Free Forum Q&A – ANDREW BACEVICH U.S. Army, Colonel, Ret.(after 23 years) who lost his son in Iraq WASHINGTON RULES: America’s Path to Permanent WarWritten on June 26th, 2015
Originally Aired August 2010
President Obama’s recent decision to add an additional 450 American soldiers to our 3,000 strong train-and-equip mission in Iraq made me reach for a dose of ANDREW BACEVICH, a voice of sanity on issues of war and peace. Bacevich wrote of Obama’s move in an op-ed, Washington in Wonderland: Down the Iraq Rabbit Hole (Again).
In WASHINGTON RULES, the 2010 book we talk about in this interview, Bacevich (in his own words) “..aims to take stock of conventional wisdom in its most influential and enduring form, namely the package of assumptions, habits, and precepts that have defined the tradition of statecraft to which the United States has adhered since the end of World War II — the era of global dominance now drawing to a close. This postwar tradition combines two components, each one so deeply embedded in the American collective consciousness as to have all but disappeared from view.
The first component specifies norms according to which the international order ought to work and charges the United States with responsibility for enforcing those norms. Call this the American Credo — …to lead, save, liberate, and ultimately transform the world.
…With regard to means, that tradition has emphasized activism over example, hard power over soft, and coercion (often styled ‘negotiating from a position of strength”) over suasion. Above all, the exercise of global leadership as prescribed by the credo obliges the United States to maintain military capabilities staggeringly in excess of those required by self-defense.”
In JEREMY SCAHILL’S new best-seller, DIRTY WARS, what begins as an investigation into a US night raid gone terribly wrong in a remote corner of Afghanistan quickly transforms into a high-stakes global investigation into the rise of Joint Special Operations Command, the most secret and elite fighting force in U.S. history. In military jargon, JSOC teams “find, fix and finish” their targets, who are selected through a secret process. No target is off limits for the “kill list,” including U.S. citizens.
It’s the unbounded, unending War on Terror: all bets are off, and almost anything goes. We have fundamentally changed the rules of the game and the rules of engagement. Today drone strikes, night raids, and U.S. government-condoned torture occur, generating unprecedented civilian casualties.
DIRTY WARS reveals covert operations unknown to the public and carried out across the globe by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress, raising questions about freedom and democracy, war and justice, morality and politics. No matter how little you know about these actions, they are being done in your name,
DIRTY WARS is also a documentary which opens in theaters June 7th.
Free Forum Q&A – RICHARD HEINBERG, Author of SNAKE OIL: Fracking’s Promise of Plenty Imperils Our FutureWritten on December 3rd, 2013
What do you know about hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” of natural gas?Probably depends on who you’re listening to. The fossil fuel industry tells you it’s the biggest energy development of the century, which promises America energy independence for the US and a huge boost to our economy with benefits to local economies. Many of the communities themselves tell a different story – of pollution on the one hand and social disruption on the other.
For the spoils of success, I recommend an article in March 2013 Harpers, Where Broken Hearts Stand, Grief and Recovery on the Badlands of North Dakota by Richard Manning.
RICHARD HEINBERG has a new book, SNAKE OIL: How Fracking’s Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future, looks at fracking from both economic and environmental perspectives, informed by the most thorough analysis of shale gas and oil drilling data ever undertaken.
Join us as I try to find out, Is fracking the miracle cure-all to our energy ills, or a costly distraction from the necessary work of reducing our fossil fuel dependence?
ERIC GREITENS attended Duke University and was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to attend Oxford University, where he earned a Ph.D. and won a gold medal at BUSA National Boxing Championships. His research led to humanitarian work in Rwanda, Albania, Mexico, India, Croatia, Bolivia, and Cambodia. In 2001, he joined the Navy SEALs and deployed four times. His military awards include the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. When Eric returned from Iraq, he founded The Mission Continues to help wounded and disabled warriors to serve their communities here at home.
His book THE HEART AND THE FIST: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL tells the story of these seemingly contradictory roles.
ROBERT SCHEER, editor-in-chief of Truthdig, was Vietnam correspondent and an editor of Ramparts magazine from 1964-69. He worked with the Los Angeles Times for nearly 30 years, as a national correspondent from 1976-1993 and as a weekly syndicated columnist until 2005. In 2005 he co-founded Truthdig. Scheer is heard weekly on Left, Right and Center on NPR's KCRW. A clinical professor of communications at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, he is a contributing editor for The Nation as well as a Nation Fellow. Scheer has written nine books, including With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War; The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us about Iraq; The Pornography of Power and his newest, THE GREAT AMERICAN STICKUP.