All posts by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Will the ‘Taiwan Question’ Give Rise to a World War III Scenario?

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The United States and China are set to go head-to-head over disputes in relation to Taiwan and the South China Sea, with deadly consequences on the immediate horizon.

You wouldn’t know it with all the media hype over the US mid-term elections, but the US and China are on a deadly collision path in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait. In the last two months, the US military has flown B-52 bombers and carried out its so-called “freedom of navigation” operations in the South China Sea. There have also been instances of US warships sailing through the Taiwan Strait in support of Taiwan, an island which China considers to be a rogue part of Chinese territory.

On a side note, it is amazing to say the least that the US believes it should have the “freedom to navigate” in the South China Sea, yet seems to get up in arms when Iranian ships expect the same kind of freedom in the Persian Gulf.

Near-collisions in the South China Sea

Last September, US and Chinese warships almost collided when sailing near an islet claimed by Beijing in the Spratly Islands. Reportedly, the Chinese warship threatened the US Destroyer that it would “suffer consequences” if it did not move, as it sailed within 45 yards of the American vessel.

In a last-ditch effort to avert this collision course, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis will host their Chinese counterparts Yang Jiechi and China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe this Friday for talks on reducing tensions. However, I think we can say with some confidence that these talks will be absolutely meaningless. Firstly, China already canceled the first round of talks set for September due to their frustration over US-enforced sanctions. Secondly, Chief of US Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson just recently, and quite openly stated that the US and China “will meet each other more and more on the high seas”; with Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis saying in Mid-October that the US and its allies would “continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows and our national interests demand.”

And of course we know how much the US loves to travel even well beyond the realms of international law, so we can expect to take Mattis at his word quite literally.

Barely a few days ago, Pompeo for his part also warned China that it should “behave like a normal nation on commerce and with respect to the rules of international law” – whatever that means.

The Taiwan question

Since the near-collision in September, a US Navy research ship has also visited Taiwan and two US warships have sailed through the Taiwan Strait. According to Stratfor, the US is possibly attempting to standardize patrols in the area, even potentially paving the way for an aircraft carrier group to transit through.

At the end of October, China strengthened its resolve to protect its interests in Taiwan, vowing to never give up an inch of its territory. Incidentally, it was Wei Fenghe who stated that “if someone tries to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese armed forces will take action at any price.” He also vowed the same regarding China’s interests in the South China Sea, where it has heavily fortified at least seven islands or reefs, loading them with military bases, airfields, and advanced weapons systems.

Wei’s remarks echoed the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s comments in a speech to the 19th Party Congress last year, when he said that “we have firm will, full confidence, and sufficient capability to defeat any form of Taiwan independence secession plot” adding that China “will never allow any person, any organization or any political party to split any part of the Chinese territory from China at any time or in any form.”

Supposedly, China intends to be ready to carry out a full-scale resumption of hostilities against Taiwan by 2020. Naturally, such hostilities will likely draw in some other notable players on the world stage. At the end of October, retired Lieutenant-General Ben Hodges warned that it was likely the US and China will be at war within 15 years.

Speaking about the near collisions referred to above, Hodges made the remarks, stating that: “you're going to see us … permanently assign forces for the eventuality that in 10 or 15 years we're going to be having to fight in the Pacific."

In similar fashion, the Chinese president recently told the military region responsible for monitoring the South China Sea and Taiwan to “prepare for war.”

Just this week, Taiwanese Defense Minister Yen Teh-fa told legislators that his government was considering allowing the US Navy access to Taiping Island if Washington requested such access for humanitarian or regional security operations, but only if Washington’s interests were aligned with Taiwan’s. Taiping Island bears incredible strategic importance thanks to its location and resources. Allowing the US access to Taiping would give the US the mobility in the South China Sea that it has been hoping for, as well as giving Washington greater leverage over countries like Vietnam and the Philippines who incidentally, also find themselves in a territorial dispute with Beijing.

A World War III scenario

According to Foreign Policy’s T. Greer, a recent study by political scientist Michael Beckley and another one by Ian Easton, a fellow at the Project 2049 Institute showed that any war with China and Taiwan, even without US involvement, would be nothing short of a long, drawn-out catastrophe. A Chinese invasion would require the largest amphibious operation in human history with tens of thousands of vessels, incessant rocket and missile attacks, and at least one million Chinese troops. If a Chinese victory does not occur swiftly, it will have some 2.5 million Taiwan reservists to contend with, not to mention the likely pending Japanese and/or American counter-attack.

Despite this grim reality, a recent poll found that the majority of Taiwanese people think its military cannot defend against a Chinese invasion, with less than half of respondents confident that the US would send troops to help defend Taiwan.

A 2018 report by the US Department of Defense argued that China now possessed “the world’s largest and most capable maritime militia.” The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has over 300 surface combatants, submarines, amphibious ships, patrol craft and specialized types, making it the largest navy force in the Indo-Pacific region (comparatively, the US has some 282 deployable battle force ships).

Regardless, Taiwan and the US are reportedly pushing ahead with their plans to repel any alleged Chinese invasion, with military drills set for the end of November between the two already in the works. Funnily enough, the drills will most likely take place in the area around Taiping Island. Taiwan’s military is also hoping to purchase MQ-8 Fire Scout uncrewed helicopters and MK-62 Quickstrike mines from the US. Taiwan may also seek to lay these mines in its waters close to Taipei as well as other key ports and bases, a plan which eerily echoes that of Greer’s report in Foreign Policy above.

People don’t need to be well-versed in international politics to see and feel the warning signs. A recent Military Times poll of active-duty troops showed that 46 percent of US troops believe the US will be drawn into a major war soon, with a focus on Russia and China in particular. Only 5 percent said the same thing in a similar poll conducted approximately a year ago.

In September, the Pentagon released a 146-page document entitled “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States” which appeared to show that the US is preparing for a large, long-term war effort against Russia and China.

All the signs are there, and some countries are taking the issue more seriously than others. At the end of last month, Australia walked away from plans for a free trade agreement with Taiwan after China warned of repercussions between Canberra and Beijing. The fact that Australia was prepared to walk away should be quite telling of how important the Taiwan question is to China, with very few countries willing to challenge China on this position.

One can only hope that cooler heads will prevail but for those of us who understand what’s at stake, eventually, someone will have to back down in order for there to be any chance of averting a third world war scenario. When one of those countries is the United States, the likelihood of that nation backing down and pursuing a peaceful path of diplomacy instead grows thinner and thinner.

As American socialist Eugene V. Debs once said: “sooner or later every war of trade becomes a war of blood.”

Reprinted with permission from RT.

No More Dissident Voices: Succumb to Facebook & Twitter’s Demands or Get Banned (or Both)

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A recent purge by Facebook and Twitter of a host of independent media sites has pushed thousands of people out of work and has killed one of the most effective forms of expressing political dissent.

On Thursday last week, Facebook purged more than 800 pages and accounts, accusing them of engaging in “inauthentic behaviour” and violating Facebook’s anti-spam policies.

According to a statement released by Facebook on its website, many of these pages were:
using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites. Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was. Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.
One of these pages was The Anti-Media, which I have worked for since mid-2016. Until the purge, we had some 2.17 million followers on Facebook. Supposedly, Facebook wants you to believe that 2.17 million people voluntarily signed up to our page just to receive all the spam content that we put out there (sounds realistic).

Shortly after Facebook unpublished our page, Twitter suspended our account as well.

Twitter did one better than Facebook, though, as it went one step further and suspended the accounts of our editors and many influential people who work on our team. Carey Wedler, Anti-Media’s editor-in-chief’s Twitter account was suspended and yet Twitter could not even provide her with a valid reason for doing so.

I am not joking. In her notice of suspension, Twitter informed Wedler that her account, “CareyWedler has been suspended for violating the Twitter Rules. Specifically, for:” and the “specifically, for” part of Twitter’s notice was left blank.

They literally could not even think of a reason; and yet they are for some reason not required to provide one.

Twitter also removed our talentedly efficient social media manager, PM Beers, who had amassed a following of over 30,000 followers on one of her accounts. She previously had access to over 30 accounts, yet Twitter was somehow able to coordinate the suspension of all of them at the same time except for one. Our Chief Creative Officer was also banned, even from accounts that he had not even used yet.

Twitter then felt the need to remove the @AntiMediaRadio account, and when an appeal was made, Twitter responded by saying that the account was suspended due to “multiple or repeat violations of the Twitter rules.” The account had zero posts on it.

If you believe that any of this has been done with genuine intentions to protect American democracy, then you probably deserve what’s coming next. This is not just some social media strategy to remove spam and attack so-called Russian bots from interfering with “American democracy.” This was a coordinated effort to remove all of our accounts, launched in tandem between two social media giants, because we say things the government doesn’t want you to hear.

The first thing you need to know about this purge is that we can be relatively sure who is behind it. Facebook openly announced it was working with the NATO-funded Atlantic Council to prevent Facebook’s service “from being abused during elections” (what’s that I hear about the midterms coming up?) The Atlantic Council directors list is no less than a who’s who of well-established war criminals, including Henry Kissinger.

But it gets even better than that. Most of the 800 pages removed by Facebook last Thursday were honourable mentions in a blacklist published by the Washington Post in November 2016, including and especially The Anti-Media. The Post relied upon the findings of a shadowy and questionable outfit known as PropOrNot, which compiled a list of media organizations it claimed were part of a “sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign.”

Adding further insult to injury, PropOrNot released their greatest Tweet yet shortly after the purge, claiming that “Russian propaganda is VERY VERY MAD about their various front outlets & fellow travellers getting suspended by @Facebook &/or @Twitter” in response to a Sputnik article that gave our outlets the respect and understanding we deserve.
By the way, if criticizing American foreign policy makes me a Russian propagandist, perhaps it is American foreign policy that needs to change and not me that should change my views for fear of going against the grain.

Now, I am not going to lie and tell you I know who is behind PropOrNot. But what I can say for certain is that November 2016 – the time in which their report came to light – was an interesting time in more ways than one.

In November 2016, then-President Barack Obama personally pulled Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg into a private room on the sidelines of a meeting of world leaders in Peru to make a personal appeal to Zuckerberg to take the threat of “fake news” more seriously. Before this, Mr. Zuckerberg didn’t take the threat of “fake news” seriously at all. In fact, if I remember correctly, Zuckerberg said approximately one week prior to his rendezvous with Obama that the idea of fake news circulating on Facebook being responsible for influencing the US election in 2016 was “pretty crazy.”

You see, it is not “fake news” that is the problem; it’s real news that has the establishment lying awake in their beds at night. Go ahead, see for yourself. I have approximately 460 articles on our website to my name. Pick one at random then tell me what you see. All sources are hyperlinked – Reuters, Haaretz, BBC, the Guardian, CNN, the Independent, the Asia Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times – and the list goes on. The problem, of course, is that we go a little bit deeper than the mainstream media typically does in order to ascertain the overall truth.

Now, I am just a writer for these websites. I am a lawyer by profession, so I do not rely on this work to provide me with the basic amenities of life – nor does my involvement in these sites go beyond that of mere writing, nothing more. But there are many of my friends and colleagues who have invested their very being into these sites. They created these businesses from scratch and have maintained them over a significant period of time to great effect. Every single follower on Facebook or Twitter represents hours worked, money spent, and energy expended. When you go to Facebook’s home page, the first thing it says under the “sign up” option is that you can “create a page for a celebrity, band or business.”

Well, that is exactly what my colleagues had done. They created a business and they generated a large following over a long period of time due to demand for that particular business, only to be shut down by Facebook for no apparent reason (though I think we have established the real reason now).

Trust me, this will not end well. The woman who opened fire at YouTube’s headquarters earlier this year before killing herself was allegedly furious because YouTube had completely demonetized her videos. Putting aside the horrific justification for this act, it cannot go unnoticed that very slowly but surely, every effective anti-imperialist voice is being de-platformed on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter over the last few years.

It should be clear where this is headed. I am even aware of some creators who were fortunate enough to survive the initial purge who no longer feel safe posting the same types of content that they would normally post.

In case it wasn’t clear, this is the end result of the purge. The panopticon is a central tower that allows all inmates of the institution of social media to be observed by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not we are being watched at all. It is physically impossible for the watchman, Mr. Zuckerberg, to watch all of us at a single time, but the fact that we cannot know when we are being watched means we all have to modify our behavior to act as though we are being watched all the time anyway. Either you succumb to Facebook and Twitter’s demands, or you get banned, or both. Either way, dissident content will no longer exist on these platforms, which collectively can reach billions of people.

And no one will even blink. Glenn Greenwald might put out a tweet or two about it; and from what I have heard, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi is doing interviews right now to put together an article about the issue, but that’s about it. There is nothing much that can be done unless enough people take a principled stand against such a severe level of censorship.

Facebook is dying a slow, painful death, but it is hellbent on taking the rest of us down with it. In the meantime, it wants to leave behind a medium in which people can only share pictures of their cats and their paleo diets, with no one capable of any legitimate, critical thought. It all reminds me of a quote attributed to public intellectual Noam Chomsky, who once wrote:
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.
As for the rest of us aspiring journalists who have made Facebook and Twitter a means in which we can, en masse, point out corruption of power, war, police and everything else that goes with it, well, I believe we are just days away from being reported missing at a Saudi embassy.

Reprinted with permission from RT.

Iran Isn’t Violating the Nuclear Agreement — America Is

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On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his most grandiose anti-Iranian performance to date, revealing what he believed was direct proof that Iran “lied” about its nuclear program. This isn’t the first time Netanyahu has overhyped the threat of Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons program. He has been crying wolf over Iran since as far back as 1992.

The aim of this performance is to cast doubt on the efficacy of the Iranian nuclear accord signed in 2015, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which US President Donald Trump has long intended to completely derail. Netanyahu, of course, is totally on board with this goal.

Following Netanyahu’s speech, the White House released a statement of its own, saying Israel’s intelligence confirms what the US had already known — that “Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world.” Not long after, the White House issued a second statement that changed the word “has” to “had,” appearing to suggest that Iran no longer possesses a nuclear weapons program. However, a White House official later explained to NBC News that the wrong tense was the result of a “clerical error.”

Either way, despite the uncompromising anti-Iranian narrative, the prevailing truth appears to be that Iran is in full compliance with the JCPOA, and the main officials involved — including Trump and Netanyahu — are well aware of this. In his April 12 Senate confirmation hearing, then-CIA director Mike Pompeo (who this week began his tenure as secretary of state) said he has “seen no evidence that they [Iran] are not in compliance today.”

Just last month, the State Department once again issued a report declaring that “Iran continued to fulfill its nuclear-related commitments” under the JCPOA following an ongoing pattern of the State Department even under the watch of Rex Tillerson, who essentially forced Trump to certify Iran’s compliance. Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis has also said Iran is “fundamentally” in compliance with the nuclear agreement.

Further, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has also confirmed Iran’s compliance at least nine times, as have the European partners to the JCPOA and practically the entire EU.

“The deal is working, it is delivering on its main goal which means keeping the Iranian nuclear programme in check,” said Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, before acknowledging that the JCPOA is “making the world safer and … preventing a potential nuclear arms race in the region.”

In fact, as the Atlantic’s Peter Beinart has explained, it is Donald Trump’s administration that is most likely violating the JCPOA — not Iran.

According to Beinart:
The more interesting question isn’t whether Iran has been complying with the nuclear deal. It’s whether America has. American journalists often describe the agreement as a trade. In the words of one CNN report, it ‘obliges Iran to limit its nuclear program in exchange for the suspension of economic sanctions.’ But there’s more to it than that. The deal doesn’t only require the United States to lift nuclear sanctions. It requires the United States not to inhibit Iran’s reintegration into the global economy. Section 26 commits the US (and its allies) ‘to prevent interference with the realisation of the full benefit by Iran of the sanctions lifting specified’ in the deal. Section 29 commits the US and Europe to ‘refrain from any policy specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran.’ Section 33 commits them to ‘agree on steps to ensure Iran’s access in areas of trade, technology, finance and energy.’
This is the interesting part. According to those sections, the US has been violating the JCPOA for some time now.

As Beinart explains further:
The Trump administration has likely been violating these clauses. The Washington Post reported that at a NATO summit last May, ‘Trump tried to persuade European partners to stop making trade and business deals with Iran.’ Then, in July, Trump’s director of legislative affairs boasted that at a G20 summit in Germany, Trump had ‘underscored the need for nations … to stop doing business with nations that sponsor terrorism, especially Iran.’ Both of these lobbying efforts appear to violate America’s pledge to ‘refrain from any policy specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran.’
Or, take for example, sanctions imposed on Iran by the Trump administration in July of last year that targeted “procurement of advanced military hardware, such as fast attack boats and unmanned aerial vehicles, and send a strong signal that the United States cannot and will not tolerate Iran’s provocative and destabilizing behaviour,” according to a statement released by US Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

Beinart also explains how that Section 22 of the deal specifically requires the US to allow for the sale of commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services to Iran,” which, as Al-Monitor revealed, “requests concerning permits to export planes to Iran have been piling up … OFAC has not responded to aircraft sales licensing requests since the first of such licenses were issued during the Barack Obama administration.”

In other words, Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA but the US isn’t. Does the US abide by its own rules, or should it be held to the same standards that the world has held Iran ransom to for decades?

It is nothing short of extraordinary that the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons can be the one violating an international agreement all while it consistently demonizes another state for allegedly violating the very same agreement. Why is it that the US can violate the JCPOA with no consequence but Iran is demonized even as it continues to comply with it?

The problem with the JCPOA isn’t that it isn’t working; the problem for people like Trump and Netanyahu is that it is working too well.

Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media.

What the Media Isn’t Telling You About America’s True Intentions in Syria

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Just days ago, Israel openly voiced its frustrations with the United States for not taking a stronger role in countering Iran’s growing influence in neighboring Syria, a red line for Israel that has them planning to assault Syria’s sovereignty in order to defend its interests.

“It is convenient for the Americans to let us be their proxy against Iran in Syria,” one senior Israeli official said, according to the Times of Israel. “We are very worried.”

“Let me be direct. There is a need for greater American involvement in making sure that Iran doesn’t turn Syria into a puppet state,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan last week reportedly told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “Every day that Iran entrenches itself in Syria brings war closer. There is no vacuum.”

“If the US chooses not to be a major player in shaping the future of Syria, then others will — and trust me, it won’t be the democratically elected representatives of the Syrian people,” Erdan added.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) recent annual policy conference in Washington focused intently on Iran, particularly in relation to Trump’s longstanding strategy of derailing the Iranian nuclear agreement formed in 2015, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Writing for Foreign Policy, former ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro acknowledged that the US’ open-ended military presence in Syria was purported to have five objectives, as identified by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. They include “preventing Iranian military entrenchment in Syria, including by holding key border areas to prevent the establishment of an Iran-controlled land bridge.”

However, this strategy was put into doubt when Donald Trump stated last month that the US was in Syria for one reason only — “to get ISIS” and “go home.” General Joseph Votel of the US Central Command also testified before the House Armed Services Committee last month and stated that countering Iran is not one of the coalition missions in Syria.

Despite its tough rhetoric, Israel is not in a position to take on Iran directly. Last year, a top Israeli general tasked with writing his country’s defense policy admitted that Israel cannot take on Iran’s military alone, making it clear that Israel would need American intervention. In April 2013, the US Senate Committee passed Resolution 65 to back Israel should it be drawn into a conflict with Iran (remember, this was passed under the Obama administration, the same administration that some people felt was not pro-Israel enough). Vice President Mike Pence put the resolution into practice this week, stating at AIPAC’s event that the US will support Israel if it is attacked by Iran.

The truth is that while Israel voices its frustration with what it terms as US “inaction,” a showdown between Iran and the United States in Syria is becoming increasingly inevitable. Whether the US admits it or not, and whether intentionally done or not, the American mission on the ground in Syria is preventing Iranian military entrenchment of the country by blocking key border areas to deny Iranian-backed forces a land bridge stretching from Tehran through Syria and into the territory of Iran’s other close allies.

After reports began circulating last month that Russian personnel had died in a US-led assault in Deir ez-Zor, Syria, the media was quick to paint the incident as one of Russian-backed aggression against the United States.

Never mind that according to independent journalist and Middle East correspondent Yochanan Visser, recordings of alleged Russian mercenaries after American airstrikes struck pro-Syrian forces that circulated online and in prominent mainstream media outlets were actually recordings of a battle in Ukraine, not Syria. German newspaper Der Spiegel also confirmed that “the only verifiable sources for the decimation of hundreds of Russians are the photos and videos circulating on the internet or from Russian sources that are passed on to Western journalists,” and that “some of them show footage from eastern Ukraine that was later doctored or even the demo version of a video game…”

However, this is only the beginning. The true nature of this alleged incident involving American airstrikes on pro-Syrian forces should shock us to the core because it paints a very grim picture of what’s to come.

Just last week, Der Spiegel published its report on the confrontational incident in Deir ez-Zor after sending journalists to the region to investigate it for themselves. According to their investigation:
At 5 a.m. on Feb. 7, around 250 fighters south of Deir ez-Zor attempted to cross from the west bank of the Euphrates to the east using a military pontoon bridge. They included members of the militias of two tribes, the Bekara and the Albo Hamad, who are fighting for Assad’s regime with Iranian backing, soldiers of the 4th Division as well as Afghan and Iraqi fighters with the Fatimiyoun and Zainabiyoun brigades, which are under Iranian command. A soldier with the 4th Division recounted that the units had spent a week gathering on the property of the military airport. Witnesses say that no Russian mercenaries took part in the attempted crossing. [emphasis added]
As well as an initial advance, Iranian-backed militias also came to the south and attacked the SDF base that same night. The US response was, in turn, wholly aggressive.

“And the Americans struck back with their entire destructive arsenal. They deployed rocket-equipped drones, combat helicopters, heavy AC 130 aircraft, nicknamed ‘gun boats,’ to fire on targets on the ground, rockets and ground artillery,” Der Spiegel reported.

According to the German newspaper, no Russian mercenaries took part in the attacks on the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) base in Syria, and the mercenaries who did die were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Among those stationed in Tabiya was a small contingent of Russian mercenaries. But the two militia sources said they did not participate in the fighting. Still, they said, 10 to 20 of them did in fact lose their lives,” Der Spiegel reported. “They said a total of more than 200 of the attackers died, including around 80 Syrian soldiers with the 4th Division, around 100 Iraqis and Afghans and around 70 tribal fighters, mostly with the al-Baqir militia.”

In other words, it was Iranian-backed militias that advanced on the US base in Deir ez-Zor, and Russian mercenaries were killed, perhaps as an unintended consequence. As Anti-Media documented throughout 2017, Iran has been looking to create a bridge from Tehran through Syria that would connect Iran not only with the rest of Syria but also with Iraq and Lebanon. This is a deal-breaker not only for the anti-Shia axis of nations but also the United States, which has injected itself into the country simply to act as a barrier to Iran’s regional ambitions.

What we are witnessing right now is the US military enforcing its new Syria policy, almost exactly as Tillerson described it to be (even in the face of the more recent denials of a policy targeting Iran’s expanding influence). As explained by independent journalist and Middle East correspondent Yochanan Visser:
What happened next was not a Russian attack on the US Special Forces, as some have tried to point out, but an American attempt to enforce its new policy in eastern Syria. This policy is aimed at preventing Iran from completing the land corridor it has been building during the war against ISIS.
The implications of this attack are much broader than first imagined, particularly now that we have some deeper insight into what actually took place at the time. The US has clearly shown that it will apply deadly force to implement this broader anti-Iranian strategy, even if that force results in Iranian, Russian, and Syrian deaths.

“It not only made clear to Iran that the Trump Administration will enforce its new policy toward the Islamic Republic and its red lines in Syria but also sent a message to the Russians,” Visser also wrote. “The United States will defend the SDF controlled territories in eastern Syria, which are home to a large part of Syria’s energy resources, as its own territory even if that means risking a confrontation with the Russian military.”

Whether Donald Trump admits or not (and whether or not he has any say in the matter, considering that his generals on the ground can call in airstrikes without any oversight), the US military is first and foremost in Syria to confront Iran. It is not clear whether Iran’s proxies will let this issue go without a fight, but the fact that they had been amassing on the US base and launched a number of offensives should already speak volumes as to the geostrategic importance of the region to Iran and its allies.

While Israel continues to play the abandoned victim card, the US is quite clearly in Syria to prevent Iran from establishing its overarching bridge of influence. This is arguably the only reason the US went into Syria in the first place. Therefore, Israel is incorrect when it claims the US is not doing enough to confront Iran. Sooner or later, the Iranian military presence and the American military presence will clash in a showdown unless drastic diplomatic intervention of some kind can prevent it.

It should also be noted that the US and Israel are currently conducting their annual joint military exercises, involving thousands of troops on both sides.

Right now, the only thing that could possibly stop a potential war between Iran and the US is if Iran and its allies on the ground decide to allow the US to station itself in Syria – forever. But why should they?

As the Financial Times lamented:
“Such baleful precedents might give pause to anyone before starting another war — in this instance, mainly Israel versus Iran — but probably will not. If the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia continue to think it is possible to bomb the way to a better future, why should Russia and Iran play it differently — even as they outplay their opponents, at least for now?”
Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media.

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If America Wasn’t America, the United States Would Be Bombing It

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On January 8, 2018, former government advisor Edward Luttwak wrote an opinion piece for Foreign Policy titled “It’s Time to Bomb North Korea.”

Luttwak’s thesis is relatively straightforward. There is a government out there that may very soon acquire nuclear-weapons capabilities, and this country cannot be trusted to responsibly handle such a stockpile. The responsibility to protect the world from a rogue nation cannot be argued with, and we understandably have a duty to ensure the future of humanity.

However, there is one rogue nation that continues to hold the world ransom with its nuclear weapons supply. It is decimating non-compliant states left, right, and center. This country must be stopped dead in its tracks before anyone turns to the issue of North Korea.

In August of 1945, this rogue nation dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets, not military targets, completely obliterating between 135,000 and 300,000 Japanese civilians in just these two acts alone. Prior to this event, this country killed even more civilians in the infamous firebombing of Tokyo and other areas of Japan, dropping close to 500,000 cylinders of napalm and petroleum jelly on some of Japan’s most densely populated areas.

Recently, historians have become more open to the possibility that dropping the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not actually necessary to end World War II. This has also been confirmed by those who actually took part in it. As the Nation explained:
Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two months after the bombings that ‘the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan…’ Adm. William “Bull” Halsey Jr., Commander of the US Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946 that ‘the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment…. It was a mistake to ever drop it…. [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it… 
A few months’ prior, this rogue country’s invasion of the Japanese island of Okinawa also claimed at least one quarter of Okinawa’s population. The Okinawan people have been protesting this country’s military presence ever since. The most recent ongoing protest has lasted well over 5,000 days in a row.

This nation’s bloodlust continued well after the end of World War II. Barely half a decade later, this country bombed North Korea into complete oblivion, destroying over 8,700 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, 600,000 homes, and eventually killing off as much as 20 percent of the country’s population. As the Asia Pacific Journal has noted, the assaulting country dropped so many bombs that they eventually ran out of targets to hit, turning to bomb the irrigation systems, instead:
By the fall of 1952, there were no effective targets left for US planes to hit. Every significant town, city and industrial area in North Korea had already been bombed. In the spring of 1953, the Air Force targeted irrigation dams on the Yalu River, both to destroy the North Korean rice crop and to pressure the Chinese, who would have to supply more food aid to the North. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.”
This was just the beginning. Having successfully destroyed the future North Korean state, this country moved on to the rest of East Asia and Indo-China, too. As Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has explained:
We [this loose cannon of a nation] dumped 20 million gallons of toxic herbicide on Vietnam from the air, just to make the shooting easier without all those trees, an insane plan to win ‘hearts and minds’ that has left about a million still disabled from defects and disease – including about 100,000 children, even decades later, little kids with misshapen heads, webbed hands and fused eyelids writhing on cots, our real American legacy, well out of view, of course.
This mass murder led to the deaths of between 1.5 million and 3.8 million people, according to the Washington Post. More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than were unleashed during the entire conflict in World War II. While this was going on, this same country was also secretly bombing Laos and Cambodia, too, where there are over 80 million unexploded bombs still killing people to this day.

This country also decided to bomb YugoslaviaPanama, and Grenada before invading Iraq in the early 1990s. Having successfully bombed Iraqi infrastructure, this country then punished Iraq’s entire civilian population with brutal sanctions. At the time, the U.N. estimated that approximately 1.7 million Iraqis had died as a result, including 500,000 to 600,000 children. Some years later, a prominent medical journal attempted to absolve the cause of this infamous history by refuting the statistics involved despite the fact that, when interviewed during the sanctions-era, Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, intimated that to this rogue government, the deaths of half a million children were “worth it” as the “price” Iraq needed to pay. In other words, whether half a million children died or not was irrelevant to this bloodthirsty nation, which barely blinked while carrying out this murderous policy.

This almighty superpower then invaded Iraq again in 2003 and plunged the entire region into chaos. At the end of May 2017, the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) released a study concluding that the death toll from this violent nation’s 2003 invasion of Iraq had led to over one million deaths and that at least one-third of them were caused directly by the invading force.

Not to mention this country also invaded Afghanistan prior to the invasion of Iraq (even though the militants plaguing Afghanistan were originally trained and financed by this warmongering nation). It then went on to bomb Yemen, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and the Philippines.

Libya famously had one of the highest standards of living in the region. It had state-assisted healthcare, education, transport, and affordable housing. It is now a lawless war-zone rife with extremism where slaves are openly traded like commodities amid the power vacuum created as a direct result of the 2011 invasion.

In 2017, the commander-in-chief of this violent nation took the monumental death and destruction to a new a level by removing the restrictions on delivering airstrikes, which resulted in thousands upon thousands of civilian deaths. Before that, in the first six months of 2017, this country dropped over 20,650 bombs, a monumental increase from the year that preceded it.

Despite these statistics, all of the above conquests are mere child’s play to this nation. The real prize lies in some of the more defiant and more powerful states, which this country has already unleashed a containment strategy upon. This country has deployed its own troops all across the border with Russia even though it promised in the early 1990s it would do no such thing. It also has a specific policy of containing Russia’s close ally, China, all the while threatening China’s borders with talks of direct strikes on North Korea (again, remember it already did so in the 1950s).

This country also elected a president who not only believes it is okay to embrace this rampantly violent militarism but who openly calls other countries “shitholes” – the very same term that aptly describes the way this country has treated the rest of the world for decades on end. This same president also reportedly once asked three times in a meeting, “If we have nuclear weapons, why don’t we use them?” and shortly after proposed a policy to remove the constraints protecting the world from his dangerous supply of advanced nuclear weaponry.

When it isn’t directly bombing a country, it is also arming radical insurgent groups, creating instability, and directly overthrowing governments through its covert operatives on the ground.

If we have any empathy for humanity, it is clear that this country must be stopped. It cannot continue to act like this to the detriment of the rest of the planet and the safety and security of the rest of us. This country openly talks about using its nuclear weapons, has used them before, and has continued to use all manner of weapons unabated in the years since while threatening to expand the use of these weapons to other countries.

Seriously, if North Korea seems like a threat, imagine how the rest of the world feels while watching one country violently take on the rest of the planet single-handedly, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake and promising nothing less than a nuclear holocaust in the years to come.

There is only one country that has done and that continues to do the very things North Korea is being accused of doing.

Take as much time as you need for that to resonate.

Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media.

US Troops Arrive in Israel to Practice for Potential War With Hezbollah

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At a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East, U.S. forces have been deployed in Israel ahead of a large-scale joint Israel-U.S. military exercise set to start next week, the Times of Israel reports.

According to the Times, the drill will simulate a major conflict in which Israel is attacked with thousands of missiles. Known as the biennial Juniper Cobra military exercise and in its ninth installment, the simulation is clearly aimed at confronting Hezbollah’s alleged arsenal of between 100,000 and 150,000 missiles.

Approximately 3,200 soldiers from the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) took part in the February 2016 drill of the same name.

Despite the fact that the Israeli air force routinely strikes Hezbollah targets in Syria, it seems likely that these drills are intended to target Hezbollah in Lebanon, instead. On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that if war were to erupt again, Beirut would “pay the full price” for Iran’s presence in the country.

“Lebanon’s army and Hezbollah are the same — they will all pay the full price in the event of an escalation,” Lieberman also said. “If a conflict does break out in the north, ‘boots on the ground’ remains an option. We won’t allow scenes like in 2006, where we saw citizens of Beirut on the beach while Israelis in Tel Aviv sat in shelters… If people in Tel Aviv will be in bomb shelters, all of Beirut will be in bomb shelters.”

Though Israel rarely respects international law, the threat of violence towards a sovereign state in and of itself is a breach of the U.N. Charter.

“Israel’s northern front extends to Syria; it is not just Lebanon. I am not sure that the Syrian government can resist Hezbollah’s attempts to drag them into a war with Israel,” Lieberman added.

In September of last year, Israel held its largest military drill in 20 years, and it was specifically designed to simulate an invasion of Lebanon to target Hezbollah. Even the Israeli soldiers playing the role of the enemy were dressed in Hezbollah’s traditional attire and donned their yellow and green flag.

In December of last year, Israeli Intelligence Affairs Minister Yisrael Katz told Saudi Arabian media that Israel will act to prevent an Iranian military presence in Lebanon by striking Iranian missile plants.

“What happened in 2006 will be a picnic compared to what we can do. I remember a Saudi minister saying they will send Hezbollah back to their caves in south Lebanon. I am telling you that we will return Lebanon to the Stone Age,” Katz said [emphasis added].

Unsurprisingly, Israel’s motives for launching wars of aggression are almost in complete tandem with that of the United States and have nothing to do with human rights, democracy, or protecting Israel from violent Islamist militants who seek to destroy its existence. Even Newsweek already intimated that the real driving force behind the impending spat is the control over natural resources in disputed territories.

“We reiterate our firm and unequivocal position in decisively confronting any aggression against our oil and gas rights, defending Lebanon’s assets and protecting its wealth,” Hezbollah told Newsweek in an email statement.

As it stands, it appears both sides are preparing for the worst-case scenario, and neither side looks to be exploring any form of meaningful diplomacy.

“We need to be aware of what the Israeli enemy is plotting against Lebanon, especially with the support of those who are working internally and externally to provide a climate of harmony with the Israeli threats to attack Lebanon,” Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, said last Thursday in a statement, according to Lebanon’s official National News Agency.

Aoun, a Christian, is a staunch backer of Hezbollah, which he views as a vital ally in countering the threat of an Israeli invasion.

Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media.

US Troops Arrive in Israel to Practice for Potential War With Hezbollah

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At a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East, U.S. forces have been deployed in Israel ahead of a large-scale joint Israel-U.S. military exercise set to start next week, the Times of Israel reports.

According to the Times, the drill will simulate a major conflict in which Israel is attacked with thousands of missiles. Known as the biennial Juniper Cobra military exercise and in its ninth installment, the simulation is clearly aimed at confronting Hezbollah’s alleged arsenal of between 100,000 and 150,000 missiles.

Approximately 3,200 soldiers from the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) took part in the February 2016 drill of the same name.

Despite the fact that the Israeli air force routinely strikes Hezbollah targets in Syria, it seems likely that these drills are intended to target Hezbollah in Lebanon, instead. On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that if war were to erupt again, Beirut would “pay the full price” for Iran’s presence in the country.

“Lebanon’s army and Hezbollah are the same — they will all pay the full price in the event of an escalation,” Lieberman also said. “If a conflict does break out in the north, ‘boots on the ground’ remains an option. We won’t allow scenes like in 2006, where we saw citizens of Beirut on the beach while Israelis in Tel Aviv sat in shelters… If people in Tel Aviv will be in bomb shelters, all of Beirut will be in bomb shelters.”

Though Israel rarely respects international law, the threat of violence towards a sovereign state in and of itself is a breach of the U.N. Charter.

“Israel’s northern front extends to Syria; it is not just Lebanon. I am not sure that the Syrian government can resist Hezbollah’s attempts to drag them into a war with Israel,” Lieberman added.

In September of last year, Israel held its largest military drill in 20 years, and it was specifically designed to simulate an invasion of Lebanon to target Hezbollah. Even the Israeli soldiers playing the role of the enemy were dressed in Hezbollah’s traditional attire and donned their yellow and green flag.

In December of last year, Israeli Intelligence Affairs Minister Yisrael Katz told Saudi Arabian media that Israel will act to prevent an Iranian military presence in Lebanon by striking Iranian missile plants.

“What happened in 2006 will be a picnic compared to what we can do. I remember a Saudi minister saying they will send Hezbollah back to their caves in south Lebanon. I am telling you that we will return Lebanon to the Stone Age,” Katz said [emphasis added].

Unsurprisingly, Israel’s motives for launching wars of aggression are almost in complete tandem with that of the United States and have nothing to do with human rights, democracy, or protecting Israel from violent Islamist militants who seek to destroy its existence. Even Newsweek already intimated that the real driving force behind the impending spat is the control over natural resources in disputed territories.

“We reiterate our firm and unequivocal position in decisively confronting any aggression against our oil and gas rights, defending Lebanon’s assets and protecting its wealth,” Hezbollah told Newsweek in an email statement.

As it stands, it appears both sides are preparing for the worst-case scenario, and neither side looks to be exploring any form of meaningful diplomacy.

“We need to be aware of what the Israeli enemy is plotting against Lebanon, especially with the support of those who are working internally and externally to provide a climate of harmony with the Israeli threats to attack Lebanon,” Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, said last Thursday in a statement, according to Lebanon’s official National News Agency.

Aoun, a Christian, is a staunch backer of Hezbollah, which he views as a vital ally in countering the threat of an Israeli invasion.

Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media.

The US Empire Has up to 1,000 Military Bases in 80 Countries

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On the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Baltimore University hosted more than 200 activists in the peace, environment, and social justice movements to launch a new initiative known as the Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases, the Nation reported.

In a series of panels that lasted over two days, the conference attendees highlighted the horrors of American foreign policy despite the fact Martin Luther King warned against these horrors over 50 years ago, a fitting reminder to heed the warnings of Dr. King.

According to the panel, the U.S. has over 800 formal military bases in 80 countries, “a number that could exceed 1,000 if you count troops stationed at embassies and missions and so-called ‘lily-pond’ bases, with some 138,000 soldiers stationed around the globe,” the Nation notes.

According to David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Overseas Harm America and the World, maintaining bases and troops overseas cost $85 to $100 billion in 2014, while the total for bases and troops in war zones was between $160 billion and $200 billion.

The Nation also highlighted Vine’s claim that only some 11 other countries have bases in foreign countries, around 70 altogether. Russia is believed to have at least 26 bases in nine countries. They are mainly in former Soviet states, as well as Syria and Vietnam. The U.K., France, and Turkey have around four to ten bases each, and a handful of global bases are occupied by India, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. This might all change in the years to come, however, as China may be looking to build bases of its own in the Middle East.

Once the U.S. establishes itself militarily in a nation, it rarely leaves. Consider that after the defeat of Germany in World War II, the U.S. never left the country. It has maintained its bases there ever since. Germany’s Ramstein base is now the “hub” for America’s global drone assassination program throughout the Middle East.

The British spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), has been using a base in North Yorkshire called Menwith Hill to assist with America’s targeted killings in the Middle East, using an unknown number of employees.

This is but one example of how American bases overseas can be used to commit mass suffering in the Middle East, and the effects of these bases on the local populations are far too many to document.

For example, in Okinawa, Japan, the U.S. was suspected of housing and burying Agent Orange at its unpopular base in Futenma. Protests are not uncommon, with a specific sit-in protest lasting more than 5,000 consecutive days, as reported by the Japan Times at the end of last year. Rapes, theft, assaults, and murders committed by U.S. personnel there are all rather common.

The most famous incident involved the rape of a 12-year-old girl by three U.S. servicemen in 1995. The Okinawans have been protesting the U.S. military presence ever since, but the U.S. refuses to budge (with the exception of its proposal to relocate the base to a separate location, which is yet to appease the locals’ concerns).

“U.S. bases in Korea and Japan are vehicles of the Cold-War threat of China. Bases are not the spoils of the past war as some believe; they are the purpose of the war,” Satoko Oka Norimatsu, editor of the Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus and author of Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States,told Anti-Media. Norimatsu also said resisting the U.S. base presence and its plans to relocate is important for Okinawa because “U.S. bases concentrated in Okinawa are a form of colonial oppression by Japan that’s continuing for over four centuries.”

“Some people in Okinawa believe that if Japan as a whole wants to maintain the U.S.-Japan military alliance, it should be Japan who carries these bases and not Okinawa,” she added.

Okinawa is just one instance of anti-U.S. sentiment brought on by its unwelcome military presence. In Okinawa, the U.S. reportedly takes up about one-fifth of Okinawan land. In 2004, Gangnam Style singer Psy released a song that was heavily critical of the U.S. military after an incident caused by a military vehicle that killed two young Korean girls. According to CNN:
“CNN was able to translate the lyrics as saying, ‘Kill those f–ing Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives and those who ordered them to torture,’ and going on to say, ‘Kill them all slowly and painfully,’ as well as ‘daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers.’”
It may be for this reason that the Nation, one of the few outlets to document this issue over the past few years, is highlighting the movement to bring an end to this disastrous and unnecessary foreign policy, which at its heart turns local populations against the U.S. across the globe.

Reprinted with permission from TheAntiMedia.com.

The US Just Announced It Will Stay in Syria Even After ISIS Is Defeated: Here’s Why

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According to Newsweek, despite calls from Russia and Iran for the U.S. to abandon its illegal invasion of Syria, the Pentagon has just announced its intention to maintain its troop presence in the country even after ISIS is successfully defeated. 

“We are going to maintain our commitment on the ground as long as we need to, to support our partners and prevent the return of terrorist groups,” Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon told Agence France-Presse.

“To ensure an enduring defeat of ISIS, the coalition must ensure it cannot regenerate, reclaim lost ground, or plot external attacks,” Pahon added.

The U.S. reportedly has at least 1,723 troops in Syria, up from the 1,251 figure reported in June.

Even if these concerns regarding ISIS are genuine, one should wonder why the U.S. feels responsible for ensuring that ISIS cannot regenerate, reclaim lost ground, or plot further attacks. The premise completely undermines Syria’s sovereignty and the competency of its allies, who are more than capable of defeating ISIS without external western intervention. In fact, western intervention has not provided Syria with nearly as much of the stability or security it claims to have.

report published in April by the London-based IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center, a leading security analysis agency, found a whopping 43 percent of ISIS’ battles between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2017, were fought against the Syrian military and its allies (including Iran, Russia, and pro-government militias). It is a blatant lie that these countries need America’s help to do what they are already doing, when American-backed forces accounted for a mere 17 percent of the action.

And what do we know about the U.S. troops already stationed in Syria? To put it bluntly, we know very little, but what we have been able to ascertain should be enough to make the ordinary American question the role the United States is playing across the geopolitical chessboard.

According to Rolling Stone:
The troops on the ground include personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, but the government won’t say exactly how many, where they’re located, what precisely they’re doing or how long they’ll stay. A few have died and a good deal more have been injured in combat, but like almost everything else about the U.S. presence in Syria, the number of wounded is classified. Despite the scale of the operation, the Pentagon insists on black-ops secrecy, refusing to embed reporters, and channeling all information through spokesmen in Baghdad. Turkey and Iraq have imposed a blockade on Syria that prevents most independent reporters from getting anywhere near American forces on the battlefield, and soldiers are apparently under orders not to answer questions or allow themselves to be photographed. [emphasis added]
Not to mention that the U.S. already has at least fourteen bases in Syria.

We also already know that U.S. Marines deployed to Syria were not there to “advise and assist,” as has been typically argued, but were actually on the frontlines battling ISIS militants.

According to Army Sgt. Maj. John Wayne Troxell, the Marine fire blasting ISIS was so intense that the barrels on two of the Howitzers burned out, making them unsafe to use. The U.S. was allegedly firing on ISIS in Raqqa “every minute of every hour” in order to keep the pressure up on the terrorist group.

Who authorized this invasion of Syria? And who authorized American troops to be on the front lines in another war in a country that has branded American troops as invaders?

But because the troops are fighting against ISIS, it doesn’t matter, right? International law is worthless, as long as we are fighting ISIS (in a country that is already fighting them without our help). Just imagine if Syria or Russia did this to the United States — invaded America and set up bases under the guise of fighting terrorism. No self-respecting American would accept this. The U.S. country puts travel bans on brown people for a reason.

Further, it was admittedly Washington’s policies that placed ISIS squarely in Syria in the first place by sitting on its hands and allowing ISIS to gain as much territory as it could in order justify a military intervention. The BBC has confirmed that the U.S. has granted free passage to ISIS fighters when it suits America’s warped foreign policy strategy.

No one is debating these developments in Congress or in the U.N., and these violations of international law are going unchallenged. If this isn’t enough to wake up the average American, then perhaps the world needs to understand that the reason these troops will stay in Syria has nothing at all to do with ISIS, but is instead aimed at creating a buffer between Iran and the rest of the Middle East, which could lay the groundwork for an all-out confrontation with Iran and its allies.

Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media.

War on Terror Costs Taxpayers $250 Million a Day

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The US government has spent a staggering $1.46 trillion on wars abroad since September 11, 2001, according to the Department of Defense’s (DoD) periodical “Cost of War” report. As International Business Times reports, this amounts to $250 million a day for 16 years consecutively.

The newly released version, published by the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News blog, spans war-related activity from the September 11th terrorist attacks through mid-2017.

According to the report, despite the fact that the war on terror is still ongoing rapidly to this day, Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011) and Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-2014) account for the vast majority of the cost, amounting to more than $1.3 trillion collectively.

It must be noted that this analysis only covers direct war-related expenses and is certainly on the lower side of such estimates of the cost of American wars to date. For example, in 2014, a report from Congress’ nonpartisan research arm found that the government had already shelled out over $1.6 trillion for the war on terror. That estimate would amount to approximately $337 million per day every single day for that 13-year period.

Last year, a report released by Dr. Neta Crawford, professor of political science at Brown University, found that spending by the United States Departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, and Veteran Affairs since 9/11 was even higher, reaching almost $5 trillion.

That being said, the DoD’s recent report mainly covers the costs of military operational costs, support for deployed troops, and transportation of personnel and equipment. It does not include the expense of veterans’ benefits for troops who served in these wars. The cost of veterans’ benefits alone is projected to be somewhere between $600 billion and $1 trillion. The total also notably does not include “non-DoD classified programs” such as those conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency, which, as we know, has a significant budget of its own.

Further, war zones where the US military has been actively engaged in recent years, such as Libya and Somalia, did not even receive specific mentions in the report. If $250 million a day for a 16-year period already sounds far too much to be spending on death and destruction, one can be assured that the true financial cost of the war on terror is, in reality, much higher.

As International Business Times explained, the war on terror has become America’s costliest war since World War II:
According to the Congressional Research Service, the only war in US history to cost more than the Global War on Terror is World War II, at more than $4.1 trillion in present dollars. Direct war-related expenses from the Vietnam War cost $738 billion in today’s dollars.

Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media.