Daniel Ellsberg’s The Doomsday Machine (a review by Bill Roller)

Review by Bill Roller of Daniel Ellsberg’s book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner    
 
                  It’s Midnight in America
 

 

            There was a game that children in the southern Midwest played

during the early days of the Cold War. It was called, “What Time is it Mr. Fox?”  It was a version of “tag” and went something like this. We children gathered at the brick wall in the school yard. One of us was given the role of “Mr. Fox”, and that child faced the brick wall, hands on the wall and eyes closed. As the rest of us approached the wall slowly, one step at a time, we asked, “What time is it, Mr. Fox?”  Mr. Fox replied

“Five-thirty” and we took another step forward.

The American War in Yemen by Rajan Menon

[Thanks to our media ally TomDispatch.com for sharing this article with Tikkun readers on yet another sin of the U.S. government–our participation in the mass killing of Yemenites. –Rabbi Michael Lerner  rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com ]
The American War in Yemen
by Rajan Menon

Introduction by Tom Engelhardt: It was the rarest of graphics in the American news media: a CNN map in which recent Saudi air strikes in Yemen were represented by little yellow explosions. Below them were the number of civilians killed (“97,” “155,” “unknown casualties”) and, below those, the names of the makers of the weapons that had done the killing (Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics). In fact, in the nearly three decades since the Soviet Union imploded, U.S. weapons makers have had a remarkable grip on the global arms trade (latest figure: 34% of all arms sales) and regularly sold their weaponry into places that were hell storms of conflict, particularly the Middle East. Nonetheless, remarkably little thought is given here to how snugly death and destruction in distant lands fit with these glory days of U.S. weapons makers, their soaring profits and rising stock prices.

Homage to the Syrian Revolution by Andrew Heintz

Tikkun Editor’s Note: Tikkun does not have a position on the issues raised by the Syrian revolution, except to say that we oppose all violence and know that the forces seeking to replace Syrian dictator Assad were committed to non-violence until Assad starting torturing and killing them. We welcome critiques of the perspective put forward by Andrew Heintz below. Homage to the Syrian Revolution
The American Left has had an ongoing war of words about what to do about Syria. The result has illuminated the consequences of groupthink and dogmatic anti-imperial absolutism. It has been heartbreaking to witness so-called leftists refuse to recognize the sadistic brutality of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Middle East Alliances. Old and New.

Tikkun note: Thanks to our media ally tomdispatch.com for sharing the article below by Rebecca Gordon. And first, a brief part of an introduction to her piece by their editor Tom Engelhardt. “Stabilization: Lessons From the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan” put out by the office of the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, or SIGAR, focused on 15 years of U.S. efforts to defeat the Taliban and “reconstruct” that country.  Issued in late May, it got a few cursory news reportsbefore disappearing into the maw of Trump addiction.  But don’t blame The Donald for that.  When was the last time — even before he entered the Oval Office — that any serious attention was paid here to the longest war in American history, our forever war or “generational struggle” or “infinite war”?  When was the last true policy debate on it? Presidents — even Donald Trump — just re-up on coming into office, surge more U.S. troops in, and watch as things devolve.  The generals fight; U.S. commanders come and go (the 17thof the Afghan war is just arriving); our European allies ever more wearily support the last superpower on the planet; and things only get worse while SIGAR issues its reports.  Even its latest one only ended up recommending yet more military and other efforts at greater cost to “stabilize” that country.  There’s a certain pathos to it, even as yet more Afghans die, more lives are ruined or uprooted, and yet more insurgent/terror groups form in that country (and neighboring Pakistan).  It has all the charm of watching mice on a treadmill. Recently, for instance, there was a new “insider attack” that took the life of an American serviceman and wounded two others, the first in perhaps a year; the Taliban seemed once again to be gaining ground as Afghan government security forces shrank; British Prime Minister Theresa May, preparing to be kicked in the teeth by President Trump, obsequiously came close to doubling her country’s force in Afghanistan; approximately 15,000 U.S. military personnel (not counting private contractors) continue to serve there; the U.S. air war has been ramped up; the latest Pentagon review of the American effort may soon be launched; and undoubtedly SIGAR has begun to clear the way for its next report.

A Tale of American Hubris

A Tale of American Hubris
Or Five Lessons in the History of American Defeat 
By Tom Engelhardt

The lessons of history? Who needs them? Certainly not Washington’s present cast of characters, a crew in flight from history, the past, or knowledge of more or less any sort. Still, just for the hell of it, let’s take a few moments to think about what some of the lessons of the last years of the previous century and the first years of this one might be for the world’s most exceptional and indispensable nation, the planet’s sole superpower, the globe’s only sheriff. Those were, of course, commonplace descriptions from the pre-Trump era and yet, in the age of MAGA, already as moldy and cold as the dust in some pharaonic tomb.

War Is a Lie by David Swanson

By David Swanson

Syria All Wrong and Backwards

In the park today I saw a teenager watching two little kids, one of whom apparently stole a piece of candy from the other. The teenager rushed up to the two of them, reprimanded one of them, and stole both of their bicycles. I felt like it was my turn to step in at that point, and I confronted the bicycle thief. “Excuse me,” I said, “what makes you think you can commit a larger crime just because you witnessed a smaller one? Who do you think you are?” He stared at me for a while, and replied: “the U.S. military.”

There is no crime larger than war.

We Never Needed to Use an Atomic Bomb–not in WWII, NEVER

By Anthony Gronowicz

This entire race to mutual destruction began with the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that were militarily unnecessary:

President Truman misled the American people into thinking that Hiroshima and Nagasaki that  were military targets. The reason for the bombing is that the Soviet Union had acceded to an Anglo-American request to enter the war against Japan the very day that Nagasaki was bombed. The bomb’s successful testing in July 1945 made Soviet participation unnecessary. One year earlier, the head of the Manhattan Project to build the world’s first atomic bomb, General Leslie Groves, had told Nobel Prize winner Joseph Rotblat that “the main purpose of the bomb was `to subdue the Russians.’”[1]

Most Americans are unaware of the anti-nuclear bomb perspective of World War II’s Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower, Five-Star Fleet Admiral of the U.S. Navy and Chief of Staff to the President William D. Leahy, and Commanding General of the United States Army Air Force Henry H. Arnold—among others. Eisenhower wrote, “… I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him [Stimson] my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly, because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.”  Leahy concluded, “… [T] he use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan … [I]n being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages.

America’s Phony War Blitzkrieg Overseas, Sitzkrieg in the Homeland By William J. Astore

Editor’s note: Thanks to our media ally TomDispatch.com we share with you some reflections on the way the U.S. has been conducting warfare for the past 17 years without most people even noticing. It starts with an introduction by Tom Dispatch editor Tom Engelhardt. –Rabbi Michael Lerner  rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com

I’ve long been struck by one strange aspect of the most recent part of the American Century: just how demobilized this country has been in the midst of distant wars that have morphed and spread for almost 17 years. I was born in July 1944 into a fully mobilized country fighting World War II in Europe and the Pacific. Pearl Harbor aside, actual war was then a distant reality for most Americans, but there was no question that this nation was at war (as were both my parents: my father in the U.S. Army Air Forces, as it was then called, and my mother in the war effort at home).