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America's Permanent War Agenda - America's Permanent War Agenda

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America's Permanent War Agenda
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Dwight Eisenhower's January 17, 1961 Address to the Nation

It was his farewell address delivered 30 years to the day before Operation Desert Storm began in which he warned about the "military-industrial complex," citing the "grave implications" of a "coalition of the military and industrialists who profit by manufacturing arms and selling them to the government."

He stated "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence....by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

He also said that:

"Every gun that is made, every war ship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and not clothed," the result of what some analysts call the "iron triangle" of Congress, the Pentagon, and the defense industry that includes producers of sophisticated technology for digital age warfare of a kind Eisenhower never imagined.

In combination, they've addicted America to war, not for threats, but for the power and profits that result. In his book "The Political Economy of US Militarism," Professor Ismael Hossein-Zadeh refers to "parasitic military imperialism," consuming over 40% of the national tax revenue at the expense of unmet human needs.

Morality aside, it's not justified economically. It's wasteful, inefficient, comes at a great cost, and over time is ineffective and self-destructive.

"The control over huge amounts of national resources tends to lead to an undermining of democratic values, a perversion of republican principles and a reduction of civil freedoms, as well as to the political corruption at home and abroad." Moreover, "The constant need for international conflicts makes (America's) military imperialism....more dangerous than the imperial powers of the past."

It's made war-making a giant enterprise "not only for expansionism but, in fact, for the survival of this empire," yet consider the fallout Hossein-Zadeh examined in a July 10, 2007 article titled, "Parasitic Imperialism:"

  • the redistribution of income and resources to the wealthy;
  • the undermining of physical and human capital;
  • the nation's increased vulnerability to natural disasters;
  • economic and financial instability, the result of the growing national debt now totally out of control;
  • less foreign market potential for non-military ventures;
  • the undermining of civil liberties and democratic values; and
  • "foster(ing) a dependence on or addiction to military spending, and, therefore....a spiraling vicious circle of (unsustainable) war and militarism" that's sucking the nation into decline.

America's Post-WW II Imperial Grand Strategy

Post-WW II, America emerged as the world's sole superpower - economically, politically and militarily, given the war's toll on East Asia, Europe and Soviet Russia. In his book, "The Cold War and the New Imperialism," Professor Henry Heller examined it with emphasis on the Cold War, America's containment policy, and its efforts against leftist forces in support of fascist elements on the right at both state and local levels.

The Soviet Union controlled Eastern and Central Europe while Mao's War of Liberation defeated Chiang Kai-Shek Nationalists. Cold War confrontation followed. It pitted US imperialism against an opposing ideology, the aim being which side would triumph or could both co-exist peacefully and avoid conflict.

War was never an option given each side's nuclear strength under a policy of "mutually assured destruction (MAD)". In addition, post-Stalinist Russia began reforms and expanded its sphere of influence. It wasn't to destroy the West, but to co-exist equally. America and Soviet Russia only competed for developing country allies to keep them from the opposing camp, so neither would be dominated by the other or more vulnerable to being isolated, marginalized, or shut out from world markets and influence.

US Imperialism Post-WW II

James Petras and others have said behind every imperial war is a great lie, the more often repeated the more likely to be believed because ordinary people want peace, not conflict, so it's vital to convince them.

In the 1950s, the Eisenhower administration overthrew two popularly elected governments in Iran and Guatemala, and sought greater influence in Africa and Southeast Asia as anti-colonial movements gained strength.

On January 1, 1959 Fidel Castro's socialist revolution ousted the US-backed Batista dictatorship. He then survived America's failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, but faced decades of US hostility, including an embargo, destabilization, intimidation, and hundreds of attempts to kill him, unsuccessful so Cuba is still free from US dominance, but hardly safe from its northern hegemon.

In the 1950s, America also backed French Southeast Asian imperialism until defeat at Dien Bien Phu drove them out. A repressive South Vietnamese client regime was established at the same time, supported by US military advisors teaching war and repression tactics. Unifying North and South elections were blocked, and direct intervention began in 1961. In 1958, Washington also subverted Laotian democracy and incited civil war. Cambodia as well was targeted but remained free.

Early in his administration, Kennedy intervened, but a new James Douglass book titled "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters" says without conviction because he opposed using force. After the Joint Chiefs demanded troops for Laos, he told his Geneva Conference representative, Averell Harriman:

"Did you understand? I want a negotiated settlement in Laos. I don't want to put troops in."

He wouldn't agree to using nuclear weapons in Berlin and Southeast Asia and refused to bomb or invade Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis, saying afterwards that "I never had the slightest intention of doing so."

In June 1963 (a few months before his assassination), he called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, ending the Cold War, and moving forward for "general and complete disarmament." In October 1963, he signed National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 263 to withdraw 1,000 US forces from Vietnam by year end and all of them by 1965. He said he wanted "to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds." He wanted peace, not conflicts. It cost him his life, and future presidents got the message.

Johnson resumed Southeast Asian escalation to establish client regimes and military bases across East and South Asia, encircle China, and crush nationalist anti-imperial movements. The Indochinese war engulfed Cambodia and Laos as well under Johnson and Nixon. It killed three to four million, inflicted vast amounts of destruction, caused incalculable human suffering, got America to sign a peace treaty in January 1973, but war continued until its clients were defeated in April 1975.

Prior to Reagan's election, the "Vietnam syndrome" and easing Cold War tensions and disarmament efforts alarmed militarists to fear defense spending cuts detrimental to profits. A propaganda campaign exaggerated bogus threats, manipulated intelligence to heighten fear, and got the Reagan administration to approve large military spending increases to confront "Soviet expansionism" at a time it was transitioning from Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko to Gorbachev in 1985, followed by perestroika in 1986, glasnost in 1988, border openings and the Berlin Wall's collapse in 1989, then the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991 - a new threat militarists feared would bring large, not to be tolerated, defense budgets cuts.

In the late 1980s, however, leading figures, including Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samuel Huntington, and Albert Wohlstetter alleged Third World conflicts threatened US interests in the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Western Pacific, and recommended deterrence to stop them. Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney agreed. Others wanted large defense cuts for a peace dividend, including Johnson's DOD chief Robert McNamara who proposed reductions up to 50%.

Throughout the 1989 - 1999 period, mostly under Bill Clinton, US-instigated provocations, sanctions, and armed insurrections support involved America in 134 military operations according to the Federation of American Scientists. The most egregious was Clinton's bombing and dismemberment of Yugoslavia, an act playwright Harold Pinter called:

"barbaric" and despicable, "another blatant and brutal assertion of US power using NATO as its missile" to consolidate "American domination of Europe." Worse was yet to come with the election of George Bush, America's worst president in a country that never had a good one and never will as it's now governed.

Long before 9/11, Middle East restructuring plans were based on bogus terrorist, rogue state, and "clash of civilizations" threats by hordes of Islamofascists, including the Palestinian resistance, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Saddam Hussein targeted in the 1990 - 91 Gulf War, followed by years of devastating sanctions, then ousted by GW Bush in 2003.

Iraq was destroyed, occupied and balkanized. Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran face similar threats, the common thread being dominating Eurasia through endless conflicts and increased military spending for war profiteering bounties. September 11 assured it, and got Michelle Ciarocca of the Arms Trade Resource Center, in September 2002 to say:

"The whole mind set of military spending changed on Sept. 11. The most fundamental thing about defense spending is that threats drive (it). It's now going to be easier to fund almost anything."

Hossein-Zadeh investigated the growing role of private contractors creating a "built-in propensity to war that makes the US military-industrial complex a menace to world peace and stability, a force of death and destruction," as virulent under Obama as George Bush.

The fallout includes a burgeoning national debt, loss of civil liberties and democratic freedoms, erosion of social services, collapse of the dollar, America already in decline, its coming loss of preeminence as a world power, its potential bankruptcy, perhaps demise in its present form. and the possibility of WW III.

America's Illegal Wars of Aggression - The "Supreme Crime"

All US post-WW II conflicts were premeditated wars of aggression against nations posing no threat to America -
what Justice Robert Jackson at Nuremberg called:

the "supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

Canadian Law Professor Michael Mandel explained America's guilt in his superb 2004 book, "How America Gets Away with Murder: Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage, and Crimes Against Humanity," his main theme being Jackson's Nuremberg "supreme crime" declaration, as relevant now as then.

Tragically, as Edward Herman observed in reviewing Mandel's book:

"The problem for the United States (and the world) has been that this country is now in the business of aggression and its commission of the "supreme crime" is standard policy, thereby bringing the "scourge of war" across the globe in direct violation of the UN charter."

Its Purposes and Principles state that:

"The Purposes of the United Nations are:

To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace."

Conspiratorially with NATO and Israel, America willfully and repeatedly violates international and US laws, punishes its victims, absolves itself, and since WW II has directly or indirectly murdered millions of people globally, mostly civilian non-combatants.

Barack Obama - America's New Warrior President

America glorifies conflicts and the righteousness of waging them, packaged as liberating ones for democracy, freedom, justice, and the best of all possible worlds. Obama is just the latest in a long line of warrior leaders promising peace by waging war, justifying them by bogus threats, and calling pacifism unpatriotic to further an imperial agenda for greater wealth, power, and unchallengeable global dominance.

In opposition to his announced Afghanistan surge, peace activists gathered across from the White House on December 12 for an "Emergency Anti-Escalation Rally" organized by "End US Wars"- a new coalition of grassroots anti-war organizations.

Speakers included Kathy Kelly, David Swanson, Granny D (age 100 on January 24, 2010) former Senator Mike Gravel (1969 - 1981), and former Representative and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, among others.

This writer was asked to prepare a short commentary to be read to the crowd. Updated, it's reproduced below:

Obama's Permanent War Strategy

Disingenuously calling Afghanistan a "war of necessity, not choice," Obama ordered 30,000 more troops deployed over the next six months with perhaps many more to follow. In one of his most defining decisions, he's more than doubled the force count since taking office, angered a majority in the country, and continues his permanent war agenda while calling himself a man of peace.

Next target, Yemen, and its newest, occupied Haiti for plunder, exploitation, and very likely killing unwanted Haitians by neglect, starvation, disease, and face-to-face confrontations if they resist.

As a candidate, Obama campaigned against imperial militarism, promised limited escalation only, and pledged to remove all combat troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010. That was then. This is now, and consider what he has in mind - the permanent occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and more.

Besides the Afghan escalation, he's also destabilizing Pakistan to balkanize both countries, weakening them to control the Caspian Sea's oil and gas riches and their energy routes to secured ports for export. The strategy includes encircling Russia, China, and Iran, obstructing their solidarity and cohesion, defusing a feared geopolitical alliance, weakening the Iranian government, perhaps attacking its nuclear sites, eliminating Israel's main regional rival, and securing unchallenged Eurasian dominance over this resource rich part of the world that includes China, Russia, the Middle East, and Indian subcontinent.

Like George Bush, Obama plans permanent war and more military spending than all other nations combined at a time America has no enemies. He promised change and betrayed us. Grassroots activism must stop this madness and make America a nation again to be proud of. The alternative is too grim to imagine.

Over 50 years ago, Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970) warned:

"Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war" and live in peace, because we have no other choice.


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