Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wonky Warmongering Wankers

The neoliberal colonization of Afghanistan proceeds apace, and Wall Street is laughing all the way to Wall Street.  And why not?  One of their own is now nominally in charge of the Graveyard of Empires. A boorish corrupt tribal leader of a puppet has been replaced by an urbane corrupt World Banker of a puppet so perfect as to be almost a clone of Barack Obama himself.  Permawar has finally gotten itself some class and nuance to sanitize the venality and the death.

The New York Times is on it:
When President Obama meets this week with Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s new president, he will finally be sitting across from an Afghan leader who is not brooding, agitated, suspicious or openly belligerent toward his American allies.
The previous Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, had a relationship with Mr. Obama that was fractious and poisonous almost from the beginning. The new Afghan president arrives for Tuesday’s Oval Office meeting looking for a similar menu of American commitments on troops and money as his predecessor, but Mr. Ghani is well-schooled in Washington’s culture of politics and diplomacy: He spent 15 years in Washington at the World Bank and used to own a house in suburban Bethesda, Md.
He knows enough not to blow his nose onto his sleeve, or have a drug-dealer brother. This suavity makes the corruption and the murder and the bribery so much more appealing to squeamish plutocrats who prefer their puppets to be pre-existing members of their own club. The guy is an Insider. The bribery was a done deal decades ago.

But despite the bonhomie between intellectual equals, the warmongering establishment must still pretend that Ghani is an outsider presenting a "challenge" so as to avoid accusations of collusion between mercenary equals:
Mr. Ghani is certain to push hard to keep the current 10,000 American troops and thousands of private contractors in his country through, or perhaps beyond, 2016 when Mr. Obama insists the United States’ longest war will come to an end. Mr. Ghani is also seeking long-term commitments of money and support from the United States, where members of the public are skeptical of the value of that investment.
“If the troops come out in 2016, the money is going to come out 20 minutes later,” said David Barno, the senior American commander of American and coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005. “That’s going to be a disaster. They can’t operate without that money.”
The war will end, but the fighting and death will continue. If "we" get out now, investors will lose money. One warmonger pretends to push, the other warmonger pretends to pull, and thus will the coalition remain intact. The Times article does not inform readers that Barno is a fellow of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington think tank founded, funded, and operated by the Permawar Industry. Among the CNAS directors and investors who stand to lose profits in the event of an Afghanistan troop pullout are revolving door Senator Joe Lieberman, and officials of Lockheed Martin, Goldman Sachs and such investment outfits/defense contractors as Evercore, Mannheim LLC, and the hilariously-named security software developer "Endgame." And we can't forget former Carlyle Group director Bill Kennard, the "key force" behind Obama's decision to launch negotiations for the anti-regulatory, anti-democratic Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Kennard, an Obama campaign bundler who was duly named EU ambassador, now helps run the telecom-heavy Grain Management private equity giant, which also manages some of the country's largest pension funds.  He used to sit on the board of the New York Times Company. Talk about diversification. Follow the wanky war money all throughout this tangled web... if you can. If you dare.

 So, the New York Times "news analysis" continues with the usual anonymous government source gratuitously insisting that the MIC's new puppet is both independent and feisty:
And Mr. Ghani can be difficult. His broadly pro-Western outlook is balanced by a deep nationalist streak, and he is known in Afghanistan as much for his technocratic skills as he is for his short temper. Western diplomats know well that he is more than willing to “give us the back of his hand,” as one American official put it, when he thinks Afghanistan’s interests are being trampled by its allies.
As much as I would love to see Ashraf bitch-slap Barack in a fit of plutocratic pique, I have a feeling that the man becomes a real pussycat as soon as the White House shows him the money. He is a banker, for God's sake. The Times continues,
Advisers to Mr. Ghani and Mr. Obama expect that they will relate easily. Mr. Ghani is far more of a financial technocrat than a natural politician, and his professorial approach to governing is sure to seem reassuring to his American counterpart.
In the eyes of American officials, Mr. Ghani has also proved willing to take on the role of wartime leader, unlike Mr. Karzai, who sought to limit raids and airstrikes by foreign forces, and even by the Afghan Army.
Two Obamas in a pod. Unrelatables who can relate. Cool, detached professors who can kill without breaking a sweat, unlike those recalcitrants who balk at their women and children becoming collateral damage during night raids by uniformed psychopaths. Ghani is presentable enough to be paraded in plain sight, allowed to eat in public, and express articulate appreciation as he is escorted to the same tourist sites he could probably see from his D.C. suburban backyard not too many years ago.
Doug Ollivant, who worked in the National Security Council for Mr. Obama and President George W. Bush, said Mr. Ghani is a “Western-oriented” leader who would be comfortable rubbing shoulders with intellectuals at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, or the Aspen Ideas Forum in Colorado.
“He’s a creature of Washington, a creature of Aspen and Davos,” he said. “He’s extremely comfortable moving in these circles.”
Cue Tom Friedman, who will no doubt wax rhapsodic about this sophisticated banker-wanker creature in an upcoming column. Who knew that you could be a plutocrat and a puppet at the same time? You can be a hybrid creature called a Plupup who needn't even grovel or suck up.  If you can rub shoulders at Davos and Aspen, then who cares about all the innocents you're rubbing out someplace else? Certainly not your fellow pathocrats.

Ollivant, as the Times conveniently forgets to mention, is also a war profiteer par excellence. His think tank, the New America Foundation, is funded by Bill Gates  and other Silicon Valley billionaires, with an emphasis on Common Core training for a compliant cannon fodder citizenry. As a member of the David Petraeus Brain Trust of military "intellectuals" who have failed upward since their destabilization of Iraq, Ollivant makes big bucks in private equity. And as a lifetime member of the Council of Foreign Relations, he is a sought-after White House consultant who also frequently appears on CNN to drum up the terror and the patriotic fervor, lest the public remember that Iraq and Afghanistan have been unmitigated, deadly disasters.  His job at Monument Capital Group Holdings is based on expertise in "post-conflict/emerging markets."

In other words, he specializes in the Plunder division of Disaster Capitalism. And lots and lots of killing. A blog post he wrote for the Terror Channel (CNN) couldn't be more blatantly bloodthirsty and money-hungry if it tried. Some snippets:
...We need to promote our forces who work best with allied forces in these spaces where the state is weak or nonexistent: the Army's Special Forces (popularly known as "Green Berets"). These forces have undergone significant neglect in the past decade, as the anti-terrorism capabilities of Joint Special Operations Command (SEAL Team Six and Delta Force) were seen as the most pressing need.
In both Iraq and Afghanistan, Special Forces teams were known to be tasked by their commands — or decide on their own — to pursue a more aggressive "kill and capture" mission, rather than work "by, with, and through" their indigenous partners. It will require cultural change (and likely an improved funding stream) inside the military to emphasize that these Special Forces teams — seen as considerably less glamorous than their Joint Special Operations Command counterparts — are the capability most needed for future warfare.
Third, we need to continue to focus on prepared and ready land power — our own rifle squads, companies and battalions who can do the dirty business themselves, if need be....

... Many observers have pointed out that the military's traditional personnel management system has defects, both in recruiting and development. There are a host of suggestions, but any proposal that increases flexibility and expands the talent pool without degrading the necessity of producing leaders who can lead young men into combat should be seriously considered.
Long-standing suggestions to increase language training, allow for late entry and/or sabbaticals, increase technical skills, get input from subordinates on their leaders, and recruit outside traditional pools -- for instance, in Silicon Valley -- should all be seriously considered. All will be necessary for these coming ambiguous fights.
Young men from the lower classes fight dirty over there so that the plutocratic "thought-leaders" can schmooze and munch caviar at the Aspen Ideas Festival over here.

What would be a nightmare to normal people is Ollivant's blissful wet dream:
 It is possible that our next war will resemble nothing that anyone has predicted, perhaps a naval battle over the Arctic, or — God forbid — a nuclear exchange. And yes, it is possible that war could emerge between China on one side and South Korea, Japan or even the United States on the other in the South China Sea, though it is not overstatement to claim that this would bring about the end of the world economy as we currently understand it. But the most likely outcome, barring some shock to the world system, is that future wars will strongly resemble those occurring today. 
Never once does this warmongering wanker even remotely consider diplomacy as an alternative to wars. It's not part of his job description. Peace would be the kiss of death to profit.

It's no surprise that Ollivant titled his blogpost "What War Has in Store." Because as far as the global oligarchs are concerned, death and destruction are tantamount to a global shopping spree of orgiastic proportions.

But you won't learn about this in the pages of the Paper of Record, where war is  about how well a bunch of wealthy, well-dressed intellectual wankers can all get along so famously.


annenigma said...

God, Karen, you're a gem.

You really know how to peel that onion and show us what's inside, but you're making us cry!

Don't forget that our defense contractors (Lockheed-Martin I think) have ready-made Constitutions/government-in-a-can, to pour into the countries we work so hard to crush so that the Free Market can quickly get to their wheeling and dealing.

General Smedley Butler was right, 'War Is a Racket'.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, Anne. Here, have an imaginary Kleenex.

As you weep, take heart from the words of Gen. Jack D. Ripper:

"(Clemenceau) said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought."

(Dr. Strangelove, 1964)

Obama today told 10,000 soldiers who thought they were coming home this spring that they'd remain in Graveyard of Empires at least until 2016.(Newspeak for 2026) Not only did he listen to his generals, he listened to his intellectually equal new BFF, Mr. Ghan. The continued war, he said, represents his "continued flexibility" (Newspeak for his continued ability to lie with preternatural ease). He assured the soldiers that just a few (9 or more) months will be well worth it. I guess because there are no jobs for them at home, and those VA wait times are still a bitch.

Denis Neville said...

War hawks as deficit hawks …

In 2008, Joseph Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes identified the second Iraq War as a $3 trillion bloody boondoggle.


Total cost for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is now estimated at 4-6 trillion dollars.


“The decision to finance the war operations entirely through borrowing has already added some $2 trillion to the national debt, contributing about 20 percent of the total national debt added between 2001 and 2012. This level of debt is thus one of the reasons the country faces calls for austerity and budget cuts, which has already had an impact on the military budget through the across-the-board cuts (the “sequester”) that were allowed to take effect in 2013. The US has already paid $260 billion in interest on the war debt. This does not include the interest payable in the future, which will reach into the trillions.” - Linda J. Bilmes, “The Financial Legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan: How Wartime Spending Decisions Will Constrain Future National Security Budgets”

Dave Dayen, the three most magical letters in Washington: OCO, Overseas Contingency Operations - the “new mechanism for funding American wars since 9/11 … provides a blueprint to constantly ratchet up war spending while crying poor about everything else.”

“OCO has created a double standard for D.C.’s insistent deficit conversation. Domestic spending must be held down, without gimmicks, games or tricks. But you can keep the military base budget static, load up the OCO, and use that money on virtually anything the Pentagon does. Congressional Republicans’ OCO end-around in this budget resolution, attempting to please deficit hawks and war hawks at the same time, borders on the absurd. But everyone is guilty of riding the OCO train – the armed services, the State Department, even the White House.”


“When I look up, I see people cashing in. I don’t see heaven, or saints or angels. I see people cashing in on every decent impulse and human tragedy.” - Yossarian to Major Danby, Catch-22, Joseph Heller

annenigma said...

Speaking of warwhores, in particular Bibi the Butcher, the NYT actually printed my comment and it hasn't been removed! But it is 'covered up' by so many other comments that is just 'buried' too deep to discover (you'll get my drift in a moment). It did somehow get 40 recommends so far though. Zee in particular should enjoy the implied past and possible future conspiracy theory.

"Bibi Netanyahu truly scares me because he's so coldblooded and ruthless. The Secret Service had better get it's act together and keep our President safe, especially steering him clear of any motorcycles. Iranian scientists know exactly what I mean, at least the survivors.

Some people will do ANYTHING to put the kibosh on a deal, especially if they think it's their last resort and they can blame it on someone else, or otherwise cover the tracks leading from a grassy knoll."


annenigma said...

p.s. I actually heard Bibi reference the grassy knoll recently in some remarks to President Obama when I was watching the tv network news. It got me thinking about why he would reference something that, which in my generation is associated with only one thing - the assassination of President Kennedy.

But really, what would be the big deal anyway about killing a foreign leader when Bibi calls the slaughter of thousands of children, 'mowing the lawn'? Ok, maybe Bibi just has a thing about grass.

Oh, please excuse me, I think the IDF is knocking at my door. I have to go now.

annenigma said...

Off topic but important. I hope Valerie is reading this.

More secret info has just been leaked about the TPP by Wikileaks.

It's the 'Investment Chapter' of the TPP. It shouldn't surprise us that the first secret we're not supposed to know about is that this document is supposed to stay secret for 4 years.

NYT has it covered for a change!


And here's Wikileaks' press release:


Jay–Ottawa said...

On the bright side of the TPP, once those supra-national tribunals are in place, Washington will get back to being clean––well, cleaner–– again. No more corruption. No more pols getting bought by the 0.01%.


Yeah, the 0.01% won't have to bother buying anybody in the three branches of government. Congress, the WH and once-upon-a-time Supremes will have become irrelevant. Who needs them if the deciders are few, friendly and elsewhere?

That sound, what is that sound? Ah! It's the air coming out of the Move to Amend balloon.