Stephen Lendman: Secret War, at Home and Abroad

By Stephen Lendman
Special to PalestineChronicle.com

Mahdi Nazemroaya writes in his August 29 "War and the ‘New World Order’ " article on Global Research.ca that war is "the ultimate (and most effective) economic shock therapy (that can) change societies and reshape nations," and that America today is embarked on achieving a long-standing vision for "global ascendancy" and supremacy. For the Trilateral Commission of "powerful" US, EU and Japanese "elites," its operative 1973 founding goal was a "New International Economic Order." For George HW Bush it became the "New World Order," and for GW Bush a permanent state of war for global hegemony.

Nazemroaya writes America’s "foreign policy is based on economic interests" with military might used to enforce them. He states various US administrations have pursued "An (unbroken) agenda of perpetual warfare and violence (for) global domination through economic means." George Bush’s current "war on terrorism" in the Middle East and Central Asia are just "stepping stones" toward that "global order" unipolar Pax Americana vision under which no nation is exempt.

It’s nearly always been this way in a nation addicted to war and a culture of violence that’s as commonplace at home as in foreign conflicts. It’s in our schools and reinforced through the media with seductive symbols and slogans glorifying wars for peace, their warriors, and righteousness of waging them. They’re packaged as liberating ones, promoting democracy, and spreading the benefits of western civilization.

We’re taught our essential goodness and what Edward Herman calls our status as an "indispensable state" that lets us do what no other nation may – wage perpetual wars for an elusive peace in the name of freedom and justice for all we preach but don’t practice. We manipulate false notions of exceptionalism and moral superiority giving us the right to spread our ways to others while hiding our darker imperial side delivered through the barrel of a gun. It shames the notion of a "government of the people, by the people, for the people."

Expansionism and Militarism

Expansionism has always been our way and militarism our method. It’s been since winning the West meant taking it from the millions there thousands of years earlier. No matter. "Manifest Destiny" meant a divine right for settlers only to enjoy the nation’s "spacious skies….amber waves of grain….and purple mountain majesties….from sea to shining sea." Others already there had to go, and mass slaughter was the method.

Our forefathers loathed Native Indians, and George Washington showed it in his language. He called them "red savages," compared them to wolves and "beasts of prey," and aimed to exterminate the Onieda people who aided him in his darkest hours at Valley Forge. He also dispatched General John Sullivan and 5000 troops against the noncombatant Onondaga people with orders to destroy their villages, homes, fields, food supplies, cattle herds, orchards and then annihilate them and seize their land.

Throughout our history, it’s been our way, and since 1990, three US Presidents waged genocidal war in Iraq to erase the "cradle of civilization" and remake it in our own image. Two and a half million are dead and counting from it, the country is plagued by out-of-control violence, one-third of its people need emergency aid, millions go hungry, and a once prosperous nation is now a surreal lawless occupied wasteland with few or no essential services like electricity, clean water, medical care, fuel and most everything else needed for sustenance and survival. That’s the ugly face of "genocide" in real time.

The War Abroad

When the Cold War ended in 1991, George HW Bush’s Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz were tasked to shape a new strategy that emerged in 1992 as the Defense Planning Guidance or Wolfowitz Doctrine. It was so extreme, it was kept under wraps, but not for long. It was leaked to the New York Times causing uproar enough for the elder Bush to shelve it until the neoconservative think tank Project for a New American Century (PNAC) revived it in a document called "Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century." It was an imperial plan for global dominance for well into the future to be enforced with unchallengeable military power. It became the blueprint for the "war on terror" and all the hot ones planned to wage it.

WW II was more a beginning than an end to war. The US kept Korea and Vietnam divided and targeted  independent-minded leaders. It was part of our imperial designs on East Asia that included containing Soviet Russia as well as China. It led us to incite civil wars in Korea and Vietnam expecting both times to prevail but were stalemated in one and lost the other.

North Korea’s Fatherland Liberation War began June 25, 1950 when the DPRK retaliated in force following months of US influenced Republic of Korean (ROK) provocations. It ended in an uneasy cease-fire July 27, 1953 and is still unresolved to this day. The North and South are technically at war, the US refuses to negotiate an honorable peace, and 57 years later 37,000 American forces are in the South with no intention to leave.

Korea taught us nothing. Vietnam was next, and now we’re embroiled in Iraq and Afghanistan with a potentially disastrous war looming against Iran. It proves Ben Franklin right that "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results." Adventurism in Vietnam began under Truman and Eisenhower supporting France. It expanded full-blown under Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon before ending in a humiliating final pullout from the US Saigon Embassy rooftop April 30, 1975.
The 1980s brought more conflict with Ronald Reagan’s war against "international terrorism." He invaded tiny Grenada in 1983 against a left-leaning regime for a pro-western one we installed. Scorched earth proxy wars then upped the stakes in Central America, Afghanistan, Africa and the Middle East. We tread lightly nowhere, and these conflicts left hundreds of thousands dead and immiserated in the name of democracy, humanitarian intervention, and the benefits of western civilization by our method of choice – gun barrels blazing.

GHW Bush then followed with Panama his prey. He deposed its leader, then targeted Saddam for the only crime that mattered – disobeying the lord and master of the universe and its rules of imperial management, especially Rule No. 1: We’re boss, and what we say goes.

The Gulf war followed with 12 crushing years of sanctions its legacy. They left 1.5 million Iraqis dead and the living devastated. The current cycle of permanent wars began post-9/11 in October, 2001. First came the Taliban with Iraq ahead as the prime target of choice. It’s huge oil reserves made it the most sought after real estate on earth with a plan to seize them simple at its core – a bold new experiment to erase a nation and create a new one by invasion, occupation and reconstruction for pillage. It would transform Iraq into a fully privatized free market paradise with blank check  public funding for profit but none for Iraqis for essential needs, a sustainable economy or critical local infrastructure.

It’s been a disaster with the toll on Iraqis horrific – an inferno of uncontrolled violence throughout the country with new British O.R.B. independent polling data estimating 1.2 million Iraqi deaths since March, 2003 on top of the 1.5 million others since 1990. The war is now longer in duration than WWs I or II and will likely exceed the latter one in inflation-adjusted cost before it ends. It’s not in sight thanks to a complicit Democrat-led Congress that’s long on theater but short on action it can take but won’t. Allied with the administration, it flaunts public demands to end the war, bring home the troops, and will shortly accede to another Bush supplemental request for billions more in funding.

Secret Air Wars

Public sentiment might be stronger if Jeff Nygaard’s June, 2007 Z Magazine article titled "The Secret Air Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan" got wider play. He explained US Central Command Air Forces (CENTAF) posts its daily "airpower summaries" online that makes for horrifying reading "aside (from) the blatant propaganda." Nygaard explained "relentless" air attacks against Iraq and Afghanistan have gone on for years – on average 75 – 100 each day against both countries. It’s a huge unreported story in the dominant media. The death toll is unknown, he says, "but a reasonable estimate" is between 100,000 – 150,000 in Iraq alone, and it’s anyone’s guess in Afghanistan. That’s on top of all other war-related deaths estimated in both countries. 

Further, these attacks exclude "guided missiles and unguided rockets fired….cannon rounds (and) munitions used by some Marine Corps and other ‘coalition’ aircraft or any of the Army’s helicopter gunships (plus) munitions used by the armed helicopters of the many  ‘private (mercenary hired gun) security contractors’ flying their own missions in Iraq." If the true human toll were known, it might be shockingly above the most gruesome current estimates and growing daily.

The public has a right to know this, and Congress is obligated to find out, tell them, cut off all funding and end two illegal wars of aggression. Instead, Democrats and Republicans back a further administration aggression against Iran in spite of silenced high level opposition to it. It may come from two large nuclear-armed US carrier strike groups conducting provocative exercises near Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf and Eastern Medditerranean.

Washington makes no secret it wants regime change in Iran, and time is running out for the Bush administration to get it. For months, covert black operations have been ongoing inside the country. It’s aimed to incite internal ethnic and political opposition, and CIA operatives have also been sending Baluchi tribal warriors from neighboring Pakistan on terror raids into neighboring Iranian areas. Now 350 British forces have been provocatively sent from Basra to the volatile Iranian border, and the Pentagon announced it’s building a US base and fortified checkpoints nearby as well. General Petraeus also implied to Congress he’ll act inside Iranian territory to stop its "proxy war" against US Iraqi forces. In the meantime, Iran claims Washington backs Israeli-trained Kurdish Party for Free Life (PJAK) as well as Arab, Azeri and Baluchi incursions inside their territory to undermine its leadership, provoke a response, and provide cover for a US attack.

Without a touch of irony, US Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Iranian Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qumi held four hours of face-to-face talks in Baghdad in May that was the first official bilateral meeting between the countries in almost three decades. It amounted to nothing more than the usual US duplicity that pointed to what’s now happening and likely to escalate. Earlier, George Bush demanded and will soon get harsher US-imposed sanctions through the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007 that’s designed to strangle the country economically. He earlier signed off on a commitment of economic destabilization through media-driven propaganda, now heightened, as well as manipulation of Iran’s currency and international transactions. That, in turn, just prompted Tehran in response to demand foreign energy companies do business in euros and yen.

So far, it’s anyone’s guess what’s ahead with war a real possibility. The Bush administration is pounding Iran with menacing claims of meddling in Iraq and covertly advancing a nuclear weapons program despite having no proof of either. Whatever’s planned could be devastating to the region (and world economy if oil shipments are disrupted), and the kinds of options being considered may cause dire unintended consequences if the worst of them involving nuclear weapons are used.

Bill Clinton’s 1990s Balkan wars took their toll earlier at a time most people shamefully bought the US-led NATO propaganda of a good war against a demonized enemy and a well-intentioned intervention to remove him. It divided and destroyed a country under the guise of humanitarian intervention that provided cover for naked imperialism. Most observers on the left got it wrong and still don’t know NATO (meaning the US) committed illegal aggression to expand into Central and Eastern Europe.

The Balkan wars kept predatory capitalism on a roll for more new markets, resources and cheap exploitable labor by the same ugly methods of choice – wars, subversion or coercion with "uncooperative" leaders like Slobadon Milosevic playing fall guy. He ended up abducted to the Hague and hung out to dry by the ICTY US-run kangaroo court that silenced him (like Saddam  in Baghdad) so his secrets went to the grave with him.

So much for democracy in a nation stained by a near-unblemished record of illegal aggression throughout its history and in every post-WW II conflict fought. The only exception was the so-called 1991 Gulf war. It was authorized, as required, by the Security Council but  only through bribes and coercion. The US public opposed it until a lot of Kuwaiti government PR massaging turned it around, and the rest is history.

War at Home

The price at home has been high as well with democracy here just as fake as wherever we leave our imperial footprint. Ordinary Americans are the losers. Repressive laws and crumbling social services are their reward for patriotism. Then there’s the military and what’s diverted to fund it. Annual Pentagon budgets are soaring with the FY 2008 DOD one calling for an astonishing $648.8 billion plus an additional $147.5 billion war supplemental and around $50 billion or more now requested. The final total will likely top out over $850 billion with the usual pork factored in and Congress ready to authorize whatever more is needed.

Then come the 16 US spy agencies and their secret off-the-books budgets. CIA, NSA and the others get tens of billions more without accountability. The CIA is an especially out-of-control, rogue agency accountable only to the President. Post-WW II, it began intervening throughout the world covertly and overtly. No dirty trick is off the table, and CIA invented their fair share of them. It uses them spying, fomenting and supporting wars, deposing foreign heads of state, and now they’re in play on US soil against American citizens. Noted academic and administration critic, Chalmers Johnson, calls the agency "the president’s private army" serving in the same capacity as imperial Rome’s praetorian guard. 

The agency is secret and lawless, unaccountable to the public, Congress or the courts with intelligence gathering a sideline operation at most. Since it was created in 1947, but especially now, CIA has an appalling record of toppling democratically elected governments, assassinating foreign heads of state and other key officials, propping up friendly dictators, and now snatching targeted individuals for "extraordinary rendition" to secret torture-prison hellholes from which many won’t emerge or ever get justice.

It takes lots of cover-up and myth-building to create the illusion America wants peace, is "beautiful," and respects the law and rights of people everywhere. The truth is quite opposite abroad and at home where  essential needs go unmet and violence is a way of life.  

It recently showed up in the newly launched Global Peace Index’s (GPI) ranking of 121 nations. It was prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit, an international panel of peace experts from peace institutes and think tanks, and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia. It aims to "highlight the relationship between Global Peace and Sustainability (stressing) unless we can achieve" a peaceful world, humanity’s major challenges won’t be solved. GPI ranked nations by their relative internal and external "peacefulness" using 24 indicators. They include its:

– Military expenditures as a percent of GDP and number of armed service personnel per 100,000 population;
-Number of external and internal wars including the estimated number of deaths from them externally and internally;
– Relations with other countries;
– Respect for human rights;
-Potential for terrorist acts;
-Number of homicides per 100,000 population including infanticide;
– Level of violent crime;
– Aggregate number of heavy weapons per 100,000 population and ease of access to small arms and light weapons;
-Number of jailed population per 100,000 population; and
– Number of internal security officers and police per 100,000 population.

The US was a shocking 96th in the overall rankings – to the naive and innocent, that is. Norway, New Zealand and Denmark scored best in that order while Iraq ranked lowest followed by Sudan and Israel, that should be a wake-up call for its supporters.

Five centuries at home and abroad add up to potent conditioning, but the dangers were less threatening earlier than now. Today’s super-weapons make older ones look like toys. They leave no margin of error, and if we slip up we’ll endanger what Noam Chomsky calls "biology’s only experiment with higher intelligence."  Unless we confront the threat to our survival from foreign wars and a violent culture accustomed to them, we face what Albert Einstein and philosopher Bertrand Russell warned 50 years ago saying: "Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war" and a culture of violence and live in peace because no other way is possible.

– Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also, visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on TheMicroEffect.com Saturdays at noon US central time.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*