Wednesday, January 25, 2023

War Is Peace

Since that satiric Orwellian nostrum does sound a bit trite after all these years, the New York Times tried mightily to put a more modern original gloss on it with the headline "Biden Announces 31 Abrams Tanks For Ukraine, But Says the Move Is Not Meant To Escalate the War." 

If it seems that it was only last week that he was balking at sending the tanks because it would be viewed as more provocative evidence of US involvement in its proxy war, it's because it was only last week. The U.S. hegemon's browbeating Germany to unilaterally send its own tanks didn't work, so Uncle Joe had no other choice but to cross his own phony red line in the sand and cave to his increasingly skittish NATO ally.

 And miracle of miracles: what was a provocation last week has been magically transformed into an olive branch constructed of tons and tons of military metal this week!

That is heavy stuff. The  critical term "mission creep" cannot possibly apply in this latest escalation, coming as it does after the more discreet and even stealthy procession of billions of dollars and grenade launchers and guns and CIA "advisers" and NGOs and private mercenaries and freelance arms dealers.  As creepy as these monster tanks are, they definitely can't be delivered stealthily.

Therefore, the language of war itself must be rendered ever more stealthy. Star Times correspondent Peter Baker once again does the obsequious, power-serving honors:

“These tanks are further evidence of our enduring, unflagging commitment to Ukraine and our confidence in the skill of Ukrainian forces,” Mr. Biden said, flanked by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III.

But he emphasized that the buildup was not meant to expand the war into Russia. “It is not an offensive threat to Russia,” he said. “There is no offensive threat to Russia. If Russian troops return to Russia, where they belong, this war would be over today.”

They are described in contradictory, magical-thinking terms, both as harmless little toys and lethal killing machines, these Abrams tanks. Ukrainian troops may not be qualified to actually operate them, but Biden is confident in their innate skills. 

The Pentagon itself is slightly less sanguine than the president, but still euphemistically optimistic: Per the  CNBC coverage:

“The M1 (Abrams) is a very capable battlefield platform and it’s also a very complex capability. And so, like anything that we’re providing to Ukraine, we want to ensure that they have the ability to maintain it, sustain it, to train on it,” Pentagon press secretary U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters Tuesday.

What about the mission-creep of American boots on the ground to provide those driver training courses and issue the learning permits before the Ukrainian soldiers finally pass their road tests and get their licenses and their advanced degrees in tank maintenance? To hear the military and the White House and their corporate media partners spin it, hundreds of Ukrainian troops will be required to forsake their own embattled homeland for prolonged periods, to get their training on "neutral" ground, including on US military bases.

  Have the sticklers for details never heard of dual controls?  Have they never learned that presidents can say something one week and then abruptly shift into reverse gear the next? It's called defensive driving, people!  Sheesh.

The Abrams tank is manufactured by General Dynamics, which reported Wall Street gains just as Biden made his announcement on Wednesday. However, the business press reports that these gains are from increased revenue from its other contributions to the Ukraine war rather than from  investors copiously salivating over billions more in profits from the looming tank and related hardware sales.

"This is about freedom," as Joe Biden so originally and lyrically reminded his audience today. "Freedom for Ukraine, freedom everywhere."

He could have made his Orwellian newspeak remarks downright Oscar-worthy, and elevated Freedom to "everything everywhere all at once." 

But that would have been a lie too far for Biden's carefully crafted media image as a "decent" man.  He doesn't make promises he can't or won't keep. He has been there and done that, by way of reneging on a health insurance public option, keeping tax hikes for the wealthy purely aspirational, and only verbally "shutting down" the pandemic. The citizen-consumers of America know, or should know, that the freedom of record windfall war profits is always reserved for the very select few at the very tippy-top of the finance-capital hierarchy. That's how they keep us safe.

Meanwhile, despite assurances that Biden's tank gift to Ukraine might come too late to be anything other than one more head-fake, the announcement has at least enabled more squeamish NATO allies to send their own tanks to Ukraine. ETA's would be weeks to months for the first few shipments from the more Ukraine-adjacent allies.

 “Sending the Abrams appears to have been the key to unlocking the (German) Leopards, which will probably get to Ukraine much faster,” said Sofia Besch, an expert on European defense issues at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

Andrew Carnegie, the robber-baron philanthropist who funded the "think tank" bearing his name and who championed the United States' entry into World War I in order to make the world "safe for democracy" (but which spawned more than a century of global conflict), the Orwellian "war for peace" thinking permanently chiseled into the brains of the Best and the Brightest doesn't come as so much of a shock.


Mark Thomason said...

Providing tanks is not escalation, because Biden and his compliant media are lying to us.

The tanks are not scheduled for delivery in action until next year at the earliest. By then, the war will be over, and the Ukraine army won't exist to recieve them. It is only spending, MIC profit.

That is not "escalation." It is just lies. Again.

annenigma said...

Ukraine's Zelensky Sends Love Letter to US Corporations, Promising 'Big Business' for Wall Street

mjb said...

Thank you Karen. Your sharp analysis of our lying leaders' tricks always puts the nails right where they belong.

annenigma said...

If I could read Putin's mind, I imagine at this point he's thinking that Ukraine is a waste of resources and it's time to go after his real enemy. After all, this showdown doesn't end with poor Ukraine, a mere pawn on the Devil's Chessboard.

annenigma said...

How long it would take for a hypersonic missile to get from Russia to say, Ramstein AFB, the beating heart of the US military presence in Europe? There are hundreds of other US bases which could be targeted simultaneously.

Seconds? A minute?

Marcus A. A. said...

Could it be we are witness to all the tyrannical governments of the world showing just who and what they are? Keep up the word dear Karen, exposing the “ paper of record, the grey lady “ for what it really is a corporate media arm of the oligarchy that runs these governments. Everyone talks about Democracy, however whatever happened to “we the people “. Thanks for exposing in print all the bovine bullshit, never, never trust the government!

Anonymous said...

It's just business.

In business, the tanks are known as a "cash call".

"Cash calls are requests sent by joint venture operators to non-operating partners for payment in the light of anticipated future capital, operating expenditures or need of additional capital contributions. In other words, before expending funds on a project already contracted for or pay invoices due, the operating partner will issue a cash call to the non-operating partner to advance the costs.

"Because it is not practical for all the participants in a joint venture to manage the operations, the partners designate an operator

"The operator of a joint venture is charged with managing and conducting the operations on behalf of all the participants. Depending on the joint venture, the operator may be one of the participants, a subsidiary of a participant or a corporation formed to act as an operator (or a sovereign nation, ed.) in which each participant holds a share in proportion to their interest in the project..."

Erik Roth said...

Smedley D. Butler, retired United States Marine Corps Major General and two-time Medal of Honor recipient, summarized his 1935 book:

"War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”

In the takes-one-to-know-one category, Ronald Reagan observed:
"Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."

And the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA are the global pimps.

Erik Roth said...

"U.S. general warns troops that war with China is possible in two years —
Gen. Michael A. Minihan, who oversees the Air Force’s fleet of transport and refueling aircraft, cited the 2024 presidential elections in Taiwan and the United States as part of his rationale."
January 27, 2023 ~ by Dan Lamothe

The article concludes:

Minihan, who entered the Air Force as a C-130 pilot, has previously captured attention for his strident, colorful language.
In September, he said at a military conference outside Washington that the Air Force had caused the largest “pile of our nation’s enemy dead” within the U.S. military.
“Lethality matters most,” he added, according to Task & Purpose, a military publication. “When you can kill your enemy, every part of your life is better. Your food tastes better. Your marriage is stronger.”