The Pentagon Is a Mean, Lean, Triumphant, Fighting Machine. It’s Just Not Fighting the War You Think It Is

Its real war — the one it really cares about and is winning handily — is on the homefront

Those who try to understand military policy often confuse themselves by focusing on minor matters such as strategy, tactics, logistics, and armament. Here they err. For years the central goal of the military, the brass ring, has been independence from control by civilians. It has been achieved.

In time of war, the first concern of the command is to limit the flow of information to their publics. The actions of the enemy are an important but secondary consideration. Thus militaries strive to prevent the dissemination of photos of mutilated soldiers or, as in Washington today, of governmentally tortured prisoners. In the United States, which characteristically fights wars unrelated to the safety of the country, the Pentagon must also keep soldiers from being told that they are being sacrifice for the benefit of arms manufacturers and imperialist ambitions. In wars before Vietnam, this was adroitly effected. You could go to jail for criticizing a war.

In Vietnam, something new happened. The press covered the war freely. Reporters went where they pleased, beyond the control of the military. Their publications ran the results. National magazines printed horrific photographs of what was really happening.

Truth tells. The coverage was one of the two factors that forced Washington to quit the war. The other was the passionate unwillingness of young men to be forced to fight a war in which they had no interest. The war, a source of meaning for Washington’s thunderous hawks and fern-bar Napoleons, was getting them killed.

The military of Vietnam wasn’t very good at fighting, and neither is the military of today. GIs in Asia would assault a hill, usually of no importance, and, after three days, with the aid of helicopters, helo gunships, napalm, artillery, and fighter-bombers, would capture it. This would be called a triumph. The astute observed that if the Americans had to fight on equal terms, without overwhelming material superiority, they would last perhaps ten minutes. This is now a recognized pattern. Note that numerically superior and hugely armed American forces have been outfought for years by lightly armed Afghan goat herds. Since neither the wars nor the soldiers in them are of much importance, this doesn’t matter.

The Pentagon learned a lot from Vietnam: It learned that its greatest enemies are the press and the American public. The burning question became how to keep the goddam public from interfering in wars which were none of its business and, particularly in the award of large contracts.

The problem was solved in two major ways. The first was to end the draft and go to the All Volunteer Army. The command realized that if they conscripted kids from Yale and the University of Virginia to come back in body bags, the prospective conscriptees, their girlfriends, and their families would take to the streets. This would threaten the smooth flow of funds. If volunteer kids from Tennessee died, no one would care.

The second step in keeping the public out of the loop was to control the press. This was done partly by “embedding” reporters in American military units in the victim country. The control was furthered, more by happenstance than plan, by the amalgamation of the major media in a few large corporations which then controlled content. It worked.

A third and crucial element was the quiet and de facto abolition of the restrictions imposed by the Constitution. As long as that document was held to be canonical, Congress would have to declare war before the military could attack anyone. A congressman voting for a war would have to explain to his constituents why he wanted to spend a trillion dollars on killing remote peasants when his jurisdiction had crumbling schools. People in Oklahoma might ask, “Can’t we grow our own goat herds more cheaply and kill them here?”

Congress was happy to shed this responsibility, or for that matter any responsibility. And so it did.

The Commander-in-Chief was now able to send troops anywhere he pleased. It was his private army. He could , in effect, contract out the US military to Israel to crush its enemies or to the petro-interests to try to capture oil fields.

However, this happy canvas was not yet raised to Rafaelsesque perfection. There was still the awkward, though now minor, matter of body bags. The Presidency did what it could. It forbade the filming of flag-draped coffins coming into Dover Air Force Base on grounds of protecting the privacy of the occupants. Logicians might question just what intimate private details a photo of a box might reveal. But the public wasn’t William of Ockham. The point was to keep the rubes from knowing what the shrapnel cone of an RPG does the the head of Jimmy Jack Perkins of Memphis.

However, the damage was controllable. Not to Jimmy Jack’s head, but to the Army’s PR persona. That was what the Army cared about. Yet…things were not quite perfect. An awful lot of kids were coming back from obscure wars with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), which is what happens when seventy-five pounds of C4 in an IED blows. It turns said kid’s brain into the equivalent of a pudding stirred by an enthusiastic but poorly trained chef. For the next fifty years he stumbles, mumbles, drools, shuffles, and has the IQ of a duckbill platypus.

This was not a serious difficulty. The corporate media were in line, so there was no danger that CBS would do a hostile expose. Besides, with luck the creep would die early. But it was still a potential source of political blowback.

A solution appeared: Drones. They were wonderful, serving several purposes at once. They cost not as much as fighter planes, but enough to funnel lots of loot to contractors. No body bags ever came back and so didn’t need to be hidden. Drones could be flown by wet-lipped sociopaths in air-conditioned comfort in Colorado. They couldn’t win a war, but neither could they lose one. This was ideal, since either winning or losing would slow the award of contracts.

The remaining bump in the road to full emancipation was the military budget. This matter was neutralized by the major media, which had become for practical purposes minor federal departments. In Mein Kampf, der Fuehrer pointed out that the masses would eventually believe any idea repeated often enough. A corollary was that the masses would ignore any idea mentioned only once or twice. Hiding financial grotesquery was not necessary. It sufficed to mention it briefly in paragraph seventeen or, on the tube, in passing in tones usually used in reporting uneventful weather. Done.

Close. Very close. There was no longer a single columnist in the major media who actually knew the technology, bureaucracy, and tactics of the military, or had been near a rifle. The networks could therefore hire retired colonels to explain that the military was dedicated to truth, justice, and the American way.

The final condom in this chain of chastity was the president asserting that America was a city on a hill and a beam of light for darkened mankind, who to reach heaven needed only to give us their oil fields.

In sum, the foregoing measures constituted the greatest military victory since Waterloo. Neither Congress or the goddam public could any longer meddle where it had no business meddling. Fewer and fewer troops actually went to war, so the unpatriotic bastards couldn’t disrupt the war effort by coming home in body bags. The Pentagon had achieved its long-sought emancipation. It looked forward to killing any peasants who struck its fancy with the insouciant independence of a trust-fund baby in the fleshpots of the Orient.

Source: Antiwar.com

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Peter Williams
Peter Williams
11 months ago

Please don’t insult platypus by comparing their IQ to a Septic soldier, either pre, or post TBI.

Tommy Prince
Tommy Prince
11 months ago

” the greatest military victory since Waterloo”

people don’t seem to know it but Rothschild was the victor

tapatio
tapatio
11 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Prince

Rothschild has been the victor in every war for 300 years.

ke4ram
ke4ram
11 months ago

Mr. Compton’s (Garry Compton) comment says it all. As a vet of Viet Nam I can tell you it’s true.
About the authors story taking a hill in Viet Nam there is one thing missing. Usually within a week we would vacate the ‘hill’ making the whole exercise and the deaths incurred pointless. They did the same thing in Korea, another useless life wasting war.

Garry Compton
Garry Compton
11 months ago
Reply to  ke4ram

Yep, Nam 70-71 Actually went back this last year for the first time – The place is over populated – but no hatred towards this old American War vet. lol

Mary E
11 months ago

And you can bet your bottom dollar that the wars won’t end when oil is worth nothing…
that circumstance coming up before 2030….Hegemony is the goal – and in the act of attaining it, the West is getting their oil by hook or by crook (actually, invasion and occupation of its militaries)….in the meantime Russia and China are hard at working on
their economic agendas (win-win for all involved in their projects) , which, bye the bye, are quite successful, unlike the US which knows nothing about real competition…

Garry Compton
Garry Compton
11 months ago
Reply to  Mary E

I watched numerous video documentaries on SE Asean Silk Road by a young man Anthony Morse – who was raised there. He traveled to many countries , and showed where and how the Road is being constructed – it was very informative.

freewheelinfranklin543
freewheelinfranklin543
11 months ago

Good article but Fred believes the governments lies about 911 and has repeatedly excoriated and name called people who don’t believe the government lies about 911. I used to post the man for years. Wont post him anymore because he is controlled op or really stupid. And I don’t think he is stupid.

Jesus
Jesus
11 months ago

If US forces a war effort against a near or peer power, a lot of these assumptions will be moot. Casualties and equipment loses would be high, whereby the military and media cannot lie or ignore, when the very safety of continental US is directly threatened by conventional or nuclear weapons.

CHUCKMAN
11 months ago

A basic, good idea here, but confused and oddly written, very oddly in places, as:”The final condom in this chain of chastity…”

Canosin
Canosin
11 months ago
Reply to  CHUCKMAN

seems you would be best placed as censor……only your language counts,right?

Ricky Miller
Ricky Miller
11 months ago
Reply to  CHUCKMAN

Please, sir. The article was brilliant and witty. We should print it out by the thousands, laminate each printout and begin placing them under the windshield wipers of every parked car in America.

Garry Compton
Garry Compton
11 months ago

Well, if anyone knows War – Fred does. Yep, dump the draft , dumb down the kids, keep what jobs are available – low pay and short hours and you’ll have all the recruits you need- Even college kids. If not , print another trillion { no one cares } and buy a dozen al Qaeda s of a few ” Academys”. Make sure Mom and Dad or a wife gets 200,000 to 400,000 bucks if Johnnie comes home in ” the Box” and that should keep them quiet because no family would that to come out in the public. As for all those Government employees , they don’t dare speak up – trying to find a job in todays private sector – would kill them, after being on the gravy train – that’s if they could find one. Money can buy you love, fresh air, the American dream, great pension, – but it can’t buy you honorable conscience if you sold your countrymen and nation – down the toilet. That’s why all the Rats stick together and feed off one another – in their Dream World.

thomas malthaus
thomas malthaus
11 months ago
Reply to  Garry Compton

Read something over at VT awhile back that described US pilots in ‘Nam dropping bombs on a given point day in and day out for the sake of pilots getting hours.

Makes “sense.” What do you know about it?

Garry Compton
Garry Compton
11 months ago

Hey TM – getting flight time in , in order to get this months flight pay is universal – in the States or overseas. SOP. And dumping ordinance is the same thing as getting rid of all excess materials, at the end of the year , that is in the warehouses = parts. That way , that battalion can secure the same funding as last years , or ask for more. Look at all the ordinance that has been flown out and dumped in the Syria/Iraqi desert – while fight ISIS = billions. Corruption in militaries around the world are well known – look at Ukraine – when I went looking to buy a kalashnikov, when the Ukie army guys I knew, were leaving Crimea – they told me that they didn’t even have enough rifles for themselves – lol – I ask if they had anything else they wanted to sell – they had nothing – because all their arms were taken from them when the Ukraine Army – in 2005 was paid 40 million bucks by Senator Obama in Donetsk – to de arm the Ukrainian Army. Donbass , caught on and told Kiev to stuff it – and kept their arms. So when the US/Nato/ Israel started to arm the Ukies again – Russia sent some more goodies to Donbass. Pravda. Euromaidan was planned – long before 2012.

thomas malthaus
thomas malthaus
11 months ago
Reply to  Garry Compton

Care to advance my theory or independent confirmation that the United States has US nuclear arms in Ukraine. Presently stored in underground bunkers.

Zelensky could save what’s left of Ukraine by coming clean with Mr. Putin.

“And dumping ordinance is the same thing as getting rid of all excess materials, at the end of the year , that is in the warehouses = parts.”

One way to build a golf course with ready-made bunkers.

Spacibo GC.

Garry Compton
Garry Compton
11 months ago

Good one TM – Can’t say that I know much about the nukes in UkieVille but if they are there – the Ukies will try to sell them . Ya , I think Duff covered the mini nuke theory/facts and that , everytime the Ukies have a fire or explosion at one of their bases – it’s a cover for an arms sale to the al Qaeda guys – then ask the US/Israel for more money. Odecca has a long time history for movin everything from Slaves to Nukes and beyond. Spacibo

thomas malthaus
thomas malthaus
11 months ago
Reply to  Garry Compton

Ukraine doesn’t have a viable army.

I can understand why Russia wouldn’t want to attack a relatively defenseless nation with nothing valuable but farmland and human capital– the latter of which is herding towards Russia.

Edit: I do understand the vast numbers of those with Russian lineage living in Ukraine, Garry.

As to the nuclear weapons to Al Qaeda, do you suppose this is a roundabout way of transferring nuclear weapons to Israel without Congressional oversight or knowledge?

All the US-Israel dual citizen legislators with so little US allegiance.

I’ll assume it goes without saying that Iran and Ukraine have no formal diplomatic relations.

Garry Compton
Garry Compton
11 months ago

Russia won’t attack their own people and all the people east of the Dneipr R. are Russian/Ukrainian and many more west of the River.They will attack an army tho. Hundreds of thousands of people travel between Crimea to Ukraine and vis versa , because of family ties. These folks all know the game being played but Ukie /US Propaganda is fierce. Donbas has a good army and Russia will come to the rescue , if the Nato Nazis try to take eastern Ukraine. US Ambassadors are all State Dept/CIA people – they have No diplomacy, only an Agenda. If you go to a US Embassy, you won’t see many/any Americans at the security gate or first floor answering questions. The National workers of that country do all the paperwork. I’ve met 1 US worker, when I would use the Embassy in Kiev.

thomas malthaus
thomas malthaus
11 months ago
Reply to  Garry Compton

It has likely continued with the -stan countries surrounding Russia.

Recent articles published in the New Eastern Outlook give such hints.

Indigenous neo-Nazis manning our embassies.

You suppose this is quite prevalent around the world with US embassies?

Garry Compton
Garry Compton
11 months ago

Actually, the Nationals that worked at the US Embassy were very professional – they knew their jobs and took care of my business – well. In Ukraine , in Russia Embassy in Kyiv also. That was before – I have no clue how it is today and have no idea how many Americans are left in Ukraine.

thomas malthaus
thomas malthaus
11 months ago
Reply to  Garry Compton

How does the average American get along with the average Russian? A while back I believe you wrote they had some wariness toward Yanks.

Any important changes since then?

Garry Compton
Garry Compton
11 months ago

Most of the time , I have no problems and I don’t know any other Americans here. Some of my thoughts , may be because I am embarrassed by what the USA does to Russia and other countries, so I get a bit paranoid about being an Amerikanska. lol. Recall , I lived in the middle of Alaska many many years , so I am quite easy , with living without others around – to talk with. Of course, I have been here for awhile now , so folks know me and they are respectful. But my observations are, that most Russians { rural esp. } aren’t used to foreigners or have had alot of dealings with them – Summertime is a bit different here in Crimea. I’ve met Germans, Poles, Turks, Azerbaijan, Kazak, Moldovans, Belarusian , Georgians etc.

thomas malthaus
thomas malthaus
11 months ago
Reply to  Garry Compton

I’ve known a few Russians and they don’t harbor any hostility toward Americans. They aren’t fond of our government. The feeling is mutual.

David Chu
David Chu
11 months ago

the Pentagon must also keep soldiers from being told that they
are being sacrifice for the benefit of arms manufacturers and
imperialist ambitions.

They don’t have to. These Yankee mercenaries, that’s what they are, are so brainwashed that they welcome the opportunity to die for their country in a heartbeat. Just like their previous generations. USA! USA! USA!

In Mein Kampf, der Fuehrer pointed out that the masses would eventually believe any idea repeated often enough.

This is complete mainstream bullshit told ad infinitum. What Hitler said was about the perennial tactic of the Jews in LYING or the BIG LIE:

But it remained for the Jews, with their unqualified capacity for falsehood, and their fighting comrades, the Marxists, to impute responsibility for the downfall precisely to the man who alone had shown a superhuman will and energy in his effort to prevent the catastrophe which he had foreseen and to save the nation from that hour of complete overthrow and shame. By placing responsibility for the loss of the world war [WW1] on the shoulders of Ludendorff they took away the weapon of moral right from the only adversary dangerous enough to be likely to succeed in bringing the betrayers of the Fatherland to Justice. All this was inspired by the principle – which is quite true in itself – that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.

From time immemorial, however, the Jews have known better than any others how falsehood and calumny can be exploited. Is not their very existence founded on one great lie, namely, that they are a religious community, whereas in reality they are a race? And what a race! One of the greatest thinkers that mankind has produced has branded the Jews for all time with a statement which is profoundly and exactly true. He (Schopenhauer) called the Jew “The Great Master of Lies”. Those who do not realize the truth of that statement, or do not wish to believe it, will never be able to lend a hand in helping Truth to prevail.

Canosin
Canosin
11 months ago
Reply to  David Chu

“In Mein Kampf, der Fuehrer pointed out that the masses would eventually believe any idea repeated often enough…”
wrong citation……..actually a lie……Hitler did not write this in his book…..

Charles Homer
Charles Homer
11 months ago

And let us not forget the war profiteers and the corner office dwellers who benefit the most from the ever-increasing value of the shares of America’s MIC.

Anti-Empire