Daily Archives: March 18, 2012

In the future, I’m right: Letter from Aldous Huxley to George Orwell over 1984 novel sheds light on their different ideas

“The lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.”

Daily Mail | Mar 7, 2012

By Rob King


The novel 1984 predicted a different world to that envisaged by Aldous Huxley

They were both critically acclaimed writers who were ahead of their time, creating imaginative visions of the future in their novels.

But an enlightening letter sent by Aldous Huxley to his fellow author George Orwell more than 60 years ago reveals that the two men had very different ideas of how the world would change.

Huxley’s 1949 letter – the latest addition to a website that collects fascinating missives from the past – praises Orwell for the novel 1984, which offers a terrifying portrayal of a future totalitarian society.

But the late California-based author – who had coincidentally taught Orwell more than three decades earlier – went on to focus on the differences between Orwell’s vision and that revealed in his own masterpiece.

His novel Brave New World, published 17 years before Orwell’s, had foreseen a society characterised by medicated contentment, a widely accepted, eugenics-supported caste system, and a government-enforced obsession with consumerism.

But Orwell’s novel presented a nightmarish vision and gave birth to the phrases ‘Big Brother’, ‘thought crime’ and ‘double think’, all now commonly used to describe increasing state control.

The book was later made into a film starring John Hurt, Richard Burton and Suzanna Hamilton.

In the letter Huxley began by echoing the positive reviews for 1984, telling Orwell ‘how fine and how profoundly important the book is’.

Going on to focus on the differences between their predictions, however, Huxley wrote: ‘The philosophy of the ruling minority in Nineteen Eighty-Four is a sadism which has been carried to its logical conclusion by going beyond sex and denying it.

‘Whether in actual fact the policy of the boot-on-the-face can go on indefinitely seems doubtful.

‘My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World.’

The letter was written at Huxley’s California home in October 1949, a few months after the release of Orwell’s book.

It has been added to the website Letters of Note, which gathers and posts fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos.

The relationship between the two authors began in 1917, while Huxley was a tutor at Eton and Orwell was a pupil. Huxley taught French.

Huxley’s other students at Eton included the writer and scholar, Harold Acton.

ALDOUS HUXLEY’S LETTER IN FULL…

Wrightwood. California.
21 October, 1949

Dear Mr. Orwell,

It was very kind of you to tell your publishers to send me a copy of your book.

It arrived as I was in the midst of a piece of work that required much reading and consulting of references; and since poor sight makes it necessary for me to ration my reading, I had to wait a long time before being able to embark on Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Agreeing with all that the critics have written of it, I need not tell you, yet once more, how fine and how profoundly important the book is.

May I speak instead of the thing with which the book deals — the ultimate revolution?

The first hints of a philosophy of the ultimate revolution — the revolution which lies beyond politics and economics, and which aims at total subversion of the individual’s psychology and physiology — are to be found in the Marquis de Sade, who regarded himself as the continuator, the consummator, of Robespierre and Babeuf.

The philosophy of the ruling minority in Nineteen Eighty-Four is a sadism which has been carried to its logical conclusion by going beyond sex and denying it.

Whether in actual fact the policy of the boot-on-the-face can go on indefinitely seems doubtful.

My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World.

I have had occasion recently to look into the history of animal magnetism and hypnotism, and have been greatly struck by the way in which, for a hundred and fifty years, the world has refused to take serious cognizance of the discoveries of Mesmer, Braid, Esdaile, and the rest.

Partly because of the prevailing materialism and partly because of prevailing respectability, nineteenth-century philosophers and men of science were not willing to investigate the odder facts of psychology for practical men, such as politicians, soldiers and policemen, to apply in the field of government.

Thanks to the voluntary ignorance of our fathers, the advent of the ultimate revolution was delayed for five or six generations.

Another lucky accident was Freud’s inability to hypnotize successfully and his consequent disparagement of hypnotism.

This delayed the general application of hypnotism to psychiatry for at least forty years.

But now psycho-analysis is being combined with hypnosis; and hypnosis has been made easy and indefinitely extensible through the use of barbiturates, which induce a hypnoid and suggestible state in even the most recalcitrant subjects.

Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.

In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World.

The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency.

Meanwhile, of course, there may be a large scale biological and atomic war — in which case we shall have nightmares of other and scarcely imaginable kinds.

Thank you once again for the book.

Yours sincerely,

Aldous Huxley

TSA Nabs Suspected Al Queda Terrorist At O’Hare International Airport, A toddler in a wheelchair

Uploaded by mattonair on Mar 17, 2012

A toddler in a wheelchair is stopped by the TSA at ORD (O’Hare Airport in Chicago) and forced to into a sequestered area. On his way to a family vacation in Disney, this 3 year old boy is in a body cast for a broken leg. Despite assurances from his father that “everything is ok”, he is physically trembling with fear while he watches his two siblings, mother, father, grandfather and grandmother pass through along with everyone else…only to be singled out.

He simply does not understand what is happening and why.

NSA building massive $2 billion heavily fortified spy complex

End the Lie | Mar 18, 2012

By Madison Ruppert

Deep in the heart of Mormon country in Bluffdale, Utah – home of America’s largest polygamist sect known as the Apostolic United Brethren – the National Security Agency (NSA) is constructing a surveillance center the likes of which the world has never seen.

This facility, which is projected to be operational around September 2013, is in fact so large that it actually required Bluffdale to expand the town boundaries and once finished will be over five times the size of the U.S. Capitol, according to Wired.

Dubbed the Utah Data Center, the complex is being built by contractors who all possess top secret clearance, evidence of the highly secretive nature of the project.

The sheer amount of information the NSA will be collecting at this facility is nothing short of shocking.

They will be intercepting, deciphering and analyzing data from satellites and networks both foreign and domestic – signaling the realization of the goal of the so-called total information awareness program hatched during George W. Bush’s first term.

While this program was allegedly shut down by Congress in 2003 due to its clear potential for violating the privacy of countless Americans, it has been replaced by other programs operating under different names.

Some of these involve the private sector through corporations like Google (which is soon to count the current head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) among their ranks) and DARPA-funded Facebook, while others simply operate without a formal project name, as is the case with the activities which will go on at the Utah Data Center.

At this facility the NSA will be spying on every single form of communication, ranging from the entirety of private emails, cell phone calls, Google searches and other internet activity, to data on travel, parking receipts, purchases at bookstores, and anything and everything they can get their hands on.

This was the explicit goal of the total information awareness program but now through social media monitoring and the help of companies like Google who specialize in data collection, no such goal must ever be explicitly outlined to the public which is by and large ignorant of these activities.

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“We Are This Far From A Turnkey Totalitarian State” – Big Brother Goes Live September 2013

zerohedge.com | Mar 17, 2012

by Tyler Durden

George Orwell was right. He was just 30 years early.

In its April cover story, Wired has an exclusive report on the NSA’s Utah Data Center, which is a must read for anyone who believes any privacy is still a possibility in the United States: “A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks…. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.”… The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013.” In other words, in just over 1 year, virtually anything one communicates through any traceable medium, or any record of one’s existence in the electronic medium, which these days is everything, will unofficially be property of the US government to deal with as it sees fit.

The codename of the project: Stellar Wind.

As Wired says, “there is no doubt that it has transformed itself into the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever created.”

And as former NSA operative William Binney who was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician, and is the basis for the Wired article (which we guess makes him merely the latest whistleblower to step up: is America suddenly experiencing an ethical revulsion?), and quit his job only after he realized that the NSA is now openly trampling the constitution, says as he holds his thumb and forefinger close together. “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.”

There was a time when Americans still cared about matters such as personal privacy. Luckily, they now have iGadgets to keep them distracted as they hand over their last pieces of individuality to the Tzar of conformity. And there are those who wonder just what the purpose of the NDAA is.

In the meantime please continue to pretend that America is a democracy…

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Man’s home invaded by government search of fish tanks


Mike Baynes said he felt the inspection team invaded his privacy, when they came looking for a marijuana grow-op. (CBC)

Surrey, B.C., resident targeted by inspectors looking for marijuana grow-op

CBC News | Mar 5, 2012

By Kathy Tomlinson

A B.C. man who raises tropical fish said his home and privacy were invaded when local enforcement agencies knocked on his door while looking for a marijuana grow operation, and then forced him to pay for an electrical inspection and upgrade his fish-tank operation.

“I felt violated,” said Mike Baynes, 67, from Surrey, B.C. “When they came in here and saw no grow-op, I think they should have said ‘I’m sorry Mike,’ and then turned around and walked out.”

Baynes is one of 128 Surrey residents who don’t have grow operations, but were nevertheless subjected to searches and electrical repair orders in recent months because they use a lot of hydro.

“I think that is an invasion of privacy,” he said. “I don’t think that the City of Surrey has anything to do with my hydro consumption.”

Seven B.C. municipalities, including Surrey, are registered with BC Hydro to get monthly lists of all customers who use more than three times the daily average amount of power.

Teams have police escort

Teams of electrical and fire inspectors then go out to the homes they suspect could be marijuana grow operations to conduct searches, with the RCMP standing by outside.

Residents first get a written notice that says if they don’t consent to a search within 48 hours, the team will seek a warrant.

“I heard a noise outside, and then when I went and looked I had this big yellow notice stuck on my door,” said Baynes. Because he wasn’t doing anything illegal, Baynes said he had no problem giving his permission. In hindsight, he said, he wishes he’d asked more questions.

“They come in, they look around, different guys wander around here and there and the electrical inspector comes in and he looks at the power bars under the aquariums and he says, ‘I don’t like those power bars on the floor,’” said Baynes.

“I misunderstood the system. I didn’t know that they had the powers to order a safety electrical inspection.”

$800 cost to resident

Baynes said he was ordered to hire an electrician to look at his 19 fish tanks, which cost him $800. He added it was cheaper than it could have been because as a retired electrician he did some of the work.

“I think [municipal inspectors] have to justify their existence,” Baynes said. “They turned around and said, ‘We can’t find [any grow op] but — just in case — slap. Do this. And some of the quotes I got [for electricians] were $3,000.”

The electrician who did the inspection confirmed Baynes did nothing wrong, but some of his wiring wasn’t up to code. Baynes then made some upgrades to his fish tanks, which he felt were unnecessary.

“I was picked on,” he said.

Statistics show, for the first time last year, more often than not the Surrey teams found no illegal grow-ops at homes they inspected. In 2011, they found 82 marijuana grow operations, but also issued 128 electrical repair notices to law-abiding residents like Baynes.

“When you don’t find anything — and you still look for a reason [to issue an order] — I call that harassment,” he said. “And I’m paying for that. I pay taxes here.”

Surrey fire Chief Len Garis told CBC News that since the program started in 2005, the teams have inspected 2,253 homes, of which 1,158 were confirmed as illegal grow operations. Those homeowners were fined between $2,300 and $3,600, Garis said.

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Narcotic task force and child services steal children from California medical marijuana patients

End the Lie | Mar 18, 2012

By Madison Ruppert

On the morning of September 29, 2011, around 8 AM, the Butte Interagency Narcotic Task Force (BINTF) out of Butte, California, forced their way into the home of Jayme Walsh and his wife Daisy Bram.

The officers then arrested the two parents and with the help of Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Child Services Division of Butte County, seized their children.

Zeus, a 3-week-old suckling newborn was forcibly removed from the arms of his mother, and along with his 15-mont-old brother Thor, they were both placed in the home of a stranger, where they remained for four months.

You can hear the disturbing audio of the arrest in the video below. You can hear Jayme Walsh trying to calm Daisy Bram down while they are taking her children, which is clearly quite distressing to her for obvious reasons.

“Nothing Personal”

To clarify a bit of the audio, Walsh says that the charge of possession of ammunition by a felon was the result of police discovering a single old shotgun shell which was left on the property by the occupants. Walsh says that the charges were dismissed and that he is being regarded as a “felon” for a prior conviction some 12 years ago.

Walsh contends that prior to this quite disturbing incident, he “had not even gotten so much as a speeding ticket in years.”

Neither Thor nor Zeus had ever spent time away from their parents, so one can assume that this was likely quite a traumatic experience for the two children.

On September 7, 2011, three weeks before the BINTF and CPS burst into their home and stole their children, two deputies from Butte County Sheriff’s Office trespassed onto a clearly marked private road.

This came after Bram and Walsh had witnessed sheriff’s helicopters fly over their area all summer.

The deputies made their way around a locked and gated driveway and then onto the property of Bram and Walsh’s remote home located somewhere on a mountain in Concow, California.

The deputies claimed they were there for a so-called “compliance check” – which is a nice way to make an end run around probable cause and the entire Fourth Amendment in order to illegally “access to private homes to investigate legal medicinal cannabis gardens for potential arrest and prosecution,” according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Legislation (NORML).

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Knights Templar cease fire for Pope’s visit

AFP | Mar 19, 2012

THE Knights Templars drugs cartel is calling a short truce – but only to welcome Pope Benedict XVI to Mexico.

“They did put up signs announcing this,” a Guanajuato state government source told AFP privately on Sunday.

The Knights Templars are holding off on all violent action, we are not killers, welcome to the Pope,” the official said paraphrasing one of the signs put up in the town of Irapuato, Guanajuato state.

The signs were seen in at least seven towns statewide.

The Pope arrives March 23 in Leon, in the neighbouring state of Michoacan, where the Knights Templars were founded.

President Felipe Calderon has launched a military crackdown against the cartels battling it out for control of the lucrative drug trade, in which some 50,000 Mexicans have lost their lives since 2006.

Is the U.S. covering for additional troops involved in Afghan massacre?

End the Lie | Mar 18, 2012

By Madison Ruppert

Rumors and eyewitness accounts have been circulating since the news first broke of the massacre of Afghan civilians, including women and children, which left 16 dead.

Most of these focus on casting doubt on the American account of a lone wolf gunman acting completely on his own without the involvement of any other soldiers.

However, it is not pure rumor; indeed a probe conducted by the Afghan parliament determined that up to 20 American troops were involved in the killing.

According to Pajhwok Afghan News, the nine-member parliamentary probe spent two days in the southern Kandahar province conducting interviews with the families of the victims, tribal elders, as well as survivors while collecting evidence at the site of the brutal slayings in the Panjwai district.

Hamidzai Lali, a lawmaker representing the Kandahar province at the Wolesi Jirga, told Pajhwok Afghan News, that their probe concluded that there were anywhere between 15 to 20 American soldiers involved in the murders.

“We closely examined the site of the incident, talked to the families who lost their beloved ones, the injured people and tribal elders,” he said.

Lali stated that the attack lasted an entire hour and involved two different groups of American soldiers.

“The villages are one and a half kilometer[s] from the American military base. We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within one hour at the same time, and the 16 civilians, most of them children and women, have been killed by the two groups,” he said.

Lali has called for the Afghan government along with the United Nations and the rest of the international community to make sure that those who were responsible for the killings are brought to justice in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, that looks almost entirely unlikely due to the fact that the soldier allegedly responsible for the killing spree has already been returned to Kansas, far out of the reach of the Afghan government.

Lali expressed anger with the fact that the soldier was flown out of Afghanistan, although at the time of his comments he was in Kuwait, whereas now he is all the way back in the United States.

He issued a somewhat grave warning from the people that they had met with concerning the massacre.

Lali stated that if those troops who were responsible were not punished, they would launch a movement in opposition to the Afghans who had agreed to the presence of foreign soldiers during the first Bonn conference back in 2001.

According to Lali, the Wolesi Jirga – Afghanistan’s “Assembly of the People,” the lower house of the Afghan parliament – will not stop their quest for justice until the killers were prosecuted in Afghanistan.

Of course, the United States is wholly opposed to subjecting American troops to the laws of the countries in which they operate, as this would open many soldiers up to criminal prosecution for their activities.

“If the international community does not play its role in punishing the perpetrators, the Wolesi Jirga would declare foreign troops as occupying forces, like the Russians,” Lali warned.

As I reported last year, polls have shown that the majority of the people in Afghanistan already see the foreign troops as occupying forces, and I bet that if I lived there I would feel exactly the same.

Even as an outsider, I find our sustained presence and the murder of Afghans that comes with it wholly deplorable, unnecessary and unacceptable.

The American military seeks to keep their soldiers as immune as possible when it comes to prosecution in foreign lands, in order to enable brutal activities which are likely illegal under the domestic law of the nations they are operating in.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been making some heated statements and demands, although it now appears that these may be nothing more than an attempt to pacify the rightfully angered people of Afghanistan.

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Afghan Parliamentary probe finds up to 20 US troops, rather than just Sgt. Robert Bales, executed massacre

Up to 20 US troops executed Panjwai massacre: probe

pajhwok.com | Mar 15, 2012

by Bashir Ahmad Naadimon

KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): A parliamentary probe team on Thursday said up to 20 American troops were involved in Sunday’s killing of 16 civilians in southern Kandahar province.

The probing delegation includes lawmakers Hamidzai Lali, Abdul Rahim Ayubi, Shakiba Hashimi, Syed Mohammad Akhund and Bismillah Afghanmal, all representing Kandahar province at the Wolesi Jirga and Abdul Latif Padram, a lawmaker from northern Badakhshan province, Mirbat Mangal, Khost province, Muhammad Sarwar Usmani, Farah province.

The team spent two days in the province, interviewing the bereaved families, tribal elders, survivors and collecting evidences at the site in Panjwai district.

Hamizai Lali told Pajhwok Afghan News their investigation showed there were 15 to 20 American soldiers, who executed the brutal killings.

“We closely examined the site of the incident, talked to the families who lost their beloved ones, the injured people and tribal elders,” he said.

He added the attack lasted one hour involving two groups of American soldiers in the middle of the night on Sunday.

“The villages are one and a half kilometre from the American military base. We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within one hour at the same time, and the 16 civilians, most of them children and women, have been killed by the two groups.”

Lali asked the Afghan government, the United Nations and the international community to ensure the perpetrators were punished in Afghanistan.

He expressed his anger that the US soldier, the prime suspect in the shooting, had been flown out of Afghanistan to Kuwait.

He said the people they met had warned if the responsible troops were not punished, they would launch a movement against Afghans who had agreed to foreign troops’ presence in Afghanistan under the first Bonn conference in 2001.

The lawmaker said the Wolesi Jirga would not sit silent until the killers were prosecuted in Afghanistan. “If the international community does not play its role in punishing the perpetrators, the Wolesi Jirga would declare foreign troops as occupying forces, like the Russians,” Lali warned.

President Hamid Karzai on Thursday asked the US to pull out all its troops from Afghan villages in response to the killings.

Afghan Massacre: Is Lewis-McChord really ‘most troubled base in the military’?

McClatchy Newspapers | Mar 18, 2012

by Christian Hill and Adam Ashton

TACOMA, Wash. — Is there something wrong with Joint Base Lewis-McChord?

The question attracted wide media attention last week after a soldier stationed there for the last decade, 38-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, in a March 11 rampage. Reports have surfaced that trauma and stress from multiple combat tours, possibly mixed with alcohol, might have sent the married father of two over the edge.

Some connected the massacre to other problems at the base south of Tacoma, Wash.: a record number of suicides, several investigations into the treatment of soldiers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, a “kill team” convicted of murdering civilians for sport in Afghanistan and a string of other crimes involving present and past soldiers.

They resurrected a label given by the military newspaper Stars and Stripes in 2010: the “most troubled base in the military.”

Gen. David Rodriguez, the head of U.S. Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., called the headlines “unfortunate” and said the entire Army faces challenges sending soldiers on multiple combat deployments.

“There is nothing different here than at most places,” he said. “Again, those things happen. Everybody knows (the rampage) doesn’t reflect our standards and our values.”

Others aren’t so sure that the base should get a free pass. Army veteran Jorge Gonzalez, who runs a Lakewood, Wash., coffee shop that assists soldiers, faulted Lewis-McChord’s leadership and wondered why it “keeps happening over and over here.”

McClatchy Newspapers answered some of the most pressing questions about the base:

Q: Does Lewis-McChord have a problem with soldier suicides and post-traumatic stress disorder?

A: Nobody would say “no.” The base in 2011 had its worst year for soldier suicides. Twelve took their own lives, up from nine in each of the previous two years.

But the increase is in line with an Army-wide trend. Active-duty Army suicides increased from 80 in 2003 to 164 in 2011.

In 2010, 22 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, took their own lives. Fort Bragg is investigating its unit for injured and wounded soldiers because of a sudden rise in suicides early this year.

The Army has poured resources into halting soldier suicides, providing hotlines, confidential counseling and training for peers to recognize depression in colleagues. Still, the numbers haven’t begun to decline across the service.

“The question you have to ask yourself, and this is the number that no one can prove, what would it have been if we had not focused the efforts that we focused on it?” former Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli said in January.

Lewis-McChord has one of the largest staffs of behavioral health professionals in the Army, with 227 specialists. Still, soldiers fall through the gaps.

Spc. Derrick Kirkland killed himself at Lewis-McChord in March 2010 even though his colleagues in Iraq took pains to send him home because of his suicide attempts while deployed, according to a Tacoma News Tribune report last year. He appeared stable when he spoke to a psychiatrist at Madigan Army Medical Center, an Army investigation showed.

While acknowledging it’s not perfect, Rodriguez expressed confidence in the system used to screen soldiers for brain trauma and PTSD before they deploy.

He acknowledged that the crush of 18,000 soldiers who returned to Lewis-McChord from combat in the summer of 2010 delayed the delivery of some care to soldiers.

Q: Do records show a disproportionate number of crimes committed by Lewis-McChord soldiers?

A: Not if you compare it to the Army-wide rate.

To be sure, the number of crimes involving soldiers assigned to the base is higher than five years ago. There was a 27 percent increase in misdemeanors last year compared to 2010: 4,874 crimes compared to 3,812. There were nine more felonies, 319 to 310, during the same period. The previous high in that five-year period was in 2008, with 4,181 misdemeanors and 413 felonies.

But Lewis-McChord has also added several thousand more soldiers since then.

In 2010, Lewis-McChord’s rate of crimes against both people and property was lower than the Army-wide rate. There were 10.33 crimes for every 1,000 soldiers based at Lewis McChord, compared to the Army-wide rate of 12.81. Lewis-McChord’s property crime rate was 4.82 compared to 5.83 Army-wide.

Base officials says a growth in crime is a natural result of having more soldiers on post.

“We did not see any increase in crime that we do not normally attribute to the increase in population,” Col. Bob Taradash, Lewis-McChord’s top military police officer, said before he deployed in December.

But there’s no question that several high-profile crimes involving past and present soldiers from the base have occurred:

_ Former soldier Brandon Barnes gunned down a national park ranger at Mount Rainier in January.

_ Sgt. David Stewart, a medic assigned to Lewis-McChord, shot and killed his wife and 6-year-old son before turning the gun on himself in April on a freeway in Thurston County.

_ Lt. Col. Robert Underwood was charged last week with allegedly hiring a hit man to kill his wife and his superior officer and threatening to blow up the state capitol. He was assigned to a Lewis-McChord brigade tasked with training National Guard and Army Reserve units. He arrived on base in January.

Q: Are Lewis-McChord’s growth and deployment schedule to blame for its problems?

A: Lewis-McChord is the largest military base on the West Coast, with more than 40,000 active-duty soldiers and airmen. Its active-duty ranks have grown substantially since 2003, and thousands of soldiers have served multiple tours.

The number of troops has grown from 19,000 to 34,000 due to the demands of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Across the whole Army, about 100,000 active-duty soldiers were added to the ranks over the last decade.

The Army has 45 combat brigades, whose soldiers are most susceptible to stress and repeated deployments. Lewis-McChord has three of those brigades, totaling about 12,000 soldiers, all built around the eight-wheeled armored Stryker vehicles.

Rodriguez said the number of soldiers coming and going from Lewis-McChord is similar to other major Army bases.

The most-deployed front-line infantry unit at Lewis-McChord is the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Brigade, the Army’s original Stryker brigade. It is on its fourth tour of at least one year — the same as 14 other brigades across the Army. Bales served with the 3rd Brigade on all of its deployments — three to Iraq and one to Afghanistan.

Dr. Harry Croft, a former Army doctor and psychiatrist who says he’s evaluated more than 7,000 veterans for PTSD, says the rampage is “clearly a wakeup call for the military to take a closer look into the impact on soldiers who serve multiple tours in some of the same regions.”

But Christopher Pawloski, an Army prosecutor who worked at Fort Lewis from 2004 to 2007, before it became a joint base, questioned the idea that multiple deployments lead to violent crime. He pointed out that there were four murder cases during his time at the local base, and three involved soldiers who never deployed or only deployed for a short time.

Barnes, who shot and killed the Mount Rainier ranger and then drowned in a creek, is another case where multiple deployments were not a factor. Barnes did one tour of Iraq and it’s not clear if he saw much combat; he worked as a radio and communications equipment repairman.

Q: Is Lewis-McChord leadership to blame?

A: Suicide and behavioral health problems at Lewis-McChord indicate lapses in leadership, said James Dubik, a retired three-star general who commanded Fort Lewis from 2004-2007 and now works for a think tank, the Institute for the Study of War.

“These are major incidents and they are indicative of some kind of serious problem that exists on (base),” he said.

But he noted that the nation’s military leaders and politicians decided not to grow the nation’s ground forces enough to fight two protracted wars. The nation has asked “too much of too few Americans for too long” and the combat stress resulting from multiple tours is a “natural consequence of having to go to that well too often.”

Pinpointing these problems internally will be difficult because they are complex and distributed throughout the organization, Dubik said. He said the base’s leadership, from junior non-commissioned officers to generals, must come together with elected leaders, health professionals and family members to help Lewis-McChord find gaps and fix mistakes.

“It’s like a thunderstorm,” he said. “You can’t say one thing causes a thunderstorm. A set of things have to come together to create a thunderstorm.”

The base’s leadership is fragmented, however.

Most of its front-line units, including the three Stryker brigades, answer to I Corps, which is set up to command tens of thousands of soldiers in a war. Madigan Army Medical Center reports to Western Regional Medical Command. Green Berets and Rangers get their orders from Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla.

A Lewis-McChord spokesman said the diffuse organizational structure is not different from other major bases.

However, a major change in the last three years is that two successive commanding generals have spent significant time away from the base. Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby was tapped to oversee U.S. military operations in Iraq in 2009-2010; Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti was given the same assignment in Afghanistan in 2011-12. While Jacoby and Scaparrotti were gone, commanders with fewer stars on their shoulders stayed behind to run the base.

Q: Does the “kill team” case shed any light on problems at Lewis-McChord?

A: In that case, in which four soldiers received prison sentences for staging the deaths of three Afghan noncombatants, all the defendants were deemed fit for combat at Lewis-McChord. The same was true of Bales, who spent his whole career assigned to the base.

In both incidents, the soldiers were stationed in Afghanistan at small bases away from their usual leadership.

The “kill team” defendants belonged to the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which spent two years preparing to fight in Iraq before learning just seven months before its departure that it would go to Afghanistan instead.

Around the same time, Bales went to Iraq with the 3rd Brigade. Both brigades deployed in 2009-10.

Among the three Lewis-McChord brigades that went to war that year, the 3rd Brigade had the least amount of time at home to recuperate. Its mission planning fluctuated throughout 2011 as the Pentagon prepared for a drawdown of forces in Afghanistan. At a May 2011 training exercise seven months before their next deployment, most 3rd Brigade soldiers weren’t sure whether they’d be on their way to Afghanistan that winter. The order came at the end of August.

Also, the 5th Brigade “kill team” soldiers served in a 30-man platoon that was splintered from its normal 120-man company. They were on a forward base reporting to leaders with whom they didn’t train, and who didn’t know them.

Likewies, Bales was serving at a Special Forces outpost, on a mission apart from the soldiers with whom he’d trained for his deployment.