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Re: <nettime> Iraq: Ways Backward Digest [4x]
nettime's_digestive_system on Sat, 20 Jan 2007 15:01:54 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Iraq: Ways Backward Digest [4x]

Table of Contents:

   Re: <nettime> Iraq: Ways Backward Digest                                        
     Thomas Keenan <keenan {AT} bard.edu>                                                 

   Re: <nettime> Iraq: Ways Backward Digest                                        
     Michael H Goldhaber <mgoldh {AT} well.com>                                           

   Re: <nettime> Iraq: The Way Forward                                             
     Michael H Goldhaber <mgoldh {AT} well.com>                                           

   Re: <nettime> Iraq: The Way Forward                                             
     "Benjamin Geer" <benjamin.geer {AT} gmail.com>                                       


Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2007 00:41:44 -0500 (EST)
From: Thomas Keenan <keenan {AT} bard.edu>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Iraq: Ways Backward Digest

On Sat, 20 Jan 2007, Brian Holmes wrote:

> We have reached a state where the American Left, not to mention the 
> Democratic electorate, is functionally illiterate about the very issues 
> around which the management of the immense power of the country 
> revolves.

Wow, is that ever true. Thank you.

But, Brian, here's q question. Has the US failed in Iraq? If the point 
was, as many have argued, to make Saddam a lesson, a "demonstration," of 
what American power can do if you mess with it, or something, what has the 
war actually demonstrated to any potential future adversary? That the US 
will wreck your [any] country for umpteen forseeable years, with no plan 
for what to do about it, and leave it to some unspecified whomever to fix 
up? Or that the US can overthrow you, who cares what happens next, and 
that's all that matters? Or that the US, rather traditionally, has some 
thuggish friends with whom it will replace you in power, and that's more 
than enough? Or that US military force simply failed miserably to 
accomplish any reasonable foreign policy or power projection goal, and you 
[anyone] should feel free to do whatever you feel like (build a nuclear 
weapon, slaughter hundreds of thousands, fly more planes into more 
buildings, whatever) and take it on however you like? I -- truly -- have 
no idea which answer is correct. Not even a guess, honestly. Do you? 


Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 22:21:34 -0800
From: Michael H Goldhaber <mgoldh {AT} well.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Iraq: Ways Backward Digest

I am sure you are right about much of what you said re Saudi Arabia,  
and in fact nothing  you said came as news to me. I have been  
studying too, my whole life. However, I do not agree that studying  
one place will reveal the really valid lessons about American  
policies worldwide.

Take the issue of what is good for American corporations (and  
presumably the real money-economic oligarchy). Our largest trade with  
any one country now is probably with China. It is true that American  
missionaries were deeply involved there for several generations, but,  
in 1949, the oligarchy felt that it had "lost China." It is one of  
the minority of countries in which there is no American military  
presence. India, another important trading partner is another. As for  
oil, Russia is now one of the main world suppliers. My point is  
simply that US military dominance of or even presence in or near of a  
certain country is not at all necessary for it to be useful to the  
monied oligarchy. (Trade with Vietnam is growing too.)

In fact, as Iraq shows so clearly, military-imperialist aims can be  
counterproductive for the larger oligarchy, though it is certainly  
good to some companies.

To return for a moment to China or Russia, the pirating of American  
cultural artifacts such as DVD's or even books could be said to lead  
to American cultural penetration, but that is a case where the  
corporations are too stupid to realize that draconian IP laws are not  
in their long term interests, and if not theirs, then certainly not  
in ours.

The Bush types probably do feel they need military dominance, but I  
think the lesson they learned from the defeat of George the first by  
Clinton was that for them to stay in power, the wars must continue.  
That is why they could not stop at Afghanistan, but had to find  
another place to invade; admittedly , they already had picked out  
iraq; as I said before it was just the most plausible. Up to a point,  
that worked. Now, amzaingly, and to my delight (though with mourning  
for all the dead) it has stopped working. Now is the time when  
ordinary people might be able to grasp that military power is not so  
valuable and can actually hurt. Much of the oligarchy might grasp  
that too, if it hasn't already.

That lesson will not end the money-economic oligarchy's power. But it  
would still be worth offering.

Anyway, thanks for your very kind words a the end.



Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 22:44:38 -0800
From: Michael H Goldhaber <mgoldh {AT} well.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Iraq: The Way Forward


One of the main points of military power in my view is to demonstrate  
your strength to others as well as to your own people. With a truly  
secret war, you couldn't do that. With a war that you only pretend is  
secret, while actually making your involvement pretty obvious, that's  
different. I would put Chile in 1973 in that category. As usual,  
American political opposition to Allende was loud. So was  the  
embrace of Pinochet after his coup. Nixon and Kissinger's complicity  
with the coup was pretty much an open secret.

Another example: the invasion of Grenada in 1983. Grenada was a tiny  
island. It would have been easy to invade it in secret. But that was  
not the method at all. In fact, the success invasion was publicized  
every second, and was celebrated by pro-military types as "America is  
back." (The country was so tiny that it could have been invaded by  
the U.S. National Capitol Police without much chance of losing, so  
that celebration was ultra-ridiculous.)

So I propose a game. Name some supposedly secret US wars, and I'll  
see if I can find contemporary references that make clear they were  
widely known at the time (others can chime in too of course). Care to  
start with the Bay of Pigs?


On Jan 19, 2007, at 4:15 PM, Benjamin Geer wrote:

> All those books by former CIA agents
> like John Stockwell... or do you disagree?  Do you maintain that the
> US has never engaged in any secret wars?  How do secret wars fit into
> your view of the US military?  I'm sorry to be a pest, but I feel as
> if you haven't answered this question.


Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2007 14:38:18 +0200
From: "Benjamin Geer" <benjamin.geer {AT} gmail.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Iraq: The Way Forward

On 20/01/07, Michael H Goldhaber <mgoldh {AT} well.com> wrote:
> So I propose a game. Name some supposedly secret US wars, and I'll see if I
> can find contemporary references that make clear they were widely known at
> the time (others can chime in too of course).

OK, I'll bite, how about the CIA's involvement in Angola in the autumn
of 1975, which John Stockwell, a former CIA agent who was a commander
of the operation, has written about?[1][2][3][4]

Stockwell says, for example: "Our ambassador to the United Nations,
Patrick Moynihan, he read continuous statements of our position to the
Security Council, the general assembly, and the press conferences,
saying the Russians and Cubans were responsible for the conflict, and
that we were staying out, and that we deplored the militarization of
the conflict.  And every statement he made was false.... This CIA
director Bill Colby... gave 36 briefings of the Congress, the
oversight committees, about what we were doing in Angola. And he lied.
 They asked if we were putting arms into the conflict, and he said no,
and we were.... They asked if we had advisors inside the country, and
he said 'no, we had people going in to look at the situation and
coming back out'. We had 24 people sleeping inside the country,
training in the use of weapons, installing communications systems,
planning battles, and he said, we didn't have anybody inside the
country.  In summary about Angola, without U.S. intervention, 10,000
people would be alive that were killed in the thing."[3]

Stockwell says the program was exposed "by winter [1975]"[1], but that
by that time, the damage had been done.

He also notes: "I found that the Senate Church committee has reported,
in their study of covert actions [in 1975-1976], that the CIA ran
several thousand covert actions since 1961, and that the heyday of
covert action was before 1961; that we have run several hundred covert
actions a year...."


[1] http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Stockwell/SecretWars_Stockwell.html
[2] http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Stockwell/In_Search_Enemies.html
[3] http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4068.htm
[4] http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4069.htm

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