by Jacob G. Hornberger
Consider this opening paragraph from an article in last Sunday’s edition of the New York Times:
After World War II, American counterintelligence recruited former Gestapo officers, SS veterans and Nazi collaborators to an even greater extent than had been previously disclosed and helped many of them avoid prosecution or looked the other way when they escaped, according to thousands of newly declassified documents.
From the time that American children are forced into the public (i.e., government) schools, one of the important things that are drummed into their heads is the moral underpinning of World War II. It’s the “good war” they repeat ad infinitum in the government schools.
Let’s go back to World War I. After that war, the American people were disgusted. They had seen the U.S. government sacrifice more than 100,000 American men for nothing. The war had been sold as a way to end all wars into the future and to make the world “safe for democracy.” It accomplished neither. World War I was a total waste of American life. The good news is that American interventionists never brag about American intervention in World War I, undoubtedly because they’re embarrassed or ashamed about it.
In fact, it was U.S. intervention in World War I that contributed to the conditions that gave rise to Hitler and the Nazis, including the total defeat of Germany and the vengeful Treaty of Versailles.
From the first grade on up, it’s ingrained in Americans that World War II was a great victory for freedom. Yet, the Poles and other Eastern Europeans don’t quite see it that way.
Let’s not forget the reason that Great Britain and France declared war on Germany: Germany’s invasion of Poland, which Hitler justified by Poland’s refusal to renegotiate the Polish Corridor that had been established in the Treaty of Versailles. England’s and France’s aim: to free the Polish people from Nazi totalitarian dictatorship.
What was the result after World War II? It is true that the Poles were freed from Nazi tyranny, but what U.S. interventionists call a great victory for freedom was the fact that Poland and Eastern Europe were now under the domination of the Soviet communists, rather than the Nazis.
Why would anyone consider communist control and domination to be freedom? The idea is that because the United States was partners with the Soviet communists, when the Soviets occupied Eastern Europe that meant that “we” had brought freedom to the Poles and Eastern Europeans. It’s easy to see why the Poles and other Eastern Europeans felt otherwise.
U.S. interventionists say that Hitler and the Nazis were so evil that it was necessary to take sides against them, even if it meant partnering with the Soviet communists. They also say that it would have been wrong to negotiate an early peace that would have entailed replacing the Nazis with a liberal regime and keep Eastern Europe free of Soviet domination because that would have been double-crossing “our” Soviet partner.
Let’s consider that New York Times article again — the one that points out that U.S. officials were secretly partnering with Nazis, whose evil has always been used to justify U.S. intervention into World War II. At the end of the war, the U.S. government was partnering with those evil people. It was all kept secret of course, until now. National security!
What the reason for the partnership between the United States and the Nazis? To wage a new Cold War against the U.S. government’s former partner, the Soviet Union, a war that would mean ever-growing big government in America.
Here began the major, non-stop expansion of the U.S. military, the military-industrial complex, the national security state, the CIA, and the imperial role for the U.S. government. In the process, the U.S. government collaborated with Nazis in order to oppose its former partner and new enemy, the Soviet Union.
I’d be remiss if I failed to point out that U.S. intervention in World War II also led to the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War. It also failed to save hardly any European Jews from the Holocaust, but of course, as we all know, the U.S. government didn’t care about the plight of the Jews anyway, either before or during World War II (See my article “Locking Out the Immigrant.”)
The U.S. partnership with the communists and then the Nazis would not be the only unsavory partnership for the U.S. government. In 1963, the year that John Kennedy was assassinated, the CIA partnered with the Mafia, one of the most vicious, cruel, murderous criminal organizations in history, with the aim of protecting “national security” by trying to assassinate Fidel Castro, the communist ruler of Cuba, a country that had never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.
Don’t forget also the U.S. Empire’s post-World War II collaboration with other brutal dictatorial regimes, such as in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Latin America, and elsewhere.
As America continues headed toward economic bankruptcy, partly due to the ever-growing military establishment, it’s time for the American people to reflect on what the turn toward militarism and empire has done to our nation. Time has proven that President Eisenhower was right when he warned us about the growing threat from the military industrial complex. It is bankrupting our nation, turning the world against us, making us more unsafe, and threatening our freedom, privacy, and democratic processes.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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