"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Mar 30, 2011

Burying the Body

"NATO's supreme allied commander, Admiral James Stavridis of the U.S. Navy, will take charge of the alliance mission in Libya, and decisions on what targets to hit will be determined by the council's military leaders, the U.S. official said yesterday. Allied air strikes yesterday targeted the capital, Tripoli as well as Sirte, the Associated Press reported, following earlier attacks on government tanks, artillery and soldiers that enabled the rebels to continue their westward advance and enter Brega and Ras Lanuf."

(emphasis mine)

This after ground attacks on Sirte (about four hours worth) accompanied by NATO air assaults upon the same city.

Any hope that NATO or the UN would or could somehow manage to undertake this latest desert adventure without serving US interests, under US command, ought to be utterly dispelled by a knowledge of the actual command structure in place.

And while NATO is not exclusively staffed by officers and soldiers of the US, it has no existence without it. NATO is an instrument for the extension of American foreign policy. American foreign policy is conducted with the interests of the American ruling class in mind.

Barack Obama, that fucking Arthurian sneak, serves those interests. As did each and every one of his predecessors. You do not hand a man a standing army, a budget and a list of enemies and expect him to make peace. You give him these things to make war.

Although Clausewitz is dated in so much as the Westphalian order is degrading before our eyes, he could never have been more right on the purpose of military force. Metals and material are extracted from the earth, refined by human labor, built into increasingly complex killing machines and instruments of violence - so that those who own them and those who own the ones who wield them can get what they want on the comparative cheap. It is, on their terms, far lest costly to spend treasure on warfare, to kill, harass, maim and imprison those who oppose them, than it is to share.

Ponder that, humanitarian interventionists. Think fucking hard.

War is, from the vantage of those who benefit, cost effective. Like organized ownership, organized violence has a purpose. It has a stable function, repeatable over place and time. Its function is to monopolize force, to make persons into managed instruments of harm; to use human labor to produce weapons and systems of suffering which reduce or prevent threats to power.

To use human labor to produce violence in order to prevent human labor from emancipating itself from violence and control.

Warfare also captures societies in a permanent gambit - defend the warmakers who control you, or fall prey to their opponents. Protection rackets to make the mafias and tongs look like kindergarten imitators. Which, in truth, they are.

What appears to be inconsistent, haphazard and patchwork application of humanitarian or democratic first principles (in the jargon of modern media and academic parlance) is in fact the consistent application of a single principle: the investment in organized violence serves the interests of those who rule far better than any comprehensive or above board investment in cooperation.

And while there is no grand conspiracy of perfect and perfectly evil competence, as Monsier IOZ has very recently explained, there is no humanitarian impulse in the exercise in power. The powerful may pity, but they cannot afford to care.

They would rather make and bury corpses than give up their loot. Start here. Start with this.

This is why the NATO mission is run by a US naval officer.

And why it will never be run by the local vegan coop.


UPDATE (via BDR): So you think they aren't invested in a particular outcome, eh?


BDR said...

I don't often and explicitly enough make the point you and IOZ are making re: Corporate's brute incompetence v grand strategies when I'm talking about Corporate, though I'm never sure when that incompetence stops being a irritating bug and becomes a valuable feature.

Bmpthnx both here and up top.

Jack Crow said...

A pleasure, BDR.

I think it's a feature, personally. Any sufficiently organized polity will have factions with their own centers of gravity, control, extraction and support. What we see on the mediated stage is often the contest for temporary management of the superstructure over which they fight.

But which we built.

We have temporary communities. They have temporary leadership. The structure is relatively stable.

PR said...

Full disclosure: I support the removal of Qaddafi, But that vegan co-op bit is fucking hilarious.

davidly said...

Yeah, I found it so funny that I actually (and I don't do this) L'dOL.

Jack Crow said...

Glad to entertain.

Anonymous said...

I think you and IOZ are mistaken here, Jack.

There is no greater competence on display in America than that of the Robber Barons to use government's power to enrich themselves, and create a bigger power gulf between themselves and the Ruled.

There is also no plan to be "competent" at doing things humanely. This is what you and IOZ almost get right. You think their power-wielding is all they want and that's why they're "incompetent" at achieving humane ends.

They're NOT TRYING to achieve humane ends. Not even trying to put lipstick on the pig in the poke.

They're just mouthing the words. Which, as you know well, is far from trying to do anything but mislead.

What "incompetence" is on display? Can you name it?

Jack Crow said...


I don't think they're incompetent. I just don't accept the idea that there's an interlocking directorate which plans and nefarious Hollywood schemes.

Gates and Buffet are competent. Ruthless. Efficient. Powerful.

They aren't plotting the fate of the imperial project. It arises from their choices. It isn't all so overtly planned.

But, there are a lot of bumbling idiots whom the system protects, because it's resilient.

Anonymous said...

It's easy to prove it's not planned if you look at ABC, and it's easy to prove it's planned if you look at XYZ.

Whether it's planned or not depends on timeframe observed, goals in mind, methods in hand.

One doesn't need a script before every player in order to achieve concerted effort. Just because a symphony requires sheet music doesn't mean a symphonic imperial project requires the same.

Football teams of subcretinous steroidal monsters manage fine in a "conspiracy" of offensive power, of defensive power. No scripts required. Just a common goal.

I don't quite understand the point of saying anything about imperial projects and their scriptedness. Who cares if there's a script? What would that matter?

Jack Crow said...


I don't think it does matter. When it comes to commentary.

If we're talking about active efforts against local or regional actors, it can matter.

Jack Crow said...

And are we losing Oxtrot forever?