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America's Permanent War Agenda

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America's Permanent War Agenda
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Post-9/11, Dick Cheney warned of wars that won't end in our lifetime. Former CIA Director James Woolsey said America "is engaged in World War IV, and it could continue for years....This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us." GHW Bush called it a "New World Order" in his September 11, 1990 address to a joint session of Congress as he prepared the public for Operation Desert Storm.

The Pentagon called it the "long war" in its 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), what past administrations waged every year without exception since the republic's birth, at home and abroad. Obama is just the latest of America's warrior presidents that included Washington, Madison, Jackson, Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, Wilson, F. Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, and GW Bush preceding him.

This article covers WW II and its aftermath history of imperial wars for unchallengeable global dominance throughout a period when America had and still has no enemies. Then why fight them? Read on.

Wars Without End

America glorifies wars in the name of peace, what historian Charles Beard (1874 - 1948) called "perpetual war for perpetual peace" in describing the Roosevelt and Truman administrations' foreign policies - what concerned the Federation of American Scientists when it catalogued about 200 post-1945 conflicts in which America was, and still is, the aggressor.

Historian Gore Vidal used Beard's phrase in titling his 2002 book, "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace" and saying:

"our rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own."

In his 2002 book "Dreaming War," he compared GW Bush's imperial ambitions to WW II and the 1947 Truman Doctrine's pledge:

"To support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."

It was to keep Greece and Turkey from going communist, but it applied globally and initiated America's National Security State strategy that included:

  • NATO in 1949 for offense, not defense;
  • NSC-68 against Soviet Russia in 1950 to "contain" what was called an enemy "unlike previous aspirants to hegemony....animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own (wishing to) impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world" at a time America was the only global superpower, the Soviet Union lay in ruins, threatened no one, and needed years to regain normality.

Then came:

  • Truman's instigated June 25, 1950 war after the DPRK retaliated in force following months of ROK provocations, what Americans call the Korean War, South Koreans the 6-2-5 War (meaning June 25), and the North its "fatherland liberation war" that left it in ruins, the South occupied to this day, and it was only the mid-century beginning as succeeding administrations continued an agenda for what's now called "full spectrum dominance" for global US hegemony.

It worried historian Harry Elmer Barnes (1889 - 1968) in his 1953 collection of leading historical revisionists' essays titled, "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: A Critical Examination of the Foreign Policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and It's Aftermath" in which he wrote in the preface:

"If trends continue as they have during the last fifteen years, we shall soon reach this point of no return, and can only anticipate interminable wars, disguised as noble gestures for peace. Such an era could only culminate in a third world war which might well, as Arnold J. Toynbee has suggested, leave only the pygmies in remote jungles, or even the apes and ants, to carry on 'the cultural traditions' of mankind."

He cited how America's "needless" entry into two world wars converted its pre-1914 dream "into a nightmare of fear, regimentation, destruction, insecurity, inflation, and ultimate insolvency." He debunked the cause and merits of WW I, "the folly of our entering it, and the disastrous results that followed." He cited "popular fictions" about WW II, the injustices to Germany and Austria that caused it, the war Roosevelt wanted early in the 1930s as captured Polish documents and the censored Forrestal Diaries confirmed.

Before it began, he wanted US neutrality legislation ended, then after September 1939, he dropped any pretense by supporting Britain and France and opposing peace efforts after Poland's defeat. His June 1940 "dagger in the back" address was a de facto act of war by beginning vast amounts of weapons and munitions shipments to Britain after Dunkirk, followed by the September 1940 (peacetime) Selective Service Act, the first in US history, in preparation for what close advisor Harry Hopkins told Churchill in January 1941 that:

"The President is determined that we shall win the war together. Make no mistake about it," followed by Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Harold Stark telling his fleet commanders that "The question of our entry into the war now seems to be when, and not whether."

Only a pretext was needed, first by trying and failing to provoke Germany, then deciding Japan would be attacked, whether or not it struck US ships, territory, or forces in the Pacific. In a July 4 radio broadcast, Roosevelt said:

"solemnly (understand) that the United States will never survive as a happy and fertile oasis of liberty surrounded by a cruel desert of dictatorship." Then his July 25 Executive Order froze Japanese assets, stating it was:

"....To prevent the use of the financial facilities of the United States in trade between Japan and the United States in ways harmful to national defense and American interests, to prevent the liquidation in the United States of assets obtained by duress or conquest, and to curb subversive activities in the United States."

Britain followed suit the next day, and Roosevelt nationalized the Philippines' armed forces "as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States" with dominion over its Asian colony.

As early as 1937, he planned a naval blockade, but dropped the idea after an adverse reaction. It resurfaced in 1938 because he knew strangling Japan economically assured war.

Throughout his administration, from 1933 through late 1941, he spurned Japanese peace overtures that would have protected all American interests in the Pacific. By November 25, the final die was cast. America chose war, and on that day, War Secretary Henry Stimson wrote in his diary that it depended only on how to maneuver Japan to attack with the lowest number of US casualties.

Tokyo had no other recourse, knowing it couldn't win, but hoping for a negotiated settlement to solidify whatever Asian control it could retain. It failed, lost the war, and remains an occupied US vassal state.

In the late 1930s, Roosevelt encouraged a Japanese attack by stationing the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor against the advice of two key admirals, James Richardson, Pacific Fleet commander and Harold Stark, Chief of Naval Operations until March 1942.

Selling arms to Japan's enemies and an embargo assured war, and US cable documentation confirmed it was coming. Breaking the Japanese code let Britain and Washington track its fleet from the Kurile Islands to its North Pacific refueling point en route to Pearl Harbor on or about December 7.

At a December 5 cabinet meeting, Navy Secretary Frank Knox said: "Well, you know Mr. President, we know where the Japanese fleet is?"

"Yes, I know," responded Roosevelt, saying "Well, you tell them what it is Frank," who explained where it was, where it was heading until Roosevelt interrupted adding that perfect information wasn't available in spite of navy reports confirming it in Pacific waters heading toward Hawaii. On December 6, officials awaited the attack until it came the next morning at 7:55AM Hawaii time.

It was a day of infamy and deceit, with Pearl Harbor's commander, Admiral HE Kimmel, denied crucial intelligence to let it proceed unimpeded, arouse public anger, and give FDR his war - one decoded Japanese messages showed they didn't want but Roosevelt gave them no choice.

Like other presidents, he lied the country into war against the wishes of 80% of the public, at a cost of millions of lives in both theaters, and a policy henceforth of perpetual wars for perpetual peace to achieve unchallengeable US dominance. In the modern era, FDR's foreign policy began it, leaving a bankrupted moral and political legacy active to this day.

Consider also what revisionist historians say about Lincoln - that he provoked the Fort Sumpter (in Charleston, SC harbor) attack and began the Civil War for economic reasons, not to end slavery.

Consider also that ordinary people and soldiers don't want war, just their leaders and commanders - to wit, Christmas 1914 during WW I when German and British troops stopped fighting, didn't know why they were doing it, then defied orders by fraternizing with each other for two weeks despite risking being court-martialed. Unable to stop them, their officers joined them in a celebratory pause that didn't stop another three years of carnage, millions of lost lives, and post-war policies that assured WW II.

The lesson is clear. All wars are immoral, unnecessary, and only happen when one side provokes the other for reasons unrelated to national security threats.

In his seminal book, "A Century of War," Gabriel Kolko called the 20th century:

"the bloodiest in all history. More than 170 million people were killed," 70% of whom in WW II were civilians, "mainly (from) the bombing of cities by Great Britain and America." There was nothing good about "the good war" nor any others.

In Kolko's later book "Another Century of War," he stressed how America contributes to much of the world's disorder through its interventions and as the world's largest arms producer and exporter. Post-WW II, the US became a global menace, today claiming "terrorism" as the main threat - a bogus fiction to justify militarism, perpetual wars heading the nation for moral, political and economic bankruptcy. According to Kolko:

"The way America's leaders are running the nation's foreign policy is not creating peace or security at home or stability abroad. The reverse is the case: its interventions have been counterproductive."

In his newest book, "The World in Crisis," Kolko believes that America's decline "began after the Korean War, was continued in relation to Cuba, and was greatly accelerated in Vietnam - but (GW Bush did) much to exacerbate it further." He also thinks:

  • US power is declining everywhere;
  • "the world is no longer dependent on its economic might" because other nations like China and India are growing and may some day equal or surpass America;
  • after the Soviet Union's collapse, "the absence of identifiable foes has been a disaster, leaving the US aimless - (so) it picks and chooses enemies: rag-tag Afghan tribesmen, Iraqis or all sorts, perhaps China, perhaps Russia....South American caudillos," whatever bogus ones can be invented for imperial wars, but the justification is wearing thin, and the burgeoning cost  unsustainable.

The result is that America's "century of domination is now ending."

America's Permanent War Economy

It's how Seymour Melman (1917 - 2004) characterized it in his books and frequents writings on America's military-industrial complex. One of his last articles was titled "In the Grip of a Permanent War Economy (CounterPunch, March 15, 2003) in which he said:

"at the start of the twenty-first century, every major aspect of American life is being shaped by our Permanent War Economy." He then examined the horrific toll:

  • a de-industrialized nation, the result of decades of shifting production abroad leaving unions and communities "decimated;"
  • government financing and promoting "every kind of war industry and foreign investing by US firms;" war priorities take precedence over essential homeland needs;
  • America's "Permanent War Economy....has endured since the end of World War II....Since then the US has been at war - somewhere - every year, in Korea, Nicaragua, Vietnam, the Balkans, Afghanistan - all this to the accompaniment of shorter military forays in Africa, Chile, Grenada, Panama," and increasingly at home against its own people;
  • "how to make war" takes precedence over everything leaving no "public space....on how to improve the quality of our lives;"
  • "Shortages of housing have caused a swelling of the homeless population in every major city (because) State and city governments across the country have become trained to bend to the needs of the military....;" the  Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) currently estimates over 21,000 are on city streets nightly, and during winter months it's dangerous;
  • the result is a nation of growing millions of poor, disadvantaged, uneducated, and "disconnected from society's mainstream, restless and unhappy, frustrated, angry, and sad;"

"State Capitalism" characterizes America's government -  business partnership running a war economy for greater power and wealth at the expense of a nation in decline, corrupted leadership, lost industrialization, crumbling infrastructure, and suffering millions on their own, uncared for, unwanted, ignored, and forgotten.

Melman stressed that:

"Further evasion is out of order. We must come to grips with America's State Capitalism and its Permanent War Economy." Re-industrialization is essential "to restore jobs and production competence - industry by industry."

"Failing that, there is no hope for any constructive exit," for the nation or its people.

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