Friday, June 27, 2014

Caitlin Hayden Delivers Obama's Declaration of War on Syria

Caitlin Hayden, speaking for the National Security Council (NSC) announced yesterday President Barack Obama is requesting $500 million from Congress to fund a war against Syria. [See White House Caitlin Hayden press release, June 26, 2014]

This amounts to requesting a declaration of war, and if acted upon would constitute a war crime under international law.

Americans have trouble understanding how criminal their international actions are. Imagine that nations are actually equal under international law. Now imagine the Syrian government openly giving $500 million in weapons to a U.S. opposition group to overthrow the U.S. government. Any U.S. President would feel justified in declaring war on Syria in that circumstance.

Giving military aid to groups trying to overthrow their government is an act of war. Sure, it is an act of war the U.S. has gotten away many times since 1776. We act as if we are above the rules of international law and common decency.

Barack Obama has always been a slick lawyer-politician. Note he should ask the Congress to declare war on Syria, as the U.S. Constitution requires. Instead he is raping Syria through the backdoor. [But Congress declaring war, if Syria has not invaded the U.S., would still be a war crime.]

It will take time for the new "Counter-Terrorism Partnerships Fund," of $1.5 billion (of which $500 million is designated to be used against Syria) to become law. It is part of the Administration's Fiscal 2015 Overseas Contingency Operations budget. Congress could reject it, but with almost every Congressional district containing either a military base or major military contractor, the chances are Congress will pass it. A few congress people with anti-war constituencies will preserve their electoral chances by voting against the measure, while going along and benefitting from the system.

To get a successful opposition in Congress would require massive, nationwide popular opposition to the legislation. To get that Americans would have to care that they are a war criminal nation led by war crimes parties, a war crimes government, and a war crimes military-industrial establishment.

Note that this illegal attack on the government of the sovereign state of Syria is not about dictatorships or democracy. The current leader of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, was recently re-elected. Close by we have the dictatorship of Saudi Arabia, which has a far worse human rights record than Syria. Women have no rights in Saudi Arabia; they do in Syria. Syria has religious freedom; Saudi Arabia does not. In terms of crushing any opposition, Saudi Arabia is worse than Syria.

So why is the U.S. government (it was U.S. policy long before Barack Obama lied his way into the Presidency) attacking Syria instead of Saudi Arabia? Because Saudi Arabia is a pro-U.S. woman-oppressing radical Islamic dictatorship.

Caitlin Hayden, War Crimes spokesperson
Caitlin Hayden, war crimes spokesperson for Barack Obama
Barack Obama, like President George W. Bush and many others before him, is a war criminal. I would love to put him on trial and prove it. But that is not going to happen. I'm much more likely to be put on trial, or jailed or murdered without trial for telling the truth, than he is for his war crimes.

As to my friends in the Democratic Party and Republican Party, I just want to remind you that you, too, are war criminals. Your fate should be the fate of the Nuremberg Trials defendants and the members of their organizations [See denazification]. Check out the Nuremberg principles if you are not sure if you are a war criminal, or member of an organization of war criminals, or the specifics of what constitutes a war crime.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

ISIS Surprise, Dynamics of

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) looks like it took the U.S. intelligence community by surprise. You would think the CIA and other intelligence services would have seen this coming. But, looking at past failures of intelligence and analysis, I don't think the CIA is much at fault (purely on intelligence gathering and analysis. The ethics of imperialism are another matter, which I write about frequently, but not in this particular story).

The historical analogy that leaps to mind is the rapid collapse of the Chiang Kai-shek regime in China during the years following the end of World War II. In retrospect everyone, including Chiang, should have seen it coming. So why was it (the rapidity) such a surprise (even, to a large extent, to the Chinese Communist Party, which expected a much longer civil war to be required to take power)?

In both cases, the rising power was stronger than appearances led people to believe. More important, the existing power was weaker, to the point of being a sham.

ISIS does not have the long history that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had by 1946. Nor did it have, in say 2012, the base areas that the CCP had. But there are some similar characteristics.

ISIS is driven by radical Islam, which apparently is quite the motivator of men. The CCP was driven by a Chinese version of Marxism, later called Maoism, which also was very motivational.

External factors helped both groups. China had been invaded by Japan, but had been in chaos long before the Japanese decided to risk their lives to try to "restore order." Similarly Iraq had been invaded by the United States (USA), also allegedly to create a democratic, peaceful order there.

The government as run by Chiang Kai-shek was incompetent and corrupt, in many cases amounting to little more than the rule of warlords. Most Chinese felt oppressed by the "Nationalist" government, and had heard the CCP governed base areas were far better off. While the government of Iraq has support in some sectors, particularly among the Shia sects, among the Sunni sects there has long been a belief that the government is an enemy.

In the most obvious parallel, the United States armed and financed Chiang Kai-shek, as it still arms and finances the Iraq government.

The Chiang regime might have gone on ruling China incompetently had it not been for the emergence of the CCP, with its high levels of skill at both governance and war.

Apparently ISIS also has a great deal of competence at governance and war. ISIS leaders may be ultra-conservative Sunni Islam, until recently affiliated with Al Qaeda, but about two years ago they began to prioritize finances and governance. Ascetics themselves, they gained popular support by redistributing wealth to the common people, much like the CCP and the New Deal Democrats in the USA. They also used their taxing power to build up a well-trained army, and apparently to bribe both tribal leaders and many members of the Iraq army.

It is said, perhaps with some exaggeration, that Chiang's troops were defeated with the very U.S. weapons that were supposed to solidify his regime. The troops did not like the way they were treated, so they just went over the the Red Army, taking Chiang's shiny new U.S. manufactured weapons with them.

I doubt ISIS can take over all of Iraq, and I doubt they want to. By unifying the Sunni portions of Iraq and Syria they might create a new, viable state. If the lines had been drawn that way when the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I, a lot of trouble might have been saved. Instead the French, British and American empires drew lines in the sand for their own convenience, creating the modern states (not really nations) of Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Iraq.

Perhaps the Kurds will finally get their own nation. Given Woodrow Wilson's pious, if hypocritical, yammering about national self-determination after World War I, again a lot of trouble could have been saved by just doing it then.

But of course the imperialist powers, the U.S. more so than Britain and France, do not want rational borders in the Middle East. They want a weak Middle East, and that requires lumping together Shiites and Sunnis, so that they will fight each other and be U.S. puppets, rather than gaining true independence and equality within the world community

The current version of Iraq is not yet done. A democratic and united Iraq could still emerge, but it will be a lot harder now. The government of Iraq has more popular support than the Nationalist Chinese government ever did (Chiang never risked having an election, for instance). Also, ISIS may alienate the very people who welcome them today. It would not be the first time in history that has happened.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Double Coup of 1952

Coup. 2 a sudden, successful move or action 3 coup d'etat
— Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition

1952 was a relatively calm year in the USA. The postwar prosperity was just 7 years old, as most other nations had not yet been able to rebuild their bombed-out factories enough to make a dent in U.S. global economic dominance. The Korean War had settled down, for the most part, even if an armistice had not been signed. China's communist party was well-entrenched, so that only right-wing crazies any longer believed Chiang Kai-shek could ever return to the mainland. Jazz was still hot, and so was Frank Sinatra; rock and roll had not quite been born yet.

It was an election year, and as usual a number of men (it was before women aspired to be nominees of the two main political parties) wanted to be President.

There were primaries held in many states in 1952, but many state parties still chose the party delegations to the national conventions by other methods. These typically amounted to appointments by party bosses.

The two main contenders in the Republican Party were Senator Robert Taft and General Dwight David Eisenhower, most recently the Commander of NATO. Eisenhower, at least at first, did not so much run for the office as allow others to create a campaign using his name. Outgoing President Truman had once asked him to run as a Democrat. But "Not only had Eisenhower no politics; he had no religion, no conspicuous guiding principles, and few known views on most of the great issues of his time." But, it turned out, he was a Republican. [Manchester, The Glory and the Dream, p. 745]

Senator Estes Kefauver

President Truman was eligible for another term (his first term as President came from the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt), and he was on the primary ballots, but he was low in the polls. Estes Kefauver, Senator from Tennessee, was the front runner. He had led an investigation into organized crime and its control of political machines, which turned out to be mostly Democratic Party political machines. He vowed to clean up America.

Truman could not let that happen. While most historians have been unable to prove that Truman was personally corrupt, it is hard to argue with his lifetime tendency to run with corrupt men, starting with the Pendergast Machine in his native Missouri, and ending with men he appointed to high office when the President's appointed cronies, among them Donald Dawson, Merle Young, and William Boyle Jr., were caught demanding bribes to facilitate government grants to businesses. Truman did not think Kefauver was cleaning up the Democratic Party, he thought Kefauver was destroying it.

Truman needed a white knight, someone with a good reputation, but who would let the Democrats continue corruption as usual. After considerable effort he convinced the Governor of Illinois, Adlai E. Stevenson, to run against Kefauver.

Stevenson's run may have been the model for Barack Obama's primary run in 2008. Adlai was articulate, a great speaker who could galvanize the Democrats' liberals and intellectuals. Meanwhile the party bosses, hand in hand with organized crime, were happy to get behind Stevenson, who was a true son of the Chicago political machine, no matter his surface gloss.

In the first primary, New Hampshire, Kefauver crushed Truman; Stevenson was not on the ballot. Eisenhower beat Taft 44,497 to 35,820, which is also a large margin of victory.

But Taft was not so easily put off. His father, William Howard Taft, had served both as President and as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Robert had first been elected to office in 1920 and had served in the U.S. Senate since 1939. He had led the conservative opposition to Roosevelt and Truman for almost two decades. He had a strong campaign organization left over from two prior runs for the nomination.

Robert Taft beat Eisenhower in the next Republican primary, Nebraska; then in Wisconsin. In Illinois Eisenhower came in third. But "Ike" won the New Jersey and Pennsylvania primaries. Earl Warren won California and Taft won South Dakota, the last 2 primaries. With delegates from states not holding primaries Taft was way ahead. He had 588 committed delegates, with only 604 needed to get the nomination. He just needed 16 more uncommitted delegates to win.

Meanwhile Kefauver won every state Democratic primary except Minnesota (won by Hubert Humphrey), Florida (Richard Russell) and West Virginia (which elected an unpledged delegation).

So who was elected President in 1952? Did the people elect Estes Kefauver or Robert Taft?

Trick question. Don't feel bad, few Americans can name all the Presidents. There were a lot of them, and many are now quite obscure.

There were two political coups in 1952, one in the Democratic Party and one in the Republican Party.

Back in 1952 African-Americans could not vote in the former Confederate states, the South (and were discouraged from voting in many other states as well). The Democratic Party, in the South, was the party of segregation, a white-people's party. There were few Republicans in the southern states, but they sent delegates to the Republican National Convention, convened on July 7 in Chicago, anyway. Keynotes were given by Joe McCarthy and General Douglas MacArthur. Then business was conducted.

Taft appeared to be able to win the nomination on the first ballot. He now had 607 committed delegates. But Thomas Dewey and other supporters of Eisenhower had other ideas. They challenged the credentials of the southern state delegates, most of whom supported Taft. Meanwhile polls showed Eisenhower would do better with the general public than Taft, the darling of conservatives. Back room deals were made in secret. Individual delegates began to desert Taft.

On the first ballot Eisenhower got 595 votes, Taft 500, Warren 81, Harold Stassen 20, and MacArthur 10. Before a second ballot could be held, the Minnesota delegation changed over to Ike, giving him the nomination. Taft, ever the team player, allowed a motion to make the nomination unanimous.

The Democrats also met in Chicago, about a week after the Republicans left. Adlai Stevenson had taken himself out of the race on April 16. Kefauver had the popularly elected delegates, but crooks ran the party in that era. The anybody-but-a-reformer crowd considered Vice President Alben Barkley, but labor union leaders refused to back him. Stevenson made a speech welcoming the convention, and by all accounts, it was a great speech, recapitulating the achievements of the New Deal. Soon after Stevenson allowed he would accept the nomination, if offered.

It took three ballots for organized crime to prevent Estes Kefauver from becoming President. Kefauver led Stevenson in the first ballot with 340 votes to Stevenson's 273, Richard Russell's 268, Averall Harriman's 123 and 1/2, and a scattering for others. In the second ballot Kefauver again led with 362.5 votes, Stevenson had 324.5, Russell 294, and Harriman 121. But on the third ballot some delegates (probably bribed) defected from Kefauver, and Harriman's switched to Stevenson in a block. So Stevenson was nominated on the third ballot with 617.5 votes, or 50.2% of the delegates.

The party bosses did let the American people (excepting southrern non-whites) vote in November of 1952. The American people went with the General, who was pretty close to the center of the political spectrum. To appease the right wing of the Republican Party, Richard Nixon was Ike's running mate and became the Vice President of the United States. Dwight David Eisenhower became the first Republican Party President of the United States since Herbert Hoover.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Emil Kapaun, Warrior or Saint?

Emil Kapaun was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in the U.S.A. in 1940, when Pius XII, who had helped bring the Roman Catholic thug Adolf Hitler to power in Germany, still hoped for a Catholic triumph over atheist-communism in World War II. We don't know what Emil thought of Hitler, or the other Roman Catholic dictators of that era (Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain, Petain in France, and a host of lesser lights).

By all accounts Father Kapaun was a good guy, within the limitations of his narrow view of the world. Almost his entire career was spent encouraging soldiers in the practice of war as a U.S. Army chaplain. Quite a few people think this means he should be made a Saint. Our war-loving President, doubtless with an eye on the Catholic vote, awarded Captain Kapaun a posthumous Medal of Honor in 2013. While that does not count towards sainthood, it certainly encourages the deluded people who like to believe in saints and miracles.

A military guy can be considered for sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church because the Church believes military action against non-Catholics is laudable. In the 20th century, until the Church was defeated in World War II, the main enemy was seen as atheism, along with socialist and communist economic tendencies. Sainthood for warriors is no novelty, as historically the Church has made such warriors as the Roman Emperor Constantine and the Reich emperor Charles the Great (Charlemagne) saints.

War Service

During World War II Kapaun served as an Army chaplain first in the United States, but in April 1945 he was sent to Burma. The Burmese, who were mainly Buddhist, had long sought independence from the British Empire. Kapaun's unit fought both Burmese and Japanese soldiers.

After a few years of civilian life he again became an army chaplain, was transferred to Japan, and then transferred into the Korean War. The Korean civil war was being won by Korean atheists led by communists, but the U.S. intervened, which would be a war crime if international justice were blind.

Not content with restoring the south of Korea to a pro-capitalist U.S. puppet dictatorship, when U.S. (and Korean puppet) armies reached the old north-south border, they kept attacking to the north, and eventually captured almost all of the populated areas of Korea, causing great suffering and destruction. But China came to Korea's aid when the troops under General MacArthur's command approached the Chinese boarder.

Among those troops, as chaplain to the 8th Cavalry Regiment of the 3rd Battalion, was Father Kapaun. He kept the killing spirit of the troops up, but his prayers did not work during the Battle of Unsan on November 2, 1950, which the United States lost. Father Kapaun was taken prisoner. As prisoner he reportedly stole food from the guards. Despite his later-claimed miraculous powers, Father Kapaun became sick, was transferred to a hospital, and died of pneumonia on May 23, 1951. It is notable that other U.S. POWs survived and were


Since no one is even arguing that he performed any miracles during his lifetime, it is hard for non-Catholics to see why the Catholic Church would call him a saint. Apparently deluded individuals have been praying to this war criminal for decades. In 2008 apparently God's bureaucrats finally got around to granting a miracle, in which a Catholic 20-year old man had a serious head injury in track practice, but his folks prayed to Saint Kapaun, and he recovered. Then in 2011 a Catholic guy running a 5K race collapsed, and apparently died, but then magically arose from the dead when his cousin prayed to Saint Kapaun.

The Light of Reason

Maybe God does like Catholics to kill Atheists. Catholic Popes certainly like Catholics to kill atheists. But miracles, really? If the guy had curative powers he could have cured his own pneumonia. If he had the power of conversion he could have converted his guards to Catholicism and walked back to U.S. Army lines.

Nope, Emil Kapaun's story just proves that some Roman Catholics are just vicious and stupid. Roman Catholics get sick like anyone else and die like anyone else. The only difference is that they keep the world mired in superstition and violence while they are alive. Individual Catholics may play well with others, and do good as individuals, but that is true of individuals of almost any group you can name, including atheists.