Democratic Underground  

Your Military Dollars at Work
March 11, 2002
By TrogL

My church is doing a business reorganization plan. I know this because they have potential 'mission statements' all over the blackboard. There seems to be basic agreement on the core message but questions have arisen as to the church's role in the inner city. This is a good thing and I wish more organizations (besides businesses) would look at their core values.

Out of a business reorganization process falls the question "how does what we are doing relate to our mission statement?"

So, what's the US military been up to lately?

Obviously, there's the activity in Afghanistan. This is supposed to be a reaction to the destruction of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon (Isn't it strange? It took months and months to gear up for Desert Storm, yet military personnel got over to Afghanistan almost immediately, with a military force that I seem to remember being criticized as undermanned, undergunned and unready during the Presidential debates - but I'm wandering off topic.)

Actually, there seems to be another reason for the US presence in Afghanistan, as explained here.

Capturing the region's oil wealth, and carving out territory in order to build a network of transit routes, was a primary objective of US interventions throughout the 1990s in the Balkans, the Caucasus and Caspian Sea:

Business and policy planning groups active in Central Asia, such as the Foreign Oil Companies Group operated with the full support of the US State Department, the National Security Council, the CIA and the Department of Energy and Commerce.

Among the most active operatives for US efforts: Brezezinski (a consultant to Amoco, and architect of the Afghan-Soviet war of the 1970s), Henry Kissinger (advisor to Unocal), and Alexander Haig (a lobbyist for Turkmenistan), and Dick Cheney (Halliburton, US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce).

Unocal's Central Asia envoys consisted of former US defense and intelligence officials. Robert Oakley, the former US ambassador to Pakistan, was a "counter-terrorism" specialist for the Reagan administration who armed and trained the mujahadeen during the war against the Soviets in the 1980s. He was an Iran-Contra conspirator charged by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh as a key figure involved in arms shipments to Iran.

Richard Armitage, the current Deputy Defense Secretary, was another Iran-Contra player in Unocal's employ. A former Navy SEAL, covert operative in Laos, director with the Carlyle Group, Armitage is allegedly deeply linked to terrorist and criminal networks in the Middle East, and the new independent states of the former Soviet Union (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrghistan).

Armitage was no stranger to pipelines. As a member of the Burma/Myanmar Forum, a group that received major funding from Unocal, Armitage was implicated in a lawsuit filed by Burmese villagers who suffered human rights abuses during the construction of a Unocal pipeline. (Halliburton, under Dick Cheney, performed contract work on the same Burmese project.)

...but I'm off topic.

As I understand it, the idea was to 'get' Osama bin Laden (gee, whatever happened to him, anyway?), 'get' the Taliban (gee, whatever...), 'get' the al Qaeda (thought that was all mopped up, but I guess not - how many of them are there anyway? 500? 3000?) and not hit civilians (somebody better tell that to the people on the ground).

Oh, by the way, did you know they're dropping packets of $100 bills to Afghan tribesmen. Reuters reported last week that "U.S. aircraft over southern Afghanistan have showered the locals with $100 bills. Although the envelope did not contain a written message, it was adorned with a picture of George W. Bush."

They're supposed to spend it on what? Where? Wonder what budget that came out of? I suppose that's to make up for dropping food packets (colored yellow) into minefields (unmarked) or alongside US-dropped cluster bombs (also yellow).

Then there's Camp X-Ray in Cuba, where the detainees (who in violation of the third Geneva Convention's prohibition of restriction of religious activities are not allowed to wear turbans and are still housed in something closely resembling dog kennels) were supposed to be facing military tribunals until it was belated discovered that none of them had actually done anything worth charging them with. The International Red Cross has said all along that they are prisoners of war - but I'm off topic again).

There's the ongoing War on Drugs, especially in Colombia where there's a record of big fat boo-boo's (shooting down a planeload of missionaries), corruption, civilian deaths...

If you thought our military was only fighting the 'War on Drugs' overseas, think again. In an article here we find out that: reports 89 percent of police departments have paramilitary units, and 46 percent have been trained by active duty armed forces. The most common use of paramilitary units is serving drug-related search warrants (usually no-knock entries into private homes). Twenty percent of police departments use paramilitary units to patrol urban areas. The U.S. National Guard currently has more counter-narcotics officers than the DEA has special agents on duty. Each day, the National Guard is involved in 1,300 counterdrug operations and has approximately 4,000 troops on duty. Without warning or prior notification to civilian authorities, the U.S. military will "mock" invade communities across America, often causing panic, and in some cases, death.

On February 25, 2002, in North Carolina, for example, undercover U.S. Army personnel—engaged in a training exercise—attempted to disarm an on-duty civilian deputy sheriff. The officer shot them both. Why would the military attempt to disarm a civilian law enforcement officer? On March 13, 1999, without notification to the bulk of its customers, on orders from the U.S. military, Alabama Power cut off power to Anniston, Alabama, so that 800 military personnel could mount an assault on the local town and airport. The power company told the populace it was "for repair purposes" and not that it was part of a military exercise. Finally, on March 16-17, 1999, Operation Laser Cup was conducted against residents in Beaver and Westmoreland counties in Pennsylvania. Twelve Black Hawk, Pave Low, and MH6 helicopters "attacked" an area near a local mine in support of special operations troops in search of certain materials.

Doesn't the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 state "whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both." Or is only because this Act does not apply to National Guardsmen in their State that this is legal?

In other news, it seems there's US forces in Venezuela who were originally supposed to be providing support for relief efforts. They've been pulled off that and assigned to guarding an oil pipeline. Valuable things, these oil pipelines.

There are troops in Georgia on "military exercises" (if I understand correctly). Strange that the Russians want a pipeline through there.

I'm hearing of troops in Kazakhstan and some of the other 'stans surrounding the Caspian oil fields. There's that pesky "oil" word again.

So what is the US Armed Forces' mission statement? I happened to stumble across the Opening statement of Senator Carl Levin Chairman, Committee on Armed Services Hearing on the Role of the Department of Defense in Homeland Security Thursday, October 25, 2001

These are extraordinary responses to an extraordinary threat and require a reexamination of the proper role of the U.S. Armed Forces in helping to ensure the security of the American people. That reexamination and reorganization has already begun.

On September 30, the Department of Defense released its report on the Quadrennial Defense Review, which elevated the mission of homeland defense to the Department's "highest priority."

The Army's Vision home page notes:

While aspiring to be the most esteemed institution in the Nation, we will remain the most respected Army in the world and the most feared ground force to those who would threaten the interests of the United States.

Since when did the interests of the oil industry become the primary "interests of the United States"?

TrogL is currently volunteering as a moderator on the Democratic Underground message board.

Printer-friendly version
Tell a friend about this article Tell a friend about this article
Discuss this article
Democratic Underground Homepage