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No Good War; No Bad Peace

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A full century after World War I we still cannot understand how generals sent so many soldiers to be slaughtered. Ten million soldiers died on all sides; millions more were left maimed or shell shocked. Seven million civilians died. 20 million horses died.

The image we have of hapless soldiers being forced to climb out of their sodden trenches and attack across a hellish no-man’s land pock-marked by water-filled shell holes, deep mud, thickets of barbed wire and rotten bodies is quite accurate for the Western Front. Waiting for them were quick-firing guns, heavy artillery, the greatest killer or all – machine guns – and, later, poison or burning gases, and flamethrowers.

How could the generals of that era have been stupid enough to send waves and waves of their soldiers to almost certain death? Trench warfare in the West quickly became siege warfare in which decisive victories became almost impossible.

Only in the East did the brilliant German generals Hindenburg and Max Hoffman achieve a war of movement in which they destroyed two Russian armies attacking East Prussia. Their triumphant battles at Tannenburg and Masurian Lakes were partly based on Hannibal’s battlefield tactics at Cannae in 216 BC.
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Syria 'Hero Boy' Video Revealed to be Government Propaganda

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A dramatic video clip showing a young boy heroically rescuing a young girl amid a hail of gunfire in Syria has racked up millions of YouTube viewings and has been trending heavily on other social media platforms. 

The mainstream media and US government jumped on the video as evidence of the absolute depravity of the Assad regime. What kind of monster purposely targets children?

Wrote the International Business Times:
The incident certainly is not the first time that Pro-Assad gunmen have targeted children in the nearly four years of the bloody civil war in Syria.
Liz Sly, the Washington Post Beirut bureau chief covering Syria, Lebanon, Iraq -- and presumably an expert in the area? -- promoted the video on her Twitter page, adding "wow" in her comments. Sly's reporting consistently agitates for more US involvement in Syria on the side of the rebels, her anti-Assad bias is solidly established.
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When Henry Kissinger Makes Sense...

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The American public is faced with an information crisis as the New York Times and other mainstream U.S. media outlets have become little more than propaganda organs on behalf of the neoconservative agenda and particularly the rush into a new Cold War with Russia – so much so that even ex-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has broken ranks.

MSM articles consistently reek of bias – and in some cases make little sense. For instance, Times correspondent David M. Herszenhorn, one of the leading propagandists, wrote an alarmist story on Wednesday about a new Russian “invasion” of Ukraine but curiously he had the alleged Russian tank column heading east toward the Ukrainian city of Donetsk which would be back toward Russia, not westward into Ukraine.

According to Herszenhorn’s article, “The full scope of the Russian incursion is not clear, [NATO Supreme Commander Gen. Philip M. Breedlove] said, though the convoys seemed to be heading east toward Donetsk, an OSCE spokesman, Michael Bociurkiw, said Wednesday.”
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Hungary's Orban Threatened by Maidan-Style Protest Movement

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Budapest has been shaken by several days of mass street demonstration against plans by Viktor Orban’s government to introduce a tax on the internet. According to the media, 100,000 Hungarians came out onto the streets of Hungary’s capital to tell the prime minister “no”. 

In and of itself, the internet tax is a weak excuse for the organisation of 100,000-strong demonstrations. And, of course, demands to abolish the tax turned into demands for the resignation of Hungary’s ‘dictatorial’ and ‘corrupt’ government. Attacks were also launched on government buildings: as one, internet users pelted them with stones, notebooks and mobile phones. 

Other signs of a ‘Hungarian Maidan’ were also evident: demonstrators defiantly jumped around chanting “He who does not jump pays the tax” (the Ukrainian version of this standard spectacle is “He who does not jump is a Moskal”). Local human rights defenders declared that introducing a tax on the internet is an assassination attempt on freedom of speech unacceptable for a democracy. 

Among the demonstrators was the U.S. charge d’affaires in Hungary, Andre Goodfriend, who previously reported that the US authorities had banned six Hungarian nationals close to the Hungarian prime minister from entering the country.
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A Lesson in Intervention in Iraq

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The great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises pointed out that one government intervention inevitably produces a crisis, which then causes government officials to enact a new intervention to address the crisis. The new intervention, however, produces a new crisis, which then necessitates a new intervention. With each new intervention, the government’s power continues to grow.

While Mises was referring to economic intervention, the principle applies in other areas. Good examples are the drug war, immigration controls, healthcare, and education, all areas that are characterized by a perpetual series of crises and interventions.

The principle also applies to foreign policy. Iraq provides a good example. Let’s examine the history of U.S. interventionism in Iraq.
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American Journey From Terror to Peace, 9/11 to 11/11

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This day commemorates both Veterans Day in the US and Armistice Day abroad, marking the end of the First World War, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 1918. This year of 2014 is particularly poignant as it also commemorates the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI.

Originally, Armistice Day was celebrated in the US, as an homage to peace and solidarity with the nations of the world who paid a terrible price in WWI, including 116,576 Americans who died. In 1954, the day became Veterans Day in the US.

In Europe, the centennial of the four-year period of the First World War, 1914-1918, is being observed with solemn ceremony, remembering the bravery and courage of 10 million soldiers and nearly 7 million civilians who perished. One million people died in a series of battles across the River Somme, France, in just four months.

Remembered, too, are the failures and foibles of the leaders of governments who precipitated the war, a "march of folly" well-chronicled by historian Barbara Tuchman in the Guns of August.

While Armistice Day signals a renewed interest in Europe in the practicality of peace and reconciliation and unity, here at home we observe Veterans Day still riveted to the narrative of deep fear derived from September 11, 2001.
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US: Kicking Vietnam Syndrome Once and for All

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The US is set to roll out a 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War. A $30 million program is on the way to rewrite its history.

The new commemoration website was launched with archives and various reference materials. The US young people need to be explained once again who and why fought in the faraway land. The history of the events preceding the intervention goes as far back as September 2, 1945 – the day Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam and announced the end of French rule. Some time passed and the US replaced France in its former colony.

The website mentions the date of September 26, 1945. That day Lt. Col. Albert Peter Dewey was the first American fatality in French Indochina killed in the early aftermath of World War II. He arrived on September 4, 1945 in Saigon to head a seven-man OSS (Office of Strategic Services later - the CIA) team ”to represent American interests” and collect intelligence. He arranged the repatriation of Allied POWs, including 240 Americans, from two Japanese camps near Saigon. It’s all clear: an American officer on a humanitarian mission killed by Vietnamese…

The Fact Sheet’s statistics of Vietnam War inform that the US sent the most educated soldiers to the war. The visitors are offered a list of US war allies: Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, the Philippines and South Vietnam.
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The Devil’s Bargain: The Illusion of a Trouble-Free Existence in the American Police State

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Arnold Abbott, 90, arrested for feeding the homeless

It’s no coincidence that during the same week in which the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Yates v. United States, a case in which a Florida fisherman is being threatened with 20 years’ jail time for throwing fish that were too small back into the water, Florida police arrested a 90-year-old man twice for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless in public.

Both cases fall under the umbrella of overcriminalization, that phenomenon in which everything is rendered illegal and everyone becomes a lawbreaker. As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this is what happens when bureaucrats run the show, and the rule of law becomes little more than a cattle prod for forcing the citizenry to march in lockstep with the government.

John Yates, a commercial fisherman, was written up in 2007 by a state fish and wildlife officer who noticed that among Yates’ haul of red grouper, 72 were apparently under the 20-inch minimum legal minimum. Yates, ordered to bring the fish to shore as evidence of his violation of the federal statute on undersized catches, returned to shore with only 69 grouper in the crate designated for evidence. A crew member later confessed that, on orders from Yates, the crew had thrown the undersized grouper overboard and replaced them with larger fish. Unfortunately, they were three fish short. Sensing a bait-and-switch, prosecutors refused to let Yates off the hook quite so easily. Unfortunately, in prosecuting him for the undersized fish under a law aimed at financial crimes, government officials opened up a can of worms.
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Iraq War 3.0: What Could Possibly Go Right?

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Karl von Clausewitz, the famed Prussian military thinker, is best known for his aphorism “War is the continuation of state policy by other means.” But what happens to a war in the absence of coherent state policy?

Actually, we now know. Washington’s Iraq War 3.0, Operation Inherent Resolve, is what happens. In its early stages, I asked sarcastically, “What could possibly go wrong?” As the mission enters its fourth month, the answer to that question is already grimly clear: just about everything. It may be time to ask, in all seriousness: What could possibly go right?

Knowing Right from Wrong

The latest American war was launched as a humanitarian mission. The goal of its first bombing runs was to save the Yazidis, a group few Americans had heard of until then, from genocide at the hands of the Islamic State (IS). Within weeks, however, a full-scale bombing campaign was underway against IS across Iraq and Syria with its own “coalition of the willing” and 1,600 U.S. military personnel on the ground. Slippery slope? It was Teflon-coated. Think of what transpired as several years of early Vietnam-era escalation compressed into a semester.
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What The Mid-Term Elections Really Mean For Peace and Liberty

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Did the election last week really mean that much? I took to my Twitter account on Tuesday to point out that the change in control of the Senate from Democrat to Republican actually means very little, despite efforts by politicians and the mainstream media to convince us otherwise. Yes, power shifted, I wrote. But the philosophy on Capitol Hill changed very little. The warfare/welfare state is still alive and well in Washington.

Some were critical of my comment that, “Republican control of the Senate equals expanded neo-con wars in Syria and Iraq. Boots on the ground are coming!”

But unfortunately my fears were confirmed even sooner than I thought. Shortly after the vote, President Obama announced that he would double the number of US troops on the ground in Iraq and request another $5.6 billion to fight his war in the Middle East.
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