Archive for the ‘War’ Category

The Key That Is the Saudi Kingdom

February 6, 2015

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Enjoy:

The Key That Is the Saudi Kingdom

Addiction Is Not Addictive

It’s the Blind Partisanship

Could the CIA have given Iraq info on making a nuclear bomb?

Born at War

Talk Nation Radio: Raed Jarrar: Obama’s budget spends 58% of discretionary spending on military

Talk Nation Radio: Joseph Hickman on Deadly Human Experimentation at Guantanamo Bay

Head of Blackwater Coming to Town on Tax Day to Hype the Good of Hiring Mercenaries

When Veterans Try to End Wars

Exporting Sherman’s March

Reports from Cuba coming soon!

Events:

February 7 in Munich: No Peace With NATO

February 13-14 in London: Four Years of Repression in Bahrain

February 21 in Maryland: The Real Story Behind ISIS

February 21 in Charlottesville VA: Lee Camp and David Swanson

February 28 – March 1 in New York, NY: Symposium: The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction

March 2nd – major blockade of nuclear bomb factory of AWE Burghfield, England

March 4-6 – Shut Down Creech (also here)

March 18-21 in Washington DC: Spring Rising

March 26 to May 29: 65 days nonviolent blockade at nuclear air base Büchel, Germany.

March 28 – April 3 in Nevada: Nevada Desert Experience – Sacred Peace Walk

March 28 in Glasgow, Scotland: #TridentHastoGoNow demonstration

March 30 in Knoxville, Tennessee: Moving Towards a Nuclear Free Future 2015 walk to New York City for April 24 events

April 11 Michigan – David Swanson speaking

April 13 in Scotland: #BairnsNotBOMBS Big Blockade

April 13, Global Day of Action Against Military Spending

April 15, March for the Homeless

April 22, March from EPA to Pentagon

April 24 – April 26 in New York, NY: Peace and the Planet Conference and Rally
* April 24/25 – An international peace, justice and environmental conference
* April 26 – A major international rally, march to the United Nations and peace festival

April 25 Houston – David Swanson speaking

April 27-29 at the Hague: WILPF Turns 100

April 27 – May 22 at United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY: NPT Review Conference (“RevCon”)
* Call for NPT-related organizing
* NPT brief overview
* NPT Home page at UN

May 8-10 in New Jersey: Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad

May 19 in Linz, Austria: Nuclear Energy Conference 2015

May 24 in Korea: Women’s March for Peace

May 25 in Washington, D.C., a Veterans For Peace Memorial Day

August 6 – 9 in Santa Fe, NM: Campaign Nonviolence National Conference
(Aug 6 – Mark the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima with the annual sackcloth and ashes peace vigil and call for nuclear disarmament near the National Labs.
Aug 9 – Mark the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki with the annual sackcloth and ashes peace vigil and call for nuclear disarmament near the National Labs.)

August 6 in Hiroshima, Japan: “August 6, 2015 will be the 70th anniversary of the bombing [of Hiroshima]. Annually, there are events such as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, with guest speakers, and the Lantern Floating Ceremony, in which lanterns float on the river as petitions for peace. Additional special events for the 70th anniversary are to be announced.”

August 9 in Nagasaki, Japan: [August 9, 2015 will be the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki. Commemoration events are held annually and, as with Hiroshima, it is expected that additional special events for the 70th anniversary are to be announced.]

August 27 Chicago – David Swanson speaking

September 20 – 27: Everywhere: Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions 2015

November – date TBD in Nagasaki, Japan: Annual Pugwash Conference

More nuclear disarmament events here. (Thanks to Joe Scarry!)

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David Swanson: “War is So 2014!”

January 4, 2015
Life Arts 1/3/2015 at 19:58:13

By Joan Brunwasser (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): Activism; Antiwar Movement; David Swanson; Interviews; Military; Responsibility;The_American_War_Against_Afghanistan; War -Antiwar; Wars, Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

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David Swanson
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My guest is David Swanson, blogger, author, peace activist and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Welcome back to OpEdNews, David. You wrote a recent piece, Renaming Afghan War, Renaming Murder . Is that hyperbole or is this war really being renamed?

 

Oh, it’s no secret, although the news seems to have downplayed it by declaring the war over. This actually confused a fair number of people who remembered the recent announcement that troops would be staying for another decade and beyond. But when they declared the war over, they declared Operation Enduring Freedom over (long may the memory of its horrors endure!) And then, almost as a footnote, most reporting noted that troops would remain in place — not to mention (literally unmentioned) drones. And the thing those remaining troops will keep doing has the little-reported and highly laughable name of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. But if you take both the war before this week and the war beyond this week to be a war, then what happened was a name change.

 

By the way, I’m also director of WorldBeyondWar.org

 

Duly noted. Your article begins with an amazing fact about the length of this war, David. Would you recap it for our our readers, please?

 

I said of the ongoing U.S. war on Afghanistan: “The war thus far has lasted as long as U.S. participation in World War II plus U.S. participation in World War I, plus the Korean War, plus the Spanish American War, plus the full length of the U.S. war on the Philippines, combined with the whole duration of the Mexican American War.” That’s an accurate statement as far as it goes. President Obama has been credited with “ending” and “drawing down” this war not only while expanding it to triple the size but also for a longer period of time than various other major wars combined. The catch is that this war is not over or ending. This year was more deadly than any of the previous 12.

 

Wars are different now in many ways, fought against groups rather than nations, fought without limits in time or space, fought with proxies, fought with robots, fought with over 90% of the deaths on one side, fought with over 90% of the deaths civilian (that is, people not actively fighting against illegal invaders of their land). So, to call this a war and the war that stole Mexico a war is like calling both an apple and an orange a fruit — we’re mixing apples and oranges. That war was fought to expand territory and slavery by stealing half of someone else’s country. This war is fought to influence the control of a distant land for the benefit of certain profiteers and politicians. Yet both involved mass murder, wounding, kidnapping, rape, torture, and trauma. And both were lied about to the U.S. public from beginning to end. The war on Afghanistan has been easier to lie about, in something of the manner in which World War II was lied about during the war on Vietnam, because the war on Afghanistan has taken place at the same time as a less popular war on Iraq. Averse to even considering the idea that war itself could be a bad idea, people across the super-narrow U.S. political spectrum have insisted that because the Iraq war was bad, the war on Afghanistan must be good.

Try to get them to prove that it’s good, however, and they pretty much come down to “There have been no more 9-11s.” But that was true for centuries prior to 9-11 and isn’t really true now, as attacks on U.S. and Western facilities and personnel have been rising during the War on Terra (the name some of us give the so-called War on Terror because you can’t fight a war against terror as war itself is terror, and as Terra means the earth), along with opposition to U.S. foreign policy — with a Gallup poll a year ago finding the U.S. widely considered the greatest threat to peace on earth. The U.S. also pulled its troops out of Saudi Arabia, actually addressing one of the causes of 9-11, even while devoting most of its energy to further antagonizing the world.
Putting Words into Actions
(image by DavidSwanson.org)

 

Hold on. There’s a lot to talk about here. You just said “in something of the manner in which World War II was lied about during the war on Vietnam”. Did you mean to say that, David? Please clarify. What lies were told about WWII and what did that have to do with Vietnam? You lost me there.

 

World War II became known as The Good War in contrast to the War on Vietnam which was the Bad War. In fact, it was very important for people who opposed the war on Vietnam to be able to say they weren’t against all wars and to point to a good one. This has remained the case for most US-Americans for the past three-quarters of a century and it has 99% of the time for 99% of the people been WWII that they point to as the supposedly good war. But when Obama campaigned for the presidency and even earlier than that, he liked to stress that he was against only dumb wars (meaning the 2003-begun war on Iraq which he has since praised and glorified, not to mention prolonging and re-starting) and he called Afghanistan the Good War.

 

This is very common in Washington DC and very uncommon outside of it. There has to be a good war or one risks falling into the principled position of WorldBeyondWar.org that war is an abomination that needs to be abolished along with all preparations for more of it. I interviewed Jonathan Landay on my radio show this week ( TalkNationRadio.org ) — he was one of the very few reporters who did any actual reporting in the corporate media in the lead-up to the 2003 attack on Baghdad — and he, too, claimed Afghanistan was a good war and war in general is good. One has to think that way to work in Washington.

 

I asked him about Bush rejecting Taliban attempts to turn bin Laden over for a trial, and Landay declared that the Taliban never would have done it because so abusing a guest violates Pashtun culture, as if allowing your nation to be bombed and occupied doesn’t violate Pashtun culture. Landay didn’t dispute the story that it was Bush who had rejected the offer — and we didn’t really have time to get into it — but he simply declared what had happened to have been impossible. He could be right, but I very much doubt it, and in any case that is not the reason that virtually no one in the United States knows the incident ever happened — and had been happening for years. The reason is related to the reason USians (people from the nation of the United States as opposed to the continents of America) danced in the street when bin Laden’s death was announced: to have a good war, one must fight an evil subhuman force with which negotiation is impossible.
Arrested: signs say: Stop These Wars, Expose the Lies, Free Bradley Manning
(image by DavidSwanson.org)

 

I don’t think people really know about the Taliban’s several offers to turn bin Laden over. If that’s correct, that’s a rather big and glaring “oversight”. Where’s the press? Also, I don’t think the average citizen knows that our involvement in Afghanistan has not wound down as advertised. How can we possibly keep up if the goalposts and even the names of military campaigns keep changing? Our ignorance is really dangerous.

 

Ignorance is the fuel for war like wood is the fuel for fire. Cut off the supply of ignorance and war ends. The Washington Post this past year asked US-Americans to find Ukraine on a map. A small fraction could do it, and those who placed Ukraine furthest from its actual location were the most likely to want the U.S. military to attack Ukraine. There was a correlation: the less one knew about WHERE Ukraine was the more one wanted it attacked — and this after controlling for various other variables.

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http://www.opednews.com/author/author79.html

Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more…)

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The Cost of US Wars Since 9/11: $1.6 Trillion

December 27, 2014

| Tue Dec. 23, 2014 6:15 AM EST
    • Email
Marine Infantry Officer Course students stand by before a helicopter drill in Arizona.

The cost of US war-making in the 13 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks reached a whopping $1.6 trillion in 2014, according to arecent report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

The $1.6 trillion in war spending over that time span includes the cost of military operations, the training of security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, weapons maintenance, base support, reconstruction, embassy maintenance, foreign aid, and veterans’ medical care, as well as war-related intelligence operations not tracked by the Pentagon. The report tracks expenses through September, the end of the government’s 2014 fiscal year. Here’s a breakdown of where most of that money went:

http://mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/7nTPt/2/index.html

The key factor determining the cost of war during a given period over the last 13 years has been the number of US troops deployed, according to the report. The number of troops in Afghanistan peaked in 2011, when 100,000 Americans were stationed there. The number of US armed forces in Iraq reached a high of about 170,000 in 2007.

Although Congress enacted across-the-board spending cuts in March 2013, the Pentagon’s war-making money was left untouched. The minimal cuts, known as sequestration, came from the Defense Department’s regular peacetime budget. The Pentagon gets a separatebudget for fighting wars.

In the spending bill that Congress approved earlier this month, lawmakers doled out $73.7 billion for war-related activities in 2015—$2.3 billion more than President Barack Obama had requested. As Mother Jones‘ Dave Gilson reported last year, US military spending is on pace to taper far less dramatically in the wake of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars than it did after the end of the Vietnam War or the Cold War.

Other reports have estimated the cost of US wars since 9/11 to be far higher than $1.6 trillion. A report by Neta Crawford, a political science professor at Boston University, estimated the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—as well as post-2001 assistance to Pakistan—to be roughly $4.4 trillion. The CRS estimate is lower because it does not include additional costs including the lifetime price of health care for disabled veterans and interest on the national debt.

Chart by AJ Vicens.

Top 5 Planks of 2016 GOP Platform? Torture, War, Bank Corruption, Paid-For Elections

December 22, 2014

Juan Cole; public intellectual, prominent blogger, essayist and professor of history. (photo: Informed Comment)
Juan Cole; public intellectual, prominent blogger, essayist and professor of history. (photo: Informed Comment)

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

21 December 14

 

his week, the release by the Senate of a report on torture as practiced in the zeroes by the CIA, along with Thursday night’s dramatic vote on an omnibus spending bill, laid bare the shape of the GOP platform in 2016. (Some Democrats were dragooned into voting for the spending bill, but key provisions or riders were clearly inserted by the GOP). However much the party or its members deny it, the practical actions and concrete words of party leaders make clear their priorities.

1. With a few noble exceptions like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Republican Party spokesmen, Republican politicians, and Republican media like Fox Cable News, defended torture. This defense was mounted from so many directions by so many Republicans that it now seems indisputable that the party stands for the principle of rectal hydration. Since torture is illegal in American law, presumably they want to repeal the 5th and 8th amendments to the constitution.

2. The Republican Party stands for the principle that elections should be stolen by the rich who pay the most for them. The new bill multiplies permitted donations by a factor of ten.

3. The GOP wants the US taxpayer to be made to bail out risky, casino-like “derivatives.” After the 2008 crash, caused by some corrupt Wall Street financiers stealing our money, Congress had removed FDIC protection from the riskier derivatives. The GOP, plotting in smoke filled rooms far from the light, just put the taxpayer right back in the sights the next time the bankers need a bailout. The provision was actually written by CitiBank, which won’t get my business. They think, much better to gamble with the taxpayers’ money; they would, but why would GOP lawmakers agree to be their ventriloquist’s dummy?

4. The bill blocks aid to the Palestine authority if it becomes a member of UN agencies without Israeli permission. Palestine has been recognized as a non-member observer state at the UN, and is gradually joining key committees. It likely will sign the Rome Statute, join the International Criminal Court, and sue Israel for war crimes. But in the fantasyland of Congress, none of this may be allowed to happen. The PA has other sources of money than the US, and all this provision does is further weaken the ability of the US to do effective diplomacy.

5. This fall, most Republicans ran on putting troops back into Iraq and getting even more deeply involved in the Syrian civil war than the US already is. This is a plank in their platform that leads to sanguinary wars.

These, then, are the major issues on which the GOP is running for the presidency in 2016. They underline that the party represents the 3 million wealthiest Americans, and has no scruples that might interfere in doing exactly what the 1% tells them to do.

But do these planks really amount to the platform Americans want to vote for in 2016? On the surface, no. But time shall tell.

 

Cheney: President George W. Bush ‘Knew Everything’ About CIA Interrogation

December 12, 2014

(photo: unknown)
(photo: unknown)

By BBC News

11 December 14

 

ormer US President George W Bush was “fully informed” about CIA interrogation techniques condemned in a Senate report, his vice-president says.

Speaking to Fox News, Dick Cheney said Mr Bush “knew everything he needed to know” about the programme, and the report was “full of crap”.

The CIA has defended its use of methods such as waterboarding on terror suspects after the 9/11 attacks.

The Senate report said the agency misled politicians about the programme.

But the former Republican vice-president dismissed this, saying: “The notion that the committee is trying to peddle that somehow the agency was operating on a rogue basis and that we weren’t being told – that the president wasn’t being told – is a flat-out lie.”

In the interview on Thursday, Mr Cheney said the report was “deeply flawed” and a “terrible piece of work”, although he admitted he had not read the whole document.

President Bush “knew everything he needed to know, and wanted to know” about CIA interrogation, he said. “He knew the techniques… there was no effort on my part to keep it from him.

“He was fully informed.”

The story of the report – in numbers

Mr Bush led the charge against the report ahead of its release on Tuesday, defending the CIA on US TV.

“We’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the CIA serving on our behalf,” he told CNN on Sunday.

A summary of the larger classified report says that the CIA carried out “brutal” and “ineffective” interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects in the years after the 9/11 attacks on the US and misled other officials about what it was doing.

The information the CIA collected using “enhanced interrogation techniques” failed to secure information that foiled any threats, the report said.

But Mr Cheney said the interrogation programme saved lives, and that the agency deserved “credit not condemnation”.

“It did in fact produce actionable intelligence that was vital in the success of keeping the country safe from further attacks,” he said.

BBC North America editor Jon Sopel speaks to report author Dianne Feinstein

The UN and human rights groups have called for the prosecution of US officials involved in the 2001-2007 programme.

“As a matter of international law, the US is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice,” Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, said in a statement made from Geneva.

He said there had been a “clear policy orchestrated at a high level”.

The chances of prosecuting members of the Bush administration are unlikely, not least because the US justice department has said that it has already pursued two investigations into mistreatment of detainees since 2000 and concluded that the evidence was not sufficient to obtain a conviction.

On Wednesday, an unnamed justice department official told the Los Angeles Times prosecutors had read the report and “did not find any new information” to reopen the investigation.

 

Egged on by the Hawks of Doom, Obama sinks America into a misguided war with the Islamic State

December 12, 2014
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Call me a starry-eyed idealist, but it seems to me that if you’re going to send Americans to war, you ought to be clear on certain basics–such as the location of the battlefield.[tag]

From flickr.com/photos/25822015@N05/2442311637/: Geometria e Islam
Geometria e Islam
(image by Trellina)

However, in a Sept. 10 media briefing on President Obama’s plan for a new war in Iraq, Syria, and who-knows-where-else, a “senior administration official” failed this elemental lesson of WAR 101. The expert was briefing reporters about the coalition of nations that Obama was assembling to “degrade and destroy” the barbaric band of terrorists that exploded out of Syria this summer (who’ve grandiosely labeled themselves the “Islamic State”). Especially important, noted the official, was Saudi Arabia’s decision to join the coalition–after all, he explained, the Saudi monarchy views the bloodthirsty sect as an imminent threat to it, for “Saudi Arabia has an extensive border with Syria.”

Uh… no. Far from “extensive,” the two share no border. In fact they are miles from each other, separated by Iraq, Jordan, and Israel. Perhaps that’s one senior advisor who could be replaced by a good Rand McNally.

Nevertheless–Hi-ho, Hi-ho/It’s off to war we go! Obama, egged on by the usual flock of squawking hawks, is committing us to another Middle-East misadventure–and figuring out the map will be the least of America’s problems. The warmongers are pushing our nation into the sticky web of a centuries-old religious conflagration that (1) we don’t understand, (2) we cannot resolve, (3) presents no clear threat to our national security, (4) involves us with a motley crew of “allies,” (5) offers no moral high ground, (6) positions us as destroyers (or worse, crusaders), (7) is creating a whole new generation of young Muslim enemies for us, (8) has no timetable or definition of “victory,” (9) has not been explained, publicly debated, or congressionally authorized, and (10) will further drain our treasury, strain our military, and divert our people and resources from achieving America’s own, long-delayed, democratic potential.

Other than that, the launching of what officials tell us will be a “long war” against the fanatical Islamic State (IS) makes perfectly good sense.

If the decision to fling our weary soldiers, depleted coffers, and tarnished international reputation into the Mideast’s religious inferno had been made by Bush-Cheney (or, let’s say, a Trump-Cruz administration), progressives and other voices of sanity would howl with rage. Well, we should not be any less enraged merely because a Democrat is at the front of such a fool’s errand. Nor can we suspend rational thought just because we are rightly repulsed by the raw, utterly incomprehensible evil being committed by the IS, a theocratic horde that revels in the gore of beheadings, crucifixions, and massacres.

What are we getting into?FIRST, it is a war–not a “conflict” or a “military action,” but a real war that will require enormous commitments of American money, time, weaponry, and lives. “Rooting out a cancer like this won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick,” Obama conceded in August as he committed us to this vague, open-ended, half-baked escapade. Again the stated goal is not merely to contain the mobile, internet-savvy, highly capable pack of some 31,000 murderous ideologues, but to “destroy” it. That includes, as Obama has indicated, not just military assaults, but also addressing the entrenched poverty, lack of education, kleptocratic governments, and sense of hopelessness that created the furious rise of this terrorist army and constantly feeds angry young recruits into it.

Is all this our job?If so, be prepared to pay. Gordon Adams, a military spending expert at American University, says that his “back-of-the-envelope” calculation of dollars that will be spent to sustain our military in just Year One of this Islamic State war is about $15 billion. That does not count such subsequent multipliers of military expenditures as long-term veterans’ health care and interest payments on the debt (yes, debt–once again, as in Afghanistan and Bush’s previous Iraq war, this one will be charged on the nation’s credit card and billed to our grandchildren).

SECOND, this is a Mideastern religious war, not one of national aggression, nor one that poses any imminent threat to the USA. It is a “jihad,” (a holy war that calls Muslims to join as a sacred duty), and it stems from a puritanical revivalist movement of Sunni Muslim extremists who believe they are in a death struggle “over the soul of Islam.”

The so-called Islamic State is not a state, but more of a state of mind, with the IS laying claim to all Muslims of the ancient “Levant,” sweeping from Israel into Southern Turkey. And it is “Islamic” in name only, dishonoring most of the positive religious and civic ideals set forth by Muhammad, the seventh-century Arab prophet who founded Islam. Also known by the acronyms ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and ISIL (Islamic State in Levant), the group claims to be a holy movement of the pure Islam, but it functions as a cult of pure sadism, using brutal wholesale violence not as a means to some spiritual end, but as an end in itself.

The IS is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a megalomaniac Iraqi Sunni who surprised everyone in June by anointing himself ruler of all Muslims everywhere. For us Westerners, he and the IS seem to have come out of nowhere, but, both have evolved from previous Sunni terrorist groups that arose after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, and both trace their ruthless creed directly to Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, an 18th century radical proselytizer of a severe form of Sunni Islam. Today’s IS is taking Wahhab’s extreme fundamentalism to an ultra-extremist, belligerent ideology that one Islamic scholar calls “untamed Wahhabism.”

While they despise Western culture as the spawn of Satan and fulminate against the long, sorrowful history of Western subjugation of Islamic peoples, the West is not the primary target of their vengeful fury. That honor goes to two particular groups of Muslims: (1) the Shia (or Shiites), who differ with Sunnis on whose original leader is the legitimate successor to Muhammad and, therefore, are considered by the IS as abominable heretics who must be exterminated for the sake of “purifying the community of the faithful”; and (2) moderate Sunnis, who are viewed as apostates for having rejected unadulterated Wahhabism to accept such modern Islamic norms as the education of girls, tolerance of other religions, and acceptance of non-theocratic Islamic governments.

THIRD, it is not our war. Yes, we are nauseated, maddened, and frightened to see YouTube videos of fanatics beheading US journalists and others. But what we have here is a regional Islamic war, pitting a vicious IS minority against mainstream Islamic people, governments, and armies.

Those mainstream forces are the ones to unite, stand up, and lead the battle. Western nations certainly must support such a concerted military, economic, and cultural campaign to de-fang IS, but it is ridiculous (and self-defeating) for the US strut into the chaotic center of a Muslim war and lead the charge.

Saudi WahhabiaWhere the hell is the richest, most powerful force in the region, Saudi Arabia? Shhhh… King Abdullah and assorted princes of the royal Saud family are hunkered down in their opulent palaces, quietly praying that we American dupes don’t learn that the duty of leadership in this war (and on the larger need to address the region’s massive social/economic/political inequities fueling the IS upsurge) belongs to them–not us.

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Jim Hightower is an American populist, spreading his message of democratic hope via national radio commentaries, columns, books, his award-winning monthly newsletter (The Hightower Lowdown) and barnstorming tours all across America.

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New Book: Killing Is Not a Way of Life

December 10, 2014

Killing Is Not a Way of Life

Here’s my brand new book, just in time to give it to someone you love:

Book’s website.

Read the Table of Contents

Read the Introduction.

Read Past Praise of the Author.

Read an interview about this book at Crooks and Liars here.

Buy this book at your local bookstore. It’s distributed by Ingram with ISBN # 978-0-9830830-6-1.

Or buy it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Powell’s. Note: If you prefer to buy the book on a site that says it is available right away, buy it from Barnes and Noble. Because the book is brand new, Amazon and Powell’s say it is not available immediately. This is not true. Orders will be filled immediately.

Buy the PDF version here.

Or buy the book at a big discount straight from my site when you buy five or more.

OTHER GOODIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

War No More: The Case for Abolition (2013) — with a foreword by Kathy Kelly.

When the World Outlawed War (2011) — named by Ralph Nader as one of the six books everyone should read. A forgotten story from the 1920s of how people created a treaty to ban all war — a treaty still on the books but not remembered.

War Is A Lie (2010) — widely praised best-selling classic. “There are three insightful books I’ve read that explain how and why no good can come of the current U.S. reliance on military force and war in seeking its desired ‘Pax Americana': War Is A Racket by General Smedley Butler; War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges, and War Is A Lie by David Swanson.” — Coleen Rowley, former FBI special agent, whistleblower, and Time magazine person of the year.

Iraq War Among World’s Worst Events (2013) — At 10 years since the launch of Operation Iraqi Liberation (to use the original name with the appropriate acronym, OIL) and over 22 years since Operation Desert Storm, there is little evidence that any significant number of people in the United States have a realistic idea of what our government has done to the people of Iraq, or of how these actions compare to other horrors of world history.

Tube World (2012) — This children’s book has received an enthusiastic initial response.

The Military Industrial Complex at 50 (2012) — the most comprehensive collection available explaining what the military industrial complex is, where it comes from, what damage it does, what further destruction it threatens, and what can be done and is being done to chart a different course.

Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union (2009) — “There have now been many books written which chronicle the imperial, lawless presidency of the Bush era, but Swanson’s superb new book — Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union — is one of the very few to examine how we can recover from it and reverse its pernicious trends.” –Glenn Greenwald

The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush (2008) — Now more than ever.

SHIRTS AND OTHER ITEMS HERE.

Happy Holidays!

Sign up for these emails at http://davidswanson.org/signup.

We Must Always Have War Because Magic

November 9, 2014
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This advertisement for permanent war appeared in my local newspaper today.By pointing out this fact I am neither opposing working with religious groups that favor peace nor asserting that Martin Luther King Jr. was a warmonger.

But religious peace activists could, as far as anyone can tell, be peace activists without the religion.

This advertisement could NOT promote war without religion. Its entire basis for promoting war is religion, for which no substitute is imaginable.

Exactly like an argument for abolition of war, the ad begins by asking why we should engage in so much killing and destruction at such great expense, while other crises cry out for our attention.

Why? Because magic.

An ancient book says there must be war. And that settles it.

The same book says there must be mass murder of innocents and babies, slavery, death by stoning, cannibalism, and all sorts of other horrors.

Clearly one can attribute magical powers to that book and choose to ignore selected parts that our culture has outgrown.

Why not the part about war?

Because we have a culture of war, and religious support for it is only one part. But it’s a part we can set aside if we choose to, in a process of learning to think more critically. And that could have far-reaching results.

Imagine all the people living life in peace.

 

http://davidswanson.org

David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more…)

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How to Start a War: The American Use of War Pretext Incidents

October 4, 2014
How to Start a War: The American Use of War Pretext Incidents.

The following article by Canadian author Richard Sanders first published in May 2002, prior to the onslaught of the Iraq war, carefully documents the History of War Pretext Incidents.

The anti-war movement must address the issue of the “pretext” and  “justification” to wage war.

Regarding the MH17 Malaysian airline crash, is the Obama administration in the process of “creating a war pretext incident” directed against Russia as part of propaganda campaign, which could lead the World into a World War III scenario?

As documented by Richard Sanders, the War Pretext Incident strategy has been used throughout American military history.

Of relevance, the “Responsibility to Protect under a NATO “humanitarian” mandate  has also been used as a thematic pretext to wage war (Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria),

The 911 Attacks and the “Global War on Terrorism” (Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan,…) not to mention the alleged “Weapons of Mass Destruction” (Iraq) have also been used to justify military intervention. Both 9/11 and WMD are being heralded as a justification for waging war on Iran, based on allegation that Iran was behind the 9/11 attacks and that Iran possesses nuclear weapons.

In the words of Richard Sanders [2002]:

“It is vitally important to expose this latest attempt [9/11] to fraudulently conceal the largely economic and geostrategic purposes of war. By asking who benefits from war, we can unmask its pretense and expose the true grounds for instigating it. By throwing light on repeated historical patterns of deception, we can promote skepticism about the government and media yarns that have been spun to encourage this war.

The historical knowledge of how war planners have tricked people into supporting past wars, is like a vaccine. We can use this understanding of history to inoculate the public with healthy doses of distrust for official war pretext narratives and other deceptive stratagems. Through such immunization programs we may help to counter our society’s susceptibility to “war fever.”

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, August 19 2014

*      *      *

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!” Sir Walter Scott, Marmion. Canto vi. Stanza 17

Pretext n. [Latin praetextum, pp. of praetextere, to weave before, pretend, disguise; prae-, before + texere, to weave], a false reason or motive put forth to hide the real one; excuse.

Stratagem [Gr. Strategema, device or act of a general; stratos, army + agein, to lead], a trick, scheme or device used for deceiving an enemy in war.

Throughout history, war planners have used various forms of deception to trick their enemies. Because public support is so crucial to the process of initiating and waging war, the home population is also subject to deceitful stratagems. The creation of false excuses to justify going to war is a major first step in constructing public support for such deadly ventures. Perhaps the most common pretext for war is an apparently unprovoked enemy attack. Such attacks, however, are often fabricated, incited or deliberately allowed to occur. They are then exploited to arouse widespread public sympathy for the victims, demonize the attackers and build mass support for military “retaliation.”

Like schoolyard bullies who shout ‘He hit me first!’, war planners know that it is irrelevant whether the opponent really did ‘throw the first punch.’ As long as it can be made to appear that the attack was unprovoked, the bully receives license to ‘respond’ with force. Bullies and war planners are experts at taunting, teasing and threatening their opponents. If the enemy cannot be goaded into ‘firing the first shot,’ it is easy enough to lie about what happened. Sometimes, that is sufficient to rationalize a schoolyard beating or a genocidal war.

Such trickery has probably been employed by every military power throughout history. During the Roman empire, the causes of war — cassus belli — were often invented to conceal the real reasons for war. Over the millennia, although weapons and battle strategies have changed greatly, the deceitful strategem of using pretext incidents to ignite war has remained remarkably consistent.

Pretext incidents, in themselves, are not sufficient to spark wars. Rumors and allegations about the tragic events must first spread throughout the target population. Constant repetition of the official version of what happened, spawns dramatic narratives that are lodged into public consciousness. The stories become accepted without question and legends are fostered. The corporate media is central to the success of such ‘psychological operations.’ Politicians rally people around the flag, lending their special oratory skills to the call for a military “response.” Demands for “retaliation” then ring out across the land, war hysteria mounts and, finally, a war is born.

Every time the US has gone to war, pretext incidents have been used. Upon later examination, the conventional perception of these events is always challenged and eventually exposed as untrue. Historians, investigative journalists and many others, have cited eyewitness accounts, declassified documents and statements made by the perpetrators themselves to demonstrate that the provocative incidents were used as stratagems to stage-manage the march to war.

Here are a few particularly blatant examples of this phenomenon.

1846: The Mexican-American War

CONTEXT After Mexico’s revolution in 1821, Americans demanded about $3,000,000 in compensation for their losses.1 Mexico abolished slavery in 1829 and then prohibited further U.S. immigration into Texas, a Mexican state. In 1835, Mexico tried to enforce its authority over Texas. Texans, rallying under the slogan “Remember the Alamo!”, drove Mexican troops out of Texas and proclaimed independence. For nine years, many Texans lobbied for US annexation. This was delayed by northerners who opposed adding more slave territories to the US and feared a war with Mexico.2

In 1844, Democratic presidential candidate, James Polk, declared support for annexing Texas and won with the thinnest margin ever.3 The following year, Texas was annexed and Mexico broke off diplomatic relations with the US. Polk sent John Slidell to Mexico offering $25 million for New Mexico, California and an agreement accepting the Rio Grande boundary. Mexican government officials refused to meet the envoy.4

PRETEXT John Stockwell, a Texan who led the CIA’s covert 1970s war in Angola, summed up the start of Mexican American war by saying:

“they offered two dollars-a-head to every soldier who would enlist. They didn’t get enough takers, so they offered a hundred acres to anyone who would be a veteran of that war. They still didn’t get enough takers, so [General] Zachary Taylor was sent down to parade up and down the border — the disputed border — until the Mexicans fired on him…. And the nation rose up, and we fought the war.”5

President Polk hoped that sending General Taylor’s 3,500 soldiers into Mexico territory, would provoke an attack against US troops.6

“On May 8, 1846, Polk met with his Cabinet at the White House and told them that if the Mexican army attacked the U.S. forces, he was going to send a message to Congress asking for a declaration of war. It was decided that war should be declared in three days even if there was no attack.”7

When news of the skirmish arrived, Polk sent a message to Congress on May 11: “Mexico has passed the boundary of the U.S. and shed American blood on American soil.”8 Two days later Congress declared war on Mexico.9

RESPONSE Newspapers helped the push for war with headlines like: “‘Mexicans Killing our Boys in Texas.’10

With public support secured, U.S. forces occupied New Mexico and California. US troops fought battles across Mexico and stormed their capital. A new more US-friendly government quickly emerged. It signed over California and New Mexico for $15 million and recognized the Rio Grande as their border with the US state of Texas.11

General Taylor became an American war hero and he rode his victory straight into the White House by succeeding Polk as president in 1849.

REAL REASONS The US secured over 500,000 square miles from Mexico, including Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, California and parts of Colorado and Wyoming.

The war was a boon to US nationalism, it boosted popular support for a very weak president and added vast new territories to the US where slavery was allowed.

1898: The Spanish-American War

CONTEXT Cubans fought several wars to free themselves from Spanish colonial rule, including 1868-1878, 1879-1880 and 1895-1898.12 In 1898, Cubans were on the brink of finally winning their independence. The US government agreed to respect Cuba’s sovereignty and promised they would not step in.

“On January 24, [1898] on the pretext of protecting the life and safety of Mr. Lee, U.S. consul in Havana, and other U.S. citizens in the face of street disturbances provoked by Spanish extremists, the Maine battleship entered the bay of Havana.”13

PRETEXT On February 15, 1898, a huge explosion sank the USS Maine killing 266 of its crew.14

In 1975, an investigation led by US Admiral Hyman Rickover concluded that there was no evidence of any external explosion. The explosion was internal, probably caused by a coal dust explosion. Oddly, the ship’s weapons and explosives were stored next to the coal bunker.15

RESPONSE The Maine’s commander cautioned against assumptions of an enemy attack. The press denounced him for “refusing to see the obvious.” The Atlantic Monthly said anyone thinking this was not a premeditated, Spanish act of war was “completely at defiance of the laws of probability.”16

Newspapers ran wild headlines like: “Spanish Cannibalism,” “Inhuman Torture,” “Amazon Warriors Fight For Rebels.”17 Guillermo Jimpnez Soler notes:

“As would become its usual practice, U.S. intervention in the war was preceded by intensive press campaigns which incited jingoism, pandering to the most shameless tales and sensationalism and exacerbated cheap sentimentality. Joseph Pulitzer of The World and William Randolph Hearst from The Journal, the two largest U.S. papers… carried their rivalry to a paroxysm of inflaming public opinion with scandalous, provocative and imaginary stories designed to win acceptance of U.S. participation in the first of its holy wars beyond its maritime borders.”18

US papers sent hundreds of reporters and photographers to cover the apparent Spanish attacks. Upon arrival, many were disappointed. Frederick Remington wrote to Hearst saying: “There is no war …. Request to be recalled.” Hearst’s now-famous cable replied: “Please remain. You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.” For weeks, The Journal dedicated more than eight pages per day to the explosion.19

Through ceaseless repetition, a rallying cry for retaliation grew into a roar. “In the papers, on the streets and in…Congress. The slogan was “Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain.”20

With the US public and government safely onboard, the US set sail for war launching an era of ‘gunboat diplomacy.’ Anti-war sentiments were drowned out by the sea of cries for war. On April 25, 1898, the US Congress declared war on Spain.

REAL REASONS Within four months “the US replaced Spain as the colonial power in the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico, and devised a special status for Cuba. Never again would the US achieve so much…as in that ‘splendid little war,’ as…described at the time by John Hay, future secretary of state.”21

Historian Howard Zinn has said that 1898 heralded:

“the most dramatic entrance onto the world scene of American military and economic power.… The war ushered in what Henry Luce later referred to as the American Century, which really meant a century of American domination.”22

1915: World War I

CONTEXT In 1915, Europe was embroiled in war, but US public sentiment opposed involvement. President Woodrow Wilson said they would “remain neutral in fact as well as in name.”23

PRETEXT On May 7, 1915, a German submarine (U-boat) sank the Lusitania, a British passenger ship killing 1,198, including 128 Americans.24

The public was not told that passengers were, in effect, a ‘human shield’ protecting six million rounds of US ammunition bound for Britain.25 To Germany, the ship was a threat. To Britain, it was bait for luring an attack. Why?

British Admiralty leader, Winston Churchill, had already commissioned “a study to determine the political impact if an ocean liner were sunk with Americans on board.”26 A week before the incident, Churchill wrote to the Board of Trade’s president saying it is “most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hopes especially of embroiling the U.S. with Germany.”27

British Naval Intelligence Commander, Joseph Kenworthy, said: “The Lusitania was sent at considerably reduced speed into an area where a U-boat was known to be waiting and with her escorts withdrawn.”28

Patrick Beesly’s history of British naval intelligence in WWI, notes: “no effective steps were taken to protect the Lusitania.” British complicity is furthered by their foreknowledge that: · U-boat commanders knew of the Lusitania’s route, · a U-boat that had sunk two ships in recent days was in the path of the Lusitania, · although destroyers were available, none escorted the Lusitania or hunted for U-boats, · the Lusitania was not given specific warnings of these threats.29

RESPONSE US newspapers aroused outrage against Germany for ruthlessly killing defenceless Americans. The US was being drawn into the war. In June 1916, Congress increased the size of the army. In September, Congress allocated $7 billion for national defense, “the largest sum appropriated to that time.”30

In January 1917, the British said they had intercepted a German message to Mexico seeking an alliance with the US and offering to help Mexico recover land ceded to the US. On April 2, Wilson told Congress: “The world must be safe for democracy.” Four days later the US declared war on Germany.31

REAL REASONS Influential British military, political and business interests wanted US help in their war with Germany. Beesly concludes that “there was a conspiracy deliberately to put the Lusitania at risk in the hope that even an abortive attack on her would bring the U.S. into the war.”32

Churchill’s memoirs of WWI state:

“There are many kinds of maneuvres in war, some only of which take place on the battlefield…. The maneuvre which brings an ally into the field is as serviceable as that which wins a great battle.”33

In WWI, rival imperialist powers struggled for bigger portions of the colonial pie. “They were fighting over boundaries, colonies, spheres of influence; they were competing for Alsace-Lorraine, the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East.”34 US war planners wanted a piece of the action.

“War is the health of the state,” said Randolph Bourne during WWI. Zinn explains: “Governments flourished, patriotism bloomed, class struggle was stilled.”35

1941: World War II

CONTEXT US fascists opposed President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) from the start. In 1933, “America’s richest businessmen were in a panic. Roosevelt intended to conduct a massive redistribution of wealth…[and it] had to be stopped at all costs. The answer was a military coup…secretly financed and organized by leading officers of the Morgan and du Pont empires.”36

A top Wall Street conspirator said: “We need a fascist government in this country…to save the nation from the communists who want to tear it down and wreck all that we have built.”37

The Committee on Un-American Activities said:

“Sworn testimony showed that the plotters represented notable families — Rockefeller, Mellon, Pew, Pitcairn, Hutton and great enterprises — Morgan, Dupont, Remington, Anaconda, Bethlehem, Goodyear, GMC, Swift, Sun.”38

FDR also faced “isolationist” sentiments from such millionaires who shared Hitler’s hatred of communism and had financed Hitler’s rise to power as George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush, predecessors of the current president.39 William R.Hearst, mid-wife of the war with Spain, opposed a war against fascism. Hearst employed Hitler, Mussolini and Goering as writers. He met Hitler in 1934 and used Readers’ Digest and his 33 newspapers to support fascism.40

PRETEXT On December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers attacked the US Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, killing about 2,460.41

FDR, and his closest advisors, not only knew of the attack in advance and did not prevent it, they had actually provoked it. Lt. Arthur McCollum, head of the Far East desk for U.S. Navy intelligence, wrote a detailed eight-step plan on October 7, 1940 that was designed to provoke an attack.42 FDR immediately set the covert plan in motion. Soon after implementing the final step, Japan attacked Pearl Harbour.

After meeting FDR on October 16, 1941, Secretary of War Henry Stimson wrote: “We face the delicate question of the diplomatic fencing to be done so as to be sure Japan is put into the wrong and makes the first bad move — overt move.” On November 25, after another meeting with FDR, Stimson wrote: “The question was: how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into the position of firing the first shot.”43

The next day, an insulting “ultimatum” was delivered to the Japanese. The US intercepted a coded Japanese cable calling the ultimatum a “humiliating proposal” and saying they would now prepare for war with the US.44

The US had cracked Japanese diplomatic and military codes.45 A Top Secret Army Board report (October 1944), shows that the US military knew “the probable exact hour and date of the attack.”46 On November 29, 1941, the Secretary of State revealed to a reporter that the attack’s time and place was known. This foreknowledge was reported in the New York Times (Dec. 8, 1941).47

RESPONSE After Pearl Harbor, the US quickly declared war against Japan. With media support, “Remember Pearl Harbour!” became an American rallying cry. On December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the US.

As the war wound down, decoded messages revelaed to the US military that Japan would soon surrender. They knew the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was unnecessary. Although nuclear weapons are commonly believed to have ended WWII, they were an opening salvo in the Cold War against the USSR.

REAL REASONS The US used WWII to maneuver itself into a position of superiority over former imperial rivals in Europe. In Parenti’s words the US “became the prime purveyor and guardian of global capitalism.”48 As the only nation wielding nuclear weapons, the US also became the world’s sole superpower.

1950: The Korean War

CONTEXT There is “extensive evidence of U.S. crimes against peace and crimes against humanity” KWCT committed after they occupied southern Korea in September 1945. The US worked to

“create a police state…using many former collaborators with Japanese rule, provoke tension…between southern and northern Korea, opposing and disrupting any plans for peaceful reunification. The U.S. trained, directed and supported ROK [South Korea] in systematic murder, imprisonment, torture, surveillance, harassment and violations of human rights of hundreds of thousands…, especially…nationalists, leftists, peasants seeking land reform, union organizers and/or those sympathetic to the north.”49

University of Hawaii professor, Oliver Lee, notes a “long pattern of South Korean incursions” into the north. In 1949, there were more than 400 border engagements. A US Army document states: “Some of the bloodiest engagements were caused by South Korean units securing and preparing defensive positions that were either astride or north of the 38th parallel. This provoked violent North Korean actions.”50

PRETEXT On June 25, 1950, the North Korean military were said to have moved three miles into South Korea territory.

Dr. Channing Liem, the former South Korean ambassador to the UN (1960-1961) wrote:

“For Washington, the question, ‘who fired the first shot?’ carried special significance…. Assistant Secretary of State for UN Affairs…[revealed] before the Senate Appropriations Committee, 1950, the US had devised a plan prior to the start of the war to gain approval from the UN to send its troops to Korea under the UN flag in the event that South Korea was attacked. It was imperative, therefore, that the ‘first shot’ be fired by the North, or at least that such an argument could be made.”51

ROK President Syngman Rhee triggered the war “with behind the scene support of John Foster Dulles,” the former-U.S. Secretary of State who met Rhee (June 18, 1950) just days before the pretext incident. Dulles told Rhee that “if he was ready to attack the communist North, the U.S. would lend help, through the UN…. He advised Rhee…to persuade the world that the ROK was attacked first, and to plan his actions accordingly.”52

Albert Einstein told Liem in 1955 that

“the US was manipulating the UN…. [It] was being exploited by the great powers at the expense of the small nations…. He went on to say great powers do not act on the basis of facts only but manufacture the facts to serve their purposes and force their will on smaller nations.”53

I.F.Stone was perhaps the first to expose how a US diplomat deceived the UN Secretary General into believing there had been an unprovoked North Korean attack.54

North Korea claimed the attack began two days earlier when ROK divisions launched a six-hour artillery attack and then pushed 1 or 2 kilometers across the border. They responded to “halt the enemy’s advance and go over to a decisive counterattack.”55

RESPONSE Secretary of State, Dean Acheson was “quick to seize the opportunity to blame the war on North Korea regardless of the evidence.” North Korea was accused of “brutal, unprovoked aggression.”56

The public was told that this ‘invasion’ was the first step in Soviet plans for world domination. Anyone opposing the war was called a communist. McCarthyism was on.

On June 27, 1950, Truman orders US troops to support South Korea, Congress agrees and the UN Security Council approves the plan.57

About three million civilians were killed, two-thirds in North Korea.58

REAL REASONS To maintain power, South Korea required major US military support. One month before the pretext, Rhee suffered a terrible electoral defeat. Opposing North Korea, diverted public attention from Rhee’s repression to the communist north.

The war was used to triple the Pentagon budget, boost NATO’s military build-up and create a new military role for the UN that could be manipulated by the US.

1964: The Vietnam War

CONTEXT Long before WWII, Vietnamese fought for independence from French Indochina. Resistance continued when Japanese troops occupied the colony during the war. Much of the region reverted to French control after the war. As early as 1950, the US aided French efforts to defeat the Ho Chi Minh’s revolutionary forces. When France lost a decisive battle in 1954, the Geneva Accord recognized the independence of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam was “temporarily” divided. Ngo Dinh Diem’s repressive regime in South Vietnam was backed by thousands of US military “advisors.” A military coup overthrew Diem in November 1963.59

That same month, President Kennedy — who had resisted escalating the war — was assassinated. President Johnson took power and began intensified US involvement in Vietnam.

PRETEXT On July 30, 1964, enemy torpedo boats supposedly attacked a US destroyer, the USS Maddox, in North Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin. This lie of an “unprovoked attack” against a “routine patrol” threw the U.S. headlong into war.

The Maddox was actually involved in “aggressive intelligence gathering in coordination with actual attacks by South Vietnam and the Laotian Air Force against targets in North Vietnam.”60 They wanted to provoke a response “but the North Vietnamese wouldn’t bite. So, Johnson invented the attack.”61

The US task force commander for the Gulf of Tonkin “cabled Washington that the report was the result of an ‘over-eager’ sonarman who picked up the sounds of his own ship’s screws and panicked.”62

RESPONSE On August 5, 1964, although he knew the attack had not occurred, Johnson couldn’t resist this opportunity for a full-scale war.

Johnson went on national TV to lie about the Tonkin incident and to announce a bombing campaign to “retaliate.” The media repeated the lie ad nauseum. The fabricated assault was “used as justification for goading Congress into granting the president the authorization to initiate a protracted and highly lucrative war with North Vietnam.”63 Johnson asked Congress for powers “to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the US and to prevent further aggression.”64

Before the war ended in 1975, about four million in Southeast Asia were killed.

REAL REASONS As during the Spanish-American war, the American business elite sought to acquire colonies from failing imperial powers.

President Dwight Eisenhower propounded the ‘Domino Theory’ in 1954.65 If South Vietnam ‘fell,’ then other countries would too, ‘like a set of dominos.’ The Vietnam War was a threat to all revolutionaries and their supporters.

The war also gave a huge boost to US war industries. Other US corporations wanted access to region’s markets and resources, like tin, tungsten, rubber.66

1983: The Invasion of Grenada

CONTEXT For decades, Eric Gairy dominated the tiny British colony of Grenada. Gairy “a vicious dictator…[was] the only Caribbean leader to maintain diplomatic relations with Pinochet’s Chile.” When his “notorious security forces” returned from training in Chile “‘disappearances’ became frequent.”67 ‘Gariyism’ was so bad that when Britain offered independence, Grenadans united to “shut down the country…prior to Independence Day, February 7, 1974.”68

The New Jewel Movement (NJM) led a successful uprising on March 13, 1979. The NJM “organized agrarian reform…, expanded trade union rights, advanced women’s equality…, established literacy programs and instituted free medical care.”69

The CIA “relentlessly used every trick in its dirty bag” including “an unending campaign of economic, psychological and openly violent destabilization.” Reagan met Caribbean leaders, the US urged “regional governments to consider military action” and CIA chief, William Casey, met Senate Intelligence Committee members “to discuss CIA involvement.” Gairy began “recruiting mercenaries from…the Cuban exile community in Miami.”70 (ER BS p.3-5)

In October 1981, a US military exercise simulated an invasion of Grenada ostensibly to rescue Americans and “install a regime favorable to the way of life we espouse.”71

In March 1983, Reagan exclaimed on TV that Grenada’s tourist airport threatened US oil supply routes.72

On October 19, 1983, NJM leader Maurice Bishop, and others, were put under house arrest during an coup by NJM’s Deputy PM Bernard Coard. Oddly, they were freed by a “well organized crowd…including counter-revolutionary elements…with anti-communist banners…. [led by] well known businessmen…. Who organized this rally, planned so well, and in advance?” Freed NJM leaders were whisked away and as a “crowd gathered…the soldiers, apparently panicked by explosions, opened fire.… something provoked them, leading to a massacre.” NJM leaders surrendered to soldiers and were soon executed.73

Significantly, “Pentagon officials informed Members of Congress that they had known of the impending coup…two weeks in advance.”74

The coup plotters were charged with the murders but their lawyer, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clarke believe them innocent of the murders.75 It seems the coup was hijacked by US interests to kill some NJM leaders, jail the rest and set the stage for an invasion.

PRETEXT In his Naval Science course, Captain M.T.Carson lists the invasion’s “stated reasons” as “protect Americans, eliminate hostage potential; restore order; requested by OECS [Organization of Eastern Caribbean States].”76

The US helped form the OECS, and then got it and the Grenadan governor to “request” an invasion. Under “potential problem,” Carson notes “Act fast with surprise and present world with fait accompli. If not, world opinion of U.S. invasion of tiny country will be critical. So: · “Get OECS to request action.” · “Get Governor Scoon to request action.” · “Emphasize students-in-danger aspect”77

Carson quotes a “medical school official”: “Our safety was never in danger. We were used as an excuse by this government to invade…. They needed a reason…and we were it.” MTC Most students “insisted” that they were “not…in any danger before the US invasion; only afterwards.”78

RESPONSE On October 22, 1983, “Operation Urgent Fury” was ordered.79 Three days later, the invasion hit like a cyclone.

The Organization of American States “deeply deplored” the invasion and the UN Security Council voted 11 to 1 against it.80

REAL REASONS Grenada threatened the US by providing a powerful example of viable alternative ways to organize social, political and economic structures.

Carson lists these reasons: · “Chance to eliminate Communist regime and replace with pro-U.S. government” · “Demonstrate U.S. military capabilities” · “President Reagan commented that U.S. military forces were back on their feet and standing tall.”81

US military morale was damaged two days before the invasion when 241 Marines were killed in Lebanon.82

The Wall Street Journal said the invasion made Grenada a “haven for offshore banks.”83

1989: The Invasion of Panama

CONTEXT The Panama Canal has dominated Panama’s history. US military invasions and interventions occurred in 1895, 1901-1903, 1908, 1912, 1918-1920, 1925, 1950, 1958, 1964 and 1989.84

In November 1903, US troops ensured Panama’s secession from Colombia. Within days, a treaty gave the US permanent and exclusive control of the canal.85

Former Panamanian military leader, Manuel Noriega, recruited by US military intelligence in 1959, attended the US Army School of the Americas in 1967 and led Panama’s military intelligence the next year. By 1975, the US Drug Enforcement Agency knew of Noriega’s drug dealing. He met, then-CIA Director, George Bush in 1976.86

In 1977, Presidents Jimmy Carter and Omar Torrijos, signed a treaty to return the canal to Panamanian control in 1999. Other Americans undermined the treaty using “diplomatic…and political pressure, through to economic aggression and military invasion.”87

In the early-1980s, Noriega’s drug smuggling helped fund the contras in Nicaragua. He took control of Panama’s National Guard in 1983 and helped rig elections in 1984. Falling from US favour, the US indicted Noriega for drug crimes in 1988.88

On April 14, 1988, Reagan invoked “war powers” against Panama. In May, the Assistant Defense Secretary told the Senate: “I don’t think anyone has totally discarded the use of force.”89

PRETEXT On December 16, 1989, there was what media called an “unprovoked attack on a US soldier who did not return fire.”90 The soldier was killed when driving “through a military roadblock near a sensitive military area.”91 Panama’s government said “U.S. officers…fired at a military headquarters, wounding a soldier and…a 1-year-old girl. A wounded Panamanian soldier…confirmed this account to U.S. reporters.”92 The wife of a US officer was reportedly arrested and beaten.

RESPONSE George Bush called the attack on US soldiers an “enormous outrage”93 and said he “would not stand by while American womanhood is threatened.”94 Noam Chomsky questions why Bush “stood by” when a US nun was kidnapped and sexually abused by Guatemalan police only weeks earlier, when two US nuns were killed by contras in Nicaragua on January 1, 1990, and when a US nun was wounded by gunmen in El Salvador around the same time.95

The US media demonized Noriega and turned the “‘Noriega’ issue into an accepted justification for the invasion…. Colonel Eduardo Herrera, ex-Director of [Panama’s] ‘Public Forces,’…said: “If the real interest of the US was to capture Noriega, they could have done so on numerous occasions. [They] had all of his movements completely controlled.”96

On December 20, 1989, “Operation Just Cause” began. More than 4,000 were killed. US crimes included indiscriminate attacks, extra judicial executions, arbitrary detentions, destruction of property (like leveling the Chorrillo neighborhood), use of prohibited weapons, erasing evidence and mass burials.97

A US-friendly president, Guillermo Endara, was soon sworn in on a US military base.

REAL REASONS The Carter-Torrijos Treaty was torn up and the Panama’s military was dismantled.

A right-wing, US think tank stated in 1988 that: “once [Panama] is controlled by a democratic regime….discussions should begin with respect to a realistic defense of the Canal after…2000. These discussions should include the maintenance, by the US, of a limited number of military installations in Panama…to maintain adequate projection of force in the western hemisphere.”98

The invasion was a testing ground for new weapons, such as the B-2 bomber (worth US $2.2 billion) that was used for the first time.

The invasion also: · rectified “Bush’s ‘wimpy’ foreign relations image” · gave a “spectacular show of U.S. military might in the final months before the Nicaraguan elections, hinting…that they might want to vote for the ‘right’ candidate.” · “sent a signal…that the US…[would] intervene militarily where the control of illegal drugs was ostensibly at stake. · “demonstrated the new U.S. willingness to assume active, interventionist leadership of the ‘new world order’ in the post-Cold War period.”99

CONCLUSIONS

There are dozens of other examples from US history besides those summarized here. The “Cold War” was characterized by dozens of covert and overt wars throughout the Third World. Although each had its specific pretexts, the eradication of communism was the generally-used backdrop for all rationales.100

Since the Soviet Union’s demise, US war planners have continued to use spectacular pretext incidents to spawn wars. Examples include Iraq (1991), Somalia (1992), Haiti (1994), Bosnia (1995) and Yugoslavia (1999).

Throughout this time, the US “War on Drugs” has been fought on many fronts. Lurking behind the excuse to squash illicit drug trafficking, are the actual reasons for financing, training and arming right-wing, US-backed regimes, whose officials have so often profited from this illegal trade. The CIA has used this trade to finance many of its covert wars.101 The “War on Drugs” has targeted numerous countries to strengthen counter-insurgency operations aimed at destroying opposition groups that oppose US corporate rule.

Military plotters know that the majority would never support their wars, if it were generally known why they were really being fought. Over the millennia, a special martial art has been deliberately developed to weave elaborate webs of deceit to create the appearance that wars are fought for “just” or “humanitarian” reasons.

If asked to support a war so a small, wealthy elite could shamelessly profit by ruthlessly exploiting and plundering the natural and human resources in far away lands, people would ‘just say no.’

We now face another broad thematic pretext for war, the so-called “War Against Terrorism.” We are told it will be waged in many countries and may continue for generations. It is vitally important to expose this latest attempt to fraudulently conceal the largely economic and geostrategic purposes of war. By asking who benefits from war, we can unmask its pretense and expose the true grounds for instigating it. By throwing light on repeated historical patterns of deception, we can promote skepticism about the government and media yarns that have been spun to encourage this war.

The historical knowledge of how war planners have tricked people into supporting past wars, is like a vaccine. We can use this understanding of history to inoculate the public with healthy doses of distrust for official war pretext narratives and other deceptive stratagems. Through such immunization programs we may help to counter our society’s susceptibility to “war fever.”

Notes

1. “History of Mexico, Empire and Early Republic, 1821-55,” Area Handbook, US Library of Congress.

2. Shayne M. Cokerdem, “Unit Plan: Manifest Destiny and The Road to the Civil War.”

3. P.B.Kunhardt, Jr., P.B.Kunhardt III, P.W.Kunhardt, “James Polk,” The American President, 2000.

4. “Diplomatic Approaches: U.S. Relations with Mexico: 1844-1846,” LearnCalifornia.org, 2000.

5. John Stockwell, “The CIA and the Gulf War,” Speech, Santa Cruz, CA, Feb.20, 1991, aired by John DiNardo, Pacifica Radio.

6. Betsy Powers, “The U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-48,” War, Reconstruction and Recovery in Brazoria County.

7. “The White House and Western Expansion,” Learning Center, White House Historical Association.

8. Powers

9. White House Historical Association

10. Stockwell

11. P.B.Kunhardt, Jr., P.B.Kunhardt III, P.W.Kunhardt

12. Ed Elizondo, “History of the Cuban Liberation Wars,” Oct.2, 2001.

13. Guillermo Jimpnez Soler, “The emergence of the United States as a world power”, Granma International, Aug.7, 1998.

14. Bill Sardi, “Remember the Maine! And the Other Ships Sunk to Start a War” Oct.16, 2000.

15. Michael Rivero, “Dictatorship through Deception,” New Republic Forum, Dec.24, 1999.

16. Rivero

17. J. Buschini, “The Spanish-American War,” Small Planet Communications, 2000.

18. Soler

19. Buschini

20. Buschini

21. Soler

22. Howard Zinn, “History as a Political Act,” Revolutionary Worker, December 20, 1998.

23. Woodrow Wilson, Message to Congress, Aug. 19, 1914, Senate Doc.#566, pp.3-4, World War I Document Archive.

24. Greg D.Feldmeth, “The First World War,” U.S. History Resources, Mar.31, 1998.

25. James Perloff, “Pearl Harbor,” The New American, Vol. 2, No. 30, December 8, 1986.

26. James Perloff

27. Winston Churchill, cited by Ralph Raico, “Rethinking Churchill,” The Costs of War: America’s Pyrrhic Victories, 1997.

28. Harry V.Jaffa, “The Sinking of the Lusitania: Brutality, Bungling or Betrayal?” The Churchill Center.

29. Patrick Beesly, Room 40: British Naval Intelligence, 1914-18, 1982 cited by RR

30. Peter Young, “World War I,” World Book Encyclopedia, 1967, pp. 374-375.

31. Wendy Mercurio, “WWI Notes, From Neutrality to War,” Jan.2002.

32. Patrick Beesly, cited by Ralph Raico

33. Winston Churchill, cited by Ralph Raico

34. Howard Zinn, “War Is the Health of the State,” A People’s History of the United States, 1492-Present, Sept. 2001.

35. Zinn

36. Steve Kangas, “The Business Plot to Overthrow Roosevelt,” Liberalism Resurgent: A Response to the Right, 1996.

37. Gerald MacGuire, cited by Steve Kangas

38. Dale Wharton, Book review of The Plot to Seize the White House (1973) by Jules Archer, Eclectica Book Reviews.

39. Webster G.Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin, “The Hitler Project,” George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, 1992.

40. David Nasaw, “Remembering ‘The Chief,’” interview, Newshour, Sept.7, 2000.

41. Joseph Czarnecki, Richard Worth, Matthias C. Noch and Tony DiGiulian, “Attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941,” The Battles Of The Pacific.

42. Steve Fry, “Author: FDR knew attack was coming,” The Capital-Journal, June 12, 2001.

43. Henry Stimson, cited by Robert Stinnett, Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbour, 2000.

44. Percy L.Greaves, Jr., “What We Knew,” Institute for Historical Review, Winter, 1983, p.467.

45. “The MAGIC Documents: Summaries and Transcripts of the Top-Secret Diplomatic Communications of Japan, 1938-1945,” GB 0099 KCLMA MF 388-401.

46. Paul Proteus, “Part One: Pearl Harbour,” America’s Phoney Wars.

47. Rivero

48. Michael Parenti, Against Empire, 1995, p.36.

49. “Final Judgement of the Korea International War Crimes Tribunal,” June 23, 2001.

50. Oliver Lee, “South Korea Likely Provoked War with North,” Star-Bulletin, June 24, 1994.

51. Channing Liem, The Korean War (6.25, 1950 – 7.27, 1953) – An Unanswered Question, 1993.

52. Liem

53. Albert Einstein cited by Channing Liem.

54. I.F.Stone, Hidden History of the Korean War, 1952, cited by Channing Liem.

55. Liem

56. Lee

57. Jim Caldwell, “Korea – 50 years ago this week, June 25-28, 1950,” ArmyLINK News, June 20, 2000.

58. Jon Halliday and Bruce Cumings, Korea: The Unknown War, 1988, p.200, cited by Robin Miller, “Washington’s Own Love Affair with Terror”

59. Sandra M.Wittman, “Chronology of US-Vietnamese Relations,” Vietnam: Yesterday and Today.

60. Rivero

61. John DiNardo, “The CIA and the Gulf War,” aired by Pacifica Radio.

62. Rivero

63. DiNardo

64. Joint Resolution, U.S. Congress, Aug.7, 1964, “The Tonkin Bay Resolution, 1964,” Modern History Sourcebook, July 1998.

65. Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Domino Theory Principle, 1954,” Public Papers of the Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954, pp.381-390. (News Conference, April 7, 1954.)

66. Eisenhower

67. Ellen Ray and Bill Schaap, “US Crushes Caribbean Jewel.” Covert Action Information Bulletin (CAIB), winter 1984, p.8

68. Jeff Hackett, “Burying ‘Gairyism.’” Bibliographies

69. Preface to Maurice Bishop speech “In Nobody’s Backyard,” April 13, 1979, The Militant, Mar.15 1999.

70. Ray and Schaap, pp.3-5

71. Ray and Schaap, p.6

72. Clarence Lusane, “Grenada, Airport ’83: Reagan’s Big Lie,” CAIB, Spring-Summer 1983, p.29.

73. Ray and Schaap, pp.10-11

74. Ray and Schaap, p.5

75. Alan Scott, “The Last Prisoners of the Cold War Are Black,” letter, The Voice (Grenada), April 20, 2001.

76. Capt. M.T.Carson, USMC, (Marine Officer Instructor), “Grenada October 1983,” History of Amphibious Warfare (Naval Science 293), Naval Reserves Officer Training Corps, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

77. Carson

78. Ray and Schaap, p..8.

79. Carson

80. “Failures of U.S. Foreign Policy,” Alternativeinsight, Sept.1, 2001

81. Carson

82. Alternativeinsight, Sept.1, 2001

83. Anthony Arnove and Alan Maass, “Washington’s war crimes,” Socialist Worker, Nov.16, 2001.

84. Zoltan Grossman, “One Hundred Years of Intervention,” 2001.

85. Commission for the Defence of Human Rights in Latin America (CODEHUCA), This is the Just Cause, 1990, p.115.

86. Richard Sanders, “Manuel Noriega,” Press for Conversion!, Dec. 2000, p.40.

87. CODEHUCA, pp.117, 108

88. Sanders

89. CODEHUCA, p.108

90. Richard K. Moore, “The Police State Conspiracy an Indictment,” New Dawn Magazine, Jan.-Dec. 1998.

91. Noam Chomsky, “Operation Just Cause: the Pretexts,” Deterring Democracy, 1992.

92. Chomsky

93. Alexander Safian, “Is Israel Using ‘Excessive Force’ Against Palestinians?” Fact sheet: Myth of Excessive Force, Nov.9, 2000

94. Chomsky

95. Chomsky

96. CODEHUCA, p.106.

97. CODEHUCA, passim

98. Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), “Panama: A Test for U.S.-Latin American Foreign Relations,” Interhemispheric Resource Center Bulletin, May 1995

99. FOR

100. William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, 2000.

101. Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, 1991.


Richard Sanders
is the coordinator of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) and the editor of COAT’s quarterly magazine, Press for Conversion! For a free, sample copy, contact ad207@ncf.ca or visit their website:
www.ncf.ca/coat  

 

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The New War, the Forever War, and a World Beyond War

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October 3, 2014 — A statement on the current and enduring crisis, by the coordinating committee of WorldBeyondWar.org

This statement as PDF.

SUMMARY

The following is an assessment of the current ISIS crisis. The statement examines: (1) the social context of the destructive violence in Syria and Iraq — where we are; (2) viable nonviolent alternatives — what should be done; and (3) opportunities for civil society to advocate and push for those alternatives — how we can make it happen. The alternatives and pathways toward achieving those are not only preferable from a perspective of humanity, but proven to be more effective.

Graphic beheadings and other quite real stories of horrors committed by a new enemy — ISIS — have led to increased support for U.S. involvement. But a war on ISIS will make things worse for all concerned, following, as it does, a pattern of counterproductive action. Through the course of the so-called global war on terrorism, terrorism has been on the rise.

Nonviolent alternatives to war are abundant, morally superior, and strategically more effective. Some but not all are: apologies for past actions; arms embargoes; a Marshall Plan of restitution for the Middle East; meaningful diplomacy; appropriate conflict resolution responses to terrorism; addressing the immediate crisis with humanitarian intervention; redirecting our energies at home; supporting peace journalism; working through the United Nations; and de-authorizing the war on terror.

No solution by itself will bring peace to the region. Many solutions together can create a strong web of peacebuilding fabric superior to continued war. We cannot expect to make all of the above happen immediately. But by working toward those ends we can achieve the best results as quickly and as lastingly as possible.

We need teach-ins, communications, and education of all sorts. People should know enough facts to give their positions context. We need demonstrations, rallies, sit-ins, town forums, disruptions, and media productions. And if we make this a part of ending the whole institution of war, rather than just a particular war, we may move closer to not having to keep opposing new wars all the time.

WHERE WE ARE


WorldBeyondWar.org
(image by http://WorldBeyondWar.org)

Public opinion on wars in the United States follows a tragic pattern, soaring — sometimes to over a majority — in support of a war when it’s new, and then predictably sinking. During most of the 2003-2011 U.S. war on Iraq, a majority in the U.S. said the war should never have been begun. In 2013, public opinion and pressure played a prominent role in preventing the launching of a new U.S. war on Syria. In February 2014, the U.S. Senate rejected legislation that would have moved the United States closer to war with Iran. On July 25, 2014, with the U.S. public against a new U.S. war in Iraq, the House of Representatives passed a resolution that would have required the President to obtain authorization before launching a war (just as the Constitution already requires) had the Senate passed the resolution too. At that distant date of a few months back, it was still possible to talk about an “antiwar mood,” to applaud the Catholic peace group Pax Christi for its historic decision to reject “just war” theory, to celebrate the state of Connecticut’s creation of a commission to transition to peaceful industries, to point to public supportfor taxing the rich and cutting the military as the top two solutions whenever the U.S. government and media discussed a debt crisis, and to envision a less-militarized future approaching.

But support for U.S. drone strikes remained relatively high, opposition to Israel’s war on Gaza with U.S. weapons remained weak (and in Congress and the White House virtually nonexistent), the CIA was arming Syrian rebels against the overwhelming preference of the U.S. public, and the proposed missile strikes into Syria had not been replaced with any significant effort to create an arms embargo, negotiate a ceasefire, provide major humanitarian aid, or otherwise reject a war-focused foreign policy and economic agenda that had merely been put on hold. Moreover, public opposition to war was weak and ill-informed. Most Americans lacked even a roughly accurate idea of the destruction their government had caused in Iraq, could not name the nations their government was striking with drones, didn’t study the evidence that their government had lied about chemical weapons attacks in Syria and threats to civilians in Libya, didn’t pay much attention to the human rights abuses or support for terrorism by U.S.-backed kings and dictators, and had been long trained to believe that violence arises out of the irrationality of foreigners and can be cured with greater violence.

Support for a new war was driven by graphic beheadings and other quite real stories of horrors committed by a new enemy: ISIS. [1] This support is as likely to be short-lived as support for other wars has been, barring some dramatic new motivation. And this support has been exaggerated. Pollsters ask whether something should be done and then simply assume that the something is violence. Or they ask whether this type of violence should be employed or that type of violence, never offering any nonviolent alternatives. So, other questions could produce other answers right now; time is likely to change the answers for the better; and education would accelerate that changing.

Opposition to the horrors of ISIS makes perfect sense, but opposition to ISIS as a motivation for war lacks context in every way. U.S. allies in that region, including the Iraqi government and the so-called Syrian rebels, behead people, as do U.S. missiles. And ISIS isn’t such a new enemy after all, including as it does Iraqis thrown out of work by the U.S. disbanding of the Iraqi military, and Iraqis brutalized for years in U.S. prison camps. The United States and its junior partners destroyed Iraq, leaving behind sectarian division, poverty, desperation, and an illegitimate government in Baghdad that did not represent Sunnis or other groups. Then the U.S. armed and trained ISIS and allied groups in Syria, while continuing to prop up the Baghdad government, providing Hellfire missiles with which to attack Iraqis in Fallujah and elsewhere. Even opponents of the Saddam Hussein government (which was also put into power by the United States) say there could have been no ISIS had the United States not attacked and destroyed Iraq.

Additional context is provided by the manner in which the U.S. occupation of Iraq temporarily ended in 2011. President Obama withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq when he couldn’t get the Iraqi government to give them immunity for any crimes they might commit. He has now obtained that immunity and sent troops back in.

ISIS has religious adherents but also opportunistic supporters who see it as the force resisting an unwanted rule from Baghdad and who increasingly see it as resisting the United States. That’s how ISIS wants to be seen. U.S. wars have made the United States so hated in that part of the world, that ISIS openly encouraged U.S. attacks in an hour-long film, provoked them with the beheading videos, and has seen huge recruitment gains since the U.S. began attacking it. [2]

ISIS is in possession of U.S. weaponry provided directly to it in Syria and seized from, and even provided by the Iraqi government. At last count by the U.S. government, 79% of weapons transferred to Middle Eastern governments come from the United States, not counting transfers to groups like ISIS, and not counting weapons in the possession of the United States.

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http://davidswanson.org

David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more…)

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