7.3 War as applied psychology
The purpose of modern war is to change or influence authority with military means. It is good to recall the definition of authority:
Authority: the capacity to create, maintain, and influence living environments
So an authority ceases to exist whenever it looses to capacity to the capacity to create, maintain, and influence living environments. The purpose of war is basically to persuade people to change their alliance with an existing authority by targeted destruction of what these people in the context of their authorities have build-up. In that sense war is the negation of co-creation.
Because modern war is intended as a means to change people’s alliances with authorities it is a in the first place a psychological process. Therefore in all western invoked recent wars (WWI and WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq 2x, Libya, etc), a key component, and usually the first thing that is done, is to attack key infrastructural facilities. So energy facilities, water and sewer infrastructure, bridges and other key transportation infrastructure. These are the fruits of collaboration under the existing authority, and the existing authorities looses legitimacy when it can no longer provide the services people have become dependent on.
This is a form of disempowerment. Disempowerment of others is often much easier and more feasible than self-empowerment.
If a state doing what it is supposed to do: functioning as a conduit to create, maintain, and influence living environments of its inhabitants it will serve its inhabitants more than it serves other (foreign, corporate) interests and as such it makes enemies of those who think they are entitled to whatever the country may provide.
Where wars are decided on.
While most people tend to think of war as necessity, “as the continuation of politics/policy by other means (Carl von Clausewitz)” because all other methods failed, it is not. That is just the front. In reality wars are decided on by some sort of consensus within the in the corporate, administrative, banking, media, academic elite that is, for the highest hierarchies way beyond any real accountability from the people that constitute the bottom of the pyramid.
A very useful insight in where and how these decisions are made comes from an interview by Amy Goodman Democracy Now on March 2 2007 with formal General Wesley Clark.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you see a replay in what happened in the lead-up to the war with Iraq — the allegations of the weapons of mass destruction, the media leaping onto the bandwagon?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, in a way. But, you know, history doesn’t repeat itself exactly twice. What I did warn about when I testified in front of Congress in 2002, I said if you want to worry about a state, it shouldn’t be Iraq, it should be Iran. But this government, our administration, wanted to worry about Iraq, not Iran.
I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, "I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments." And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”
So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!” (— Emphasis added)
It will be clear that the (elite) forces that influenced the US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld (and Vice-president Dick Cheney) to decide on war on seven countries in five year were not the normal democratic forces (otherwise it would be proceeded by a period of broad consensus building). It is some elite deciding on multi-trillion dollar and multi-million lives decisions.
While [authoritarians] have no difficulty accepting this — they assume their authorities know best — it it should be the [libertarians] that should start to think whether they want to give their allegiance to these top-down decisions.
Mark the emphasized words “but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments” and I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail". The first remark is a confirmation of the purpose of modern war as changing or influence authority with military means. The second is a direct consequence of the fact that the US has changed from a production economy in the first half of the 20th century to a full-blown war economy (about 25–30% of the US national budget is going to defense and security related activities). Without a strong domestic production basis only the US is vulnerable and it uses its only main strength — the military — to solve its problems. Basically the US has been changed into the bully on the block.
How to start a war
Most countries indeed got their war, albeit not within 7 years. And in most cases by proxies such as Israel, or well-financed Islamic, typically Saudi-controlled Al Qaeda forces.
Strategy: reading tensions followed by a digust-event. (Why disgust?)
- Afghanistan since (October 2001), direct reconstruction of heroin production after Taliban, widely expanded US/NATO sphere of influence. Disgust-event: 9/11
- Iraq (March 2003), full military war followed by large scale domestic terrorism and high international oil-prices. In addition Sadam Hussein was stopped in trading oil in either Euros or gold (as supposed to dollars). Disgust-event: weapons of mass destruction
- Sudan (February 2003, War in Darfur), fomenting christian-islamic tensions while reducing Chinese access to oil. Disgust-event: Darfur genocide.
- Lebanon (2006 Israel–Hezbollah War and known in Lebanon as the July War), war fought by Israel as proxy.
- Somalia (February 2009, first month of the Obama administration), led to a robust NATO presence in the Gulf of Hormuz. Disgust-event: Piracy after destruction of local fishing industry
- Libya got its war in 2011 via well financed local and Al Qaeda mercenaries). Resulted in a very strong bridgehead for AfriCom, new access to the highest quality light oil, looting of Libyan gold reserves. Disgust-event: Phony rape charges
- Syria’s “civil” war gradually develop in 2011 when more an more Islamic and Al Qaeda mercenaries were flown in to terrorize the Syrians, the first reports of (secret NATO control and command posts at the Jordanian and Turkish borders](http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/08/29/bfp-syria-coverage-track-record-what-when-we-exposed-and-the-msm-quasi-alternative-culprits-who-fought-our-exposes/) stem from November 2011. Disgust-event: Chemical weapons attack
- Finally for Iran the war is until now mainly economic warfare (sanctions since 2006) under the hypocritical pretense of Iran developing nuclear weapons.
Applied psychology in Iraq
In the days after 9/11 2001, Deputy Defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz declared that a major focus of US foreign policy would be: “ending states that sponsor terrorism”. Iraq was on that list, although it had not been involved at all in the crimes of 9/11 nor in substantial sponsoring of international terrorism. The purpose of the war in Iraq was to end the Iraqi state and to destroy Iraqi culture by erasing collective memory. So apart from the normal complete obliteration of the infrastructure (in sofa still working or rebuild after the first Gulf-war) here the target was to completely remove any allegiance to the former Iraqi state by destroying the rich cultural basis that had extended 10 millennia back when in Mesopotamia the first agricultural settlements originated from and where writing was invented.
This entailed among other activities the complete eliminating the Iraqi middle class and force the most capable and wealthy to flee the country (about 40% did so). Destroying the Iraqi state entailed for example that whatever was still functioning in Iraq after the war, or what could be used as a basis for an efficient build-up, such as state-officials, police, and military was ignored or, if it emerged as efficient source or activities (co-creation) it was, as long as is was not completely under Allied/US control, destroyed. In addition the looting of the complete cultural heritage of Iraq was stimulated and facilitated [Baker 2010]. Ethnic cleaning was another tool: where the Iraqi ethic minorities had always heel living together and where most ethnic tensions were mild or non-existent, a forced, Yugoslavia style, of ethnic separation into different regions with different privileges was implemented. And finally the outsourcing of state terrorism to local proxy forces was used to stimulate internal ethnic tensions further. This along the policies that had succeeded in preventing the total defeat of the US-backed government in El Salvador. Pentagon-hired mercenaries, like Dyncorp, helped form the sectarian militias that were used to terrorize and kill Iraqis and to provoke Iraq into civil war.
The aim was to use the destruction of the Old Iraq as a basis for a New Iraq, based on a dumbed down and demoralized remnant of the population (with the more libertarian, well-educated, and capable middle and upper class withering away somewhere abroad). Everything would be new: education, entertainment, infrastructure, laws, culture (Iraq Idol)
While the world watches every twist and turn in the unfolding Edward Snowden drama, the story becomes less and less about the information he revealed and more and more about an international manhunt. But if the issues of PRISM and spying on China and GCHQ’s spying at the G20 are falling off the radar, then how much further off the radar is the story of Russell Tice?
Although very few are aware, Russell Tice was one of the NSA sources that James Risen and Eric Lichtblau used for the original 2005 New York Times report on the warrantless wiretapping scandal. In 2009 he went even further, revealing on national TV that the NSA was specifically targeting journalists’ communications in a massive and undisclosed eavesdropping program.
And just last week, Tice went further than ever in exposing NSA corruption. In two exclusive interviews with BoilingFrogsPost and The Corbett Report, he revealed that not only is the NSA now intercepting and storing all electronic communications in the United States, but that Tice himself had personally handled the paperwork authorizing wiretaps on some of the most powerful judges, lawyers, military officers, and elected officials in the country, including soon-to-be President Barack Obama.
That the NSA is covertly spying on all three branches of the American government is nothing short of scandalous. Tice’s revelations are especially appalling to anyone even remotely familiar with how exactly the type of information collected in such intercepts can be used for the purposes of political blackmail, and how profoundly that blackmail can shape the political landscape of the country. In fact, there is a long history of intelligence agencies and covert groups using precisely this type of information to blackmail politicians in the past.
Political blackmail is as old as politics itself, but perhaps the best-known example of the past century was J. Edgar Hoover’s secret files. Almost from his appointment as director of the Bureau of Investigation, which morphed into the FBI in 1935, Hoover began amassing confidential information that the bureau collected on politicians in the course of their investigations. The files included information on the liasons and affairs of Eleanor Roosevelt, JFK, RFK, MLK, and a host of other figures. He openly held this information over them, telling JFK over lunch in March 1962 that he had wiretaps of Kennedy having an affair with Judith Campbell Exner, the mistress of Chicago mafia don Sam Giancana. As a result, no President ever dared to fire Hoover, and Hoover’s FBI became untouchable by anyone in Washington. Many of the secret files were destroyed after Hoover’s death.
In 1954, political blackmail was used to bring down Senator Lester Hunt, ultimately leading to his suicide.
Nor is this a peculiarly American phenomenon. In 2005, a massive wiretapping scandal was uncovered in Greece, where more than 100 high-ranking dignitaries were found to have been bugged, including the Prime Minister. When the scheme was uncovered, the Network Planning Manager for Vodafone Greece, the cell phone network through which the communications were tapped, was found dead in his apartment of an apparent suicide.
In the News of the World scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and the phone hacking that was rampant in the British tabloid world, the inquiries included investigations into the allegations that top politicians were targeted for hacks in order to gather dirt for a plot to blackmail members of an influential Parliamentary committee.
And as FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds detailed in a recent interview on The Corbett Report, the FBI’s tactics of gathering dirt on politicians did not end after Hoover’s death. During her tenure with the agency in the early part of last decade, she witnessed how the Bureau would hang on to information gained from eavesdropping on FBI investigation targets who were conspiring with top-ranking political figures. The information, as Edmonds and the field agents involved in the investigations surmised, was being stored for later use in blackmailing politicians who crossed the Bureau or its director.
Earlier this week, Sibel Edmonds appeared on The Corbett Report to discuss the Tice revelations, her own direct experience with eavesdropping on Congress in the FBI, and how this information can be wielded by a small clique to make themselves de facto rulers over the American political system.
The picture that is being painted by Tice and Edmond’s revelations is a grim one. It tells the tale of a government that is no longer “by and for the people” (to the extent that it ever was), but by and for a small intelligence establishment with the means to spy on and blackmail judges, lawyers, officials and even the President. Lest there be any doubt about the extent to which the FBI and the NSA collaborate and cover for each other in these operations, a telling moment was accidentally caught on microphone after NSA head General Keith Alexander’s testimony in front of a Congressional hearing. Alexander and the NSA was vigorously defended at the hearing by FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce, and after the meeting Alexander was overheard thanking Joyce for the FBI’s part in covering for the NSA operations.
It is difficult to overemphasize just how serious these allegations are, or how fundamentally they threaten the very foundations of the American political system. Every four years, millions of people go to the polls believing that they are pulling the levers for the candidate of their choice, a representative who will take their concerns to Washington in an attempt to better their communities. In reality, if these latest allegations really do amount to a systematic blackmailing operation, the people are not voting for a representative, but the FBI or the NSA or whatever other agency is able to collect and use blackmailable information in the name of “national security” operations.
Given just how fundamentally this calls into question the very notion of a democratically elected constitutionally-restrained American Republic, one would expect that among the non-stop, 24/7 network coverage of the Edward Snowden story there would be some time, even a few minutes, to devote to Tice’s allegations. At the very least, one would expect that these networks would at least solicit an official denial from the NSA press office or vet Tice’s claims against other NSA whistleblowers.
Not only have the networks NOT covered the story, however, they have gone out of their way not to cover it. In the weeks preceding Tice’s interviews with Boiling Frogs Post and The Corbett Report, he was scheduled for four separate on-camera interviews with major television networks. All four interviews were cancelled. After his recent allegations were made public, MSNBC invited him on to talk about the NSA spying scandal, but just minutes before the interview they told him that he was specifically forbidden from bringing up the wiretapping allegations during the segment.
Worse, Glenn Greenwald, who has received universal acclaim amongst the alternative press and universal derision amongst the pampered establishment journalistic class for his dogged pursuit of the Edward Snowden case, has not even acknowledged Tice’s claims, let along attempted to report on them. Greenwald was specifically asked for comment on this report regarding Tice’s allegations, but has so far failed to reply.
Given the recent reminders that journalists, too, are privy to the same data collection and blackmail that the courts and the government itself is subjected too, it is safe to assume that these recent revelations are simply too hot for any establishment journalist to handle. This means it is now up to the viewers of this report to help disseminate this information and to alert others to the fact that national security establishment whistleblowers are alleging massive data collection and blackmail by the intelligence agencies. It is not until the societal conversation can be directed away from the manhunt for Snowden and toward questioning the very existence of the “national security” state and the extraordinary powers that have been granted to the intelligence agencies to operate in that arena, that the American people can even start to devise a solution to this problem.
Russ Tice on Abby Martin (RT, July 10th, 2013)
Baker, R. W., Ismael, S. T., & Ismael, T. Y. (2010). Cultural Cleansing in Iraq. Pluto Press.
Baker, R. W., Ismael, S. T., & Ismael, T. Y. (2010). Cultural Cleansing in Iraq. Pluto Press.