Saturday, March 24, 2012

Friendly Fire; One Veteran's View

     My American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition, defines the word oxymoron as meaning "...pointedly foolish..."  The expression friendly fire clearly fits this description.  A product of military intelligence, it's covered in layers of irony so thick and so many, we might expect it to take the cake in the oxymoron department.  But, until today, each occurence of 'friendly fire' has taken considerably more than 'cake.'  Among the victims of such mistaken aim, few survive to tell of it;  if you can find one of these survivors, ask them how friendly it felt.  Further, look up the one who pulled the trigger in each of these instances; consider the horror, grief, and self-condemnation each will carry to their last breath.  Is there any way any of these, on either side of the 'friendly fire,' could not take it personally?  No.  The rest of us are encouraged not to think of it at all, or if we must, to call it 'regrettable...tragic...inadvertent,' and so on; a sad side-effect of armed conflict.  So far in this observation, we're talking about circumstances in which individual soldiers on the battlefield, PEOPLE, have literally called the shots.
     By 1865, when Abraham Lincoln announced it, corpirate traitors had secretly seized control of the U.S. government, lock, stock, barrel, and armed forces.  Since that time, the corpirations have in fact been calling the shots in the 'big picture.'  Do you think Honest Abe was kidding?  I don't think so.  If you're a fan of friendly fire, you're sure to get a really big bang out of the consequences of these covert subversions, and the corpirations' rule-by-remote-control for the past 150 years or so;  for instance:
     Late 1800's
     Exercising dominant sea-power, 'American interests'* eagerly set about the building of Empire; subjugating, and yes, enslaving Chinese, Japanese, Polynesian, and American workers across the Pacific, and along the coasts of Chile and Peru for guano, the raw material for fertilizers and other agrichemicals, and for feed-stocks for plants producing gunpowder and other explosives, laying the foundations for the Military-Industrial Cult.  These pools of 'cheap labor' were also forcibly brought to work the woods, mines, and railroads of the American West.  When war with Spain threatened, Spain quickly met U.S. demands to avoid it.  These 'American Interests' took us to war with Spain anyway, for cheap real estate, resources, and labor.  The subsequent occupation of the Philippines, and the ongoing 'difficulties' there are covered in some detail in the book Conspiracy for Empire; Big Business, Corruption and the Politics of Imperialism in America, 1876-1907, by Luzviminda Bartolome Francisco and Jonathan Shepard Fast.  This piece of work should be required reading for anyone who still thinks it might be ok for corpirations to run our country (and the world) behind the scenes.  This needless conflict also fit in well with the designs of the Sugar Trust of Henry Havemeyer, gaining control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, much of Central and South America, even Hawai'i, indirectly.  While these corpirate 'American' incursions made many Americans 'uncomfortable,' their significance and apparent success was not lost on other powers, notably, Germany and Japan, both of whom felt elbowed away from the Imperial trough.  Could this have contributed to the hard feelings leading to WWI, WWII, and so on?  Quite obviously, it did.  How many American PEOPLE were put in harm's way for these commercial ventures?  How many American PEOPLE lost their lives, limbs, and loves, there?  Some 10,000,000 Filipino men, women, and children perished (so far).  Could all these losses be attributed to a kind of 'friendly fire?'  Could America's aim be so far off as to allow such things to happen?  I say, it could, and it did...and it is.
     Early 1900's:
     Similarly, Marxism and other socialist movements came in direct response to these corpirate predations around the world.  And, Kaiser Wilhelm was not about to let 'American interests' get by with all their plunder without getting in on the action, hence WWI...hence the interference in the Mideast by European and 'American interests' for their oil...
     ...hence German National Socialism (the German-flavored Military-Industrial Cult), the rise of militarism in Japan, and WWII...hence the cutting up of the planet like a pie between 'American interests' and 'Soviet interests,' the Cold War, and the Arms Race.  No discussion of 'friendly fire' should miss the advent of nuclear weapons.  Ostensibly created for our own defense, these heartwarming arms quickly reached a magnitude such that they threaten our entire biosphere.  That is, they are potentially so destructive, it no longer matters whose they are, or where they are aimed, the entire planet has been directly in the line of fire, ever since.  This has widely been recognized as 'unthinkable,' first, by the awakening to it among PEOPLE, and only then, with seeming reluctance among our 'leaders.'  Having then accomplished the 'unthinkable,' and further, having still accomodated it to this day, we must conclude we have done so, and continue to do so, unwittingly.  Congratulations.  Unwittingly is no way to avoid 'friendly fire.'
     The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 have been seen here largely as coming 'out of the blue,' perpetrated by vicious, religious fundamentalist wackos, for some twisted reasons unknowable to reasonable minds.  However, knowing how 'American interests' have behaved toward the PEOPLES of the oil-rich Mideast, at least since the end of WWI, would leave little room for such great surprise.  911 was nothing more, and not a bit less than the 'chickens of Empire' coming home to roost.  The manipulation of governments, rigging and abolishing free elections, installing despots cooperative with 'American interests,' would have predictable, unpleasant consequences.  In fact, the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the Mideast, as the only outlet for the voice of the PEOPLE in those countries, was predicted.  Such dire predictions were promptly ignored, most unfortunately for us all.  Further, 'American interests' then engineered a 'counter-attack' on these nebulous terrorist forces, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, clearly based on 'intelligence' which ranged all the way from poor to none.  That these ill-advised military adventures work to the immense benefit of the infamous 'American interests' is no coincidence whatever.  Making such undeclared wars here and there pretty much guarantees control of their oil by these 'American interests,' and in the process, racks up astonishing profits for these same corpirate bandits.  How much do you suppose it costs to fuel a fighter jet?  An aircraft carrier?  Who gets the money?  The corpirate catastrophes we still insist on calling 'American interests,' that's who.  Who pays for it?  You and I do, in cash and blood, and at the cost of our hard-won American revolution!  To say very little about 'collateral damages.'
     Still certainly regrettable and tragic, these great 'friendly fires' are in no way inadvertent, since they have been, and still are perpetrated deliberately, by design, for immediate profit and control of potential profits.  And I repeat, we are all in the line of fire on this little globe.
* * *
      More Deliberate 'Friendly Fire'
     James Fallows's book, National Defense, traces the development and deployment of two of the most important weapons in the vast U.S. arsenal, the F-16 fighter jet, and the M16 assualt rifle.  Each of these charming artifacts was originally designed and produced as an extremely efficient and dependable killing machine.  Each was then further 'developed' by 'American interests' to the point that ruined its dependability and efficiency, resulting in the killings of thousands of American troops (our PEOPLE).  Lobbyists for the defense contractors, bent on yet more record profits, altered each of these designs, to the peril, and to the destruction of GI's, and at huge additional, needless costs.
     F-16:  They insisted on larger engines for these planes, overpowering their airframes, with the result that they spent more time in the 'shop' than in the air;  They changed the onboard electronics so that the aircraft became a glaringly obvious target on enemy radars...  The question is:  "Why?!"  The answer is, "$$$$$!!"
     M16:  Originally Colt's Armalite AR15, this little honey had a .223 bore with ballistics that ripped flesh and bone to hamburger; it's ammo had a fast-burning powder, matched to its chamber/round design that made for a ferocious rate of fire on 'full auto;' it was small, light, made largely of plastic (immune to rust), which made it easy to carry and use, its ammo being small enough to carry lots of it; it was quite resistant to jamming caused by the dirt and debris of the battlefield; all-in-all, an impressive little implement for mayhem and slaughter.  Yet, it was greeted with derision by the lobbyists and the 'big wheels' at the Pentagon; they saw it as a silly toy...not a 'real man's' rifle.  Here, they changed it for a bigger, heavier, 'more macho' chamber/round design; they rejected the faster-burning powder in favor of that which had been supplied 'our' armed forces since 1900 (duPont?).  They dubbed this altered weapon, 'M16.'  These changes resulted in a rifle obviously harder to carry and use, with fewer extra bullets, and notoriously prone to jamming in combat.  Combat field commanders in Vietnam were near unanimous in reporting 80% of their battlefield casualties were because of jammed M16's.  (It got so that in combat situations, GI's would throw down their @#&*!! M16's and pick up a Russian or Chinese AK47 whenever possible!)  Again, the question is:  "Why?!"  And again, the answer is:  "$$$$$!!"
     [For those of you in the carnage business, you may be pleased to know the AR15 is still available...should you be more interested in surviving a firefight than not.  Or, if you prefer, there are so many tin-and-plastic AK47's around, you might buy one, in the Mideast for instance, for around $5!]
* * *
     The Bradley Fighting Vehicle:
     This immensely expensive piece of killing equipment was deadly to GI's from the very drawing-board.  The precursor to the infamous Stryker, this vehicle doomed many of 'our' troops from the beginning.  The driver could not even see adequately out half his view; small 'rifle' ports on the sides were ok to see out of, unless you poked your rifle out, then your view was severely restricted; the aluminum 'armor' actually enhanced the explosive force of armor-piercing rounds, spraying molten 'armor' all over the interior, again, killing and maiming 'our' troops (PEOPLE).  These 'design oversights' were quickly and painfully obvious to GI's stuck in them.
     Designed and marketed by FMC, Farm Machinery Corporation (sic(sic!)) out of California, these deadly machines were funded by Congress and approved by the Brains at the Pentagon with some enthusiasm.  Even after it became known that they were killing our own PEOPLE, the Congressional representatives involved sustained their approval, implying that FMC, in its infinite wisdom, would correct any pesky problems.  (General Omar Bradley would spin in his grave, screaming and puking, if he knew they named this thing for him.)  You can find the names of these 'public servants,' in Congress and the Pentagon, should you care to look into it; please do.  Yet again, the question is:  "Why?!"  And, one more time, the answer is:  "$$$$$!!"
     Is anyone besides me getting sick of this endless, astronomically expensive (in dollars and in lives) corpirate pattern?  If so, talk to me!
 * * *
     Until and unless we recognize and acknowledge these most unpleasant truths, 'friendly fire' will become more and more the most salient feature of our great Western 'civilization.'
     Good luck; we're going to need it!

*A consistent media euphemism for the corpirations, distinct from America's PEOPLE