- Post-9/11, Dick Cheney warned of wars that won't end
in our lifetime. Former CIA Director James Woolsey said America "is
engaged in World War IV, and it could continue for years....This fourth
world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars
I or II did for us." GHW Bush called it a "New World Order"
in his September 11, 1990 address to a joint session of Congress as he
prepared the public for Operation Desert Storm.
- The Pentagon called it the "long war" in its
2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), what past administrations waged
every year without exception since the republic's birth, at home and abroad.
Obama is just the latest of America's warrior presidents that included
Washington, Madison, Jackson, Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, Wilson, F. Roosevelt,
Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, and GW Bush preceding
- This article covers WW II and its aftermath history of
imperial wars for unchallengeable global dominance throughout a period
when America had and still has no enemies. Then why fight them? Read on.
- Wars Without End
- America glorifies wars in the name of peace, what historian
Charles Beard (1874 - 1948) called "perpetual war for perpetual peace"
in describing the Roosevelt and Truman administrations' foreign policies
- what concerned the Federation of American Scientists when it catalogued
about 200 post-1945 conflicts in which America was, and still is, the aggressor.
- Historian Gore Vidal used Beard's phrase in titling his
2002 book, "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace" and saying:
- "our rulers for more than half a century have made
sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government
has done to other people, not to mention our own."
- In his 2002 book "Dreaming War," he compared
GW Bush's imperial ambitions to WW II and the 1947 Truman Doctrine's pledge:
- "To support free peoples who are resisting attempted
subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."
- It was to keep Greece and Turkey from going communist,
but it applied globally and initiated America's National Security State
strategy that included:
- -- NATO in 1949 for offense, not defense;
- -- NSC-68 against Soviet Russia in 1950 to "contain"
what was called an enemy "unlike previous aspirants to hegemony....animated
by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own (wishing to) impose its
absolute authority over the rest of the world" at a time America was
the only global superpower, the Soviet Union lay in ruins, threatened no
one, and needed years to regain normality.
- Then came:
- -- Truman's instigated June 25, 1950 war after the DPRK
retaliated in force following months of ROK provocations, what Americans
call the Korean War, South Koreans the 6-2-5 War (meaning June 25), and
the North its "fatherland liberation war" that left it in ruins,
the South occupied to this day, and it was only the mid-century beginning
as succeeding administrations continued an agenda for what's now called
"full spectrum dominance" for global US hegemony.
- It worried historian Harry Elmer Barnes (1889 - 1968)
in his 1953 collection of leading historical revisionists' essays titled,
"Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: A Critical Examination of the
Foreign Policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and It's Aftermath" in
which he wrote in the preface:
- "If trends continue as they have during the last
fifteen years, we shall soon reach this point of no return, and can only
anticipate interminable wars, disguised as noble gestures for peace. Such
an era could only culminate in a third world war which might well, as Arnold
J. Toynbee has suggested, leave only the pygmies in remote jungles, or
even the apes and ants, to carry on 'the cultural traditions' of mankind."
- He cited how America's "needless" entry into
two world wars converted its pre-1914 dream "into a nightmare of fear,
regimentation, destruction, insecurity, inflation, and ultimate insolvency."
He debunked the cause and merits of WW I, "the folly of our entering
it, and the disastrous results that followed." He cited "popular
fictions" about WW II, the injustices to Germany and Austria that
caused it, the war Roosevelt wanted early in the 1930s as captured Polish
documents and the censored Forrestal Diaries confirmed.
- Before it began, he wanted US neutrality legislation
ended, then after September 1939, he dropped any pretense by supporting
Britain and France and opposing peace efforts after Poland's defeat. His
June 1940 "dagger in the back" address was a de facto act of
war by beginning vast amounts of weapons and munitions shipments to Britain
after Dunkirk, followed by the September 1940 (peacetime) Selective Service
Act, the first in US history, in preparation for what close advisor Harry
Hopkins told Churchill in January 1941 that:
- "The President is determined that we shall win the
war together. Make no mistake about it," followed by Chief of Naval
Operations, Admiral Harold Stark telling his fleet commanders that "The
question of our entry into the war now seems to be when, and not whether."
- Only a pretext was needed, first by trying and failing
to provoke Germany, then deciding Japan would be attacked, whether or not
it struck US ships, territory, or forces in the Pacific. In a July 4 radio
broadcast, Roosevelt said:
- "solemnly (understand) that the United States will
never survive as a happy and fertile oasis of liberty surrounded by a cruel
desert of dictatorship." Then his July 25 Executive Order froze Japanese
assets, stating it was:
- "....To prevent the use of the financial facilities
of the United States in trade between Japan and the United States in ways
harmful to national defense and American interests, to prevent the liquidation
in the United States of assets obtained by duress or conquest, and to curb
subversive activities in the United States."
- Britain followed suit the next day, and Roosevelt nationalized
the Philippines' armed forces "as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and
Navy of the United States" with dominion over its Asian colony.
- As early as 1937, he planned a naval blockade, but dropped
the idea after an adverse reaction. It resurfaced in 1938 because he knew
strangling Japan economically assured war.
- Throughout his administration, from 1933 through late
1941, he spurned Japanese peace overtures that would have protected all
American interests in the Pacific. By November 25, the final die was cast.
America chose war, and on that day, War Secretary Henry Stimson wrote in
his diary that it depended only on how to maneuver Japan to attack with
the lowest number of US casualties.
- Tokyo had no other recourse, knowing it couldn't win,
but hoping for a negotiated settlement to solidify whatever Asian control
it could retain. It failed, lost the war, and remains an occupied US vassal
- In the late 1930s, Roosevelt encouraged a Japanese attack
by stationing the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor against the advice of two
key admirals, James Richardson, Pacific Fleet commander and Harold Stark,
Chief of Naval Operations until March 1942.
- Selling arms to Japan's enemies and an embargo assured
war, and US cable documentation confirmed it was coming. Breaking the Japanese
code let Britain and Washington track its fleet from the Kurile Islands
to its North Pacific refueling point en route to Pearl Harbor on or about
- At a December 5 cabinet meeting, Navy Secretary Frank
Knox said: "Well, you know Mr. President, we know where the Japanese
- "Yes, I know," responded Roosevelt, saying
"Well, you tell them what it is Frank," who explained where it
was, where it was heading until Roosevelt interrupted adding that perfect
information wasn't available in spite of navy reports confirming it in
Pacific waters heading toward Hawaii. On December 6, officials awaited
the attack until it came the next morning at 7:55AM Hawaii time.
- It was a day of infamy and deceit, with Pearl Harbor's
commander, Admiral HE Kimmel, denied crucial intelligence to let it proceed
unimpeded, arouse public anger, and give FDR his war - one decoded Japanese
messages showed they didn't want but Roosevelt gave them no choice.
- Like other presidents, he lied the country into war against
the wishes of 80% of the public, at a cost of millions of lives in both
theaters, and a policy henceforth of perpetual wars for perpetual peace
to achieve unchallengeable US dominance. In the modern era, FDR's foreign
policy began it, leaving a bankrupted moral and political legacy active
to this day.
- Consider also what revisionist historians say about Lincoln
- that he provoked the Fort Sumpter (in Charleston, SC harbor) attack and
began the Civil War for economic reasons, not to end slavery.
- Consider also that ordinary people and soldiers don't
want war, just their leaders and commanders - to wit, Christmas 1914 during
WW I when German and British troops stopped fighting, didn't know why they
were doing it, then defied orders by fraternizing with each other for two
weeks despite risking being court-martialed. Unable to stop them, their
officers joined them in a celebratory pause that didn't stop another three
years of carnage, millions of lost lives, and post-war policies that assured
- The lesson is clear. All wars are immoral, unnecessary,
and only happen when one side provokes the other for reasons unrelated
to national security threats.
- In his seminal book, "A Century of War," Gabriel
Kolko called the 20th century:
- "the bloodiest in all history. More than 170 million
people were killed," 70% of whom in WW II were civilians, "mainly
(from) the bombing of cities by Great Britain and America." There
was nothing good about "the good war" nor any others.
- In Kolko's later book "Another Century of War,"
he stressed how America contributes to much of the world's disorder through
its interventions and as the world's largest arms producer and exporter.
Post-WW II, the US became a global menace, today claiming "terrorism"
as the main threat - a bogus fiction to justify militarism, perpetual wars
heading the nation for moral, political and economic bankruptcy. According
- "The way America's leaders are running the nation's
foreign policy is not creating peace or security at home or stability abroad.
The reverse is the case: its interventions have been counterproductive."
- In his newest book, "The World in Crisis,"
Kolko believes that America's decline "began after the Korean War,
was continued in relation to Cuba, and was greatly accelerated in Vietnam
- but (GW Bush did) much to exacerbate it further." He also thinks:
- -- US power is declining everywhere;
- -- "the world is no longer dependent on its economic
might" because other nations like China and India are growing and
may some day equal or surpass America;
- -- after the Soviet Union's collapse, "the absence
of identifiable foes has been a disaster, leaving the US aimless - (so)
it picks and chooses enemies: rag-tag Afghan tribesmen, Iraqis or all sorts,
perhaps China, perhaps Russia....South American caudillos," whatever
bogus ones can be invented for imperial wars, but the justification is
wearing thin, and the burgeoning cost unsustainable.
- The result is that America's "century of domination
is now ending."
- America's Permanent War Economy
- It's how Seymour Melman (1917 - 2004) characterized it
in his books and frequents writings on America's military-industrial complex.
One of his last articles was titled "In the Grip of a Permanent War
Economy (CounterPunch, March 15, 2003) in which he said:
- "at the start of the twenty-first century, every
major aspect of American life is being shaped by our Permanent War Economy."
He then examined the horrific toll:
- -- a de-industrialized nation, the result of decades
of shifting production abroad leaving unions and communities "decimated;"
- -- government financing and promoting "every kind
of war industry and foreign investing by US firms;" war priorities
take precedence over essential homeland needs;
- -- America's "Permanent War Economy....has endured
since the end of World War II....Since then the US has been at war - somewhere
- every year, in Korea, Nicaragua, Vietnam, the Balkans, Afghanistan -
all this to the accompaniment of shorter military forays in Africa, Chile,
Grenada, Panama," and increasingly at home against its own people;
- -- "how to make war" takes precedence over
everything leaving no "public space....on how to improve the quality
of our lives;"
- -- "Shortages of housing have caused a swelling
of the homeless population in every major city (because) State and city
governments across the country have become trained to bend to the needs
of the military....;" the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH)
currently estimates over 21,000 are on city streets nightly, and during
winter months it's dangerous;
- -- the result is a nation of growing millions of poor,
disadvantaged, uneducated, and "disconnected from society's mainstream,
restless and unhappy, frustrated, angry, and sad;"
- "State Capitalism" characterizes America's
government - business partnership running a war economy for greater power
and wealth at the expense of a nation in decline, corrupted leadership,
lost industrialization, crumbling infrastructure, and suffering millions
on their own, uncared for, unwanted, ignored, and forgotten.
- Melman stressed that:
- "Further evasion is out of order. We must come to
grips with America's State Capitalism and its Permanent War Economy."
Re-industrialization is essential "to restore jobs and production
competence - industry by industry."
- "Failing that, there is no hope for any constructive
exit," for the nation or its people.
- Dwight Eisenhower's January 17, 1961 Address to the Nation
- It was his farewell address delivered 30 years to the
day before Operation Desert Storm began in which he warned about the "military-industrial
complex," citing the "grave implications" of a "coalition
of the military and industrialists who profit by manufacturing arms and
selling them to the government."
- He stated "we must guard against the acquisition
of unwarranted influence....by the military-industrial complex. The potential
for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
- He also said that:
- "Every gun that is made, every war ship launched,
every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who
hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and not clothed,"
the result of what some analysts call the "iron triangle" of
Congress, the Pentagon, and the defense industry that includes producers
of sophisticated technology for digital age warfare of a kind Eisenhower
- In combination, they've addicted America to war, not
for threats, but for the power and profits that result. In his book "The
Political Economy of US Militarism," Professor Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
refers to "parasitic military imperialism," consuming over 40%
of the national tax revenue at the expense of unmet human needs.
- Morality aside, it's not justified economically. It's
wasteful, inefficient, comes at a great cost, and over time is ineffective
- "The control over huge amounts of national resources
tends to lead to an undermining of democratic values, a perversion of republican
principles and a reduction of civil freedoms, as well as to the political
corruption at home and abroad." Moreover, "The constant need
for international conflicts makes (America's) military imperialism....more
dangerous than the imperial powers of the past."
- It's made war-making a giant enterprise "not only
for expansionism but, in fact, for the survival of this empire," yet
consider the fallout Hossein-Zadeh examined in a July 10, 2007 article
titled, "Parasitic Imperialism:"
- -- the redistribution of income and resources to the
- -- the undermining of physical and human capital;
- -- the nation's increased vulnerability to natural disasters;
- -- economic and financial instability, the result of
the growing national debt now totally out of control;
- -- less foreign market potential for non-military ventures;
- -- the undermining of civil liberties and democratic
- -- "foster(ing) a dependence on or addiction to
military spending, and, therefore....a spiraling vicious circle of (unsustainable)
war and militarism" that's sucking the nation into decline.
- America's Post-WW II Imperial Grand Strategy
- Post-WW II, America emerged as the world's sole superpower
- economically, politically and militarily, given the war's toll on East
Asia, Europe and Soviet Russia. In his book, "The Cold War and the
New Imperialism," Professor Henry Heller examined it with emphasis
on the Cold War, America's containment policy, and its efforts against
leftist forces in support of fascist elements on the right at both state
and local levels.
- The Soviet Union controlled Eastern and Central Europe
while Mao's War of Liberation defeated Chiang Kai-Shek Nationalists. Cold
War confrontation followed. It pitted US imperialism against an opposing
ideology, the aim being which side would triumph or could both co-exist
peacefully and avoid conflict.
- War was never an option given each side's nuclear strength
under a policy of "mutually assured destruction (MAD)". In addition,
post-Stalinist Russia began reforms and expanded its sphere of influence.
It wasn't to destroy the West, but to co-exist equally. America and Soviet
Russia only competed for developing country allies to keep them from the
opposing camp, so neither would be dominated by the other or more vulnerable
to being isolated, marginalized, or shut out from world markets and influence.
- US Imperialism Post-WW II
- James Petras and others have said behind every imperial
war is a great lie, the more often repeated the more likely to be believed
because ordinary people want peace, not conflict, so it's vital to convince
- In the 1950s, the Eisenhower administration overthrew
two popularly elected governments in Iran and Guatemala, and sought greater
influence in Africa and Southeast Asia as anti-colonial movements gained
- On January 1, 1959 Fidel Castro's socialist revolution
ousted the US-backed Batista dictatorship. He then survived America's failed
1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, but faced decades of US hostility, including
an embargo, destabilization, intimidation, and hundreds of attempts to
kill him, unsuccessful so Cuba is still free from US dominance, but hardly
safe from its northern hegemon.
- In the 1950s, America also backed French Southeast Asian
imperialism until defeat at Dien Bien Phu drove them out. A repressive
South Vietnamese client regime was established at the same time, supported
by US military advisors teaching war and repression tactics. Unifying North
and South elections were blocked, and direct intervention began in 1961.
In 1958, Washington also subverted Laotian democracy and incited civil
war. Cambodia as well was targeted but remained free.
- Early in his administration, Kennedy intervened, but
a new James Douglass book titled "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He
Died and Why It Matters" says without conviction because he opposed
using force. After the Joint Chiefs demanded troops for Laos, he told his
Geneva Conference representative, Averell Harriman:
- "Did you understand? I want a negotiated settlement
in Laos. I don't want to put troops in."
- He wouldn't agree to using nuclear weapons in Berlin
and Southeast Asia and refused to bomb or invade Cuba during the 1962 missile
crisis, saying afterwards that "I never had the slightest intention
of doing so."
- In June 1963 (a few months before his assassination),
he called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, ending the Cold War, and
moving forward for "general and complete disarmament." In October
1963, he signed National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 263 to withdraw
1,000 US forces from Vietnam by year end and all of them by 1965. He said
he wanted "to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it
to the winds." He wanted peace, not conflicts. It cost him his life,
and future presidents got the message.
- Johnson resumed Southeast Asian escalation to establish
client regimes and military bases across East and South Asia, encircle
China, and crush nationalist anti-imperial movements. The Indochinese war
engulfed Cambodia and Laos as well under Johnson and Nixon. It killed three
to four million, inflicted vast amounts of destruction, caused incalculable
human suffering, got America to sign a peace treaty in January 1973, but
war continued until its clients were defeated in April 1975.
- Prior to Reagan's election, the "Vietnam syndrome"
and easing Cold War tensions and disarmament efforts alarmed militarists
to fear defense spending cuts detrimental to profits. A propaganda campaign
exaggerated bogus threats, manipulated intelligence to heighten fear, and
got the Reagan administration to approve large military spending increases
to confront "Soviet expansionism" at a time it was transitioning
from Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko to Gorbachev in 1985, followed by
perestroika in 1986, glasnost in 1988, border openings and the Berlin Wall's
collapse in 1989, then the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991 - a new threat
militarists feared would bring large, not to be tolerated, defense budgets
- In the late 1980s, however, leading figures, including
Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samuel Huntington, and Albert Wohlstetter
alleged Third World conflicts threatened US interests in the Middle East,
Mediterranean, and Western Pacific, and recommended deterrence to stop
them. Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney
agreed. Others wanted large defense cuts for a peace dividend, including
Johnson's DOD chief Robert McNamara who proposed reductions up to 50%.
- Throughout the 1989 - 1999 period, mostly under Bill
Clinton, US-instigated provocations, sanctions, and armed insurrections
support involved America in 134 military operations according to the Federation
of American Scientists. The most egregious was Clinton's bombing and dismemberment
of Yugoslavia, an act playwright Harold Pinter called:
- "barbaric" and despicable, "another blatant
and brutal assertion of US power using NATO as its missile" to consolidate
"American domination of Europe." Worse was yet to come with the
election of George Bush, America's worst president in a country that never
had a good one and never will as it's now governed.
- Long before 9/11, Middle East restructuring plans were
based on bogus terrorist, rogue state, and "clash of civilizations"
threats by hordes of Islamofascists, including the Palestinian resistance,
the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Saddam Hussein targeted in the 1990 -
91 Gulf War, followed by years of devastating sanctions, then ousted by
GW Bush in 2003.
- Iraq was destroyed, occupied and balkanized. Afghanistan,
Pakistan, and Iran face similar threats, the common thread being dominating
Eurasia through endless conflicts and increased military spending for war
profiteering bounties. September 11 assured it, and got Michelle Ciarocca
of the Arms Trade Resource Center, in September 2002 to say:
- "The whole mind set of military spending changed
on Sept. 11. The most fundamental thing about defense spending is that
threats drive (it). It's now going to be easier to fund almost anything."
- Hossein-Zadeh investigated the growing role of private
contractors creating a "built-in propensity to war that makes the
US military-industrial complex a menace to world peace and stability, a
force of death and destruction," as virulent under Obama as George
- The fallout includes a burgeoning national debt, loss
of civil liberties and democratic freedoms, erosion of social services,
collapse of the dollar, America already in decline, its coming loss of
preeminence as a world power, its potential bankruptcy, perhaps demise
in its present form. and the possibility of WW III.
- America's Illegal Wars of Aggression - The "Supreme
- All US post-WW II conflicts were premeditated wars of
aggression against nations posing no threat to America -
- what Justice Robert Jackson at Nuremberg called:
- the "supreme international crime differing only
from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated
evil of the whole."
- Canadian Law Professor Michael Mandel explained America's
guilt in his superb 2004 book, "How America Gets Away with Murder:
Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage, and Crimes Against Humanity," his
main theme being Jackson's Nuremberg "supreme crime" declaration,
as relevant now as then.
- Tragically, as Edward Herman observed in reviewing Mandel's
- "The problem for the United States (and the world)
has been that this country is now in the business of aggression and its
commission of the "supreme crime" is standard policy, thereby
bringing the "scourge of war" across the globe in direct violation
of the UN charter."
- Its Purposes and Principles state that:
- "The Purposes of the United Nations are:
- (1) To maintain international peace and security, and
to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and
removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression
or other breaches of the peace, and to bring by peaceful means, and in
conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment
or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead
to a breach of the peace."
- Conspiratorially with NATO and Israel, America willfully
and repeatedly violates international and US laws, punishes its victims,
absolves itself, and since WW II has directly or indirectly murdered millions
of people globally, mostly civilian non-combatants.
- Barack Obama - America's New Warrior President
- America glorifies conflicts and the righteousness of
waging them, packaged as liberating ones for democracy, freedom, justice,
and the best of all possible worlds. Obama is just the latest in a long
line of warrior leaders promising peace by waging war, justifying them
by bogus threats, and calling pacifism unpatriotic to further an imperial
agenda for greater wealth, power, and unchallengeable global dominance.
- In opposition to his announced Afghanistan surge, peace
activists gathered across from the White House on December 12 for an "Emergency
Anti-Escalation Rally" organized by "End US Wars"- a new
coalition of grassroots anti-war organizations.
- Speakers included Kathy Kelly, David Swanson, Granny
D (age 100 on January 24, 2010) former Senator Mike Gravel (1969 - 1981),
and former Representative and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia
McKinney, among others.
- This writer was asked to prepare a short commentary to
be read to the crowd. Updated, it's reproduced below:
- Obama's Permanent War Strategy
- Disingenuously calling Afghanistan a "war of necessity,
not choice," Obama ordered 30,000 more troops deployed over the next
six months with perhaps many more to follow. In one of his most defining
decisions, he's more than doubled the force count since taking office,
angered a majority in the country, and continues his permanent war agenda
while calling himself a man of peace.
- Next target, Yemen, and its newest, occupied Haiti for
plunder, exploitation, and very likely killing unwanted Haitians by neglect,
starvation, disease, and face-to-face confrontations if they resist.
- As a candidate, Obama campaigned against imperial militarism,
promised limited escalation only, and pledged to remove all combat troops
from Iraq by August 31, 2010. That was then. This is now, and consider
what he has in mind - the permanent occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and
- Besides the Afghan escalation, he's also destabilizing
Pakistan to balkanize both countries, weakening them to control the Caspian
Sea's oil and gas riches and their energy routes to secured ports for export.
The strategy includes encircling Russia, China, and Iran, obstructing their
solidarity and cohesion, defusing a feared geopolitical alliance, weakening
the Iranian government, perhaps attacking its nuclear sites, eliminating
Israel's main regional rival, and securing unchallenged Eurasian dominance
over this resource rich part of the world that includes China, Russia,
the Middle East, and Indian subcontinent.
- Like George Bush, Obama plans permanent war and more
military spending than all other nations combined at a time America has
no enemies. He promised change and betrayed us. Grassroots activism must
stop this madness and make America a nation again to be proud of. The alternative
is too grim to imagine.
- Over 50 years ago, Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970) warned:
- "Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall
mankind renounce war" and live in peace, because we have no other
- Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre
for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at