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Fear, Procurement, Profit: Permanent War and the American Way

When it comes to determining the true thrust and implication of world events, the old adage is still valid: “Follow the money.”

The lust for long green is not the sole determinant of state policies, of course. For example, there are also the psychosexual anxieties of blustering elites, the soul-corroding pathology of political ambition, the ignorance and arrogance of the powerful and the privileged, the herd instinct that can drive whole populations into self-deluding frenzies of nationalistic fervor — all

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Pole Position: More U.S. Troops Sent to Russian Border

(UPDATED BELOW) First Georgia, now Poland. The Bush Administration announced Thursday that American soldiers will begin manning missile sites in Poland — part of an agreement that surpasses even the NATO treaty in binding Washington to an armed response to any attack on Polish soil.Spokesminions for President George Butt-Thumper said the installation of the missile base is designed to protect Poland from an intercontinental missile attack from Iran. (The perfidious Persians’ long-standing plans to conquer Poland are well-known, of course.) The minions say that the missiles and troops are not at all intended as a threat to Russia, which is

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The Lawless Roads: Bluster in Georgia, Rank Tyranny at Home

Time pressures preclude proper blogging today, but as our astute commenter Scott Douglas notes, Seamus Milne has an excellent commentary on Georgia and Russia in today’s Guardian, so I’m just going to expropriate great swathes of it here:

The outcome of six grim days of bloodshed in the Caucasus has triggered an outpouring of the most nauseating hypocrisy from western politicians and their captive media. As talking heads thundered against Russian imperialism and brutal disproportionality, US vice-president Dick Cheney, faithfully echoed by Gordon Brown and David
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Marching Through Georgia V: U.S. Forces Moving Into Putin’s Powderkeg

Militarist Machinations
Here’s a great idea: Why not send U.S. military forces to Georgia, one of the most volatile places on earth at the moment? That way, American troops, ships and planes can go eyeball-to-eyeball with Russian forces on a war footing?

Sound like a good plan? It does to ole Butt-Thumper Bush, who made another one of his squinty appearances outside the White House on Wednesday to announce that American military forces are going to Georgia to carry out a “humanitarian mission.”

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Marching Through Georgia IV: The Butt Thumper and the Bear

Quite a spectacle in the White House Rose Garden today: George “Butt-Thumper” Bush denouncing Russia for an act of aggression. Bush, with the blood of a million innocent Iraqis dripping from his hands and dribbling from the corners of his smirking mouth, said that Russia’s military operations were “damaging its reputation” and were “unacceptable in the 21st century.”

The black, bleak hypocrisy of the scene constitutes a kind of all-consuming event horizon, from which no glint of sense or reason can escape. It would almost be funny

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Marching Through Georgia III: Reality’s Rout and Cheney’s Viagra

As noted here the other day, I don’t think the current crisis in Georgia will spiral into any kind of military confrontation between Russia and the United States. The U.S. government has a long history of egging on other people to slap at Washington’s enemies — then abandoning them when the inevitable slapback occurs. George Bush I’s incitement of a Shiite uprising in Iraq in 1991 and his subsquent collusion with Saddam in crushing the rebellion is a prime example. As I said

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Marching Through Georgia II: The Kremlin Surge

As events move swiftly, and ominously, in the conflict between Georgia and Russia, an understanding of the background of the conflict is essential. Several pieces have appeared just today providing some good context and analysis.

First, Ellen Barry (with whom I once worked at the Moscow Times) gives an overview of South Ossetia’s history and the tensions that have stalked the region since the break-up of the Soviet Union in this analysis piece from the New York Times. (The NYT’s

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Marching Through Georgia: Cold War II Proxy Conflict Turns Hot

With the world distracted by the glitz and glam of the Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing — where George W. Bush (after some entirely rote criticism) nestled down with his long-time family business partners and fellow crony-capitalist authoritarians in the Chinese leadership — the new Cold War fuelled by the old Cold Warriors in Washington took a sharp and bitter turn in Georgia.

Yesterday, Georgia’s American-educated, pro-NATO president, Mikhail Saakashvili sent a heavy force into the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which has

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Living Death: The Eternal Now of Hiroshima

I once shared an office for a time with a Japanese scientist from Hiroshima. It was a strange setting for such an association: we were working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where the atomic bomb that obliterated my colleague’s city — 63 years ago today — was fashioned.

He never mentioned the bombing; he was too young to have experienced it himself, although some of his family certainly would have. I sometimes felt a bit awkward in his presence, as

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The Serpent’s Egg: Solzhenitsyn and the Origins of America’s Gulag

The first time I ever saw my name in print, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who died last Sunday, was the subject. It was a letter to the editor of the campus newspaper during my second year at the University of Tennessee. In a strange way, the letter — published 30 years ago — prefigured much of my later writing: it attacked the machinations of a right-wing organization seeking to cloak its low agenda of greed and elitism with deceitful manipulations of reality — a theme that has unfortunately

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