• "God invented war so Americans could learn geography" -- Mark Twain.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Limp Duck Lames Its Way to the Finish Line

It was something of a Lame Duck surprise but, after two centuries of bigotry, Congress finally ended official discrimination by the military against homosexuals. Gays were, of course, ecstatic. Progressives rejoiced. Senator Barbara Boxer, ear to ear smiles, bowled over and bear-hugged a supporter. We did it babe! Some commentators went so far as to suggest that Obambi had "restored" his crediblity with the "left". And at this point, one might very well say: Get a grip, babe.

A few Bah Humbugs, are in order.

1. Gays were never prevented from serving in the military. Sexual orientation may in fact be genetically determined but, whether it is or not, being homosexual is a matter of conduct. Unlike blacks or women who cannot change their physical appearance, gays were always able and always did serve in the military. They were able to do so precisely because the military is highly "mission-focused". Conduct that is not relevant to the mission is not relevant. As long as gays kept their sexual behavior private (not a bad rule for anyone) no one much cared. Dynamic Duos like McCain/Thurmond tried to make gayness relevant by yapping up Ewnit Kaheszhun. As to which no one can do better than (gay) aviator Lt. Tracy Thorne who remarked with deadpan sarcasm that, from listening to the likes of Congress, "one would think everyone in the Navy did nothing but take showers."

2. Military discrimination against gays was less a question of keeping gays out than of embarrassing their military careers once they were in. The 14,000 gays discharged since the enactment of DADT (Don't Ask Dont Tell), is ample evidence that gays had little difficulty getting enlisting. Nor, for the greater part, was their discharge due to inadequate military performance -- i.e. not keeping eyes on the mission. Their discharge was due to a switcheroo by the military itself which, taking its eyes off the mission, suddenly decided to make an issue of what was not relevant. There were subtler forms of hypocricy and discrimination as well, particularly in the ranks of career officers whose advancement was made dependent on a plethora of heterosexist expectations such as having a wife (of the right gender), 1.3 kids and a dog. There is no question (at least on this pile of chips) that it was long time to end what boiled down to a culture of inequality that was not justifiable except by recourse to self-serving excuses.

3. But "progressives" ought not (in our opinion) loose sight of the fact that what we are talking about is the right to participate in blowing away villages in Af-Pakistan. The military is the Machine of Empire. It is the force that the United States is using, not to defend itself, but to impose its will on others. It was not always that way. The War of Independence, the Civil War, the Great War and the World War may all be considered episodes of honorable soldiering. Not so Indian Removal, Central America, the Philipines, Vietnam and now the so-called War "against" Terror. Today, the U.S. military is the agency of civilian slaughter, devastation and plunder. One might wish the Cause of Equity were whored to a better john.

4. Nor should the "left" let itself be taken in by claims that Obambi has "delivered" on at least some of his promises. Administration apologists are at work coupling the repeal of DADT with Obama's other "success" -- health care reform. It needs to be said unequivocally that so called health care reform was a health care sell out and that, at the end of the day, repeal of DADT is small beer. To say that ending discrimination against homosexuals is right is not to say that it is the summum bonum of all things. There are many other issues which affect many more people, in more critical ways and which are simply more important: affordable education, employment, housing, income-equity, fair taxation, health care, retirement security and, above all, saving our stunning, beautiful, beautiful Mother Earth from a devastation that will in the end devour us.

On these more critical issues, the Democratic Duck failed to deliver even when it had its two feet. Senator Boxer is head of the Senate Environmental Committee; and on this score, the Babe ain't done nuthin.


Thursday, December 16, 2010


The Washingto Post (WAPO) has a new Bloghead. Her name is Jennifer Rubin. Rubin makes no bones about what she believes in:

"For starters: American exceptionalism, limited government, free markets, a secure and thriving Jewish state, defense of freedom and human rights around , enforced borders with a generous immigation policy..."
She also believes in terminal car accidents.

"We should continue and enhance espionage and sabotage of the Iranian nuclear program. Every nuclear scientist who has a "car accident".... buys us time... , while exacting a price for those who cooperate with the nuclear program. Think of it as the ultimate targeted sanction." [ yes she really did say it ]
We suppose that one more agro-psychotic voice added to the lunatic cacophany emanating from the bogs of Potomac can't really matter any more, but several points may be noted for the record.

The Washington Post is one of America's two national papers. It, along with the New York Times, is the voice of what used to be called the Establishment. For better or worse they speak to and for the perceived interests of this Republic. Who gets to blather what from their pages is an editorial policy decision.

And the policy decision apparently has been to find someone who can fill Abe Rosenthal's passing void with fresh Pro Israel / Anti Pal-Iranian invective.

Does Ms. Rubin also believe in a secure and thriving England (the dear cousin of our Special Relationship)? Perhaps she believes in a secure and thriving France (our oldest ally without whom we would not exist)? Maybe she believes in a secure and thriving India (our newest, best friends and partner)? No? Why not? And if not, then what's so special about the "Jewish State" as she puts it?

A member on the OpBlog board of one of our national papers should have a broad and encompassing purview. That ought not translate however into a double focus.

But more shameful than a certain confusion, is the pure thuggery of Ms. Rubin's "ideology".

"Nearly all wisdom is found in the Godfather movies (no, not Part 3!) and the Torah."
We note with passing contempt that "no not Part3!" is Rubin-code for "I hate Catholicism" - a not unheard of vice from the usual suspects. We will leave it to any sincerely religious rabbi (or for that matter any observant Jew) to protest the desecrating coupling of God's widom with the Godfather's.

We Chipsters will content ourselves with the observation that Rubin positively leaves ol' Thrasymachus ( "justice is the advantage of the stronger") in the dust, panting (if not yet blushing) as he brings up the thuggery's rear. No doubt Rubin has never heard of Thrasymachus, seeing as Bibi Netanyahoo does just as well.

Since when does a supposedly sober, establishmentarian, national -- indeed "cosmopolitan" -- paper publicly allow its pages to be used to incite the murder of foreign scientists and the sabotage of the infrastructure of sovereign nations with whom we are not at war?

That's a good question.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

U.S. Officials Seek Law for the Protection of Knowledge

In an interview with Fox News (12/7/2010) Senator Joseph Lieberman stated that not only did WikiLeaks violate U.S. law under the Espionage Act, but the New York Times itself was on shaky legal ground for republishing some of the cables. Lieberman went on to say,

“To me, The New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship, but whether they have committed a crime, I think that bears very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department."

One is left to wonder. Does Senator Lieberman mean that the law should seek to punish some sort of unspecified "bad citizenship"? Or does he mean that "bad citizenship" (whatever that might be exactly) should be subject to equally vague sanctions or pretextual prosecutions under other statutes?

In either case, the Senator's remark bespeaks an official mindset that is hostile to any exercise of free speech that might inconvenience or have an actual impact on the impunity of government.

Given the hysterical reactions of elected, appointed and self-appointed public persons, it will perhaps serve to call attention to Section 13 of the Reich Editorial Law (4 October 1933) which provided as follows:

"Editors are especially bound to keep out of the newspapers anything which:

"1. in any manner is misleading to the public, mixes selfish aims with community aims

"2. tends to weaken the strength of the German Reich, outwardly or inwardly, the common will of the German people, the German defense ability, culture or economy, or offends the religious sentiments of others,

"3. offends the honor and dignity of Germany,

"4. illegally offends the honor or the welfare of another, hurts his reputation, makes him ridiculous or contemptible,

"5. is immoral for other reasons."

Americans need to take remarks such as Lieberman's very seriously and consider them a wake-up call to what is taking place in the name of security and protecting at risk "assets" as Attorney General Holder put it in his recent news conference (11/29/2010).

The imposition of sanctions, whether formal or informal, against the dissemination of "harmful" information is the cornerstone on which State control of expression and opinion is erected.

©WCG, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

NIPP & CIKR - Whom the Gods Would Destroy

BBC reports that "A long list of key facilities around the world that the US describes as vital to its national security has been released by Wikileaks."

The State Department document, published by BBC on line with embedded links, is dated 18 February 2009 and was compiled by diplomatic posts around the world at the behest of the Secretary of State.

The aim of the document was to compile a list of "critical infrastructure and key resources" outside the United States deemed essential to U.S. national security.

The compilation was initiated in order to provide "unifying structure" for the Department of Homeland Security's "National Infrastructure Protection Plan" (NIPP) authorised by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7, (HSPD 7).

Under 42 U.S.C. 5915 (d), (Patriot Act of 2001), "critical infrastructure" is defined as "systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States [that] the incapacitation or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety or any combination [thereof]."

According to the BBC, the list includes communication hubs, gas pipelines, mines, pharmaceutical plants, and even an anti-snake venom factory in Australia.

After reporting on the above, the BBC article concludes by stating that the wikileak "inevitably prompts the question as to exactly what positive benefit Wikileaks was intending in releasing this document."

Woodchip Gazette will proffer an answer.

The benefit of the leak is that it shows that the United States Government is clinically insane. It has simply laid claim to whatever it wants in the world, anywhere.

Let it be clear. The NIPP explicitly calls for the "protection of the nation's CI/KR" -- that is, the infrastructure and resoures of the United States. But Siberia, Denmark and Australia are not in the United States. They are foreign and sovereign countries responsible for their own security and welfare.

Nevertheless, in the eyes of the United States Government this minor detail is irrelevant. Anything we need is deemed essentially ours. This is not a slip of the tongue or a mere casual way of speaking. It is the necessary and inevitable result of neocon strategic policies which this Gazette has warned against many times.

The essential premise of neocon strategy, as initially drafted in 1992 by Dick Cheney's Defense Planning Guide (DPG) was that the military preeminence of the United States following the collapse of the Soviet Union required a strategic "refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential global competitor." The DPG noted that potential threats could arise in any area of the globe ("including Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, Southwest Asia...the terriotry of the former Soviet Union...Latin America, Oceania and Sub Saharan Africa") and thus "the U.S. will be concerned with preventing the domination of key regions by a hotile power."

Eight years later, the neocon Project for a New America Century, incorporated Cheney's DPG draft into a defense policy paper entitled "Rebuiling America's Defenses." The paper called for the promotion of "America's principles" abroad by a "grand strategy" which would seize the opportunity of the USSR's demise and "preseve American preeminence" by a strategy of full spectrum power projection.

Fundamental was the maintenance and enhancement of nuclear and missile systems "to defend the American homeland ... and to provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world. (Op. Cit. p. v.)

Power projection itself would take place by "securing and expanding" so-called "zones of democratic peace". These zones (e.g. Kosovo or Iraq) would comprise "forward operating bases" which would serve as a "force multiplier in power projection operations as well as help solidify political and security ties with host nations. (Op. Cit. pg. 20.)

The Report explicitly discounted the existence of any serious or actual threat to American national security. Instead, it argued that American military strategy should aim to preclude any potential threat from arising.

"Even if such enemies [we]re merely able to threaten American allies... America's ability to project power will be deeply compromised."
In other words, power projection had become an end itself. The policy did not simply argue for the projection of power to prevent an actual or imminent harm but to preclude any potential compromise to power projection itself.

This bully policy was made official in Bush's “National Security Strategy” of 2003. Most recently, this past month, NATO's mission has been redefined so as to subsume that organization to the U.S strategy of ongoing power projection around the world.

The thesis has to be properly understood. It's premise is that the United States is "safe" only when it acts to prevent "potential" threats from arising. Since a "potential" threat can arise anywhere, the United States must project power everywhere in some form or another. The PNAC paper makes clear that there is no question of regional trade offs or triage and that the new strategy requires a full spectrum build up of all defense systems and all types of forces.

By and large, both the DPG and the PNAC paper conceived this strategy in gross geo-political terms. Although both documents recognized the existence and potential of true terrorist actions, the primary "potential" enemies and threats were seen to be other nation states.

However, immediately upon 9/11, the full spectrum paradigm became extended so as to encompass actions and threats by individual terrorists or ad hoc terrorists networks. National security now included detecting and combatting potential terrorists.

As we pointed out the day following the Trade Center attacks,

And who is the enemy? All Arabs? No.... not all.... The American militias? Perhaps, but not always. The Irish? At times. The Basque? Could be. What the Government will have to presume is that everyone is at least a potential terrorist. In the most fundamental sense that is a presumption which is entirely antithetical to the concept of civil friendship, i.e., societas."

It was therefore of no possible surprise that just the past holiday week, Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano stated that the Department was considering installing full spectrum scanners on trains and bus stations. Defending against an initiated attack is a limited undertaking. Once one undertakes to fight a potential then any potential becomes the enemy and that includes "blendables" like any of us...or them...

But neither actual nor potential terrorists exist in a vaccum. They operate against targets of one sort or another. Thus, the correlative to fighting "potential" terrorists is the need to protect "potential terrorist targets" and since any potential terrorist can hit a potential target which could potentially have an effect on the perfectly safe and unimpeded military, economic or social security of the United States, it follows that protection of "the Homeland" requires protection of any and all assets anywhere that are of use or necessity to the homeland.

This is the thought process of a criminally insane paranoiac and it is the declared policy of the United States Government.

It is certainly the case that industrial processes are highly interconnected and that, even more so, in a globalized economy, there is no real national autonomy or autarchy. But what this means is that nation states no longer exist as independent universes but , on the face of the earth together, are more nearly analogous to individuals in society.

What we learn as individuals is that all life under the sun suffers conflict and must abide risks. It is a fact we learn to live with by exercising our courage and taking reasonable precautions to avoid (but not to prevent) harm while respecting the autonomy and interests of others. We do not assert a claim or seek to control or plan to "protectively" seize the property of others simply because it might be of use to us. We refrain from such conduct because the spontaneity of life is a varied and complex reality and this is more valuable to us than the deadliness of total security. We may be led to songs of sorrow or shouts of joy, but we resolve to accept the viscitudes of our existence with courage.

But the coward cowers under his blanket quivorously conjuring up all possible horrible things that could go wrong. Given power, the coward's inflamed imagination turns him into a tyrant who sees potential threats everywhere and seeks to pre-emptively, pre-vent and pro-tect against all harm to the repression and misery of all else and, ultimately, to the extinguishment of life itself because, as we have said, life itself is full of conflict and risk.

It is thus that the coward becomes a tyrant and the tyrant an agent of death.

Perhaps that answers BBC's question.

deposuit potentes de sede et dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.

©WCG, 2010