For Crissake, General, Think of Your Grandmother

The Forgotten Human Factor in American Geopolitical Thinking

What do we have to do to remind American political and military leaders that all of their favorite bellicose initiatives–mainly wars but also “sanctions,” boycotts, blockades, regime-change ops, etc.–ultimately all fall on the backs of people, not abstractions. Those afflicted are schoolteachers and postal workers, mechanics and nurses, mothers and grandmothers, children and grandchildren. So when the McNamaras and Westmorelands, the Rumsfelds, the Wolfowitzes, the Cheneys, the Albrights, the Boltons and Abramses loose their indiscriminate–and curiously personalized–wrath on one country or another, be it Iraq or Venezuela, those who suffer aren’t politicians nor generals nor the institutions that make up “the country.”  Those who suffer are the grandmothers.

Don’t American politicians, strategists, bankers, industrialists and research scientists have grandmothers, or grandchildren? Or did all of these illustrious Americans just pop out of cyborg vending machines? If not, how can they justify the grief they engender with their perpetual quest for geopolitical advantage, for oil and gas, for arable land and fishable seas, in short, anything that can be “exploited.” When they’re calculating their troop depletion estimates do they also dial in the murdered and the maimed ballet dancers and flower vendors? Do they count the hungry children and the homeless refugees? What prompted Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, to make that spine-chilling comment in 1996 when she said on national TV that 500,000 Iraqi children dead from sanctions were “worth it.”

Merely a Monster?

Had she been smoking allspice or is she just a monster?  A few months later she was confirmed by the US Senate as Secretary of State and nobody even questioned her about this statement. Transporting 500,000 first graders would take 6,667 school buses, making a line more than 50 miles long. Albright’s father, the Czech politician and academic, Josef Korbel, was also the mentor of another hardliner, Condoleeza Rice. (Source: Democracy Now.com)

What’s wrong with these people? What have they got against humanity? What genetic deformation or failure in their upbringing makes them incapable of even considering the human factor? They are, after all, the coddled children of the richest, most advanced country in the world. They have always taken obscene privilege for granted. Can’t they remember their seventh-grade English teachers? Doesn’t it occur to them that the equivalent 50-year-old woman, also a teacher of English, who was carbonized from the air while riding in a collective taxi in Syria, was also a mother and grandmother? They can’t plead ignorance. They have some of the finest “intelligence” services in the world. Or do they consider it “just the cost of doing business?”

Is the wanton killing of innocent civilians really necessary? It may or may not be but it’s counterproductive. For every grandmother, son or daughter you kill, you create a tight-knit group of highly-motivated enemies whose mission–which will extend to coming generations–will be to kill Americans. So who benefits? Only the ghouls who profit from authorizing, creating and selling the Hellfire missiles used to atomize our grandmothers. In a sane country these “businessmen” would be put out to pasture to herd sheep and make cheese.

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Consider Disregarding Everything You’ve Been Told about Venezuela–1/2

Let’s Look Beyond the Sterilized Media for the Truth about US Efforts to Destabilize Venezuela

After more than 20 years of overt and covert hostile actions in Venezuela the US and its allies are finally ready to close the deal on another vanquished Latin American country. It looks to them like a slam-dunk, but it might not be so simple, despite the national-security dream team appointed by President Donald Trump to run the show. Before we go any further, let’s take a brief look at their rap sheets:

  • Retired State Department veteran, Eliot Abrams–Abrams, President Trump’s recently-appointed “Special Envoy to Venezuela” and chief of the team, has a history that dates back to the Reagan presidency when, according to Eric Alterman writing in The Nation on 2 February, 2017, he spent his time “abetting genocide” and was actually convicted in court of lying to Congress regarding his role in the Iran-Contra affair. (He was later pardoned by George H.W. Bush.) In a world-class show of irony Abrams, just before he was named Ronald Reagan’s “assistant secretary of state for human rights,” aided  Guatemala’s dictator–and mass murderer–General Efraín Ríos Montt in planning and executing “acts of genocide” against the indigenous people in the Ixil region of the department of Quiché.
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    Abrams_testifying
    But Abram’s most egregious performance as a State Department agent during the Reagan administration was his skillful coverup of the El Mozote massacre that occured in El Salvador in December of 1981, a barbarous incident he was reminded of just the other day by Rep. Ilhan Omar in questioning  during  the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Venezuela. In that little Salvadorean town members of the U.S.-backed Salvadoran army, allegedly during a hunt for leftist guerrillas, slaughtered at least 800 civilians as part of its brutal counterinsurgency.

    This graphic witness account of the atrocity appears in the Washington Post: “We could hear the women being raped on the hills,” one witness told journalist Mark Danner, author of The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War. “And then, you know, the soldiers would pass by, coming from there, and they’d talk about it. You know, they were talking and joking, saying how much they liked the 12-year-olds.”

    On Wednesday, Abrams balked at Omar’s line of questioning, deeming it “ridiculous,” and ultimately refused to answer her questions.Nearly four decades after the El Mozote massacre, as a member of George W. Bush’s National Security Council staff, Abrams aided and abetted a military coup against the democratically-elected government of Venezuela. Though that 2002 golpe de estado was only briefly successful before being reversed by the Venezuelan military, it did succeed in souring the US relationship with Venezuela to this day. As Eric Alterman concludes in his article in The Nation, “If Abrams had abetted genocide against Jews instead of Guatemalans, it might not have disqualified him from a top diplomatic position in the Trump administration, but he would at least have been treated as a pariah in the media, the establishment, and, one certainly hopes, the world of professional Jews. These days, however, it’s hard to be certain of anything.”
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  • Secretary of State and ex-CIA Director Mike Pompeo–Pompeo is a member of the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement. After six years as a US Representative from Kansas, President Trump named him Secretary of State. In 2014 Pompeo, commenting on the inclusion of a telecast by  Edward Snowden at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, requested that it be cancelled, predicting that it would encourage “lawless behavior” among attendees. (Andrea Drusch in Politico,  9 March, 2014). Two years later Pompeo was quoted as saying that Snowden “should be brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence” (Pete Kasperowicz, Washington Examiner, 11 February, 2016).
    .Pompeo
    Pompeo is a member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church since 2000 and serves as a church deacon as well as teaching Sunday school (Katherine Burgess in the Wichita Eagle, 19 April, 2018). In 2015 in a talk at a church, Pompeo said that “politics is a never-ending struggle … until the Rapture.” One wonders if Pompeo’s Evangelical religious convictions extend to advocating all-out war in the Holy Land in order to precipitate the Apocalypse and propel his people–and himself–directly into Heaven. His posturing on the Iran issue would seem to suggest that.
  • National Security Advisor, John Bolton–According to Wikipedia, Bolton has a formidable far-right pedigree. He is a former senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, senior advisor for Freedom Capital Investment Management, and a Fox News Channel commentator. He is also involved with a number of right-wing  think tanks, policy institutes and special interest groups, including the Institute of East-West Dynamics, the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, the Project for the New American Century, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, the Council for National Policy, and the Gatestone Institute. Google any one of these groups to see how it fits neatly into one of the most retrograde slots in the American political jigsaw puzzle.
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    Moreover, Bolton’s consistent personal policy of advocating war around the world makes him a dangerous person to be sitting in the seat of President Trump’s National Security Advisor. It is an ironic position for a person who kept his head down during the Vietnam War, first in the Maryland Army National Guard and later in the U.S. Army Reserve. From 2013 until March 2018, this warmongering terrier was chairman of the Gatestone Institute, a nonprofit organization that has been criticized for disseminating false anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim information, where Bolton published articles on Iran and other topics.
  • Senator Marco Rubio (R. Florida)–Marco Rubio’s claim to fame appears to be based on his rating of 98.67 by the American Conservative Union, based on his lifetime voting record in the Senate. If that’s not recommendation enough, according to the National Journal, in 2013 Rubio was the 17th most conservative senator.
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Why the Persecution of Venezuela?

What motivates the Trump government to take such a truculent stance on Venezuela, anyway? First and foremost there are Venezuela’s oil reserves–the richest confirmed deposits in the world. Though they’re seldom mentioned in the polite company of the American media, they are certainly objectives of public and private American avarice. The Venezuelans are also blessed–or cursed–with fabulous veins of gold and diamonds. Another factor in the American badgering of Venezuela is its left-wing government, something no American politician of whatever stripe can countenance. Nevertheless, no member of President Trump’s Venezuela-regime-change team will ever mention these prima facie factors. They all maintain that their objective is to “defend the Venezuelan constitution.” Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy?

What are their chances of success in toppling the Maduro government? In the words of William Arkin, author of Top Secret America and a cogent critique of the American policy of perpetual war, “Whenever the US bumbles into those countries, it fuels and galvanizes the opposition.” That’s what they discovered in Afghanistan and Iraq and what might well happen in Venezuela if push comes to shove. The ironic thing about the Americans’ armed visits to resource-rich countries is that, after decades of working off the same playbook, they still can’t get it right. In Iraq, for example, after winning the war by massive use of superior air power and bribing the commanding officers of Saddam’s elite Republican Guard, they ineptly paved the way for an elected Shiite government. They apparently forgot that Iran, adjacent to Iraq and the Americans’ principal enemy in the Middle East by their own estimation, was a solidly Shiite country with just a smattering of Sunni Moslems and Jews. Thus, by virtually delivering the Iraqi government to the Shiites, the American strategists succeeded in spectacularly strengthing the Iranians in the region. (Yes, thousands of Jews–the largest community in the Middle East outside of Israel– live peacefully in Iran.)

Go to Part 2
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