Thursday, December 16, 2010

Swinging Dick

Hit men used to wait by the phone, waiting for a contract from a "name" gangster. The guys who made their bones on orders from Costello, Genovese, Gambino, Gigante, etc. during the mid twentieth century

A "name" is anyone who made the papers, preferably twice.

After carrying out the hit -- which, at the end of the day, comes at manageable risk if your boss knows a judge or has a prosecutor on retainer -- the guy who used to wait by the phone, is not waiting any more. Now he's a name too.

When Lieutenant William Calley executed 22 Vietnamese outside the village of My Lai -- a highlight of Washington's Asian ethic cleansing operation, the "Phoenix Program" -- he characterized the nature of modern war. The 22 were innocent. But the profits of war need enemies and civilian death tolls to camouflage this equation.

Likewise, when a Wall Street trader cons an investor into underwriting a trade the trading house rich, while the investor loses, his colleagues honor him, with the title "Big Swinging Dick." Since war is the biggest profit-maker Wall Street knows, Holbrooke was honored by major US banks for his diplomatic work.

Though Holbrooke worked for Democratic administrations, and Kissinger, for the Republicans, Dick Holbrooke carried out contracts that paralleled those of Henry Kissinger, such as delivering diplomatic relations to China during the Carter Administration in 1979, while perpetuating the war industries right to sell weapons to Taiwan.

Holbrooke often delivered Pentagon ultimatums, which is a little different than diplomacy. He wrote a damning condemnation of war itself in a section of the secret Pentagon Papers which reveals that ethnic cleansing in Vietnam had no strategic function, (i.e. Vietnam was no US enemy) but was carried out for its psychological effects, mostly on Americans.

He attended the 1968-69 Paris "Peace" Talks, which Nixon used to claim he was seeking to end the Vietnam War. (War ends when soldiers go home).

He oversaw an end of the Bosnia conflict, in which the US used Al Qaida fighters against the Serbs. He told Slobodan Milosevic that the US would start bombing his capital if Milosevic didn't get his troops out of Kosova. No one expected Milosevic to relent, as his leadership role depended upon it.

War makers need to trot out "diplomats" in front of television cameras to make the practice of war seem like some mysterious, complex business, rather than a cover for consolidating public wealth in the hands of a few high tech and heavy industry firms with US generals on their boards.

He got millions from Lehman Brothers and Credit Swiss, which underwrite weapons interests.

Holbrooke died while handling "diplomacy" (or public relations) for another ethnic cleansing operation, this one against the populations of Afghanistan and Pakistan incursions.

In other words, he was only a "diplomat" for conflicts characterized by the use of force. Holbrooke was what the character played by Marlon Brando in "The Godfather" referred to as "a wartime consigliori [advisor]."

Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan diffused almost 100 percent of the conflicts taking place in hotspots all over the world, before they became wars. Of course, that was when banks had other ways to make money.

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