Archive for May, 2009

KOREAN NIGHTMARE

May 28, 2009


Korea at DEFCON 1?


May 21, 2009
Jim Rawles

Based upon this article in Yahoo! and an article earlier today from Joonang Ilbo, I estimate that as a minimum US Forces, Korea has gone to DEFCON 1 and I suspect that Pacific Command is at DEFCON 2 as a minimum. I base this on my year of service in Korea from October 1975 to October, 1976 which time included the “Tree War”. At that time I was an F-4 Weapons Systems Officer and squadron additional duty plans officer with the 80th Tactical Fighter Squadron (Juvats) at Kunsan Air Base.

Many of the articles I have read over the past few days indicate that the driving force behind this current “temper tantrum” is the United Nations Security Council rebuke for the Taepodong-2 test that failed to stage and crashed into the sea. Many other articles have opined that the real problem is succession. Their theory is that Mr. Kim, knowing his time on this Earth is severely limited after his last medical problem, is pressing for the guaranteed survival of the DPRK so he can name his successor.

At this point I’m not sure that the reason makes any difference. I believe we are at a point where if Kim backs down, he incurs a catastrophic loss of face. Add to that the cessation of the behind the scenes support from South Korea that occurred under the Roh government. Mr. Kim has also ejected the World Food Program from the DPRK. Since all information on North Korean agriculture appears to be classified at the SECRET level, we don’t have access to the LANDSAT photos that would allow us to know the condition of agriculture in the DPRK. We don’t even know if the KPA participated in the Spring Planting. Considering that they were supposedly on war alert for the Taepodong-2 launch, their participation is in serious question. If the KPA did NOT participate in the Spring Planting, that would be a strong indicator that the DPRK was not depending on this fall’s harvest for food.

There are in the Soviet system only two times when you go to war: Summer and Winter. Spring and Fall occupy the army fully with planting or harvest. Why? Because the army has all of the vehicles needed to accomplish either without emptying the cities and sending them to the collectives. Since there is so much we do not know about the state of North Korean agriculture, we must make educated estimates of same. We do know that over the last five or six years, a significant amount of newly terraced land on the western hills was planted and then washed into the Yellow Sea by typhoons. This land at almost at once became arable and useless. There are few other areas in the DPRK where land may be adapted to agriculture that is not already in use and over use.

There is good reason why the United States does not destroy the various facilities of the DPRK that are causing so much consternation. The first reason, and the most important, is that the DPRK holds Seoul hostage. The Korean People’s Army has about 11,000 artillery pieces and rocket launchers carefully concealed along and shortly behind the DMZ that target the area between the DMZ and the Han River. It is physically impossible to destroy these systems before they turn the heart of South Korea into rubble laden with chemical and biological agents. At worst for the South, these systems will have 24 hours to do their missions before we can destroy them. Whatever we may believe about a solution to the Kim problem, the Republic of Korea risks its existence whatever we do. I believe the decision about war or peace belongs to them.

Here I believe that the Joong Ang Article about command relationships is telling. It has been US policy since the creation of North and South Korea not to sell or allow the ROK forces to have offensive weapons. It has always been the United States that has supplied the heavy artillery and air power to defend the ROK. That is also why the US forces have been moved in stages south of the Han and out of initial range of the DPRK initial bombardment and assault. If the South Koreans, after many years of discussion and political discourse, decided to unify all military units in South Korea under a joint and South Korean lead command structure suddently decide to cancel that plan is a serious loss of face for the ROK. Not something they would do unless they were really scared.

This situation reminds me a lot of the “Tree War”. The DPRK created a major incident in the DMZ and then backed off when we applied significant force. At no point in this current run of events has the United States applied or even threatened significant force. When we went to chop down that offending tree, there were some 100 aircraft airborne including two cells of B-52s. I broke more peacetime flying rules in the following two weeks than ever before in my career. Live MigCAPS do get your attention.

That is exactly what bothers me about this current mess. There are sufficient imponderables here to keep all of us guessing. I do not see Mr. Kim backing down. I do not see USFK or the ROK backing down. I do see the imminent possibility of a black hole into which all disappear and only chaos reappears.

God help us all.

Richard E. Radcliffe
Captain, USAF (Retired)

Permission is granted to publish in its entirety.

WAR WILL EXPAND

May 18, 2009

Obama’s Animal Farm

Bigger, Bloodier Wars Equal Peace and Justice

By James Petras
5-17-9

“The Deltas are psychos. You have to be a certified psychopath to
join the Delta Force”, a US Army colonel from Fort Bragg once told me back in the 1980’s. Now President Obama has elevated the most notorious of the psychopaths, General Stanley McChrystal, to head the US and NATO military command in Afghanistan. McChrystal’s rise to leadership is marked by his central role in directing special operations teams engaged in extrajudicial assassinations, systematic torture, bombing of civilian communities and search and destroy missions. He is the very embodiment of the brutality and gore that accompanies military-driven empire building. Between September 2003 and August 2008, McChrystal directed the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations (JSO) Command which operates special teams in overseas assassinations.

The point of the ‘Special Operations’ teams (SOT) is that they do not distinguish between civilian and military oppositions, between activists and their sympathizers and the armed resistance. The SOT specialize in establishing death squads and recruiting and training paramilitary forces to terrorize communities, neighborhoods and social movements opposing US client regimes. The SOT’s ‘counter-terrorism’ is terrorism in reverse, focusing on socio-political groups between US proxies and the armed resistance. McChrystal’s SOT targeted local and national insurgent leaders in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan through commando raids and air strikes. During the last 5 years of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld period the SOT were deeply implicated in the torture of political prisoners and suspects. McChrystal was a special favorite of Rumsfeld and Cheney because he was in charge of the ‘direct action’ forces of the ‘Special Missions Units. ‘Direct Action’ operative are the death-squads and torturers and their only engagement with the local population is to terrorize, and not to propagandize. They engage in ‘propaganda of the dead’, assassinating local leaders to ‘teach’ the locals to obey and submit to the occupation. Obama’s appointment of McChrystal as head reflects a grave new military escalation of his Afghanistan war in the face of the advance of the resistance throughout the country.

The deteriorating position of the US is manifest in the tightening circle around all the roads leading in and out of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul as well as the expansion of Taliban control and influence throughout the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Obama’s inability to recruit new NATO reinforcements means that the White House’s only chance to advance its military driven empire is to escalate the number of US troops and to increase the kill ratio among any and all suspected civilians in territories controlled by the Afghan armed resistance.

The White House and the Pentagon claim that the appointment of McChrystal was due to the ‘complexities’ of the situation on the ground and the need for a ‘change in strategy’. ‘Complexity’ is a euphemism for the increased mass opposition to the US, complicating traditional carpet ‘bombing and military sweep’ operations. The new strategy practiced by McChrystal involves large scale, long term ‘special operations’ to devastate and kill the local social networks and community leaders, which provide the support system for the armed resistance.

Obama’s decision to prevent the release of scores of photographs documenting the torture of prisoners by US troops and ‘interrogators’ (especially under command of the ‘Special Forces’), is directly related to his appointment of McChrystal whose ‘SOT’ forces were highly implicated in widespread torture in Iraq. Equally important, under McChrystal’s command the DELTA, SEAL and Special Operations Teams will have a bigger role in the new ‘counter-insurgency strategy’. Obama’s claim that the publication of these photographs will adversely affect the ‘troops’ has a particular meaning: The graphic exposure of McChrystal’s modus operendi for the past 5 years under President Bush will undermine his effectiveness in carrying out the same operations under Obama.

Obama’s decision to re-start the secret ‘military tribunals’ of foreign political prisoners, held at the Guantanamo prison camp, is not merely a replay of the Bush-Cheney policies, which Obama had condemned and vowed to eliminate during his presidential campaign, but part of his larger policy of militarization and coincides with his approval of the major secret police surveillance operations conducted against US citizens.

Putting McChrystal in charge of the expanded Afghanistan-Pakistan military operations means putting a notorious practitioner of military terrorism ­ the torture and assassination of opponents to US policy ­ at the center of US foreign policy. Obama’s quantitative and qualitative expansion of the US war in South Asia means massive numbers of refugees fleeing the destruction of their farms, homes and villages; tens of thousands of civilian deaths, and eradication of entire communities. All of this will be committed by the Obama Administraton in the quest to ’empty the lake (displace entire populations) to catch the fish (armed insurgents and activists)’.

Obama’s restoration of all of the most notorious Bush Era policies and the appointment of Bush’s most brutal commander is based on his total embrace of the ideology of military-driven empire building. Once one believes (as Obama does) that US power and expansion are based on military conquests and counter-insurgency, all other ideological, diplomatic, moral and economic considerations will be subordinated to militarism. By focusing all resources on successful military conquest, scant attention is paid to the costs borne by the people targeted for conquest or to the US treasury and domestic American economy. This has been clear from the start: In the midst of a major recession/depression with millions of Americans losing their employment and homes, President Obama increased the military budget by 4% – taking it beyond $800 billion dollars.

Obama’s embrace of militarism is obvious from his decision to expand the Afghan war despite NATO’s refusal to commit any more combat troops. It is obvious in his appointment of the most hard-line and notorious Special Forces General from the Bush-Cheney era to head the military command in subduing Afghanistan and the frontier areas of Pakistan.

It is just as George Orwell described in Animal Farm: The Democratic Pigs are now pursuing the same brutal, military policies of their predecessors, the Republican Porkers, only now it is in the name of the people and peace. Orwell might paraphrase the policy of President Barack Obama, as ‘Bigger and bloodier wars equal peace and justice’.