Saturday 22nd of January 2022

war is peace...

peace

After the 'America First' foreign policy of Donald Trump - the first elected US president since Dwight Eisenhower not to start a major war - Joe Biden's election portends a re-run of the Obama years, when the promise of peace was betrayed.

Joe Biden says his cabinet appointments show "America is back" on the world stage - but is that really a good thing?

With former vice-president Biden looking increasingly secure in his claim on the White House despite ongoing legal challenges to the election process, how will his choices for his governing team shape foreign and domestic policy?

But Biden's presidency is already looking like an unofficial third term for Barack Obama, with a host of familiar faces packing the White House. And with many of the architects of the last Democratic president's foreign policy back in charge, will the world see a return to the 'Pax Obama' of 'humanitarian bombing' and regime-change after four years of President Donald Trump's America First policy?

Foreign Intervention

Antony Blinken, Biden's designate for secretary of state, was deeply involved in Obama's string of overseas proxy wars as deputy national security advisor and deputy secretary of state.

Blinken supported the US-led NATO bombing campaign on Libya in support of the overthrow of the Green Revolution and the murder of its leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

He also publicly justified the transfer of arms from Libya to sectarian militants attempting to overthrow the Syrian government, and was described by the Washington Post as "one of the government's key players in drafting Syria policy" - which he frequently defended to Congress and the media, even as money weapons and recruits ended up in the arms of al-Qaeda and Daesh.

— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) November 24, 2020

Blinken was also a point-man for Obama's material support for the Saudi-led bombing and invasion of Yemen, which aid agencies say has caused a nationwide famine. His appointment belies Biden's campaign-trail opposition to the Saudi war on its southern neighbour.

Speaking in the Saudi capital Riyadh in 2015, he said the bombing campaign sent a “strong message to the Houthis and their allies that they cannot overrun Yemen by force” - in reference to the sitting Yemeni government. “As part of that effort, we have expedited weapons deliveries, we have increased our intelligence sharing, and we have established a joint coordination planning cell in the Saudi operation centre.”— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) November 24, 2020

​Blinken supported Israel's 2014 bombing of the Gaza Strip and has also signalled that Biden will maintain Israeli military dominance in the Middle East. Recently he said the new administration would reverse Trump's decision to allow the sale of Lockheed F-35 Lightning II stealth attack jets to the United Arab Emirates in a "quid pro quo" for normalising relations with Tel Aviv.

Blinken has also taken a hard line on whistle-blowers, both domestic and foreign. He has previously said that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden should return to the US from Russia and face trial, and that he wished the Obama administration could have found a way to charge Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

 

— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) November 24, 2020— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) November 24, 2020Spy Mistress

Biden's appointment of Avril Haines, a lawyer like himself and running-mate Kamala Harris, as the first female Director of National Intelligence is not a good omen for human rights. As deputy director the Central Intelligence Agency under Obama, she worked with director John Brennan on the policy of "targeted killings" in drone strikes in nations with which the US was not at war.  

The American Civil Liberties Union was highly critical of that policy, and cast doubt on the Obama administration's 2015 claim that it had only killed between 64 and 116 "non-combatants" - as a euphemism for innocent civilians - since Obama took office in 2009. The ACLU quoted figures from journalists and human rights groups of between 200 and 1,000 civilian killing.

Haines also overruled the CIA's inspector-general to drop charges against agents who snooped on Senate staffers working on the congressional report into the spy agency's use of torture. She later backed Trump's 2018 appointment of current CIA Director Gina Haspel, who had herself been accused of involvement in torture.

“This is a pretty ominous signal about what is to come” a Senate staffer told the Daily Beast. “To have the deputy CIA director touted for her record in advancing human rights and respect for the rule of law I don’t think can be adequately squared with not only her record but her deliberate choices of advocacy.”  Immigration Tsar

Biden's homeland security secretary will be Alejandro Mayorkas, who has been described as a "refugee" as his Jewish parents emigrated from socialist Cuba to the USA in 1960 when he was just a year old - which does not bode well for US relations with Latin America's many left-wing governments.

Pro-migrant activists were quick to welcome his appointment after Trump's four-year crackdown on illegal immigration across the southern border with Mexico that saw the fees charged by "coyotes" - human traffickers - double.

“He will not only bring critical leadership but a set of life experiences that will animate the department’s work ahead,” American Immigration Lawyers Association executive director Benjamin Johnson.

Others hoped it meant an end to detentions of illegal immigrants at the border and a strengthening of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme created by Obama in a 2012 executive order.

DACA allows those brought to the US illegally as children to apply every two years for right to remain, but does not grant citizenship. Trump sought to end the programme, saying he wanted Congress to legislate a permanent replacement, but was blocked by legal action from civil rights groups.

 

“We look forward to the immediate expansion of the DACA program and the dismantling of the detention and deportation machine that was created under Obama and expanded by Trump," said immigrant legal aid charity RAICES chief advocacy officer Erika Andiola. “Leading this department will be no easy task, but we hope that as the first Latino and someone who has advocated for immigrant rights, he will change the direction of DHS once and for all.”

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/us/202011251081271697-will-a-biden-presidency-mean-return-to-humanitarian-bombing-of-pax-obama/

yeeeecks...

us and them

 

I get annoyed at people who tell me that Donald Trump waged as much war-stuff as Obama, making Obama a saint in comparison... This is of course bullshit from the MainStream media (and Stephen Colbert who loves Obama's butt) that are still in love with the Barak, as if he was Jesus.

 

Let's get this right:

 

Trump launched a feeble attack on Syria after it supposed to have crossed a "red line" in regard to a "gas attack on his (Assad's) people. On the hundred or so missiles despatched, about two reached a target, say a warehouse in Syria. Of the supposed gas attack by Assad, it can be demonstrated with 99 per cent exactitude that this was a set up by the White Helmets. This war against Syria was started by Obama...

 

On the footsteps of a war STARTED BY OBAMA, Trump continued to provide weapons to Saudi Arabia to pound Yemen. 

 

Like Obama, Trump indulged in assassination of one prominent leader... Obama assassinated Bin Laden (we still don't know his full role in US politics) while Donald (under the bad influence of Bolton) went for an Iranian General. The Iranians responded with missiles on a US camp somewhere, but Trump refrained from escalating the "exchange" as the Iranian missiles where frightfully accurate to hit only warehouses and not kill any US personnel. This was a warning.

 

Obama "declared" war (he did not "declare" — he just bombed) on Libya, Syria, Yemen, and a few other countries which are some of the poorest on earth. As well, Obama continued the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, while using "moderate rebels" (ranging from Al Nusra, Al Qaeda to even Daesh by default of weapon-line supplies) to upset the Syrian status quo.

 

Meanwhile, Trump has tried to bring the US troops back home to the great horror of the Democrats who love occupying other countries with "good intentions" (oil and other resources) which means highway robbery like the US troops plundering the oil fields of Syria presently. Trump had enough of this caper and wanted to stop all this.

 

Now Biden is about to stop troop withdrawals and carry on with the "occupation" — while increasing the threat of conflicts with Russia, China and other countries that do not bend the knees.

 

This is the Obama legacy: the Imperium Amercanus that has killed a lot of of people... You are entitled to say that Obama NEVER DESERVED his Nobel Peace Prize — and he admits to it.

 


obama's police...

 

OBAMA SLAMS ‘DEFUND THE POLICE,’ BUT HIS FAILED REFORMS FUELED THE MOVEMENT


Activists fired back at former President Obama's claim that 'Defund the Police' is politically ineffectual, noting that his reforms failed to stop police violence or address the root causes of it.


BY JAISAL NOOR


Activists are firing back at former President Barack Obama for his comments in a recent interview promoting his new memoir, “A Promised Land,” in which he called activist demands to “defund the police” ineffectual and said they should push for reforms, instead.

“If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it’s not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan like ‘Defund The Police,’” Obama said. “But, you know, you lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done.” 

The concept of defunding the police has roots in the decades-old prison abolitionist movement, but it went mainstream this summer during Black Lives Matter protests following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. According to The New York Times, the protests constituted, by sheer number of participants, the “largest movement in U.S. history.” 

The movement’s energy was in part the result of long-brewing dissatisfaction with the police reforms advanced by the Obama administration.

Representative-elect Cori Bush, a Black Lives Matter leader who helped organize protests after the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, responded to Obama on Twitter: “With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence. It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police.”

Read more:https://therealnews.com/obama-slams-defund-the-police-but-his-failed-reforms-fueled-the-movement





Read from top.

a meritorious but not sufficient act to prevent the psychos...


Now in force: the UN Treaty banning atomic weapons

 


by Manlio Dinucci

The UN Treaty banning nuclear weapons entered into force despite opposition from all nuclear powers and their allies.


Today, January 22, 2021, is the day that can go down in history as the turning point in liberating humanity from weapons that, for the first time, have the capacity to wipe the human species and virtually all other forms of life from the face of the earth. The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) enters into force today. But it could also be the day on which a treaty destined, like the many previous ones, to remain a dead letter enters into force. The possibility of eliminating nuclear weapons depends on all of us.


What is Italy’s situation and what should we do to contribute to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons? Italy, a formally non-nuclear country, has for decades conceded its own territory for the deployment of US nuclear weapons: currently B61 bombs, which will soon be replaced by the deadliest B61-12. It is also one of the countries that - according to the NATO document - "provide the Alliance with aircraft equipped to carry nuclear bombs, over which the United States retains absolute control, and with personnel trained for that purpose". Moreover, it is quite possible that the intermediate-range nuclear missiles (similar to the Euromissiles of the 1980s) that the United States is building after having withdrawn from the INF Treaty, which prohibited them, will be installed on our territory.


Italy is thus violating the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, ratified in 1975, which stipulates: "Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to accept any transfer whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices, directly or indirectly". At the same time, in 2017 Italy rejected the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons - supported by the 30 NATO countries and the 27 European Union countries - which states: "Each State Party which has nuclear weapons on its territory, owned, possessed or controlled by another State shall ensure the prompt withdrawal of such weapons at the earliest possible time".


Italy, following in the footsteps of the United States and NATO, opposed the Treaty as soon as negotiations were opened, as decided by the General Assembly in 2016. The United States and the two other NATO nuclear powers (France and Great Britain), the other Alliance countries and its main partners - Israel (the only nuclear power in the Middle East), Japan, Australia and Ukraine - voted against. The other nuclear powers also expressed a contrary opinion: Russia and China (which abstained), India, Pakistan and North Korea. Echoing Washington, the Gentiloni government had defined the future Treaty as "a highly divisive element that risks undermining our efforts towards nuclear disarmament".


The Italian Government and Parliament are therefore jointly responsible for the fact that the Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons - approved by a large majority by the United Nations General Assembly in 2017 and having entered into force after reaching 50 ratifications - has so far only been ratified in Europe by Austria, Ireland, the Holy See, Malta and San Marino: a meritorious but not sufficient act to give force to the Treaty.


In 2017, while Italy rejected the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, more than 240 Italian parliamentarians - mostly from the Pd and the M5S, with the current Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio at the forefront - solemnly undertook, by signing the Ican Appeal, to promote Italy’s accession to the UN Treaty. In three years they have not moved a finger in this direction. Whether behind demagogic postures or openly, the UN Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons is boycotted in parliament, with a few rare exceptions, by the entire political spectrum, which agrees to alienate Italy from the increasingly dangerous policy of NATO, officially known as the "Nuclear Alliance".


All this should be recalled today, in the Global Day of Action for the entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, celebrated by Ican activists and other anti-nuclear movements with 160 events mostly in Europe and North America. The Day must be transformed into a permanent and growing mobilization of a broad front capable, in each country and at the international level, of imposing the political choices necessary to achieve the vital objective of the Treaty.


Manlio Dinucci

Translation 

Roger Lagassé

Source

Il Manifesto (Italy)

 

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article212052.html

 

 

Meanwhile in Psycho-World:

 

American Political & Military Leaders are Criminally Insane


Opinion » Columnists

Larry Romanoff

 

We can begin with an article by Jim Kouri citing an FBI study which stated:


"... character traits exhibited by serial killers or criminals may be observed in many within the political arena. They share the traits of psychopaths who are not sensitive to altruistic appeals, such as sympathy for their victims or remorse or guilt over their crimes. Is it any wonder that America is failing at home and world-wide?"


American Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Secretaries of State, Defense Secretaries, White House staff, and many Senators and Congressmen display many or most of the traits of criminal psychopaths and mass murderers. Evidence of US government atrocities is not difficult to find. The government of the United States of America has always been a criminal enterprise, ruled most often by thugs and genocidal psychopathic killers. I doubt there is much dispute in the world today about the intrinsic evil that seems to permeate the US government and the Deep State that controls it, nor about the insane criminality inherent in most of its foreign policies. But these are startling accusations nevertheless, so let's examine the substantiation.


American presidents as a class constitute some of the most shameless myths of US history, always presented in glowing terms of wisdom, humanity and greatness when they were mostly racist genocidal thugs, engaged from the earliest days of the Republic in a never-ending series of genocide. For many years, killing native Indians was one of the best-paying jobs in America. It was the great George Washington who instructed his troops to skin the bodies of natives "from the hips downward to make boot tops or leggings", and Theodore Roosevelt, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, was worse, claiming the lives of aboriginal natives were "as meaningless, squalid, and ferocious as the wild beasts", and that the extermination of them and the theft of their land "was ultimately beneficial as it was inevitable". The landing of Columbus in the New World set in motion a program of genocide that covered all the Americas, exterminating more than 125 million people including the entire Maya, Inca and Aztec civilisations, as well as the Carib Indians and 98% of American aboriginal peoples.

The sacrifice of American lives has always been part of the US war agenda. President McKinley ordered the explosion of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor, killing about 400 American sailors, as an excuse to begin a war with Spain, as Woodrow Wilson ordered the Lusitania sacrificed, along with more than 1,000 lives, as an excuse to enter the European war. Also now beyond dispute is that Roosevelt knew the location of the Japanese fleet and the expected time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, engineered as an excuse to enter the European war, sacrificing thousands of American lives by not informing Pearl Harbor. It is now proven the US abandoned more than 1,000 POWs in Vietnam whose release was conditional on the payment of $2 billion in reparations the Americans had no intention of honoring.


Wars of aggression are one of the defining characteristics of the United States of America, the country having been at war for about 235 of its 245 years as a nation. Extreme diplomatic and economic interference run a close second. During the past 200 years, there remains only a small handful of largely insignificant nations that the US has not invaded, destroyed, sanctioned, bankrupted, interfered grotesquely with in elections, launched massive terrorist or biological attacks against, or otherwise brutalised. Here is a link to one article outlining the more egregious attacks the US has made on Canada, two relating to China and one to Iraq.


Former US President Jimmy Carter said


"We sent Marines into Lebanon, and you only have to go to Lebanon, to Syria or to Jordan to witness first-hand the intense hatred among many people for the United States because we bombed and shelled and unmercifully killed totally innocent villagers - women and children and farmers and housewives - in those villages around Beirut. As a result of that, we became kind of a Satan in the minds of those who are deeply resentful".


He also stated the US was the most warlike nation in the history of the world.  This is one reason the US has for so long been listed as the most hated nation in the world.


Americans (and others) may be surprised to learn that the US has never installed a democratic government in any country, ever. Instead, in more than 50 instances, the US has forcibly overthrown a peaceful and legitimate government and installed a brutal psychopathic killer-dictator.


Assassinations are also one of the defining characteristics of the US. In more than 150 instances the US has killed the Chief of State or leading executives of other nations, including a Secretary-General of the UN, in retribution for their resistance to American bullying and plundering. This does not include the failures, notably three attempts at China's Premier Zhou En-lai or the 638 attempts against Fidel Castro. In the past, these 'black ops' were done in intense secrecy and vehemently denied, but today they are done openly and freely admitted as occurred recently with Solemani in Iran, assassination now apparently included in the American definition of 'democracy'.


Terrorism is also a fixed characteristic of the US as an integral element of the nation's foreign policy. It isn't much in dispute anywhere that the violent terrorist uprising in Tibet in 2008 was America's gift to China for the Olympics, as was the terrorist attack in Sochi in 2014 the equivalent gift to Russia's Olympics. Nor is it in dispute that the primary terrorist organisations in the world today were formed, financed and trained by the US.


The United States government has always employed torture against citizens of other nations. I have photos of US soldiers waterboarding civilians in the Philippines in the early 1900s. The US Operation Phoenix in Vietnam tortured to death more than 45,000 Vietnamese, mostly poor farmers. American soldiers were unanimous that no one who entered Project Phoenix emerged alive. More recently, the US was discovered to have created the largest network of torture prisons and prison ships in the history of the world, centered on places like Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and Baghram, and Diego Garcia. Amnesty International described Abu Ghraib as "a center of torture and executions", as were they all.


In subjugating nations to American supremacy, the US has for a century specialised in what the military calls "civilian pacification", which is the indiscriminate slaughter of unlimited numbers of civilians, as the preferred method to instill permanent fear and obedience in a people. One of the worst was the CIA coup in Indonesia to replace Suharno with Sukarto in the 1960s, where more than three million civilians were killed openly and publicly in the largest single slaughter of humans in the history of the world, non-stop for weeks on end until the nation's rivers were all running red with blood. Smaller examples exist in dozens of other nations, most recently in Iraq and Libya. The United States is the only nation in the world with a "university" established specifically for the purpose of teaching the techniques of torture and civilian pacification to all the world's thuggish dictators - the infamous School of the Americas, in Ft. Benning, Georgia.


Biological Warfare is another fixed characteristic of the United States of America. Igor Nikulin, a former member of the UN Commission on Biological and Chemical Weapons, states that the US military has 400 biological weapons labs spread around the world, mostly surrounding Russia and China, conveniently outside the purview of Congress and also outside the control of the hapless local nation. It is no longer in dispute the US was behind the biological war unleashed on China during the Korean war, and it is widely accepted in much of the world that SARS was unleashed by the US as an attack on China, as were the seven other biological attacks during the past several years. Also, it appears almost a certainty that Beijing's Xinfadi Market was re-seeded with COVID-20 in June by the same people. At the same time you might care to read about the US intense interest in biological warfare development. The latter reference describes the development of American GM food as the almost ideal biological weapon.

 

Read more:   

Читайте больше на https://english.pravda.ru/opinion/147160-american_criminal/

 

Yes I know this is "Russian" propaganda, but read from top... See also:

the beginning of a new reality: teaching others the lessons we never learnt...

open slate...

 

American-Style War ’til the End of Time?

 

 

A Lifetime "at War"

 

 

 

BY    

Here’s the strange thing in an ever-stranger world: I was born in July 1944 in the midst of a devastating world war. That war ended in August 1945 with the atomic obliteration of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by the most devastating bombs in history up to that moment, given the sweet code names “Little Boy” and “Fat Man.” 

I was the littlest of boys at the time. More than three-quarters of a century has passed since, on September 2, 1945, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu signed the Instrument of Surrender on the battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, officially ending World War II. That was V-J (for Victory over Japan) Day, but in a sense for me, my whole generation, and this country, war never really ended.

The United States has been at war, or at least in armed conflicts of various sorts, often in distant lands, for more or less my entire life. Yes, for some of those years, that war was “cold” (which often meant that such carnage, regularly sponsored by the CIA, happened largely off-screen and out of sight), but war as a way of life never really ended, not to this very moment.

In fact, as the decades went by, it would become the “infrastructure” in which Americans increasingly invested their tax dollars via aircraft carrierstrillion-dollar jet fighters, drones armed with Hellfire missiles, and the creation and maintenance of hundreds of military garrisons around the globe, rather than roads, bridges, or rail lines (no less the high-speed version of the same) here at home. During those same years, the Pentagon budget would grab an ever-larger percentage of federal discretionary spending and the full-scale annual investment in what has come to be known as the national security state would rise to a staggering $1.2 trillion or more.

In a sense, future V-J Days became inconceivable. There were no longer moments, even as wars ended, when some version of peace might descend and America’s vast military contingents could, as at the end of World War II, be significantly demobilized. The closest equivalent was undoubtedly the moment when the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, the Cold War officially ended, and the Washington establishment declared itself globally triumphant. But of course, the promised “peace dividend” would never be paid out as the first Gulf War with Iraq occurred that very year and the serious downsizing of the U.S. military (and the CIA) never happened.

Never-Ending War

Consider it typical that, when President Biden recently announced the official ending of the nearly 20-year-old American conflict in Afghanistan with the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from that country by 9/11/21, it would functionally be paired with the news that the Pentagon budget was about to rise yet again from its record heights in the Trump years. “Only in America,” as retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and historian William Astore wrote recently, “do wars end and war budgets go up.”

 

Of course, even the ending of that never-ending Afghan War may prove exaggerated. In fact, let’s consider Afghanistan apart from the rest of this country’s war-making history for a moment. After all, if I had told you in 1978 that, of the 42 years to follow, the U.S. would be involved in war in a single country for 30 of them and asked you to identify it, I can guarantee that Afghanistan wouldn’t have been your pick. And yet so it’s been. From 1979 to 1989, there was the CIA-backed Islamist extremist war against the Soviet army there (to the tune of billions and billions of dollars). And yet the obvious lesson the Russians learned from that adventure, as their military limped home in defeat and the Soviet Union imploded not long after — that Afghanistan is indeed the “graveyard of empires” — clearly had no impact in Washington.

Or how do you explain the 19-plus years of warfare there that followed the 9/11 attacks, themselves committed by a small Islamist outfit, al-Qaeda, born as an American ally in that first Afghan War? Only recently, the invaluable Costs of War Project estimated that America’s second Afghan War has cost this country almost $2.3 trillion (not including the price of lifetime care for its vets) and has left at least 241,000 people dead, including 2,442 American service members. In 1978, after the disaster of the Vietnam War, had I assured you that such a never-ending failure of a conflict was in our future, you would undoubtedly have laughed in my face.

And yet, three decades later, the U.S. military high command still seems not faintly to have grasped the lesson that we “taught” the Russians and then experienced ourselves. As a result, according to recent reports, they have uniformly opposed President Biden’s decision to withdraw all American troops from that country by the 20th anniversary of 9/11. In fact, it’s not even clear that, by September 11, 2021, if the president’s proposal goes according to plan, that war will have truly ended. After all, the same military commanders and intelligence chiefs seem intent on organizing long-distance versions of that conflict or, as the New York Times put it, are determined to “fight from afar” there. They are evidently even considering establishing new bases in neighboring lands to do so. 

America’s “forever wars” — once known as the Global War on Terror and, when the administration of George W. Bush launched it, proudly aimed at 60 countries — do seem to be slowly winding down. Unfortunately, other kinds of potential wars, especially new cold wars with China and Russia (involving new kinds of high-tech weaponry) only seem to be gearing up.

War in Our Time

In these years, one key to so much of this is the fact that, as the Vietnam War began winding down in 1973, the draft was ended and war itself became a “voluntary” activity for Americans. In other words, it became ever easier not only to not protest American war-making, but to pay no attention to it or to the changing military that went with it. And that military was indeed altering and growing in remarkable ways.

In the years that followed, for instance, the elite Green Berets of the Vietnam era would be incorporated into an ever more expansive set of Special Operations forces, up to 70,000 of them (larger, that is, than the armed forces of many countries). Those special operators would functionally become a second, more secretive American military embedded inside the larger force and largely freed from citizen oversight of any sort. In 2020, as Nick Turse reported, they would be stationed in a staggering 154 countries around the planet, often involved in semi-secret conflicts “in the shadows” that Americans would pay remarkably little attention to.

Since the Vietnam War, which roiled the politics of this nation and was protested in the streets of this country by an antiwar movement that came to include significant numbers of active-duty soldiers and veterans, war has played a remarkably recessive role in American life. Yes, there have been the endless thank-yous offered by citizens and corporations to “the troops.” But that’s where the attentiveness stops, while both political parties, year after endless year, remain remarkably supportive of a growing Pentagon budget and the industrial (that is, weapons-making) part of the military-industrial complex. War, American-style, may be forever, but — despite, for instance, the militarization of this country’s police and the way in which those wars came hometo the Capitol last January 6th — it remains a remarkably distant reality for most Americans.

One explanation: though the U.S. has, as I’ve said, been functionally at war since 1941, there were just two times when this country felt war directly — on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and on September 11, 2001, when 19 mostly Saudi hijackers in commercial jets struck New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

And yet, in another sense, war has been and remains us. Let’s just consider some of that war-making for a moment. If you’re of a certain age, you can certainly call to mind the big wars: Korea (1950-1953), Vietnam (1954-1975) — and don’t forget the brutal bloodlettings in neighboring Laos and Cambodia as well — that first Gulf War of 1991, and the disastrous second one, the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Then, of course, there was that Global War on Terror that began soon after September 11, 2001, with the invasion of Afghanistan, only to spread to much of the rest of the Greater Middle East, and to significant parts of Africa. In March, for instance, the first 12 American special-ops trainers arrived in embattled Mozambique, just one more small extension of an already widespread American anti-Islamist terror role (now failing) across much of that continent.

And then, of course, there were the smaller conflicts (though not necessarily so to the people in the countries involved) that we’ve now generally forgotten about, the ones that I had to search my fading brain to recall. I mean, who today thinks much about President John F. Kennedy’s April 1961 CIA disaster at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba; or President Lyndon Johnson’s sending of 22,000 U.S. troops to the Dominican Republic in 1965 to “restore order”; or President Ronald Reagan’s version of “aggressive self-defense” by U.S. Marines sent to Lebanon who, in October 1983, were attacked in their barracks by a suicide bomber, killing 241 of them; or the anti-Cuban invasion of the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada that same month in which 19 Americans were killed and 116 wounded?

And then, define and categorize them as you will, there were the CIA’s endless militarized attempts (sometimes with the help of the U.S. military) to intervene in the affairs of other countries, ranging from taking the nationalist side against Mao Zedong’s communist forces in China from 1945 to 1949 to stoking a small ongoing conflict in Tibet in the 1950s and early 1960s, and overthrowing the governments of Guatemala and Iran, among other places. There were an estimated 72 such interventions from 1947 to 1989, many warlike in nature. There were, for instance, the proxy conflicts in Central America, first in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas and then in El Salvador, bloody events even if few U.S. soldiers or CIA agents died in them. No, these were hardly “wars,” as traditionally defined, not all of them, though they did sometimes involve military coups and the like, but they were generally carnage-producing in the countries they were in. And that only begins to suggest the range of this country’s militarized interventions in the post-1945 era, as journalist William Blum’s “A Brief History of Interventions” makes all too clear.

Whenever you look for the equivalent of a warless American moment, some reality trips you up. For instance, perhaps you had in mind the brief period between when the Red Army limped home in defeat from Afghanistan in 1989 and the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991, that moment when Washington politicians, initially shocked that the Cold War had ended so unexpectedly, declared themselves triumphant on Planet Earth. That brief period might almost have passed for “peace,” American-style, if the U.S. military under President George H. W. Bush hadn’t, in fact, invaded Panama (“Operation Just Cause”) as 1989 ended to get rid of its autocratic leader Manuel Noriega (a former CIA asset, by the way). Up to 3,000 Panamanians (including many civilians) died along with 23 American troops in that episode.

And then, of course, in January 1991 the First Gulf War began. It would result in perhaps 8,000 to 10,000 Iraqi deaths and “only” a few hundred deaths among the U.S.-led coalition of forces. Air strikes against Iraq would follow in the years to come. And let’s not forget that even Europe wasn’t exempt since, in 1999, during the presidency of Bill Clinton, the U.S. Air Force launched a destructive 10-week bombing campaign against the Serbs in the former Yugoslavia.

And all of this remains a distinctly incomplete list, especially in this century when something like 200,000 U.S. troops have regularly been stationed abroad and U.S. Special Operations forces have deployed to staggering numbers of countries, while American drones regularly attacked “terrorists” in nation after nation and American presidents quite literally became assassins-in-chief. To this day, what scholar and former CIA consultant Chalmers Johnson called an American “empire of bases” — a historically unprecedented 800 or more of them — across much of the planet remains untouched and, at any moment, there could be more to come from the country whose military budget at least equals those of the next 10 (yes, that’s 10!) countries combined, including China and Russia.

A Timeline of Carnage

The last three-quarters of this somewhat truncated post-World War II American Century have, in effect, been a timeline of carnage, though few in this country would notice or acknowledge that. After all, since 1945, Americans have only once been “at war” at home, when almost 3,000 civilians died in an attack meant to provoke — well, something like the war on terror that also become a war of terror and a spreader of terror movements in our world. 

As journalist William Arkin recently argued, the U.S. has created a permanent war state meant to facilitate “endless war.” As he writes, at this very moment, our nation “is killing or bombing in perhaps 10 different countries,” possibly more, and there’s nothing remarkably out of the ordinary about that in our recent past.

The question that Americans seldom even think to ask is this: What if the U.S. were to begin to dismantle its empire of bases, repurpose so many of those militarized taxpayer dollars to our domestic needs, abandon this country’s focus on permanent war, and forsake the Pentagon as our holy church? What if, even briefly, the wars, conflicts, plots, killings, drone assassinations, all of it stopped?

What would our world actually be like if you simply declared peace and came home?

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Books, John Feffer’s new dystopian novel Frostlands (the second in the Splinterlands series), Beverly Gologorsky’s novel Every Body Has a Story, and Tom Engelhardt’s A Nation Unmade by War, as well as Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power and John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II.

 

Tom Engelhardt created and runs the website TomDispatch.com. He is also a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture.  A fellow of the Type Media Center, his sixth and latest book is A Nation Unmade by War.

 

 

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