Forget Iran, Let’s Invade Costa Rica

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It’s been awhile since we invaded a Latin American country, not since Haiti earlier this year. What took so long? And why is the main stream media so silent on this?

I suppose some uppity folks in Costa Rica must be cutting in on the CIA drug trade. Can’t have that can we? 7,000 troops and 46 warships should do the trick. Watch your back Hugo …..

They’re sending down just a massive amount of military. It’s sort of like dropping the atomic bomb on a group of ants.”

In case you have not heard the latest that the USA is lending a “helping hand” to the Costa Rican government by assisting them with their drug trafficking problems that have been on the rise now for sometime. So far this all sounds fine and dandy however when was the last time the US lent a hand without demanding something in return? This is where things get ugly for Costa Rica. For as long as anyone can remember, the United States has pursued the opportunity to build a US Military base inside of Costa Rica. What many do not understand is that they already have one!

The US military base in Limon is an operational center for preliminary and confidential negotiations. In total, the USA holds 14 military bases throughout Latin America. Clearly this might concern countries like Venezuela.

Considering the US is rapidly becoming quite famous for creating war on inanimate objects, it would appear that they ran through the usual BS lines like “bringing democracy”, “freedom to the people”, “war on terror”, “war on drugs”, “war on abortion” and did we mention “war on drugs”? Yeah well that’s the one the roulette wheel land on. I mean really here folks, I’m sure it kind of went like this…

Ok lets bring democracy to Costa Rica. Ra Ra! Ooops…they’ve got that already and it’s even considered more stable than our own government. Ok what’s next? Ahhh yes….let’s bring freedom to the people of…oh really…you’re kidding me? They already are a free and happy country? Darn it. Ok what else do we have? Surely there must be some Taliban hiding in the jungles of Costa Rica somewhere right? No? Ok this is getting ridiculous now. {more}

46 US Warships in Costa Rican Waters

U.S. Navy Evacuates Gulf

Under the guise of the “war on drugs” the U.S. Military is evacuating its ships and hardware from the Gulf of Mexico to safety off the sheltered coast of Costa Rica.

The “war on drugs” cover story is laughable being that we can’t even get that level of engagement on our border with Mexico where all the drugs come through.

The Navy is obviously worried about either poison from the methane/corexit 9500 mix or a massive methane explosion/tsunami. A tsunami fits with the NOAA blackout of the U.S. tsunami warning system. It also explains why BP is not actively cleaning up the oil on the beaches. Why clean them up if they are going to be gone. {more}

Or let’s try another explaination on for size …

Coast Guard dispatching ships and personnel to Costa Rica to threaten Nicaragua


Divide and Conquer: The Anglo-American Imperial Project

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by Andrew G. Marshall
Global Research, July 10, 2008

Establishing an “Arc of Crisis”

Many would be skeptical that the Anglo-Americans would be behind terrorist
acts in Iraq, such as with the British in Basra, when two British SAS soldiers were
caught dressed as Arabs, with explosives and massive arsenal of weapons.[1]

Why would the British be complicit in orchestrating terror in the very city in which
they are to provide security? What would be the purpose behind this? That question
leads us to an even more important question to ask, the question of why Iraq was
occupied; what is the purpose of the war on Iraq? If the answer is, as we are often
told with our daily dose of CNN, SkyNews and the statements of public officials,
to spread democracy and freedom and rid the world of tyranny and terror, then it
doesn’t make sense that the British or Americans would orchestrate terror.

However, if the answer to the question of why the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq
occurred was not to spread democracy and freedom, but to spread fear and chaos,
plunge the country into civil war, balkanize Iraq into several countries, and
create an “arc of crisis” across the Middle East, enveloping neighboring countries,
notably Iran, then terror is a very efficient and effective means to an end.

An Imperial Strategy

In 1982, Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist with links to the Israeli Foreign
Ministry wrote an article for a publication of the World Zionist Organization
in which he outlined a “strategy for Israel in the 1980s.” In this article,
he stated, “The dissolution of Syria and Iraq into ethnically or religiously unique
areas such as in Lebanon is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front. Iraq,
rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other is guaranteed as
a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us
than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run, it is Iraqi
power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel.” He continued, “An Iraqi-Iranian
war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to
organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation
will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of
breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and Lebanon.” He continues, “In Iraq,
a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times
is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra,
Baghdad and Mosul and Shiite areas in the South will separate from the Sunni
and Kurdish north.”[2]

The Iran-Iraq War, which lasted until 1988, did not result in Oded Yinon’s desired
break-up of Iraq into ethnically based provinces. Nor did the subsequent Gulf War
of 1991 in which the US destroyed Iraq’s infrastructure, as well as the following
decade-plus of devastating sanctions and aerial bombardments by the Clinton
administration. What did occur during these decades, however, were the deaths
of millions of Iraqis and Iranians.

A Clean Break for a New American Century

In 1996, an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political
Studies, issued a report under the think tank’s Study Group on a New Israeli
Strategy Toward 2000, entitled, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing
the Realm.” In this paper, which laid out recommendations for Israel’s Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, they state that Israel can, “Work closely with
Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most
dangerous threats,” as well as, “Change the nature of its relations with the
Palestinians, including upholding the right of hot pursuit for self defense
into all Palestinian areas,” and to, “Forge a new basis for relations
with the United States—stressing self-reliance, maturity, strategic cooperation
on areas of mutual concern, and furthering values inherent to the West.”

The report recommended Israel to seize “the strategic initiative along its
northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents
of aggression in Lebanon,” and to use “Lebanese opposition elements to
destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon.” It also states, “Israel can shape its strategic
environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and
even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from
power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as
a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”[3]

The authors of the report include Douglas Feith, an ardent neoconservative
who went on to become George W. Bush’s Under Secretary of Defense for
Policy from 2001 to 2005; David Wurmser, who was appointed by Douglas Feith
after 9/11 to be part of a secret Pentagon intelligence unit and served as a
Mideast Adviser to Dick Cheney from 2003 to 2007; and Meyrav Wurmser,
David’s wife, who is now an official with the American think tank, the Hudson Institute.

Richard Perle headed the study, and worked on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy
Board Advisory Committee from 1987 to 2004, and was Chairman of the Board
from 2001 to 2004, where he played a key role in the lead-up to the Iraq war.
He was also a member of several US think tanks, including the American
Enterprise Institute and the Project for the New American Century.

The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, is an American
neoconservative think tank, whose membership and affiliations included many
people who were associated with the present Bush administration, such as Dick
Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Richard Armitage,
Jeb Bush, Elliott Abrams, Eliot A. Cohen, Paula Dobriansky, Francis
Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Peter Rodman,
Dov Zakheim and Robert B. Zoellick.

PNAC produced a report in September of 2000, entitled, “Rebuilding
America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” in
which they outlined a blueprint for a Pax Americana, or American Empire.
The report puts much focus on Iraq and Iran, stating, “Over the long term,
Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests in the Gulf as Iraq has.
“[4] Stating that, “the United States has for decades sought to play a more
permanent role in Gulf regional security,” the report suggests that, “the unresolved
conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification,” however, “the need for
a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the
regime change of Saddam Hussein.”[5]

Engineer a Civil War for the “Three State Solution”

Shortly after the initial 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, the New York Times
ran an op-ed piece by Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Member of
the US-based Council on Foreign Relations, the most influential and powerful
think tank in the United States. The op-ed, titled, “The Three State Solution,”
published in November of 2003, stated that the “only viable strategy” for Iraq,
“may be to correct the historical defect and move in stages toward a three-state
solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” Citing
the example of the break up of Yugoslavia, Gelb stated that the Americans and
Europeans “gave the Bosnian Muslims and Croats the means to fight back,
and the Serbs accepted separation.” Explaining the strategy, Gelb states that,
“The first step would be to make the north and south into self-governing
regions, with boundaries drawn as closely as possible along ethnic lines,”
and to “require democratic elections within each region.” Further, “at the same
time, draw down American troops in the Sunni Triangle and ask the United
Nations to oversee the transition to self-government there.” Gelb then states
that this policy “would be both difficult and dangerous. Washington would
have to be very hard-headed, and hard-hearted, to engineer this breakup.”[6]

Following the example of Yugoslavia, as Gelb cited, would require an
engineered civil war between the various ethnic groups. The US supported
and funded Muslim forces in Bosnia in the early 1990s, under the leadership
of the CIA-trained Afghan Mujahideen, infamous for their CIA-directed war
against the Soviet Union from 1979-1989. In Bosnia, the Mujahideen were
“accompanied by US Special Forces,” and Bill Clinton personally approved of
collaboration with “several Islamic fundamentalist organisations including
Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda.” In Kosovo, years later, “Mujahideen mercenaries
from the Middle East and Central Asia were recruited to fight in the ranks
of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1998-99, largely supporting NATO’s
war effort.” The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the British Secret
Intelligence Services (MI6), British SAS soldiers and American and British
private security companies had the job of arming and training the KLA.
Further, “The U.S. State Department listed the KLA as a terrorist organization,
indicating that it was financing its operations with money from the international
heroin trade and loans from Islamic countries and individuals, among them
allegedly Usama bin Laden,” and as well as that, “the brother of a leader in
an Egyptian Jihad organization and also a military commander of Usama bin
Laden, was leading an elite KLA unit during the Kosovo conflict.”[7]

Could this be the same strategy being deployed in Iraq in order to break up
the country for similar geopolitical reasons?

The Asia Times Online reported in 2005, that the plan of “balkanizing” Iraq into
several smaller states, “is an exact replica of an extreme right-wing Israeli plan to
balkanize Iraq – an essential part of the balkanization of the whole Middle East.
Curiously, Henry Kissinger was selling the same idea even before the 2003
invasion of Iraq.” It continued, “this is classic divide and rule: the objective
is the perpetuation of Arab disunity. Call it Iraqification; what it actually means
is sectarian fever translated into civil war.”[8]

In 2006, an “independent commission set up by Congress with the approval of
President George W Bush,” termed the “Baker Commission” after former
Secretary of State, James Baker, “has grown increasingly interested in the
idea of splitting the Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish regions of Iraq as the only
alternative to what Baker calls ‘cutting and running’ or ‘staying the course’.”[9]

It was also reported in 2006 that, “Iraq’s federal future is already
enshrined within its constitution, allowing regions to form, if not actually
prescribing how this should happen,” and that, “the Iraqi parliament
(dominated by Shi’a and Kurds) passed a bill earlier this month [October, 2006]
allowing federal regions to form (by majority vote in the provinces seeking
merger).” Further, “The law, which unsurprisingly failed to win Sunni support,
will be reviewed over the next 18 months in a bid to bring its opponents round.”
The article, however, stated that instead of a three state solution, “a system
based upon five regions would seem to have more chance of succeeding.
A five-region model could see two regions in the south, one based around Basra
and one around the holy cities. Kurdistan and the Sunni region would remain,
but Baghdad and its environs would form a fifth, metropolitan, region.”[10]
The author of the article was Gareth Stansfield, an Associate Fellow at Chatham
House think tank in London, which preceded, works with and is the British
equivalent of the Council on Foreign Relations.

“Ethnic Cleansing Works”

In 2006, the Armed Forces Journal published an article by retired Lieutenant
-Colonel Ralph Peters, titled, “Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would
.” In the article, Peters explains that the best plan for the Middle
East would be to “readjust” the borders of the countries. “Accepting that
international statecraft has never developed effective tools — short of war —
for readjusting faulty borders, a mental effort to grasp the Middle East’s
“organic” frontiers nonetheless helps us understand the extent of the difficulties
we face and will continue to face. We are dealing with colossal, man-made
deformities that will not stop generating hatred and violence until they are
corrected.” He states that after the 2003 invasion, “Iraq should have been
divided into three smaller states immediately.” However, Iraq is not the
only country to fall victim to “Balkanization” in Peters’ eyes, as, “Saudi Arabia
would suffer as great a dismantling as Pakistan,” and “Iran, a state with
madcap boundaries, would lose a great deal of territory to Unified Azerbaijan,
Free Kurdistan, the Arab Shia State and Free Baluchistan, but would gain the
provinces around Herat in today’s Afghanistan.” Further, “What Afghanistan
would lose to Persia in the west, it would gain in the east, as Pakistan’s Northwest
Frontier tribes would be reunited with their Afghan brethren.” Peters states
that “correcting borders” may be impossible, “For now. But given time — and
the inevitable attendant bloodshed — new and natural borders will emerge.
Babylon has fallen more than once.” He further makes the astonishing statement
that, “Oh, and one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history:
Ethnic cleansing works.”[11]

The map of the re-drawn Middle East, initially published alongside Peters’
article, but no longer present, “has been used in a training program at NATO’s
Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar
maps, has most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in
military planning circles.”[12] Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed wrote of Peters’
proposal, that “the sweeping reconfiguration of borders he proposes would
necessarily involve massive ethnic cleansing and accompanying bloodshed
on perhaps a genocidal scale.”[13]

Federalism or Incremental Balkanization?

A month before Peters’ article was published, Leslie Gelb of the Council
on Foreign Relations, and Joseph Biden, a Democratic member of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, in
which they stated, “America must get beyond the present false choice
between “staying the course” and “bringing the troops home now” and
choose a third way that would wind down our military presence responsibly
while preventing chaos and preserving our key security goals.” What is this
third option? “The idea, as in Bosnia, is to maintain a united Iraq by
decentralizing it, giving each ethno-religious group—Kurd, Sunni Arab and
Shiite Arab—room to run its own affairs, while leaving the central
government in charge of common interests.”

They describe a few aspects of this plan. “The first is to establish three
largely autonomous regions with a viable central government in Baghdad.
The Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions would each be responsible for their
own domestic laws, administration and internal security. The central
government would control border defense, foreign affairs and oil revenues.”
Then, “The second element would be to entice the Sunnis into joining the
federal system with an offer they couldn’t refuse. To begin with, running their
own region should be far preferable to the alternatives: being dominated by
Kurds and Shiites in a central government or being the main victims of a civil

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2007, Leslie
Gelb stated that his plan for “federalizing” Iraq, “would look like this: The
central government would be based on the areas where there are genuine
common interests among the different Iraqi parties. That is, foreign affairs,
border defense, currency and, above all, oil and gas production and revenues.”
And, “As for the regions, whether they be three or four or five, whatever it may
be, it’s up to—all this is up to the Iraqis to decide, would be responsible
for legislation, administration and internal security.”[15]

The Senate subsequently passed a nonbinding resolution supporting a federal
system for Iraq, which has still yet to be enacted upon, because it stated that this
resolution was something that had to be enacted upon by the Iraqis, so as not to
be viewed as “something that the United States was going to force down their
throats.” Further, “when Ambassador Ryan Crocker appeared before the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he testified in favor of federalism.
In his private conversations with senators, he also supported the idea,” yet,
while in Baghdad, the Ambassador “blasted the resolution.”[16] Could this
be a method of manipulation? If the American Embassy in Baghdad
promotes a particular solution for Iraq, it would likely be viewed by Iraqis as
a bad choice and in the interest of the Americans. So, if the Ambassador
publicly bashes the resolution from Iraq, which he did, it conveys the idea
that the current administration is not behind it, which could make Iraqis
see it as a viable alternative, and perhaps in their interests. For Iraqi politicians,
embracing the American view on major issues is political (and often actual)
suicide. The American Embassy in Baghdad publicly denouncing a particular
strategy gives Iraqi politicians public legitimacy to pursue it.

This resolution has still not gone through all the processes in Congress, and
may, in fact, have been slipped into another bill, such as a Defense
Authorization Act. However, the efforts behind this bill are larger
than the increasingly irrelevant US Congress.

Also in 2007, another think tank called for the managed “break-up of Iraq
into three separate states with their own governments and
representatives to the United Nations, but continued economic cooperation
in a larger entity modeled on the European Union.”[17] In a startling admission
by former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, stated in 2007
that the “United States has “no strategic interest” in a united Iraq,” and he also
suggested “that the United States shouldn’t necessarily keep Iraq from splitting up.”[18]


Clearly, whatever the excuse, or whatever the means of dividing Iraq, it is without
a doubt in the Anglo-American strategy for Iraq to balkanize the country. Saying
that what is being proposed is not balkanization, but federalism, is a moot point.
This is because reverting to a more federal system where provinces have
greater autonomy would naturally separate the country along ethno-religious
boundaries. The Kurds would be in the north, the Sunnis in the centre, and
the Shi’ites in the south, with all the oil. The disproportionate provincial
resources will create animosity between provinces, and the long-manipulated
ethnic differences will spill from the streets into the political sphere. As
tensions grow, as they undoubtedly would, between the provinces, there would
be a natural slide to eventual separation. Disagreements over power sharing
in the federal government would lead to its eventual collapse, and the strategy
of balkanization would have been achieved with the appearance of no outside


[1] Global Research, Iraqi MP accuses British Forces in Basra of “Terrorism”. Al Jazeera:
September 20, 2005:

[2] Linda S. Heard, The Prophecy of Oded Yinon. Counter Punch: April 25, 2006:

[3] Richard Perle, et. al., A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. The Institute for Advanced
Strategic and Political Studies: June 1996:

[4] PNAC, Rebuilding America’s Defenses. Project for the New American Century: September 2000: Page 17

[5] PNAC, Rebuilding America’s Defenses. Project for the New American Century: September 2000: Page 14

[6] Leslie Gelb, The Three State Solution. The New York Times: November 25, 2003:

[7] Michel Chossudovsky, “Osamagate.” Global Research: October 9, 2001:

[8] Pepe Escobar, Exit strategy: Civil war. Asia Times Online: June 10, 2005:

[9] Sarah Baxter, America ponders cutting Iraq in three. The Times: October 8, 2006:

[10] Gareth Stansfield, The only solution left for Iraq: a five-way split. The Telegraph: October 29, 2006:

[11] Ralph Peters, Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would look. Armed Forces Journal: June 2006:

[12] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”.
Global Research: November 18, 2006:

[13] Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed, US Army Contemplates Redrawing Middle East Map

to Stave Off Looming Global Meltdown. Dissident Voice: September 1, 2006:

[14] Leslie Gelb and Joseph Biden, Jr., Unity Through Autonomy in Iraq. The New York Times: May 1, 2006:

[15] Leslie Gelb, Leslie Gelb before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The CFR: January 23, 2007:

[16] Bernard Gwertzman, Gelb: Federalism Is Most Promising Way to End Civil War in Iraq. CFR: October 16, 2007:

[17] Robin Wright, Nonpartisan Group Calls for Three-State Split in Iraq. The Washington Post: August 17, 2007:

[18] AP, French report: Former U.N. envoy Bolton says U.S. has ‘no strategic interest’ in united Iraq.
International Herald Tribune: January 29, 2007:

Andrew G. Marshall contributed to breaking the Climate Change consensus in a celebrated 2006 article entitled Global Warming A Convenient Lie, in which he challenged the findings underlying Al Gore’s documentary. According to Marshall, ‘as soon as people start to state that “the debate is over”, beware, because the fundamental basis of all sciences is that debate is never over’. Andrew Marshall has also written on the militarization of Central Africa, national security issues and the process of integration of North America. He is also a contributor to
He is currently a researcher at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) in Montreal and is studying political science and history at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia.

Provocations as Pretexts for Imperial War: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11

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The James Petras Website

Wars in an imperialist democracy cannot simply be dictated by executive fiat, they require the consent of highly motivated masses who will make the human and material sacrifices.

. 05.25.2008

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Imperialist leaders have to create a visible and highly charged emotional sense of injustice and righteousness to secure national cohesion and overcome the natural opposition to early death, destruction and disruption of civilian life and to the brutal regimentation that goes with submission to absolutist rule by the military.

The need to invent a cause is especially the case with imperialist countries because their national territory is not under threat. There is no visible occupation army oppressing the mass of the people in their everyday life. The ‘enemy’ does not disrupt everyday normal life – as forced conscription would and does. Under normal peaceful time, who would be willing to sacrifice their constitutional rights and their participation in civil society to subject themselves to martial rule that precludes the exercise of all their civil freedoms?

The task of imperial rulers is to fabricate a world in which the enemy to be attacked (an emerging imperial power like Japan) is portrayed as an ‘invader’ or an ‘aggressor’ in the case of revolutionary movements (Korean and Indo-Chinese communists) engaged in a civil war against an imperial client ruler or a ‘terrorist conspiracy’ linked to an anti-imperialist, anti-colonial Islamic movements and secular states. Imperialist-democracies in the past did not need to consult or secure mass support for their expansionist wars; they relied on volunteer armies, mercenaries and colonial subjects led and directed by colonial officers. Only with the confluence of imperialism, electoral politics and total war did the need arise to secure not only consent, but also enthusiasm, to facilitate mass recruitment and obligatory conscription.

Since all US imperial wars are fought ‘overseas’ – far from any immediate threats, attacks or invasions – -US imperial rulers have the special task of making the ‘causus bellicus’ immediate, ‘dramatic’ and self-righteously ‘defensive’.

To this end US Presidents have created circumstances, fabricated incidents and acted in complicity with their enemies, to incite the bellicose temperament of the masses in favor of war.

The pretext for wars are acts of provocation which set in motion a series of counter-moves by the enemy, which are then used to justify an imperial mass military mobilization leading to and legitimizing war.

State ‘provocations’ require uniform mass media complicity in the lead-up to open warfare: Namely the portrayal of the imperial country as a victim of its own over-trusting innocence and good intentions. All four major US imperial wars over the past 67 years resorted to a provocation, a pretext, and systematic, high intensity mass media propaganda to mobilize the masses for war. An army of academics, journalists, mass media pundits and experts ‘soften up’ the public in preparation for war through demonological writing and commentary: Each and every aspect of the forthcoming military target is described as totally evil – hence ‘totalitarian’ – in which even the most benign policy is linked to demonic ends of the regime.

Since the ‘enemy to be’ lacks any saving graces and worst, since the ‘totalitarian state’ controls everything and everybody, no process of internal reform or change is possible. Hence the defeat of ‘total evil’ can only take place through ‘total war’. The targeted state and people must be destroyed in order to be redeemed. In a word, the imperial democracy must regiment and convert itself into a military juggernaut based on mass complicity with imperial war crimes. The war against ‘totalitarianism’ becomes the vehicle for total state control for an imperial war.

In the case of the US-Japanese war, the US-Korean war, the US-Indochinese war and the post-September 11 war against an independent secular nationalist regime (Iraq) and the Islamic Afghan republic, the Executive branch (with the uniform support of the mass media and congress) provoked a hostile response from its target and fabricated a pretext as a basis for mass mobilization for prolonged and bloody wars.

US-Japan War: Provocation and Pretext for War

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt set high standards for provoking and creating a pretext for undermining majoritarian anti-war sentiment, unifying and mobilizing the country for war. Robert Stinnett, in his brilliantly documented study, Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor, demonstrates that Roosevelt provoked the war with Japan by deliberately following an eight-step program of harassment and embargo against Japan developed by Lt. Commander Arthur H. McCollum, head of the Far East desk of the Office of Naval Intelligence. He provides systematic documentation of US cables tracking the Japanese fleet to Pearl Harbor, clearly demonstrating that FDR knew in advance of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor following the Japanese fleet virtually every step of the way. Even more damaging, Stinnett reveals that Admiral H.E. Kimmel, in charge of the defense of Pearl Harbor, was systematically excluded from receiving critical intelligence reports on the approaching movements of the Japanese fleet, thus preventing the defense of the US base. The ‘sneak’ attack by the Japanese, which caused the death over three thousand American service men and the destruction of scores of ships and planes, successfully ‘provoked’ the war FDR had wanted. In the run-up to the Japanese attack, President Roosevelt ordered the implementation of Naval Intelligence’s October 1940 memorandum, authored by McCollum, for eight specific measures, which amounted to acts of war including an economic embargo of Japan, the shipment of arms to Japan’s adversaries, the prevention of Tokyo from securing strategic raw materials essential for its economy and the denial of port access, thus provoking a military confrontation. To overcome massive US opposition to war, Roosevelt needed a dramatic, destructive immoral act committed by Japan against a clearly ‘defensive’ US base to turn the pacifist US public into a cohesive, outraged, righteous war machine. Hence the Presidential decision to undermine the defense of Pearl Harbor by denying the Navy Commander in charge of its defense, Admiral Kimmel, essential intelligence about anticipated December 7, 1941 attack. The United States ‘paid the price’ with 2,923 Americans killed and 879 wounded, Admiral Kimmel was blamed and stood trial for dereliction of duty, but FDR got his war. The successful outcome of FDR’s strategy led to a half-century of US imperial supremacy in the Asia-Pacific region. An unanticipated outcome, however, was the US and Japanese imperial defeats on the Chinese mainland and in North Korea by the victorious communist armies of national liberation.

Provocation and Pretext for the US War Against Korea

The incomplete conquest of Asia following the US defeat of Japanese imperialism, particularly the revolutionary upheavals in China, Korea and Indochina, posed a strategic challenge to US empire builders. Their massive financial and military aid to their Chinese clients failed to stem the victory of the anti-imperialist Red Armies. President Truman faced a profound dilemma – how to consolidate US imperial supremacy in the Pacific at a time of growing nationalist and communist upheavals when the vast majority of the war wearied soldiers and civilians were demanding demobilization and a return to civilian life and economy. Like Roosevelt in 1941, Truman needed to provoke a confrontation, one that could be dramatized as an offensive attack on the US (and its ‘allies’) and could serve as a pretext to overcome widespread opposition to another imperial war.

Truman and the Pacific military command led by General Douglas Mac Arthur chose the Korean peninsula as the site for detonating the war. Throughout the Japanese-Korean war, the Red guerrilla forces led the national liberation struggle against the Japanese Army and its Korean collaborators. Subsequent to the defeat of Japan, the national revolt developed into a social revolutionary struggle against Korean elite collaborators with the Japanese occupiers. As Bruce Cumings documents in his classic study, The Origins of the Korean War , the internal civil war preceded and defined the conflict prior to and after the US occupation and division of Korea into a ‘North’ and ‘South’. The political advance of the mass national movement led by the anti-imperialist communists and the discredit of the US-backed Korean collaborators undermined Truman’s efforts to arbitrarily divide the country ‘geographically’. In the midst of this class-based civil war, Truman and Mac Arthur created a provocation: They intervened, establishing a US occupation army and military bases and arming the counter-revolutionary former Japanese collaborators. The US hostile presence in a ‘sea’ of anti-imperialist armies and civilian social movements inevitably led to the escalation of social conflict, in which the US-backed Korean clients were losing. As the Red Armies rapidly advanced from their strongholds in the north and joined with the mass revolutionary social movements in the South they encountered fierce repression and massacres of anti-imperialist civilians, workers and peasants, by the US armed collaborators. Facing defeat Truman declared that the civil war was really an ‘invasion’ by (north) Koreans against (south) Korea. Truman, like Roosevelt, was willing to sacrifice the US troops by putting them in the direct fire of the revolutionary armies in order to militarize and mobilize the US public in defense of imperial outposts in the southern Korean peninsula.

In the run-up to the US invasion of Korea, Truman, the US Congress and the mass media engaged in a massive propaganda campaign and purge of peace and anti-militarist organizations throughout US civil society. Tens of thousands of individuals lost their jobs, hundreds were jailed and hundreds of thousands were blacklisted. Trade unions and civic organizations were taken over by pro-war, pro-empire collaborators. Propaganda and purges facilitated the propagation of the danger of a new world war, in which democracy was threatened by expanding Communist totalitarianism. In reality, democracy was eroded to prepare for an imperial war to prop up a client regime and secure a military beachhead on the Asian continent.

The US invasion of Korea to prop up its tyrannical client was presented as a response to ‘North’ Korea invading ‘South’ Korea and threatening ‘our’ soldiers defending democracy. The heavy losses incurred by retreating US troops belied the claim of President Truman that the imperial war was merely a police action. By the end of the first year of the imperial war, public opinion turned against the war. Truman was seen as a deceptive warmonger. In 1952, the electorate elected Dwight Eisenhower on his promise to end the war. An armistice was agreed to in 1953. Truman’s use of military provocation to detonate a conflict with the advancing Korean revolutionary armies and then using the pretext of US forces in danger to launch a war did not succeed in securing a complete victory: The war ended in a divided Korean nation. Truman left office disgraced and derided, and the US public turned anti-war for another decade.

The US Indochinese War: Johnson’s Tonkin Pretext

The US invasion and war against Vietnam was a prolonged process, beginning in 1954 and continuing to the final defeat in 1975. From 1954 to 1960 the US sent military combat advisers to train the army of the corrupt, unpopular and failed collaborator regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem. With the election of President Kennedy, Washington escalated the number of military advisers, commandos (so called ‘Green Berets’) and the use of death squads (Plan Phoenix). Despite the intensification of the US involvement and its extensive role in directing military operations, Washington’s surrogate ‘South Vietnam’ Army (ARNV) was losing the war to the South Vietnamese National Liberation Army (Viet Cong) and the South Vietnamese National Liberation Front (NLF), which clearly had the support of the overwhelming majority of the Vietnamese people.

Following the assassination of President Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson took over the Presidency and faced the imminent collapse of the US puppet regime and the defeat of its surrogate Vietnamese Army.

The US had two strategic objectives in launching the Vietnam Was: The first involved establishing a ring of client regimes and military bases from Korea, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan, Indochina, Pakistan, Northern Burma (via the KMT opium lords and Shan secessionists) and Tibet to encircle China, engage in cross border ‘commando’ attacks by surrogate military forces and block China’s access to its natural markets. The second strategic objective in the US invasion and occupation of Vietnam was part of its general program to destroy powerful national liberation and anti-imperialists movements in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indochina, Indonesia, the Philippines. The purpose was to consolidate client regimes, which would provide military bases, de-nationalize and privatize their raw materials sectors and provide political and military support to US empire building. The conquest of Indochina was an essential part of US empire-building in Asia. Washington calculated that by defeating the strongest Southeast Asian anti-imperialist movement and country, neighboring countries (especially Laos and Cambodia) would fall easily.

Washington faced multiple problems. In the first place, given the collapse of the surrogate ‘South Vietnam’ regime and army, Washington would need to massively escalate its military presence, in effect substituting its ground forces for the failed puppet forces and extend and intensify its bombing throughout North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. In a word convert a limited covert war into a massive publicly declared war.

The second problem was the reticence of significant sectors of the US public, especially college students (and their middle and working class parents) facing conscription, who opposed the war. The scale and scope of military commitment envisioned as necessary to win the imperial war required a pretext, a justification.

The pretext had to be such as to present the US invading armies as responding to a sneak attack by an aggressor country (North Vietnam). President Johnson, the Secretary of Defense, the US Naval and Air Force Command, the National Security Agency, acted in concert. What was referred to as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident involved a fabricated account of a pair of attacks, on August 2 and 4, 1964 off the coast of North Vietnam by naval forces of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam against two US destroyers the USS Maddox and the USS Turner Joy. Using, as a pretext, the fabricated account of the ‘attacks’, the US Congress almost unanimously passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on August 7, 1964, which granted President Johnson full power to expand the invasion and occupation of Vietnam up to and beyond 500,000 US ground troops by 1966. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorized President Johnson to conduct military operations throughout Southeast Asia without a declaration of war and gave him the freedom ‘to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty requesting assistance in defense of freedom.’

On August 5, 1964 Lyndon Johnson went on national television and radio announcing the launching of massive waves of ‘retaliatory’ bombing of North Vietnamese naval facilities (Operation Pierce Arrow). In 2005, official documents released from the Pentagon, the National Security Agency and other government departments have revealed that there was no Vietnamese attack. On the contrary, according to the US Naval Institute, a program of covert CIA attacks against North Vietnam had begun in 1961 and was taken over by the Pentagon in 1964. These maritime attacks on the North Vietnamese coast by ultra-fast Norwegian-made patrol boats (purchased by the US for the South Vietnamese puppet navy and under direct US naval coordination) were an integral part of the operation. Secretary of Defense McNamara admitted to Congress that US ships were involved in attacks on the North Vietnamese coast prior to the so-called Gulf of Tonkin Incident. So much for Johnson’s claim of an ‘unprovoked attack’. The key lie, however, was the claim that the USS Maddox ‘retaliated’ against an ‘attacking’ Vietnamese patrol boat. The Vietnamese patrol boats, according to NSA accounts released in 2005, were not even in the vicinity of the Maddox – they were at least 10,000 yards away and three rounds were first fired at them by the Maddox which then falsely claimed it subsequently suffered some damage from a single 14.5 mm machine gun bullet to its hull. The August 4 ‘Vietnamese attack’ never happened. Captain John Herrick of the Turner Joy cabled that ‘many reported contacts and torpedoes fired appear doubtful…No actual visual sightings (of North Vietnamese naval boats) by Maddox”.

The consequences of the fabrication of the Tonkin Gulf incident and provocation was to justify an escalation of war that killed 4 million people in Indochina, maimed, displaced and injured millions more, in addition to killing 58,000 US service men and wounding a half-million more in this failed effort in military-driven empire-building. Elsewhere in Asia, the US empire builders consolidated their client collaborative rule: In Indonesia, which had one of the largest open Communist Party in the world, a CIA designed military coup, backed by Johnson in 1966 and led by General Suharto, murdered over one million trade unionists, peasants, progressive intellectuals, school teachers and ‘communists’ (and their family members).

What is striking about the US declaration of war in Vietnam is that the latter did not respond to the US-directed maritime provocations that served as a pretext for war. As a result Washington had to fabricate a Vietnamese response and then use it as the pretext for war.

The idea of fabricating military threats (the Gulf of Tonkin Incident) and then using them as pretext for the US-Vietnam war was repeated in the case of the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact Bush Administration policy makers, who launched the Afghan and Iraq wars, tried to prevent the publication of a report by the top Navy commander in which he recounted how the NSA distorted the intelligence reports regarding the Tonkin incident to serve the Johnson Administration’s ardent desire for a pretext to war.
Provocation and Pretext: 9/11 and the Afghan-Iraq Invasions

In 2001, the vast majority of the US public was concerned over domestic matters – the downturn in the economy, corporate corruption (Enron, World Com etc..), the bursting of the ‘dot-com’ bubble and avoiding any new military confrontation in the Middle East. There was no sense that the US had any interest in going to war for Israel, nor launching a new war against Iraq, especially an Iraq, which had been defeated and humiliated a decade earlier and was subject to brutal economic sanctions. The US oil companies were negotiating new agreements with the Gulf States and looked forward to, with some hope, a stable, peaceful Middle East, marred by Israel’s savaging the Palestinians and threatening its adversaries. In the Presidential election of 2000, George W, Bush was elected despite losing the popular vote – in large part because of electoral chicanery (with the complicity of the Supreme Court) denying the vote to blacks in Florida. Bush’s bellicose rhetoric and emphasis on ‘national security’ resonated mainly with his Zionist advisers and the pro-Israeli lobby – otherwise, for the majority of Americans, it fell on deaf ears. The gap between the Middle East War plans of his principle Zionist appointees in the Pentagon, the Vice President’s office and the National Security Council and the general US public’s concern with domestic issues was striking. No amount of Zionist authored position papers, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim rhetoric and theatrics, emanating from Israel and its US based spokespeople, were making any significant impact on the US public. There was widespread disbelief that there was an imminent threat to US security through a catastrophic terrorist attack –which is defined as an attack using chemical, biological or nuclear weapons of mass destruction. The US public believed that Israel’s Middle East wars and their unconditional US lobbyists promotion for direct US involvement were not part of their lives nor in the country’s interest.

The key challenge for the militarists in the Bush Administration was how to bring the US public around to support the new Middle East war agenda, in the absence of any visible, credible and immediate threat from any sovereign Middle Eastern country.

The Zionists were well placed in all the key government positions to launch a worldwide offensive war. They had clear ideas of the countries to target (Middle East adversaries of Israel). They had defined the ideology (“the war on terror”, “preventive defense”). They projected a sequence of wars. They linked their Middle East war strategy to a global military offensive against all governments, movements and leaders who opposed US military-driven empire building. What they needed was to coordinate the elite into actually facilitating a ‘catastrophic terrorist incident’ that could trigger the implementation of their publicly stated and defended new world war.

The key to the success of the operation was to encourage terrorists and to facilitate calculated and systematic ‘neglect’ – to deliberately marginalize intelligence agents and agency reports that identified the terrorists, their plans and methods. In the subsequent investigatory hearings, it was necessary to foster the image of ‘neglect’, bureaucratic ineptness and security failures in order to cover up Administration complicity in the terrorists’ success. An absolutely essential element in mobilizing massive and unquestioning support for the launching of a world war of conquest and destruction centered in Muslim and Arab countries and people was a ‘catastrophic event’ that could be linked to the latter.

After the initial shock of 9/11 and the mass media propaganda blitz saturating every household, questions began to be raised by critics about the run-up to the event, especially when reports began to circulate from domestic and overseas intelligence agencies that US policy makers were clearly informed of preparations for a terrorist attack. After many months of sustained public pressure, President Bush finally named an investigatory commission on 9/11, headed by former politicians and government officials. Philip Zelikow, an academic and former government official and prominent advocate of ‘preventative defense’ (the offensive war policies promoted by the Zionist militants in the government) was named executive director to conduct and write the official ‘9-11 Commission Report’. Zelikow was privy to the need for a pretext, like 9/11, for launching the permanent global warfare, which he had advocated. With a prescience, which could only come from an insider to the fabrication leading to war, he had written: “Like Pearl Harbor, this event would divide our past and future into a before and after. The United States (sic) might respond with draconian measures, scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects and use of deadly force (torture)”, (see Catastrophic Terrorism – Tackling the New Dangers , co-authored by Philip Zelikow and published by Foreign Affairs in 1998).

Zelikow directed the commission report, which exonerated the administration of any knowledge and complicity in 9/11, but convinced few Americans outside of the mass media and Congress. Polls conducted in the summer of 2003 on the findings of the Commission proceedings and its conclusions found that a majority of the American public expressed a high level of distrust and rejection – especially among New Yorkers. The general public suspected Government complicity, especially when it was revealed that Zelikow conferred with key figures under investigation, Vice President Cheney and Presidential ‘Guru’ Karl Rove. In response to skeptical citizens, Zelikow went on an insane rage, calling the sceptics ‘pathogens’ or germs whose ‘infection’ needed to be contained. With language reminiscent of a Hitlerian Social Darwinist diatribe, he referred to criticisms of the Commission cover up as ‘a bacteria (that) can sicken the larger body (of public opinion)’. Clearly Zelikow’s pseudoscientific rant reflects the fear and loathing he feels for those who implicated him with a militarist regime, which fabricated a pretext for a catastrophic war for Zelikow’s favorite state – Israel.

Throughout the 1990’s the US and Israeli military-driven empire building took on an added virulence: Israel dispossessed Palestinians and extended its colonial settlements. Bush, Senior invaded Iraq and systematically destroyed Iraqi’s military and civil economic infrastructure and fomented an ethnically cleansed Kurdish client state in the north. Like his predecessor Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush, Senior backed anti-communist Islamic irregulars in their conquest of Afghanistan via their ‘holy wars’ against a leftist secular nationalist regime.. At the same time Bush, Senior attempted to ‘balance’ military empire building with expanding the US economic empire, by not occupying Iraq and unsuccessfully trying to restrain Israeli colonial settlements in the West Bank.

With the rise of Clinton, all restraints on military-driven empire building were thrown over: Clinton provoked a major Balkan war, viciously bombing and dismembering Yugoslavia, periodically bombing Iraq and extending and expanding US military bases in the Gulf States. He bombed the largest pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, invaded Somalia and intensified a criminal economic boycott of Iraq leading to the death of an estimated 500,000 children. Within the Clinton regime, several liberal pro-Israel Zionists joined the military-driven empire builders in the key policy making positions. Israeli military expansion and repression reached new heights as US-financed colonial Jewish settlers and heavily armed Israeli military forces slaughtered unarmed Palestinian teenagers protesting the Israeli presence in the Occupied Territories during the First Intifada. In other words, Washington extended its military penetration and occupation deeper into Arab countries and societies, discrediting and weakening the hold of its client puppet regimes over their people.

The US ended military support for the armed Islamic anti-communists in Afghanistan once they had served US policy goals by destroying the Soviet backed secular regime (slaughtering thousands of school teachers in the process). As a consequence of US-financing, there was a vast, loose network of well-trained Islamic fighters available for combat against other target regimes. Many were flown by the Clinton regime into Bosnia where Islamic fighters fought a surrogate separatist war against the secular and socialist central government of Yugoslavia. Others were funded to destabilize Iran and Iraq. They were seen in Washington as shock troops for future US military conquests. Nevertheless Clinton’s imperial coalition of Israeli colonialists, armed Islamic mercenary fighters, Kurdish and Chechen separatists broke up as Washington and Israel advanced toward war and conquest of Arab and Muslim states and the US spread its military presence in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf States.

Military-driven empire building against existing nation-states was not an easy sell to the US public or to the market-driven empire builders of Western Europe and Japan and the newly emerging market-driven empire builders of China and Russia. Washington needed to create conditions for a major provocation, which would overcome or weaken the resistance and opposition of rival economic empire builders. More particularly, Washington needed a ‘catastrophic event’ to ‘turn around’ domestic public opinion, which had opposed the first Gulf War and subsequently supported the rapid withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in 1990.

The events, which took place on September 11, 2001, served the purpose of American and Israeli military-driven empire builders. The destruction of the World Trade Center buildings and the deaths of nearly 3,000 civilians, served as a pretext for a series of colonial wars, colonial occupations, and global terrorist activities, and secured the unanimous support of the US Congress and triggered an intense global mass media propaganda campaign for war.
The Politics of Military Provocations

Ten years of starving 23 million Iraqi Arabs under the Clinton regime’s economic boycott, interspersed with intense bombing was a major provocation to Arab communities and citizens around the world. Supporting Israel’s systematic dispossession of Palestinians from their lands, interspersed with encroachment on the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem was a major provocation, which detonated scores of suicide bomb attacks in retaliation. The construction and operation of US military bases in Saudi Arabia, home of the Islamic holy city of Mecca, was a provocation to millions of believers and practicing Muslims. The US and Israeli attack and occupation of southern Lebanon and the killing of 17,000 Lebanese and Palestinians were a provocation to Arabs.

Ruled by pusillanimous Arab regimes, servile to US interests, impotent to respond toward Israeli brutality against Palestinians, Arabs and devout Muslim citizens were constantly pushed by the Bush and especially Clinton regime to respond to their continued provocations. Against the vast disproportion in fire-power between the advanced weaponry of the US and Israeli occupation forces (the Apache helicopter gun ships, the 5,000 pound bombs, the killer drones, the armored carriers, the cluster bombs, Napalm and missiles) the secular Arab and Islamic resistance had only light weaponry consisting of automatic rifles, rocket propelled grenades, short-range and inaccurate Katusha missiles and machine guns. The only weapon they possessed in abundance to retaliate was the suicidal ‘human bombs’.

Up to 9/11, US imperial wars against Arab and Islamic populations were carried out in the targeted and occupied lands where the great mass of Arab people lived, worked and enjoyed shared lives. In other words, all (and for Israel most) of the destructive effects of their wars (the killings, home and neighborhood destruction and kinship losses) were products of US and Israeli offensive wars, seemingly immune to retaliatory action on their own territory.

September 11, 2001 was the first successful large-scale Arab-Islamic offensive attack on US territory in this prolonged, one-sided war. The precise timing of 9/11 coincides with the highly visible takeover of US Middle East war policy by extremist Zionists in the top positions of the Pentagon, the White House and National Security Council and their dominance of Congressional Middle East policies. Arab and Islamic anti-imperialists were convinced that military-driven empire builders were readying for a frontal assault on all the remaining centers of opposition to Zionism in the Middle East, i.e. Iraq, Iran, Syria, Southern Lebanon, the West Bank, Gaza, as well as in Afghanistan in South Asia and Sudan and Somalia in North-East Africa.

This offensive war scenario had been already spelled out by the American Zionist policy elite headed by Richard Pearl for the Israeli Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies in a policy document, entitled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. This was prepared in 1996 for far-right Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu prior to his taking office.

On September 28, 2000, despite the warnings of many observers, the infamous author of the massacre of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, General Ariel Sharon profaned the Al Aqsa Mosque with his huge military entourage – a deliberate religious provocation that guaranteed Sharon’s election as Prime Minister from the far right Likud Party. This led to the Second Intifada and the savage response of the Israelis. Washington’s total support of Sharon merely reinforced the worldwide belief among Arabs that the ‘Zionist Solution’ of massive ethnic purges was on Washington’s agenda.

The pivotal group linking US military-driven empire builders with their counterparts in Israel was the major influential Zionist public policy group promoting what they dubbed the ‘Project for a New American Century” (PNAC). In 1998 they set out a detailed military-driven road map to US world domination (the so-called ‘Project for a New American Century’), which just happened to focus on the Middle East and just happened to coincide exactly with Tel Aviv’s vision of a US-Israel dominated Middle East. In 2000 the PNAC Zionist ideologues published a strategy paper ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses’, which laid down the exact guidelines which incoming Zionist policy makers in the top spheres of the Pentagon and White House would follow. PNAC directives included establishing forward military bases in the Middle East, increasing military spending from 3% to 4% of GNP, a military attack to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and military confrontation with Iran using the pretext of the threats of ‘weapons of mass destruction’.

The PNAC agenda could not advance without a catastrophic ‘Pearl Harbor’ type of event, as US military-driven empire builders, Israelis and US Zionist policy makers recognized early on. The deliberate refusal by the White House and its subordinate 16 intelligence agencies and the Justice Department to follow up precise reports of terrorist entry, training, financing and action plans was a case of deliberate ‘negligence’: The purpose was to allow the attack to take place and then to immediately launch the biggest wave of military invasions and state terrorist activities since the end of the Indochina War.

Israel, which had identified and kept close surveillance of the terrorists, insured that the action would proceed without any interruption. During the 9/11 attacks, its agents even had the presumption to video and photograph the exploding towers, while dancing in wild celebration, anticipating Washington’s move toward Israel’s militarist Middle East strategy.
Military-Driven Empire Building: The Zionist Connection

Militaristic empire building preceded the rise to power of the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) in the George W. Bush Administration. The pursuit of it after 9/11 was a joint effort between the ZPC and long-standing US militarists, like Rumsfeld and Cheney. The provocations against Arabs and Muslims leading up to the attacks were induced by both the US and Israel. The current implementation of the militarist strategy toward Iran is another joint effort of Zionist and US militarists.

What the Zionists did provide, which the US militarists lacked, was an organized mass-based lobby with financing, propagandists and political backing for the war. The principle government ideologues, media ‘experts’, spokespeople, academics, speechwriters and advisers for the war were largely drawn from the ranks of US Zionism. The most prejudicial aspects of the Zionist role was in the implementation of war policy, namely the systematic destruction and dismantling of the Iraqi state. Zionist policymakers promoted the US military occupation and supported a massive US military build-up in the region for sequential wars against Iran, Syria and other adversaries of Israeli expansion.

In pursuit of military –driven empire building in accord with Israel’s own version, the Zionist militarists in the US government exceeded their pre-9/11 expectations, raising military spending from 3% of GNP in 2000 to 6% in2008, growing at a rate of 13% per year during their ascendancy from 2001-2008. As a result they raised the US budget deficit to over $10 trillion dollars by 2010, double the 1997 deficit, and driving the US economy and its economic empire toward bankruptcy.

The Zionist American policy makers were blind to the dire economic consequences for US overseas economic interests because their main strategic consideration was whether US policy enhanced Israel’s military dominance in the Middle East. The cost (in blood and treasure) of using the US to militarily destroy Israel’s adversaries was of no concern.

To pursue the Zionist-US military-driven imperial project of a New Order in the Middle East, Washington needed to mobilize the entire population for a series of sequential wars against the anti-imperialist, anti-Israeli countries of the Middle East and beyond. To target the multitude of Israeli adversaries, American Zionists invented the notion of a ‘Global War on Terrorism’. The existing climate of national and international opinion was decidedly hostile to the idea of fighting sequential wars, let alone blindly following zealous Zionist extremists. Sacrificing American lives for Israeli power and the Zionist fantasy of a US-Israeli ‘Co-Prosperity Sphere’ dominating the Middle East could not win public backing in the US, let alone in the rest of the world.

Top policymakers, especially the Zionist elite, nurtured the notion of a fabricated pretext – an event which would shock the US public and Congress into a fearful, irrational and bellicose mood, willing to sacrifice lives and democratic freedoms. To rally the US public behind a military-driven imperial project of invasion and occupation in the Middle East required ‘another Pearl Harbor’.
The Terror Bombing: White House and Zionist Complicity

Every level of the US government was aware that Arab extremists were planning a spectacular armed attack in the United States. The FBI and the CIA had their names and addresses; the President’s National Security Adviser Condeleeza Rice publicly admitted that the Executive branch knew that a terrorist hijacking would occur…only they had expected, she claimed, a ‘traditional hijacking’ and not the use of ‘airliners as missiles’. The Attorney General John Ashcroft was acutely aware and refused to fly on commercial airliners. Scores of Israeli spies were living blocks away from some of the hijackers in Florida, informing headquarters on their movements. Overseas intelligence agencies, notably in Germany, Russia, Israel and Egypt claimed to have provided information to their US counterparts on the ‘terrorist plot’. The President’s office, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the FBI allowed the attackers to prepare their plans, secure funding, proceed to the airports, board the planes and carry out their attacks…all carrying US visas (mostly issued in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – once a prominent site for processing Arabs to fight in Afghanistan) and with ‘pilots’ who were US-trained. As soon as the terrorists took control of the flights, the Air Force was notified of the hijacking but top leaders ‘inexplicably’ delayed moves to intercept the planes allowing the attackers to reach their objectives…the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The military-driven empire builders and their Zionist allies immediately seized the pretext of a single military retaliatory attack by non-state terrorists to launch a worldwide military offensive against a laundry list of sovereign nations. Within 24 hours, ultra-Zionist Senator Joseph Lieberman, in a prepared speech, called for the US to attack ‘Iran, Iraq and Syria’ without any proof that any of these nations, all full members of the United Nations, were behind the hijackings. President Bush declared a ‘Global War on Terror’ (GWOT) and launched the invasion of Afghanistan and approved a program of extraterritorial, extrajudicial assassinations, kidnappings and torture throughout the world. Clearly the Administration put into operation a war strategy, publicly advocated and prepared by Zionist ideologues long before 9/11. The President secured nearly unanimous support from Congress for the first Patriot Act, suspending fundamental democratic freedoms at home. He demanded that US client-states and allies implement their own versions of authoritarian anti-terrorist laws to persecute, prosecute and jail any and all opponents of US and Israeli empire building in the Middle East and elsewhere. In other words, September 11, 2001 became the pretext for a virulent and sustained effort to create a new world order centered on a US military-driven empire and a Middle East built around Israeli supremacy.

Provocations and Pretexts: the Israeli-US War Against Iran

The long, unending, costly and losing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan undermined international and national support for the Zionist-promoted New American Century project. US militarists and their advisers and ideologues needed to create a new pretext for the US plans to subdue the Middle East and especially to attack Iran. They turned their propaganda campaign on Iran’s legal non-military nuclear energy program and fabricated evidence of Iran’s direct military involvement in supporting the Iraqi resistance to US occupation. Without proof they claimed Iran had supplied the weapons, which bombed the American ‘Green Zone’ in Baghdad. The Israeli lobby argued that Iranian training and weapons had been instrumental in defeating the American-backed Iraqi mercenaries in the major southern city of Basra. Top Zionists in the Treasury Department have organized a worldwide economic boycott against Iran. Israel has secured the support of top Democrat and Republican Congressional leaders for a military attack on Iran. But is Iran’s existence a sufficient pretext or will a ‘catastrophic’ incident be necessary?

Conclusion: Provocations and Imperial Wars: ‘Behind every imperial war there is a Great Lie’

One of the most important political implications of our discussion of the US government’s resort to provocations and deception to launch imperial wars is that the vast majority of the American people are opposed to overseas wars. Government lies at the service of military interventions are necessary to undermine the American public’s preference for a foreign policy based on respect for self-determination of nations. The second implication however is that the peaceful sentiments of the majority can be quickly overturned by the political elite through deception and provocations amplified and dramatized through their constant repetition through the unified voice of the mass media. In other words, peaceful American citizens can be transformed into irrational chauvinist militarists through the ‘propaganda of the deed’ where executive authority disguises its own acts of imperial attacks as ‘defensive’ and its opponent’s retaliation as unprovoked aggression against a ‘peace loving’ United States.

All of the executive provocations and deceptions are formulated by a Presidential elite but willingly executed by a chain of command involving anywhere from dozens to hundreds of operatives, most of whom knowingly participate in deceiving the public, but rarely ever unmask the illegal project either out of fear, loyalty or blind obedience.

The notion, put forward by upholders of the ‘integrity’ of the war policy, that given such a large number of participants, ‘someone’ would have ‘leaked’ the deception, the systematic provocations and the manipulation of the public, has been demonstrated to be false. At the time of the ‘provocation’ and the declaration of ‘war’ when Congress unanimously approved ‘Presidential Authority’ to use force, few if any writers or journalists have ever raised serious questions: Executives operating under the mantle of ‘defending a peaceful country’ from ‘unprovoked treacherous enemies’ have always secured the complicity or silence of peacetime critics who choose to bury their reservations and investigations in a time of ‘threats to national security.’ Few academics, writers or journalists are willing to risk their professional standing, when all the mass media editors and owners, political leaders and their own professional cohorts froth over ‘standing united with our President in times of unparalleled mortal threat to the nation – as happened in 1941, 1950, 1964 and 2001.

With the exception of World War Two, each of the subsequent wars led to profound civilian political disillusion and even rejection of the fabrications that initially justified the war. Popular disenchantment with war led to a temporary rejection of militarism…until the next ‘unprovoked’ attack and call to arms. Even in the case of the Second World War there was massive civilian outrage against a large standing army and even large-scale military demonstrations at the end of the war, demanding the GI’s return to civilian life. The demobilization occurred despite Government efforts to consolidate a new empire based on occupation of countries in Europe and Asia in the wake of Germany and Japan’s defeat.

The underlying structural reality, which has driven American Presidents to fabricate pretexts for wars, is informed by a military-driven conception of empire. Why did Roosevelt not answer the Japanese imperial economic challenge by increasing the US economic capacity to compete and produce more efficiently instead of supporting a provocative boycott called by the decaying European colonial powers in Asia? Was it the case that, under capitalism, a depression-ridden, stagnant economy and idle work force could only be mobilized by the state for a military confrontation?

In the case of the US-Korean War, could not the most powerful post-World War US economy look toward exercising influence via investments with a poor, semi-agrarian, devastated, but unified, Korea, as it was able to do in Germany, Japan and elsewhere after the war?

Twenty years after spending hundreds of billions of dollars and suffering 500,000 dead and wounded to conquer Indochina, European, Asian and US capital entered Vietnam peacefully on the invitation of its government, hastening its integration into the world capitalist market via investments and trade.

It is clear that Plato’s not-so ‘noble lie’, as practiced by America’s Imperial Presidents, to deceive their citizens for ‘higher purposes’ has led to the use of bloody and cruel means to achieve grotesque and ignoble ends.

The repetition of fabricated pretexts to engage in imperial wars is embedded in the dual structure of the US political system, a military-driven empire and a broad-based electorate. To pursue the former it is essential to deceive the latter. Deception is facilitated by the control of mass media whose war propaganda enters every home, office and classroom with the same centrally determined message. The mass media undermine what remains of alternative information flowing from primary and secondary opinion leaders in the communities and erode personal values and ethics. While military-driven empire building has resulted in the killing of millions and the displacement of tens of millions, market-driven empire building imposes its own levy in terms of massive exploitation of labor, land and livelihoods.

As has been the case in the past, when the lies of empire wear thin, public disenchantment sets in, and the repeated cries of ‘new threats’ fail to mobilize opinion. As the continued loss of life and the socio-economic costs erodes the conditions of everyday life, mass media propaganda loses its effectiveness and political opportunities appear. As after WWII, Korea, Indochina and today with Iraq and Afghanistan, a window of political opportunity opens. Mass majorities demand changes in policy, perhaps in structures and certainly an end to the war. Possibilities open for public debate over the imperial system, which constantly reverts to wars and lies and provocations that justify them.

Our telegraphic survey of imperial policy-making refutes the conventional and commonplace notion that the decision making process leading up to war is open, public and carried out in accordance with the constitutional rules of a democracy. On the contrary, as is commonplace in many spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life, but especially in questions of war and peace, the key decisions are taken by a small Presidential elite behind closed doors, out of sight and without consultation and in violation of constitutional provisions. The process of provoking conflict in pursuit of military goals is never raised before the electorate. There are never investigations by independent investigatory committees.

The closed nature of the decision making process does not detract from the fact that these decisions were ‘public’ in that they were taken by elected and non-elected public officials in public institutions and directly affected the public. The problem is that the public was kept in the dark about the larger imperial interests that were at stake and the deception that would induce them to blindly submit to the decisions for war. Defenders of the political system are unwilling to confront the authoritarian procedures, the elite fabrications and the unstated imperial goals. Apologists of the military-driven empire builders resort to irrational and pejorative labeling of the critics and skeptics as ‘conspiracy theorists’. For the most part, prestigious academics conform closely to the rhetoric and fabricated claims of the executors of imperial policy.

Everywhere and at all times groups, organizations and leaders meet in closed meetings, before going ‘public’. A minority of policymakers or advocates meet, debate and outline procedures and devise tactics to secure decisions at the ‘official’ meeting. This common practice takes place when any vital decisions are to be taken whether it is at local school boards or in White House meetings. To label the account of small groups of public officials meeting and taking vital decisions in ‘closed’ public meetings (where agendas, procedures and decisions are made prior to formal ‘open’ public meetings) as ‘conspiracy theorizing’ is to deny the normal way in which politics operate. In a word, the ‘conspiracy’ labelers are either ignorant of the most elementary procedures of politics or they are conscious of their role in covering up the abuses of power of today’s state terror merchants.

Professor Zelikow – Where do we go from here?

The key figure in and around the Bush Administration who actively promoted a ‘new Pearl Harbor’ and was at least in part responsible for the policy of complicity with the 9/11 terrorists was Philip Zelikow. Zelikow, a prominent Israel-Firster, is a government academic, whose expertise was in the nebulous area of ‘catastrophic terrorism’ – events which enabled US political leaders to concentrate executive powers and violate constitutional freedoms in pursuit of offensive imperial wars and in developing the ‘public myth’. Philip Shenon’s book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation pinpoints Zelikow’s strategic role in the Bush Administration in the lead up to 9/11, the period of ‘complicit neglect’, in its aftermath, the offensive global war period, and in the government’s cover-up of its complicity in the terror attack.

Prior to 9/11 Zelikow provided a‘blueprint’ for the process of an executive seizing extreme power for global warfare. He outlined a sequence in which a ‘catastrophic terrorist event’ could facilitate the absolute concentration of power, followed by the launching of offensive wars for Israel (as he publicly admitted). In the run-up to 9/11 and the multiple wars, he served as a member of National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice’s National Security Council transition team (2000-2001), which had intimate knowledge of terrorist plans to seize US commercial flights, as Rice herself publicly admitted (‘conventional hijackings’ was her term). Zelikow was instrumental in demoting and disabling the counter-terrorism expert Richard Clark from the National Security Council, the one agency tracking the terrorist operation. Between 2001-2003, Zelikow was a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. This was the agency, which had failed to follow-up and failed to pursue the key intelligence reports identifying terrorist plans. Zelikow, after playing a major role in undermining intelligence efforts to prevent the terrorist attack, became the principle author of the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States, which prescribed Bush’s policy of military invasion of Iraq and targeted Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and other independent Arab and Muslim countries and political entities. Zelikow’s ‘National Security Strategy’ paper was the most influential directive shaping the global state terrorist policies of the Bush regime. It also brought US war policies in the closest alignment with the regional military aspirations of the Israeli state since the founding of Israel. Indeed, this was why the former Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stated at Bar Ilan University that the 9/11 attack and the US invasion of Iraq were ‘good for Israel’ (see Haaretz, April 16, 2008).

Finally Zelikow, as Bush’s personal appointee as the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, coordinated the cover-up of the Administration policy of complicity in 9/11 with the Vice President’s office. While Zelikow is not considered an academic heavyweight, his ubiquitous role in the design, execution and cover-up of the world-shattering events surrounding 9/11 and its aftermath mark him as one of the most dangerous and destructive political ‘influentials’ in the shaping and launching of Washington’s past, present and future catastrophic wars.

Petras’ forthcoming book, Zionism and US Militarism, is due from Clarity Press, Atlanta, in August 2008.

May 2008

Post by way of:

Marc Parent

"Return" To "Iraqi" Values

Posted on Updated on

“Return” To “Iraqi” Values: Fallujah Has Been “Reconstructed” As “A Big Jail”

Monday, March 24, 2008

According to Baghdad Bureau Chief Sudarsan Raghavan of the Washington Post:

Fallujah today is sealed off with blast walls and checkpoints. Residents are given permits to enter the city. All visitors and their weapons are registered, and police check every car. The U.S. military has divided the city into nine gated communities, each with its own joint security station staffed by U.S. troops and Iraqi police. It also has been buying the loyalties of former Sunni insurgents, paying them $180 a month to join a neighborhood force that works with the police.

Shops stay open longer, streets are clogged with traffic, and soccer fields brim with children and young men. But for many residents, Fallujah remains a shadow of its former self. “The city is like a big jail,” said Abu Ahmed, a well-known doctor who asked that his nickname be used because he has treated people who were brutalized by [police].

The police headquarters, built with U.S. funds, sits inside a large compound ringed by layers of blast walls in the heart of Fallujah.

What [police chief Col. Faisal Ismail al-Zobaie] wants is for the U.S. military to hand over full control of Fallujah. He believes Iraq’s current leaders are not strong enough. Asked whether democracy could ever bloom here, he replied: “No democracy in Iraq. Ever.”

“When the Americans leave the city,” he said, “I’ll be tougher with the people.”

What is happening here? Fallujah has been turned into a prison; isolated from the rest of Iraq, and divided into nine walled-off security zones called “gated communities”. Just to travel across the city, people have to go through choke-points where mercenaries — former insurgents now making $180 a month each for work with the Iraqi-American “security services” — check every car and register every visitor.

Their boss says things like: “No democracy in Iraq. Ever.”

How did we come to this?

According to the Washington Post, it’s “Peace Through Brute Strength”.

The “Iraqi City’s Fragile Security Flows From Hussein-Era Tactics”.

No kidding. It’s a return to the past. Or so Sudarsan Raghavan tells us [same article; alternate link]:

The story of Zobaie and his police force opens a window onto the Iraq that is emerging after five years of war.

American ideals that were among the justifications for the 2003 invasion, such as promoting democracy and human rights, are giving way to values drawn from Iraq’s traditions and tribal culture, such as respect, fear and brutality.

Oh!! So that’s what’s happening!! I should have known all along, I suppose. How could I have forgotten?

American Ideals such as Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

The trouble in Fallujah started back in 2003, as described by Chris Hughes in the UK’s Daily Mirror [original link broken, archived here]

IT started when a young boy hurled a sandal at a US jeep – it ended with two Iraqis dead and 16 seriously injured.

I watched in horror as American troops opened fire on a crowd of 1,000 unarmed people here yesterday.

Many, including children, were cut down by a 20-second burst of automatic gunfire during a demonstration against the killing of 13 protesters at the Al-Kaahd school on Monday.

They had been whipped into a frenzy by religious leaders. The crowd were facing down a military compound of tanks and machine-gun posts.

The youngster had apparently lobbed his shoe at the jeep – with a M2 heavy machine gun post on the back – as it drove past in a convoy of other vehicles.

A soldier operating the weapon suddenly ducked, raised it on its pivot then pressed his thumb on the trigger.

Mirror photographer Julian Andrews and I were standing about six feet from the vehicle when the first shots rang out, without warning.

We dived for cover under the compound wall as troops within the crowd opened fire. The convoy accelerated away from the scene.

Iraqis in the line of fire dived for cover, hugging the dust to escape being hit.

We could hear the bullets screaming over our heads. Explosions of sand erupted from the ground – if the rounds failed to hit a demonstrator first. Seconds later the shooting stopped and the screaming and wailing began.

One of the dead, a young man, lay face up, half his head missing, first black blood, then red spilling into the dirt.

His friends screamed at us in anger, then looked at the grim sight in disbelief.

A boy of 11 lay shouting in agony before being carted off in a car to a hospital already jam-packed with Iraqis hurt in Monday’s incident.

Cars pulled up like taxis to take the dead and injured to hospital, as if they had been waiting for this to happen.

A man dressed like a sheik took off his headcloth to wave and direct traffic around the injured. The sickening scenes of death and pain were the culmination of a day of tension in Al-Fallujah sparked by Monday’s killings.

The baying crowd had marched 500 yards from the school to a local Ba’ath party HQ. We joined them, asking questions and taking pictures, as Apache helicopters circled above.

The crowd waved their fists at the gunships angrily and shouted: “Go home America, go home America.”

But America was not about to go home. And the events of the day were not over.

Values drawn from Iraq’s Traditions and Tribal Culture

We rounded a corner and saw edgy-looking soldiers lined up along the street in between a dozen armoured vehicles. All of them had automatic weapons pointing in the firing position.

As the crowd – 10 deep and about 100 yards long – marched towards the US positions, chanting “Allah is great, go home Americans”, the troops reversed into the compound.

On the roof of the two-storey fortress, ringed by a seven-foot high brick wall, razor wire and with several tanks inside, around 20 soldiers ran to the edge and took up positions.

A machine gun post at one of the corners swivelled round, taking aim at the crowd which pulled to a halt.

We heard no warning to disperse and saw no guns or knives among the Iraqis whose religious and tribal leaders kept shouting through loud hailers to remain peaceful. In the baking heat and with the deafening noise of helicopters the tension reached breaking point.

Julian and I ran towards the compound to get away from the crowd as dozens of troops started taking aim at them, others peering at them through binoculars.

Tribal leaders struggled to contain the mob which was reaching a frenzy.

A dozen ran through the cordon of elders, several hurling what appeared to be rocks at troops.

Some of the stones just reached the compound walls. Many threw sandals – a popular Iraqi insult.

A convoy of Bradley military jeeps passed by, the Iraqis hurling insults at them, slapping the sides of the vehicles with their sandals, tribal leaders begging them to retreat.

The main body of demonstrators jeered the passing US troops pointing their thumbs down to mock them.

Then came the gunfire – and the death and the agony.

After the shootings the American soldiers looked at the appalling scene through their binoculars and set up new positions, still training their guns at us.

An angry mob battered an Arab TV crew van, pulling out recording equipment and hurling it at the compound. Those left standing – now apparently insane with anger – ran at the fortress battering its walls with their fists. Many had tears pouring down their faces.

Still no shots from the Iraqis and still no sign of the man with the AK47 who the US later claimed had let off a shot at the convoy.

I counted at least four or five soldiers with binoculars staring at the crowd for weapons but we saw no guns amongst the injured or dropped on the ground.

A local told us the crowd would turn on foreigners so we left and went to the hospital.

There, half an hour later, another chanting mob was carrying an open coffin of one of the dead, chanting “Islam, Islam, Islam, death to the Americans”.

All this trash-talk!

“Islam, Islam, Islam”?? Isn’t that just a bit old?

“Death to the Americans”?? How dare they?

Respect, Fear and Brutality

We sacrificed to liberate these ungrateful wretches, and now they speak like this to us?

Nobody who heard those words could possibly bear it.

The retribution came in November of 2004.

Maps of War dot com: The Recapture of Fallujah

After the fall of Baghdad in April of 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom transformed from a conventional war into a murky struggle against a multi-faceted insurgency. Nothing was more emblematic of this new phase than the city of Fallujah.

In November of 2004, American forces launched Operation Phantom Fury to recapture Fallujah, a heroic and harrowing story which is best told in Bing West’s book No True Glory. Military officials recounted the battle as “some of the heaviest urban combat Marines and Army infantry soldiers have been involved in since Vietnam.” All told, it was one of the most decisive moments in the history of the war.

The Fallujah invasion was a classic ‘hammer and anvil’ strategy. The bridges, highways, and other periphery choke-points were captured first in order to corner the enemy (anvil), then the secondary force moved in with a direct frontal assault (hammer). The weakness of this tactic is that it encourages the enemy to fight more fiercely since escape is made impossible.

American Ideals such as Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Another “weakness” of this “tactic” became apparent shortly after the “heroic and harrowing” battle, when it turned out that — because the long-rumored destruction of Fallujah had been delayed until after the so-called Presidential election — the insurgents had already escaped!

Chris Floyd for the Moscow Times [see original for copious links]:

Eight weeks of relentless bombing was followed by a cut-off of the city’s water, electricity and food supplies. More than two-thirds of the residents fled the coming inferno; those who remained were considered fair game in the house-by-house ravaging that followed. Among the Americans’ first targets were the city’s medical centers, as U.S. officers freely admitted to The New York Times. They were destroyed or shut down, with medical staff killed or imprisoned, to prevent bad publicity about civilian casualties from reaching the outside world, the officers said. Later, an investigation by the U.S.-backed Iraqi government found strong evidence of the use of chemical weapons against the city. Up to 6,000 people were killed in the attack, most of them civilians.

The few hundred Fallujah-based insurgents who had been the ostensible target of the assault had escaped long before the onslaught began. Thus there was no real military purpose to the city’s destruction, which had been ordered by the White House; it was instead an act of reprisal, a collective punishment against the Iraqi people as a whole, noncombatants included, for the armed resistance to the coalition conquest.

Values drawn from Iraq’s Traditions and Tribal Culture

Chris Floyd again, from Empire Burlesque 1.0 [and again, the original is heavily annotated]:

“There are more and more dead bodies on the streets and the stench is unbearable. Smoke is everywhere. It’s hard to know how much people outside Fallujah are aware of what is going on here. There are dead women and children lying on the streets. People are getting weaker from hunger. Many are dying are from their injuries because there is no medical help left in the city whatsoever. Some families have started burying their dead in their gardens.”

This was a voice from the depths of the inferno: Fadhil Badrani, reporter for the BBC and Reuters, trapped in the iron encirclement along with tens of thousands of civilians. It was a rare breath of truth. The reality of a major city being ground into rubble was meant to be obscured by the Infoglomerate’s wall of noise: murder trials, state visits, Cabinet shuffles, celebrity weddings – and, above all, the reports of “embedded” journalists shaping the “narrative” into its proper form: a magnificent feat of arms carried out with surgical precision against an enemy openly identified by American commanders as “Satan,” the Associated Press reports.

One of the first moves in this magnificent feat was the destruction and capture of medical centers. Twenty doctors – and their patients, including women and children – were killed in an airstrike on one major clinic, the UN Information Service reports, while the city’s main hospital was seized in the early hours of the ground assault. Why? Because these places of healing could be used as “propaganda centers,” the Pentagon’s “information warfare” specialists told the NY Times. Unlike the first attack on Fallujah last spring, there was to be no unseemly footage of gutted children bleeding to death on hospital beds. This time – except for NBC’s brief, heavily-edited, quickly-buried clip of the usual lone “bad apple” shooting a wounded Iraqi prisoner – the visuals were rigorously scrubbed.

So while Americans saw stories of rugged “Marlboro Men” winning the day against Satan, they were spared shots of engineers cutting off water and electricity to the city – a flagrant war crime under the Geneva Conventions, as CounterPunch notes, but standard practice throughout the occupation. Nor did pictures of attack helicopters gunning down civilians trying to escape across the Euphrates River – including a family of five – make the TV news, despite the eyewitness account of an AP journalist. Nor were tender American sensibilities subjected to the sight of phosphorous shells bathing enemy fighters – and nearby civilians – with unquenchable chemical fire, literally melting their skin, as the Washington Post reports. Nor did they see the fetus being blown out of the body of Artica Salim when her home was bombed during the “softening-up attacks” that raged relentlessly – and unnoticed – in the closing days of George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, the Scotland Sunday Herald reports.

Respect, Fear and Brutality

Trevor Royle, Diplomatic Editor of “The Herald” at Information Clearinghouse:

Soldiers call them bogey weapons — nasty pieces of military hardware which kill or maim as efficiently as any other type of armament but in so doing push the victim into a vortex of agony and suffering. White phosphorus, or Whiskey Pete, comes into that category. On one level it’s a legal military weapon. Provided that it is used against enemy soldiers as a smokescreen or battlefield illuminator, it is a useful addition to an arsenal one reason why it is available to British and US forces in Iraq. On another level, deployed as an offensive weapon and usually in secret, it causes severe blistering of the skin and mucous membranes, and if inhaled can do dreadful damage to internal organs. When US forces fired WP shells in the battle to break into the Iraqi city of Fallujah last November they knew exactly what they were doing. Combat outside daylight hours always causes problems for the attacking side. Darkness brings the kind of confusion which favours the defenders. Fired as an artillery shell, WP explodes in the air creating a bright artificial light and providing a useful smokescreen for the attacking infantry soldiers. After the battle for Fallujah the Bush administration admitted [sic] that WP had been used sparingly and had only been fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions, not at enemy fighters.

Like so much that has happened in this long, drawn-out and increasingly dirty counter-insurgency war, the use of WP was not what it seemed. Last week an Italian television documentary, Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre sounded the first blast on the whistle when it claimed that WP had been used in a massive and indiscriminate way not only against the insurgents but also against civilians. Some Iraqi doctors claimed that the victims had melted skin or that white phosphorus had burned through body tissue to leave bones exposed.

Jeff Englehart, an experienced US marine interviewed in the documentary gave a chilling account of what happens when WP is unleashed It doesn’t necessarily burn clothes, but it will burn the skin underneath clothes. And this is why protective masks do not help, because it will burn right through the mask . It will manage to get inside your face. If you breathe it, it will blister your throat and your lungs until you suffocate, and then it will burn you from the inside. It basically reacts to skin, oxygen and water. The only way to stop the burning is with wet mud. But at that point, it’s just impossible to stop.

Denials came thick and fast from Washington but these were given short shrift when a semi-official US army publication, Field Artillery Magazine, published a damning article claiming the exact opposite. What gave the article substance was that it was based on an official army account which has been seen by the Sunday Herald: a Memorandum for Record prepared on December 1, 2004 by the FSE (fire support element) of the US Task Force’s 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. In the paper the US artillery commanders, two officers and a sergeant, admitted that WP had been used in an offensive capacity against Iraqi positions: We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes. We fired “shake and bake” missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE [high explosive] to take them out.

American Ideals such as Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Graphic video from the Italian news service RAI: Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre

Values drawn from Iraq’s Traditions and Tribal Culture

Iraqi blogger Riverbend at Baghdad Burning:

People in Falloojeh are being murdered. The stories coming back are horrifying. People being shot in cold blood in the streets and being buried under tons of concrete and iron… where is the world? Bury Arafat and hurry up and pay attention to what’s happening in Iraq.

They say the people have nothing to eat. No produce is going into the city and the water has been cut off for days and days. Do you know what it’s like to have no clean water??? People are drinking contaminated water and coming down with diarrhoea and other diseases. There are corpses in the street because no one can risk leaving their home to bury people. Families are burying children and parents in the gardens of their homes. WHERE IS EVERYONE???

Iraqis will never forgive this — never. It’s outrageous — it’s genocide and America, with the help and support of Allawi, is responsible. May whoever contributes to this see the sorrow, terror and misery of the people suffering in Falloojeh.

Respect, Fear and Brutality

Fadhil Badrani, “an Iraqi journalist and resident of Falluja who reports regularly for Reuters and the BBC World Service in Arabic”, in English, via the BBC:

A row of palm trees used to run along the street outside my house – now only the trunks are left.

The upper half of each tree has vanished, blown away by mortar fire.

From my window, I can also make out that the minarets of several mosques have been toppled.

There are more and more dead bodies on the streets and the stench is unbearable.

Smoke is everywhere.

A house some doors from mine was hit during the bombardment on Wednesday night. A 13-year-old boy was killed. His name was Ghazi.

I tried to flee the city last night but I could not get very far. It was too dangerous.

I am getting used to the bombardment. I have learnt to sleep through the noise – the smaller bombs no longer bother me.

Without water and electricity, we feel completely cut off from everyone else.

I want them to know about conditions inside this city – there are dead women and children lying on the streets.

People are getting weaker from hunger. Many are dying from their injuries because there is no medical help left in the city whatsoever.

Some families have started burying their dead in their gardens.


Baghdad Bureau Chief Sudarsan Raghavan of the Washington Post:

Fallujah today is sealed off with blast walls and checkpoints. Residents are given permits to enter the city. All visitors and their weapons are registered, and police check every car. The U.S. military has divided the city into nine gated communities, each with its own joint security station staffed by U.S. troops and Iraqi police. It also has been buying the loyalties of former Sunni insurgents, paying them $180 a month to join a neighborhood force that works with the police.

Shops stay open longer, streets are clogged with traffic, and soccer fields brim with children and young men. But for many residents, Fallujah remains a shadow of its former self. “The city is like a big jail,” said Abu Ahmed, a well-known doctor who asked that his nickname be used because he has treated people who were brutalized by [police].

What Zobaie wants is for the U.S. military to hand over full control of Fallujah. He believes Iraq’s current leaders are not strong enough. Asked whether democracy could ever bloom here, he replied: “No democracy in Iraq. Ever.”

“When the Americans leave the city,” he said, “I’ll be tougher with the people.”

It was done in our name but without our consent. So there! You see how well the system works!

It was paid for with our money — and our blood. We are suffering because of it; we will suffer much more before we’re finished.

But our suffering is nothing compared to what we have inflicted on the people of Iraq — innocent victims of “American ideals such as promoting democracy and human rights”.


Posted on

By Dennis L. Cuddy, Ph.D.

March 24, 2008

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“papers, please”

As I’ve indicated many times previously, the power elite wants a World Socialist Government, but how will they get the people of the U.S. to accept Socialism? Well, first there will have to be a crisis. For example, today oil and commodity (e.g., corn) prices are skyrocketing (the price of wheat has tripled in the past 10 months). And with increased demand from China, India, etc., global demand will eventually outrun supply. This crisis will lead to calls for “National Planning” similar to that under FDR in the 1930s.

National Planning is a hallmark of Socialism. The British Political Economic Planning (PEP) organization was sponsored by Fabian Socialists, and in the May 3, 1934 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Rep. Louis McFadden quoted PEP member Israel Moses Sief as saying: “Let’s go slowly for a while, until we can see how our plan works out in America.”

Democratic presidential candidate Al Smith had supported FDR for the presidency in 1932. However, on January 25, 1936, Smith delivered a speech stating: “Just get the platform of the Democratic Party, and get the platform of the Socialist Party, and lay them down on your dining room table side by side…. Study the record of the present Administration to date. After you have done that, make your mind up to pick up the platform that more nearly squares with the record, and you will put your hand on the Socialist platform.”

The current situation has arisen because the power elite has created a global economy via globalization. Prior to this, if there was an economic crisis in one country, many other nations would not be affected. As Pat Wood of the AUGUST REVIEW points out, though, for the first time in history all countries’ economies (including stock markets) seem to be rising and falling together. Remember the global impact of the recent mortgage debacle here. It was because banking, investing, lending, etc., are now global.

This is not accidental. It’s part of the power elite’s plan to create a global economic crisis (greatly devalued currencies, stocks, bonds, etc.). A global reduction of credit is leading to a global sale of assets at lower and lower prices, which in turn will affect the global derivatives market, etc. Pat Wood characterizes what’s going to happen as the equivalent of what happened to Enron but on a global scale, and the economies of all the nations of the world will plummet together.

This will result in the world’s population submitting to the power elite’s “International Planning” (for International Socialism) whereby they will manage the world’s (and each nation’s) economy. The political structure they will form to do that will be a World Socialist Government. This will be what David Rockefeller in his MEMOIRS (2002) called “conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will.”

Population control is also an important part of the power elite’s International Planning. In this regard, they consider people no better than animals upon whom to conduct experiments. For example, Eileen Welsome in THE PLUTONIUM FILES: AMERICA’S SECRET MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS IN THE COLD WAR (1999) revealed that 73 disabled children in a Massachusetts schools were spoon-fed oatmeal laced with radioactive isotopes, and 829 pregnant women at a Tennessee clinic were given “vitamin cocktails” containing radioactive iron.

These and other horrible experiments by the U.S. government on unknowing and unwilling Americans occurred over a 30-year period. Also during this time, Frederick Jaffe (vice-president of Planned Parenthood-World Population) wrote a memo to Bernard Berelson (president of the Population Council, founded in 1952 by John D. Rockefeller III) on March 11, 1969 including “Examples of Proposed Measures to Reduce Fertility, by Universality or Selectivity of Impact.” Among the examples listed was “fertility control agents in water supply,” and in early March 2008 news reports indicated that estrogen (which effects fertility) among other chemicals had been released into the water supplies of 41 million Americans.

In order to control populations, the power elite obviously has to be able to track them. This will be reminiscent of the 1930s in which the Nazis would request I.D. by saying, “Papiere, bitte” (Papers, please) of those under its control. Everyone also had an Arbeitsbuch containing her or his personal demographic, educational, occupational, etc. information. Today in Communist China, a similar document is the “Dangan.” And by 2017 A.D., all British citizens will have a National I.D. card by.

In the U.S., Arbeitsbuch-type information started to become available about 10 years ago via ALMIS (America’s Labor Market Information System), which was developed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The data tables in ALMIS contain information about employment, occupation projections, wages, layoffs, employers, educational programs, completers (of educational programs), population demographics (e.g., who is located where), and selected economic indicators.

Relevant to a national I.D. in the U.S., on January 11, 2008 Michael Chertoff (head of Homeland Security) in a press statement said regarding the “Real I.D. Act” passed by Congress: “There comes a point in time where all the discussion and analysis has to stop…. The time has come to bite the bullet…. Now if a particular state were to say, ‘We opt out: we’re not going to participate at all,’ then the law is very clear: after May of this year, that state’s driver’s licenses will no longer be acceptable as a form of federal identification for getting on an airplane or getting into a federal building….”

The federal government plans to use these “machine-readable” state driver’s licenses, with “uniformity” among the states, as federally-approved I.D. cards. This will be followed by future federal demands upon the public, and down the road if the people at some point refuse to bow to these demands, they could be forced into submission by varying means. Foreigners in our police forces might be used (the Associated Press on May 16, 2007 reported that “the Santa Fe police department is considering the possibility of recruiting Mexican nationals to fill vacant police jobs”). Or the U.S. military could be used (such forces were used at Waco against the Branch Davidians). Or foreigners in our military could be used (THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR on December 26, 2006 published “U.S. Military May Recruit Foreigners to Serve” by Tom Regan). Or foreign troops could be used (USNORTHCOM reported that on February 14, U.S. Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart signed an agreement with Canadian Air Force Lt. Gen. Marc Dumais allowing US and Canadian troops to cross each other’s borders during civil emergencies ­ note that “civil” can mean an action by the American people and not just in response to an attack from abroad). Or people could be labeled “domestic terrorists” simply by appearing to intend to influence a politician’s pro-abortion policy, for example, by saying they won’t vote for her or him (Section 802 of the Patriot Act states that the “term ‘domestic terrorism’ means activities that appear to be intended to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion”). Note that one doesn’t have to “intend to influence,” but only “appear” that way to be considered a “domestic terrorist.”

Or the President could simply label and imprison a person as an “enemy combatant” whereby they no longer have any Constitutional rights. Regarding this last possibility, it’s worth remembering that Winston Churchill on November 21, 1943 warned: “The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian governments whether Nazi or Communist.”

Regarding all of the aforementioned possibilities, why do you think the Federal government has signed contracts amounting to $385 million with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root to build vast new detention camps across the U.S.? Both Democrats and Republicans repeatedly have said they don’t plan to round up all the illegal aliens in the U.S., so for whom do you think these massive new detention camps are being build? It’s not just for a few foreign terrorists, so that only leaves “domestic terrorists” however the power elite’s political puppets are ordered to define that term. That could mean YOU! And note that the first of these single bid contracts to a Halliburton (Vice-President Cheney’s former company) subsidiary was signed in 1999 under the Clinton administration. The power elite controls both Democrat and Republican leaders.

The ability of the power elite to enforce its will, of course, reaches far beyond the borders of the U.S. As an example of this, the assassinated Benazir Bhutto’s father, Zulfiker Ali Bhutto, when prime minister of Pakistan wrote IF I AM ASSASSINATED (1979). On page xxvii in the Introduction to this book, one reads regarding his pursuit of a nuclear weapons program that the outgoing American ambassador in Islamabad, Pakistan said “if he (Bhutto) did not back down, he would no longer stay in power.” This was confirmed by Tariq Ali (who personally knew Bhutto) in his THE CLASH OF FUNDAMENTALISM (2002) on page 167, where the author write that Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited Bhutto in Lahore, Pakistan in 1976 and said “We can de-stablize your government and make a horrible example out of you” if Bhutto continued Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. Tariq Ali then notes that Bhutto continued his program and six months later was driven from office.

Today, Kissinger supports Senator McCain for president, and his fellow power elite agent Zbigniew Brzezinski supports Senator Obama. Senator Clinton, of course, is part of the whole Rhodes scholar globalist network. But how does the power elite keep the electorate from learning what Clinton, Obama or McCain (each of whom has at least 5 prominent CFR advisors) will actually do if elected? It’s actually very simple ­ keep news reporters and the public focused on his or her supporters saying something controversial (e.g., the comments of Geraldine Ferraro, Rev. Wright, and the talk-show host in Ohio). As long as reporters cover primarily this, voters will not learn what the candidates’ specific positions are on the issues. For example, do we know anything besides the candidates’ general policy proposals on the economy, Iraq, education, etc.? No. News reporters haven’t pressed for in-depth details regarding any issue. Thus, the power elite’s plan is working.

What will likely happen in the area of education, for example, if a Democrat is elected President are more decisions like that of February 28, 2008 by Appeals Court Judge H. Walter Croskey in Los Angeles. He ruled that parents have no Constitutional right to homeschool their children, and that students must be taught only by credentialed teachers. Judge Croskey’s ruling looks very much like the National Education Association’s B-75 Home Schooling resolution at its 2007 convention. Since homeschooled students typically have higher academic achievement test scores than public school students, this issue is really about separating students from their parents’ values. Former NEA president Catherine Barrett admitted as much in the SATURDAY REVIEW OF EDUCATION (Feb. 10, 1973) when she said teaching “basic skills” would be reduced to only one-quarter of the school day, as “the teacher will be a conveyor of values, a philosopher…. We will be agents of change.”

At the international level, CFR member Carol Bellamy, after being with Morgan-Stanley and managing director of Bear-Stearns (recently sold because of great financial trouble), became executive director of UNICEF where she declared: “The U.N. position is… if formal education is not supplied by government, a child’s right to schooling is violated. Home schools are not a substitute for formal education.” (Bloomsburg, PA PRESS-ENTERPRISE, May 15, 1998). The power elite at the global level wants to eliminate homeschooling, and efforts toward that end have already begun in Germany and other nations. The power elite simply cannot allow parents (usually with traditional values of morality and patriotism) to impart their values to their children. Only the public schools can indoctrinate children with globalism and moral relativism, which are necessary to condition the masses to accept a non-biblical World Socialist Government.

© 2008 Dennis Cuddy – All Rights Reserved

Easter Rising: A War Against the World

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Written by Chris Floyd
Sunday, 23 March 2008

Jon Schwarz, in exorciating the well-wadded cluelessness of Jeffrey Goldberg, gives us one of the very best descriptions of our present reality that I’ve ever seen:

What Goldberg still cannot see, despite it hitting him in the face every second for five years, in that the “war” Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney have fought is not the United States Vs. Iraq. Nor is it the United States vs. Things Jeffrey Goldberg Doesn’t Like.

Instead, the war the Bush administration has fought is Their Branch Of The U.S. Oligarchy vs. Everyone Else On Earth. That war they have prosecuted ruthlessly, unsentimentally, efficiently, and with a constant preoccupation with winning. And while it’s not something that can be permanently won, they’ve certainly been on a long winning streak.

True, this winning streak has required them to lose many of the imaginary wars that exist in Jeffrey Goldberg’s head. In fact, it may require dismantling the United States as we know it. But that’s fine with them.

And that’s the gospel truth on this Easter Sunday. That’s the war we are really in. The American people have always been one of the primary targets of this thuggish faction’s Terror War, and the constitutional republic of the United States was actually the first victim of the Bushists’ “regime change” operations.

The war that Schwarz describes so well began long before this particular faction seized overt power in 2000 — although it has greatly escalated since then — and it will continue long after they depart from office next year. And they will keep on going from victory to victory — enabled at every step by the fatuous gasbags of the corporate press — for as long as a cowed and docile populace remains ignorant of the real “long war” being waged against them…and against their brothers and sisters, their fellow human beings, all over the world.


the strange politics of Easter

March 23, 2008 by will shetterly

About two thousand years ago, Rome killed a threat to its empire. According to the most popular stories, that happened on Passover, but the early Roman church moved Easter so Christians could say, “No, really, we’re loyal Romans and not those annoying Jews who won’t settle down and accept Roman domination.”

It’s also the day that churches assert their power on earth: to a church, what matters is that Jesus is dead, dead, dead, and therefore you should accept what priests say until he comes back.

Priests have always preferred Easter to Christmas. Christmas is the day to celebrate the birth and life of a teacher who said you should call no one father and you should pray in private and what matters most is loving God and people and especially your enemies. It’s hard to go to war when you’re loving your enemies.

But Jesus is dead. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue. In a modern telling of the Jesus story, he died in Guantanamo on Friday, and no one will find his body on Sunday.

It’s a good time to think about the rebirth of justice.


How Lethally Stupid Can One Country Be?

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Dream Castle Designs

Watching George W. Bush in operation these last couple of weeks is like having an out-of-body experience. On acid. During a nightmare. In a different galaxy.

As he presides over the latest disaster of his administration (No, it’s not a terrorist attack – that was 2001! No, it’s not a catastrophic war – that was 2003! No, it’s not a drowning city – that was 2005! This one is an economic meltdown, ladies and gentlemen!) bringing to it the same blithe disengagement with which he’s attended the previous ones, you cannot but stop and gaze in stark comedic awe, realizing that the most powerful polity that ever existed on the planet twice picked this imbecilic buffoon as its leader, from among 300 million other choices. Seeing him clown with the Washington press corps yet once again – and seeing them fawn over him, laugh in all the right places, and give him a standing ovation, also yet once again – is the equivalent of having all your logic circuits blown simultaneously. Truly, the universe has a twisted and deeply ironic sense of humor. Monty Python is about as funny – and as stiff – as Dick Nixon, by comparison.

It’s simply incomprehensible. It’s not so astonishing, of course, that a country could have a bad leader whose aims are nefarious on the occasions when they are competent enough to rise to that level of intentionality. Plenty of countries have managed that feat, especially when – as was the case with Bush – every sort of scam is employed to steal power, and then pure corruption and intimidation used to keep it. History is quite littered indeed with bimbos and petty criminals of this caliber. What is harder to explain is how a country of such remarkable achievements in other domains, and with the capacity to choose, and in the twenty-first century no less, allows this to happen. And then stands by silently watching for eight years as the tragedy unfolds before their eyes, all 600 million of them, hardly any of them even blinking.

And so, remarkably, as we mark now the fifth anniversary of the very most tragic of these debacles, the most destructive and the most shameful – because it was the most avoidable – the sad question of the hour is less what is to be done about it than will anyone even notice? Not likely. And not for very long if they do. And, most of all, definitely not enough so as to take meaningful action to bring it to an end, even at this absurdly late date.

But let’s give credit where credit is due. This is precisely by design. This is exactly the outcome intended by the greatest propaganda-promulgating regime since Hermann Göring set fire to the Reichstag. It was Göring himself who famously reminded us that, “Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. …Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

Sure worked in Germany. And it worked even better here, because these guys were so absolutely careful to avoid exposing the costs of their war to those who could demand its end. For example, by some counts, there are more mercenaries fighting in Iraq, at extremely high cost, than there are US military personnel. There’s only one reason for that. If the administration implemented the draft that is actually necessary to supply this war with adequate personnel, the public would end both the war and the careers of its sponsors, post haste. For the same reason, this is the first American war ever which has not only not been accompanied by a tax increase, but has in fact witnessed a tax cut. Likewise – to ‘preserve the dignity’ of the dead, of course – you are no longer permitted to see photographs of flag-draped caskets returning to Dover Air Force Base. And the press are embedded with forces who are also responsible for their safety, which is just a fancy way of saying that they’re so censored they make Pravda look good. It is, in short, quite easy for average Americans to get through their day, every day, without the war impacting their lives in any visible respect, and that is precisely what hundreds of millions of us are doing, week in and week out. All of this is courtesy of an administration that couldn’t run a governmental program to save its own life – but, boy, they sure as hell know how to market stuff.

So perhaps there is no excuse, after all, for my naiveté, for my credulousness in wanting to believe that twenty-first century America might be different enough not to follow the smallest of men – a personal failure and a 40-year drunkard who, unlike Herr Göring’s führer, couldn’t even claim charismatic eloquence as the sole virtue accounting for his power – to follow such a petulant child off the deep end of a completely unjustified war. Perhaps Americans and American democracy are no wiser or better than any other people or political system, even today, even after the worst century of warfare in human history, even after the mirror-image experience of Vietnam. Maybe the experience of Iraq hasn’t even changed them, and they’ll once again follow like lemmings when led to war by pathetic creatures such as George W. Bush, fifty years from now. Or five years from now. Or even five months from now, as the creature d.b.a Dick Cheney tees up a confrontation with Iran in order keep Democrats out of the White House, and himself out of jail.

Sure, presidents and prime ministers, no less than kings and führers, will lie their countries into war. Sure, they’re very good at it, and getting better all the time. Definitely a frightened people are more prone to stupidity than those lucky enough to contemplate in the luxury of quiet safety. Without question, it helps an awful lot – if you’re just Joe Sixpack, out there trying to figure out international politics in-between a long day’s work, helping the kids with their algebra homework, and the Yankee game – to have a checking-and-balancing Congress, a responsible opposition party, and/or a critical media helping you to understand the issues accurately, rather than gleefully capitulating to executive power at every opportunity. But that by no means excuses a public who were fundamentally far more lazy than they were ignorant or confused. And lazy is one thing when you’re talking about a highway bill or even national healthcare. But when it comes to war, lazy is murder.

I don’t think it took a giant leap of logic to understand that this war was bogus from the beginning, even based on what was known at the time. The war was sold on three basic arguments, each of which could have been easily dismantled even then with a little thoughtful consideration.

The first was WMD, of course. So, okay, perhaps your average American didn’t know that the United States government (including many in the current administration) had actually once supplied Saddam Hussein the materiel to make these evil weapons, and had covered for him at the UN and elsewhere when he used them. Although this historical myopia is very much part of the problem, of course. Americans are so ready to denounce supposed enemies without doing the slightest bit of historical homework to become acquainted with the slightest bit of history to make sense of the situation. If you don’t know that the US actually canceled elections and helped assassinate a ‘democratic’ president in Vietnam, of course you’re going to support war there. If you don’t know that the US toppled a democratically elected Iranian government to steal the country’s oil and then installed a brutal dictatorship in its place, of course you’re going to be angry at US diplomats being held hostage. And if you don’t bother to learn the true history of Iraq, perhaps you’ll find the WMD argument quite persuasive.

But, in fact, even without the historical background information, it never made a damn bit of sense. Iraq had been pulverized by war and sanctions for over twenty years prior to 2003. Two-thirds of its airspace was controlled by foreign militaries. Its northern region was effectively autonomous, a separate country in all but name. It was in no position to attack anyone. Moreover, it hadn’t attacked anyone – not the United States or anyone else. Indeed, it hadn’t even threatened to attack anyone. Shouldn’t that be part of the calculation in determining whether to go to war? Do we really want to give carte blanche to any dry (we hope) drunkard in the White House who today wants to bomb Norway (“They’re stealing our fish!”), or tomorrow wants to invade Burkina Faso (“They dress funny!”)?

Too often, of course, the historical answer to that question has unfortunately been yes, we apparently do want to do that. But let’s consider the massive warning signs in this case, even apart from what could be known about the administration’s lies at the time. Shouldn’t it have been enormously problematic that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11? Even the administration never had the gall to make that claim. Wasn’t it transparent to anyone that America had plenty on its plate already in dealing with the enemy we were told we had, rather than adding a new adventure to the pile? And why wasn’t this thing selling throughout the world, or even amongst the traitorous half of the Democratic Party in Congress? Remember how everyone at home and abroad – yes, including the French – supported the US and its military actions in Afghanistan only twelve months before? Shouldn’t it have been a warning sign of epic proportions that these same folks wouldn’t countenance a war in Iraq just a year later? That the administration had to yank its Security Council resolution off the table, even after breaking both the arms of every member-state around the horseshoe table, because it could still only get Britain and two other patsies to lie down for this outrage, out of a total of fifteen, and nine needed to pass?

And how about the logic of that whole WMD thing, after all? Did anyone ever stop to think that several dozen other countries have WMD, including some that are pretty hostile to the United States? Did anyone not remember that the Soviets once had nearly 25,000 strategic nuclear warheads pointed in our direction? What ever happened to the logic of deterrence? To mutually assured destruction? And what about the mad rush to go to war, preempting the UN weapons inspectors from doing their job? Are we really okay with the notion that instead of ‘risking’ whatever would have been at risk by giving the inspectors another six or eight weeks to finish up, we’ve instead bought this devastating war down on our own heads for no reason at all? If you stop to think about it, it makes you shudder. Which I guess explains why not too many people stop to think about it.

The second rationale for war was the bogus linkage between Iraq and al Qaeda. The extent and ramifications of this lie are so significant that the White House, it was just recently revealed, squelched a Pentagon report showing no connections between the two. Is this sort of censorship what the Bush administration means by democracy, the remedy it’s always preaching for the rest of the world but never practicing at home? Anyhow, remember how definitive Cheney and the rest were of this supposed al Qaeda linkage, based pretty much entirely on a meeting between two operatives in Prague which likely didn’t even take place? Now we find out that the Department of Defense has spent the last five years combing through a mere 600,000 documents, and found zero evidence of such a link. Not some evidence. Not mixed evidence. Zero evidence.

But you could tell even then that they had almost nothing to go on. Christ, the United States government itself has had far more interactions with al Qaeda – including helping to build the beast from its inception – than one disputed meeting between two spooks in Prague. Doesn’t it seem that a decision to go to war should hang on more than a single thread like that, let alone a narrow and tattered one? And how many of us are down for attacking any country right now that might have had a single meeting between a low-level functionary and an al Qaeda representative?

Then, once again, there’s the matter of that whole pesky logic thing. Pay attention now, class. What do we know about al Qaeda? They are devoted to religious war – jihad – in the name of replacing governments across the Middle East with theocracies, or better yet recreating the old Islamic caliphate stretching across the region, right? Right. Now if this vision could have more thoroughly contradicted Saddam’s agenda for a secular dictatorship seeking regional domination on his own Stalinist terms, it is hard to imagine how. You don’t need a PhD in international politics to see that these two actors were about as antithetical to each other as the Republican Party is to integrity. Then again, even having one doesn’t necessarily mean you have the foggiest clue about what’s going on in the world, as Condoleeza Rice clearly demonstrated by brilliantly failing to anticipate that Hamas would win elections she had pushed the Palestinians to hold. For someone serving as secretary of state, this idiocy is the rough equivalent of anyone else being shocked when a dropped bowling ball hurtles to the ground, because they’re not yet fully acquainted with the concept of gravity. Evidently, in Texas this is what they call ‘credentials’.

Lastly, Bush’s little adventure in Mesopotamia was supposed to bring democracy to the region, remember? Never mind, of course, that there has long already been a fairly thriving Islamic democracy, right next door. Oops! It’s called Turkey. And let’s not forget Mr. Bush’s long-standing devotion to democracy, as he amply demonstrated in the American election of 2000. Or as he has continually manifested by bravely and publically pushing the Chinese to democratize. Just as he has with his pals in Egypt and especially the family friends running Saudi Arabia, the recipient of more American foreign aid than nearly any other country in all the world. And let’s not forget the several hundred thousand perished souls from Darfur, whom this great champion of human rights has fought valiantly to keep alive by… by… well, I’m sure he’s done a lot behind the scenes. Sure is gonna be hard for them to exercise their precious right to vote from the next world, eh?

What is clear is that the reasons given to the American public for the war in Iraq were entirely bogus. This much is already on the public record, from the Downing Street Memos and beyond. Even if we can only speculate on why they actually invaded – oil, glory, personal insecurity, Israel, clobbering Democrats, Middle Eastern dominance – what we know for sure is that the rationale fed to the public was a knowingly fabricated pack of scummy lies. It wasn’t about WMD, it wasn’t about links to al Qaeda, and it sure wasn’t about democracy.

But even if we can’t identify the true motivations within the administration for invading, we can surely begin to see the costs. Probably a million Iraqi civilians are dead. Over four million are displaced and now living as refugees. Together, these equal a staggering one-fifth of the population of the entire country. Meanwhile, the remaining four-fifths are living in squalor, fear and a psychological damage so extensive that it is hard to grasp. America has lost 4,000 soldiers, with perhaps another 30,000 gravely wounded. Hundreds of thousands more will be scarred for life from their experiences in the hell of Mr. Bush’s war. Our military is broken and incapable of responding to a real emergency, at home or abroad. Our economy will sustain a blow of perhaps three trillion dollars before it is all said and done. Our reputation in the world is in the toilet. We have turned the Iranian theocracy into a regional hegemon. And we have massively proliferated our own enemies within the Islamic community. That would be one hell of an expensive war, even if the reasons given for it were legitimate. It is nearly incomprehensible considering that they were not.

This week, a man died in France, the last surviving veteran of World War I, a devastating conflict that – even a century later – nobody can still really explain to this day. Meanwhile, Dick Cheney, John McCain and Joe “Make-me-SecDef-Mac-oh-please-pick-me-Mac” Lieberman parachuted into Iraq for photo-ops to sustain the war they don’t have the integrity or the guts to abandon. Never mind that their visits had to be by surprise, and that they stroll around the Green Zone wearing armored vests – surely the most powerful measures of the war’s success imaginable. Of course, to be fair, we’ve only been at it for five years now. Perhaps after the remaining ninety-five on McCain’s agenda go by, Americans will finally be safe enough in Iraq to announce their visits in advance.

So, Happy Anniversary, America! You put these people in charge, and then – after seeing in explicit in detail what they were capable of – you actually did it again in 2004! You stood by in silence watching the devastation wrought upon an innocent people, produced in your name and financed by your tax dollars. And you continue to do just that again, now in Year Six.

Brilliant! Put on your party hat, America. You won the prize.

You’ve successfully answered the musical question, “How lethally stupid can one country be?”

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