The curators of the nation’s foreign policy haven’t yet learned to manage their affairs as efficiently as (telephone sex talkers) Lori or Evita, but certainly they think of their wars and stratagems as works of conceptual art….The Reagan administration apparently wishes to make an avant-garde statement about America’s place and stature in the world. To what end. Or at what cost, nobody can say. Our geopoliticians don’t know what the United States stands to win in the event of a war with Iran, Iraq or any enemy as yet unannounced, but clearly the excitements of the moment demand something impressive in “a chain of development that may eventually find some form.” - Lewis H. Lapham, Harper’s, 1987
“We’re going to make our military so big, so strong and so great, so powerful that we’re never going to have to use it. We’re going to have a president who is respected by Putin, respected by Iran.” - Donald Trump, 2015
"The past is not dead; it's not even past".
- William Faulkner, novelist (1897 - 1962)
"It's déjà vu all over again."
- Yogi Berra
|Forward Force adaptive concept - Rheinmetall Protective Shield|
When an idea takes its place in military history, there's no question that the rest of history will be the decider of its value to humanity.
Let's cast the reel to 1983, when events began to demand we give up on old thinking, at least the Fortress America brand. Then, as now, we had our forces everywhere, but the fortress was no longer so well defined by two long ocean shores and two long stretches of border land.
Russia and China share borders with fourteen other countries, Brazil shares them with ten, and even Sudan and the Congo share borders with nine neighbors. That kind of situation places entirely different levels of national concern for a common defense. By virtue of its paucity of neighbors, the United States has been gracefully spared the security headaches of much of the rest of humanity. For two centuries. the national defense was spared from certain losses by virtue of its own power and the relative distance and lesser strength of many of its perceived enemies. But just by reading the news today, many would be hard pressed to explain those years to the grandchildren. Harder still, because the newest wizards of illusion and propaganda are at it overtime here in the merry old land of OZ, or E. Pluribus Unum.
The well known tenets of Fortress America thinking were made understandable and therefore believable to most Americans, at least as much as necessary, in wag-the-dog shows of force. Fortress America thinking was underpinned by decades-old propaganda, for many reasons. Politicians could pronounce adherence to and adoration of anything and everything from the constitution to the Marlboro man, but none of them had accounted for building collapse.
Mired in that mindset, when most Americans heard of "bombing buildings", their imagination still harkened to images of large building collapses in WWII allied air attacks played on movie theatre newsreels. Having broken the formerly impenetrable mold of the psyche of fear with propaganda behind Fortress America thinking, the new jihadists' military tactic would later be known to have led the list for presentation of a new propaganda to be inculcated in the public: Forward Force. Take the war to the enemy, like we never did before, even after Pearl Harbor. The new equation was "take the war to the enemy and keep it there." That was very new.
|President and Nancy Reagan at Memorial service (Nov 4, 1983)|
for Beirut Lebanon wounded and for Grenada.
On October 23, 1983, in Beirut, Lebanon, the ubiquitous fog of jihad first descended on the American mindset, and it took a 21,000 pound load of dynamite explosions designed to collapse a building on our servicemen and bring the nightmare home to the restless wizards behind the Fortress America propaganda. But for the moments after that terrible attack in Beirut, the military had already planned and tested operations (in Ocean Venture 81) devising a trump card for Reagan, in case such an occurrence would suit the need for a response. The control mechanism was set, and the event happened. The Beirut massacre was world news, but less than 48 hours after the Marines died, Reagan put the planned ruse in operation. Move the focus.
It took the aptly named launch of Operation Urgent Fury, "a lovely little war" in Grenada, as it was dubbed by a correspondent, to divert, confound and crap on any honest public discourse which might precipitate a concurrent collapse of the well-controlled Fortress America mentality.
The people behind the curtain, or in corporate-speak, the "stakeholders and shareholders", the directors, publishers and puppeteers of the great Fortress OZ-America hoax - they were in grave danger of being found out. But they knew what to do.
There was Grenada, this little Caribbean country which had recently and now so conveniently turned Marxist. Everyone knows: when you have Marxists, you have problems. So Reagan, in that guise, ordered in 7600 troops to the island, and helped turn it over to a military dictatorship which put into place shoot-to-kill orders as their first law for their new democracy.
Donaldson's cameraman tried to enter an interrogation room by breaching the outside concertina wire by pitching over it a large wood plank right on the window sill. The cameraman crawled the plank over the wire and right on through the window into the interrogation room, clutching his large TV camera and long boom microphone right into the active interrogation. When notified by one of the soldiers, the Sergeant in charge of the interrogation facility went outside to confront Donaldson. After being taunted by Donaldson in front of others, he planted the butt of his sidearm squarely above Donaldson's eyebrow, lacerating it. The sergeant received a formal reprimand and, later on, a cheer from his entire company upon entering the mess hall. Donaldson no doubt remembers that incident, even if he does not still show the scar.
And thus, with the 1980s and Reagan's imperial masquerade in full swing, the American OZ masters began to redefine the thinking the American public should have about their world. Forward Force. There were steps to be taken first. First, divert the attention of the press, especially the legions of the supercilious leap-frog news hounds like Donaldson. These pressmen needed to be controlled, but it is easy to control the narcissists. With their unknowing and unwitting help, the end game could be structured to mollify the protests while also deflecting interest from the unwanted existential metaphors humming in on the airwaves from Beirut, the ones that pointed to the inevitable: the impending collapse of Fortress America thinking. That was the easy part, to keep us thinking we have the walls and moats already built, at the ready and in place. And to maintain control, keep the press diverted back into a ever-failing retrograde attempt to emulate the independent gonzo journalism of the 60s and 70s. Grenada did its part. Perfect.
More to the point, however, was the great need to develop a longer term strategy to keep the public focus confused enough to actually believe their real worries were what to take to the weekend church picnic, and when to change that bad tire. So, like the astronaut, they planted the flag on the moon. By waving it - "it" being the phony wag-the-dog Caribbean war, Grenada, front and center to the tube, with the press fully in tow - Reagan and his bunch were poised to prescribe a potent but palatable potion of Franklin Roosevelt's famous emotional sedative, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself", which Mr. Roosevelt delivered in his first inaugural address to a clearly worried American public. (And, yes, Hitler and Japan were really, really something to worry about, then). Better to be seen out there fighting the bad guys close by than getting buried in a building by them in some far away desert. It not only sounded like a plan, it was a plan. It was a plan to buy time.
The new message would be delivered in the manner of the tall Texan president: "My fellow Americans, stay calm and collected; we have it all under control, and those people will pay." That would be quite enough to baffle the press and public alike, buying time until the new Forward Force military stratagems could be tested and put in place in "some future chain of development that might eventually find some form".
If jihadists of this order of explosive delivery are deluded religious fanatics, it may follow that home grown bomber Timothy McVeigh, who might now appear as a delusional revolutionary, thought just as little of killing nearly as many people in Oklahoma in 1995. He added to the general confusion, primarily because he was white. That bought time as well. How all that was weighed by the OZ masters is subject for another article.
- to be continued