12/21 Wanna-be Soldier School-Shooters: "The Exceptional Character of US Armed Forces"

Obama asks "are we doing enough to keep our children safe?"
Obama said in the coming weeks, he would use "whatever power this office holds" to engage with law enforcement, mental health professionals, parents and educators in an effort to prevent more tragedies like Newtown." Can say that we're truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

Lanza wanted to join the Marines
12/20/12 http://www.chron.com/newtownshooting/article/Lanza-wanted-to-join-the-Ma...
NEWTOWN, Conn. — Adam Lanza aspired to be a Marine, one of "the few, the proud." Failing that, he planned to join another branch of the military...he told his mother Nancy Lanza, his biggest cheerleader, and what she relayed to one of her closest friends, Ellen Adriani of Sandy Hook. At first, Nancy Lanza supported her youngest son's dream... that the military would give him purpose, a career path and structure to his life. But the more she thought about it, the more she saw a downside. "It became overwhelmingly clear to her that it [military service] wasn't right for him," Adriani said. "She squashed" the notion of Adam joining the Marines or any branch of the armed services by reminding him "that he didn't like to be touched," said Adriani, and that if he were injured "doctors and medics would have to handle him to treat him."...The Adam Lanza who went on a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last Friday was outfitted for war... body armor, black clothing, a Bushmaster rifle... a 9mm Glock originally used by the Austrian military -- and hundreds of rounds of ammunition...
Peter Wlasuk, a Newtown plumber who said he worked at the Lanzas' home, told The Sun of London that Lanza would play video games such as "Call of Duty" for hours in a windowless, bunker-like basement that "had one poster of every piece of military equipment the U.S. ever made"....

Columbine Shooter's Life Paints Antisocial Portrait
4/29/99 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/daily/april99/antisocial04...
LITTLETON, Colo., April 28 – Eric Harris thought about war, fantasized about war, wrote about war. He was thrilled when he heard... the US was on the verge of bombing Yugoslavia. Rebecca Heins, who sat next to him, remembers Harris saying, "I hope we go to war, I'll be the first one there."... Harris said that morning he hoped he would get drafted... then took direct action to improve his chances of becoming a real warrior: He tried to enlist in the Marines. He seemed a good candidate, physically trim and extremely smart. But he was not destined to storm a beach or parachute behind enemy lines in the uniform of his nation. On a visit to his home April 15, Marine recruiters learned from Harris's parents their son took an antidepressant.. Harris had explicitly stated on his application he did not take any prescription drugs, so the Marines rejected him. Five days later, Harris and his buddy Dylan Klebold staged their own private war at Columbine High School, killing 13 people before they finally killed themselves...
In a memoir he composed for a creative writing class in early April, Harris re-created a world in which he and his older brother, Kevin, were young boys, sons of an Air Force pilot, playing a war game in his back yard in small-town Plattsburgh, N.Y. But the war game wasn't just a game. In the memoir, the boys were Rambo-like heroes... Armed with M-16s, Eric and his brother were fending off an entire army of assailants. "It sounded like they were in Vietnam," says classmate Domonic Duran. "They were running away from the enemy, diving under logs, hiding from helicopters, throwing pine cones that were like grenades. It was shocking because it was so good." So good that when it was read aloud to the class by a friend – Harris declined the honor – the students snapped their fingers vigorously, the class sign of approval.

The Rise of the Killer Drones: How America Goes to War in Secret
4/16/12 http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-rise-of-the-killer-drones-... (edited and shortened by the digest)
Obama inherited two separate drone programs– at the urging of VP Joe Biden, who pressed hard for greater emphasis on counterterrorism tactics, he dramatically expanded both....
In his first three years, Obama unleashed 268 covert drone strikes, five times the total GWB ordered during eight years in office. All told, drones have been used to kill more than 3,000 people designated as terrorists, including at least four U.S. citizens. In the process, they have claimed the lives of more than 800 civilians. Obama's drone program amounts to the largest unmanned aerial offensive ever conducted in military history; never have so few killed so many by remote control...Drones have radically altered the CIA, turning a civilian intelligence-gathering agency into a full-fledged paramilitary operation ...US drones have been sent to spy on or kill targets in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia and Libya, routinely patrol the Mexican border...Congress passed a law in February that calls for the FAA to "accelerate the integration of unmanned aerial systems" in the skies over America.... A recent poll shows Democrats overwhelmingly support the drone program... remote-controlled unmanned missions to wage war claiming we're not at war–as the US is currently doing in Pakistan...to launch military strikes or order assassinations without putting a boot on the ground, without worrying about public backlash over U.S. soldiers coming home in body bags. The immediacy and secrecy of drones make it easier than ever to unleash US military might – harder than ever to evaluate the consequences...it appears, the administration has little reason to worry about backlash from its decision to kill American citizens who have not even been charged with a crime...

Rape in the military: "The Invisible War"

10-29-12 Alexandra Topping, http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/the-womens-blog-with-jane-martins...
The Invisible War, a feature-length documentary lifts the lid on abuse of women in the US military...producer Amy Ziering said..."There is a perfect storm of conditions to keep it secret"...a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire, over 20% of female US Army veterans have been sexually assaulted...of 3,192 sexual-assault reports in 2011, only 191 were convicted at courts martial...

"Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy"
Henry Kissinger

The “Exceptional Character” of U.S. Armed Forces
3/23/12 by Jack A. Smith (edited by the digest)
Few American chief executives have lavished as much praise upon the U.S. military as President Barack Obama....“Good morning, everybody,” the president intoned cheerily during a January 5 visit to the Pentagon to explain Washington’s latest war policy. “The United States of America is the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known. And in no small measure, that’s because we’ve built the best-trained, best-led, best-equipped military in history — and as Commander-in-Chief, I’m going to keep it that way.”...Obama was even more effusive during his State of the Union Address January 25, declaring that “this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world… They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.” Yes, just imagine! Within days and weeks of these tributes these took place:
• A video of U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban suspects became public, obliging the American secretaries of Defense and State to issue apologies to the Afghan government and people.
• The Pentagon reported the rate of violent sexual crime within the armed forces increased 64% since 2006, noting that “rape, sexual assault, and forcible sodomy were the most frequent violent sex crimes committed in 2011.” There were 3,191 reports of sexual assault throughout the military last year but Secretary of Defense Panetta acknowledged in January that a more realistic estimate for such assaults “actually is closer to 19,000.” Active-duty female soldiers ages 18 to 21 account for more than half of the victims. Women are 14% of the military ranks but account for 95% of sex crime victims.
• A just discovered photograph emerged in February of another group of Marines posing with the exact replica of the Nazi SS flag. Outrage over the photo, the press reported, “threatened to snowball into the latest war-zone scandal for the Marine Corps.” The Marine commander declared, most improbably, that they didn’t know what the flag stood for. The murderous black uniformed Waffen-SS was a military wing of the Nazi Party.
• The retired commander of Special Operations forces, Lt. Gen William G. Boykin, known for his harshly anti-Muslim remarks, withdrew from speaking at West Point’s February 8 National Prayer Breakfast after protests. Following the 9/11 attacks, the general “described the fight against terrorism as a Christian battle against Satan,” reports the New York Times. “Since his retirement in 2007 and a new career as a popular conservative Christian speaker, Boykin has described Islam as ‘a totalitarian way of life’ and said that Islam should not be protected under the First Amendment.”
• Jan 23, 2012, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, the most responsible Marine charged in the 2005 Haditha massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians, who pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty to avoid charges of involuntary manslaughter, faces a maximum penalty of demotion to the rank of private.
• Jan. 26, USA Today reported “The Justice Department is funding an unusual national training program to help police deal with an increasing number of volatile confrontations involving highly trained and often heavily armed combat veterans. Developers of the pilot program, to be launched at 15 U.S. sites this year, said there is an ‘urgent need’ to de-escalate crises in which even SWAT teams may be facing tactical disadvantages against mentally ill suspects who also happen to be trained in modern warfare.”
•Jan. 30 Lance Cpl. Jacob Jacoby, 21, a Hawaii-based Marine, pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He had repeatedly punched, kicked and publicly humiliated Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, also 21, who committed suicide with a machine gun April 3 shortly after the abuse. Two other Marines accused of hazing Lew will have separate courts-martial later.
• A retired Navy SEAL sniper, Chris Kyle, just published “American Sniper — The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.” He racked up 160 officially confirmed “kills” in the Iraq War from 2003 to 2009. “The number [of kills] is not important to me,” he writes. “I only wish I had killed more. Not for bragging rights, but because I believe the world is a better place without savages out there taking American lives.”
• Feb. 22, Obama apologized to [US puppet] President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan people after Army troops , following orders, were observed burning copies of the Koran, the Muslim holy book, on a U.S. base in Afghanistan. This incident, following earlier desecration of corpses,  touched off protest demonstrations resulting in the deaths of several U.S. soldiers and about 40 Afghans. March 20 Speaking before the House Armed Services Committee, Gen. John Allen declared that since January 1, “the coalition has lost 60 brave troops in action..thirteen killed by what appear to have been Afghan security forces, some motivated, in part by, we believe, by the mishandling of religious materials.”
• Obama apologized for the murder March 11 of 16 Afghan men, women, nine children, age two to 12 in two nearby poor villages. by a U.S.-- several soldiers eyewitnesses insist.
• March 16Bradley Mannning, the military pre-trial of 24-year-old Army intelligence analyst and whistle blower accused of leaking documents known as the Afghan War Diary and the Iraq War Logs and revealing U.S. diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. His 'crime' includes circulating a video of a U.S. Apache helicopter crew in Iraq deliberately killing Afghan civilians and two Reuters journalists. Deploring the murders as “tragic and shocking” President Obama also said he “will bring the full weight of the law down upon anyone involved”... those “involved” included the White House and Congress conducting and funding the war for a decade... the reported instances of war crimes, atrocities, and abuses attributed to the Pentagon’s foreign legion are but a small portion of the horrors...when President Obama apologized a second time in March for the conduct of the “best-trained, best-led” military in history... his statement declared that mass murder “does not represent the exceptional character of our military.”Exceptional indeed. As the president said, “Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example."
Jack A. Smith is, editor of the Activist Newsletter

"Americans claim to be peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who from economic necessity, will risk his own life in an attempt on some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and will plant her iron foot on the necks of other nations.
Such is the logic of patriotism."
Emma Goldman

Sgt. Robert Bales the Army sergeant accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians was part of a village stabilization operation...
3/19/12 http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/robert_bale...

Petraeus guidance allowed destruction of villages in three districts of Kandahar province if the population did not tell U.S. forces where homemade bombs were hidden.
Petraeus’ Village Destruction Policy Defended by Broadwell
...Village destruction also contravened a central principle of the counterinsurgency (CI) guidance promulgated by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal when he became top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan in 2009. Petraeus confirmed that prohibition in an August 2010 guidance, warning that killing civilians or damaging their property would “create more enemies than our operations eliminate”.But under pressure from the Obama administration to produce tangible evidence of “progress” to justify troop withdrawals...The new Petraeus policy guidance allowed the destruction of villages in three districts of Kandahar province if the population did not tell U.S. forces where homemade bombs were hidden. In early January 2010, Broadwell visited the Combined Task Force I-320th in Kandahar to write a story justifying the decision to destroy Tarok Kaloche village and most of three other villages in its area of operations...

Afghan village killings investigation delayed by security situation
Due to a difficult security situation, Army investigators waited three weeks before visiting two villages where Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly killed 16 Afghans.
The morning of the March 11 killings, a crowd of angry Afghans gathered outside the outpost where Bales was stationed....Army officials reviewed the security situation with Afghan army and government officials. Then, on April 2, Army investigators finally visited the two villages, each less than a mile from Camp Belamby where Bales was based. They arrived with extensive security that included Afghan soldiers, mine-sweeping equipment and U.S. helicopters.

Soldier 'soaked in victims' blood'
A US soldier accused of one of the worst atrocities of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was captured on surveillance video running out of the darkness with the blood of his victims smeared on his face and soaked into his clothes, a prosecutor said. Less than a mile away, 16 Afghans, including nine children, were dead, some of their bodies on fire in two villages, a hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, was told. As fellow soldiers stopped him at the base's gate... as he was taken into custody, Bales said: "I thought I was doing the right thing."...
Bales, 39, faces 16 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of attempted murder. The hearing could last up to two weeks and will help determine whether the case goes to a court martial....Bales has not entered a plea. His lawyers say he has post-traumatic stress disorder and suffered a concussive head injury during a previous deployment to Iraq.

does not include actual 'wars' and related business including intelligence, total surveillance and cyberwar and information war
House Approves Bill Authorizing $633 Billion in War Spending
12/21/12 (Reuters) U.S. House of Representatives approved the final version of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act..the measure must be approved by the Senate before going to President Obama to be signed into law.

US - Supported Syria Rebels Shoot at civilian Airliner at Aleppo Airport
"We wanted to send a message to the regime that all their planes - military and civilian - are within our reach."

Conservative estimate of Iraqis Slaughtered in US Operation Enduring Freedom: 1.5 million

"God, war, the World Bank, the IMF, free trade agreements, NATO, the war on terrorism, the war on drugs, "anti-war" candidates, and Nobel Peace Prizes can be seen as simply different instruments for the advancement of US imperialism."
William Blum, Anti-Empire Report

Killing Children Is the All-American Way
12/22/12 by Finian Cunningham, http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/12/killing-children-is-the-all-american-w... (editing by the digest)
Madeleine Albright, the US ambassador the United Nations, was asked on nationwide television in 1996 if the death of half a million Iraqi children from US war and sanctions on that country was a price worth paying. Albright replied: “This is a very hard choice, but the price – we think is worth it. That was before the so-called Second Persian Gulf War that began in 2003 with American air force “shock and awe”, followed by nearly nine years of military occupation – an occupation that included the use of nuclear munitions and white phosphorus.. in Fallujah and elsewhere, and involved countless massacres of families and children by US helicopter gunships and troopers.Since Albright’s infamous admission, the death toll of Iraqi children from US military crimes can be safely assumed to run into multiples of what she candidly thought was a price worth paying more than 16 years ago...
When President Obama was offering condolences to the families of the 20 children shot dead in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, he said: “Whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease your heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown, you are not alone.”
Indeed, Newtown is not alone. Children are slaughtered every week all over the world by Americans on the watch of Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama and his predecessors.

* Deaths In Other Nations Since WW II Due To Us Interventions by James A. Lucas in 2007 put the death toll of civilians from US wars and sponsored conflicts in 37 countries since the Second World War at up to 30 million lives. The proportion of that figure corresponding to child deaths is not known but if the casualty rate of Iraq is anything to go by, we can estimate that the number of children killed by US (open) and covert wars since WWII is easily in the order of 20 million – a million times the Connecticut carnage last week in Connecticut. Countries where these US-inflicted deaths occurred include: Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Angola, Congo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. They also include Iran during the American-backed Iraq war of 1980-88. Every continent on Earth has felt the American hand of death.

Note the figure of 20 million child deaths by US militarism is bound to be a serious underestimate of the actual total. In the last five years, the world has seen an escalation of child mortality from the carcinogenic legacy of depleted uranium and suspected use of other nuclear weapons in Iraq. The above figures do not include the latest killings from US assassination drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and other war theatres, such as Mali in West Africa. Nor do the figures include overt and covert American military action in Libya last year and currently in Syria – nor the ongoing imposition of crippling sanctions against Iran where an untold number of sick children are dying from lack of medicines due to Washington’s import blockade.

Americans need to look at how their society has become a culture of death over many decades...need to realize how their hallowed capitalist ideology of a putative American Dream is nothing but the destruction of... millions on the altar of profit-making. Think about the glib parlance used to describe the process of human destruction. Investors “make a killing”; workforces are “liquidated”...Death on an industrial scale sanctified through genocidal policies to enrich an oligarchy of financiers and warmongers...If human life is violated and cheapened on such a vast, systematic scale, in America and around the world, then the loss of 20 children in Newtown is, to be honest, a price that is negligible, if not worth it to them.

America is a killing machine, driven by an ideology in which human life is a worthless commodity to be be exploited and discarded.... seen most graphically in foreign countries where US interests want oil or other commercial or geopolitical gain....increasingly this killing machine is turning in on itself, destroying its own society, families and individuals.

Obama added in his eulogy for the deaths in Newtown, Connecticut: “We cannot tolerate this any more… we will have to change.”
This from the man who orders drone kill lists in Afghanistan and Pakistan every week that involve the “collateral damage” of children ripped to pieces. This from the man killing children in Iran by tightening economic strangleholds. This from the man who agreed to millions of dollars more weaponry to the Israel fresh from its mass murder of innocents in Gaza. This from the man supporting 'rebels' in Syria targeting schools and hospitals with car bombs.
Through the pain and suffering of the latest mass shooting in the US, maybe ordinary Americans are beginning to realize just how big a change is really needed in their country.
Finian Cunningham is a frequent contributor to PressTV where this article appeared
* Deaths In Other Nations Since WW II Due To Us Interventions by James A. Lucas http://www.countercurrents.org/lucas240407.htm

Hunger and homelessness rise in the US: 84% of US cities reporting that requests for emergency food assistance increased in 2012. 51% were families, 37% were employed.

Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.... What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers.
Communist Manifesto —Karl Marx and Frederic Engels

Fascism is capitalism in decay.
V.I. Lenin

V.I. Lenin 1916
Capitalist imperialism...Finance capital: Production becomes social, appropriation remains private. The social means of production remain the private property of a few. The general framework of formally recognized free competition remains, but the yoke of a few monopolists on the rest of the population becomes a hundred times heavier, more burdensome and intolerable. ...At the basis of these manipulations and swindles lies socialized production; but the immense progress of mankind which achieved this socialization, goes to benefit the speculators. We shall see later how "on these grounds" reactionary, petty-bourgeois critics of capitalist imperialism dream of going back to "free," "peaceful," and "honest" competition....

The concentration of production; monopolies arising therefrom; merging or coalescence of banks with industry -- such is the history of the rise of finance capital...Imperialism is the epoch of finance capital and of monopolies, which introduce everywhere the striving for domination... Particularly intensified becomes the yoke of national oppression and striving for annexations, i.e., the violation of national independence (for annexation is nothing but the violation of the right of nations to self-determination)...it is not only in newly opened up countries, but also in the old, that imperialism is leading to annexation, to increased national oppression, and, consequently, also to increasing resistance...

Typical of this last stage of capitalism is the export of capital.... capital exporting countries have divided the world among themselves in the figurative sense of the term. But finance capital has led to the actual division of the world...when nine-tenths of Africa had been seized by 1900, when the whole world had been divided up, there was inevitably ushered in the era of monopoly ownership of colonies and, consequently, of particularly intense struggle for the division and the redivision of the world...

Is it "conceivable" that over time the relative strength of imperialist powers will remain unchanged? Absolutely inconceivable. Therefore, in the realities of the capitalist system, and not in the banal Philistine fantasies of English parsons, or of German "Marxist," Kautsky, "interimperialist" or "ultraimperialist" alliances, no matter what form they may assume, whether of one imperialist coalition against another, or of a general alliance embracing all the imperialist powers, are nothing more than a "truce" in periods between wars. Peaceful alliances prepare the ground for wars, and in their turn grow out of wars; the one conditions the other, giving rise to alternating forms of peaceful and non-peaceful struggle out of one and the same basis of imperialist connections and relations within world economics and world politics.