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17 November 2016

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VietnamVet

BM

There is truth and reality. We live in two universes; one inside and the other outside. Human beings developed science to observe and record the actual world. Mankind has had history since it started telling stories to one another. Written languages preserved it. Formal education and the media have mostly superseded our oral story telling. The West has been seized by a cabal interested in only seizing wealth and power and who are intently transforming education and entertainment into perverted visions of themselves. In reality, mankind has a deep ingrained sense of fairness and will sacrifice themselves in the service to their families, tribes and nations. Our legends abound with stories of the downfall of the proud, selfish and greedy. The global neoliberalcons will fall from grace. Peace is possible. All that is left at the bottom of Pandora’s box is hope.

The Twisted Genius

The Beaver,

Yes, I read that. That's one of the reasons why CIA should be out of that business totally. If this kind of mission should be done, it should only be done by Special Forces.

Earthrise

Col. Lang,

The political activities of the Black Panthers and Black Muslims within some units is widely published:

http://www.americansc.org.uk/Online/Vietnam_Civil_Rights.htm

"Black Panthers in the army

The racial tensions in the ghettoes of Detroit and Chicago were now echoed in the armed forces. In July 1969, there was a race riot in Lejeune Marine Camp in North Carolina.[xxviii] Soon, the battlefield became a stage of conflict within the U.S ranks. Rebellion and mutiny amongst black soldiers began to occur. Also, in 1970, seven black soldiers from the 176th Regiment disobeyed orders to go on patrol duty, claiming their lives were being “deliberately endangered by racist officers”[xxix]

Inter-racial clashes were commonplace in military prisons, army bases and even on aircraft carriers. In October, 1972, a fight involving black and white sailors aboard the attack aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, in the Tonkin Gulf, left 33 men injured[xxx].

Groups such as the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, encouraged violence against white racism at home and in Vietnam. Kathleen Cleaver the wife of Eldridge Cleaver

(leader of the Panthers), urged black soldiers: “Right inside of the U.S. imperialist beast’s army, you are strategically placed to begin the process of destroying him from within.” [xxxi] Meanwhile, the Party’s Manifesto promised a programme of social transformation contradicting Johnson’s The Great Society programme of greater public expenditure for welfare, schools, housing and cultural works such as libraries and theatres (which had largely been curtailed due to the spiralling costs of the war in Vietnam). The Marxist rhetoric of the Panthers demanded and pledged the following requirements for black justice and equality in, what they perceived to be a white dominated society of prejudice, hypocrisy and double standards"

David

Babak,

Thank you for pointing out those two Romances, I will look them up. Agree with you about Sir Fred Hoyle. He along with his collaborators Margaret and Geoffrey Burbidge should have all received Nobel Prizes.

David Habakkuk

LeaNder,

The British became what I later came to think was excessively comfortable with the ‘Peace of Yalta’. While outside Europe the Cold War was real, as regards the continent we were quite happy to have the division maintained, in particular because it ‘contained’ German power – and thought the Russians were too. (Tears about the oppression of the East Europeans were, to a substantial extent, of the crocodile variety.)

The hidden agenda of a lot of British strategic thinking had to do with the problems of maintaining cohesion in an alliance of democracies. In the early ‘Eighties, what worried people was the prospect of a process of polarisation where the opposite ‘heresies’ of people like Perle – the ‘Team B’ people – and the ‘Peace Movement’ could fundamentally undermine the cohesion of the Western system.

It is this mindset which underlies, for example, the 1983 study ‘The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy’ by Lawrence – now Sir Lawrence – Freedman. Part of this was that there was a natural ‘mesh’ between suspicions of Germany among certain kinds of Jewish refugee – as Freedman is – and ‘native’ British.

Different people from similar starting points often end up in very different places. While Freedman – a careerist fundamentally – started as a fiery leftwinger, but was co-opted into ‘establishment’ thinking, Stephen Shenfield, also the descendant of Jewish refugees from the Tsarist Empire, has stayed a socialist throughout his life. (One of several reasons that, at the outset, I distrusted ‘Peace Movement’ people like him.)

In fact, he has just posted on his website an account of his activities at this time, relating them to the experiences of his family, which also helps explain why he ended up as an anti-Zionist: in contrast again to Freedman. It makes fascinating reading.

(See http://stephenshenfield.net/memories/ussr-russia/179-my-experiences-in-russia .)

What people like Shenfield hoped for was precisely what, in those days, I did not want – a liquidation of the existing security order in Europe. As a ‘Peace Movement’ activist working at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at Birmingham, he was used, from 1983 onwards, as a conduit for ‘feelers’ put out by two Soviet security intellectuals, Fyodor Burlatsky and Colonel Viktor Girshfeld.

Unsurprisingly, he was commonly interpreted among ‘mainstream’ people in Western security élites as a naïve dupe of cunning Soviet deception operations, designed to get the West to lower its guard.

As Shenfield remarks, in relation to the scepticism of the RAND analyst Harry Gelman, ‘this perception was never subjected to the test of experience because such analysts had no real contact with Soviet people.’

In the event it turned out simply wrong. Certainly, people like Girsfeld and Burlatsky were hoping to mobilise support in Western popular opinion for radical changes in NATO policy. But part and parcel of this was that they were dreaming of the kind of liquidation of the existing Soviet security policy that Gorbachev was to implement.

In the course of researching our 1986 programme, I came across an article entitled ‘Deterrence: The Problem – Not the Solution.’ Probably I would not have bothered to read it, had I not noticed that its author, Michael MccGwire, then at Brookings, was a former head of the Soviet naval section in our Defense Intelligence Staff.

When I mentioned his name to Freedman, the dismissive response was something along the lines of ‘retired spooks go the other way.’ In a way this was unsurprising. In MccGwire’s view, the whole elaborate structures of academic ‘deterrence’ theory to which Freedman’s book was largely devoted were mostly gibberish. This was not however the product of a collapse from alarmism into complacency following his leaving the service.

Rather, it went back to MccGwire’s realisation, as a result of his very detailed work on Soviet submarine programmes in the ‘Fifties, that he and others had been too quick to interpret the new threat from the Soviets through the lens of the old one from Hitler.

The armament and deployment characteristics of the major part of the force being constructed were clearly adapted, not to following the U-boats in attacking NATO’s transatlantic lines of communication, but to countering possible D-Day-style ‘amphibious operations’ in the Black Sea and Baltic.

The result of the long intellectual evolution which began then was that, in the months after our programme went out, MccGwire – and his Brookings colleague Ambassador Raymond Garthoff – concluded that ideas for liquidating the offensive ‘blitzkrieg’ posture of Warsaw Pact forces in Central Europe had passed into the Soviet mainstream. Another result was that they both argued that to understand what was happening in the ‘Eighties, one had to go back to the arguments of the ‘Forties.

All this is in the typescript of a paper which MccGwire sent to him at the time, which surfaced some time back on the web:

(See http://www.ucis.pitt.edu/nceeer/1987-800-05-McGwire.pdf .)

In consequence, I began to take the work which Shenfield and his colleagues were producing very seriously, and – after many frustrating months – ended up making a couple of documentaries largely based on interviews with people about whom they had written in Moscow for BBC Radio in early 1989.

What then happened was bizarre. Precisely the point of MccGwire’s paper was that the analysis of the April 1950 NSC 68 paper – out of which the worldview of people like Perle and Ledeen comes – was fundamentally wrong.

However, having totally failed to predict the retreat of Soviet power, the ‘neoconservatives’ were successful in claiming credit for it.

A bizarre corollary was that both figures like Freedman, and also a large part of the British ‘Peace Movement’, including Tony Blair and his like, moved towards ‘neoconservatism’. Behind the speech advocating ‘humanitarian intervention’ which Blair gave in Chicago in April 2009 were ‘ideas’ provided to Blair’s chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, by Freedman.

(See http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/media/96209/1999-04-16-Memo-Freedman-to-Powell.pdf .)

In essence, these were straight ‘neocon’ twaddle. What however was most remarkable was Freedman’s reference to the Cold War:

“As we address world problems, at the NATO summit and G8 meetings, we might be tempted to think back to the clarity and simplicity of the cold war. There were arguments about the right strategy to adopt to contain the Soviet threat but the threat itself was well understood.”

Actually, this is nonsense – and insolent nonsense. As it turned out, although MccGwire certainly got some things wrong, the broad lines of his and Garthoff’s critique of conventional wisdoms about Soviet military strategy was unambiguously vindicated by the 1995 study done for the Pentagon by the BDM Corporation, declassified in 2009.

(See http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/nukevault/ebb285/ .)

This matters, because a basic premise of Western élite thinking came to be that the elimination of challenges from non-democratic systems, whose dynamics were essentially similar, was going to pave the way for a utopian ‘liberal’ future. (Every opponent is Hitler, up to and including Putin and Donald Trump.)

One then comes back to the centrality of the ‘German question’ and the ‘Shoah’ in all this. And here, my own rather complex attitudes reflect contacts with Jewish refugees from Nazis.

Back in 2013, a fascinating study – into which I regret to say I have only dipped – was published by two German scholars, Sonke Neitzel and Harald Welzer. In English, it is called ‘Soldaten – On Fighting, Killing and Dying: The Secret Second World War Tapes of German POWs.’ The ‘tapes’ are those recorded at the surveillance operation run by the British at Trent Park and elswhere, and the corresponding American operation.

It was only after his death in 2006 that I discovered that Peter Ganz, the father of a schoolfriend of mine, had been one of the ‘secret listeners’ at Trent Park. Growing up, we knew that he came from Mainz – once as I later learned a great centre of German-Jewish culture – had been in Buchenwald for six weeks after Kristallnacht, before getting over here by a lucky fluke, and also that he had been interned in the Isle of Man.

As to the rest of the war, he told everyone, including his children, that he had spent it in the Pioneer Corps. What I also did not know was that his father had distinguished himself in the Imperial German Army in the First World War, and his grandfather converted to Lutheranism – I am not clear whether it was the same one who has murdered at Auschwitz.

He was primarily a scholar of medieval German literature, who took Jacob Grimm as his academic role model, and later in his career devoted himself to editing and commentating the historical writings of Jacob Burckhardt, to whom Babak Makkinejad referred.

(See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/professor-peter-ganz-416037.html .)

It was as a result of his influence, and that of other refugees from Hitler, that when I started trying to think about the questions raised by Soviet retreat, I was not blinded by the assumption that – as Ari Shavit said to Avraham Burg back in 2007 – ‘yekke romanticism’ in some way ‘leads to Auschwitz.’

(See http://www.haaretz.com/news/leaving-the-zionist-ghetto-cont-1.222567 .)

Understanding the ‘Shoah’ is indeed a critically important matter. Making a cult of it – and in particular assuming that in some way it maps out a likely future in Germany, Europe, or anywhere else – in the way that Shavit and so many Zionists do, is a very grave mistake indeed.

If one is to make one’s way into a reasonably hopeful future, it is necessary to think seriously about the more catastrophic elements of recent European history – and in particular, Soviet Communism and German National Socialism. A problem with the ‘neoconservative consensus’ which has dominated Western thinking for a generation is that it is based on facile readings of both.

LeaNder

Growing up, we knew that he came from Mainz ...

Jim Lobe's family, Babak refers to him somewhere further down, was from nearby Frankfurt.

In my private exchanges with him I found out both that and that he was a fan of Daniel Cohn Bendit when he studied in France, just as I was in earlier times. Still am, although, I wish he had slightly better controlled his anger in a recent TV appearance over here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Cohn-Bendit#Biography

It got a little murky of course emotionally for me when I stumbled across a longer paper about "us German post 1968 'leftists'", in the post 9/11 universe via a temporary link in American academic circles.

Anyway, it taught me that I could have never liked both Cohn-Bendit and sympathized in my own moderate ways with the left. Since the whole 1968 generation were actually anti-Semites the paper had it. ... Not that I hadn't somewhat suspected that picking up the side of one of former Nazi's central enemies (one and the same?) seemed to be a bit of a too easy way out. Just as it often turned out that some of the most ardent leftists, intend on bringing the message to the workers, gave up their creed for a career along their way. Not Daniel from my limited perspective, by the way. ;)

Ever stumbled across academic efforts trying to prove it might be more helpful to emphasize the "socialist" part of the National Socialists? ...

*****
Mind you, I only realized to what extend I may have myself encountered or touched the diverse agencies or arms of the larger no doubt complex intelligence agents in Berlin at the time. Didn't stay there very long. What made me rethink matters were facts from the larger alternative scene around a friend, who lived in Berlin much longer then I did. He told me about some of the biographies among other things. ...

"Berlin, capital of the GDR, is the capital of the GDR"=Berlin die Hauptstadt der DDR ist the Hauptstadt der DDR. As we joked at the time. It didn't have the feel and touch of a system you wanted to live in either. Definitively not. The repression was easy to see.

LeaNder

Thanks a lot, by the way. But this deserves a deeper reflection.

The above comment was more from the top of my mind and from a more personal layer. ;)

A.I.Schmelzer

The Russians are pretty fond of YPJ as well.

Referring to Ludmilla Pavlichenko as your role model goes pretty well with Russian audiences.

YPJ does a lot of different things pretty well, they are a morale booster (very few male Kurds will run while YPJ is still fighting, doing so would be the equivalent of social castration), greatly ease interactions with civilians (zero risk of rape by YPJ, greatly diminished risk of other occupation related stuff like looting etc. ), they are propaganda gold externally.
They increase limited kurdish manpower as well.

I would also add that they are fairly "cheap" in terms of upkeep and equipment.
Loyalists got plenty of female fighters as well, but more generally as individual snipers, much less as organized units.

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