Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

February 26, 2014

Hagel’s plan to shrink military criticized (The Globe, AP)

  • The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American twin-engine, straight-wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. Wikipedia
  • Range: 800 miles (1,287 km)
  • Weight: 24,960 lbs (11,320 kg)
  • Unit cost: 11,800,000–11,800,000 USD (1994)

In a piece by Robert Burns of the AP on page A9 , 2-25-2014; Chuck Hagel lays out a plan to bring the military  down to a size that was just before WWII, (or close to it).

Let’s face facts, times, weaponry, politics, wealth and a hundred other things have changed over the past decade plus, hell, even in the past few years it seems as if things are almost completely out of control. There is a ray of sunshine here piercing through the fog. We are the worlds premier power on the globe, not the only one, but now, we’re at the top of the heap militarily, that gives us a chance to seek alternatives to war, (it also increases the possibility of a catastrophic event, but that is a can of worms for another day).

Some of the “highlights” are quite simple, a reduction in manpower, a somewhat obvious choice if we are not planning on creating a cataclysm somewhere in the world. A trade-off in choppers is well overdo as well; what does the National Guard need Apache Attack helicopters for? The obvious trade would be for the Regular Army to have the AH-1’s and we receive Blackhawks which could easily fill the void to answer to state/national needs. When people need food or water immediately, you’re not going to get those items there on an Apache, but Blackhawks are perfect. Rescuing people from a Blackhawk beats shooting them to pieces with a mini-gun on an Apache.

On the Naval side of this, 11 aircraft carriers seem a bit much, but some of these are always in port being worked on, so all 11 are not on constant deployment. The firepower these behemoths can unleash is unbelievable, it should also be known they are huge targets as well, and the loss of even one would kill thousands of sailors in one fell swoop, no one wants that, even an attacker, if they could get through the defenses, would face massive retaliation, which of course benefits no one, particularly those on the receiving end of said retaliation.

A-10 “Warthogs” would be phased out. These are jet propelled tank killers, they do an excellent job at what they were designed for, but their lack of speed makes them vulnerable, so they need air cover, which was to be the F-35, a machine that has so many flaws, as they are built, they are moved to a “parking” area in AZ. The simple truth is, they can’t fly, not exactly what one is looking for in a state of the art aircraft. Each pilot has to have a helmet specifically designed for the individual head of the pilot, the initial cost was some $250,000 apiece, it’s now up to a cool half a million dollars, just for a helmet. So you’ve got this really cool helmet, but it’s not an “off the shelf deal”, it fits a single pilot, in a single aircraft that is prone to the wings shaking so badly, they just about fall off, (which makes the plane a ‘dumb bomb’ as it goes down. The problem is so bad, pilots are refusing to fly prototypes that supposedly fixed the initial problems. Last week, the VTOL, (Vertical Take Off and Landing), versions, crashed. From what I hear, the pilots survived.

The U-2, which was replaced by the SR-71, (now retired), is coming off-line. I’m not sure if anything is going to replace it, or whether the USAF will rely strictly on satellites or some other form of clandestine, (think drones), method of ground to HQ communication.

The sliver of daylight in all of this, is that while ground troop reduction, sailor reduction, airman reduction, etc, shows me that the US is planning on cutting back on military hardware, this is a good thing, even if there is something “hidden” we are not yet aware of. The point is, less personnel, less of a chance to go traipsing off starting wars. For decades, the military has believed that air/sea power were the keys to “victory”; anyone who has had their boots on the ground will tell you, “it ain’t over until the Infantry is there”. Less Infantry, less of a chance to attack other countries. We need to defend ourselves, but the empire building days must come to close. The corporate masters can hire their own mercenaries, (at a premium price), and quit having our young men and women shoved into harms way to protect corporate interests. The oil companies can use the subsidies Uncle Sam gives them to raise their own protective forces. In the mean time, we can send our children off to colleges and they can spend their time figuring a way to get off of fossil fuels once and for all.

I wish you all Peace,

Bob

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February 23, 2014

TPP: There Is Quite A Bit of Jostling Going On In Asia And It’s Not Good

TPP: Trans Pacific Pact

About 25-30 years ago I started to wonder what was just so important about the South China Sea. We had ended the war against Vietnam but there was still that clattering of swords in the area. Pol Pot was killing millions on top of the millions we had killed in the area this wasn’t about access to rubber trees or rice, there was something(s) far more valuable than mere obvious commodities; why would we destroy an entire region? We didn’t necessarily hate the Vietnamese, even if they were “Communists” in North Vietnam; (something spun from a tiny links of gossamer to frighten us that the world would fall apart if the NVA “won” the war.) Once again, we’d been duped.

While Johnson used the old saw, “we were attacked on the high seas” and gave us the Tonkin Gulf Resolution to add troops on the ground, we were gearing up for exploration of the South China Sea to find out what wealth laid beneath the waves. At the time, I was thinking oil and manganese, just a hunch, but now it seems that I was mostly on target. There is oil in the South China Sea and manganese nodules litter the sea floor. No one has yet to say what is beneath the sea floor, millions of years of mud and all forms of critters cover the floor, but with today’s technology, compared to what we had in the 60’s and 70’s makes mapping out possibilities far more easily. One of the reasons we are so active in the area, is because there are great riches to be had; whomever controls the region will become vastly wealthier than anything we know of now.

This is not a free-for-all, nations are lining up to extrude what ever they can; judging by past performances, the Pacific is in for one hell of a shock. No company holds itself responsible for the damage it does unless public pressure is applied on a near constant basis. The Gulf of Mexico is in tatters, Fukishima is creating  a radioactive ring around the pacific, (do you want eat tuna that has matured in a swirling mass of radioactive water?) Then “corporations” have the people…that’s all of us, pay for the clean-up. How can we “clean up” radioactive water that will eventually go around the world as the water conveyor belt moves it’s way around the world?

Deep water drilling in a volatile area such as the South China Sea, will be a disaster. Time after time, oil companies have proven themselves inept at containing spills, leaks, ships running aground. Mining companies have many more deaths and maiming than are reported, leaving workers with little recourse. You lose your arm or leg on a rig and you are worthless to the company. You now have very little income potential, and even that slight amount you are paid is being attacked by billionaires who could care less about you. As long as high paid CEO’s get the money they “earned”, you are little more than a cog in the wheel, easily replaced. It’s called, “The cost of doing business”. You get perhaps $25,000 for that leg, the head guy gets another $5 million bonus. The CEO’s don’t even know the names of those who died or got maimed. It helps to keep a “clear conscience”.

It was the same thing in the Army. Joe Duffy gets killed in an ambush, no Colonel or general knew Joe, but you did, so you seeked him out, made sure someone mourned over the loss, it was always NCO’s and Privates that did this, the “big guys” didn’t have the time, they planning the next bit of carnage soon to come. But if, perchance some Colonel got hit and killed, a brigade would show up as a sign of “honor” to a great man.

So here we have it, the USSC states that “corporations are people”, if that is the case, when they screw up, let’s treat them precisely the way they would treat us…sue the hell out of them, with the money going to the people directly and indirectly affected by them. No $99,000 “fine” going to the government, but a full blown lawsuit that brings them down. We did it to the Klan, we can do it to the monsters that take advantage of us every day. I want to see some CEO living in a box down by docks, not a penny to his name, reviled throughout history, share holders lined up to take a swat at him with rotten vegetables.

Well, there is my buck and a half, let’s get to work!

You can’t be an activist without being active.

Peace,

Bob

February 4, 2014

The Element of Fear

Throughout history, fear has been used as a tactic with great effect. This should be a given by now, most of us realize that we are constantly being lied to, to raise the level of fear thereby raising the level at which we must “combat” said fear.

Here is a reality, no nation, or coalition of nations can defeat this nation, we are so ridiculously armed we offer little more than raising hell around the world, getting into scraps and wars where we have no business. The Department of Defense has become the Department of Offense. Empire building has rarely been easier, and the American Empire, like all those who came before, is doomed to crumble into sand.

We are told to be afraid. Afraid of what? Two kids place homemade bombs at the Boston Marathon, the reaction was predictable; increased police presence and a MA National Guard Humvee at Park St, all show and no substance. 20 blocks were cordoned off as the police of varying Dept’s searched for the wounded, but surviving, “terrorist”. He was hiding in a boat on block 21, just a bit out of the search zone. Not just that, but the owner of the boat, coolly and calmly called the police to investigate after he had noticed that a tie down had been undone and when he checked under the tarp, there was the suspect.

What happened next makes me wonder just what page the varying PD’s and NG were on. We have a living suspect, from whom  we may be able to glean information from, (his brother was killed earlier, no chance for questioning there). Fear, breaking out as bravado as the boat was surrounded and someone gave the order to fire, and a hail of bullets and “flash/bag” pyrotechnics broke the silence of the night. The officers in charge literally tried to force the assassination of the “2nd bomber”; the question is “why?”

Was it to quell the fears they had brought forth to the public, or was it ensure any one else with similar ideas might be frightened enough to avoid doing something similar in the future? The truth of the matter is that none of us are completely safe at any given time. We prefer the illusion of safety, but every day I see people step out int traffic, cars not using signals or driving at night w/o their headlights on, (talk about scary!) I see parents pushing children in strollers, not watching around them at various hazards that could harm their children. Life is filled with challenges, some we can see, others come in the form of maniacs willing to kill, seemingly at will, at the drop of a hat. One problem with the Marathon bombing, is that it was preventable if the police had followed up on any of several leads; some from Russian authorities.

I decided long ago, I will not allow fear to guide my actions. When caught in an ambush, the correct response is to run right into it, get behind the ambushers and take them out or take prisoners. If you do what is “natural” and move away from the fire, you will be caught in a secondary trap, (we used Claymores, about 10 feet off the trail/road facing away from us. Hit the clicker and all hell breaks loose as 200 steel balls are propelled through the air by C-4 shredding virtually everything in their way, multiply this by a factor of 10 and one can see that the reaction to fear can be devastating.)

So what can we do to alleviate the “fear messages” that we are bombarded with every day?

For starters, we can look from where they come from. If it’s the government, or governmental entity, say the CIA, FBI, NSA, et al, for the most part, we can figure it’s a bogus report, they live by spreading rumors and lies to keep the dollars flowing into their coffers. State and local PD’s can fall into this trap as well. One thing we can remember, during the Clinton Administration, the WTC was attacked by a truck loaded with explosives. What broke the case? Good old fashioned police work and some luck. In fact, the same thing happened with the Oklahoma City bombing. Every one of us felt remorse as the acts were perpetrated, but we did not run in fear, we assisted where we could, an American tradition long held that we aid those that need it when they need it. We did not panic, we acted in the best interest of those whose lives were devastated.

We need to use good old fashioned police work to catch perpetrators, for all of the “intel” gathered, there is a pretty poor record of preventing disasters from happening. It was luck in Times Square that caught the car bomber, not “gee whiz” technology. It was police work and luck that caught the Unibomber, his brother turned him in, setting up the arrest. If one of my brothers was killing people, I’d turn him in myself, fortunately, I don’t have to face that choice, but to save lives, there would be no second thought to turn in a perpetrator.

Today, it seems as though everyone is a suspect of something, which is pretty ridiculous on the face of it. We don’t prosecute “thought crimes”, (thank god, or we’d all be behind bars eating gruel from the same bucket we’d be crapping in). My suggestion is, live your life to its fullest, don’t be led by biased individuals or groups, to include agencies of the government or PD’s. Understand that every day we take risks, but 99.9% of the time, those risks don’t turn into disasters. Don’t let fear run your life; if there is a “bomb scare” in New Mexico, why should people in Philadelphia worry about being blown to smithereens? Let the properly trained people in NM take care of the problem, most likely the problem will pass, either with nothing being found, or a highly trained bomb squad taking control and dismantling the thing.

If you are attacked by a lone gunman, (something that appears to be happening with increased frequency), prepare by having several options of escape or levels of protection. Don’t do anything stupid, but if you are behind a lone gunman, you can take him out. No one is going to convict you for assault if you plant a hammer in his head. Be careful, but don’t be fearful.

I wish you all days of Peace, prosperity and safety.

Bob

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