Ashton Carter (continued): Let’s roll and blow up Korea

On the evening of (Dutch) Santa Claus I was not the only one reading with raised eyebrows about the appointment of Ashton Carter as defence secretary in the US. Simon Maloy too, writing on the Salon webside, had something to say although he of course was unaware of the way in which the newspapers I commented on, NRC and Het Parool, gave their silly verdicts on this appointment.

In my other piece I cited writings of Carter’s in which he made detailed predictions about 9/11; Maloy has done some further research and found that the new minister in 2006 co-authored an op-ed piece in the Washington Post with William Perry in which they advocated shooting down a North Korean missile right at the moment of its (test) launch.

Three years earlier, Maloy found, Carter in an interview disclosed that he, when still working at the Pentagon under the presidency of Bill Clinton, conducted a war game to simulate air attacks on a North Korean nuclear power plant. Such an attack might trigger a conflict in which tens of thousands of Koreans and Americans might lose their lives but according to Carter that risk should be accepted to prevent the production of a North Korean nuclear weapon. In the 2003 interview in which Carter disclosed this episode the ‘politically not motivated’ minister repeated that the risks were horrendous but had to be accepted for the good of the cause.

In addition he explained that the precision attack on the nuclear plant might also entail an enormous fire in which all radioactive material would spill into the air. But that as well as a new Korean war was still worth it. Anything to prevent that a nuclear weapon would end up in the hands of the North Koreans.

And all that began in a car wash in Philadelphia where young Carter was employed (but spoke up too brashly –at that time already!). And then of course the fishing vessel, and the suicide help line. And let’s not forget the physics Ph D—you really must know that!

And yet the relevant information is only one click away. Thus the ‘unknown’ Ashton Carter in the past was also a partner, director or advisor of the following defence contractors: Global Technology Partners, the MITRE Corporation, Mitretek Systems, MIT Lincoln Laboratory and Draper Laboratory Corporation. In the old days, and as far as I am concerned, still today, that was called the military-industrial complex. In addition he was an adviser of Goldman Sachs. And then I am not counting memberships of the groups in which one gathers the real inside information such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the even more exclusive Aspen Group.

Isn’t it really worthwhile to know these things if a man is slotted to lead the Pentagon? And then, what value should we attach to what Dutch and other newspapers write about other topics, if in matters that are so simple and easy to find, we are left in the dark?

Kees van der Pijl

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