US Politics

Intervention in other countries

There are at least three types of intervention in the affairs of another country. One is by subversion, money or both. This applies for example to the activities of Fidel Castro in Latin America or US financial support for the Christian Democrats in Italy. Is there a list of the amounts the US has given to political parties in different countries? All countries use their ambassadors to influence the government of the host country. but they risk being declared persona no grata for interfering in the country's domestic affairs.The most blatant form of intervention in another country is military, often carried out under the pretext of defending one's own citizens resident there. Aristide of Haiti offers an interesting case. He claims he was handcuffed by the US military and forced out, while Colin Powell denied this and said he had left voluntarily. The truth probably is that he wanted to go to Panama to take part in Haitian politics from a distance. The US wanted him as far away from Haiti as possible and chose the Central African Republic, reimbursing it for any expenses involved. There `probably is a `proviso that he not be allowed to leave the country.

All these forms of intervention are quite different from that of an individual entering the political life of another country and participating in it personally. There are few cases: Tom Paine in France, De Valera in Ireland, Lady Astor in England. We have not yet received a reply to our question about Hitler's Austrian citizenship. When dud he become a German citizen?

Richard Perle Resigns

Mike Sullivan says: "I see that Defense Policy Board member, Richard Perle, has resigned after 17 years service as he wants to be able to speak about the recent book he co-authored with David Frum advocating bold action against Iran, N Korea and other sponsors of terrorism, including Saudi Arabia. He said his views are his own, but they are usually controversial and often confused with those of the Administration. He wants to be able to defend his views without involving the Department of Defense or the Administration during a political campaign year. I didn't realize that the Board is nonpartisan and the member serve without pay. They have no decision making capability and exist to offer "thinking out of the box" to give the Secretary of Defense different opinions from those working for him daily in the Pentagon". RH: What Perle proposes is certainly thinking outside the box. The Board may be nonpartisan, but the Administration nominates people it likes. It is not clear if Perle left peacefully or is there was a fight over his grand, or rather grandiose design.

Mike Sullivan sais: "Defense Policy Board member, Richard Perle, has resigned after 17 years service as he wants to be able to speak about the recent book he co-authored with David Frum advocating bold action against Iran, N Korea and other sponsors of terrorism, including Saudi Arabia. I didn't realize that the Board is nonpartisan and the member serve without pay". From the UK, John Heelan says: "Mike Sullivan might be somewhat naive in believing that the representatives of the dense industry sitting on the Defense Policy Board are *unpaid*!" RH: Members of the board have various motives for serving on the board. Some, like Perle, have ties to the defense industry, for some it is a chance to visit Washington at government expense and perform a patriotic duty.

What worries me is the policy Perle and Frum promote. "Bold action" against Iran, North Korea and Saudi Arabia sounds like a recipe for world war. Presumably Perle and Frum will now go on a book tour to promote their ideas. Is this a government ploy to soften the public up for such action? We do not know. Perle frightens me.

Miles Seeley writes: "In the course of the past few years, I have become increasingly alarmed at the policies articulated by Perle, Wolfowitz, and to a lesser extent Rumsfeld and Cheney. The idea of proposing we go to war against nations we do not like - because they allegedly support terrorists or have nuclear ambitions- is indeed frightening. Pre-emptive war is a notion we have never, to my knowledge, entertained before. In social matters I am liberal, in fiscal matters conservative, so there is little for me to admire in the policies of President Bush, but our increasing isolation from our former allies, and our international inflexibility, have been of greatest concern to me.

I think there is sufficient evidence that Mr. Perle, for example, in his unpaid position on the Defense Policy Board, had great influence in the Administration and, of course, no accountability. I have heard him speak several times (as I have also heard Mr Wolfowitz) and found their arguments specious and their answers to tough questions inadequate. They often use the politicians' tactic of changing the subject rather than answering the question.

In any case, it appears that the forecasts of the neo-cons prior to the invasion of Iraq have proven mostly wrong, from the WMD mess to the idea that the Iraqis would welcome us with open arms, and to the notion that getting rid of Saddam would result in a significant decline in terrorism. So I must wonder why anyone would believe that their ideas about how to deal with Iran, North Korea, Syria, and especially Saudi Arabia, are right. I note that even Mr. Bush seems to have been backing away, slightly, from the notions of Mr. Perle and company. Unfortunately, he is a little late.

Finally, I have followed the regime of Muammer Khaddafi fairly closely over many years. He may be many things, some of them pretty bad, but he is very smart. To renounce nuclear and chemical and biological weapons programs at this time was very well timed. His economy has suffered despite Libya having plenty of natural resources; and that is due in part to his exclusion of foreign companies and the embargoes. In one stroke, he has changed all that".

Defense Policy and Contracts

John Heelan says: "Perhaps the following defense contract values suggest why some of members of the Defense Policy Board relish their appointments".


(Format : Position; Defense Contracts 2001: Defense Contracts 2002

Philip Morris Companies Board Member $153,388,337 $146,335,573
Rand Corp Trustee $62,423,257 $83,512,278

AAR Corporation Board Member $65,803,654 $87,821,945
DERCO Aerospace Board Member $13,883,258 $13,725,437
ICN Pharmaceuticals Board Member $30,000 $49,120
The Mitre Corp. Board Member $440,641,017 $474,293,940
North American Airlines Board Member $4,889,880 $624,385,094
Rolls-Royce North America Board Member $345,065,274 $266,433,147
Thales-Raytheon Board Member $3,894,808 $115,280,830
World Airways Board Member $(692,986) $(1,110,514)

Alliant Techsystems Board Member $493,830,461 $674,013,008
DigitalNet Government Solutions Board Member $44,085,906 $54,016,945
ManTech International Corp. Advisory Board $166,059,013 $210,213,983
The Mitre Corp. Trustee $440,641,017 $474,293,940
Northrop Grumman Corp. Advisory Board $5,152,610,683 $8,732,668,154
Technology Strategies and Alliance Corporation President $1,304,810 $60,578
Wackenhut Services Chairman $3,208,308 $14,056,103

Johns Hopkins University Board Member $267,143,496 $461,776,483

Microvision Board Member $7,508,869 $5,470,165
Nortel Networks Corp. Board Member $1,680,610 $271,421
Polycom Inc. Board Member $365,853 $178,772
Symantec Corp. Board Member $95,741 $1,069,086
ViaSat Inc. Board Member $27,442,414 $54,623,408

The Mitre Corp. Trustee $440,641,017 $474,293,940
Henry M. Jackson Foundation Trustee $11,326,982 $12,490,379

Bechtel Senior Vice President $643,633,530 $1,030,847,151

Boeing Lobbyist $13,979,871,122 $17,325,629,858
Northrop Grumman Corp. Lobbyist $5,152,610,683 $8,732,668,154
TRW Lobbyist $1,903,297,527 $2,026,546,041

Booz Allen Hamilton Vice President (Joined 2002) $435,015,272 $687,553,097

All contract figures are for parent companies, except Derco Aerospace and Thales-Raytheon, which together add $19 billion to the total.

*Merrill was appointed president and chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States in December 2002. He is no longer serving on the Defense Policy Board.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Southern view of the Civil War

Christopher Jones says frankly what other Southerners keep to themselves: "The "War between the States or the War of Southern Secession" was the first conflict where propaganda played a major role. What enrages most Yankees is the fact that the Southerners had the last laugh in the propaganda war with Margaret Mitchell's magnificent Gone with the Wind. In fact, they tried to mold public opinion and poison minds back in 1852 with Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" which served to kindle the criminal activities of John Brown's abolitionists. In general, the real reason for the conflict have been buried under Yankee propaganda -- the war was a war about States' rights and in particular the right to raise militias and name their commanding officers. Slavery was a very minor affair and this is proved by the date on Lincoln's emancipation proclamation.

What Randy Black raised is interesting: just as some French conservatives have rehabilitated Napoleon III (sovereign during the American Civil War) at the same time, they have discreetly rehabilitated the CSA as a more European and pro France regime than the nefarious US Yankees. This French reappraisal of the CSA came against the backdrop of the discovery of the wreck of the Confederate raider Alabama off the coast of Cherbourg. (and a certain friction over ownership of the wreck with the US Navy) If I were ever to write about the war, I would concentrate on its naval history because of family ties to the Confederate Navy".

Tim Ashby comments on Christopher Jones' account of the Civil War: "In Thomas Shaara's book, The Killer Angels, there's a wonderful scene in which Yankee Col. Joshua Chamberlain interviews a pair of Confederate POWs. "What are you fighting for?" asks Chamberlain. In thick Mississippi accents, the Rebs respond: "We're fightin' for our rats." The Colonel looks puzzled, until he realizes what sounds like "rats" is actually "rights." Many Southern units actually elected their officers. Prior to the Gettysburg campaign, some North Carolina regiments actually voted on legal and moral grounds whether to invade Northern territory. Those that voted against crossing the Potomac were not punished".


Ronald Hilton -