US “Defense” Budget About Control of Resources & Dominance

The Souls of Poor Folk identifies the United States’ irrational attachment to war:

The massive U.S. defense budget has never actually been about “defense.” . . . Rather, their goals are to consolidate U.S. corporations’ control over oil, gas, other resources and pipelines; to supply the Pentagon with military bases and strategic territory to wage more wars; to maintain military dominance over any challenger(s); and to continue to provide justification for Washington’s multi-billion-dollar military industry. [4]

The Souls of Poor Folk: Auditing America 50 Years After the Poor People’s Campaign Challenged Racism, Poverty, the War Economy/Militarism and Our National Morality, https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/audit/, 11. See the report for detailed and well-researched data.

Why the Marine Corps Ditched the Best Offense in History

The inside outsider: Robert Neller scraps the Marines’ winning formula

The most brilliant tactical formation devised by any team in the last half-century isn’t football’s Packer sweep, basketball’s triangle offense or anything else relating to sports.

It’s the rifle squads of the United States Marine Corps.

.. the last infantry formation of substance—is a squad of 13 Marines composed of a leader and a dozen riflemen grouped into three “fire teams” of four.
..  likens Marine squads to world-class dance troupes. “Everybody’s movement depends on everybody else’s,” he says.
.. Marine Corps Commandant Robert Neller
.. Marines can’t wrap their heads around: why he wants to scrap them.
.. the most exotic leadership breeds of all—the inside outsider.
.. dubbed him the president of the “I don’t see why” club.
.. contrarian streak came with him.“I was always the guy in the audience throwing the metaphorical Molotov cocktail,”
.. Few resident gadflies ever get to the top; they ruffle too many feathers along the way.
.. Marines had spent nearly two decades in a state of constant deployment. They hadn’t had time to fully address the shifting map of global threats or even the mandate to include women in combat roles. Above all, they needed to get a handle on technology.

.. OK, Neller. You’ve been out here wanking for 38 years. We’re going to make you own this

.. Military leaders are often accused of preparing to fight the last war. Gen. Neller doesn’t have that problem.

.. In December, for instance, he made headlines in Norway by telling a group of Marines to be prepared for a “bigass fight.”

.. Marines don’t get many shots at war, so studying history is a vital form of practice.

.. In his view, the historical transition to digital warfare is just as significant as earlier shifts Marines have made from horses to vehicles or vehicles to tanks.

.. Gen. Neller concluded that each rifle squad needed two additional billets—an assistant squad leader and a squad systems operator focused on technology. Adding two people presented a problem

.. Not only did he add those new billets, he decided to reduce a squad’s size to 12 by eliminating one Marine from each of its three fire teams.

.. One knock on inside outsiders is that they often rush to implement pet ideas without thoroughly examining them or creating backup plans in case they fail.

.. he’s fully prepared to restore one rifleman to each fire team if it proves necessary.

 

 

U.S. Army School of the Americas

aka Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation

the School was assigned the specific Cold War goal of teaching “anti-communist” counterinsurgency training to military personnel of Latin American countries.[4] At the time and in those places, the label “communist” was, in the words of anthropologist Lesley Gill, “… an enormously elastic category that could accommodate almost any critic of the status quo.”[8]:10 During this period, Colombia supplied the largest number of students from any client country.[8]:17

.. On September 21, 1984, the school was expelled from Panama under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Prior to this expulsion, politicians and journalists in Panama had complained that civilian graduates from the school engaged in repressive and antidemocratic behavior.[13

.. Despite this required instruction, the School still utilized material from Spanish language training manuals that discussed methods of coercion against insurgents through execution and torture from 1982 until 1991.

.. As the Cold War drew to a close around 1990, United States foreign policy shifted focus from “anti-communism” to the War on Drugs, with narcoguerillas replacing “communists

.. This term was later replaced by “the more ominous sounding ‘terrorist

.. By 2000 the School of the Americas was under increasing criticism in the United States for training students who later participated in undemocratic governments and committed human rights abuses.

.. the institute was renamed to WHINSEC. U.S. Army Maj. Joseph Blair, a former director of instruction at the school, said in 2002 that “there are no substantive changes besides the name. […] They teach the identical courses that I taught and changed the course names and use the same manuals.”[1]

.. WHINSEC says that its curriculum includes human rights,[43] and that “no school should be held accountable for the actions of its graduates.”[43]

.. Since 1990, SOA Watch has sponsored an annual public demonstration of protest of SOA/WHINSEC at Ft. Benning. In 2005, the demonstration drew 19,000 people. The protests are timed to coincide with the anniversary of the assassination of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador on November 1989 by graduates of the School of the Americas

.. six Jesuit priests

A New Keeper of Putin’s Secrets

Even before Russian President Vladimir Putin won reelection to another six-year term, there was growing speculation about how he intends to preserve his power and legacy after 2024. But with the nomination of Alexei Kudrin to the government’s central budgeting body, Putin’s long-term plan seems to be taking shape.

.. Putin’s nomination of former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin to chair the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation. The selection of Kudrin for this role calls to mind former President Boris Yeltsin’s own search for a successor who would preserve his legacy and protect his family and fortune.

.. Yeltsin had amassed around $15 million while in office, and he ultimately put his trust in Putin – a former KGB man – to protect his children and his money, and to keep him out of prison.

.. Dmitry Medvedev, keep his seat warm until he could return to the presidency in 2012. A far more competent placeholder would have been Sergei Ivanov, a former KGB general. But Ivanov is much taller than Putin, who, at any rate, had only achieved the rank of colonel. An obvious potential threat to Putin’s power, Ivanov was passed over,

.. Despite his years in office, Medvedev is still known more for his fancy ties and expensive watches than for his executive actions.

.. In 2011, Kudrin resigned as finance minister after publicly suggesting that Medvedev was an incompetent fool.

.. Kudrin’s nomination as Russia’s chief accountant matters because it will give him – and thereby Putin – more knowledge of corruption. And with that, Putin will be able to manipulate anyone who may have future designs on the presidency, perhaps with the goal of reinstalling Medvedev as a placeholder after 2024.

..   – former Soviet military and intelligence officers – who make up the bulk of his cabinet and account for the Kremlin’s unchecked power over Russian political life.

.. By championing Russia’s military-industrial complex, Putin can keep the siloviki occupied and on his side. To that end, he has reinstated the World War II victory parades that were discontinued under Yeltsin. The events now grow more breathtaking and grandiose with each passing year.

But recent reports suggest that Russia’s military readiness is more fiction than fact. The “invincible” missiles that Putin has touted have apparently crashed during tests, and are thus little more than militaristic props. One conclusion to draw from these failures is that someone in the Ministry of Defense is stealing. There is no other plausible excuse for failing to deliver the weapons Putin ordered.

..  a new study finds that Russia’s defense and intelligence ministries are among the state’s most corrupt institutions.

.. Kudrin has clearly been installed to ensure that the “trusted” security apparatus can actually be trusted.

.. current defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, is probably now in the Kremlin’s crosshairs.

.. Shoigu looks like a man in charge. But that poses a problem for Putin’s own claim to be the protector of the Russian nation. There can be only one brave leader who saves people from Siberian tigers and hang-glides with endangered Siberian white cranes.

.. Though Shoigu’s Siberian-Mongolian ancestry effectively disqualifies him from being elected by the country’s vast majority of ethnic Russians, Putin is not one to take chances.

.. If a rival from the security establishment were to assume the presidency, he could choose to build his own legacy, rather than honor Putin’s. It is up to Medvedev and Kudrin, the rare civilians in Putin’s inner circle, to make sure that doesn’t happen.