Category Archives: War

Niger: Finally, A War John McCain Doesn’t Love


By ilana mercer

News first broke about America’s Niger misadventure on October 4. “The real news here is that the US has forces in Niger, where they’re conducting covert operations,” this writer tweeted out. “Hashtag America First.”

Official media ignored the ambush of the American Special Forces, until the story gained anti-Trump traction. No word came from John McCain. Three weeks hence, the senator from Arizona is making history. McCain, who has never encountered a war he wasn’t eager to prosecute, is questioning the folly in Niger.

The senator from Arizona can run but can’t hide from the pollution he has left along his political path. Republicans wisely rejected war in Kosovo; McCain jettisoned party loyalty to call for bombs from above and “more boots on the ground.” At the prospects of war with Iran, McCain burst into song, “Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iran.” The possibility still makes this war ghoul smile. Before that, McCain promised a 100-year war in Iraq.

Senator McCain’s jingoism has encompassed Syria, Georgia, Mali, Nigeria, and China. Where the US could not effect regime change, as it did fecklessly in Afghanistan and Libya—McCain would typically call to side with an imagined local “friend of America” against an imagined “foe of America.” McCain has many imaginary friends.

Where his target country was beyond US bullying (Russia), the idea of the resumption of a cold war was an option McCain liked. He is currently fulminating over a slight delay in sanctions against Russia. When all efforts to tame the world militarily fail, McCain is partial to the idea of UN troops acting as his surrogates, say in Sudan.

No war makes Johnny a sad boy. But now he’s considering a subpoena over Niger.

GLOBAL CENTRALIZER

Playing out in Niger are the permanently entrenched, unchanging, American foreign-policy interests. Keen observers will detect a familiar pattern. Once again, the American bias everywhere is toward a powerful, overweening central state. This conceit has put our forces on a collision course with the tribal interests America toils to tame.

Indeed, US foreign policy often flouts local authority. It certainly disavows separatists and generally discourages any meaningful devolution of power. Born of a loose confederation of independent states, America now stands for the strong centralized state. Our interchangeable leaders strive to see the same in the tribal lands of the Middle East and Africa.

MEDDLING IN YEMEN’S CIVIL WAR

In Yemen, America is working to impose a central authority on “bickering sheikdoms.” In the South alone, Yemen has 14 such principalities. Southern secessionists are at war with the north, have been for at least 139 years. There, “even the bottled water,” notes the Economist, “is called ‘South.'” There’s no such thing as a united Yemen. Never was.

Into this fray, the US has waded. So stupid and dangerous is our foreign-policy colossus that it imagines America is fighting al-Qaida by backing the Saudi-led coalition to vanquish northern Houthi rebels. The northern Houthi rebels, however, clearly wear many hats. More so than the invading coalition, the rebels are of the community and often for the community.

As America’s Emirati partners in Yemen are realizing, “Motivating recruits to push north is an uphill task even with the payment of bonuses. Those who were happy to fight for their own homes seem unenthused about fighting for somebody else’s.”

Would that the Empire’s military would confine itself to that constitutional mandate: fight for home and hearth and no more. Alas, our soldiers have been propagandized to conflate fighting for American freedom with fights in Niger, Burkina Faso (yeah, I know) and Mali.

Ultimately, all the spots America chooses to mess with are too complex for the prosaic American mind to grasp, for we are schooled to see societies unlike our own through a Disneyfied, angels-and-demons prism.

More so than the Middle East, Africa is riven by tribal interests and dynamics. These, McCain or CENTCOM (the United States Central Command) have no hope of understanding, because they’re wedded to the idea that their own home (America) is nothing more than an idea, and never a community of flesh-and-blood people with a shared, treasured patrimony.

AND NOW, NIGER

To their credit, Africans’ fealty is not to deracinated political propositions—democracy, human rights, gay marriage, and communal bathrooms—but to each other. They will kill for clan and kin. (And they kill each other, too.)

Niger is no different. You’re told that the Americans and the French are empowering the local forces of Niger against the mythical ISIS. Poppycock. This is never the case. In Africa, as in Afghanistan or Iraq, the conflicts are regional, tribal, old, if not ancient.

Tongo-Tongo, the Niger village that ambushed our unsuspecting Green Berets, had not been “infiltrated” by hostile forces; that’s the take of Niger’s central government, itself a very recent development. If past is prologue, it’s fair to assume that the Niger government is vested in developing as a French and American client state with all the attendant perks.

Villagers have likely learned not to wait for any trickle-down from the state. The Tongo-Tongo villagers enticed our forces to mill about, giving their homie militant benefactors just enough time to set up an ambush in a kill zone.

Imagine! Locals don’t particularly relish a visit from the American and French patrolmen and their Nigerien puppets.

Again, Niger is heavily dependent on bribes from the West (foreign aid, we call it). We reward Niamey (the capital) to play war games with us. This is another case of an Islamic, if multi-ethnic, tribal land, whose people don’t want Americans there. (And even if the people of the region wanted us there, America has no business being there. Deplorables voted against the concept of making Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali great again.)

So, if John McCain’s hatred of President Trump has driven America’s most ardent warmonger to question the American intervention in Niger—that’s a good thing.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube.

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Lincoln Or Lee? What Would Hitler Say?


By ilana mercer

“Some crazy person just compared President Abraham Lincoln to Hitler. Yes, this just happened on CNN and Brooke Baldwin’s reaction was perfect.”

So scribbled one Ricky Davila on Social Media (Twitter).

Indeed, an elderly Southern gentleman had ventured that President Lincoln, not General Lee, murdered civilians, a point even a Court historian and a Lincoln idolater like Doris Kearns Goodwin would concede.

While the Argument From Hitler is seldom a good one; Ms. Baldwin’s response was way worse. Were she an honest purveyor of news and knowledge; anchor-activist Baldwin would have sought the facts. Instead, she pulled faces, so the viewer knew she not only looked like an angel, but was on the side of the angels.

Pretty, but not terribly bright, Ms. Baldwin would be shocked to hear that the civics test administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recognizes as correct the following answers to questions about the “Civil War”:

If asked to “Name one problem that led to the Civil War,” you may legitimately reply: “States’ right.”

If asked to “Name the war between the North and the South,” you may call it, “the War between the States.”

Brook would wince, but, again, your reply would be perfectly proper if you chose to name “economic reasons” as one of the problems that led to the Civil War.

Not even the government—the USCIS, in this case—will risk denying that the 1861 Morrill tariff was one cause of the War of Northern Aggression. Lincoln, a protectionist, was expected to enforce the tariff with calamitous consequences to the “the import-dependent South, which was paying [at the time] as much as 80 percent of the tariff.”

It’s fair to assume that the civics naturalization test (I took it) was not written by pro-South historians. Yet even they did not conceal some immutable truths about the War of Northern Aggression—truths banished from Brooke Baldwin’s network.

And from Fox News.

There, you must tolerate progressive Republicans, like John Daniel Davidson of the Federalist, warning about the dangers of identity politics in a majority-white country like the US. (Davidson should try out identity politics in a minority white country like my birthplace, South Africa, where the lives of white farmers are forfeit.) Another Federalist editor seen on Fox is Molly Hemingway. She has vaporized about the merits of “taking down Confederate statues.” If memory serves, that was a position the oracular Chucky Krauthammer was willing to dignify.

Back to the white, marginalized gentleman, mocked on CNN.

In all, Lincoln’s violent, unconstitutional revolution took the lives of 620,000 individuals, including 50,000 Southern civilians, white and black. It maimed thousands, and brought about “the near destruction of 40 percent of the nation’s economy.”

While “in the North a few unfortunate exceptions marred the general wartime boom,” chronicled historian William Miller,  “[t]he south as a whole was impoverished. At the end of the war, the boys in blue went home at government expense with about $235 apiece in their pockets.”  “[S]ome of Lee’s soldiers had to ask for handouts on the road home, with nothing to exchange for bread save the unwelcome news of Appomattox.”

Many years hence, Americans look upon the terrible forces unleashed by Lincoln as cathartic, glorious events. However, “The costs of an action cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to morality,” noted Mises Institute scholar David Gordon, in Secession, State & Liberty.

At his most savage, General William Tecumseh Sherman waged “total war” on civilians and did not conceal his intent to so do. On commencing his march through Georgia, in September 1864, Sherman had vowed “to demonstrate the vulnerability of the South and make its inhabitants feel that war and individual ruin [were] synonymous terms.” To follow was an admission (of sorts) to war crimes: “The amount of plundering, burning, and stealing done by our own army makes me ashamed of it.”

For Sherman’s troops sacked and razed entire cities and communities“:

Sherman’s troops exhumed graves to loot the corpses. Sherman’s troops tore up little girls’ dolls and nailed family pets to doors. Sherman’s troops left countless civilians – including the slaves they were supposedly liberating – without food or shelter. Sherman ransomed civilians to armies in the area, threatening to execute them or burn their homes if they did not comply. Sherman had a few contemplative moments and was always careful to maintain plausible deniability, but he knew what was happening and let it happen.

Here’s the brass tacks (via William Miller, Yankee sympathizer) about Lincoln’s brutality and the extent to which the North upended life in the South:

“Confederate losses were overwhelmingly greater, representing a fifth of the productive part of the Confederacy’s white male population. Thousands more died of exposure, epidemics, and sheer starvation after the war, while many survivors, aside from the sick and the maimed, bore the scars of wartime and most war malnutrition and exhaustion all the rest of their lives.”

The South sustained direct damage as the war was fought, for the most, on its soil.

“Land, buildings, and equipment, especially of slaveless farmers … lay in ruins. Factories … were simply forsaken.” “Poor white and planter were left little better than ex-slave. … [A]n every-day sight [was] that of women and children, most of whom were formerly in good circumstances, begging for bread from door to door. In the destruction of southern life few suffered more than the ex-slaves.” By estimations cited in Miller’s A New History of the United States, “a third of the Negroes died” in their freemen, informal, “contraband camps,” from “the elements, epidemics, and crime.”

“The weakening of purpose, morale, and aspiration among the survivors was depressing enough to make many envy the dead,” laments White, noting that “rebel losses in youth and talent were much greater than the devastating total of human losses itself.”

“The men in blue,” said one Southerner late in 1865, “destroyed everything which the most infernal Yankee ingenuity could devise means to destroy: hands, hearts, fire, gunpowder, and behind everything the spirit of hell, were the agencies which they used.”

Still, despite having just fought a civil war, there was a greater feeling of fellowship among our countrymen then than there is today.

Struck by how achingly sad the South was, a northern observer, on a visit to New Orleans in 1873, cried out with great anguish: “These faces, these faces, one sees them everywhere; on the streets, at the theater, in the salon, in the cars; and pauses for a moment struck with the expression of entire despair.”

Today’s America lectures and hectors the world about invading Arab leaders for “killing their own people.” What did the sixteenth American president do if not kill his own people?

Yes, “Emerson’s ‘best civilization’ was about to be ‘extended over the whole country’ with a vengeance.”

Of this, Adolf Hitler wholly approved.

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin will be shocked—OMG! kind of shocked—to know that in his Mein Kampf, Hitler “expressed both his support for Lincoln’s war and his unwavering opposition to the cause of states’ rights and political decentralization.” (Primary sources: http://www.mondopolitico.com/library/meinkampf/v2c10.htm & https://archive.org/stream/meinkampf035176mbp/meinkampf035176mbp_djvu.txt)

Hitler vowed that in Germany as well, he and his National Socialists “would eliminate states’ rights altogether,” political decentralization being the greatest obstacle for all dictators.

In a word, Ms. Baldwin, Hitler liked Abe Lincoln’s impetus and for good reason.

Pull faces all you like. Your guest was right. “Confederate generals, despite hearing news of death and destruction from home, strictly enforced orders protecting the person and property of Northern civilians.”

****

Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube.

Some thoughts on pacifism


Some Thoughts on Pacifism
By Neil Lock

Christian Michel has posed the question: “Is pacifism not only inept, but also morally abhorrent (evil everywhere should always be fought)?”

This question isn’t as simple as it sounds. For a start, my dictionary gives three different meanings of the word “pacifism.” (1) Opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes. (2) More specifically, refusal to bear arms on moral or religious grounds. (3) An attitude or policy of non-resistance. Read more

Truman Would Have Agreed With Trump On The CIA In Syria


By Ilana Mercer

Said the president: “For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and, at times, a policy-making arm of the Government. … [T]his quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.” Read more

Beware The Atavistic Dynamics Undergirding Two American Wars


By ilana mercer

Periodically, America experiences episodes of mass, hysterical contagion.

What is “hysterical contagion”? A sociologist explains it as the spread of symptoms of an illness among a group, absent any physiological disease. It provides a way of coping with a situation that cannot be handled with the usual coping mechanism.

For example, in 1983, girls in the West Bank fell ill, one after the other. Soon, all the schools and finally the entire community was engulfed, affected with the same symptoms. Arab doctors implicated the Israelis. The Israeli Occupation had poisoned the girls by gas to reduce their fertility. After a thorough medical workup, however, the girls were pronounced physically healthy.

The frenzied behavior known as mass hysteria or hysterical contagion is well documented. The Trump-Russia “collusion,” “obstruction of justice” probe qualifies, with an exception: This particular form of mass madness involves a meme, a story-line, rather than the physical symptoms observed in the West Bank.

Rumor recounted as fact for which no evidence can possibly be adduced: Indeed, the Establishment and opposition elites have poisoned the country’s collective consciousness. However, it’s the emotional pitch with which the Trump-Russia collusion group-think is delivered, day in and day out, that has gripped and inflamed irrational, febrile minds.

What sociology terms “a collective preoccupation” is fueled by organizational- and communication networks. Friendship networks (the liberal kind) and work organizations (government departments infested with like-minded individuals) serve as nodes in a system that transmits faulty signals across the synapses of this collective, damaged brain.

The storyline du jour is manufactured by America’s gilded elites. During the era of Bush II, DC operative Karl Rove put it plainly: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

When you’re the most powerful entity in the world, as the US government certainly is—the only government to have dropped nuclear bombs on civilian populations (“good” bombs, because dropped by the US)—you get to manufacture your own parallel universe with its unique rules of evidence and standards of proof. What’s more, as the mightiest rule-maker, you can coerce other earthlings into “sharing” your alternate reality. Or else.

The manufacturing of Fake News by the Deep State, circa 2017, is of a piece with the anatomy of the ramp-up to war in Iraq, in 2003. (Chronicled in achingly painful detail in Broad Sides: One Woman’s Clash With A Corrupt Culture.) Except that back then, Republicans, joined by diabolical Democrats like Hillary Clinton, were the ones dreaming up Homer Simpson’s Third Dimension.

Conscripted into America’s reality, Iraqis paid the price of this terrible American concoction. Hundreds of thousands of them were displaced and killed due to “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Because of Fake News generated so effectively by the likes of Judith Chalabi Miller, the Gray Lady’s prized reporter at the time, American soldiers paid dearly, as well. Miller shilled for that war over the pages of the New York Times like there was no tomorrow. She’s now a Fox News “specialist.”

To manufacture consent, elements in the intelligence community worked with neoconservative counterparts in Bush 43’s administration, in particularity with “the Office of Special Plans.” And while Fake News babes did wonders to sex up the cause of senseless killing—the dissemination of Fake News, vis-a-vis Iraq, was hardly the exclusive province of Fox News. With some laudable exceptions, Big Media all was tuned-out, turned-on and hot for war.

Now, it’s all-out war on Trump. Then it was war on Iraq.

Salient in 2003, as in 2017, was the monolithic quality of the cheer-leading coming from the networks; an unquestioning uniformity that spoke to a slutty sell-out throughout the media establishment. For journalistic jingoism, it’s impossible to best the coverage of the high-tech media extravaganza known as “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Embedded with the military turned out to be a euphemism for in bed with the military. Practically all network embeds focused exclusively on the Pentagon’s version of events, to the exclusion of reality on the Iraqi ground. Yet reporters who slept with their sources were treated as paragons of truth. Those of us who refused such cohabitation were labeled “unilaterals.” (This column paid with a syndication deal.)

Reporting hearsay as truth and failing to verify stories were all in a day’s work on cable and news networks. A Geiger counter that went off in the inexpert hands of a Marine, stationed in Iraq, became “Breaking News,” possible evidence of weapons-grade plutonium. Every bottle of Cipro tablets located was deemed a likely precursor to an anthrax factory. Anchormen and women somberly seconded these “finds,” seldom bothering to issue retractions.

To comprehend the hysterical mass contagion that is the war on Trump it’s essential to trace the contours of that other war, “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” and the way it was peddled to the American public.

The war on Trump could end badly. By “badly,” I don’t mean the violent silencing of conservatives and their speakers, the firebombing of Republican Party headquarters (October, 2016). Or, the attempted murder of Republicans representatives (June, 2017).

These are barbaric. But if past is prologue; the frenzy of inflamed imaginations could spill over into all-out war—against Russia, Iran or North Korea.

You’ve been warned.

*****

Ilana Mercer is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube channel.

Viva Obama (Reloaded)


Viva Obama! A View from the English Right
By Sean Gabb
Published in TakiMag
November 2012

Note: Since I am not an American, I have no right to feel disappointed by Mr Trump’s apparent pulling off his mask to show the usual neo-conservative skull beneath. I am disappointed, even so. I therefore offer some rather old thoughts on Mr Obama. They are sharply-expressed, but may turn out to contain less wishful-thinking than anything else I have written about American affairs. SIG Read more

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