Subject: ON WAR AND REVOLUTION: FROM THE CENTER FOR THE ADVANCED STUDY OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, GRENOBLE, FRANCE.
20 December 2005
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Studies of the Puritan Revolution, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution reveal the historic conjunctures that lead to the massive privatization of property and eventually unleashed the free market economy onto the world. The liberation of new capitalist interests gathered to effectively challenge the archaic structures of mercantilism which had become increasingly palpable obstacles inhibiting satisfaction of the economic needs of the nations which made these revolutions. [See Eric Hobsbawn's The Age of Revolution.] The trial and public execution of King Charles I in London, on January 30, 1649, for high crimes against the nation; the unequivocal declaration of independence from Great Britain in the name of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", in New York, on July 4, 1776; the beheading in Paris of King Louis XVI , on January 21, 1793, for treason against the French nation; the killing of the entire family of Tsar Nicholas II on July 16, 1917 --all of these acts of individual violence, in contrast to the greater forces of economic violence which had devastated the lives of millions of citizens before they were brought under the more democratic control of new state powers, have receive much attention.
The study of history teaches us that not all
chaotic, and that those forces which prevail are not always the traditional forces of
order. The 17th-century Puritan Revolution in
All of the above revolutions occurred in the context of national wars --the English war with Scotland in the 1640s; the effects of the British the Seven-Years War with France; French aid to the American Revolution in 1778-87; and the Russian Empire's defeat by the Japanese in 1905, followed by its automatic entry into World War I in 1914 -- these historic national conflicts invariably gave impetus to national uprisings which lead, either directly or indirectly, to the global expansion of the free market economy.
We, today, are situated on the cusp of "globalization," and from this vantage point we can peer into the future.... What do our prophets foresee? And what can we believe?
Below, are five items recently received by CEIMSA-IN-EXILE (at the Unviersity of California).
Item A. is an article by Dr. Gabriel Kolko, sent
to us by our research associate Professor
Richard Du Boff,
Item B. is an investigation from Michael Albert into the death of West Point Professor Col. Ted Westhusing, which raises more questions than it can answer. . . .
Item C. is an essay on "The Revolt of the
Generals," by investigative reporter Alexander Cockburn who seems to
believe that the American warriors from the Vietnam War era carry a
moral authority in matters concerning the
Item D. is an Internet emission from Radio Amsterdam, the December 18th interview with Noam Chomsky on "Terror and the War in Iraq".
Item E. is a communication from Christophe DUPONT
forwarded to us by Antoinette Loïodice who
invites us to join the guardians of history in
their efforts to defend academic knowledge from the political
French legislators in
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
from Professor Richard Du Boff :
December 17, 2005
by GABRIEL KOLKO
The dilemma the
The American priorities were specific, focused on
nations, but they also set the
The Pentagon developed strategic airpower and
weapons with the
But the Soviet enemy no longer exists. The
Strategically, also, the
The basic problem the world today confronts is
ambition, an ambition based on the illusion that its great military
allows it to define political and social trends everywhere it chooses
to do so.
On the other hand, just as the Warsaw Pact has
NATO is well along in the process of breaking up and going the way of
CENTO, etc. The 1999 war against Serbia made its demise much more
the US-led alliance disagreed profoundly over the Iraq War and now is
dissolve in fact, if not formally. The Bush Administration produced a
with its alliance and has created profound instability in
Eight nations have nuclear weapons already, but
the UN says
another 30 or so have the skill and resources to become nuclear powers.
world is escaping the
We live in a tragic world and war is considered more virtuous than peace--and since arms-makers profit from wars and not peace, conventional wisdom is reinforced by their lobbies and by preaching the cult of weaponry.
The world is escaping American control, and Soviet
no longer inhibits many movements and nations. World opposition is
decentralized to a much greater extent and the
This is cause for a certain optimism, based on a realistic assessment of the balance-of-power in
I think we must avoid the pessimism-optimism trap but be realistic.
the Americans are very destructive, they are also losing wars and
economically and politically. But for a century the world has fought
But it is crucial to remember that the
The task is not only to prevent the
Gabriel Kolko is the leading historian of modern warfare. He is the author of the
of War: Politics, Conflicts and Society Since 1914 and Another
of War?. He has also written the best history of the Vietnam War, Anatomy of
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
from Michael Albert :
December 13, 2005
A Journey That Ended in Anguish
by T. Christian Miller
"War is the hardest place to make moral judgments."
-- Col. Ted Westhusing, Journal of Military Ethics
[Col. Ted Westhusing, a military ethicist who volunteered to go to Iraq, was upset by what he saw. His apparent suicide raises questions.]
The Army would conclude that he committed suicide
service pistol. At the time, he was the highest-ranking officer to die
The Army closed its case. But the questions surrounding Westhusing's death continue.
Westhusing, 44, was no
officer. He was one of the Army's leading scholars of military ethics,
professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in
So it was only natural that Westhusing acted when he learned of possible corruption by
In e-mails to his family, Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military.
His death stunned all who knew him. Colleagues and commanders wondered whether they had missed signs of depression. He had been losing weight and not sleeping well. But only a day before his death, Westhusing won praise from a senior officer for his progress in training Iraqi police.
His friends and family struggle with the idea that Westhusing could have killed himself. He was a loving father and husband and a devout Catholic. He was an extraordinary intellect and had mastered ancient Greek and Italian. He had less than a month before his return home. It seemed impossible that anything could crush the spirit of a man with such a powerful sense of right and wrong.
On the Internet and in conversations with one another, Westhusing's family and friends have questioned the military investigation.
A note found in his trailer seemed to offer clues. Written in what the Army determined was his handwriting, the colonel appeared to be struggling with a final question.
How is honor possible in a war like the one in
Joe Holladay, who coached Westhusing before going on to become assistant coach of the University of North
Carolina Tarheels, recalled Westhusing showing up at the gym at
"There was never a question of how hard he played
how much effort he put into something,"
When Westhusing entered
Cadets are taught to value duty, honor and
country, and are
it. He was
selected as honor captain for the entire academy his senior year. Col.
Tim Trainor, a classmate and currently a
third in his
class in 1983 and became an infantry platoon leader. He received special forces training, served in
He loved commanding soldiers. But he remained drawn to intellectual pursuits.
In 2000, Westhusing enrolled in
He immediately stood out on the leafy
Plunged into academia, Westhusing held fast to his military ties. Students and professors recalled him jogging up steep hills in combat boots and camouflage, his rucksack full, to stay in shape. He wrote a paper challenging an essay that questioned the morality of patriotism.
"He was as straight an arrow as you would possibly
find," said Aaron Fichtelberg, a fellow
and now a professor at the
In his 352-page dissertation, Westhusing discussed the ethics of war, focusing on examples of military honor
Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to the Israeli army. It is a dense,
and sometimes personal effort to define what, exactly, constitutes
conduct in the context of the modern
"Born to be a warrior, I desire these answers not just for philosophical reasons, but for self-knowledge," he wrote in the opening pages.
As planned, Westhusing returned to
teach philosophy and English at
But amid the wars in
"He wanted to serve, he wanted to use his skills, maybe he wanted some glory," recalled Nick Fotion, his advisor at Emory. "He wanted to go."
In January, Westhusing began work
on what the Pentagon considered the most important mission in
Westhusing's task was to oversee a private security company, Virginia-based USIS, which had contracts worth $79 million to train a corps of Iraqi police to conduct special operations.
In March, Gen. David Petraeus, commanding officer of the Iraqi training mission, praised Westhusing's performance, saying he had exceeded "lofty expectations."
"Thanks much, sir, but we can do much better and will," Westhusing wrote back, according to a copy of the Army investigation of his death that was obtained by The Times.
In April, his mood seemed to have darkened. He worried over delays in training one of the police battalions.
Then, in May, Westhusing received an anonymous four-page letter that contained detailed allegations of wrongdoing by USIS.
The writer accused USIS of deliberately shorting the government on the number of trainers to increase its profit margin. More seriously, the writer detailed two incidents in which USIS contractors allegedly had witnessed or participated in the killing of Iraqis.
A USIS contractor accompanied Iraqi police trainees during the assault on Fallouja last November and later boasted about the number of insurgents he had killed, the letter says. Private security contractors are not allowed to conduct offensive operations.
In a second incident, the letter says, a USIS employee saw Iraqi police trainees kill two innocent Iraqi civilians, then covered it up. A USIS manager "did not want it reported because he thought it would put his contract at risk."
Westhusing reported the allegations to his superiors but told one of them, Gen. Joseph Fil, that he believed USIS was complying with the terms of its contract.
"As is typical, there may be a wisp of truth in each of the allegations," the official said.
The letter shook Westhusing, who felt personally implicated by accusations that he was too friendly with USIS management, according to an e-mail in the report.
"This is a mess ... dunno what I will do with this," he wrote home to his family May 18.
The colonel began to complain to colleagues about "his dislike of the contractors," who, he said, "were paid too much money by the government," according to one captain.
"The meetings [with contractors] were never easy and always contentious. The contracts were in dispute and always under discussion," an Army Corps of Engineers official told investigators.
By June, some of Westhusing's colleagues had begun to worry about his health. They later told investigators that he had lost weight and begun fidgeting, sometimes staring off into space. He seemed withdrawn, they said.
His family was also becoming worried. He described feeling alone and abandoned. He sent home brief, cryptic e-mails, including one that said, "[I] didn't think I'd make it last night." He talked of resigning his command.
Westhusing brushed aside entreaties for details, writing that he would say more when he returned home. The family responded with an outpouring of e-mails expressing love and support.
His wife recalled a phone conversation that chilled her two weeks before his death.
"I heard something in his voice," she told investigators, according to a transcript of the interview. "In Ted's voice, there was fear. He did not like the nighttime and being alone."
Westhusing's father, Keith, said the family did not want to comment for this article.
On June 4, Westhusing left his
office in the U.S.-controlled Green Zone of
That night in his office, a USIS secretary would later tell investigators, she watched Westhusing take out his 9-millimeter pistol and "play" with it, repeatedly unholstering the weapon.
At a meeting the next morning to discuss construction delays, he seemed agitated. He stewed over demands for tighter vetting of police candidates, worried that it would slow the mission. He seemed upset over funding shortfalls.
Uncharacteristically, he lashed out at the contractors in attendance, according to the Army Corps official. In three months, the official had never seen Westhusing upset.
"He was sick of money-grubbing contractors," the
official recounted. Westhusing said that
not come over to
The meeting broke up shortly before lunch. About 1 p.m., a USIS manager went looking for Westhusing because he was scheduled for a ride back to the Green Zone. After getting no answer, the manager returned about 15 minutes later. Another USIS employee peeked through a window. He saw Westhusing lying on the floor in a pool of blood.
The manager rushed into the trailer and tried to revive Westhusing. The manager told investigators that he picked up the pistol at Westhusing's feet and tossed it onto the bed.
"I knew people would show up," that manager said later in attempting to explain why he had handled the weapon. "With 30 years from military and law enforcement training, I did not want the weapon to get bumped and go off."
After a three-month inquiry, investigators declared Westhusing's death a suicide. A test showed gunpowder residue on his hands. A shell casing in the room bore markings indicating it had been fired from his service revolver.
Then there was the note.
Investigators found it lying on Westhusing's bed. The handwriting matched his.
The first part of the four-page letter lashes out
at Petraeus and Fil.
Both men later
told investigators that they had not criticized Westhusing or heard negative comments from him. An Army review undertaken after Westhusing's death was complimentary of the
under the two men, a
Most of the letter is a wrenching account of a struggle for honor in a strange land.
"I cannot support a msn [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied," it says. "I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored.
"Death before being dishonored any more."
A psychologist reviewed Westhusing's e-mails and interviewed colleagues. She concluded that the anonymous letter had been the "most difficult and probably most painful stressor."
She said that Westhusing had placed too much pressure on himself to succeed and that he was unusually rigid in his thinking. Westhusing struggled with the idea that monetary values could outweigh moral ones in war. This, she said, was a flaw.
"Despite his intelligence, his ability to grasp the idea that profit is an important goal for people working in the private sector was surprisingly limited," wrote Lt. Col. Lisa Breitenbach. "He could not shift his mind-set from the military notion of completing a mission irrespective of cost, nor could he change his belief that doing the right thing because it was the right thing to do should be the sole motivator for businesses."
One military officer said he felt Westhusing had trouble reconciling his ideals with
Fil and Petraeus, Westhusing's commanding officers, declined to comment on the investigation, but they praised him. He was "an extremely bright, highly competent, completely professional and exceedingly hard-working officer. His death was truly tragic and was a tremendous blow," Petraeus said.
are troubled that he died at
Mostly, they wonder how Col. Ted Westhusing -- father, husband, son and expert on doing right -- could have found himself in a place so dark that he saw no light.
"He's the last person who would commit suicide," said Fichtelberg, his graduate school colleague. "He couldn't have done it. He's just too damn stubborn."
Westhusing's body was
to Dover Air Force Base in
In the military report, the unidentified colonel told investigators that he had turned to Michelle, Westhusing's wife, and asked what happened.
from Alexander Chckburn :
7 December 2005
The Revolt of the Generals
by Alexander Cockburn
The immense significance of Rep John Murtha's November 17 speech calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq is that it signals mutiny in the US senior officer corps, seeing the institution they lead as "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth", to use the biting words of their spokesman, John Murtha, as he reiterated on December his denunciation of Bush's destruction of the Army.
A CounterPuncher with
years experience working in and around the Pentagon told me this week
"The Four Star Generals picked Murtha to make this speech because he
maximum credibility." It's true. Even in the US Senate there's no one
quite Murtha's standing to deliver the message, except maybe for Byrd,
venerable senator from
So the Four-Star Generals briefed Murtha and gave him the state-of-the-art data which made his speech so deadly, stinging the White House into panic-stricken and foolish denunciations of Murtha as a clone of Michael Moore.
It cannot have taken vice president Cheney, a former US Defense Secretary, more than a moment to scan Murtha's speech and realize the import of Murtha's speech as an announcement that the generals have had enough.
Listen once more to what the generals want the country to know:
"The future of our military is at risk. Our military and our families are stretched thin. Many say the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on a third deployment. Recruitment is down even as the military has lowered its standards. They expect to take 20 percent category 4, which is the lowest category, which they said they'd never take. They have been forced to do that to try to meet a reduced quota.
"Defense budgets are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care. Choices will have to be made. We cannot allow promises we have made to our military families in terms of service benefits, in terms of their health care to be negotiated away. Procurement programs that ensure our military dominance cannot be negotiated away. We must be prepared.
"The war in
"Much of our ground equipment is worn out.
"Most importantly -- this is the most important
-- incidents have increased from
What happened on the heels of this speech is very instructive. The Democrats fell over themselves distancing themselves from Murtha, emboldening the White House to go one the attack.
From Bush's presidential plane, touring
It took the traveling White House about 48 hours
that this was a dumb thing to have said. Murtha's not the kind of guy
slime, the way Bush and Co did the glass-jawed Kerry in 2004. The much
decorated vet Murtha snapped back publicly that he hadn't much time for
from people like Cheney who'd got five deferments from military service
By the weekend Bush was speaking of Murtha
Monday, gritting his teeth, Cheney told a
One day later Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Fox News, "I do not think that American forces need to be there in the numbers that they are now because -- for very much longer -- because Iraqis are stepping up." A week later Bush was preparing a speech laying heavy emphasis on US withdrawals as the Iraqi armed forces take up the burden.
Are there US-trained Iraqi detachments ready in
Not if you believe reports from
Ten days after Murtha's speech commentators on the tv Sunday talk
clambering aboard the Bring 'em home
Voices calling for
The stench of panic in
Take a mid-November poll by SurveyUSA:
in only seven states did Bush's current approval rating exceed 50 per
These consisted of the thinly populated states of
You have to go back to the early 1970s, when a scandal-stained Nixon was on the verge of resignation, to find numbers lower than Bush's. Like Bush, Nixon had swept to triumphant reelection in 1972. Less than two years later he turned the White House over to vice president Ford and flew off into exile.
No one expects Bush to resign, or even to be impeached (though vice president Cheney's future is less assured) and his second term has more than three years to run.
But right now, to use a famous phrase from the
Nixon era, a
cancer is gnawing at his presidency and that cancer is the war in
Hence the panic. Even though the seats in the House of Representatives are now so gerrymandered that less than 50 out of 435 districts are reckoned as ever being likely to change hands, Republicans worry that few seats, however gerrymandered, can withstand a Force 5 political hurricane.
What they get from current polls is a simple
message. If the
Amid this potential debacle, the Republicans' only source of comfort is the truly incredible conduct of the Democrats. First came the Democrats' terrified reaction to Murtha, symbolized by Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi's cancellation of a press conference supporting Murtha. This prompted the Republicans to realize that the Democrats were ready to have their bluff called by the Republican-sponsored resolution calling for immediate withdrawal, for which only three Democrats voted, while so-called progressives like Kucinich and Sanders and Conyers ran for cover.
Listen to any prominent Democrat senator, like Kerry or Clinton or Feingold or Obama and you get the same adamant refusal to go beyond the savage characterization by Glenn Ford and Peter Gamble of the Black Commentator, of Obama's address to the Council on Foreign Relations:
"U.S. Senator Barack Obama has planted his feet deeply inside the
"In essence, all Obama wants from the Bush regime is that it fess up to having launched the war based on false information, and to henceforth come clean with the Senate on how it plans to proceed in the future. Those Democrats who want to dwell on the past - the actual genesis and rationale for the war, and the real reasons for its continuation - should be quiet.
" 'Withdrawal' and 'timetables' are bad words, and Obama will have nothing to do with them.
"Of course, the 'insurgents' are not a 'faction,' and must therefore be defeated. On this point, Obama and the Bush men agree: 'In sum, we have to focus, methodically and without partisanship, on those steps that will: one, stabilize Iraq, avoid all out civil war, and give the factions within Iraq the space they need to forge a political settlement; two, contain and ultimately extinguish the insurgency in Iraq; and three, bring our troops safely home.'
"Nobody in the White House would argue with any of these points. Point number two in Obama's 'pragmatic' baseline is, the containment and elimination of the 'insurgency.' Of course, one can only do that by continuing the war. Indeed, it appears that Obama and many of his colleagues are more intent on consulting the Bush men on the best ways to 'win' the war than in effecting an American withdrawal at any foreseeable time.
"They want 'victory' just as much as the White House; they just don't want the word shouted at every press conference."
The Black Commentator concludes its excoriation of Obama and his fellow Democrats with these words:
"By late summer of 2006, when voters are deciding
they want their Senate and House to look like, if the Democrats have
up to public opinion to offer a tangible and quick exit from
"All that will be left in November is mush from Kerry, Hillary, Biden, Edwards - and Obama's - mouths."
Here at CounterPunch we heartily endorse this sentiment.
from Noam Chomsky :
18 December 2005
An interview by Andy Clark
Author and activist Noam Chomsky
joined Amsterdam Forum this week and took questions from listeners from
the world on
from : Christophe Dupont :
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2005
Subject: abrogation de la loi sur le rôle positif de la colonisation.
Bonjour à tou-te-s,
Vous êtes invité-e à découvrir le site abrogation.net en vous rendant à l'adresse suivante, et à signer la pétition en ligne.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université de Grenoble-3