Every dying Empire has its truth telling prophet and America had its own with Chalmers Johnson. Johnson correctly compared the decay of the American empire, with its well over 600 overseas military bases, with the fall of the Roman Empire whereas the Senate becomes a wealthy corporate club and irrelevant compared to the ruling Military Industrial Congressional Complex
Chalmers Johnson was a truth teller and prophet in a political environment where few would stand up to the interests and secrecy of the Pentagon and the intelligence community ~ and since his passing in November of 2010, many of his prophetic fears have been realized in the Obama administration.
I have begun drafting my portion of the new Handbook of Intelligence Studies (Routledge, 2013), it is a chapter early on entitled “The Craft of Intelligence.” I pick up where Allen Dulles and Sherman Kent left off. My graphic on Intelligence Maturity captures the essence of my thinking at the strategic level, but of course there is more to come, including the desperate need to restore integrity to all that we do.
In 1988 I ghost-wrote for the Commandant of the Marine Corps an article that he enhanced and signed, “Global Intelligence Challenges in the 1990’s.” At that time my focus was on the difference between the conventional threat and the emerging unconventional threat.
Now my focus is on the purpose and process of intelligence as decision-support. We must — we will — move from secret intelligence for the few to open intelligence for the many; from expensive centralized largely worthless intelligence to free and low-cost distributed intelligence relevant to every person at every level on every issue; from intelligence as window-dressing for channeling $80 billion a year to banks and corporations, to intelligence as an integral element of every aspect of a Smart Nation.
This article is completely out of touch with reality and the authors have not bothered to familiarize themselves with the literatures pertinent to their endeavor. Out of 89 cited sources 12 are non-intelligence-related prior publications of the lead author, 1 is a prior publication of the second author, and 11 are ostensibly about intelligence but truly marginal selections. So 12% sources on the subject, 13% self-citation, and 75% escoteric psycho-babble irrelevant to the actual challenge. As an intelligence professional, I am offended that two ostensibly erudite individuals would dare to publish this trype without even a semblance of understanding of the subject under discussion.
Economic imbalances and social inequality risk reversing the gains of globalization, warns the World Economic Forum in its report Global Risks 2012. These are the findings of a survey of 469 experts and industry leaders who worry that the world’s institutions are ill-equipped to cope with today’s interconnected, rapidly evolving risks. The findings of the survey fed into an analysis of three major risk cases: Seeds of Dystopia; Unsafe Safeguards and the Dark Side of Connectivity. Report also analyses the top 10 risks in five categories – economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological.
Phi Beta Iota: The report fails to address the absence of both intelligence and integrity among all “institutions” be they public or private. This is the entire point of the global Occupy movement. This is also the entire point of this website, which predates Occupy by some time.
We are going to move from denial to realization. Physical world events will drive the process of realization. The primary trend is between stability and instability. We are moving from a multi-class system running from Super Elite to Unperson into a model of have’s and have-nots, the unpersons. Labor has become a problem because less than 500 million are involved in life support activities thereby leaving more than 7 billion people very vulnerable to dependency (and treated as expendable containers). We are watching a redistribution process bound towards divestiture as more people become unpersons. Destruction of paper assets, debt collapse, bank failure, and war are all part of the redistribution process. With more unpeople, it becomes easier to reduce population through death and abuse. Our current economic structure has at least six trajectories of support; the physical world, human capital, transportation, technology, rule of law,and money.
Fukishima, Katrina, Gulf of Mexico oil spill — all examples of entire populations treated as “unpersons.”
630 French UXO personnel have been killed since WWII working on this stuff. Currently in France the UXO specialists recover about 900 tons per year, with 30 tons of that being chemical munitions (mustard gas shells, phosgene shells, etc.), and they estimate there’s enough work there to keep them busy for another 900 years.
“But former senior CIA officer Robert Baer told ABC News this week that the loss of assets was more than a mere setback, and not an isolated incident but part of a disturbing pattern.
“When you lose your entire station, either in Tehran or Beirut, that’s a catastrophe,” said Bob Baer, a legendary CIA agent whose Middle East exploits were fictionalized in the George Clooney film “Syriana.” Baer said the disaster was due in part to a new generation of agents that has forgotten, or never learned, the traditional methods of intelligence gathering.
“They don’t understand tradecraft,” Baer said. “And we have lost our touch inespionage.”” (Emphasis mine)
Invite your attention to pages 5 thru 7 of attached which outlines in very clear terms the likely FY 2013 and longer term impacts on the Department of Defense and the Joint Force of the impending sequester brought about by this week’s dereliction of duty on the part of the Senators and Representatives making up the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
Phi Beta Iota: Panetta-McCain may be the toxic replacment to Cheney-Warner. The letter is without merit. The acquisition system is so broken now the Navy and Army cannot build anything coherently–the Navy still lacks Naval Gun Fire and the Army still lacks an infantry weapon able to out-gun the Taliban, while the Air Force continues to stink at close air support and lack both an intra-theater adequacy of lift and a long-haul heavy lift capability (or the ability to be effective above 6,000 ft). DoD, in short, is a mis-managed mess and Panetta has no idea how to go about fixing that, nor does he want to. Lockheed Martin and others are quite happy with the way things are, where 50% of every dollar is waste but that waste is profit for them because it includes their overhead. It is true that the current laws mandated by Congress make it difficult for any Cabinet Secretary to cut waste–this is the same Congress that mandated we pay 100% asking price for Medicare drugs instead of the more common global standard of 2% for generic wholesale. As long as Congress remains corrupt, and the SecDef remains corrupt, there is no fixing this problem. The FACT is that we have to cut one trillion a year (what we are borrowing), not one trillion over ten years. The FACT is that DoD would be much stronger if it could combine both intelligence and integrity and actually create the four forces after next, at a much reduced cost, that those with intelligence and integrity have been discussing for decades, and with greater intensity, since the mid-1990’s.
The 2012 election is now in play, and the Republican wing of the war party is gearing up to blame President Obama for America’s failed wars (who, while not entirely blameless, is hardly the architect of defeat) and the accompanying national humiliation. This email is about an opening shot that just appeared in the Weekly Standard.
One of my closest friends, retired Marine Colonel XXX, forwarded the attached analysis of the US defeat in Iraq. (I use the word ‘analysis’ charitably) It was written by Fred Kagan, his wife, and another person, neocons all. The Kagans are among one of America’s most vocal advocates preventative war, especially the invasion of Iraq, and were “architects” of the so-called “surge” (which is Versailles-speak for a relatively modest, time-consuming escalation, whereas in traditional military parlance, the word ‘surge’ implies a massive increase, like a doubling or tripling, of effort over a very short period of time).
It looks increasingly likely that President Obama is going to cave into the oil interests promoting the pipeline to move oil mine in tar sands of Canada to the Port Arthur Free Trade Zone in Texas.
One of the prime selling points of this scheme, which has environmentalists all in uproar will no doubt be that the pipeline is needed for energy security. So what is going on? My good friend Pierre Sprey’s answer may surprise you. He has graciously given me permission to distribute it.
Peak Oil or Peak Profits?
email from Pierre Sprey, 5 September 2005
A new Oil Change International report has injected a breath of fresh air into the endless stream of media BS about peak oil, declining US oil production, disastrous dependence on foreign oil, need for new offshore drilling, blah, blah , blah, blah…. The report’s charts show that our domestic oil production has been rising markedly since 2008. The excess domestic oil and the new Keystone pipeline oil are unneeded for the domestic market and will go largely to exports to fatten Big Oil’s bottom line.
The most interesting conclusions are:
“Gasoline demand is declining due to increasing vehicle efficiency and slow economic growth;
Meanwhile the surge in new shale oil production in North Dakota and Texas has led to the first rise in U.S. oil production since 1970 and is forecast to continue for some time;
As a result of stagnant demand and the rise in both domestic and Canadian oil production, there is a glut of oil in the U.S. market.
Refiners have therefore identified export markets as their primary hope for growth and maximum profits.
In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks the then national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, called in her senior staff and asked them to think seriously about “how [to] capitalise on these opportunities”.
The primary opportunity came from a public united in anger, grief and fear which the Bush administration sought to leverage to maximum political effect. “I think September 11 was one of those great earthquakes that clarify and sharpen,” Rice told the New Yorker six months afterwards. “Events are in much sharper relief.”
Ten years later the US response to the terror attacks have clarified three things:
the limits to what its enormous military power can achieve,
its relative geopolitical decline and
the intensity of its polarised political culture.
It proved itself
incapable of winning the wars it chose to fight and
incapable of paying for them and
incapable of coming to any consensus as to why.
The combination of domestic repression at home and military aggression abroad kept no one safe, and endangered the lives of many. The execution of Osama bin Laden provoked such joy in part because almost every other American response to 9/11 is regarded as a partial or total failure.
On today, the anniversary of the overthrow of King Idris in Libya, the neo-colonial powers met in France to continue their drive at the new carve-up of Africa. This set of circumstances makes many of us very sad.
I had a dream last night. I was caught in the midst of intense fighting–street fighting: house to house. I guess I was channeling what the typical Libyan is feeling and has been feeling for the past 6 months. In my chats with DIGNITY Delegation members, one thing is clear: we are traumatized by what is happening to the lovely people of Libya. But imagine, if we feel that way, how must they feel? Terrorized and worse.
When the DIGNITY Delegation of journalists was there, we could already see the impact of the bombing on patients in the hospital, children trying to understand what was happening, women trying to soothe their families, men trying to carry on with their normal activities, shopkeepers trying to eke out a living despite fighting and bombing all around them, Black Libyans who felt threatened by their fellow countrymen and the outsiders who have streamed into the country, siding with NATO and openly boasted of killing dark-skinned Libyans (who number between 50% and 58% of the population, according to one of the Libyans who joined us on the tour, now returned to his country, not the 30% written in the special interest press) and non-Libyan Africans. Continue reading “Cynthia McKinney: Libya Eyewitness Tour Final Report”
Despite budget woes, the military is preparing for a conflict with our biggest rival — and we should be worried
This summer, despite America’s continuing financial crisis, the Pentagon is effectively considering trading two military quagmires for the possibility of a third. Reducing its commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan as it refocuses on Asia, Washington is not so much withdrawing forces from the Persian Gulf as it is redeploying them for a prospective war with its largest creditor, China.
. . . . .
AirSea Battle, developed in the early 1990s and most recently codified in a 2009 Navy-Air Force classified memo, is a vehicle for conforming U.S. military power to address asymmetrical threats in the Western Pacific and the Persian Gulf — code for China and Iran. (This alone raises a crucial point: If the U.S. has had nothing but trouble with asymmetrical warfare for the last 45 years, why should a war with China, or Iran for that matter, be any different?) It complements the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance, a government white paper that precluded the rise of any “peer competitor” that might challenge U.S. dominance worldwide.
. . . . . . .
For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. government has encountered the practical limits of the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance.
. . . . . .
Here is a noble appeal for Washington to match its commitments with the resources needed to sustain them, the absence of which has fueled the debt crisis that nearly reduced the United States to a mendicant state. Such are the crippling costs of a defense policy that makes global hegemony a mindless imperative.
Three Good Reasons to Liquidate Our Empire and Ten Steps to Take to Do So
1. We Can No Longer Afford Our Postwar Expansionism
2. We Are Going to Lose the War in Afghanistan and It Will Help Bankrupt Us
3. We Need to End the Secret Shame of Our Empire of Bases
. . . . . . . .
10 Steps Toward Liquidating the Empire (Abridged)
Dismantling the American empire would, of course, involve many steps. Here are ten key places to begin:
1. We need to put a halt to the serious environmental damage done by our bases planet-wide. We also need to stop writing SOFAs that exempt us from any responsibility for cleaning up after ourselves.
2. Liquidating the empire will end the burden of carrying our empire of bases and so of the “opportunity costs” that go with them — the things we might otherwise do with our talents and resources but can’t or won’t.
3. As we already know (but often forget), imperialism breeds the use of torture. Dismantling the empire would potentially mean a real end to the modern American record of using torture abroad.
4. We need to cut the ever-lengthening train of camp followers, dependents, civilian employees of the Department of Defense, and hucksters — along with their expensive medical facilities, housing requirements, swimming pools, clubs, golf courses, and so forth — that follow our military enclaves around the world.
5. We need to discredit the myth promoted by the military-industrial complex that our military establishment is valuable to us in terms of jobs, scientific research, and defense. These alleged advantages have long been discredited by serious economic research. Ending empire would make this happen.
6. As a self-respecting democratic nation, we need to stop being the world’s largest exporter of arms and munitions and quit educating Third World militaries in the techniques of torture, military coups, and service as proxies for our imperialism.
7. Given the growing constraints on the federal budget, we should abolish the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and other long-standing programs that promote militarism in our schools.
8. We need to restore discipline and accountability in our armed forces by radically scaling back our reliance on civilian contractors, private military companies, and agents working for the military outside the chain of command and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Ending empire would make this possible.
9. We need to reduce, not increase, the size of our standing army and deal much more effectively with the wounds our soldiers receive and combat stress they undergo.
10. To repeat the main message of this essay, we must give up our inappropriate reliance on military force as the chief means of attempting to achieve foreign policy objectives.
Phi Beta Iota: The second article is a stunning review of the intellectual life of Chalmers Johnson, who was among many things a net assessments analyst for Allen Dulles. He pioneered the study of “State Capitalism” and considered the US to be a greatly under-performing economy for its failure to move away from military unilateralism and toward sustainable development.
Carlton Meyer, a former Marine Corps officer and editor of G2mil has produced an insightful analysis of US foreign bases to close. The defenders of the status quo on the bases question like to paint those who want to close foreign bases as “isolationist.” That sort of guttersnipe-baiting is rendered ignorant by Meyer’s analysis. You can easily see that from his introduction and from his analysis throughout. In fact, some might become a little nervous that Meyer has an awful lot of American intervention in mind in with the reduced base structure he would advocate for the future. On the other hand, Meyer is also not a sucker for the dysfunctional war advocacy from the interventionists in Congress and elsewhere.