Cost of War

Show Details for the week of July 24th, 2017

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Christopher Wray is President Trump’s nominee for FBI Director. He was unanimously approved for a full Senate confirmation hearing before the August recess. We look at the issues beyond the allegations of Russian “meddling” with Emily Berman
  • Military Budget proposals of at least $600 billion per year are working their way through Congress.Although President Trump promised to avoid unnecessary wars, he still is seeking a major increase in the already gigantic U.S. military budget, a risky contradiction, says Ivan Eland.

More about this week’s guests:

Emily Berman

Emily Berman is an assistant professor of law at the University of Houston’s Law Center. Berman’s scholarship explores the relationships among government institutions in the development, implementation, and oversight of national security policy. In particular, she focuses on the implications of the changes wrought on domestic laws and institutions by the national security state and notes the need for institutional reforms that both remain faithful to fundamental legal principles and take account of the unique legal and policy challenges posed by domestic counterterrorism policy. Prior to joining the University of Houston Law Center faculty in the fall of 2014, she taught for two years as a visiting assistant professor at Brooklyn Law School. She previously was a Furman Fellow and Brennan Center Fellow at New York University School of Law and held positions as counsel and Katz Fellow at the Brennan Center where she developed policy recommendations, drafted reports, and engaged in advocacy regarding U.S. national security policy and its impact on civil liberties. After graduating from law school, Berman clerked for the Hon. John M. Walker, Jr. of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Berman’s work has been published in the Washington & Lee Law Review, Fordham Law Review, George Mason Law Review, Florida State University Law Review, New York University Law Review, and her opinion pieces have appeared in The Atlantic Online, the National Law Journal, Legal Times Online, and CNN.com, among others. Berman teaches National Security Law and Constitutional Law.

Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute. Dr. Eland is a graduate of Iowa State University and received an M.B.A. in applied economics and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from George Washington University. He has been Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, and he spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including stints as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. He also has served as Evaluator-in-Charge (national security and intelligence) for the U.S. General Accounting Office (now the Government Accountability Office), and has testified on the military and financial aspects of NATO expansion before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on CIA oversight before the House Government Reform Committee, and on the creation of the Department of Homeland Security before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Dr. Eland is the author of Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq, Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty, The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed and Putting “Defense” Back into U.S. Defense Policy, as well as The Efficacy of Economic Sanctions as a Foreign Policy Tool. He is a contributor to numerous volumes and the author of 45 in-depth studies on national security issues. His articles have appeared in American Prospect, Arms Control Today, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Emory Law Journal, The Independent Review, Issues in Science and Technology (National Academy of Sciences), Mediterranean Quarterly, Middle East and International Review, Middle East Policy, Nexus, Chronicle of Higher Education, American Conservative, International Journal of World Peace, and Northwestern Journal of International Affairs. Dr. Eland’s popular writings have appeared in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News,New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, Miami Herald, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Newsday, Sacramento Bee, Orange County Register, Washington Times, Providence Journal, The Hill, and Defense News. He has appeared on ABC’s World News Tonight, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, PBS, Fox News Channel, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, CNN, CNN Crossfire, CNN-fn, C-SPAN, MSNBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC), Canadian TV (CTV), Radio Free Europe, Voice of America, BBC, and other local, national, and international TV and radio programs.He recently wrote the piece “Trump’s Empty Promise on War Savings

Show Details for the week of July 17th, 2017

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Kate Gould on the House Vote to Block U.S. Participation in Saudi War in Yemen
  • Alex Doukas on G20 leaders shaming Trump while continuing fossil fuel subsidies

More about this week’s guests:

mediumKate Gould serves as the Legislative Representative for Middle East Policy for the Friends Committee on National Legistlation. Kate directs FCNL’s lobbying on Middle East policy, and is one of only a handful of registered lobbyists in Washington, D.C. working to support diplomatic solutions to disputes between the U.S. and Iran and the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Israel/Palestine. Gould was profiled in 2015 as the “Quaker Lobbyist Behind the Iran Deal Fight,” by Congressional Quarterly, an outlet with readership that includes 95% of members of Congress. Kate’s analysis on Middle East policy has been published in The New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, CNN, Reuters, AFP and other national outlets. Kate has appeared as an on-air analyst for various TV and radio programs, including the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, The Thom Hartmann Show, The Real News Network and CCTV. She is a Political Partner at the Truman National Security Project, and serves as a board member of the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship and Churches for Middle East Peace.

Alex DoukasAlex Doukas is a Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International. His work focuses on ending international subsidies and public finance for fossil fuels, and shifting public resources toward building a clean energy future, including access to clean energy for all. Previously, Alex worked with the World Resources Institute, where he focused on making international climate finance more effective, including through the design of the Green Climate Fund, as well as catalyzing finance for clean energy access. Alex has also worked with the Pembina Institute in Canada on energy and climate policy, in Canada and beyond. His interest in energy access and sustainability has also previously taken him to Bhutan and Lao PDR to work on appropriate technology and energy access. Alex holds an M.Sc. from the University of Oxford in Environmental Change and Management, and a B.A. Hons. from the University of Toronto.

Show Details for the week of July 3rd, 2017

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Howard Zinn‘s 2009 speech at The Progressive Magazine‘s 100th anniversary
  • Part of a talk by Noam Chomsky from 1990 describing propaganda terms in the media and what they mean

zinnportraitHoward Zinn was an American historian, political scientist, social critic, activist and playwright. He is best known as author of the best-seller ‘A People’s History of the United States’. Zinn has been active in the Civil Rights and the anti-war movements in the United States. Howard Zinn passed away on January 27, 2010. Zinn was raised in a working-class family in Brooklyn, and flew bombing missions for the United States in World War II, an experience he now points to in shaping his opposition to war. In 1956, he became a professor at Spelman College in Atlanta, a school for black women, where he soon became involved in the Civil rights movement, which he participated in as an adviser to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee SNCC and chronicled, in his book SNCC The New Abolitionists. Zinn collaborated with historian Staughton Lynd and mentored a young student named Alice Walker. When he was fired in 1963 for insubordination related to his protest work, he moved to Boston University, where he became a leading critic of the Vietnam War.

noam-chomsky1Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. Sometimes described as “the father of modern linguistics”, Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He is Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he has worked since 1955, and is the author of over 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism.

Born to middle-class Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants in Philadelphia, Chomsky developed an early interest in anarchism from alternative bookstores in New York City. At the age of 16 he began studies at the University of Pennsylvania, taking courses in linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy. From 1951 to 1955 he was appointed to Harvard University’s Society of Fellows, where he developed the theory of transformational grammar for which he was awarded his doctorate in 1955. That year he began teaching at MIT, in 1957 emerging as a significant figure in the field of linguistics for his landmark work Syntactic Structures, which remodeled the scientific study of language, while from 1958 to 1959 he was a National Science Foundation fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. He is credited as the creator or co-creator of the universal grammar theory, the generative grammar theory, the Chomsky hierarchy, and the minimalist program. Chomsky also played a pivotal role in the decline of behaviorism, being particularly critical of the work of B. F. Skinner.

An outspoken opponent of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, which he saw as an act of American imperialism, in 1967 Chomsky attracted widespread public attention for his anti-war essay “The Responsibility of Intellectuals”. Associated with the New Left, he was arrested multiple times for his activism and placed on President Richard Nixon’s Enemies List. While expanding his work in linguistics over subsequent decades, he also became involved in the Linguistics Wars. In collaboration with Edward S. Herman, Chomsky later co-wrote an analysis articulating the propaganda model of media criticism, and worked to expose the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. However, his defense of unconditional freedom of speech – including for Holocaust deniers – generated significant controversy in the Faurisson affair of the early 1980s. Following his retirement from active teaching, he has continued his vocal political activism, including opposing the War on Terror and supporting the Occupy movement.

One of the most cited scholars in history, Chomsky has influenced a broad array of academic fields. He is widely recognized as a paradigm shifter who helped spark a major revolution in the human sciences, contributing to the development of a new cognitivistic framework for the study of language and the mind. In addition to his continued scholarly research, he remains a leading critic of U.S. foreign policy, neoliberalism and contemporary state capitalism, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and mainstream news media. His ideas have proved highly significant within the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movements, but have also drawn criticism, with some accusing Chomsky of anti-Americanism.

In 2006 The Progressive Magazine published a text by Howard Zinn that is well worth a read today.

Show Details for the week of June 26th, 2015

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This is the final week of the Pledge Drive for KPFT. The Monitor has a goal of $800. Please help us reach that goal by calling in your pledge of support at 713-526-5738 or by pledging online at kpft.org.

Our guest this week on The Monitor  is J. Michael Springmann. You can get a copy of his book Goodbye, Europe? Hello, Chaos? Merkel’s Migrant Bomb by calling in your pledge of $75 at 713-526-5738 or by pledging online at kpft.org.michael-springman-book

Topic: Europe is under siege, flooded by wave after wave of migrants and refugees from destabilized nations. What drives this trend—and what awaits the continent if its borders collapse?

They come from across the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa—floods of refugees seeking sanctuary in Europe. Most are men. Some are terrorists. And all represent an ethnopolitical nightmare for the European Union.

What drives these migrants? Why, instead of seeking out nations with common ethnic and religious ties, do they instead head north and west, where few speak their language or share a common culture?

In Goodbye,Europe? Hello, Chaos? Merkel’s Migrant Bomb, former diplomat J. Michael Springmann provides an in-depth analysis of the migrant flood, its causes, and what it means for Europe. Building on arguments put forward in his previous work, Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World, the ex–State Department official and attorney reveals how US foreign policy created the crisis.

Springmann’s insider knowledge of US policy permeates this insightful, sometimes terrifying look at a world where migrants become weapons, nationalism is condemned, and civil liberties hang in the balance.

As the world watches the destruction of Syria and the flood of refugees into Europe, few bother to ask some important questions: Who benefits? Who provides refugees with the resources they need to head north and west? Why are most migrants male, and why is Europe a favored destination?

About our guest:

J. Michael Springmann, a career official with both the Commerce and State departments. He was economic/commercial officer in Stuttgart (1977–1980), a commercial attaché in New Delhi (1980–1982), a visa officer in Jeddah (1987–1989), a political/economic officer in Stuttgart (1989–1991), and, finally, an economic analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1991). He is the author of Visas for Al Qaedea: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World and Goodbye, Europe? Hello, Chaos? Merkel’s Migrant Bomb

Show Details for the week of May 15th, 2017

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Former FBI special agent Coleen Rowley on the firing of former FBI Director
  • Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern on the Russia story

More about this week’s guests:

0306-03[1]Coleen Rowley, is a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. Following Comey’s firing, she said: “In July 2013, I suggested in this New York Times op-ed that James Comey should answer a lot of hard questions before the Senate confirmed his appointment by Obama as FBI Director, explaining why he had signed off on the Bush administration’s torture, unlawful detention and illegal warrantless surveillance programs. But in 2013, the Senate barely scratched the surface before rushing to confirm Comey, ironically lauding his integrity. But if anyone in government actually cared about integrity and upholding the rule of law, maybe Comey ought not to have been hired in the first place! Comey’s unorthodox press briefings are far less significant to adherence to the Constitution than his prior illegal actions. But I doubt that his press statements in the lead-up to the election are actually why Comey was fired. Hillary Clinton’s campaign apparently suspects that Trump and gang just seized on the Clinton email investigation as an opportunistic way of getting rid of Comey and they may be right.”

mcgovern.cnn[1]

Ray McGovern’s 27-year career as a CIA analyst spanned administrations from John F. Kennedy to George H. W. Bush. He leads the “Speaking Truth to Power” section of Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. Ray’s duties included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief, which he briefed one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan’s five most senior national security advisers from 1981 to 1985. In January 2003, Ray co-created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to expose how intelligence was being falsified to “justify” war on Iraq.

 

Show Details for the week of May 8th, 2017

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On The Monitor this week:

I am unable to be in the studio this week. Rather than play an older show I am playing the last part of a documentary series made in 2004. The series “The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear” is a BBC television series by Adam Curtis. It mainly consists of archive footage, with Curtis narrating. The series was originally broadcast in the United Kingdom in 2004. It has subsequently been aired in multiple countries and shown at various film festivals, including the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

The film compares the rise of the neoconservative movement in the United States and the radical Islamist movement, drawing comparisons between their origins, and remarking on similarities between the two groups. More controversially, it argues that radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organisation, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is a myth, or noble lie, perpetuated by leaders of many countries—and particularly neoconservatives in the U.S.—in a renewed attempt to unite and inspire their people after the ultimate failure of utopian ideas. Part 3, played on the show this week is called “The Shadows in the Cave”. Short synopsis:

The neoconservatives use the September 11 attacks, with al-Fadl’s description of al-Qaeda, to launch the War on Terror. The final part addresses the actual rise of al-Qaeda. Curtis argues that, after their failed revolutions, bin Laden and Zawahiri had little or no popular support, let alone a serious complex organisation of terrorists, and were dependent on independent operatives to carry out their new call for jihad. However, the film argues that in order to prosecute bin Laden in absentia for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, U.S. prosecutors had to prove that he is the head of a criminal organisation responsible for the bombings. They find a former associate of bin Laden, Jamal al-Fadl, and pay him to testify that bin Laden is the head of a massive terrorist organisation called “al-Qaeda”. With the September 11 attacks, neoconservatives in the new Republican administration of George W. Bush use this invented concept of an organisation to justify another crusade against a new enemy, culminating in the launch of the War on Terror. After the American invasion of Afghanistan fails to uproot the alleged terrorist organisation, the Bush administration focuses inwards, searching unsuccessfully for terrorist sleeper cells in America. In 2003, they extend the War on Terror to a war on general perceived evils with the invasion of Iraq. The ideas and tactics also spread to the United Kingdom, where Tony Blair uses the threat of terrorism to give him a new moral authority. The repercussions of the neoconservative strategy are also explored, with an investigation of indefinitely-detained terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay, many allegedly taken on the word of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance without actual investigation on the part of the United States military, and other forms of “preemption” against non-existent and unlikely threats made simply on the grounds that the parties involved had the potential to become a threat. Curtis specifically attempts to allay fears of a dirty bomb attack, and concludes by reassuring viewers that politicians will eventually have to concede that some threats are exaggerated and others have no foundation in reality. He says, “In an age when all the grand ideas have lost credibility, fear of a phantom enemy is all the politicians have left to maintain their power.”the-power-of-nightmares-the-rise-of-the-politics-of-fear-33448

Show Details for the week of April 24th, 2017

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Race, War, Ethics, and the American Political Landscape with Wilmer J. Leon
  • What “Humanitarian Intervention” has actually meant in practice with David Gibbs

More about this week’s guests:

Wilmer J. Leon III, Ph.D. is a Political Scientist whose primary areas of expertise are Black Politics, American Government, and Public Policy.  For 11 years he was a Lecturer/Teaching Associate in the Political Science Department at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Currently, Dr. Leon is a nationally broadcast radio talk show host on SiriusXM Satellite radio channel 126, nationally syndicated columnist, and regular political commentator on national and international news programs.

Dr. Leon earned a BS degree in Political Science from Hampton Institute, a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from Howard University, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Howard University. He was a contributing author to Democratic Destiny and the District of Columbia (Lexington Books, 2010). His latest book is “Politics another Perspective: Commentary and Analysis on Race, War, Ethics, and the American Political Landscape. 2016 Author House.

Dr. Leon is a regular contributor to TruthOut.org, The Root.com, Politics In Color.com, BlackStar News.com, Black Agenda Report, Black Politics on the Web, and over 200 newspapers and other web sites across the country.  He can also be seen as a regular contributor and analyst on TV-One’s News On Now with Roland Martin, Press-TV and RT TV.

A serious void exists in the public discourse relating to the issues that directly and/or disproportionately impact the African-American community. Dr. Leon discusses issues such as the prison industrial complex, environmental racism, school vouchers, health care, crime policy, economic globalization, American domestic and foreign policy from as much of a non-biased and academically accurate perspective as possible.  Dr. Leon’s perspective and lectures are grounded in the history of the African American community and the radical tradition of African American scholarship.

David N GibssDavid N. Gibbs

 is professor of history at the University of Arizona, who specializes in international relations and military intervention. His most recent book is First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia from Vanderbilt University Press.

Quote: “U.S. policy is embarking on a reckless course, one that is unlikely to produce any positive results, either in terms of enhancing U.S. security or alleviating human suffering. Even if the policy is successful, regime change in Syria would only increase the ongoing chaos and humanitarian catastrophe, as the multiple rebel groups turn on each other. In general, the history of U.S. efforts at overthrowing dictators in such cases as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya has led to instability and many years of civil war, as well as new terrorist threats against the West. There is no reason to believe the situation in Syria would be any different. In addition, military interventions in Syria are sure to worsen U.S. relations with Russia, and will thus increase the risk of nuclear war.”

Recent Articles:

  • “Why Trump is Pushing the Doomsday Clock to the Brink of Midnight: Noam Chomsky Discussed Trump, Russia, History, and the Future at the University of Arizona,” Salon, April 2, 2017. For full text, click here. For French translation, click here. For Japanese translation, click here.
  • Interview with Joan Brunwasser, “Trump Might Actually Be Right about NATO?” OpedNews, July 23, 2016. For full text click here.
  • “The Future of NATO,” RT News, April 4, 2016. For full text, click here.
  • “Why the Srebrenica Massacre Should not be Used as an Excuse for Intervention,” History News Network, December 27, 2015. For full text, click here.