Category Archives: Military

Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear

Billy Graham was a preacher man equally intent on saving souls and soliciting financial support for his ministry. His success at the former is not subject to proof and his success at the latter is unrivaled. He preached to millions on every ice-free continent and led many to his chosen messiah.

Graham also left behind a United States government in which religion plays a far greater role than before he intruded into politics in the 1950s. The shift from secular governance to “In God We Trust” can be laid squarely at this minister’s feet.

Graham’s message was principally one of fear…fear of a wrathful god…

More from CounterPunch News

Posted by The NON-Conformist


How Haiti became poor


In case you missed it, the President of the United States called Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries “shitholes,” then pretended like he didn’t say it, but basically said it all over again.

This matters not just because it’s racist (the President is racist, in fact, he is professionally racist), because it’s vulgar (“shithole,” one of the all-time great swear words, is forever sullied by this), and because it’s catastrophically bad for foreign and domestic relations. It matters in part because of the history of Haiti, and the history of racist discourse about Haiti.

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, a professor of education and scholar who’s closely studied these narratives, writes:

The reason why White nationalists like 45 always name Haiti because the Haitian nation & people are unique. Haiti defeated Napoleon, threw off the chains of slavery, and exposed the lie of White supremacy & European imperialism. So there’s no end to their hatred for Haiti.

Jonathan Katz, a journalist and former AP correspondent in Haiti who wrote The Big Truck That Went By about Haiti’s 2010 earthquake and the cholera epidemic that followed, has a longer thread spelling out how these narratives about Haiti were generated and how they work. Here’s a thick excerpt:

In order to do a victory lap around the GDP difference between, say, Norway and Haiti, you have to know nothing about the history of the world. That includes, especially, knowing nothing real about the history of the United States… You’d have to not know that the French colony that became Haiti provided the wealth that fueled the French Empire — and 2/3 of the sugar and 3/4 of the coffee that Europe consumed…

You’d have to not realize that Haiti was founded in a revolution against that system, and that European countries and the United States punished them for their temerity by refusing to recognize or trade with them for decades. You’d have to not know that Haiti got recognition by agreeing to pay 150 million gold francs to French landowners in compensation for their own freedom. You’d have to not know that Haiti paid it, and that it took them almost all of the 19th century to do so.

You’d then have to not know that Haiti was forced to borrow some money to pay back that ridiculous debt, some of it from banks in the United States. And you’d have to not know that in 1914 those banks got President Wilson to send the US Marines to empty the Haitian gold reserve… [You’d] have to not know about the rest of the 20th century either—the systematic theft and oppression, US support for dictators and coups, the US invasions of Haiti in 1994-95 and 2004…

In short, you’d have to know nothing about WHY Haiti is poor (or El Salvador in kind), and WHY the United States (and Norway) are wealthy. But far worse than that, you’d have to not even be interested in asking the question. And that’s where they really tell on themselves… Because what they are showing is that they ASSUME that Haiti is just naturally poor, that it’s an inherent state borne of the corruption of the people there, in all senses of the word.

And let’s just say out loud why that is: It’s because Haitians are black.

Racists have needed Haiti to be poor since it was founded. They pushed for its poverty. They have celebrated its poverty. They have tried to profit from its poverty. They wanted it to be a shithole. And they still do.

If Haiti is a shithole, then they can say that black freedom and sovereignty are bad. They can hold it up as proof that white countries—and what’s whiter than Norway—are better, because white people are better. They wanted that in 1804, and in 1915, and they want it now.

The history of Haiti is weird because it is absurdly well-documented, yet totally poorly known. It’s hard not to attribute that to ideology. We don’t teach the Haitian Revolution the way we teach the American, or the French, or the Mexican, because it’s a complicated story. Kids are more likely to hear variations of “Haiti formed a pact with the devil to defeat Napoleon” (this is real thing, I swear) than Toussaint Louverture’s or Jean-Jacques Dessalines’s names.

Also, while Haiti’s revolution was an early, signature event in world history-the first time a European power would be overthrown by an indigenous army (but not the last)-the causes of Haiti’s poverty are basically identical with those of almost every poor nation around the world: a history of exploitation, bad debt, bad geopolitics, and bad people profiting off of that poverty (almost all of them living elsewhere). And this is basically true about poverty in American cities as well (with all the same attendant racist myths).

Posted by Tim Carmody

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Boeing Views Navy’s MQ-25 Carrier-Based Drone Contract As A Must Win

You wouldn’t think a company that just told Wall Street it will deliver over 800 jetliners this year would assign top priority to winning a Navy program aimed at buying a mere 76 unmanned aircraft, but that’s what Boeing has done. The world’s biggest aerospace company has decided the carrier-based MQ-25 drone is the beginning of a revolution in naval aviation, and it is determined to be on board.

MQ-25, popularly known as the Stingray, is the latest in a series of Navy efforts aimed at investigating how unmanned aircraft might be integrated into the air wings that fly off of its supercarriers. Large-deck aircraft carriers are the signature combat system of the joint force, and the Navy has been experimenting for two decades with ways in which drones might make its aviation arm more lethal, survivable and versatile. Now it thinks it has the answer: an aerial refueling drone that can extend the reach of carrier-based aircraft by hundreds of miles.

The basic idea is that MQ-25, carrying 15,000 pounds of fuel, would rendezvous with carrier-based fighters and jamming aircraft at the outer edge of their combat radius, giving them the legs to fly much further — maybe up to a thousand nautical miles from the carrier. This has major operational benefits. First, it enables the carrier to stay far away from hostile forces. Second, it frees up fighters currently used for aerial refueling to do other combat missions. Third, it provides a long-endurance drone that can also be used for collecting reconnaissance.

Boeing released this head-on view of its proposed MQ-25 drone design in December.

And perhaps most importantly, MQ-25 will enable the Navy to get comfortable with operating both manned and unmanned aircraft off the same deck. That is probably what intrigues Boeing, a contributor to my think tank, the most. The way Boeing sees it, using drones for tanking is just one facet of an impending sea change in naval aviation. Once the Navy gets comfortable with drones on flight decks, there are plenty of missions besides tanking to which unmanned technology might be applied.

The Navy tacitly acknowledged this when it selected the designation MQ, because “M” in military nomenclature means multimission (“Q” means unmanned). Having already experimented with drones as penetrating strike systems, counter-terror weapons and airborne intelligence collectors, the Navy has a good grasp of all the things a drone might do if it can fly off of an aircraft carrier. Aerial refueling just happens to be the most pressing mission. But that’s the mission where Boeing’s entry in the competition must prove itself.

It helps that Boeing has more experience than any other company in the world with aerial refueling, however it also has more experience than any competitor with naval aviation. The company has been selling planes to the Navy for nearly 90 years, and one of its heritage enterprises — McDonnell Douglas — built the first jet-powered aircraft to land on a carrier at sea. All of the strike fighters and jamming aircraft that fly off carrier decks today were manufactured by Boeing. Boeing very much wants to preserve its lead it in that business.

In order to do that, it has to build the first carrier-based drone that has ever entered serial production. Beyond the revolution in warfighting that this might ultimately portend, though, the company sees a second transformation in progress: the Naval Air Systems Command — NAVAIR — is reorganizing to deliver new technology to warfighters faster. Having long been locked in cutthroat competition with Airbus for dominance of the commercial transport market, Boeing thinks it has learned some lessons about how to bring disruptive technology to market quickly.

The Boeing proposal for MQ-25 leverages past work on sea-based drones and the company’s own internal investments to offer a fast path to initial operating capability, but at relatively low cost and with minimal risk. The main focus of the proposal is on satisfying the requirements of the tanking mission while demonstrating carrier suitability, but as per the Navy’s solicitation, the Boeing aircraft will include infrared and optical sensors plus provisions for a search radar. Competing entries from Lockheed Martin and General Atomics will presumably do the same.

Boeing has been reserved in discussing the features of its offering, but based on what is publicly known, naval expert Tyler Rogoway observed last month that the company is offering a “medium-altitude, medium-endurance unmanned platform which could be adapted to perform a whole series of roles beyond that of an aerial tanker.” The on-board reconnaissance capabilities of the drone will significantly enhance the situational awareness of carrier strike groups, and the large internal volume of the airframe could be readily adapted to diverse payloads.

However, the Navy has good reason for emphasizing the tanking mission. Roughly a quarter of its strike fighters are currently tied up providing aerial refueling to other fighters in the carrier air wing, and having a drone that can take over that mission would make the entire wing more lethal. MQ-25’s refueling capability will also be available to carrier-based Hawkeye radar planes, and to the stealthy F-35C fighter when it joins the fleet. The range and endurance improvement this will deliver to the carrier air wing will help address rising threats, particularly in the Western Pacific.

For Boeing, though, the MQ-25 has a larger meaning. It potentially offers a pathway to the future of naval warfare at a time when production of the company’s carrier-based Super Hornets is gradually being eclipsed by the F-35C. Like the Air Force’s TX trainer, MQ-25 is an opportunity to continue building smaller military aircraft until the next generation of strike fighters materializes. Because Boeing tries to balance its business between commercial and military markets, the company is determined to do what it must to win the competition for the first unmanned aircraft to join the Navy’s carrier air wings.

By  Loren Thompson/Forbes

Posted by The NON-Conformist