in the last 20 years.  The only thing we know how to do now is blow things up, find enemies to punish and covert schemes to carry out.  What else are we gonna do?  Build stuff?  Serve people?  Hah!

    The rest of the world... just the same.  THE WORLD WE LIVE IN NEEDS WAR.

    In reply to by withglee

    DuneCreature Fri, 04/27/2018 - 05:22 Permalink

    ~~~~~~~)))  Shit Happens - But This Is Ridiculous  (((~~~~~~~~

    First JFK Gets Whacked, Then A Few Thousand Other U S Private Citizens On 911 And Now They Are Coming For The Rest Of Us AND We Are Paying For The Attempted Murder

    Who are these murderous assholes?

    The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). ........... Who else?

    Certainly not the freaking Russians.

    Some Muslim Terrorist Subcontractors, Chinese Hacky Lackeys and Israeli Wet Work Agents in league with the spook assholes,..........but the jerks we hand paychecks to who are trying to kill all Americans are the flat-out full-traitorous poisonous fungus among us.

    All US wars in the last hundred years have been started by the CIA/IC too.

    Had enough CIA yet?

    Live Hard, Why Are We Buying The Intelligence Community Bullets, Bombs And Bio-Weapons Instead Of Burying Them All On The Aleutian Islands Under Rows Of Rocks On The Wind Swept Beach?, Die Free

    ~ DC v8.8

    DingleBarryObummer Fri, 04/27/2018 - 05:24 Permalink

    1. Oded Yinon Plan

    2. Defend World Reserve Currency.

    3. Deracinate the tribal peoples with bombs.  There's only one tribe allowed to exist.  The rest of us must be atomized, rootless, culture-less, with no blood ties, only concerned with fiat.

    Brazen Heist Fri, 04/27/2018 - 05:26 Permalink

    The USSA needs to go bankrupt to stop this MIC racket cancer from metastasising 

    Because clearly "the people" are unable to do jack shit about the hijacking of their so-called "democracy" by wolves dressed up as lambs.

    WTFUD Fri, 04/27/2018 - 05:58 Permalink

    They didn't budget in Russia's participation and costs have quadrupled. lol! Hence the reason for the disinformation bombardment and demonisation of said country

    I feel a song coming on . . . 

    When you're feeling down and your resistance is low

    Kick-start another war and let yourself go

    Come on, all right, don't play hard to get

    It's a freeeeeee world, all you have to do

    Is drop the bombs, drop the bombs

    Everybody drop the bombs, of looooooooooooooooooooove

    Play the Game, play the game, play the game

    Play the game of Love, er, War.

    Manipuflation Fri, 04/27/2018 - 06:10 Permalink

     I really do wonder if we Westerners are cable of understanding some of the things about Eastern Europe.  I am married to one of those Eastern Europeans and it turns out that I am genetically more than half Eastern European with a sliver of Russian even.  It's very complicated and I think that is why my progenitors never passed on the details.  That was done for a reason and 90 years later I go back to Eastern Europe and get one of the females. 

    This video blows my mind and is specific to Eastern Europe.  It's called "kolyada".  In some places this is a Christmas song but in others not.  This link has English subtitles and it is a short moral story about females.

    Kolyada

    Let it Go Fri, 04/27/2018 - 06:19 Permalink

    Some investors have stated that war is good for the economy but it could be argued not always. While disputing the true economic benefit I also rail at the arrogance of such people who often have little regard for the lives that war destroys

    Long gone are the days of conquering your enemy then raping and plundering your way to glory and riches. The article below argues war is a destructive force that should be avoided when possible.

      http://War Is Good For The Economy-Well Not Always.html

    An Shrubbery Fri, 04/27/2018 - 06:31 Permalink

    US. forces remain in Afghanistan for the purposes of stopping the reemergence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten the United States or its interests.” 

    What was that movie where Tom Cruise was a cop that arrested people for crimes they hadn't yet committed?

    Not only are we the world's policemen, we will bomb you for even thinking about it.

    JelloBeyonce Fri, 04/27/2018 - 07:26 Permalink

    War Is A Racket

    By Fmr. Major General Smedley Butler (USMC)

     

    WAR is a racket. It always has been.

    It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

    A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

    In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

    How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

    Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

    And what is this bill?

    This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

    For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.......

     

    Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit -- fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.

    Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they? It pays high dividends.

    Who Makes The Profits?

    The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits -- ah! that is another matter -- twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent -- the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let's get it.

    Of course, it isn't put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and "we must all put our shoulders to the wheel," but the profits jump and leap and skyrocketed. Let's just take a few examples:
     

    Take our friends the du Ponts, the powder people -- didn't one of them testify before a Senate committee recently that their powder won the war? Or saved the world for democracy? Or something? How did they do in the war? They were a patriotic corporation. Well, the average earnings of the du Ponts for the period 1910 to 1914 were $6,000,000 a year. It wasn't much, but the du Ponts managed to get along on it. Now let's look at their average yearly profit during the war years, 1914 to 1918. Fifty-eight million dollars a year profit we find! Nearly ten times that of normal times, and the profits of normal times were pretty good. An increase in profits of more than 950 per cent.

    Take one of our little steel companies that patriotically shunted aside the making of rails and girders and bridges to manufacture war materials. Well, their 1910-1914 yearly earnings averaged $6,000,000. Then came the war. And, like loyal citizens, Bethlehem Steel promptly turned to munitions making. Did their profits jump -- or did they let Uncle Sam in for a bargain? Well, their 1914-1918 average was $49,000,000 a year!

    Or, let's take United States Steel. The normal earnings during the five-year period prior to the war were $105,000,000 a year. Not bad. Then along came the war and up went the profits. The average yearly profit for the period 1914-1918 was $240,000,000. Not bad.

    There you have some of the steel and powder earnings. Let's look at something else. A little copper, perhaps. That always does well in war times.

    Anaconda, for instance. Average yearly earnings during the pre-war years 1910-1914 of $10,000,000. During the war years 1914-1918 profits leaped to $34,000,000 per year.

    Or Utah Copper. Average of $5,000,000 per year during the 1910-1914 period. Jumped to an average of $21,000,000 yearly profits for the war period.

     

     

     

    Chief Joesph Fri, 04/27/2018 - 07:54 Permalink

    Marine Corps General Smedley Butler summed it up best in 1935 about war being a racket. It still is today.  (See: https://archive.org/stream/WarIsARacket/WarIsARacket_djvu.txt).

    Without its war machinery, the American economy, or GDP,  wouldn't be much better than some of the other second and third world countries are today.  And, the only way the poor youths in America can be assured of get a decent paying job right after high school, is to sign up in the military.  Sad!

    highwaytoserfdom Fri, 04/27/2018 - 08:57 Permalink

    Generals gathered in their masses
    Just like witches at black masses
    Evil minds that plot destruction
    Sorcerers of death's construction
    In the fields the bodies burning
    As the war machine keeps turning
    Death and hatred to mankind
    Poisoning their brainwashed minds
    Oh lord yeah!

    Politicians hide themselves away
    They only started the war
    Why should they go out to fight?
    They leave that role to the poor

    Time will tell on their power minds
    Making war just for fun
    Treating people just like pawns in chess
    Wait 'til their judgement day comes
    Yeah!

    Now in darkness world stops turning
    Ashes where the bodies burning
    No more war pigs have the power
    Hand of God has struck the hour
    Day of judgement, God is calling
    On their knees the war pig's crawling
    Begging mercy for their sins
    Satan laughing spreads his wings
    Oh lord yeah!

    Songwriters: MICHAEL BUTLER, OZZY OSBOURNE, TONY IOMMI, WILLIAM WARD

     

     

    headless blogger Fri, 04/27/2018 - 10:33 Permalink

    Very true. However, nothing is mentioned about Israeli interests and the dual relationship between Washington and Tel Aviv. 

    Until the issue of Israel and Zionism is exposed openly and dealt with, there will be a continued march to WW3. Israel and Zionism is one of the major, if not the major, backbone of all the conflict. The U.S. MIC is used for Corporate profit, Israel, and Elites in the West. It has no care about the protection of the citizens/taxpayers of the West.

    Able Ape Fri, 04/27/2018 - 10:42 Permalink

    War as a money-making racket for bankers has been as easy as shooting fish in a barrel; perhaps we need to string up a couple of bankers from light poles to make the point that they need to STOP taking the easy route and use their minds to think of creative and productive ways of using the institutions at THEIR disposal....