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Offshore Everywhere: The Plan to End National Sovereignty as We Know It

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Posted on Feb 5, 2012
Blyzz (CC-BY)

By Tom Engelhardt

(Page 3)

In those shadows, our secret forces are already melding into one another.  A striking sign of this was the appointment as CIA director of a general who, in Iraq and Afghanistan, had relied heavily on special forces hunter-killer teams and night raiders, as well as drones, to do the job.  Undoubtedly the most highly praised general of our American moment, Gen. David Petraeus has himself slipped into the shadows where he is presiding over covert civilian forces working ever more regularly in tandem with special operations teams and sharing drone assignments with the military.

And don’t forget the Navy, which couldn’t be more offshore to begin with.  It already operates 11 aircraft carrier task forces (none of which are to be cut—thanks to a decision reportedly made by the president).  These are, effectively, major American bases—massively armed small American towns—at sea.  To these, the Navy is adding smaller “bases.”  Right now, for instance, it’s retrofitting an old amphibious transport docking ship bound for the Persian Gulf either as a Navy Seal commando “mothership” or (depending on which Pentagon spokesperson you listen to) as a “lily pad” for counter-mine Sikorsky MH-53 helicopters and patrol craft.  Whichever it may be, it will just be a stopgap until the Navy can build new “Afloat Forward Staging Bases” from scratch.

Futuristic weaponry now in the planning stages could add to the military’s border-crossing capabilities.  Take the Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon or DARPA’s Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, both of which are intended, someday, to hit targets anywhere on Earth with massive conventional explosives in less than an hour.

From lily pads to aircraft carriers, advanced drones to special operations teams, it’s offshore and into the shadows for U.S. military policy.  While the United States is economically in decline, it remains the sole military superpower on the planet.  No other country pours anywhere near as much money into its military and its national security establishment or is likely to do so in the foreseeable future.  It’s clear enough that Washington is hoping to offset any economic decline with newly reconfigured military might.  As in the old TV show, the U.S. has gun, will travel.

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
Onshore, American power in the twenty-first century proved a disaster.  Offshore, with Washington in control of the global seas and skies, with its ability to kick down the world’s doors and strike just about anywhere without a by-your-leave or thank-you-ma’am, it hopes for better.  As the early attempts to put this program into operation from Pakistan to Yemen have indicated, however, be careful what you wish for: it sometimes comes home to bite you.

Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The American Way of War: How Bush’s Wars Became Obama’s as well as The End of Victory Culture, runs the Nation Institute’s TomDispatch.com. His latest book, The United States of Fear (Haymarket Books), has just been published.

[Note: I couldn’t have written this piece without the superb reportage of TomDispatch Associate Editor Nick Turse on bases, drones, and special operations forces.  I offer him a deep bow of thanks. Tom]

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch and join us on Facebook.

Copyright 2012 Tom Engelhardt


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agelbert's avatar

By agelbert, February 7, 2012 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment

On a smaller scale the Roman Empire did exactly what the Pentagon is doing with JSOC. The robotics thing is window dressing. What we have is a lawless military roughly equivalent to a combination of the Opus dei plus the mafia along with lots of machines under the Pentagon instead of the Pope.

Not only do I NOT think the President runs the show anymore (another similarity with the Roman Empire),  but I think the Pentagon/CIA will kill any American that questions their glorified protection racket.

Moreover, unlike the mafia and Opus Dei, that actually do have businesses that generate income, this military machine is nothing but a giant tick on the US taxpayer.

When the dollar loses its reserve currency status, Petraeus may try to keep the racket going by “crossing the Rubicon” but any way you put it, this type of imperial arrogance without the money to pay for it always ends badly.

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By silesian99, February 7, 2012 at 7:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Englehardt,

“Less” with noncount nouns, “fewer” with countable nouns. 

“Less boots on the ground” is shoddy writing.

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BR549's avatar

By BR549, February 7, 2012 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

drbhelthi,
No doubt you’ve also heard of Charlotte Iserbyt, Reagan’s former first term Senior Policy Advisor in Educational Research. She dredged up countless records and a continuous stream of legislative documents that, while the American public was believing we were on a path toward keeping us as leaders in the technology arena, were actually destroying the edge that we all thought we had, and it went back many many decades.

Andrew Carnegie, whom people know as supposedly being one of America’s staunch philanthropists, according to Iserbyt’s research, was on record as having said in the 1920s that Americans would just have to get used to a communist way of life. It makes one wonder then whether, later on, McCarthy was on the right track all along, but that those who were a part of this whole plan were comforted to see McCarthy perceived as another hyper-paranoid Chicken-Little by the general public. Maybe ........ he was right all along or at least on the right track, but either the guilty were just waiting for him to burn his candle at both ends or no one was listening. Who knows?  History just refers to him as a paranoid looney-toon, something that the PTB would be only too glad to see.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, February 7, 2012 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

CRAPOLA POLEMICS

None of which would have come to light were it not for the efforts of congressman Ron Paul, who championed a GAO audit of the Federal Reserve. 

Crackpot commentary, typical of DRB’s usual polemical flare. This time with a dash of anti-Jewish bigotry for flavor.

Ron Paul had little to do with the “outing” of the Fed’s transactions. For the real facts as regards their interpretation, however, go to this HuffPost here. They are not supportive of the Fed either.

Note that the GAO audited the Fed without making any critical assessment, which does not mean the GAO found nothing to criticize. It means, however, that one must look at the context in which credit facilities were employed. Mentioning the amounts attracts attention, but is not a professional criticism of the Fed’s lending process.

Note that two thirds of the sum (which is actually $29T) is in the form of either loan or credit-facilities. Let’s remember that in the Fall of 2008 there was upon the land a Gignormous Credit Seizure. Banks were not lending overnight to banks, out of a fear that, like Lehman Bros, they would lend to a failing bank.

Ron Paul would have preferred that outcome … in order to teach the banksters a lesson? What crass stupidity. The economic consequences would have been stupendous.

Indeed, our Main & Wall Street Banks generated and Investment Banksters securitized as Triple-A Realty-backed Debt that which has become known as “Toxic Waste”.  This was, yes, tantamount to colossal management negligence on their part.  For which, Uncle Sam was indeed morally and legally obliged to repair the damages.  The Fed would have been negligent not to provide timely credit facilities at banks that carried the Toxic Waste .

Have these funds, if employed, not been repaid to the Fed and is therefore Uncle Sam bankrupt? Of course not. Like the TARP funds, they have been repaid whenever employed.

MY POINT

Did the Fed do what it had to do in order to prevent an economic disaster? Yes. Do the Banksters deserve criminal charges of professional negligence before a court of law? Yes.

DRB’s crapola-posts are what give blogs their bad name. Get the facts, DRB, before publicizing sensationalized falsehoods and mindless bigotry.

WANT TO R E A L L Y GET EVEN WITH THE BANKSTERS?

Vote progressives into Congress that will increase Marginal Income and Capital Gains taxes to much higher levels than when Replicant Reckless Ronnie brought them crashing to earth.

I promise you, it will take the piss out of the Golden Boys on Wall Street who are gaming the financial system for their personal profit.

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, February 7, 2012 at 2:21 am Link to this comment

@Dean, unregistered commenter, February 6 at 6:38 pm
“America is the worlds greatest terrorist country. We can and do murder, maim and starve countless peoples with nary a word from the rest of the world.”

It is ironic, that the leadership of Russia has begun to assume the role that was exercised by the Voice of America,back in the 1940s. http://truthalliance.net/Archive/News/tabid/67/ID/8651/RT-to-air-WikiLeakstalkshow.aspx#Comment764
                                   
The current defamation program by the Israeli Mossad, against the honorable Congressman from Texas, Dr. Ron Paul, reflects the intensity of hate that possesses the Israeli clan.  The recent report of the GAO audit of the Israeli-Zionist-owned “Federal Reserve,” sponsored by Congressman Dr. Ron Paul, reveals their motivation. 

A sixteen trillion dollar give-away, kept closely secret, without permitting the US Congress to even learn about the Israeli Zionist continued fleecing of Americans and their dollar.  http://uspatriot38.blogspot.com/2011/10/first-ever-gao-audit-of-federal-reserve.html

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By Stanley, February 6, 2012 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Marine Generals will soon become unhinged after this recent attack on “their” bases on Okinawa by a former Marine Corps officer.

http://www.g2mil.com/okinawa-solution.htm

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By Dean, February 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

America is the worlds greatest terrorist country. We can and do murder, maim and starve countless peoples with nary a word from the rest of the world. damned if our presidents here lately couldn’t be considered war criminals.

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BR549's avatar

By BR549, February 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

drbhelthi, February 6 at 8:53 am

Boy, did you hit the nail on the head. And the sad part about it is that the corrupt pontificating buffoons in the legislature will just let it happen because they lack a spine, collectively and as individuals.

It seems that we have our political slopeheads interfacing with their political slopeheads, both dragging their religions into the picture to justify their individual causes as being sanctioned by God himself, all the while the actual populations of both cultures just want to go to work, come home to their kids and wife afterward, and perhaps enjoy a drink with friends on occasion. Meanwhile, in order to justify their own political positions, these so-called “leaders” are willing to trump up phony wars and kill millions of people, each one keeping us continually engaged in a modern day equivalent to the Crusades through false flags and a state of fear.

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By rumblingspire, February 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

does this mean America is winning?


Burn all flags!
Ignore all borders!

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By NABNYC, February 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

The constitution generally gives the federal government the authority to conduct foreign affairs, enter treaties with other nations, and to provide for the protection and defense of our nation.  What has gone on in recent years far exceeds the authority granted.

The government is an agent of the citizens (the real people—not the corporations).  Its only authority is that which we grant to it.  We created it.  It doesn’t even exist without our permission.  We can end it.  We could decide we do not like this government, legally terminate it, and create a new one to put in its place.  All power lies in the hands of the people of this country. 

As an agent, the government can never do anything other than on behalf of the people, what is in our best interests.  If it turns out that an agent has done something harmful to the people, the agent’s acts can often be rescinded.  That’s what has to happen here.

Nato (North Atlantic Treaty?) may have made sense back in World War II, some kind of mutual protection agreement—if someone attacks you, I’ll come help you.  But it has now been turned into an independent military institution roaming the world attacking at will, way outside of the North Atlantic Treaty.  How on earth did Nato end up being used by the U.S. as a vehicle to attack and invade Libya?  It’s insane.  Private militaries, not subject to the control by the citizens of this country, must all be eliminated.  Any treaty agreement with any country must be rescinded.  We can start over again.

You tell me exactly why it is in the best interests of the people of the U.S. to have our entire military at the back and call of Israel, to back its play while they proceed to try to destroy every other nation in the middle east.  It’s not in my interests, and I want it stopped.

You tell me why the U.S. is invading Somalia, droning Pakistan, and threatening to nuke Iran.  It’s not in my best interest and I want it stopped.

As far as I read the limited grant of authorityt given to the federal government it is a defensive role only.  They have the right to protect our nation (that is our land) from attack.  They were never given the right to start wars of aggression like we have now done in Iraq and Libya (Pakisatan, Somalia and Iran).  It’s illegal.  And to the extent the federal government has misinterpreted its authority, we need to disband the government and start over with a clearer set of rules.

If we are attacked, our government may defend.  Must defend our country.  Our government may never start a war against another nation.  If our government believes it is advisable to help some other country, they will have to submit that to a general vote, with the majority of the population making the decision and further, all such funds for that “help” of another nation must come only from the top 10% of earners in this country.  The rest of us, working people, can barely keep a roof over our heads, and we do not have any money left over to go fight in other people’s wars.

As far as our military, any person who does not want to go fight in somebody else’s war does not have to.

Oooooooo, she must be an isolationist, that’s what they will say. What I will reply is this:  the ultimate goal should be no more wars period.  Any nation that starts a war should be completely isolated and embargoed.  War should not be allowed.  Disputes should be submitted to mediation.  The U.S. loves war, starts more wars than any other nation.  It’s a sickness, and we need radical intervention to end it.

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, February 6, 2012 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

@prisnersdilema

How very accurate!
All this, while the non-US-owned, Federal Reserve had secretly handed out
$16,000,000,000,000.00 (TRILLION) to US banks and corporations and foreign banks
everywhere from France to Scotland, between December 2007 and June 2010. 
http://uspatriot38.blogspot.com/2011/10/first-ever-gao-audit-of-federal-reserve.html

None of which would have come to light were it not for the efforts of congressman Ron Paul, who championed a GAO audit of the Federal Reserve.  Although the first in history, it should be done annually.  It is thus no wonder that the Wall St. Zionists and their Israeli MOSSAD have implemented a defamation program against Dr. Ron Paul and his supporters.  It has been reported that the MOSSAD also have a plan to assassinate Dr. Paul, if their defamation program is unsuccessful.  And, where does the CIA stand on this issue???  Gideon´s Spies are very creative at doing evil.  As are their cousins on Wall Street.

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, February 6, 2012 at 6:33 am Link to this comment

In a country in which 32 states are bankrupt or are facing bankruptcy, the cost of war is
destroying us. War is destroying this country as surely as an invading army would have.

The one percenters have used the fear of terrorism to try and turn this country into a
terrorist nation itself. Free of human rights and constitutional restraints, and witth god like
powers over life and death. Answerable to no none for it’s actions.

Terrorizing the whole world while the country rots, is unsustainable. Neither is alienating
1 billion Arabs, 1 billion Indians, 1 billion Chinsese, while 300 million Americans are
imprisoned by corporate crooks.

The people of this country understand what there country has become, an occupying
military power that cannot be trusted, no matter how much corporate propaganda fills the
air waves.

If terrorism does happen here again people will have award time believing it wasn’t the
government, using terrorism to justify more terrorism of it’s own..

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, February 6, 2012 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

@ Lafayette

Alhough your comment doesn’t address the theme, gist, or what-have-you of the article, it is a good one.

MY POINT

I don’t have a point. This is a pointless comment.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, February 6, 2012 at 4:33 am Link to this comment

THE GOLDEN GLOB

Eternally over-budget items like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, cherished by their services and well-lobbied congressional representatives, aren’t leaving the scene any time soon, though delays or cuts in purchase orders are planned.

OK, explain that to the grassroots in those states most affected by cuts in DoD budgets, which are like a narcotic - once you get hooked it is difficult to beat the habit. Here’s where to look, at Per Capita DoD Expenditure by state.

Congratulations California! Winner of the Golden Glob for DoD per capita spending!

In doing so, maybe you can convince the grassroots that continued hallucinatory DoD-spending - the largest per capita of any nation - is sa narcotic to which they have become addicted? (That’ll go over like a lead balloon.)

So we keep feeding and feeding and feeding it - because the grassroots in those states want it.

MY POINT

We can only break that habit by providing other non-DoD jobs to replace them. So, why not send a message, by voting in more progressives into Congress, that by lessening DoD expenditure and spending wisely on Infrastructural Spending on a state-by-state basis, we do more for fellow citizens living in those states than Plutocrats feeding at the trough of the DoD Budget.

Which I will remind you is planned to be “only” 20% of the total US budget. That’s about $738B, which nonetheless help stabilize the economy - after all, it does generate consumer spending.

But that’s not the point. Rather, what sort of Stimulus Spending could just one third of that budget, that is $240B, do to help build new schools, add teachers, etc.? And still keep those Americans employed who were dependent upon the DoD for their income.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, February 6, 2012 at 4:30 am Link to this comment

THE GOLDEN GLOB

Eternally over-budget items like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, cherished by their services and well-lobbied congressional representatives, aren’t leaving the scene any time soon, though delays or cuts in purchase orders are planned.

OK, explain that to the grassroots in those states most affected by cuts in DoD budgets, which are like a narcotic - once you get hooked it is difficult to beat the habit. Here’s where to look, at Per Capita DoD Expenditure by state.

Congratulations California! Winner of the Golden Glob for DoD per capita spending!

In doing so, maybe you can convince the grassroots that continued hallucinatory DoD-spending - the largest per capita of any nation - is sa narcotic to which they have become addicted? (That’ll go over like a lead balloon.)

So we keep feeding and feeding and feeding it - because the grassroots in those states want it.

MY POINT

We can only break that habit by providing other non-DoD jobs to replace them. So, why not send a message, by voting in more progressives into Congress, that by lessening DoD expenditure and spending wisely on Infrastructural Spending on a state-by-state basis, we do more for fellow citizens living in those states than Plutocrats feeding at the trough of the DoD Budget.

Which I will remind you is planned to be “only” 20% of the total US budget. That’s about $738B, which nonetheless help stabilize the economy - after all, it does generate consumer spending.

But that’s not the point. Rather, what sort of Stimulus Spending could just one third of that budget, that is $240B, do to help build new schools, add teachers, etc.? And still keep those Americans at work who were once dependent upon the DoD for their income.

Everything in terms of economic policy, including employment, ultimately becomes a matter of choice.

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