Fred again provides a new and valuable perspective on current events

I recommend reading “Killing America’s Kids“, Fred Reed, posted at Fred on Everything, 6 September 2009 — Excerpt:

Why then is [SecDef Gates] so angry at having the war photographed? Easy: Spin control. Spin is so very important in war these days. While America is only barely a democracy, still, if the public, the great sleeping acquiescent ignorant beast, ever gets really upset, the war ends.

The Pentagon is acutely aware of this. It remembers its disaster in Asia. The generals of today learned nothing military from Vietnam—they are fighting the same kind of war as stupidly as before—but they learned something more important: Their most dangerous enemy is the America public. You. Me. Defeating the Taliban isn’t particularly important, or even desirable. (No war means fewer promotions and fewer contracts). But while the Taliban cannot possibly defeat the Pentagon, the American public can.

Photographs are death to a war, boys and girls. They can asphyxiate a war faster than roadside bombs can even dream. Gates does not want the sprawling somnolent inattentive beast, the public, to see what his wars really are.

In wars, there are many enlightening things to see. For example, the Marine with a third of his face and half a lung, going ku-kuk-kuk as red gunch rolls out of his mouth and he drowns in his blood. Ruined or dying teenagers whimpering the trinity of the badly wounded, Mother, wife, and water. The brain-shot guy jerking like an epileptic as he tries not to die. Ever see brain tissue from gunshot? I have. It makes a pink spew across the ground. Like strawberry chiffon.

Gates does not want you to see this. You would puke, buy a bottle of bourbon, and take to the streets. He knows it. CBS could end these wars in a week if it aired what really happens. Gates cannot afford to let the dam break. PR is all. Thus Bush forbade the photographing of coffins coming home, and the CIA ferociously resists the publication of photographs of torture. Professional sadists do things to people that would make you gag.

He says some other things worth reading, but off-topic here.

For more about this important moment in time, see You can end our war in Afghanistan, 20 August 2009.

Afterword

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For more information about this topic

To see all posts about our new wars:

Some posts about our defense systems working against us:

  1. News from the Front: America’s military has mastered 4GW!, 2 September 2007
  2. 4GW at work in a community near you, 19 October 2007
  3. The media discover info ops, with outrage!, 22 April 2008
  4. Successful info ops, but who are the targets?, 1 May 2008
  5. Psywar, a core skill of the US Military (used most often on us), 26 November 2008
  6. Concrete evidence of government info ops against us, but it’s OK because we are sheep, 2 December 2008
  7. DoD confesses that they whitewashed revelations about an info op run against us, 12 July 2009
  8. A warning from Alexis De Tocqueville about our military, 7 August 2009

27 thoughts on “Fred again provides a new and valuable perspective on current events

  1. If a war is worth fighting, it is worth photographing. The perfumed princes are utterly wrong to prohibit a visual record of those anonymous young people who have given all for a nation that does not even trouble to know who they are. Where is this generation’s Robert Capa?

    Many young people, full of idealism, patriotism, and perhaps a bit naive to the ways of the world, naturally enough expect that if they should lose their lives or suffer grievous wounds in combat, that the public will at least be know them, and feel a sense of gratitude for their sacrifices. How sad that the reality is so much different, that they are in effect viewed by many in power as commodities to be expended, whose deaths/maimings will be hushed up and hidden if they prove in any way inconvenient to the powers that be.

  2. Pete is right, but this is a complex issue. Movies know how to depict war casualties in a way that ennobles them, and underscores the evil of the enemy. Even Fred’s disgusting verbal depiction may have a perverse appeal to the psycho elements of our society. As I recall, to our credit, it was the image of a young Vietnamese girl whose clothes had been burned off by napalm, running down the road toward the camara man, that woke up the American people to the brutality of the war we were conducting. We sentimentalize the “sacrifice” of our own soldiers, and hide from view the horror we inflict on the people we’re supposedly saving. I dont know which is worse.

  3. I guess Fred believes that in war anything is fair. As he analogizes A. to Vietnam (he is more right than wrong), he feels anything that works to end our involvement is fair. Presumably he shares something in common with Gates and other advocates. Precisely at the time when the distinction between civilians and combatants is disappearing — 9/11 is approaching — there is a huge upwelling of propaganda about war crimes– Americans, Israelis etc. I see no reports in the American press about how many civilians the Taliban kill with their bombs? Now many people regret our use of nuclear weapons which killed only “civilians”. Somehow many people feel it would have been better if countless young American men in uniforms died instead. This so called conversation is grotesque, revealing our nation as lost, without any respected or confident leadership. I like Fred, I am sure I would have liked Cpl. Barnard. I doubt there is anyone in the Taliban I could talk to as I am a Jew. This is the wrong conversation about something very important, taking us further from the debate we need to have about where this nation without compass is heading.

  4. Fred is only partly right. Sec Gates is mad because a Marines death was used in a partisan ANTI-WAR message and without the permission of the parents. Spin control works both ways. As one of the key managers of the war, he needs to take the lead against the anti-war forces on the mainstream media. that’s his job.

    People will not take to the streets like the cowards of the 60s anymore. Normal people understand that there is a real threat and it won’t be solved by laying our arms down and baring our throats to our enemies swords. Are we in the right war and are we killing the right people? It’s too soon to tell at this point.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: What are you talking about?

    “by laying our arms down and baring our throats to our enemies swords.”

    Who is talking about laying our arms down (on which we spend roughly as much as the entire rest of the world put together)? “Baring our thoats” to what enemy? The Tailiban never attacked the US. They show no signs of every attacking America. Afghanistan had almost nothing to do with 9-11. This is like a “big lie” extravaganza.”

  5. Comment #4: “Are we in the right war and are we killing the right people? It’s too soon to tell at this point.”

    So it’s an exploratory process. You start killing people, and only then you work out if it the right ones even the right war. Sounds morally bankrupt to me.

    But experience tells us that it’s definitely the wrong war once enough of the relatives of the the pro-war people start dying. Americans turns against the Iraq war only when one in 4 of the military class knew someone who had been killed or maimed in Iraq.

  6. Comment #4: Fred is only partly right. Sec Gates is mad because a Marines death was used in a partisan ANTI-WAR message and without the permission of the parents.”

    Why is publishing a picture of something necessarily mean that one is against it, unless it is inherently shameful? Is publishing a picture of mountain climbing an “anti-mountain climbing” gesture? As you surely know, Major, war consists of killing and being killed, wounding and being wounded. Otherwise it might as well be a football game. So if you’re proud of something, show pride in it by documenting it as much as possible. Slow motion replay and multiple camera angles. If, on the other hand, you are ashamed of it, and want it done in dark and hidden places, perhaps it is better not to do it in the first place.

    Comment #4: “Spin control works both ways. As one of the key managers of the war, he needs to take the lead against the anti-war forces on the mainstream media. that’s his job.”

    And all this time I thought his job was to manage the armed forces on behalf of the American people, not to manage the thinking of the American people on behalf of the armed forces. I guess I’m just all mixed up!
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Welcome to America! We were a city on a hill, so I’m told. But it looks like we slid down the hill.

  7. One must bear in mind that the senior ranks of the military and civilian leadership act as politicians rather than “managers.” As such, message and spin control are the name of the game.

  8. Comment #4: “Are we in the right war and are we killing the right people? It’s too soon to tell at this point.”

    2003 is on the phone, they want their arguments back.

  9. The ratio of importance of an Afghan life to an American life is unfortunately something like 1 to 10,000. The ratio of importance of some American lives to other considerations, like our own worries over health care, big govt./small govt. whatever, is apparently 1 to 100 or so. I find this sickening, but that doesn’t change my conclusion. If this were not so, we would, as a nation, gladly agree to pay survivor’s families a million or two compensation for loss of their children. Even this lame gesture is never proposed, too expensive I guess.

  10. “Normal people understand that there is a real threat and it won’t be solved by laying our arms down and baring our throats to our enemies swords. Are we in the right war and are we killing the right people? It’s too soon to tell at this point.”

    If there truly is a threat that must be fought, how come you can’t figure out if we’re actually confronting this threat or not? Just endlessly repeating that there is a threat for the better part of a decade doesn’t suffice. This spurious logic only points up apathy on the part of “normal” Americans… with perhaps a dash of stupidity thrown in for flavor.

  11. FM..
    what does the taliban not attacking america have to do with anything? nice trick. we aren’t just fighting the taliban. we’ll agree to disagree about the connections and responsibilities of the taliban government and the sheltering of AQ.. and organization that promotes and trains terrorist for activities around the world.

    as for laying down our arms and baring our throats, you haven’t been paying attention. there is a fight going on that deals with our arms.. not holding hands and understanding each other. some people want to kill us and we are safer by killing them first.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: We’re not fighting the Taliban? They (and increasingly, allied groups in the north) are the vast majority of the casualties resulting from NATO’s operations. Not, that is, including the civiilians.

    “as for laying down our arms and baring our throats, you haven’t been paying attention. there is a fight going on that deals with our arms.. not holding hands and understanding each other. some people want to kill us and we are safer by killing them first”

    How many of the people of Afghansitan killed by NATO forces share these beliefs? Unless you can provide supporting evidence, this must be considered delusional. Unlike the usual realpolitic justifications for the war, such as building puppet states around Iran, which are just criminal under the international legal system the US created after WWII.

  12. FM… war is war. innocents get killed. don’t like war. don’t start one. time honored tradition of a leader to not start a war or face the dire consequences. sorry… but that is life and history from the fire bombing of Dresden to the nuking of japan. killing massive amounts of people and the risks involved on both side of the equation have been real problems real leaders have had to deal with. not bloggers. not blogger commenters. safe and isolated from the risk and consequence of the real world problems they comment about.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: All fascinating, but irrelevant to my questions. As I suspected, you have no answers. As we have seen in the last 2 months, when the war’s advocates are pressed for explanations they have little or nothing to say. It’s sad that it’s taken so long for this to become obvious.

  13. There is a very good discussion about (the Germans in) Afghanistan with political implications in a larger context on the Small War Council. A very sober article in the todays FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), an important conservative newspaper in Germany, which highlights the political problems of the transatlantic coopeartion.
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    Fabius Maximus note: For more on Germany’s involvement in the Af-pak war:

    (1) “The Bundeswehr’s Afghan Nightmare – How the Taliban Are Taking Control of Kunduz“, Der Spiegel, 19 August 2008

    (2) “Germany is ISAF’s Weakest Link“, Joshua Foust, Atlantic Community, 8 September 2009 — Excerpt:

    “The Bundeswehr has evolved from refusing to kill known militants to calling in air strikes based on flimsy evidence. The German deployment has been a complete failure. The Bundeswehr is consistently undermining the allied tasks in Afghanistan and should either reevaluate or withdraw.”

  14. Majof Scarlet: “war is war. innocents get killed. don’t like war. don’t start one. time honored tradition of a leader to not start a war or face the dire consequences. sorry… but that is life and history from the fire bombing of Dresden to the nuking of japan. killing massive amounts of people and the risks involved on both side of the equation have been real problems real leaders have had to deal with.”

    Typical 2GW argument.

    “Real problem real leaders have had to deal with” … … “real” leaders haven’t dealt with civilian casualties pretty well. All the PME that officers have to go through and yet still see the same results, the same strategies, the same arguments and the same rationalizations. Pretty ineffective “education” if you ask me.

  15. FM;
    what does it matter whether they shared out beliefs or not? that is a false construct of the real problem. also, we are fighting the taliban. if you think not, you are delusional.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: You obvious wrote this without reading the comment carefully (easy to do; I’ve done it often enough). It’s 100% wrong. If you email me, I’ll delete this comment for you.

    ‘what does it matter whether they shared out beliefs or not?”

    My reply to your comment #12 (your statement that “some people want to kill us”) said the exact opposite: “How many of the people of Afghansitan killed by NATO forces share these beliefs?” Not our beliefs.

    “we are fighting the taliban. if you think not, you are delusional.”

    Again you got it 100% backwards. In comment #12, I said “We’re not fighting the Taliban? They (and increasingly, allied groups in the north) are the vast majority of the casualties resulting from NATO’s operations.”

  16. From #9: #3 :Why could a Jew not talk to the Taliban ?Just interested.”

    Anna Nicholas, it does seem that hatred of Jews is quite high in the area around Pakistan. The American Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl, for instance, was famously kidnapped, tortured and beheaded on video by Al Qaeda members in Pakistan. (Wikipedia, “Daniel Pearl“) I’m not sure how much of this hatred is due to anger at Israel and how much is just simple hatred of Jews. Still it would give me pause about travelling there if I were Jewish.

  17. Anna: It is a long story. Maulana Mawdudi, founded Jamaat Islami in 1941, the leading Islamist party in South Asia, to promote the conversion of all India to Islam. Essentially a Leninist party, it made a slow transition to politics in Pakistan but since the 1970s it has been the Vanguard party of Islam. Mawdudi preached jihad of the heart and promoted revolution from above, believing Islamic triumph required the active support of the elites who would control institutions and assure that the masses practiced, not merely “believed”. His writings have had a profound influence on the Muslim Brotherhood, Khomeini, Hizbullah and Hamas, which is intense but small potatoes. The antisemitism of the Arabs has backed down into South Asia. The attack on the Chabad in Bombay (Mumbai) is the first racial attack on Jews in India, a place Jews have been living for more than two thousand years. Mawdudi was a real Muslim intellect and political leader, spent a number of terms in jail, was sentenced to death by the military but commanded great respect. He died in Buffalo, N.Y. where his son was training as a doctor to whom he had gone when his body started to fail. Have no idea if he was personally an antisemite, but Islam has become deeply infected with Nazi ideology, the reason Holocaust denial is a theme for them. You know, if it didn’t happen, you get to do it again.

  18. FM.
    my mistake however the message is the same. it doesn’t matter what their beliefs are. war sucks. people get killed. our president is sworn to protect the constitution and the people of the US. not foreigners. put yourself in the place of the president and his oath. jimmy carter betrayed his oath by getting FISA passed. our 4th amendment rights don’t extend to foreign nationals. but that didn’t stop him. regardless. we have to protect our citizens.. at all cost.. and i don’t give a flil flarn about anyone else and neither should you.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Try going back and answering my simple questions from your first comment (#4). It’s as if you’re drunk with this irrelevant rhetoric.

  19. I think I’m getting the hang of this: kill a lot of Wogs in third world ountries and call it protecting the constitution and people. If anyone challenges you, just woof a lot of hardcore shit about how bloody war is. And be sure to intimate that anyone objecting hasn’t got any balls.

    Thanks for playbook, Major. Seriously though, is that the explanation for US military ambitions?

    And perhaps Fred missed a key ingredient in his explanation of the current censorship: war jumkies who revel in the thought of maimed bodies. If the good Major is any reliable indicator the sight of all this gore wouldn’t stop the wars it’d fuel them…

  20. FM: about your question.. it was more of a metaphor of the overall conflict.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: While you recite your rhapsody about killing, the rest of us are attempting to understand what our government is attempting to do in the Af-Pak war. Nothing you have said so far is a contribution to that discussion, just evasions. My guess is that you have no evidentiary or logical basis for your support for the war.

  21. #17. #18 .
    A lot of odd things you raise . Make me feel very ignorant . I put the Q initially because , if a possible solution in Afgh might be negotiating with the Taliban , if Jews in general would not speak with them , and US leaders include Jews , there is an obstacle .
    Odd that ( devout )Jews and Muslims are not closer to each other than to Christians .Israel must be a huge factor ; it might help if the ‘love Judaism , hate Zionism ‘ Jewish sector got more publicity .
    Holocaust denial is another odd thing . It had never crossed my mind that there might be any doubt about the reporting of the Holocaust , until I became aware of the heat generated by discussion .

  22. FM: i’m on the fence about our objectives in afghanistan/pakistan. i don’t think we have a chance in hell of establishing a democracy there so what is the point of the war? i’m leaning more to withdrawing than using the current paltry efforts we are using. amazingly, you jumped to a conclusion that is was for the war.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: As you can see from the comments above, others reading your comments came to the same conclusion. I suspect that almost everyone reading them would do so. Those comments are incomprehensible to me given this one.

  23. I am undoubtedly prejudiced being a serious Zionist, but I doubt whether Jews are in an American delegation or not is besides the point. The foremost American authority on Pakistan security and military is named Stephen Cohen. He travels in Pakistan, eats with a fork and knife but probably sleeps light. Then again EVERYONE sleeping in beds in Pak. are light sleepers just now. The Taliban are a creation of Pakistan politics and the Afghan war with the Soviets which America helped defeat — by arming among others, the Taliban! Daniel Pearl was a good reporter and a decent man with little street smarts. They would have killed him if he was Church of England.

  24. Sean,
    your lack of historical knowledge and perspective is cute. it’s always funny to watch a naive person tie himself in knots about the realities of war.

    FM:
    i haven’t evaded anything. i made it clear, in the context of this topic, that sec gates has a right to be angry and take action against the anti-war media. that’s his job. fred seems to think there is some kind of deviousness involved when the truth is sec gates is fulfilling his part in the on going war for the message.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: No more of these “I’m smarter than you” comments, such as your reply to Sean. If you have a real rebuttal, with logic or evidence, make it. Otherwise please do not waste our time.

    As for your reply to me, you’re misrepresenting what I said. My reply concerned your justifications for the war, not Gates’ info ops.

  25. FM.
    I never made a justification for war. what’s wrong with you? i made a comment about the realities of war. that war is harsh and that war is unfair. somehow.. you deluded yourself in to thinking the i love war and that i’m an advocate for it. you are mental. seriously.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: As I said, the other comments show that others drew the same conclusions. If that was not your point, it’s not clear what your point was. The “war is hell” bit is irrelevant, as I noted previously. It’s just posing, striking an attiude. Your obviously false attempt to link my remarks to Gate’s info ops in comment #25 suggests that you’re just wasting our time.

  26. My apologies to both Fabius and the good Major for my part in making this a pissing contest. Such was not my intent though it was a result. Major Scarlet, having spent 7 years of my younger life in uniform (with the attendant odd, angry shot here and there) and having read a good deal of military history I’m quite aware that warfare is bloody. Being unfair goes without saying.

    I did indeed read your posts as supportive of our current wars though I was quite baffled by your gap between the necessity of fighting and lack of a clear target.
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    Fabius Maximus: No apologies needed. It’s that kind of site. Not many limits to the discussions here, so long as legal, topical to the post, and civil.

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