October 30, 2001: Afghans warned over cluster bombs
The United States has begun broadcasting warnings to people in Afghanistan informing them how to tell the difference between unexploded cluster bomb units and airdropped food parcels -- both of which are yellow.
November 1, 2001: U.S. changes color of food aid
The Pentagon says it is changing the color of the food aid packages being dropped over Afghanistan because of fears they could be confused with unexploded cluster bombs.
April 2, 2003: Iraqi children may confuse rations, bomblets
The United Nations warned Wednesday that humanitarian food rations being distributed in Iraq by U.S.-led coalition forces are wrapped in the same yellow packaging as deadly so-called bomblets being airdropped by the coalition.
See also: Landmine Action
The Pentagon's New Map: in which Thomas P.M. Barnett, with the U.S. Naval War College, lays out the proposition that countries which obstruct globalization will soon be targets of the military.
Show me where globalization is thick with network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows, and collective security, and I will show you regions featuring stable governments, rising standards of living, and more deaths by suicide than murder. These parts of the world I call the Functioning Core, or Core. But show me where globalization is thinning or just plain absent, and I will show you regions plagued by politically repressive regimes, widespread poverty and disease, routine mass murder, and--most important--the chronic conflicts that incubate the next generation of global terrorists. These parts of the world I call the Non-Integrating Gap, or Gap.
The reason I support going to war in Iraq is not simply that Saddam is a cutthroat Stalinist willing to kill anyone to stay in power, nor because that regime has clearly supported terrorist networks over the years. The real reason I support a war like this is that the resulting long-term military commitment will finally force America to deal with the entire Gap as a strategic threat environment.
[via Follow Me Here]
Pax Americana is over. Challenges from Vietnam and the Balkans to the Middle East and September 11 have revealed the limits of American supremacy. Will the United States learn to fade quietly, or will U.S. conservatives resist and thereby transform a gradual decline into a rapid and dangerous fall?
Weapons of Precise Destruction: on how the armed unmanned warplanes which have been getting a workout in Afghanistan could be turned to assassination.
Saddam Hussein has not been seen publicly for the past year. He did not attend his recent 65th birthday celebration, despite the fact that young girls were dressed as suicide bombers--a sight that he must have hated to miss. But he has good reason to fear the outdoors. A Predator may be lurking there, patiently waiting for its intended prey--him.
[via Red Rock Eater]
NRO, Space Command, NASA Tout Common Language Of "Space Supremacy" at Conference: on the increased attention to military use of space, as demonstrated at this year's National Space Symposium.
Teets and U.S. Space Command Commander in Chief Gen. Ed Eberhart were not shy in reiterating the message that the U.S. controls the planet through control of planetary space. Teets updated an earlier saying of former NRO Director Keith Hall by proclaiming that "Afghanistan has reinforced something about space dominance: We have it, we like it, and we're going to keep it."
Civilian interests under NASA are bowing to the new realities of the military setting the agenda. NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe revealed that the agency's top budget priority for fiscal 2003 will be to spend close to $1 billion in nuclear propulsion, exploring both radioisotope thermal generators such as those used for Cassini, as well as possible mini-reactors for deep-space missions. O'Keefe, a former Navy secretary and Pentagon comptroller, also reiterated how well NASA had served the Pentagon in providing imagery for the Afghan war, such as SeaWiFS and Terra spacecraft images provided to the Navy. O'Keefe said that NASA was looking forward to providing agency resources for the "war on terror."
See also: Under Secretary of the Air Force Peter Teets Briefs on Space Transformation [via New World Disorder]
Sharonism: on the use of military force to solve Israel's diplomatic issues.
Sharonism is the political philosophy that military force decides all questions and politicians are no better than the armies at their command. Sharonism believes that the Middle East's future can be formulated through tank gun-sights, that a new regional political constellation favorable to Israel can be assembled by divisional maneuvers.
The Navy is planning ahead for the continued melting of the Arctic ice cap. With predictions that the ice cap could disappear by 2050, a symposium was held last year on Naval Operations in an Ice-Free Arctic. The report, which was released earlier this month but I haven't found on the web yet, is reported to focus on the challenges to the navy in patrolling a new ocean.
See also: Climate Change and Arctic Sea Ice: a Greenpeace report from 1999 on the non-military implications of the melting ice cap.
[via Follow Me Here]
Excerpts from the Nuclear Posture Review are now available. [via Cryptome]
Low-Yield Earth-Penetrating Nuclear Weapons
Despite the global sense of relief and hope that the nuclear arms race ended with the Cold War, an increasingly vocal group of politicians, military officials and leaders of America's nuclear weapon laboratories are urging the US to develop a new generation of precision low-yield nuclear weapons. Rather than deterring warfare with another nuclear power, however, they suggest these weapons could be used in conventional conflicts with third-world nations.
The Vice Guide to American Foreign Policy
Before September 11th the deal was this: The American people agreed to work their asses off and not ask questions about what the government was up to as long as the government promised to continue to provide the American way of life. As Ollie North put it, "the American people don't want to know." Then on September 11th, everything changed. A group of lunatics had been using foreign policy blunders abroad to vilify America and start a war. All Americans became victims of wrongdoings that none of them had anything to do with and the American way of life had become threatened.
For the first time in decades the American people want to know what's been going on behind their backs and the answers are not pretty.
[via wood s lot]
Smaller, deeper, hotter - the new nukes: on the return to a feeling that limited nuclear war is acceptable.
When Bush came to power, he brought with him very hard-line security advisers, some of whom had worked in think-tanks that had been diligently investigating new nuclear strategies that were uncannily like those of the early 1990s. Once in power, they were given their head, with the results that have been reported so widely this week.
What has surprised most people is the apparent willingness to consider using nuclear weapons first, using them on a small scale, and doing so on the assumption that this is a reasonable component of an international security policy. In reality, there should be very little surprise at this - a long-term feature of nuclear planning throughout the Cold War years was the idea that a limited nuclear war could be fought, and controlled, even when facing a heavily-armed opponent such as the Soviet Union.
Clumsy: on the timing of the Nuclear Posture Review leak.
Is it really a coincidence that a Pentagon document passed to the U.S. Congress in January is just now attracting so much attention? The question being raised again is as old as the atomic bomb itself. Are nuclear weapons only deterrents, in other words, weapons with no meaningful military use? Or does the use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield have to remain an option if they are to remain a plausible deterrent?
It looks very much like political management and the deliberate development of a threat scenario that this question is being revived just when U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney is on a tour of Europe and the Persian Gulf states, while President George W. Bush himself is promising Americans -- and his allies in the battle against terrorism -- further information about how Washington proposes to destroy the "axis of evil" Mr. Bush described in his State of the Union address in January. Whether it is good political management is another question.
If another country were planning to develop a new nuclear weapon and contemplating pre-emptive strikes against a list of non-nuclear powers, Washington would rightly label that nation a dangerous rogue state. Yet such is the course recommended to President Bush by a new Pentagon planning paper that became public last weekend. Mr. Bush needs to send that document back to its authors and ask for a new version less menacing to the security of future American generations.
Secret Plan Outlines the Unthinkable: William Arkin on the still classified portion of this year's Nuclear Posture Review, part of which was released publicly in January.
The Bush administration, in a secret policy review completed early this year, has ordered the Pentagon to draft contingency plans for the use of nuclear weapons against at least seven countries, naming not only Russia and the "axis of evil"--Iraq, Iran, and North Korea--but also China, Libya and Syria.
In addition, the U.S. Defense Department has been told to prepare for the possibility that nuclear weapons may be required in some future Arab-Israeli crisis. And, it is to develop plans for using nuclear weapons to retaliate against chemical or biological attacks, as well as "surprising military developments" of an unspecified nature.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has an alternate view of what the Nuclear Posture Review should encompass.
U.S. Military and Corporate Recolonization of the Congo: on the Congo unrest of the late 1990s and the U.S. involvement in the region.
The United States' involvement in Congo since before independence from Belgium in June 1960 has been steady, sinister, and penetrating. Most notable was the CIA's role in the overthrow (September 1960) and later assassination (January 1961) of Congo's first Prime Minister, the charismatic (and socialist) Patrice Lumumba. The full extent of U.S. machinations was not known for years, but the failure at the time of the United Nations to protect Lumumba was patent. And questions continue to linger over the mysterious plane crash in September 1961 that killed U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold as he was flying to the border town of Ndola to meet with Moise Tshombe, president of the breakaway Katanga Province. The plane fell from the sky, killing all aboard. Is it any wonder that in Congo today there is little trust of Washington or respect for the United Nations?
[via abuddhas memes]
U.S. Military Bases and Empire: a look at the history and use of foreign military bases by the U.S.
The United States, which has sought to maintain an imperial economic system without formal political controls over the territorial sovereignty of other nations, has employed these bases to exert force against those nations that have sought to break out of the imperial system altogether, or that have attempted to chart an independent course that is perceived as threatening U.S. interests.
Future Warfare and the Decline of Human Decisionmaking: as autonomous battle systems are improved, "humans may retain symbolic authority, but automated systems move too fast and the factors involved are too complex for real human comprehension." [via abuddhas memes]
BattleSwarm: recent Rand reports look at how to transform the U.S. military so it is more effective "across the spectrum: from open warfare, to terrorism, crime, and even radical social activism." John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt's In Athena's Camp and Swarming and the Future of Conflict describe BattleSwarm doctrine, which relies on small groups of highly mobile soldiers directing air and missile strikes. Swarming on the Battlefield, by Sean J. A. Edwards, looks at how the tactic has been used throughout history.