"...For a peek into our boys' mentality during the Gulf War, the U.S. Air Force's 77th Tactical Fighter Squadron published a songbook before the bombing began, describing their plans for Iraq. The only part that can be reproduced in polite company was this little ditty:
Phantom fliers in the sky,
In 1990 I was recovering from my experiences with Dennis Lee. Dennis Lee has been the highest profile free energy promoter in the world the past several years. I used to be his business partner. He didn't start out promoting free energy, but a heat pump that saved about 70% on energy bills if you converted from gas or oil heating, and over 80% if you were using all-electric heat. It was a vastly superior technology, and the best heating system the world market has ever seen. I saw our venture get attacked in three states by the government, acting on behalf of the electric companies, culminating with Dennis being thrown into jail on fabricated charges with a million-dollar bail in the town I was raised in (Ventura, California). He spent two years behind bars as a political prisoner. Those events happened in the late 1980s. Other parts of my book and/or web site deal with that issue. Dennis himself has written a number of books about his experiences, usually written from his jail cell.(1) Those events shattered my life, and it has taken years to recover from the experience, and I will probably always be dealing with the aftermath of it.
I eventually realized that my indoctrination by school, the media and other authority sources presented a worldview starkly different than what I saw with Dennis. I was beginning to read alternative media publications like Lies of Our Times, Covert Action Information Bulletin, and joining organizations like the Christic Institute. In 1990 I moved to Ohio and experienced the first war our nation waged since I became an adult. Bombing Libya and invading Grenada and Panama were also unpleasant events for me, but what happened in Iraq was on a vastly larger scale.
I lived in Dayton and worked at a bank's headquarters in a small town called Wilmington. Nearly one hundred people worked at the headquarters. When the bombs finally started dropping in January of 1991 the office virtually erupted in cheering. By that time I was informed enough to know that Iraq had made several withdrawal proposals, all summarily rejected by United States. I knew that the United States had fabricated its "coalition" by bribing and threatening nearly all the nations involved. We were making deals like forgiving billions of dollars of debt for nations that joined the coalition (for instance, Egypt, $7 billion), and threatening aid cutoff and vengeance to those who didn't.(2)
Also I knew something about the region's history, how Europe had been exploiting the region for sometime, and when Britain officially pulled out in the 1920s their actions nearly guaranteed the strife we see there today. For instance, Iraq was literally a nation created by the British drawing lines on the map. Iraq was an invention of Britain, imposing a national identity on a land of tribes.(3) If you look at Iraq on the map, you'll see a large nation that is almost completely landlocked. Iraq has only about 20 miles of coastline, and its only port is actually upstream on the Shatt al Arab (the waterway formed by the joining of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers) at Al Basrah, known as Basra to westerners. Kuwait was carved out from Iraq rather arbitrarily. Both were parts of the Ottoman Empire (Kuwait being a district of Iraq) until the British moved in. An oil rich region was intentionally landlocked by Britain's power politics.
I also knew that Iraq had legitimate grievances with Kuwait. Their national borders were literally drawn up by Britain, and Iraq had always maintained that Kuwait was part of Iraq, and had to be held back by Britain from simply invading and annexing Kuwait. The Kuwait/Iraq border was long disputed, particularly around the rich Rumaila oilfield. Kuwait may have drilled into Iraqi oil fields while Iraq was occupied with fighting Iran. A bone of contention that led to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was Kuwait's refusal to lease two uninhabited islands to Iraq, so Iraq could have a port on the Persian Gulf.
I also caught the whiff of possible propaganda being purveyed to justify the subsequent devastation of Iraq. For instance, a friend angrily called me up one day in October of 1990, telling me the story of Iraqi soldiers taking hundreds of babies out of incubators in Kuwait, letting them die so Iraqi babies could have the incubators. Also I heard George Bush telling the world about Iraq's imminent threat to Saudi Arabia, and the American media swallowed it whole.
The incubator story sounded exactly like the wartime propaganda nations have always used to dehumanize the enemy. Columbus made up the story of Caribbean cannibalism almost out of the thin air.(4) Cortés concocted the tale of Aztec cannibalism in 1522 after he had conquered them, writing to the Spanish crown that his foes carried provisions of "roasted babies", helping to justify his conquest of a people far more civilized than the Spanish were.(5) The incubator story was eerily similar to English tales during World War I that told of German soldiers killing babies. Baby killing/eating is a classic wartime propaganda ploy, but the American media were true believers, repeating the story endlessly. Remember the bomb-disguised-as-a-toy story concocted about the Soviet Union in the 1980s? Those kinds of stories are virtually always suspect, particularly when a nation is beating war drums like the U.S. was.
Seven U.S. Senators actually cited that incubator "incident" as part of their justification for going to war. The incubator story was prominent in the media for months as the Bush administration garnered support for the military action against Iraq. I heard other dubious reports about Iraq and their intentions. I had studied enough wartime propaganda to doubt what I was hearing, and it later turned out that the incubator story, the Iraqi threat to Saudi Arabia and other influential stories were fabrications. While the incubator story got widespread and repeated airing, the American media barely reported Iraq's willingness to negotiate a withdrawal. Several withdrawal proposals were tendered, and all immediately rejected by the Bush administration. Bush proudly said he didn't negotiate with people like Hussein, whom he compared to Hitler. Bush even had the gall to call Hussein's invasion of Kuwait a "naked aggression." That came from a man who ordered the invasion of Panama, which was a far more unjustified, murderous and "naked" aggression than the invasion of Kuwait was. Instead of laughing at Bush's rank hypocrisy, the media applauded his high principles.(6)
The tale of Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators and leaving them to die was given in heart-wrenching testimony at the Congressional Human Rights Caucus by a young woman who called herself Nayirah, who said she witnessed it. That "atrocity" was later exposed as an outrageous lie. It was discovered that the Nayirah was the Kuwait ambassador's daughter, and an American public relations firm, Hill and Knowlton, coached her performance. Kuwait hired Hill and Knowlton to "manage" the perception of Kuwait's situation.(7) The incubator story may have been the deciding factor for the Senate's narrow approval for Bush's declaration of war on Iraq. George Bush's speech about the Iraq army massing in Kuwait in preparation for an invasion of Saudi Arabia also turned out to be a lie.(8)
Those weren't just shameful lies, they were murderous lies, designed to incite a nation into committing mass murder. Those Americans who cheered the Gulf War were manipulated with lies and deceit into supporting mass murder.
A Panamanian Prelude
The first casualty of any war is the truth, and the Pentagon had practice in muzzling the press in Panama a year earlier. It wasn't until the Academy Award-winning documentary The Panama Deception came out that many Americans found out what was being hidden about our blatant, illegal and murderous invasion of Panama. As Napoleon said, if you can keep the truth quiet long enough so the people do your bidding, the truth coming out later doesn't really matter.
Panama was in many ways a warm-up for Iraq. The Western Hemisphere has been taking a beating from Europe for over five hundred years. First it was the Spanish who invaded, enslaved and annihilated the native population of the Western Hemisphere. Then it was the Portuguese, who to their disappointment didn't find gold-plated civilizations in South America to plunder like the Spanish did. As the native slave supply died off due to disease, starvation, overwork and violence, the Portuguese and Spanish raped Africa, bringing captured Africans to the New World to replace the native slaves (The Portuguese obtained them, the Spanish bought them.). A century later it was the English, French and Dutch who moved in, generally repeating the pattern of invasion, exploitation and genocide that the Spanish and Portuguese did.(9) African slaves eventually repopulated regions that had been completely shorn of its native population, like the Caribbean and Brazil.
Those events were the two greatest demographic disasters in world history, devastating the populations of three continents. Probably somewhere between 50 and 100 million natives inhabited the Western Hemisphere when Columbus stumbled into it in 1492.(10) By the year 1600 about 90% of the native population had been killed off. The same thing happened wherever the white man showed up with his Eurasian/African diseases and greedy, murderous mentality, whether it was Iceland, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand or the South Pacific.(11) And killing the natives to further clear the land, enslaving them when possible, did not help matters. The European-African-American slave trade killed ten of millions of people and displaced/ravaged many millions more.
After nearly three centuries of carnage one colony waged a war to break free of the mother country, and the United States was born. The United States then embarked on its own imperial expansion, one that was as murderous and greedy as anything the European powers ever did.(12) A generation after the nation's founding, and soon after repeated drubbings by the British, where they even sacked the American capital, President Monroe formulated his famous policy. The Monroe Doctrine in essence said that if anybody was going to play bully in the Western Hemisphere, it was going to be the United States. It was couched in the flowery rhetoric of "protecting" the Western Hemisphere, but in the end it staked out Latin America as the United States' imperial backyard. The facts of history have borne that out beyond any reasonable doubt, though to the degree Monroe saw the ultimate consequences of his policy is debatable.
Between 1798 and 1945 the United States sent its soldiers abroad in 168 separate events. Of those 168 events, 85 times the troops were sent to what was or is known as Latin America.(13) Sometimes they were relatively minor skirmishes with the European powers or the locals, or providing protection for American interests. Other times they were outright invasions to overthrow the government and install U.S.-backed dictators, or to occupy a country so their revolutionary (desire for freedom) tendencies were held in check, or to seize lands from the European powers, like how the United States seized Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines (?!) in the Spanish-American War. I don't know of one instance of those troops being sent for clearly humanitarian reasons. Maybe a few can be argued that way, like attacking slave-running ships in the the1820s, but it is literally only a few. Soldiers are not missionaries or Red Cross workers. Violence is not a humanitarian undertaking. Later in this piece Smedley Butler, arguably the most respected man who ever ran the Marines, gives his opinion on just whose interests were being protected/promoted by those military actions.
The story of Panama is a textbook example of the United States' imperial oppression of Latin America. Similarly to how Iraq was an invention of Great Britain, Panama is an invention of the United States. Europeans had used the Isthmus of Panama since the 1500s in crossing between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Spain had plans to build a canal across the Isthmus in the 1500s. There was talk by various parties throughout the 1800s regarding building a canal across the Isthmus. The Americans began using the Isthmus in earnest during the 1840s as their empire expanded across the North American continent. The Isthmus was an important and strategic transportation lane. The Frenchman who initiated the Suez Canal construction formed a company to attempt a Panamanian canal in 1880s, but had abandoned the effort.
The Panama region was part of Colombia and had been so nearly continually since the Latin American revolutions that overthrew Spanish rule around 1820. Panama had an uneasy relationship with Colombia for generations, with a number of revolts, but was relatively independent in 1900. Throughout the 1800s the United States never supported Panamanian notions of independence from Colombia. But when Colombia proved uncooperative in letting the United States "buy" part of the Isthmus, the U.S. had a remarkable and sudden change of heart regarding Panamanian independence. The U.S. militarily supported a Panamanian revolution that succeeded in 1903, and then quickly set aside part of Panama for itself in an agreement signed with the French. The new "nation" of Panama was barely consulted before dividing it with the Canal Zone.
The new Panamanian citizens were far from free. The U.S. sent troops to the region a number of times before the "revolution." Those were the days of Teddy Roosevelt's Big Stick Diplomacy. Roosevelt would later frankly remark regarding his acquisition of the Canal Zone, "I took it." The U.S. military occupied the Canal Zone from 1903 to 1914, and used their military muscle numerous times to keep those pesky Panamanians in line. Panama's independence was often more imaginary than real, which became the standard situation throughout Latin America. The Monroe Doctrine became appended in American politics with the Roosevelt Corollary, which nobly stated that the U.S. was appointing itself to the selfless task of sometimes exercising "international police power" on its Latin American neighbors, for their own good of course.
During the 1900s dictatorships ran Panama, like virtually all of Latin America. Strongmen came and went throughout Latin America, and the life expectancies of their regimes were often directly proportional to how obedient they were to U.S. interests. A dictator who allowed the U.S. business interests a free hand could look forward to a long and profitable tenure. Those who had wild notions of freeing their people from the yoke of neocolonial oppression quickly found themselves out of a job, and perhaps also lost their lives.
America's influence over the Latin American nations only increased after World War II. And new U.S. agencies were being established to keep control by more sophisticated methods than merely using brute force, such as the CIA. The international arena also transformed when the European empires collapsed. The royal colonialism of Europe has given way to corporate colonialism. A number of the methods of exploitation work similarly, but with different faces on the exploiter side. Corporate coffers instead of royal coffers are filled.(14) The bottom line is that the average people - the ones who do the work - are still exploited by the white man's world. Neocolonial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund help enforce the world order, where the people in the "developing" nations are enslaved to the industrialized world.(15)
Anybody who thinks that our invasion of Panama had anything to do with "restoring democracy" or stopping the drug traffic is invited to watch The Panama Deception (It is available at most video stores. It won the 1992 Academy Award for best documentary.). Or one can read the work of people like Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, William Blum, and many other scholars of their stature. The intent and effect of our invasion of Panama was the opposite of restoring democracy, and the drug trade probably doubled through Panama after we invaded and installed a puppet government.(16)
Just like Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega is no nice guy. He came up through the ranks of the military, like most Latin American dictators. But he was very valuable to the United States' interests, and was well paid by the U.S. for providing his services, apparently over $100,000 a year by the CIA. Sure, Noriega had his hand in drug running, but it is also likely that people like George Bush, Dan Quayle and Bill Clinton also had their hands in drug running over the years.(17) Noriega succeeded Omar Torrijos as Panama's leader. Torrijos wasn't your typical banana republic dictator. He was the closest thing to a democratic leader as Panama ever had, and was beloved by the Panamanian masses because he enacted many policies that benefited the average person, and he was decidedly wary of the imperial influence of the United States. Torrijos died in a plane crash in 1981 that many think was not an accident, but sabotage and murder by Noriega, with CIA help. If that is true, it was merely a day at the office for the CIA.(18)
The American invasion of Panama was a classroom for perfecting methods of overthrowing a government, installing a dictatorship, wiping out the political opposition and keeping the news from the American people. From the moment the United States invaded Panama they engaged in extraordinary measures to keep the news from the American people about what was really happening. The United States military's effort during the first three days of the invasion was so successful that there exists virtually no independent video footage of the invasion. The American media was tightly controlled, their correspondents not being allowed to independently witness or record anything. They sat under the watchful eye of the military for the whole invasion, not being allowed to go anywhere important. Media personnel from other countries were detained, jailed, and in the case of Spanish news photographer Juantxu Rodriguez, summarily executed on the street by United States soldiers for the crime of taking pictures.(19)
U.S. soldiers raided, ransacked, shut down and arrested the personnel of every organization in Panama critical of the United States' invasion. The U.S. military immediately took over the television stations in Panama and began broadcasting their own programming. The leaders of the puppet government that the United States installed upon invading drew up lists of people and groups who were truly fighting for democracy in Panama, and who might be politically opposed to the new regime. The United States military rounded up thousands of people on those lists and threw them into prison, sometimes for years, with no charges ever being filed. The people who got that treatment were college professors, newspaper editors, union leaders, human rights activists, etc. In short, all the truly democratic leaders in Panama were imprisoned. And George Bush had the incredible, Orwellian audacity to say his invasion "restored democracy" in Panama. And as Bush uttered those words, our politicians in Washington gave him a standing ovation.
One big reason the United States muzzled the media was so the true devastation visited on Panamanians by the invasion would go unreported. The Pentagon said only 250 Panamanian civilians died in the invasion. The reality was that about 4,000 people died and 20,000 were left homeless. The United States military invaded and burned the El Chorrillo district of Panama City in a display of callous disregard for civilian casualties. But by detaining or executing journalists the military was able to keep that news quiet. And there were other things they wanted to keep quiet about. For instance, it appears that they were trying out some new weapons systems in the invasion. There were numerous reports of people literally melting and vehicles being cut in two by what appeared to be a laser-type weapon.
The United States military tried covering up their murders as best they could. In echoes of the crematoria at Auschwitz, the military apparently bulldozed bodies into piles on the beaches and had bonfires, trying to destroy the bodies, then dumping the remnants into the ocean. They even took over the hospitals and morgues, seizing their records and detaining doctors and the hospital staff. There were ten doctors on duty at Santo Tomás Hospital on December 20, 1989. Nine of them were fired, arrested or driven into hiding. The Red Cross was denied access to places like El Chorrillo for several days. But our military heroes were not able to destroy all the evidence of their mass murders. Months after the invasion, while the Pentagon was still saying with a straight face that only 250 civilians had died, mass graves began to be unearthed in Panama. Fifteen mass graves were discovered (with more probably undiscovered and unreachable in the Canal Zone), and one more big lie of the U.S. government was exposed. As the mass graves were exhumed, the victims in them gave mute testimony to what kind of invasion really went on in Panama. There were victims with bullet holes in the backs of their skulls, victims with their wrists tied together, victims in their '70s, children, victims wearing casts on their arms and legs, etc.(20)
The American people cheered the invasion, brainwashed as they were. Manual Noriega was transformed into public enemy number one, and America wanted him brought to "justice." As usual with those kinds of imperial behaviors, the invasion of a nation to apprehend their head of state for crimes he supposedly committed is an act virtually without precedence in world history. It was a flagrant violation of all international law, condemned by the United Nations and throughout the world. The American people easily swallowed the rationale of invading Panama to apprehend Noriega, as usual. As the scholar José De Jesus Martinez said, it is hard to believe "how Americans can be so stupid" as to believe the rationale they were fed regarding Panama's invasion. Indeed. I have to ruefully admit that I have now seen literally dozens of situations like the one surrounding American opinion on Panama, and I am no longer surprised.
The exercise of controlling the press during the Panamanian invasion was a mere warm up for the Gulf War. The United States controlled the information regarding the invasion so well that it reminds one of Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany. And in a great irony, the invasion of Panama happened right after the Berlin Wall fell. I clearly remember when the Berlin Wall was falling and the world was cheering. I was wondering what George Bush would have to say about it. Do you remember? I do. Instead of some impassioned speech about freedom and the historic nature of the peaceful collapse of an empire, Bush seemed shocked and afraid by what happened, mumbling something about needing to keep things under control, then he turned around and invaded Panama. To anybody with functioning senses and a modicum of reason, all our rhetoric about being the land of the free and the home of the brave must have seemed about as hollow as a blimp hangar.
I am not justifying Saddam Hussein's behavior. The man is a despot who used chemical weapons on his Kurdish population, began a senseless war against Iran and invaded Kuwait. Saddam is in good company regarding using chemical weapons on Iraqis. Winston Churchill also used chemical weapons on Iraqis, even proudly justifying it.(21) Nearly all the Middle East nations are dictatorships (often euphemistically called kingdoms), and Britain set them up that way. That is consistent with a long-standing Western practice of installing dictators in their client states. The native populations are more easily controlled with dictatorships. Democracies in client states have always been anathemas to the U.S. and Western Europe. That is because dictators can effectively exploit client state populations, and democracies are difficult to control. Dictators act as our proxies, keeping the population in line while their nation provides the U.S. and its corporate structure with cheap bananas, tin, wood, shoes, oil and other commodities. Meanwhile the dictators and the plutocratic elite at the top live the high life, and the masses suffer greatly.
Our overthrow of Iran's government in 1953, installing the Shah atop one of the more brutal dictatorships of modern history, was our standard meddling with other nations, visiting disaster onto their people. When Iran had their revolution in 1979 and stormed the U.S. embassy, taking those hostages while calling the U.S. the "Great Satan", few Americans knew how justified their rage was. Our media doesn't like telling the people the whole story, particularly one that puts the U.S. government and the commercial interests (oil companies in that instance) in a bad light.(22)
My office in Wilmington had a sound system that played mellow music at low volume during the day. It was a pleasant background to work to. The men that ran the bank were big military boosters, their office walls adorned with photos of relatives in uniform. The day the bombs began dropping the music was replaced with a news/talk show played at high volume. The night before, as we began bombing them, the U.S. media was dominated with ex-generals and other hawks rhapsodizing about the bombing. I remember hearing one ex-general on the radio exulting about the air show over Iraq, calling it a "great day to be a soldier." That day at the office I was treated to the loud blast of war coverage. During that day it was announced that we had destroyed Iraq's air force, so there was no air resistance from Iraq, and one of the bank's owners came running out of his office, listening raptly to the announcement, nearly thrusting his fist into the air. It was hard to maintain my composure, and very hard to get any work done.
Then the war coverage was interrupted by a talk show. The host sounded like a protégé of Rush Limbaugh. In all of Ohio there was only one protest of the war, at least as far as our media presented. About twenty students protested at the University of Cincinnati. For a state of over ten million people, twenty people amounted to less than .0002% of the population. The talk-show host made those few protesting students the subject of his show. He asked his listening audience if those students were "stupid or evil." And his callers were unanimous in their condemnation of anybody daring to protest our bombing of Iraq. One caller cleverly said that the students were "stevil."
A week later the first letter to the editor I ever wrote was on its way to the Dayton Daily News. They published it on February 5, 1991. Here it is.
As the United States subdues another enemy in freedom's name, or so it is said, the blood of our children will again be spilled for the noble cause. It could be very profitable at this time to consider an ancient strategy. Many years ago, a radical genius offered a means to absolutely destroy one's enemies. The succeeding years have proven the tactic too outrageous and incomprehensible to even attempt. History tells us that practically nobody has ever gathered the courage to see the strategy through.
The ancient extremist theorized that his maneuver would not only win the day, but could be used over and over to annihilate any and all enemies. The bizarre theory involved the obscure and very, very rarely used strategy of loving the enemy.
This country was not officially founded in that radical's name, nor are his theories officially recognized here, but the person's work and life supposedly has many adherents in this country. You could fool me.
His ideas were far ahead of his time back then, and they seem equally far ahead of the present time. When ever will the example of the life of Jesus actually be taken seriously? I hope soon, for the sake of us all, including those awful Iraqis.
It was my first experience in writing to a newspaper, it was the first thing I had published, and it was my first experience with editing. The newspaper edited out "or so it is said" from that first sentence. That changed the tenor of my letter a little, particularly my intended irony in using the word "awful" to describe the Iraqis. But I was glad they published what they did, and maybe it caused a few people to reconsider their lusty cheers for the bombing. Right next to my letter was printed the wit and wisdom of Hughie Sprinkle, whose sentiments reflected the public attitude better than mine did. Hughie wrote, "The only sensible way to win the war and save American lives is to nuke (Iraq), using neutron bombs. Kill them all - man, woman and child. Kill'em quick and kill'em good. Then bulldoze the area over, and begin again."
One might think Mr. Sprinkle's opinion was from the lunatic fringe. It wasn't. At about the same time as my letter and Mr. Sprinkle's were published, the Dayton Daily News ran its weekly Cal Thomas column. Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist, a man who calls himself a Christian from the conservative tradition. In Thomas' column he also called for dropping nuclear weapons on Iraq. And Thomas was not alone on the national stage with his opinion. Thomas wrote that nuking Iraq would "save lives." He obviously didn't mean the lives of Iraqi citizens.
What made the sentiments of Thomas and Sprinkle truly bizarre was that the events in Iraq and Kuwait obviously weren't a "war" in any meaningful sense of the word. In the words of American soldiers, what happened in Iraq was a "turkey shoot." Iraq was virtually defenseless to our record bombing campaign. It was the most intense bombing campaign in history. We'll never know exactly how many Iraqi soldiers died in that "war." Credible estimates range from 100,000 to 200,000 soldiers dying. And it wasn't Iraq's elite Republican Guard that was decimated. The dead were mainly Iraqi conscripts. The vast majority never even saw an American soldier before they died. They generally died in their shelters and trenches, huddling from the awesome devastation raining from the air.
The United States tried out many new weapons in Iraq. Americans generally only heard only about the Patriot Missile system that we used to shoot at Iraqi Scuds. Barely reported was the Iraqi population's suffering or the other neat weapons used on Iraq. Those realities were hidden from the American people. Pentagon censors screened virtually every American news report that came from Iraq. What the American people were treated to daily were propaganda exercises led by Norman Schwarzkopf, now in America's pantheon of heroes. Once in a great while some truth made it through to the public, and it was usually by the Los Angeles Times and CNN, two non-members of the eastern oligarchy.
For instance, in the Los Angeles Times on February 24, 1991 John Balzar brought a little reality to the Times readers with his front page article titled "Apache Copters: Deadly Havoc in the Dark of Night." Balzar was able to watch night vision gunsight footage from the briefing room. He told of what he saw.
"They looked like ghostly sheep flushed from a pen - Iraqi infantrymen bewildered and terrified, jarred from sleep and fleeing their bunkers under a hellish fire. One by one, they were cut down by attackers they could not see or understand. Some were blown to bits by bursts of 30-millimeter exploding cannon shells. One man dropped, writhed on the ground, then struggled to his feet; another burst of fire tore him apart Even hardened soldiers hold their breath as the Iraqi soldiers, as big as football players on the television screen, run with nowhere to hide. These are not bridges exploding or airplane hangers. These are men."(23)
The weapons used in the Gulf War were truly horrific. Bombs that explode at waist level were not the kinds of smart bombs our newsmen oohed and aahed over. By the Pentagon's own numbers, ninety-three percent of the bomb tonnage used by America in the Gulf War wasn't "smart." Missiles that turned around buildings in quest of their targets were the evening news fare, but the vast majority of what we dropped onto Iraq was the good old dumb kind, about 70% of it missing its target. If Americans had seen what was really going on in Iraq, I hope they would not have cheered so loudly.
During the Gulf War some of the weapons systems deployed are considered the most powerful weapons short of a nuclear bomb. One is called a fuel-air bomb. The bomb works thusly: there are two detonations; the first spreads a fine mist of fuel into the air, turning the area into an explosive mix of vast proportion; then a second detonation ignites the mixture, causing an awesome explosion. The explosion is about the most powerful "conventional" explosion we know of. At a pressure shock of up to 200 pounds per square inch (PSI), people in its detonation zone are often killed by the sheer compression of the air around them. Human beings can generally withstand up to about a 40-PSI blast. The bomb literally sucks the oxygen out of the air, and can apparently even suck the lungs out through the mouths of people unfortunate enough to be in the detonation zone. And our military used it on helpless people. The U.S. also dropped a bomb called "Big Blue" with a specialized high-tech explosive mixture that can produce up to a 1,000-PSI shock wave, a magnitude only exceeded by nuclear weapons.(24) That kind of shock wave turns a body into hamburger, even if no shrapnel hits it.
Some of the other weapons systems deployed are called "bouncing" bombs. "Adam" was one of those bombs used in the Gulf War. It is euphemistically called an "antipersonnel" bomb. What the bomb does is bounce up to about waist high after it hits the ground, so when it explodes it has a better chance of eviscerating the "personnel" on the ground unfortunate enough to be near it. Another novel weapon deployed in the Gulf War was dubbed "The Beehive." The Beehive is a bomb that spins at high velocity, spitting out 8,800 pieces of razor-edged shrapnel in all directions, producing a "Swiss-cheese" effect on anybody near it. As the Los Angeles Times reporter who wrote about those weapons in 1991 observed, "The mechanics of death and destruction are a grim affair. The military's scientific approach and its philosophies - for example, its preference for wounding vital organs over blowing off limbs - can be deeply disquieting to anybody who imagines such matters are left to chance. Many people would rather not know about the gruesome details."(25) Norman Schwarzkopf never regaled the press with footage showing the results of those weapons.
While the bombing was going on America leaped into a frenzy of jingoistic support. Yellow Ribbon campaigns blanketed the nation. The bank where I worked had a Red, White and Blue Day at the office, where everybody was supposed to wear those colors and pose for a company group picture. I was working as a temporary employee at the time, and decided to not toe the line, maybe risking my job. I wore black and green that day, and found a way to disappear when the group photo was taken, amidst the chest-beating cheers. Concurrently there was an office campaign to send Valentines to American Persian Gulf soldiers. It wasn't an optional program. Over the sound system each department was summoned to a room to sign those Valentines. There was an irony: Valentines to soldiers annihilating a helpless enemy, an enemy that was their ally a few months earlier. I also left the building when my department signed the Valentines.
And I vividly remember on Valentines Day the "news" blaring from the office speakers as the U.S. media was spinning an event from February 13th, when the United States military bombed one of Baghdad's bomb shelters. The U.S. said their intelligence told them the bomb shelter was actually a military headquarters, and they sent a sophisticated bomb that penetrated the shelter, obliterating its interior. But the shelter was filled with women and children huddling from the nightly bombings of Baghdad. About five hundred women and children died. And on Valentines Day the American airwaves were filled with "experts" trying to spin that disaster into a propaganda ploy by Saddam Hussein. One rationale the "experts" concocted was the logic that since Baghdad had few bomb shelters, only a small percent of the population could hide there, so therefore those woman and children were pawns of Hussein, and their deaths the responsibility of Iraq, not America. I was nauseated.
And CNN's intrepid Peter Arnett in Baghdad did things that made him hated by the U.S. government: he made reports the Pentagon couldn't censor. He visited the bomb shelter and witnessed the fact there was no evidence of a military installation. Arnett did a similar thing when he witnessed the milk factory we bombed while we claimed it was a chemical weapon facility. Arnett toured the bombed ruins and found it was indeed a milk factory. He toured the factory the summer before, as it was producing milk.(26)
Those incidents were similar to our 1986 bombing of Libya, with Ronald Reagan telling the world he had "irrefutable" proof that Libya was behind the bombing of a nightclub in Germany which killed some U.S. soldiers. That nightclub bombing was Reagan's rationale for bombing Libya, which killed up to 100 people, including children. It turned out that Reagan was lying when he said that, for he had no "irrefutable" proof. The "proof" was allegedly NSA-intercepted communications between Libya and its embassy in East Berlin. Not even the Germans, who helped decode the messages, believed the "proof".(27) The complete "intercepted" communications have never been made public, and the U.S. promised the "irrefutable" proof to Britain and France because they allowed their countries to assist the bombing raid (It was launched from Britain and flew over France.). Our allies let us bomb first and provide proof later. When it came time to provide the proof, the U.S. admitted it didn't have any, a betrayal reported throughout the world except in the U.S. mainstream media.
The same situation happened when we bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical lab in the summer of 1998, in retaliation for the "terrorist" bombings in Africa. Our government said there was incontrovertible evidence the lab was being used for producing substances that could be used in chemical weapons. Once again we lied to the world, and that ironclad evidence has simply vanished when subjected to scrutiny. Sudan has been the stage for famine and other disasters in recent years. That pharmaceutical lab was about the only one in the country. How many children will die because of that action? You can be sure the American media will not speculate about it. It is going straight into the memory hole, so Americans can cheer the next time we bomb somebody on a whim.
Those days in 1991 were among the most alienating of my life. I was never more ashamed of being an American. While the bombing continued I was writing a letter that became a book. Writing it was a form of therapy, trying to make sense of and recover from my experiences with Dennis Lee. I was putting my wife through graduate school for her doctorate in psychology. Consequently she believed in the process and began insisting that I see a psychologist. She found one who specialized in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His office was literally down the road from Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the premier Air Force base in the world. He specialized in treating soldiers for PTSD. He felt I was definitely a candidate for his therapy, and I had a few months of it, and it helped. I finished my letter/book (a 106-page letter) as part of my therapy. He assured me I was quite sane but living in an insane world.
As I talked about my traumas in that spring of 1991, outside of my therapist's window you could see American flags flying from every light pole and sign. The flags fluttered, the yellow ribbons abounded, and the parades marched through American cities. George Bush rocketed to a public approval rating of 82% as our "turkey shoot" in Iraq progressed. It had fallen to 56% the previous autumn, from its high of 80% right after U.S. troops invaded Panama to arrest Bush's former employee Noriega (They tried killing him, but Noriega outsmarted them by strolling into the Vatican embassy.). The public was nearly delirious in its approval of what we did to Iraq, with something like 90% of Americans thinking we had performed a righteous and noble deed. Nothing boosts an American president's popularity more than sending the military somewhere, anywhere, to annihilate some helpless "foe."
My therapist abandoned his therapist's role with me at times, and confided that he was sickened by events. He told me one of his clients was a young Navy SEAL, and one of the first Americans into Iraq for the short-lived "ground war." The SEAL got to see America's handiwork up close. He got to see many bodies of women and children, euphemistically termed "collateral damage" by the Pentagon and our national press. The young man was having a difficult time coming to grips with his experiences, and couldn't find anything honorable about what we did there. People like that never appear on Nightline, describing their experiences. "National security" makes sure that can't happen.
Many of our Gulf War actions qualified as war crimes. One of them was the infamous bombing of the retreating Iraqi army on the highway leading from Mutlaa, Kuwait to Basra. It was a mass exodus from the city, including the Iraq military that was withdrawing to Iraq on Hussein's orders, and also civilians and prisoners. What the United States military did on that highway stands as one of the greatest and most defenseless mass murders of the modern era. What the U.S. did was disable the front and rear vehicles on that highway, trapping the two thousand vehicles and their occupants into a seven-mile-long parking lot. Then the planes flew mission after mission on the helpless vehicles and their occupants, annihilating and incinerating many thousands of people, perhaps tens of thousands. That highway became known as the "Highway of Death."
Pilots who flew the "Highway of Death" mission described it as "shooting fish in a barrel", and they literally rushed back and forth from the aircraft carriers supplying them with bombs. According to the Washington Post, "Their preferred weapon, the Rockeye cluster bomb was passed over for others because elevators were too slow getting them up to the flight deck in time for the next launch."(28) It was a quick trip to the parking lot to drop their payloads, then back to the aircraft carrier to get more bombs. Those activities were in direct violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949's common article 3, which outlaws killing soldiers who are "out of combat."
And that wasn't the only highway so treated by our valiant armed forces. A sixty-mile stretch of highway further east was treated similarly. That action was one of 19 war crimes that ex-Attorney General Ramsey Clark got George Bush and friends (Dan Quayle, Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf, James Baker, Richard Cheney, etc.) prosecuted for. The International War Crimes Tribunal found them guilty, not that the U.S. citizens heard much about it over the cheers.(29) Winners never worry about little things like war crimes trials, only losers do.
Another innovative act by our armed forces was a new version of trench warfare. During the ground war the United States deployed vehicles that were basically tanks with bulldozer blades. The ground war, like the air war, was not a war in any meaningful sense. It was another "turkey shoot", with entire armored divisions of Iraq's army decimated without returning even one effective shot. The surviving Iraqi soldiers were generally fleeing, hiding in their bunkers or rushing to surrender. Thousands of Iraqi conscripts were huddled in trenches and bunkers, and some were attempting to mount a pitiful defense to the juggernaut bearing down on them. The tank-bulldozers performed an unprecedented act: they approached the trenches and bunkers, and literally filled them with earth, burying thousands of Iraqi soldiers alive. It qualified as another war crime. Not one American was killed in the live entombment of thousands of Iraqi soldiers.(30)
Once again, what happened in the Gulf War wasn't "war". It was slaughter. War is what World War II was like, where both sides were fairly evenly matched, and both sides endured similar levels of casualty. What the Nazis did to the Jews wasn't "war." In the "Gulf War" the casualty ratio was about 1,000-to-1. We likely killed over 100,000 Iraqi soldiers (some estimates go as high as 300,000), while fewer than 200 Americans died, and about half of those by "friendly fire" by our own troops. But like with Panama, the U.S. government has a great vested interest in keeping the bloody facts from the public that cheers and finances the bloodshed. Our armed forces actively prevented any accurate body count of the "enemy" in Panama or Iraq. The motto seemed to be, "Just bury them quickly and hope nobody ever exhumes those mass graves." If they had incinerators in Iraq they would have been going night and day.
It would be a mistake to think those American soldiers were a bunch of innocent lambs, having no idea what was going on, just following orders. To a degree that is true, as nations always send out young men with no idea of their mortality or why they are fighting, but make able killers (One of my friends punned in 1991, "Support our dupes."). But for a peek into our boys' mentality during the Gulf War, the U.S. Air Force's 77th Tactical Fighter Squadron published a songbook before the bombing began, describing their plans for Iraq. The only part that can be reproduced in polite company was this little ditty:
Phantom fliers in the sky,
Persian-pukes prepare to die,
Rolling in with snake and nape,
Allah creates but we cremate.
The rest of songbook is, in the words of David Stannard, a "melange of sadism and obscenity, most of them employing personifications of entire Arabic and Islamic peoples as racially inferior, maggot-infested women whose mass destruction by the Americans is equated with brutal, violent sex." One of the honors our soldiers got, which is a time-honored ritual, was writing messages on the bombs about to be launched. The bombs had quaint messages like "Mrs. Saddam's sex toy" and a "suppository for Saddam" on them as they dropped, and again, those are the messages I can print in public.(31) One post-war study found that over half of the American women in the Gulf felt they were sexually harassed verbally by their fellow male soldiers, and eight percent of the women reported attempted or completed sexual assaults by American soldiers (about 3,000 instances).(32)
Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf publicly admitted his disappointment with being unable to finish his job in Iraq. Schwarzkopf said, "We could have completely closed the door and made it a battle of annihilation (it was) literally about to become the battle of Cannae, a battle of annihilation." To his disappointment Schwarzkopf was prevented from exterminating the Iraqi army.(33)
In the aftermath, as was publicly wished for by George Bush and our media hacks, some of the Iraqi population revolted against Iraq's government, in an action fomented by the CIA.(34) And the world watched as Hussein's Republican Guard mopped up the Kurds, with the surreal situation of the U.S. military standing by, watching it, and even refusing the let the Kurds have captured Iraqi arms to fight with. We did it in the name of "stability." The hypocrisy was awe-inspiring to witness. Democratic revolutions in foreign lands are the worst nightmares our corporate/government planners can imagine. We prefer dictators, obedient ones.
The American media was extremely complicit with the warmongering. Project Censored has been tracking the censorship in our "free press" for over twenty years. In 1991 their top censored story was CBS and NBC refusing to air footage from Iraq that was initially commissioned by NBC and shot by Emmy-award-winning producers. The footage showed civilian devastation of Iraq that contradicted the propaganda being purveyed by the government and media, giving the impression that the Gulf War was a "clean" one with minimal "collateral damage." NBC Nightly News Executive Producer Steven Friedman and anchor Tom Brokaw were enthusiastic about the film that was produced, and wanted it aired. But NBC President Michael Gartner killed the story. The producers then took the video to CBS. CBS Evening News Executive Director Tom Bettag told a producer that he would appear with Dan Rather the next evening. That same evening Bettag was fired and the story was killed. And the cheering continued.
Project Censored's number two story for 1991 was the heavy censorship that attended Gulf War reporting, where stories about Iraqi civilian casualties, air-fuel bombs, Highway of Death footage and the like were all suppressed, and U.S. battlefield casualties were disguised as training accidents. The media served as a propaganda organ of the government, contradicting any notion of a "free press" in the United States.
Project Censored's number six story for 1991 exposed one of the many lies and inventions George Bush told as he prepared the public for war. On September 11, 1990, Bush surprisingly announced that the main reason we had our troops massed in the Gulf was because Iraq was threatening to invade Saudi Arabia, and the Pentagon said Iraq had 250,000 troops and 1,500 tanks in Kuwait, based on satellite images. The public never saw those images, but Russian satellite images showed that no such military buildup existed. That was one of many lies told to the American public, getting them riled up to support the war.(35)
Project Censored's number one story of 1990 was how stupid the U.S. press was in believing the government's propaganda regarding Iraq while it was whipping up support for the Gulf War, when hindsight regarding Vietnam, Panama and Grenada revealed how shamelessly the government lied to the press and public. It was as if the press would be lied to 99 times in a row, and eventually realize they were being lied to, but would eagerly believe the 100th lie they were told.
The purpose of our bombing campaign was officially stated as driving Iraq from Kuwait. We were "liberating" Kuwait. Again, when the imperial powers pulled out of the Middle East in the 1920s, the governments left behind were dictatorships that could be controlled, and would also control the public in those nations. Kuwait was and is a bloody and brutal dictatorship. Saudi Arabia, the other nation we were theoretically defending, has one of the most brutal and oppressive regimes on earth. The Saudis are notorious for executing political prisoners, keeping their women in virtual slavery, flogging children, kangaroo courts and the like. Saudi Arabia's method of public execution is using a sword to decapitate their prisoners, sometimes taking a few whacks to get the job done.
We immediately reinstalled a dictatorship in Kuwait. In Kuwait and Iraq were many activists for democratic reform, representing various oppressed groups. The United States never considered giving them any voice or influence. The dictatorship we reinstalled in Kuwait immediately began throwing people into prison, torturing prisoners to death, and ruthlessly stomping out any notion the populace might have harbored regarding freedom.(36)
Our government said we were driving Iraq from Kuwait. In a logical war that would mean doing just that: invading Kuwait to beat the Iraqi army back into Iraq. That did not happen. Instead we unleashed the most intense bombing campaign in history onto Iraq. We specifically targeted the infrastructure of Iraq, including their transportation system, electric system, sewer system and water supply. What we did was a form of biological warfare, akin to starving out the enemy.
Going back to the end of World War II when we dropped nuclear weapons on Japan, in a move historians now conclude had little to do with saving American lives and everything to do with a demonstration of power to the world, and to impress the Soviet Union in particular, the United States has excelled at fighting the coward's war.(37) Our high-tech wars, where we drop devastating weaponry on helpless populations, never seeing the "enemy" face-to-face, and using the powers of state to ensure the cheering people at home never know the truth, guarantees that such disasters continue. We did it to Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, and most recently to Iraq.
Something happened after Vietnam though. The war planners realized that the American people would no longer stand to have their young men killed in foreign wars of dubious benefit. So a new strategy was crafted, which is obvious if you follow the events of the past generation. People like Noam Chomsky have written extensively on the phenomenon. The new strategy is this: we will only wage war against weak enemies. The strategy is to pick on enemies that can't fight back, have our propaganda machine (the "free press" and government, working hand in hand) turn them into malevolent demons of tremendous stature, and then we resoundingly defeat them in mere weeks, enduring few or no casualties amongst our armed forces. Then the public will be delighted that we overcame such an invincible adversary so easily, at little cost to ourselves. It makes us a proud people, destroying such evil monsters with righteous ease.
The Gulf War was a textbook example of that strategy. If you follow the rhetoric of Norman Schwarzkopf, George Bush and the American media during the buildup to the Gulf War, with Saddam Hussein being compared to Hitler, and Schwarzkopf talking about how outnumbered his forces were by Iraq, the strategy is clear. Amazingly, the new "Hitler" was our ally until the day he invaded Kuwait, and he even told American ambassador April Glaspie that he was planning on invading Kuwait a week before his troops did, and she basically said the United States had "no position" in Arab border disputes.(38) Iraq may have been lured into invading Kuwait by America, which is not a pleasant thought to consider.
The Continuing War
As the dust was settling in Iraq, the real suffering was about to begin. A public health team from Harvard went into Iraq soon after the bombs stopped dropping. They issued a report based on their findings. They estimated that 170,000 children under the age of five would die in the succeeding year due to the destruction of Iraq's infrastructure by the U.S. bombing.(39) That news was barely reported in the U.S. mainstream media in 1991. I think about the only national mainstream American journalist who mentioned the tremendous death toll that the Iraqi children were about to endure was Mike Royko. Other than his voice in the mainstream American media wilderness, the American people were blissfully insulated from the looming children's holocaust they were responsible for. And to add murderous insult to injury, we led an economic embargo of Iraq, a nation that bought 70% of its food from abroad. That embargo is standard American foreign policy, something we did to Vietnam, Cuba and Nicaragua - basically what we do to any weak nation that stands up to our gangsterism.
I have been watching the Iraqi children's death toll mount through the years. In 1995 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) issued a report on the Iraqi food supply and health. They stated the Iraq health minister stated that over 500,000 children had died (in excess of normal rates before the Gulf War) in the previous four years due to starvation and disease. The report said they couldn't confirm that number, but it also didn't seem unreasonable. The report discussed the current children's death rate in Iraq (several thousand a month), and their observation of starvation conditions among the children like marasmus and kwashiorkor. Iraqi citizens had higher life expectancies than American citizens did before the Gulf War.(40) Ramsey Clark's "genocide" description of what we are doing to Iraq is close to the mark, and as we continue to turn down the screws on Iraq as I write this, we may see a genuine genocide come to pass in Iraq, courtesy of the United States. I don't know anything about the Gulf War and its continuing aftermath that should cause any American to be proud. I suppose we can cheer that we still get cheap oil from the Middle East and our gangsterism there hasn't cost many American lives as of yet.
Over the past several years I wrote a book or two, corresponded with authors and others quite a bit, and for several months had up a six hundred page web site that discussed the Iraqi situation, among many other topics. But I wasn't writing to newspapers, partly because Iraq was a kind of non-story in America, and they don't run letters on non-stories. Over the years Americans have often accused me of being a great admirer of Saddam Hussein. Nothing could be further from the truth. The man is a tyrant, the same as when he was our favored ally, obligingly killing hundreds of thousands of Iranians in the 1980s, sending hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men to death in senseless battles, and using chemical weapons on his Kurds. And he bought nearly all the material for his chemical and biological weapons from the "civilized" world, like United States and German firms. Hussein's crime was not being a dictator, it was stepping on the wrong toes. Our government obviously could not care less about the Iraqi people's welfare, which is standard imperial behavior.
In the wake of the 1995 UNFAO report, and the activism of a relative handful of Americans, the United States government was shamed enough to begin an oil-for-food program with Iraq through the U.N. Life there is slightly better than it was in 1996, with the emphasis on slightly. Iraq was an industrialized nation before the Gulf War. Allowing Iraq to buy food with its oil is like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping sword wound. Not only do the poorest lose out, like in most nations, as a dictator like Hussein is more interested in holding onto power than his people's welfare, the Iraqi people need far more than food. As I write this, more than a third of Iraq's water supply is unfit to drink. That is because our embargo has strangled Iraq so thoroughly that they cannot purify all the water they need, and they have not completely rebuilt their water supply infrastructure, as we have turned down the screws. It is well known that a contaminated water supply is today's single greatest cause of death in small children worldwide. The Iraqi hospitals have long since run out of things we take for granted like painkiller, antibiotics and other medicines, as the U.N. sanctions (ruthlessly over-enforced by the United States) strangles them. If a child has to go to an Iraqi hospital today, it is taken for granted the child will die there. As America is incredibly moving to tighten the embargo in the wake of our recent bombing, the Iraqi infrastructure may indeed fully collapse, and we will have true genocide in Iraq, the greatest death toll happening to the children.
A little over a year ago the United States began beating the war drums again over the still never discovered "weapons of mass destruction" that Saddam Hussein supposedly was still harboring. I deal with the awesome hypocrisy of that situation later in this piece. The U.S. government was clearly mobilizing the brainwashed American masses once again to cheer another bombing of Iraq. In November of 1997 I was moved for a second time to write a letter to the editor, this time to The Seattle Times, as I was back home in Washington. They ran my letter on November 30th, 1997. Here it is.
I have been watching Seattle's mainstream media while all the saber rattling has been going on over Iraq lately. The Seattle Times article of November 14 is the first-time I have seen a substantive reference to the harm United States has inflicted on the Iraqi people over the past seven years ("Iraqi Sanctions Split U.S.-Arab Coalition").
It is not surprising that the first reference I have seen is not due to some "bleeding heart" American mainstream journalist digging up the facts, but was in response to our "Arab allies" refusing to fall into line and get behind a U.S. military action against Iraq.
The article, authored by Barbara Demick of Knight Ridder Newspapers, at least said that there is apparently a lot of suffering going on an Iraq. But her characterization of those "more virulent commentators" and the comparison to the atomic bomb attacks on Japan was highly misleading. So far, the United States' economic attack on Iraq has killed far more people than our atomic attacks on Japan. Two of the most prominent commentators have been former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization investigators.
Two years ago, it was estimated that the death toll in Iraq, because of the U.N. embargo, was approaching one million people, including over a half-million children. Today the death toll is more than one million people, five percent of their population.
The children's death toll because of the embargo is about 700,000 as of today, and starvation conditions like kwashiorkor and marasmus are now common. That the American mainstream media fail to mention the horrendous human toll our economic attack has extracted from Iraq is a crime.
Oh yes, we can say the United Nations is doing this, but we are the ones making the sanctions happen, just like we fabricated the "coalition" in 1990. The mainstream media in America are accomplices in this great crime against humanity, and there is a lot of blood on their hands. Making letters like mine public would help turn things around. The choice is yours.
A few months later the war drums and propaganda were reaching a fevered pitch. We were on the brink of bombing Iraq, and I was compelled once again to write a letter to The Seattle Times. That one was a little more forceful. For that letter The Seattle Times called me at home before running it, I suppose so if I got lynched they could say they confirmed it was Wade Frazier who wrote it. It was written on February 2, 1998 and run in the February 8th edition of The Seattle Times. Here it is.
Once again in America the drum beat has begun. It looks like we are going to unleash more death and destruction onto the people of Iraq. Once again, the pertinent questions are not being asked. One pertinent question would be, "What has Iraq ever done to us?" The answer is, "Nothing, except resist our attacks."
It is indeed ironic that the only nation to ever unleash weapons of mass destruction on another is the United States. It is also very illuminating to see that there are but two nations getting ready to bomb Iraq: the former and current masters of the world.
In another irony, during the seven-year saga between the United States and Iraq (allies until the day Iraq invaded Kuwait), the only mass destruction that has taken place has been to the nation and people of Iraq. The United States, through economic warfare following on the heels of an unprecedented bombardment, has killed over one million Iraqi citizens, most of them children under the age of five (800,000 and counting). That situation, which should assail the conscience of every American, still is barely being mentioned in the nation's media, amidst all the saber-rattling.
One of the greatest ironies of all is that back in April of 1990, when Saddam Hussein was still our ally, he made an offer to the United States that he would destroy his chemical and non-conventional weapons if Israel would also destroy theirs. And in another surreal twist, much if not most of the material that Iraq has for making "weapons of mass destruction" were purchased from the United States and Europe. Hussein's offer and the United States' response was reported in the Boston Globe on April 14, 1990 and by other publications around the world. The reaction of United States government was interesting. We said that we would not be willing to enter into negotiations on that issue. Our politicians cleverly avoided mentioning Israel's nuclear arsenal as they rejected Hussein's offer. The Israeli arsenal (hundreds of nuclear bombs) is not that controversial an issue, as far as its existence goes, as Israel kidnapped and imprisoned one of their citizens for divulging its existence (The celebrated Vanunu case, and he is still in prison after a decade.). But the United States cannot officially acknowledge Israel's nuclear arsenal, because to acknowledge that Israel has secretly built a nuclear arsenal would make all of our aid to Israel (billions of dollars a year) illegal, according to our own Foreign Aid Act.
The hypocrisy of the situation is evident to anybody who knows what is going on. The United States will go to the lengths of killing millions of people to prevent an ex-ally from being able to use what we sold him. But, if a nation finds itself in the fortunate position of being one of our allies, we will go out of our way to ignore their weapons of mass destruction.
Amazingly, the American people are generally ignorant of the points I have made in this letter. People who live outside of this country are not so disinformed. What this country has done to the children of Iraq over the past seven years is terrifying and hard to forgive. The current global Imperial menace is engendering a lot of fear and hatred, particularly in the Arab countries. The ex-Soviet Union apparently cannot account for about 100 suitcase nuclear bombs. If one of those goes off one sunny day in Washington D.C., for instance, it will be no great surprise.
What Bill Clinton may have done with a woman who worked in the White House is an incredibly minor situation. But, unfortunately, the American media and people find what Bill Clinton may have done in a closet far more fascinating than the blood which is on the hands of all Americans today, the blood of children whose crime it was to be born in Iraq.
I was three-for-three in getting my letters published. I was shocked that they ran that one, if for no other reason than at over 600 words it was over twice as long as their recommended 300-word limit. The paper actually called me the day after they ran it, giving me the phone number of a man who wanted to talk to me. I called him. He was almost 80 years old, and called to congratulate me for writing like I did, and said he was "flabbergasted" the paper would run a letter like mine, and that he had written letters for many years to the paper and never had one published. The Seattle Times won some points in my book. Forty years ago I might have been beaten up (at the least) for publishing a letter like that. Ten years ago I doubt that any mainstream American paper would have published that letter. The social awakening that began to the 1960s has made this country a better one in many ways. But the struggle is far from over. I sent that letter to ex-CIA operative Ralph McGehee, who gets coverage elsewhere on this web site. Ralph said he was "amazed" that any American mainstream newspaper would run a letter like that. He said a letter like mine would never see print in newspapers like the New York Times or the Washington Post. Ralph would know.
Thankfully there are enough people in America these days not enslaved to our indoctrination systems, and are beginning to feel something very awry with our foreign policy, particularly regarding Iraq. In February 1998 the federal government staged a "town meeting" at Ohio State University to air their rationale for their proposed bombing of Iraq. The public was invited, though the meeting was more for show, to fabricate a fig leaf of public consent for the bombing. Our government reckoned incorrectly. Students protested noisily, and even the "mature and responsible" citizens who were allowed to approach the microphone were anything but enthusiastic about bombing Iraq again. Their questions, even more then the rabble-rouser's protests, took the politicians by surprise. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was practically stuttering in the face of the tough questions her team was being asked. The staged meeting became a public relations disaster for the United States government. At the 11th hour we backed down from bombing Iraq.
I was cautiously optimistic, but I doubted our government officials became good boys and girls overnight. Iraqi children were still dying by the thousands, our government would look for another opportunity to bomb Iraq, and they had learned their lesson. The next time they moved to bomb Iraq, even the appearance of a democratic consensus being achieved with the public would not be risked. Our government will likely stage no more "town meetings" before they bomb somebody. The December 1998 bombing of Iraq validated my opinion. That one had no warning or propaganda buildup. This past fall the propaganda machine revved up once again. For the fourth time I wrote a letter to the editor regarding Iraq. That one broke my streak and they didn't publish it. Getting published the first three times I tried to was encouraging regarding getting my book published. At least my work was apparently interesting enough to read. But I admit I was weary of writing in hopes of helping to avert the violence.
The motivation for writing letters to the editor should not necessarily be to get published, but to let the newspaper know how many people out there feel that way, and perhaps they will run one of those letters. If the people truly stand up, I think they will be counted. But the system is rigged against people participating in it, which is a subject for my book. Noam Chomsky has written about how the system works for many years in many books. In nearly every society there are an elite few at the top of the hierarchy, and they generally view those below them as beings to be used for their own selfish ends. And the West immediately attacks any nation that attempts to form an egalitarian society, as we think we own the world. Ralph McGehee stated it quite clearly in the conclusion of his Deadly Deceits.(41) Egalitarianism is incompatible with elitism, and United States leads the field in destroying egalitarian movements worldwide. That attitude is what led William Blum to title his book about our foreign military and CIA adventures Killing Hope.
The fourth letter I wrote about Iraq is below, written on November 12, 1998. You can tell my patience was wearing thin, and I was getting more strident. It is a far cry from my "love the enemy" letter of 1991. They predictably did not run that one. I was going just a little too far.
Apparently the U.S. government won't be denied its fervent desire to bomb Iraq again. What the U.S. has done to Iraq's children over the past several years will become one of history's great evil acts. Watching the deadly spectacle of starving out an enemy over several years has made me ashamed to be an American. With all the false rhetoric about weapons of mass destruction, maybe it is about time to let a little honesty slip into the discussion.
We are the world's masters of mass destruction, with the world's largest store of devastating weapons by far, and we are the only nation to use them on another. Our great ally Israel has about 100 nuclear missiles aimed at the biggest Arab cities, and has done so for many years. Our government won't even mention that situation because not only would it make our aid to Israel illegal, it would make us look like the world's biggest hypocrites.
Our bludgeoning of Iraq has nothing to do with freedom, making the world safer, or any of those noble ideals. It has everything to do with our hegemony in the region, assuring ourselves of a steady and cheap supply of oil, with nobody over there changing the rules of our game. It is a might-makes-right world, and always has been. We are merely the latest winners of the game, and our vast wealth and power allows us to rain more death and destruction onto a devastated nation. In every instance I know of, our foreign military adventures have primarily served our interests. That's why we do it. We aren't the guys in the white hats. Our diplomats must study Machiavelli's The Prince each night.
So let's sneak in a little honesty here: we are about to bomb Iraq once again because we have the power to, and the world had better not forget it. As the world watches with horror at how greatly we can make a disobedient ex-ally suffer, with a death toll rising into the millions, they had better pray they never get on our black list.
At least the paper ran letters like mine, if not so forceful. I have noticed that the coverage of the latest bombing attacks is a far different affair than it was in 1991, or even the saber rattling in the winter of 1997-1998. But what happened in December literally made me sick. They impeached Clinton for the wrong crime. And that time nearly the entire world was against us. Clinton, with a straight face, told the American people that the bombs we were dropping in Iraq as he spoke were dropped to protect Iraq's neighbors. That would be a wonderful joke if it weren't such a tragic lie. Not one of Iraq's "threatened" neighbors voiced approval of the bombing. They all said to stop bombing Iraq. Even nations that supposedly hated Saddam Hussein, like Syria and Iran, protested what the United States and Great Britain were doing. They know that a devastated nation of starving people poses no threat to them, and the writing on the wall is obvious: if they displeased the United States they could end up just like Iraq. We couldn't even get Israel to support our bombing of Iraq.
And for anybody who has eyes and a brain, our hypocrisy regarding the United Nations is laid bare. If we can manipulate the United Nations to vote our way, we present their vote as the authorization for our actions, speaking fair words about the need to obey international law and the voice of United Nations. When the U.N. doesn't vote the way we like, we give them the finger, doing as we please. The fact that we outraged two of the five members of the U.N. Security Council, China and Russia, while France looked for a place to hide, is nearly incontestable proof of what kind of country we are. The whole world sees that our actions in Iraq benefited nobody but us. But we are the masters of the world, and nobody will dare stand up to us. These days some activists are saying that dropping a nuclear bomb once a year on Iraq would be more humane than the slow starvation and strangulation of its population. Their arguments are not easily dismissed.
The night of our surprise bombing of Iraq on December 16th was not a happy one for me. I decided against writing another letter to the editor, and wrote the piece below. I was up until about 3:00 AM writing it. I titled it "In the Service of Empire." Here it is.
This evening I watched the reactions of average Americans to our latest bombing campaign in Iraq. The news shows I watched interviewed people in bars and on the street, and the only reactions aired were Americans nearly shaking their fists into the air with approval, saying that the United States should have bombed Iraq long ago. But it wasn't Iraq that they talked about, it was Saddam Hussein. Even Bill Clinton's speech to the nation today spoke in terms of Saddam more than Iraq. We aren't bombing Hussein, but the citizens of Iraq. In the last eight years over a million people have died due to the American bombing of Iraq, our subsequent economic warfare, and Saddam Hussein's callous disregard for the welfare of his people. I would say the blood is on our hands roughly equally, but nobody would have died if it weren't for our actions
Our media and government present the situation as if it is our unalienable right to bomb another nation. There is speculation by Republican legislators that the timing of this bombing has to do with deflecting the nation's attention from the looming impeachment vote on Bill Clinton. But nobody in power is questioning our righteousness in bombing Iraq, except for some of our allies. France, China and Russia, on the United Nations Security Council, are voicing their protest, making this action unilateral on the behalf of the U.S. and Great Britain.
What is most disturbing, as this saga has been unfolding over the last eight years, is how justified Americans feel in invading and bombing any nation they wish. In recent months we bombed Afghanistan and Sudan. We invaded Panama in 1989 without a shred of legal standing to justify our invasion. We respect no nation's sovereignty but our own. We carried on a proxy war against Nicaragua for years to overthrow a popular revolution, and our undertaking was condemned by the World Court. We propped up the terror state of El Salvador for many years as they slaughtered their population. We have been carrying on economic warfare against Cuba for almost forty years. It is painfully clear that any nation not populated by white people is fair game. What is nearly incredible to me is that most Americans apparently feel justified in all these invasions and bombings. The only rationale for these behaviors is the philosophy that might makes right. We invade and bomb other nations at will because we are the world's most powerful nation, and nobody will stand up to us.
The rhetoric our politicians and media always serve up is that there is some honorable cause behind our violent actions. I have yet to see one instance of that clearly being the case, going back to the founding of our nation. Arguments can be made for the World Wars, as the white people fought over who would control the world, yet we came out on top. I do not know of one instance in the last fifty years where our mass murders have been justified by any notion of noble intention. We have invaded or overthrown or manipulated about fifty nations since World War II. And every single time it was really being done in the name of empire and greed. There has never been a global gangster like the United States. The United States has always been more of an empire than a nation.
Greedy, murderous people, sometimes called our Founding Fathers, carved out the borders of our nation. George Washington, the richest man in America when he became president, getting rich by stealing land from the natives, presented a plan in 1782 to swindle the natives out of their land by forcing them to sign treaties the United States would never honor. Washington proposed a plan of deception and low-intensity violence as the cheapest way of wresting the land from the natives. The U.S. government swiftly adopted Washington's plan, and the natives of what is now the United States were robbed of nearly all their land.(42) Relocation, extermination and concentration camps (euphemistically called reservations) accompanied the hundreds of fraudulent treaties that were forced on the natives. The other epic Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and a slave owner like Washington, had a philosophy almost identical to Washington's greedy ambition. Jefferson wrote to a future president, William Henry Harrison (who based his political career on fighting the natives), that removing the Indians from their land should be done using business methods. Jefferson wrote that the best way to do it would be to run the Indians into debt at the trading posts and settle the bill by having them cede their lands.(43) Jefferson wrote that any native who resisted the United States' imperial ambitions for their land should be met with "the hatchet", and their choice was to be "extirpate(d) from the earth" or get out of the way. Hitler couldn't have said it any better. The machinations of Jefferson and Washington came after nearly two centuries of genocide of the natives where the thirteen colonies were.
Natives or other European nations having claims to the land would not thwart the imperial ambitions of America. After "buying" the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon (too bad the natives who lived in those lands were not consulted), Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark on a reconnoitering mission across the continent in 1803, to see what rich lands might be further exploited, and to further sketch the ultimate reach of empire. Following in the wake of Lewis and Clark was the vanguard of invasion, like trappers and traders. When gold was eventually found in the Western lands, waves of Americans looking for free land and gold swarmed westward. The natives west of the Mississippi were annihilated in about fifty years, as the empire grew. American immigrants seized Texas from Mexico in 1836, adding it to the American Empire in 1846. Also in 1846 President James K. Polk sent General Zachary Taylor and his army into Mexico to provoke Mexico into fighting them, and the U.S. quickly started a war in 1846 that stole the American Southwest from Mexico in one prodigious land grab. Those imperial ambitions were given a quaint name, Manifest Destiny, as if God was sanctioning the bloody and greedy expansion of the American Empire. Taylor, whose military career was built by killing natives in battle, was so successful at stealing half of today's Western United States that he became president in 1848.
When the slave-owning states tried breaking away from the empire, they were forcibly brought back into the fold by the Civil War.(44) American imperial ambition knew no bounds, and extended to manufacturing a war with Spain to seize Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines in 1898. The U.S. made grand speeches that their seizure of Cuba had no imperial ambition behind it, a sentiment anybody can judge by looking at our posture toward a truly independent Cuba today: our politicians can barely restrain themselves from calling for an invasion of Cuba, and we have been waging economic warfare against them for almost forty years. And their speeches regarding Cuba were further belied by the fact that the United States stole Hawaii from the Hawaiians in 1893.
There is nothing in U.S. history that suggests that the U.S. was doing anything other than expanding a new kind of empire. With the official boundaries of the empire complete by 1900, the next fifty years saw two World Wars as the powers that came late to the empire game, namely Germany and Japan, wanted their own empire, but the other European powers and the U.S. already "owned" the whole world. After World War II the U.S. found itself in the position of being the only truly global power in the history of the world, unseating its parent and rival, Great Britain. With half of the world's wealth and two-thirds of its industrial capacity, the U.S. was in an unprecedented position of global hegemony.
Declassified internal federal documents of the post-war years have given us a look into the intentions of the men who ran the U.S. government. The post-war U.S. planners were quite frank while discussing secretly among themselves how to guide foreign policy. Documents like National Security Council Memorandum 68, written in 1950 by Paul Nitze (who would later be a member of the Reagan Administration), were quite open about U.S. foreign policy. NSC-68 was a right wing document, written for the Secretary of State, which was candid about turning America into a police state in order to marshal the forces to overthrow the Soviet Union. Those were the same years the United States was hiring the Nazis to act as our spies, funding Nazi-related armies to foment discord in the Soviet Union, and the wonder years of the McCarthy Hearings and the executions of the Rosenbergs for a crime they likely did not commit.(45)
The famous diplomat George Kennan authored Planning Policy Study 23 in 1948 for the State Department, where he admitted that we were the world's richest country by far, and our foreign policy goal should be to maintain that position of disparity with the world. Kennan wrote that the way to do that would be to dispense with the unrealistic goals of "human rights, the raising of living standards and democratization. The day is not far off when we're going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better." I have seen nothing that has happened in the last fifty years to hint that the U.S. foreign policy has ever been guided by any other principles.
Once in awhile even American soldiers figure out what they are really fighting for, and it's virtually never for freedom. One of America's most respected military leaders, Major-General Smedley Butler, after running the U.S. Marines for generation, finally figured it out. In an interview with Money magazine, published in December 1951, Smedley assessed his career.
"There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its 'finger men' to point out enemies, its 'muscle men' to destroy enemies, its 'brain guys' to plan war preparations, and a 'Big Boss,' Supra-nationalistic Capitalism.
"It may seem odd for me a military man, to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to do so. I spent thirty-five years and four months in active service as a member of our country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks, from second lieutenant to Major General. During that period I spent most of my life being a high class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short I was a racketeer - a gangster for Capitalism.
"I suspected I was just part of the racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the Service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation, while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military.
"Thus I helped to make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped to make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1909 to 1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China in 1927 I helped Standard Oil.
"During those years I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, and promotion. Looking back on it, I feel that I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate in three city districts. I operated on three continents."
Butler eventually wrote a book titled War is a Racket. Butler was one of the most decorated soldiers in U.S. history. His military career ended in the 1930's, long before we began justifying our international depredations as a reaction to the Soviet Union's ambitions. Since World War II America's military gangsterism has only gotten worse, as we have few rivals. We are truly a global power. Also the United States is far more sophisticated than it used to be. After World War II the United States formed spy agencies like the CIA and National Security Agency to use cloak and dagger strategies to stay number one. Instead of boldly marching in the soldiers and overthrowing governments like Butler regularly did when he ran the Marines, organizations like the CIA have specialized in trying to hide the hand of the United States.
One way to hide our hand is by hiring proxies to do the dirty work, attempting to create the appearance of a legitimate revolution in the nations our government plunders. The Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba was one of numerous instances of American proxy armies acting on our behalf. The Contras in Nicaragua were another band of mercenaries that we hired, and Ronald Reagan had the gall to call them "freedom fighters." The list of democratically supported/elected governments overthrown/destabilized by the United States since 1945 is quite long, beginning as the dust was still settling in Europe after World War II, like what we did in Italy and Greece. The U.S. even used Japanese troops in China in 1945 to try suppressing the Communist revolution just getting underway. The list of legitimate governments we overthrew in order to install bloody dictators since 1945 is long and grim, and a few of the countries we raped that way were: Iran, 1953; Guatemala, 1954, Indonesia, 1965; Vietnam, 1950s and 1960s; Brazil, 1964; Ghana, 1966; Chile, 1973, and the list goes on and on.(46) Once again, sending in the Marines is usually the tactic of last resort, when the more clandestine methods fail to produce the desired result. We boldly invaded Vietnam in the 1960s, Grenada in 1984, Panama in 1989, and we bombed the smithereens out of Iraq in 1991. We conducted a secret war in Cambodia, a very questionable war in Korea, and have even destabilized governments in nations like Australia when their leaders didn't prove servile enough. All in all, the United States has in one way or another bludgeoned about fifty nations since World War II, as it makes sure global capitalism and American supremacy stays unchallenged.
No longer is it outright colonialism, where the Queen of England would officially rule over far-flung realms. Today it is corporate colonialism, where the people still don't get to eat the food they grow, but the food, oil and other resources go to the industrialized world, and the people of the subjugated nations suffer greatly. The last time I looked, of the poorest forty nations in the world, thirty-six exported food to the United States.(47) The mechanisms of oppression differ from the good old colonial days. Today institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund keep the game rigged against the working people of the world, particularly in what we used to call the "Third World." Structural Adjustment Programs and other policies make sure the people can barely eat as they make shoes for Americans in Indonesia, or toys for American children in Southeast Asia. International treaties like NAFTA and GATT (and the failing MAI) are designed to make the world safe for corporate profits at the expense of the workers and environment. Their dire state is the result of centuries of exploitation by Europe and its political descendents like the United States.
What is going on in Iraq as I write this is merely more of the same. It is no accident that the United States had its Persian Gulf "war" soon after the Soviet Empire collapsed. The only power that could stay our hand in the Middle East was gone, and we were able to march a tremendous army into the Middle East and engage in the biggest bombing of all time, using Iraq as a testing ground for new weapons. We specifically targeted the infrastructure of Iraq when we bombed them. We targeted their electric, transportation, water and sewer systems. What we did to Iraq had no rationale related to "expelling" them from Kuwait. Even the British press said that our bombing amounted to "biological warfare." During our turkey shoot in Iraq in 1991, our troops committed many acts that by the standards of Nuremberg and the Geneva Convention qualified as war crimes. By the Nuremberg standards that we imposed on the Nazi hierarchy in 1945, George Bush should have gone to the gallows instead of an all-time public approval rating. Ex-Attorney General Ramsey Clark has been futilely trying to get the United States prosecuted for war crimes for several years now because of what they did to Iraq.(48) Winners never have to face war crimes trials: only losers do.
In the wake of the unprecedented bombing of Iraq in 1991, the United States has engaged in economical warfare against Iraq, this time using the United Nations as its proxy. Without the United States bending arms and exerting great pressure, there would be no economic embargo against Iraq today. But the embargo is standard American foreign policy. We have always done it to any nation that has dared to stand up to us. We have economically embargoed Cuba for almost forty years. After our failed invasion of Vietnam our government embargoed the area for a generation, even going to the extreme of trying to prevent international aid groups like Oxfam and Mennonites from helping those countries. Our diplomats could have taught Machiavelli and the Marquis de Sade a thing or two.
The economic embargo against Iraq, though, has been unprecedented in its severity. Iraq was an industrialized nation before 1991. The life expectancy of an Iraqi citizen was literally higher than that of a United States citizen in 1990 (according to UN data). The destruction of Iraq's infrastructure, and the continuing economical warfare that the United States is practicing against Iraq, is one of the greatest crimes against humanity perpetrated in this half of the century. Over one million Iraqi citizens have died as the result of the situation, and most of them have been children under the age of five. In 1995 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report on the state of Iraq's health and food supply. The report is grim reading. Starvation conditions like kwashiorkor and marasmus, once the province of desperate places like Ethiopia and Sudan, are now common in Iraq. The United States has been turning Iraq into one large death camp. Iraq used to purchase 70% of its food from abroad. The sanctions stopped that. In the wake of enough Americans and others making noise about this inhumane behavior on the part of the United States, an oil-for-food program was initiated. It has helped, but not nearly enough. The Iraqi hospitals are full of suffering people, and items we take for granted in the West, like antibiotics, painkiller and other medicines, have been denied the people of Iraq. And of course our national media, performing its brainwashing and propaganda duties, has generally kept this information from the American people.
This situation of Americans having little idea about what is going on is not a new phenomenon. During the 1970s, when one of our favorite dictators, Suharto of Indonesia, invaded East Timor using American arms, the American media was totally silent on what our ally was doing. The invasion of East Timor and subsequent occupation (which had no legal justification whatsoever - it was naked aggression at its finest) killed off between 28% and 44% of its population. It is perhaps the greatest proportional genocide in this century, greater than even what the Jews experienced in World War II. And few Americans have ever even heard of East Timor.(49) That is a horrifying example of your tax dollars at work. And as the dust settled and the screams faded to silence in East Timor, the Western oil companies moved in to find more cheap oil reserves in the Timor Gap, with an upstanding nation like Australia fighting over the spoils.
So here we are, bombing Iraq once again, because Saddam Hussein hasn't allowed arms inspectors into every nook and cranny in the country. In one of the many hypocritical ironies of the situation, the United States probably has more weapons of mass destruction than the rest of the world put together. And in another great irony that the American people still are rarely told about, back in April of 1990 when Saddam Hussein was still our ally, he made an offer to the United States.(50) He offered to get rid of his "weapons of mass destruction", mainly purchased from "civilized" nations like West Germany and the United States, if Israel would also get rid of theirs. Our government made an interesting response. We said we would not enter into negotiations on that issue. Our politicians cleverly avoided using Israel's name when rejecting Iraq's offer. The reason they did that was because Israel's nuclear arsenal (about 80 nuclear missiles aimed at all the Arab major cities and targets, and other bombs) is an open secret. Anybody who is informed about the world scene knows about their nuclear arsenal. They developed their arsenal in secret. If our government acknowledged that Israel had secretly built a nuclear arsenal, our own Foreign Aid Acts would make all of our billions of dollars a year in aid to Israel illegal. So like the saints we are, we go out of our way to overlook Israel's nuclear arsenal, while we are today bombing a devastated nation because they will not let us look into every corner for weapons far less devastating than what Israel is aiming at them as I write this.
What our military is doing this evening is not making the world a safer place. The people of Iraq will suffer only more. In recent months their infrastructure has teetered on the verge of collapse. Over a third of the water that comes out of Iraq's faucets is unfit to drink. The death toll of the Iraqi citizens, particularly the children, has been quietly (at least to Americans) mounting since 1991. The consequences of what we have done to Iraq are no surprise to anybody who is informed. The people of the Arab nations accurately view what the United States is doing to the Iraqi people as an act of great cruelty.
Let there be no misunderstanding here, Saddam Hussein is no friend of his people. Dictators never are. But that is not why we are bludgeoning Iraq. We love dictators, as long as they are obedient to us. Nearly all of the bloodiest dictators of the last half of the 20th-century have the United States to thank for coming to power. It is only when they step out of line or get too independent, like Noriega and Hussein, that they have to go. As long as dictators like Suharto are obedient to U.S. interests, they can invade their neighbors and put the entire population to the sword, and we will give them the arms to do it, carefully hiding those facts from the people financing the bloodshed.
What the United States wants to do is remove Hussein from power and install a friendly dictatorship, one that will let us have all the oil we want for a cheap price. Watch how events unfold from here, and see if that is an incorrect assessment. Look at what happened in 1991: we reinstalled a dictatorship in Kuwait. There have been some minor democratic improvements in Kuwait in the past few years, but in the years after we "liberated" Kuwait, a military dictatorship was reinstalled in Kuwait, where dozens of people simply disappeared and the prisons were well stocked with political prisoners. People died in the custody of the Kuwaiti government, tortured to death, with stuff like their ears and noses being cut off. Amnesty International has published a report on what kind of things have happened in Kuwait since we "liberated" them. Our foreign policy has never had anything to do with exporting democracy and freedom. We are merely playing the modern colonial game, and we export death, mayhem and exploitation, just like our European ancestors and cousins did when they conquered the world. The situation is crystal clear to anybody not brainwashed by our indoctrination systems.
With all the blood on our hands, is there any end in sight? Not if our politicians and corporations keep running the show. They have no desire to make this world a better place. Their game is amassing as much wealth and power to themselves as they can. And it is particularly disheartening to watch Americans on TV cheering what is going on.
Violence always leads to more violence. If there is any lesson of history more clear than that one, I don't know what it is. With all the incredibly deadly weaponry that we have been selling around the world, and as other nations have developed their own nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and who knows what else, we may be nearing the brink of World War III. It won't be pretty. It takes no great stretch of the imagination to envision a situation where very irate and fanatical Arabs or other oppressed groups sneak in a nuclear, biological or chemical weapon into the United States, setting it off in Washington D.C. or Manhattan. And the more we bludgeon countries like Iraq, the more likely it is that that day will come.
There are some big lessons ahead that humanity has yet to learn. I pray that we learn them before we destroy ourselves.
That piece met with very favorable response. In fact the response was so favorable that it got published in a few places and sent far and wide. And in a way it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I hadn't had a web page up for a couple of years, and wasn't planning on going public until my book was published. But my writings have been getting published around the Internet in various places, and I am getting more requests for my work. So I decided to start another web page, putting my latest writings under one roof. This Iraq piece is the first part of that project.
Where Do We Stand Today, and What Can we Do?
So what is the situation today (January 10, 1999) regarding Iraq? Now there is a continuous series of air battles and other skirmishes between the United States and Iraq. What is the point? I believe the best analysis of events is one that takes into consideration the global political aims of United States and its little buddy Great Britain. As people like Noam Chomsky have made quite clear, the reason the Bush administration did not negotiate a withdrawal from Kuwait with Iraq is because bullies never have to negotiate. As George Bush said about the Persian Gulf War, it demonstrated to the world that "What we say, goes." The goals and strategies are essentially no different today than they were in the time of Genghis Kahn. If you have the superior means of violence, there is no need to negotiate, and in fact you avoid negotiations because the very nature of negotiation means you give up something. If you have the monopoly on violent means, you deliver the ultimatum: do it our way or we destroy you. I believe that analysis best describes the United States' position versus Iraq before, during and after the Gulf War, a war that continues today.
In recent days United States officials have admitted what was really going on during those so-called U.N. weapons inspections. United States officials have now admitted that spying on Iraq was an important part of the weapons inspection program. We literally had the "inspectors" install spying devices while they performed their inspections in Iraq for "weapons of mass destruction", partly to gather information allowing us to locate and assassinate Saddam Hussein and key members of the Iraqi government in our latest bombing campaign. It is now admitted that in fact our bombing campaign did just that, killing many key people of Hussein's administration, though failing to get Hussein himself. For anybody educated about the ways of the CIA, NSA and the like, it is obvious the fraudulent nature of the inspections and the hypocritical position the United States has taken in continuing the genocidal economic sanctions still in place against Iraq.(51) The United States officials have been trying to spin the revelations as minor, and that the world should have expected it. I have seen so many lies purveyed by U.S. officials regarding similar situations that I know the story goes much deeper.
For a taste of what is really going on, I suggest readers get ahold of an analysis written by Brian Becker of the International Action Center (AIC), the organization headed by Ramsey Clark. It was published on January 7th.(52) Becker visited Iraq a week before the latest bombing, along with the AIC team. Saleh Al-Mukhtar, the chairman of the Iraqi Solidarity and Friendship Organization, predicted to the AIC that the United States was going to bomb Iraq "within a week." He made that prediction a week before we bombed them. Mukhtar predicted that Bill Clinton's visit to Israel immediately before the bombing was calculated to appear to offer concessions to the Arab people, so when the bombs dropped the Arabs could be bribed to stand by and watch Iraq get bombed once more. Mukhtar's analysis is hard to dismiss.
And there is a much broader framework to view the events from, a point of view voiced by Noam Chomsky and many others. The viewpoint is this: with the collapse of the Soviet Empire there is little obstacle to the United States establishing a de facto Global Empire. Right now China is the only serious obstruction to that goal. William Blum ended Killing Hope with "Noam Chomsky has noted that the end of the Cold War has enabled the U.S. government to achieve its ultimate goal - "to set the terms of discussion" for virtually any international issue, and thus become the ultimate empire."(53) You can see that idea voiced in Becker's analysis. When viewed through that lens, so much becomes clear that our propaganda systems obscure. For instance, I have read for years that the disintegration of Yugoslavia was actually fomented by the West in a classic divide and conquer strategy. The ethnic strife we see in places like Yugoslavia and India were conscious strategies implemented by the colonial powers to divide and conquer the people, just like the "religious" friction in Northern Ireland today.
What is going on in Iraq today is more of the same. In the opinion of people like Chomsky, Becker and Mukhtar, what we're doing to Iraq is destroying a regional power so nobody in the Middle East gets the idea they can oppose our hegemony. What we did to Southeast Asia was similar. The goal is to eliminate regional power structures across the globe, essentially recolonizing the planet, turning it into our Global Plantation. As we eliminate regional powers like Yugoslavia and Iraq, we are eliminating any chance those regions can resist our domination. Our genocidal policies towards Iraq today are merely part of a long-term strategy by the United States and Britain to dismember Iraq, Yugoslavia and any other nation that poses an obstacle to our global empire. Once again, their opinions and analyses are not easily dismissed, but you'll never see that kind of discussion in our American mainstream media.
I don't think our Evil Empire will succeed. You don't have to be a student of biblical prophecy to see where events are likely headed. No tyranny lasts forever, and as the United States has been leading the proliferation of weaponry, it is going to become increasingly difficult to monopolize the means of violence. The Machiavellian people that run the United States act like nobody can ever fight back against our murderous bullying. People like Whitley Strieber have had visions of Washington D.C. getting destroyed one day by a "terrorist" bomb.(54) It takes no great stretch of the imagination to see that come to pass. When a bully backs somebody into a corner and keeps beating them, what recourse does the victim have? In order to survive they may run home and get a gun, changing the terms of engagement. People like Lieutenant Colonel Tom Bearden have publicly stated that people with the means and motive to crop dust Washington D.C. with anthrax are already in this country, and the question isn't if it will happen, but when.(55) Again, it takes no great imagination to see that coming.
And there are other ways the scenario could enfold. Living at the heart of the empire makes for comfortable lives. Hundreds of thousands of citizens in ancient Rome got free food, as it flowed in from the imperial domains. Today bananas that should be feeding Central American children instead are sold in United States supermarkets. Land that should be growing food for the African people instead grows food and other products for export to the industrialized world, in order to service African debt to the western banks, for money that mainly went into a dictator's Swiss bank account in the first place. Those living in the imperial center (The United States) are generally oblivious to those situations. Like the slaughterhouse kept at a respectful distance from town, or the forest clear cuts that are hidden by a strip of trees left standing, the suffering of those unwillingly supporting the empire are carefully hidden from view, and quite frankly, the imperial class prefers to keep it that way. It makes it easier to live with a "clean" conscience.
As Adam Smith made clear in his Wealth of Nations when writing about Great Britain, remarked on by people like Noam Chomsky when referring to the United States, nationalism is merely a handy tool to manipulate populations into marching off to war and other exploitations of average people, benefiting the elite at the top. The people running the American Empire have no particular allegiance to the American people. American stupidity is being cynically cultivated and used to get Americans to cheer the bombings, marching off to war and other acts of nationalistic fervor. Like in every militaristic nation, we tell ourselves we are the good guys as we kill off children. Truly good guys are not violent.
The people at the top of America's food chain are raking it in from all the carnage. That is not to say that Americans don't enjoy cheap gasoline and bananas, but capitalists have no particular allegiance to America. They will go wherever the profits are. Those cheap commodities come with being at the heart of the empire. We are beginning to see the long-term effects of the global profit-seeking mentality, with American jobs being shipped off to places like Indonesia, Mexico the Caribbean and Asia, where $20-per-hour American jobs became $2.00 per hour Mexican jobs and $2.00 per week Indonesian jobs. White, educated, American men are the most privileged group of people in world history and probably will be so for some time. But women, the uneducated and people of color do not cheer too loudly for the state of affairs in America, with a large and growing homeless population, the world's largest prison population and many other social indicators that nobody can cheer about.
The capitalists know what they are doing. The international treaties they rammed through like GATT and NAFTA are designed to make the world safe for profits and have the owners' interests "peculiarly attended to." Real wages in America have significantly declined since 1973, with a very slight increase in the recent years of "boom times." Average Americans are slowly joining the global oppressed class. The goal of global capitalism is to turn the entire planet into the Global Plantation, where plutocratic pockets of cognac-sippers exist throughout the world, and the slave driver class (Corporate managers, academics, professionals, etc., which are about 20% of the U.S. population.) keeps the vast majority of humanity in the yoke. Under that scenario, which has been unfolding for quite some time, it will probably always be preferable to be Joe Six-Pack in America than it will be to toil on a banana plantation in Guatemala, but the differences are slowly disappearing.
The power to help decide the world's future is in our hands. The United States is the greatest force of evil in the world today, visiting destruction, mayhem and exploitation onto the planet's population. I believe our fate rests in our hands. If we keep cheering each time our government bombs a defenseless nation, readily believing the lies told to rationalize it, our day of reckoning will be a grim one. Due to our delusions, complacency, greed and apathy, we have become a herd of lemmings, stampeding toward the cliff, heedless of the obvious signs pointing to what lies ahead. If we don't wake-up, and soon, a disastrous future awaits humanity, which will visit itself heavily upon our nation.
If we reclaim our responsibility and take control of our nation, taking back the decision-making ability we have abdicated to an elite group of power hungry people, we may have a gentle transition to the Thousand Years of Peace, Paradise Restored, or whatever your term is for a healed planet and humanity. We will reap what we sow. Love is the only answer I know of. Along with love comes truth, and the only "true faith" is love. If we continue to support our international violence and exploitation, a dark future awaits us. The choice is ours. Do we learn to love each other, or do we continue to murder children in the name of greed? Each one of us has a say in that outcome. What will it be?
I am not asking anybody to join a cause or get a new belief system. I am asking people, Americans in particular, to gather the courage to honestly look at what is happening and awaken your hearts to the truth. Those are people who are dying, the children paying the most dearly, so you can have cheap gasoline and the oil companies can keep raking it in. For those who want to take positive action, the new book The Common Good, another in a long series of interviews of Noam Chomsky by David Barsamian, deals with what people can do to make this a better world, and the back of the book is filled with lists of organizations that seem to be sincerely attempting the "good work." Some might think I am citing and relying too much on Noam Chomsky's work in this piece. Chomsky is about the world's most knowledgeable person on U.S. foreign policy, and I have great respect for his integrity, and I don't know of a better source for information in these areas. The Common Good is not the only book of its kind, but is a recent one. There are many people committed to making this a better world, though they are relatively few. You can find them if you try. Or you can act alone how you best see fit. Taking action is easy once you get out of your easy chair and awaken your heart. Refusing to cheer the violence would be a big step for most Americans. I know my old partner Dennis Lee definitely has the "better world" commitment, and has lived it in ways I sometimes find hard to believe. He is still at it, trying to bring free energy to the world. There are endless opportunities for helping hands and hearts.
As my book will cover in depth, we are on the brink of vast changes. We will either learn that we are all one, and unite in the bonds of love for all (including animals, mother earth and all living things), or our tenure on this gracious planet is finished. We will become one humanity, one world, one Creation. We will begin realizing that truth soon, or we will have another opportunity much later, on another planet, and probably while inhabiting another life form, and one that can't manipulate its environment (And if we don't get it then, we will get as many chances as we need, though it is a remedial journey I would rather not take.). The Pied Pipers of our march to doom today are accomplished students of the dark spiritual path, and have found that a humanity seeking comfort above all else is easy to manipulate. There is much more to say, but not here. Other parts of my web site deal with other important issues. The gentle will inherit the earth. Peace.
By Wade Frazier
A Panamanian Prelude
The Continuing War
Where Do We Stand Now, and What Can We Do?
Irak: The blood is on our hands...
By Wade Frazier
(1) The best of the books Dennis wrote is The Alternative, which is currently available by sending $12.95 to United Community Services of America at 3002 Route 23 North, Newfoundland, NJ 07435.
(2) For a good summary of how the U.S. bribed and blackmailed its way to forming the coalition, see Phyllis Bennis' "Bush's Tool and Victim", Covert Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, pp. 26-30. Bennis aptly described what we fabricated as the "Cash Register Coalition."
(3) See David Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace, particularly pp. 449-454. See also William Blum's Killing Hope, p. 321.
(4) Columbus' began the unfounded myth of Caribbean cannibalism. Columbus may have never met a Carib in the flesh. He concluded the Caribs were cannibals by interpreting Taino gestures. There is zero credible evidence that the natives of the Caribbean ever practiced cannibalism. >From interpreting Taino gestures Columbus reported the Caribbean was also populated by Cyclopes, people with noses like dogs who castrated their victims and drank their blood, and women warrior societies. Read Columbus' log of his first voyage for that reporting, particularly the entries of November 4th and 23rd, 1492, and January 13, 1493. Columbus' interpretation of Taino gestures were heavily influenced by the fantastic medieval tales Columbus avidly read. See also Arens, William. The Man-Eating Myth.
(5) Cortés, Hernan. Letters from Mexico, Anthony Pagden, ed., p. 245. In Cortés' second and third letter to the crown, he suddenly found evidence of cannibalism after he wore out his welcome with the Aztecs. Cortés' reporting of Aztec cannibalism is now generally considered to be a lie.
(6) See Chomsky, Noam. Deterring Democracy. pp. 179-214. Seeing Through the Media: Persian Gulf War, Jeffords and Rabinovitz, eds., dissects the media performance during the Gulf War quite well.
(7) See Stauber and Rampton, Toxic Sludge is Good for You!, pp. 172-174. See also Jeffords and Rabinovitz, Seeing Through the Media, pp. 12-13.
(8) I deal with that issue more thoroughly later in this piece.
(9) For those who find these ideas challenging or incredible, I invite you to read David Stannard's American Holocaust.
(10) See William Denevan's (ed.) The Native Population of the Americas in 1492, Russell Thornton's American Indian Holocaust and Survival, and Ward Churchill's A Little Matter of Genocide for contemporary discussions of that issue.
(11) For a brief summary of those kinds of depopulations, see Stannard, Before the Horror, pp. 46-48.
(12) An awe-inspiring piece of scholarship regarding what happened to the North American natives at the hands of the white man can be found in the recently published A Little Matter of Genocide by Ward Churchill. Regarding the general exploitation of the entire planet by Europe for the past five hundred years, Noam Chomsky's Year 501: The Conquest Continues is a good overview.
(13) See a summary of those events in Blum, Killing Hope, pp. 444-452.
(14) Actually, the rise of the corporation is related to Europe's conquest of the world. Spain's favored method of conquest was to have wealthy Spaniards privately finance the invasions, the profits being split between the crown and financier. When the English and Dutch got into the game, they formed corporations like the British and Dutch East Indian Companies, which were hybrids of businesses and governments. V. I. Lenin wrote Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism, published in 1916, which is prescient in seeing where the global capitalism game was headed. It is quite interesting to see discredited figures like Lenin and Marx (by the capitalistic West, at least) increasingly appear as prophets. I was an indoctrinated capitalist, and though I have no admiration for what happened in China and the Soviet Union (Two long-standing imperial cultures that tried embracing an egalitarian system and failed miserably.), the fatal flaws of corporate capitalism (believe it or not, greed is not a virtue) are becoming more and more evident as the world economy begins to collapse, and the people of the subjugated nations get closer to the edge each day.
(15) Most Americans have little idea of what I am writing about here. That is because the U.S. indoctrination and propaganda systems have done an impressive job of obscuring and inverting the truth of matters. If what I am writing here seems to come from the lunatic fringe, I suggest you read books like Manufacturing Consent and The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, Killing Hope by William Blum, A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn, Lies my Teacher Told Me by James Loewen, Deterring Democracy and Necessary Illusions by Noam Chomsky, and Triumph of the Market by Edward Herman. Z Magazine is a periodical that gives a gentle introduction to these ideas. The international relief organization Oxfam has published many papers regarding the IMF and World Bank and how their policies directly lead to starvation in the subject nations. Their work is readily available on the Internet.
(16) The United States General Accounting Office issued a report titled "The War on Drugs: Narcotics Control Efforts in Panama" which estimated drug traffic through Panama may have doubled in the two years following the United States' invasion of Panama. The puppet government the United States installed in Panama is likely heavily involved in that drug trade, as do key elements in every government that has illegal drugs flowing through its nation.
(17) If you begin studying the dark netherworld of United States covert operations, it isn't long before you become aware of the fact that organizations like the CIA have long been involved in drug running. They did it in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War era. They did it during the U.S.-sponsored wars in Central America in the 1980s, and I have no doubt they're doing it today. George Bush has been involved in covert operations probably since he was a child. To get an idea of George Bush's pedigree, read the Immaculate Deception: The Bush Crime Family Exposed, by Russell Bowen. Bush ran the CIA in the 1970s, and Noriega was literally on his payroll at that time. The Carter administration kicked Noriega off its payroll, but the Reagan-Bush administration not only put him back on the payroll, but also gave him a raise. Drug running is a wonderful way to raise money for covert operations and not have the funding subject to public scrutiny. The CIA is expert at that. Back when George Bush was running for president in 1988, Brett Kimberlin, a federal prison inmate in Oklahoma, claimed that Dan Quayle was a regular marijuana customer of his in the early 1970s. Just before Kimberlin was about to give a press conference a few days before the election, the prison officials suddenly canceled the press conference and threw Kimberlin into solitary confinement, in an obvious and illegal move to kill the story (See Lee and Solomon, Unreliable Sources, pp. 162-167.). The Iran-Contra scandal brought to light many dark acts by our government. One of the revelations that came out, which the U.S. government tried stifling, was that while we were running arms to our mercenary Contras in Central America, the pilots were flying back drugs into the United States. An important airstrip those planes came back to was in Mena Arkansas, in the backyard of then governor Bill Clinton, who was possibly taking a cut of the dough somehow, which is standard practice throughout America. CIA contract agent John Hull had a ranch in Costa Rica where many of those shipments came through, going both ways. Hull was deeply involved in the events that produced the Iran-Contra scandal, and he eventually made Interpol's most wanted list due to the criminal activity he was involved in on behalf of the United States (The U.S. refused to honor attempts to extradite him to face trial in Costa Rica.). CIA deep cover agent Gunther Russbacher said Quayle was a regular visitor to Hull's ranch while the arms/drug transshipments took place, and was deeply involved in the operation. Russbacher said that "Quayle was one of our bag boys." (See Rodney Stich, Defrauding America, p. 307.) And George Bush had the gall to say he was "out of the loop." The war on drugs has always been a fraud, and the biggest players are folks like the CIA, law enforcement, politicians, etc. The British Opium Wars with China is a classic case of literally opening a new drug market by waging war against the nation trying to stop the drug from coming in. Today the world's largest official drug pusher is the United States. During the Reagan-Bush years the U.S. government literally used the threat of trade sanctions and other vengeance to the Asian nations of Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea in order to get them to open their markets to U.S. tobacco companies. Since the U.S. muscle forced open those markets to U.S. tobacco companies, the smoking rates in those countries, especially among teenagers, has skyrocketed (See INFACT, Global Aggression, pp. 24-25.).
(18) The CIA has been involved in literally dozens of foreign assassination plots (See Blum, Killing Hope, p. 453.). Lending more credence to the American angle on Torrijos' death, during the Panama invasion the Torrijos Museum was specifically bombed by America, and four months after Panama was invaded Torrijos' tomb was attacked, the tomb opened and his remains removed by white men. The speculation is that the Skull and Bones Club, the eastern establishment secret society that literally robs graves to steal the remains of those who were obstacles of the Empire, performed the theft. George Bush belongs to the club. See Mark Fried, "The Preppy Pirate", Lies of Our Times, December 1990, p. 10.
(19) You can see Rodriguez' body laying in the street right where he was executed by an American soldier, with his camera still wrapped around his neck, in The Panama Deception.
(20) You can see the graves being exhumed in The Panama Deception. For an analysis of the disgraceful way the New York Times handled the issue of civilian Panamanian casualties, see Gary Grass, "Panama: Laundering Casualty Figures", Lies of Our Times, December 1990, pp. 9-11.
(21) Churchill wrote, "I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes (Chemical weapons are only) the application of Western science to modern warfare." See Chomsky, Deterring Democracy, p. 182.
(22) A good summary of what we did to Iran to keep the oil companies in the chips is found in William Blum's Killing Hope, pp. 64-72. For an inside look at what the Iranians found in the CIA vault at the American embassy, and how it further enraged them, see Philip Agee's On the Run, pp. 313-318 and elsewhere in the book. Agee proposed a files-for-hostages resolution to the Iran hostage crisis. Agee thought if the CIA gave the Iranian revolutionaries the CIA files, it would tell the truth about how the CIA was behind the terror-state the Shah presided over, and the Iranian people would know the truth, and the world would know the real story, and maybe there could be a healing for both nations. Needless to say, the U.S. would rather ship the Iranians weapons to use on their neighbors than give them the truth, as it demonstrated with its "October Surprise" deal (that the U.S. media and government still goes out of its way to deny, though investigators like Danny Casolaro and Paul Wilcher suddenly "committed suicide" as they were about the bring the issue into public awareness) and the Iran-Contra scandal.
(23) Quoted in Ray, Ellen. "The Killing Deserts", Lies of Our Times, April 1991, p. 3. Also see Rogers, Paul. "The Myth of the Clean War", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, pp. 26-30.
(24) See Rogers, Paul. "The Myth of the Clean War", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, pp. 26-30.
(25) Vartabedian, Ralph. "Ordnance: High Tech's Gory Side." Los Angeles Times, February 24, 1991. Quoted in Ray, Ellen. "The Killing Deserts", Lies of Our Times, April 1991, p. 4.
(26) The bomb shelter, milk factory and similar incidents are covered in Lies of Our Times, March 1991, pp. 3-7.
(27) See Blum, Killing Hope, pp. 281-282. See also Lee and Solomon, Unreliable Sources, pp. 128-130.
(28) Washington Post, February 27, 1991. Quoted in Ray, Ellen. "The Killing Deserts", Lies of Our Times, April 1991, p. 3. Also see Rogers, Paul. "The Myth of the Clean War", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, pp. 26-30. The Rockeye is an antipersonnel bomb that can carpet an acre with about 500,000 high-velocity shrapnel fragments.
(29) The charges by Ramsey Clark, the tribunal judgment and the ongoing effort by his organization to stop what he calls "genocide" in Iraq is readily available on the Internet at the time of this writing.
(30) See Rosenfeld, Nancy. "Buried Alive", Lies of Our Times, October 1991, pp. 12-13.
(31) For the songbook quote, Stannard's words and those clever messages, see Stannard's American Holocaust, p. 253. For a tame message to the Iraqis, the cover of Lies of Our Times in the November 1990 issue features an American soldier on an M-1 tank, and the tank's gun barrel is adorned with the professional looking label "Baghdad Express", with a smiling soldier sitting on the barrel penning more artwork onto it.
(32) William Blum. Killing Hope, p. 337.
(33) See Stannard, American Holocaust, pp. 253-254.
(34) See Hunter, Jane. "Sowing Disorder, Reaping Disaster", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, p. 25
(35) Those Project Censored stories can be obtained today in 20 Years of Project Censored News, by Carl Jensen and Project Censored. For an excellent summary of Bush's constantly changing rationale for the Gulf War that he was about to wage and the Gulf War in general, see William Blum's Killing Hope, pp. 320-338.
(36) Those situations are amply documented by Amnesty International reports, readily available on the Internet. Their main report regarding Kuwait after "liberation" is titled " Five Years of Impunity: Human Rights Concerns Since the Withdrawal of Iraqi Forces." In Arabia the women are only executed with the firing squad, being spared decapitation.
(37) The leading historian on the decision to use the atomic bombs on Japan is Gar Alperovitz, and his The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb renders inane any notion of noble intentions regarding our bombing of Japan. Read pages 458 to 471 in particular.
(38) That meeting with Glaspie is well known to have happened. The Iraqis produced the transcript of that meeting, and it is arguable that the United States knowingly lured Iraq into invading Kuwait. The text of that meeting, whose authenticity has never been effectively disputed by the U.S. government, can be found in sources like The Gulf War Reader (Cifry and Serf, eds.). See discussion of the possible conspiracy by America in Blum, Killing Hope, pp. 322-325.
(39) Some critics might take my terminology to task and say it was an "allied" bombing. Great Britain, whose neocolonial interests in the region were well served by the Gulf War, was the other "big" bomber with the U.S. By one count, the British dropped about 3,000 tons of bombs in the Gulf War, the United States dropped 88,500 tons. See Rogers, Paul. "The Myth of the Clean War", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, p. 28. I have seen varying tallies of the bombing tonnage, but the U.S. was always responsible for the vast majority of the bombing. Calling it the "U.S. bombing" is not misstating the facts by much, and in spirit is correct. It wasn't much of a coalition. It was lead by the current and former masters of the world (as it was in our recent bombing of Iraq again, when we acted alone against world opinion), with various bribed and blackmailed parties giving token support to the effort, like mercenaries.
(40) According to the United Nations' 1995 Demographic Notebook, table 22, in 1990 life expectancy at birth in Iraq was 77.43 yeas for men and 78.22 for women. In the United States in 1993 it was 72.20 years for men and 78.80 for women, making the average Iraqi life expectancy significantly higher than the United States' (more than two years). Since the Gulf War I have not found any reliable Iraqi statistics (and there may not be any), but with the skyrocketing children's death rate, I'll bet the life expectancy at birth is now significantly lower than the United States'.
(41) McGehee began his book's conclusion with: "The CIA is not now nor has it ever been a central intelligence agency. It is the covert action arm of the President's foreign policy advisers. In that capacity it overthrows or supports foreign governments while reporting "intelligence" justifying those activities (McGehee says he has never once seen a CIA official tell the truth to Congress. Instead comes a steady stream of lies.). It shapes its intelligence, even in such critical areas as Soviet nuclear weapon capability, to support presidential policy. Disinformation is a large part of its covert action responsibility, and the American people are the primary target of its lies. As noted in the Church Committee's final report, the Agency's task is to develop an international anti-Communist ideology. The CIA then links every egalitarian (which means "all men are created equal" - ed.) political movement to the scourge of international communism. This then prepares the American people and many in the world community for the second stage, the destruction of those movements. For egalitarianism is the enemy and it must not be allowed to exist."
(42) See a discussion of Washington's plan, called nothing less than "criminal" and a "conspiracy" by its author, in Allan Eckert's That Dark and Bloody River, pp. 439-442.
(43) See discussion of Jefferson's Indian policy in Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage, pp. 346-350.
(44) This might seem a radical notion to some. There is still lively controversy over just what the Civil War was fought for. Slavery was certainly an issue, and to a degree it was a moral one. But America was not exactly in the moral lead among the "civilized" nations on that issue, being one of the last "civilized" nations to abolish it, among the last to recognize Haiti's government, and other issues. Many Southerners feel the war was an imperial one, and books like The South was Right! (Kennedy and Kennedy) make that case, though I feel their logic is a little strained, like making the case that the blacks liked being slaves. There are conspiracy theories that have Lincoln saving the Union by keeping a united nation, as Europe fomented the war and wanted to divide, conquer and recolonize America. In looking at history and the rise and fall of empires, to me it is fairly clear that holding the empire together was the underlying reason, whatever external pressures there might have been. Even though the United States had an elected emperor, it was and is an empire nevertheless, and no empire easily gives up its lands. I believe the imperial analysis of the Civil War holds the most water, but not exclusive of other factors, like abolition.
(45) Christopher Simpson's Blowback gives an overview of that situation with the Nazis and America. Noam Chomsky's What Uncle Sam Really Wants gives a brief overview of American Foreign policy since 1945, with many references to find out much more. Secret Agents, edited by Garber and Walkowitz lays out the Rosenberg Affair, which today looks like judicial murder by the United States.
(46) The best single summary of these situations is found in William Blum's Killing Hope.
(47) To get familiar with that situation, if you aren't already, read publications from Oxfam, one of the premier relief organizations in the world. Many papers of theirs are available on the Internet.
(48) Clark actually prosecuted his complaint at the International War Crimes Tribunal, and in 1992 and the Tribunal ruled the United States had in fact committed the war crimes Clark charged them with. Unfortunately such a tribunal does not have any teeth that can bring the American officials convicted to any sort of reckoning. The ruling has gone ignored by the United States.
(49) A good summary of the East Timor situation is in Herman and Chomsky, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, and for more current news on the situation, see Chomsky, Power and Prospects. The documentary video Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media gives an easily digestible account of events in East Timor and the American media's complicity in that genocide. From a pre-invasion population of about 700,000, the death toll to the East Timorese people is reckoned conservatively at 100,000 and more realistically at 200,000. But even those numbers may be seriously understating the true death toll. Gabriel Defert authored what is considered by some to the best analysis of the Timorese deaths in his Timor Est le Genocide Oublié. That 1992 paper estimates that 308,000 people may have lost their lives in the Indonesian invasion and occupation. That works out to 44% of the population. The Jewish people may have lost "only" 33% of their population in the World War II Holocaust. Also Indonesian professor George Aditjondro estimated 300,000 Timorese deaths based on his analysis of Indonesian Army data. See East Timor: A People Shattered By Lies and Silence, by Professor António Barbedo de Magalhães, of the Oporto University, Portugal (published July 17, 1996). It is available on the Internet as I write this.
(50) That offer was reported in the world media on April 13 and 14, 1990, in places like the Boston Globe, Reuters and a later offer was reported in the London Financial Times on December 18th, 1990. See Chomsky, Deterring Democracy, p. 208, 214, n. 61.
(51) Numerous articles have appeared in the U.S. media the past few days regarding the spying of the "weapons inspectors" (Washington Post, January 6th, 8th and 9th ; New York Times, January 8th; Reuters, January 8th; The Washington Post January 6th article by Barton Gellman is the most informative and shocking of them all.).
(52) It is published on the International Action Center web site, titled "After the Bombing, What is Next."
(53) Blum, Killing Hope, p. 383.
(54) Strieber relates a number of stark future visions in his "Communion" books, the destruction of Washington D.C. only one of them. Ultimately though, Strieber's work is optimistic and hopeful, with more positive visions than negative ones.
(55) I heard Bearden make that statement at a conference hosted by Richard Hoagland in Seattle in September 1998.
Irak: The blood is on our hands...
By Wade Frazier
Who Run USA?
USA´s Rulers -They Are All Jews !
Louis Farrakhan´s Speech
The Protocols of Zion