Is War A Hollywood Production?

“Not the Onion”

Many have observed that it’s nearly impossible to parody shit like Olena Zelensky being puffed by Vogue magazine. The flagship of Conde Nast’s pro-capitalism propaganda machine promoting NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine is not surprising, but the fact that many people consider war glamorous is pretty shocking. 

Since the U.S. dropped the military draft and now relies on the poverty draft for cannon fodder, the public in this country is mostly indifferent to the suffering inflicted by combat. Or maybe Vogue readers care about Ukrainians suffering because they are blond the mass media tells them to?

The U.S. destroyed social studies education during the bi-partisan debacle of No Child Left Behind, and it shows.

I’ve never lived in a war zone, unless you count inner cities devasted by poverty and police violence, but I grew up reading history and literature which often depicted the terrible effects of wars and genocides. I sometimes wonder if I’m the only one left who read Gone with the Wind in high school and concluded that a) war is hell and b) most people in doomed societies don’t see the writing on the wall until it’s way too late. A list of the all the anti-war books I was influenced by would now be replaced by a list of all the pro-war video games a young person has played. 

You shot the most bad guys! You win!!!!

I had to take a long weekend break from the news because the prospect of the freezer queen of insider trading provoking war with China via an ill-advised trip to Taiwan was, frankly, terrifying.

Also “Not the Onion” — Speaker Pelosi’s let-them-eat-ice cream moment during the 2020 Covid lockdown when she showcased her extravagence as little children starved in the street mere blocks from her mansion in San Francisco.

It would be hard to think of anyone less qualified to navigate sensitive diplomatic waters than Pelosi. It would also be hard to think of anyone more clueless to send on a mission signaling to China that their red line i.e. the U.S. abandoning its long standing “one-China” policy will be respected any more than Russia’s red line at the Ukraine border was respected. So she is sufficiently obtuse to be a useful pawn in this situation.

Even the Pentagon brass has said the trip is a bad idea. But they’re sending war planes to “protect” her anyway.

This is in the context of numerous provocations involving U.S. warships bullying others in the South China Sea.

The Confederacy thought they would sail to an easy victory during the first U.S. civil war. They believed the Christian God was on their side as they fought for the right to continue enslaving fellow human beings.

U.S. empire managers are making money hand over fist on the Ukraine war. Apparently all that money in the bank makes them giddy enough to believe they can beat great powers Russia and China, even with the two giants allied for their common defense.

The hubris of imperial thinking is evident at the end of every empire that exhausted its citizens through endless expansion and, often, ecocide. As the Ottoman Empire struggled to stave off its declining fortunes it unleashed the Armenian genocide, and the competition to grab its rich colonies escalated into WWI.

War is not a Hollywood production. 

War is hell, but a boomer like Pelosi has lived in blissful ignorance overseeing the policy of “fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.”

In a shrinking, burning planet there really is no over there anymore. There are only distractions, like ice cream and fashion, both of which would go quickly in a planetary conflagration lit by nuclear weapons. For me, personally, holding babies on my lap is not only a calming distraction but also restores my motivation to speak out against the madness.

So maybe there is a parody version of First Lady Zelensky’s photo shoot after all, one where the flesh is dripping from her bones as she stands amid piles of radioactive ash.

Excerpt from English translation of Barefoot Gen by Hiroshima survivor Keiji Nakazawa.


Click here for ways to take action on reducing the risk of nuclear war.

What Goes Around Comes Around: Whipping Progressive Warmongering 2.0

President Obama, VP Biden, & Hunter Biden in 2014, the year Ukraine’s elected government was toppled by a CIA-sponsored coup and Hunter got a lucrative job in the Ukranian energy sector. Image source: Getty Images via DK.com

There are many roots apparent in weaponizing Ukraine as a cat’s paw to fight Russia.

The most significant but least visible is the goal of weakening China’s ally before proceeding to attack them. One of the more visible roots is that our current president was VP during the Obama years when wars became ok with liberals because they were promoted by a handsome, articulate Black man. 

Image source:  Shutterstock via Institute for Policy Studies

The culture wars we have are meant to replace the revolution we need. 

We are led to believe there is a fundamental difference between wars waged by Democrats vs. wars waged by Republicans. There isn’t, because their corporate sponsors in the weapons industry are the exactly the same and because many in Congress own stock in those corporations. So while Ukranians die, they profit.

My good friend Bruce Gagnon stumbled on an old report back from a “progressive” phone call designed to whip up support for Obama’s surge in Afghanistan. It is of interest primarily because the mechanisms of manufacturing consent are so visible. I’m reposting it here so we have it handy as we reflect on why the U.S. government is galloping toward WW3 and possible nuclear confrontation while suspending women’s reproductive rights, presiding over crushing inflation and runaway climate change, failing to deliver healthcare, and literally looking away as the pandemic death toll reached 1,000,000. Daily assaults on independent voices attempt to silence dissent: Abby MartinLee CampChris HedgesAlice WalkerConsortium NewsMintPress News — a long list, and growing. The Department of Homeland Security, which was created — like the war in Afghanistan — after the unfortunate events of 9/11, now has a Disinformation Governance Board

When you’ve lost the consent of the governed, narrative management is largely futile. Cue the next disaster!

First posted Dec 2, 2009 at space4peace.blogspot.com

DECEPTIVE PROGRESSIVES CALL FOR SUPPORT OF OBAMA’S WAR

This morning I got an email from a friend who tipped me off to a conference call for “progressives” to discuss Obama’s Afghanistan speech last night.

The call announcement included this: “The narrative so far is that the left is against sending more troops and the right is for it,” said Jim Arkedis, Director of the National Security Project at the Progressive Policy Institute. “But that’s not the reality of the situation. There are reasons for progressives to take heart from much of the President’s new strategy, as well as reasons to tread carefully. We want to make sure all those voices are heard.”

This made me quite interested so I dialed in. The call began with everyone in the audience on mute as the following people make opening statements.

* Rachel Kleinfeld, CEO, Truman National Security Project
* Jim Arkedis, Director of the National Security Project, Progressive Policy
Institute
* Gen. Paul Eaton (Ret.), Senior Adviser, National Security Network
* Andy Johnson, Director, Third Way National Security Program
* Lorelei Kelly, Director, New Strategic Security Initiative
* Brian Katulis, Center for American Progress
* Frankie Sturm, Communications Director, Truman National Security Project (Moderator)

Frankly I had never heard of any of these people before and I’ve been working in the “progressive movement” for the past 30 years. A couple of the organizations they work for I had heard a bit about – they are DC-based “think tanks” that usually are heavily funded by corporations to project their message.

Here is a bit of what some of them said in the opening:

Rachel Kleinfeld: “Thrilled by last night’s speech….it’s a realistic goal we have been given…dismayed that progressives don’t see that his will reduce the violence of this war.”

Jim Arkedis: Described himself as a former counter-terrorism analyst at the Pentagon…..”Think of the US like an NFL defense….by adopting this counter-insurgency strategy it essentially takes the other sides offense off the field…..this is about peace and stability.” He slammed Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) who was on the news this morning criticizing the plan as being from the “far left.”

Lorelei Kelly: “Progressives need to abandon the old talking points from Iraq and Vietnam….progressives need to get inside this debate, President Obama is trying to create a new way….these policies need support….The American military is probably the most progressive agency we have today.”

One of them brought up CodePink’s recent visit to Afghanistan and subsequent statements made by Media[sic] Benjamin to say that some peace groups understand that we need to stay there and stabilize the country. Another called Obama’s plan the “full spectrum approach” that progressives must support – we “need the military” to get to a positive conclusion.

Finally they unmuted the listeners and then opened it up for “questions”. I didn’t ask a question but instead read a quote from the Robert Scheer article which came from former Marine captain Matthew Hoh where he said, “In the course of my five months of service in Afghanistan … I have lost understanding and confidence in the strategic purpose of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan. … I have observed that the bulk of the insurgency fights not for the white banner of the Taliban, but rather against the presence of foreign soldiers and taxes imposed by an unrepresentative government in Kabul.”

A woman listener from West Virginia (CodePink) said she had family killed in these wars and they need to stop. A woman from Georgia said we need to end the wars. A man from upstate New York said they were organizing protests and that Obama had betrayed us.

Next they put us on mute again and told us that we could only ask questions and that we’d better be good. When they unmuted I accused them of trying to silence the voices of the people as it was clear that they only wanted us on the call to listen to the talking points put out by the White House.

I know this is true because last spring I did a couple blogs about the Obama administration daily sending out talking points to groups like these that today hosted this “conference call”. You can see one such story about this by Jermey[sic] Scahill here

One of the groups mentioned by Scahill in his article is the Center for American Progress which was represented on the call today as one of the “expert” speakers.

While on the call I quickly did an Internet search on the Truman National Security Project just to see what I could learn about them. Their advisory board stands out like a sore thumb:

Advisory Board
Madeleine K. Albright
Principal, The Albright Group LLC

Leslie H. Gelb
President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations

William Marshall
President, Progressive Policy Institute

William J. Perry (former Clinton Secretary of Defense)
Senior Fellow, Hoover Institute

John D. Podesta (former Clinton operative)
President and CEO, Center for American Progress

Wendy R. Sherman
Principal, The Albright Group LLC

First chance I got I read the list off and commented that it was now abundantly clear to me that this call was intended to deliver Obama team talking points to us and that they were not in the least interested in what we had to say…..these folks organizing this call came from the right-wing of the Democratic Party I said…… earlier I had strongly challenged one of them who stated that the peace movement should stop protesting and support Obama’s plan!

They couldn’t wait to finish the call and I am happy to say that it did not go as well as they had hoped. I thank Mark Roman for tipping me off and I want to warn everyone to be on the lookout for these “pseudo progressives” who will now be coming out of the woodwork to tell the public and the media that only the far-left is against Obama’s war in Afghanistan. Good “progressives” they will say are going to support Obama’s war surge.

In the old days they used to call these folks “Scoop Jackson Democrats” after the senator from Washington state who was a pro-war leader. They have wised up and now call themselves progressives and will steal the rug out from under our feet if we are not watching closely.


Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

You no longer need to look for such pro-war progressives. They are shouting at you from every corner that Ukraine must be defended, and that your dissent is not only unwelcome but downright seditious. Trained to hate the Russian Federation’s president and assign blame for Ukranian suffering solely to him, their diatribes have a signature: use of the same nasty and insulting terms for that person. 

Trained to love Ukraine’s president, whose background as an entertainer has proved almost as convenient as his Jewish heritage, used constantly to deny the truth that it is actual Nazis we are arming. 

Some in Congress would even have us declare war and send troops (rather than just trainers and mercenaries) to fight by their side. How much would your congressperson and senators stand to profit if the U.S. openly declares war on Russia?

How much more dangerous would it be than bullying an impoverished country like Afghanistan?

What use will money be if humans and their works are reduced to ashes and radioactive rubble by nuclear war?