Comment on this article |
View comments |
Email this article |
the popular image of what Special Forces does (english)
by Stan Goff
18 Mar 2003
Modified: 19 Mar 2003
I'm a retired Special Forces Master Sergeant. That doesn't cut much for
those who will only accept the opinions of former officers on military
matters, since we enlisted swine are assumed to be incapable of grasping the nuances of doctrine.
But I wasn't just in the army, I studied and taught military science and
doctrine. I was a tactics instructor at the Jungle Operations Training
Center in Panama, and I taught Military Science at West Point. And contrary
to the popular image of what Special Forces does, SF's mission is to teach.
We offer advice and assistance to foreign forces. That's everything from
teaching marksmanship to a private to instructing a Battalion staff on how
to coordinate effective air operations with a sister service.
Based on that experience, and operations in eight designated conflict areas
from Vietnam to Haiti, I have to say that the story we hear on the news and
read in the newspapers is simply not believable. The most cursory glance at
the verifiable facts, before, during, and after September 11th, does not
support the official line or conform to the current actions of the United
But the official line only works if they can get everyone to accept its
underlying premises. I'm not at all surprised about the Republican and
Democratic Parties repeating these premises. They are simply two factions
within a single dominant political class, and both are financed by the same
economic powerhouses. My biggest disappointment, as someone who identifies
himself with the left, has been the tacit acceptance of those premises by
others on the left, sometimes naively, and sometimes to score some morality
points. Those premises are twofold. One, there is the premise that what this
de facto administration is doing now is a "response" to September 11th. Two,
there is the premise that this attack on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon was done by people based in Afghanistan. In my opinion, neither of
these is sound.
To put this in perspective we have to go back not to September 11th, but to
last year or further.
A man of limited intelligence, George W. Bush, with nothing more than his
name and the behind-the-scenes pressure of his powerful father-a former
President, ex-director of Central Intelligence, and an oil man-is
systematically constructed as a candidate, at tremendous cost. Across the
country, subtle and not-so-subtle mechanisms are put into place to
disfranchise a significant fraction of the Democrat's African-American voter
base. This doesn't come out until Florida becomes a battleground for
Electoral College votes, and the magnitude of the story has been suppressed
by the corporate media to this day. In a decision so lacking in legitimacy,
the Supreme Court will neither by-line the author of the decision nor allow
the decision to ever be used as a precedent, Bush v. Gore awards the
presidency of the United States to a man who loses the popular vote in
Florida and loses the national popular vote by over 600,000.
This de facto regime then organizes a very interesting cabinet. The Vice
President is an oil executive and the former Secretary of Defense. The
National Security Advisor is a director on the board of a transnational oil
corporation and a Russia scholar. The Secretary of State is a man with no
diplomatic experience whatsoever, and the former Chair of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff. The other interesting appointment is Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary
of Defense. Rumsfeld is the former CEO of Searle Pharmaceuticals. He and
Cheney were featured as speakers at the May, 2000, Russian-American Business
Leaders Forum. So the consistent currents in this cabinet are petroleum, the
former Soviet Union, and the military.
Based on the record of Daddy Bush, in all his guises, and the general
trajectory of US foreign policy as far back as the Carter Administration, I
feel I can reasonably conclude that Middle Eastern and South Asian fossil
fuels are one of their major preoccupations. Not just because this klavern
has some very direct financial interests in fossil fuel, but because they
surely know that worldwide oil production is peaking as we speak, and will
soon begin a permanent and precipitous decline that will completely change
the character of civilization as we know it within 20 years. Even the left
seems to be in deep denial about this, but the math is available. And, no,
alternative energies and energy technologies will not save us. All the
alternatives in the world can not begin to provide more than a tiny fraction
of the energy base now provided by oil. This makes it more than a resource,
and the drive to control what's left more than an economic competition.
I further conclude that the economic colonization of the former Soviet Union
is probably high on that agenda, and in fact has a powerful synergy with the
issue of petroleum. Russia not only holds vast untapped resources that
beckon to imperialism in crisis, it remains a credible military and nuclear
challenger in the region.
We have not one, but three members of the Bush de facto cabinet with
military credentials, which makes the cabinet look quite a lot like a
military General Staff. All this way before September 11th.
Then there's the subject of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO
might have expected consignment to the dustbin of the Cold War after the
Eastern Bloc shattered in 1991. Peace dividend and all that. But it didn't.
It expanded directly into the former states of the Eastern Bloc toward the
former Soviet Union, and contributed significant forces to the devastation
of Iraq-a key country in the world oil market, over which control translates
into the ability to manipulate oil prices.
NATO is a military formation, and the United States exerts the controlling
interest in it. It seemed like a form without a function, but it remedied
that pretty quickly.
Then when Yugoslavia refused to play ball with the International Monetary
Fund, the US and Germany began a systematic campaign of destabilization
there, even using some of the veterans of Afghanistan in that campaign. NATO
became the military arm of that agenda-the break-up of Yugoslavia into
compliant statelets, the further containment of the former Soviet Union, and
the future pipeline easement for Caspain Sea oil to Western European markets
You see, this is important to understand, and people-even those against the
war talk-are tending to overlook the significance of it. NATO is not a
guarantor of international law, and it is not a humanitarian organization.
It is a military alliance with one very dominant partner. And it can no
longer claim to be a defensive alliance against European socialists. It is
an instrument of military aggression.
NATO is the organization that is now going to thrust further along the 40th
parallel from the Balkans through the Southern Asian Republics of the former
Soviet Union. The US military has already taken control of a base in
Uzbekistan. No one is talking about how what we are doing seems to be a very
logical extension of a strategy that was already in motion, and has been in
motion for two decades. Once we recognize the pattern of activity designed
to simultaneously consolidate control over Middle Eastern and South Asian
oil, and contain and colonize the former Soviet Union, Afghanistan is
exactly where they need to go to pursue that agenda.
Afghanistan borders Iran, India, and even China but, more importantly, the
Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
and Tajikistan. These border Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan borders Russia.
Turkmenistan sits on the Southeastern quadrant of the Caspian Sea, whose oil
the Bush Administration dearly covets. Afghanistan is necessary for two
things: as a base of operations to begin the process of destabilizing,
breaking off, and establishing control over the South Asian Republics, which
will begin within the next 18-24 months in my opinion, and constructing a
pipeline through Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to deliver
petroleum to the Asian market.
The BBC was recently told by Niaz Naik, a Pakistani Foreign Secretary, that
senior American officials were warning them as early as mid-July that
military action for mid-October was being planned for Afghanistan. In 1996,
the Department of Energy was issuing reports on the desirability of a
pipeline through Afghanistan, and in 1998, Unocal testified before the House
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific that this pipeline was crucial to
transport Caspian Basin oil to the Indian Ocean.
Given this evidence that a military operation to secure at least a portion
of Afghanistan has been on the table, possibly as early as five years ago, I
can't help but conclude that the actions we are seeing put into motion now
are part of a pre-September 11th agenda. I'm absolutely sure of that, in
fact. The planning alone for operations, of this scale, that are now taking
shape, would take many months. And we are seeing them take shape in mere
It defies common sense. This administration is lying about this whole thing
being a "reaction" to September 11th. That leads me, in short order, to be
very suspicious of their yet-to-be-provided evidence that someone in
Afghanistan is responsible. It's just too damn convenient. Which also leads
me to wonder-just for the sake of knowing-what actually did happen on
September 11th, and who actually is responsible.
The so-called evidence is a farce. The US presented Tony Blair's puppet
government with the evidence, and of the 70 so-called points of evidence,
only nine even referred to the attacks on the World Trade Center, and those
points were conjectural. This is a bullshit story from beginning to end.
Presented with the available facts, any 16-year old with a liking for
courtroom dramas could tear this story apart like a two-dollar shirt. But
our corporate press regurgitates it uncritically. But then, as we should
know by now, their role is to legitimize.
This cartoon heavy they've turned bin Laden into makes no sense, when you
begin to appreciate the complexity and synchronicity of the attacks. As a
former military person who's been involved in the development of countless
operations orders over the years, I can tell you that this was a very
sophisticated and costly enterprise that would have left what we call a huge
In other words, it would be very hard to effectively conceal.
So there's a real question about why there was no warning of this. That can
be a question about the efficacy of the government's intelligence apparatus.
That can be a question about various policies in the various agencies that
had to be duped to orchestrate this action. And it can also be a question
about whether or not there was foreknowledge of the event, and that
foreknowledge is being covered up. To dismiss this concern out of hand as
the rantings of conspiracy nuts is premature. And there is a history of this
kind of thing being done by national political bosses, including the darling
of liberals, Franklin Roosevelt. The evidence is very compelling that the
Roosevelt Administration deliberately failed to act to stop Pearl Harbor in
order to mobilize enough national anger to enter the World War II.
I have no idea why people aren't asking some very specific questions about
the actions of Bush and company on the day of the attacks. Follow along:
Four planes get hijacked and deviate from their flight plans, all the while
on FAA radar. The planes are all hijacked between 7:45 and 8:10 AM Eastern
Who is notified?
This is an event already that is unprecedented. But the President is not
notified and going to a Florida elementary school to hear children read.
By around 8:15 AM, it should be very apparent that something is terribly
wrong. The President is glad-handing teachers.
By 8:45, when American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into the World Trade
Center, Bush is settling in with children for his photo ops at Booker
Elementary. Four planes have obviously been hijacked simultaneously, an
event never before seen in history, and one has just dived into the worlds
best know twin towers, and still no one notifies the nominal Commander in
No one has apparently scrambled any Air Force interceptors either.
At 9:03, United Flight 175 crashes into the remaining World Trade Center
building. At 9:05, Andrew Card, the Presidential Chief of Staff whispers to
George W. Bush. Bush "briefly turns somber" according to reporters.
Does he cancel the school visit and convene an emergency meeting? No.
He resumes listening to second graders read about a little girl's pet
fucking goat, and continues this banality even as American Airlines Flight
77 conducts an unscheduled point turn over Ohio and heads in the direction
of Washington DC.
Has he instructed Chief of Staff Card to scramble the Air Force? No.
An excruciating 25 minutes later, he finally deigns to give a public
statement telling the United States what they already have figured out; that
there's been an attack by hijacked planes on the World Trade Center.
There's a hijacked plane bee-lining to Washington, but has the Air Force
been scrambled to defend anything yet? No.
At 9:30, when he makes his announcement, American Flight 77 is still ten
minutes from its target, the Pentagon.
The Administration will later claim they had no way of knowing that the
Pentagon might be a target, and that they thought Flight 77 was headed to
the White House, but the fact is that the plane has already flown South and
past the White House no-fly zone, and is in fact tearing through the sky at
over 400 nauts.
At 9:35, this plane conducts another turn, 360 degrees over the Pentagon,
all the while being tracked by radar, and the Pentagon is not evacuated, and
there are still no fast-movers from the Air Force in the sky over Alexandria
Now, the real kicker. A pilot they want us to believe was trained at a
Florida puddle-jumper school for Piper Cubs and Cessnas, conducts a
well-controlled downward spiral, descending the last 7,000 feet in
two-and-a-half minutes, brings the plane in so low and flat that it clips
the electrical wires across the street from the Pentagon, and flies it with
pinpoint accuracy into the side of this building at 460 nauts.
When the theory about learning to fly this well at the puddle-jumper school
began to lose ground, it was added that they received further training on a
This is like saying you prepared your teenager for her first drive on I-40
at rush hour by buying her a video driving game. It's horse shit!
There is a story being constructed about these events. My crystal ball is
not working today, so I can't say why. But at the least, this so-called
Commander-in-Chief and his staff that we are all supposed to follow blindly
into some ill-defined war on terrorism is criminally negligent or
unspeakably stupid. And at the worst, if more is known or was known, and
there is an effort to conceal the facts, there is a criminal conspiracy
Certainly, the Bush de facto administration was facing a confluence of
crises from which they were temporarily rescued by this event. Whether they
played a sinister role or not, there is little doubt that they have at the
very least opportunistically pounced on this attack to overcome their lack
of legitimacy, to shift the blame for the encroaching recession from
capitalism to the September 11th terror attack, to legitimize their
pre-existing foreign policy agenda, and to establish and consolidate
repressive measures domestically and silence dissent. In many ways,
September 11th pulled the Bush cookies out of the fire.
And given them the green light to begin constructing a long-term scenario
within which to establish fascistic control measures at home and abroad as a
citadel for the ruling class in the catastrophic conjuncture that we are
entering based on the end of oil.
This elephant in the living room is being studiously ignored. In fact, the
domestic repression has already begun, officially and unofficially. It's
kind of a latter day McCarthyism. I participated in a teach-in at Chapel
Hill, North Carolina, on the 17th of September, and though not a single
person on the panel excused or justified the attacks, and every person there
offered either condolences and prayers for the victims, we were excoriated
within two days as "enemies of America." Yesterday an op-ed called for my
deportation (to where, one can only guess). Now Herr Ashcroft is fast
tracking the biggest abrogation of US civil liberties since the so-called
anti-terrorism legislation after the Oklahoma City bombing-which by the way
hasn't resulted in anti-terrorism but in the acceleration of the application
of the racist death penalty. The FBI has defined terrorist groups not by
whether any given group has ever acted as terrorists, but by their beliefs.
Some socialists and anti-globalization groups have already been identified
by name as terrorist groups, even though there is not a single shred of
evidence that they have ever participated in any criminal activity. It
reminds me of the Smith Act that was finally declared unconstitutional, but
only after a hell of a lot of people served a hell of a long time in jail
for the crime of thinking.
I think this also points to yet another huge problems that the Bush regime
was facing. Worldwide resistance to the whole so-called neoliberal agenda,
which is a prettied up term for debt-leverage imperialism. While debt and
the threat of sanctions has been used to coerce nations in the periphery, we
have to understand that the final guarantor of compliance remains military
action. For a global economic agenda, there is always a corresponding
political and military agenda.
The focal point of these actions in the short term is Southern Asia, but
they have already scripted this as a worldwide and protracted fight against
terrorism. It's far better than drug wars as a rationalization, and the drug
war thing was being discredited in any case. Leftists are regaining power
and popularity in Venezuela, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia, the
Dominican Republic, Haiti, Brazil, and Argentina. Cuba has gained immense
prestige over the last few years. The empire is beginning to unravel. We can
hardly justify intervention in these places by saying they are not towing
the economic line by allowing the absolute domination of their societies by
transnational corporations. That exposes the agenda. So we simply claim they
are supporting terrorism.
It's for all these reasons I say the left has missed the boat on this one,
by allowing them to get away with rushing past the question of who did what
on September 11th. If the official story is a lie, and I think the
circumstantial case is strong enough to stay with this question, then we
really do need to know what happened. And we need to understand concretely
what the motives of this administration are.
And we need to understand more than just their immediate motives, but where
the larger social forces that underwrite our situation right now are headed.
I do not think this administration is engaged in the deliberative process of
a political grouping that is on top of their game. They are putting together
some very deliberative technical solutions in response to a larger situation
that it slipping rapidly out of their control. Like clear cutting. There's a
very smart technology being employed to do a very dumb thing.
What they are responding to is not September 11th, but the beginning of a
permanent and precipitous decline in worldwide oil production, the beginning
of a deep and protracted worldwide recession, and the unraveling of the
This brings me to a point about what all this means for Americans' security,
which they are perfectly justified to worry about. The actions being
prepared by this administration will not only not enhance our security, it
will significantly degrade it. Military action against many groups across
the globe, which is what the administration is telling us quite openly they
are planning to do, will put a lot of backs against the wall. That can't be
The concept of war being touted here is a violation of the principles of war
on several counts, and will inevitably lead to military catastrophes, if
you're inclined to view this from a position of moral and political
And the people who are now in possession of half the world's remaining oil
reserves are subject to destabilization for which we can't even pretend to
predict the consequences-but loss of access to critical energy supplies is
certainly within the realm of possibility. Worst of all, we will be
destabilizing Pakistan, a nuclear power in an active conflict with its
neighbor, and we will be provoking Russia, another nuclear power. The
security stakes don't get any higher, and Americans can ill afford to ignore
And I think that this domestic agenda is a tremendous threat to the security
of anyone who is critical of the government or their corporate financiers,
and we already know that the real threats are against populations that can
easily be scapegoated as the domestic crisis deepens. There is a very real
threat right now of creeping fascism in this country, and that phenomenon
requires its domestic enemies. Historically those enemies have included
leftists, trade unionists, and racially and nationally oppressed sectors.
This whole "state of emergency" mentality is already being used to quiet the
public discourses of anti-racism, of feminism, of environmentalism, and of
both socialism and anarchism. And while there is token resistance by
officials to anti-Muslim xenophobia, the stereotypical images have saturated
the media, and the government is already beginning to openly re-instate
racial profiling. It is only a short step from there to go after other
groups. We have long been prepared by the ideologies of overt and covert
racism, and racism as both institution and corresponding psychology in the
United States is nearly intractable.
It's for all these reason, I say emphatically that we can not accept
anything from this administration; not their policies nor their bullshit
stories. What they are doing is very, very dangerous, and the time to fight
back against them, openly, is right now, before they can consolidate their
power and their agenda. Once they have done that, our job becomes much more
The left, if it has the capacity to self-organize out of its oblivion, needs
to understand its critical roles here. We have to play the role of credible,
hard-working, and non-sectarian partners in a broader peace-movement. We
have to study, synthesize, and describe our current historical conjuncture.
And we have to prepare leadership for the decisive conflict that will emerge
to first defeat fascism then take political power.
Rosa Luxemburg's words are truer than ever right now. We are not faced with
a choice between socialism and capitalism, but socialism or barbarism. And
what we can least afford are denial and timidity.
So Stan.... (english)
(No verified email address)
19 Mar 2003
So Stan, we were you thrown out of the military..????
TO BAD MORE AMERICANS DON'T THINK LIKE THIS.. (english)
by Joe, Houston, TX
(No verified email address)
19 Mar 2003
TO BAD MORE AMERICANS DON'T THINK LIKE THIS.....
No matter what your views on President Bush's statement of upcoming war,
this, from an English journalist, is very interesting. Just a word of
background for those of you who aren't familiar with the UK's Daily
Mirror. This is a notoriously left-wing daily that is normally not
supportive of the Colonials across the Atlantic.
by Tony Parsons . Daily Mirror ... September 11, 2002
One year ago, the world witnessed a unique kind of broadcasting -- the
mass murder of thousands, live on television. As a lesson in the
pitiless cruelty of the human race, September 11 was up there with Pol
Pot's Mountain of Skulls in Cambodia, or the skeletal
bodies stacked like garbage in the Nazi concentration camps.
An unspeakable act so cruel, so calculated and so utterly merciless that
surely the world could agree on one thing - nobody deserves this fate.
Surely there could be consensus: The victims were truly innocent, the
perpetrators truly evil.
But to the world's eternal shame, 9/11 is increasingly seen as America's
comeuppance. Incredibly, anti-Americanism has increased over the last
There has always been a simmering resentment to the USA in this country;
too loud, too rich, too full of themselves, and so much happier than
Europeans -- but it has become an epidemic. And it seems incredible to
me. More than that, it turns my stomach.
America is this country's greatest friend and our staunchest ally. We
are bonded to the US by culture, language and blood. A little over half
a century ago, around half a million Americans died for our freedoms, as
well as their own. Have we forgotten so soon? And
exactly a year ago, thousands of ordinary men, women and children -- not
just Americans, but from dozens of countries -- were butchered by a
small group of religious fanatics. Are we so quick to betray them?
What touched the heart about those who died in the Twin Towers and on
the planes, was that we recognized them. Young fathers and mothers,
somebody's son and somebody's daughter, husbands, wives, and children,
And these people brought it on themselves? Their nation is to blame for
their meticulously planned slaughter?
These days you don't have to be some dust-encrusted nut job in Kabul or
Karachi or Finsbury Park to see America as the Great Satan. The
anti-American alliance is made up of self-loathing liberals who blame
the Americans for every ill in the Third World, and conservatives
suffering from power-envy, bitter that the world's only superpower can
do what it likes without having to ask permission.
The truth is that America has behaved with enormous restraint since
Remember ... remember ... remember ... the gut-wrenching tapes of
weeping men phoning their wives to say, "I love you," before they were
Remember those people leaping to their deaths from the top of burning
skyscrapers. Remember the hundreds of firemen buried alive. Remember the
smiling face of that beautiful little girl who was on one of the planes
with her mum.
Remember ... remember ... And realize that America has never retaliated
in anything like the way it could have.
So a few al-Qaeda tourists got locked up without a trial in Camp X-ray?
Pass the Kleenex.
So some Afghan wedding receptions were shot up after they merrily fired
their semi-automatics in a sky full of American planes? A shame, but
maybe next time they
should stick to confetti.
AMERICA could have turned a large chunk of the world into a parking lot.
That it didn't is a sign of strength. American voices are already being
raised against attacking Iraq -- that's what a democracy is for. How
many in the Islamic world will have a minute's silence for the
slaughtered innocents of 9/11? How many Islamic leaders will have the
guts to say that the mass murder of 9/11 was an abomination?
When the news of 9/11 broke on the West Bank, those freedom-loving
Palestinians were dancing in the street. America watched all of that --
and didn't push the button. We should thank the stars that America is
the most powerful nation in the world. I still find it incredible that
9/11 did not provoke all-out war. Not a "war on terrorism." A real war.
The fundamentalist dudes are talking about "opening the gates of hell"
if America attacks Iraq. Well, America could have opened the gates of
hell like you wouldn't believe.
The US is the most militarily powerful nation that ever strode the face
of the earth. The campaign in Afghanistan may have been less than
perfect and the planned war on Iraq may be misconceived.
But don't blame America for not bringing peace and light to these
wretched countries. How many democracies are there in the Middle East,
or in the Muslim world? You can count them on the fingers of one hand --
assuming you haven't had any chopped off for minor shoplifting.
I love America, yet America is hated. I guess that makes me Bush's
But I would rather be a dog in New York City than a Prince in Riyadh.
Above all, America is hated because it is what every country wants to be
-- rich, free, strong, open, optimistic. Not ground down by the past, or
religion, or some caste system. America is the best friend this country
ever had and we should start remembering that.
Or do you really think the USA is the root of all evil? Tell it to the
loved ones of the men and women who leaped to their death from the
Tell it to the nursing mothers whose husbands died on one of the
hijacked planes, or were ripped apart in a collapsing skyscraper. And
tell it to the hundreds of young widows whose husbands worked for the
New York Fire Department.
To our shame, George Bush gets a worse press than Saddam Hussein. Once
we were told that Saddam gassed the Kurds, tortured his own people and
set up rape-camps in Kuwait. Now we are told he likes Quality Street.
Save me the orange center, Oh Mighty One!
Remember ... remember ... September 11. One of the greatest atrocities
in human history was committed against America.
No, do more than remember. Never forget.