Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks
You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly
Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain
You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud
You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins
How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do
Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul
And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand o’er your grave
’Til I’m sure that you’re dead
Bob Dylan, "Masters of War," 1963
America, the exceptionalist nation...
USA, USA, USA - the chant of nationalism, exceptionalism, and hubris:
"...for we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world, we shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all professors for Gods sake; we shall shame the faces of many of gods worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into Curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whether we are going."
The far-reaching, the boundless future will be the era of American greatness. In its magnificent domain of space and time, the nation of many nations is destined to manifest to mankind the excellence of divine principles; to establish on earth the noblest temple ever dedicated to the worship of the Most High -- the Sacred and the True. Its floor shall be a hemisphere -- its roof the firmament of the star-studded heavens, and its congregation an Union of many Republics, comprising hundreds of happy millions, calling, owning no man master, but governed by God's natural and moral law of equality, the law of brotherhood -- of "peace and good will amongst men.". . .
Yes, we are the nation of progress, of individual freedom, of universal enfranchisement. Equality of rights is the cynosure of our union of States, the grand exemplar of the correlative equality of individuals; and while truth sheds its effulgence, we cannot retrograde, without dissolving the one and subverting the other. We must onward to the fulfilment of our mission -- to the entire development of the principle of our organization -- freedom of conscience, freedom of person, freedom of trade and business pursuits, universality of freedom and equality. This is our high destiny, and in nature's eternal, inevitable decree of cause and effect we must accomplish it. All this will be our future history, to establish on earth the moral dignity and salvation of man -- the immutable truth and beneficence of God. For this blessed mission to the nations of the world, which are shut out from the life-giving light of truth, has America been chosen; and her high example shall smite unto death the tyranny of kings, hierarchs, and oligarchs, and carry the glad tidings of peace and good will where myriads now endure an existence scarcely more enviable than that of beasts of the field. Who, then, can doubt that our country is destined to be the great nation of futurity?
We cannot escape our destiny, nor should we try to do so. The leadership of the free world was thrust upon us two centuries ago in that little hall of Philadelphia. In the days following World War II, when the economic strength and power of America was all that stood between the world and the return to the dark ages, Pope Pius XII said, “The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish actions. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind.”
We are indeed, and we are today, the last best hope of man on earth.
America is an exceptional nation, but not because of what it has achieved or accomplished. America is exceptional because, unlike any other nation, it is dedicated to the principles of human liberty, grounded on the truths that all men are created equal and endowed with equal rights. These permanent truths are "applicable to all men and all times," as Abraham Lincoln once said.
America's principles have created a prosperous and just nation unlike any other nation in history. They explain why Americans strongly defend their country, look fondly to their nation's origins, vigilantly assert their political rights and civic responsibilities, and remain convinced of the special meaning of their country and its role of the world. It is because of its principles, not despite them, that America has achieved greatness.
To this day, so many years after the American Revolution, these principles—proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and promulgated by the United States Constitution—still define America as a nation and a people. Which is why friends of freedom the world over look to the United States not only as an ally against tyrants and despots but also as a powerful beacon to all those who strive to be free.
at The Heritage Foundation., "Why is America Exceptional?" 2010
This isn't a new phenomenon, it is older than the nation itself... born as a reaction formation to years of derision, abuse and "POME-dom" under the thumb of overlords, we fought hard to gain the upper hand and are still fighting within ourselves to prove our superiority while still believing we are derided, abused and, well....POMEs of a sort - that someone, or everyone, wants to put us back under the "thumb" - "They hate us because of our freedoms," "They want to destroy our democracy, "They want to create a ___________ [insert favorite term here]...(more recently - 'North American Caliphate')," "It's our duty to spread Democracy"..........
Variations of this list have been used to justify attacking Grenada, justify supporting then replacing the French in an attempt to force Vietnam back into submission, justify the Cold War, justify the Korean War, justify entering WWII in Europe (we were attacked by the Japanese), justify our involvement in WWI, justify our invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs and Spanish American War (along with the Phillipines, Guam and Puerto Rico), justify overthrowing the government of Iraq, justify....
For a more comprehensive list of our love of war - (Imperialism by any other name is still Imperialism) and the timeline (look at it... every 3 to 5 years, we are in a war somewhere on the planet and against somebody, real or imagined) .....
|Courtesy of Wikipedia|
That's what we do - we call it "spreading Democracy" and "defending freedom." Rarely, if ever, have we been guilty of "spreading democracy"or "defending freedom." Altruistic, we are not.
Generally, what we are doing is killing a lot of innocent people, stealing wealth, destabalizing entire regions of the planet, dictating to other nations and their peoples how they must be; and deriding, abusing, and putting nations and their peoples under our "thumb," both militarily and financially, all while building the coffers of the Military Industrial Complex (you know them - the corporate war-makers about whom Eisenhower warned) and using war to keep a dying U.S. "capitalist" system going.
If we don't have a war to fight, we create one; if we can't do it overtly, we do it covertly... that's how we roll.
Islamophobia and Perpetual War:
"Islamophobia is a contrived fear or prejudice fomented by the existing Eurocentric and Orientalist global power structure. It is directed at a perceived or real Muslim threat through the maintenance and extension of existing disparities in economic, political, social and cultural relations, while rationalizing the necessity to deploy violence as a tool to achieve “civilizational rehab” of the target communities (Muslim or otherwise). Islamophobia reintroduces and reaffirms a global racial structure through which resource distribution disparities are maintained and extended. "
Since the last world war. Korea, Vietnam, ... all the way to the declaration of perpetual war - The "War on Terror" (or, as I prefer to call it, a war on a noun), the US and its captive "allies," have perpetuated war on other nations and people using fear to get support.
The latest buzzword of fear is "terrorism" to boost nationalism and distrust of anyone not "us."
9/11, ISIS, San Bernadino, Je Suis Charlie, .....National and International displays of "sympathy and comaraderie" used to boost support of the continuing war on a noun...
Please note, the 1812 attack by England, The Pig War (Washington... really, there was a Pig War over the disputed San Juan Islands - Canada claimed they owned them and the US claimed they owned them), Pearl Harbor, and WTC (both attacks), (San Bernadino and Orlando- there is no information that these were anything other than "lone wolf" scenarios) are the only successful attacks on US soil by an outside nation or organization in our 232 years (Treaty of 1783 to 2015) but the US has now expanded its covert war to undeclared battlefields (within sovereign nations) attacking thousands of targets in Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia. We have US troops in, at least, 160 nations (there are about 190 nations in the world) with 800 miltary bases girdling the Earth like some giant slave bracelet.
From Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, Jeremy Scahill, starting on pg. 23:
... Rumsfeld had no interest in being the support team for the CIA, and the Agency's emerging centrality in the growing US war did not sit well with the defense secretary. Rumsfeld had nothing but contempt for the Clinton administration, and he, Cheney and their neoconservative allies thought that the CIA had become a watered-down liberal iteration of its former self. Covert action, they believed, had been handcuffed by lawyers and unnecessary and intrusive congressional oversight that would hinder what they perceived as life-and-death operations that needed to be conducted in secret.
Although Cofer Black shared Rumsfeld's zeal for killing "terrorists," that was not enough. Rumsfeld wanted nothing to do with CIA oversight bureaucrats, and he didn't want his forces under CIA control. Cheney had made clear that under this administration, CIA lawyers and congressional committees would not be viewed as defenders of the law or as part of a necessary system of checks and balances. As Rumsfeld was fond of saying, these institutions were a hindrance to "taking the fight to the terrorists." Lawyers would be consulted to rubber-stamp secret policies and only certain, select members of Congress would be consulted. Briefings to Congress, including mandated full-access briefings to the elite "Gang of Eight" congressional members who were historically briefed on intelligence operations regarding covert actions, would be censored and redacted internally at the White House, meaning a sanitized version would be given to US lawmakers.
In the months after 9/11, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their teams launched several major initiatives aimed at ensuring that no bureaucracy would stand in the way of their plans for the unchecked use of the darkest US forces. Cheney wanted to disabuse the CIA of the idea that it had any kind of independence. Rather than having the Agency serve as the president's premier fact-checking and intelligence resource, the CIA's new job would be to reinforce predetermined policy. Cheney wanted to gut the interagency reviews of proposed lethal actions that were standard under Clinton. Soon after 9/11, the White House convened a group of senior administration lawyers whose job it would be to legally justify torture, kidnapping and assassination. The group secretly dubbed itself the "War Council" and was led by David Addington, Cheney's counsel and longtime adviser who had worked with him on the "minority report" defending Iran-Contra. It also included White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and his deputy, Tim Flanigan; the Pentagon's general counsel, William Haynes; and Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo. The War Council explicitly excluded the State Department's general counsel and other military and Justice Department lawyers who had historically been included in reviewing legal structures for combating terrorism. This point was clear: this group was to develop legal justification for tactics in a covert dirty war, not to independently assess their legality.
To fight its global war, the White House made extensive use of the tactics Cheney had long advocated. Central to its "dark side" campaign would be the use of presidential findings that, by their nature, would greatly limit any effective congressional oversight. According to the National Security Act of 1947, the president is required to issue a finding before undertaking a covert action. The law states that the action must comply with US law and the Constitution. The presidential finding signed by Bush on September 17, 2001, was used to create a highly classified, secret program code-named Greystone. GST, as it was referred to in internal documents, would be an umbrella under which many of the most clandestine and legally questionable activities would be authorized and conducted in the early days of the Global War on Terror (GWOT). It relied on the administration's interpretation of the AUMF passed by Congress, which declared any al Qaeda suspect anywhere in the world a legitimate target. In effect, the presidential finding declared all covert actions to be preauthorized and legal, which critics said violated the spirit of the National Security Act. Under GST, a series of compartmentalized programs were created that, together, effectively formed a global assassination and kidnap operation. Authority for targeted kills was radically streamlined. Such operations no longer needed direct presidential approval on a case-by-case basis. Black, the head of the Counterterrorism Center, could now directly order hits.
.....In 1998, the US Congress passed legislation declaring that it is "the policy of the United States not to expel, extradite, or otherwise effect the involuntary return of any person to a country in which there are substantial grounds for believing the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture, regardless of whether the person is physically present in the United States." Bush's post- 9/ 11 presidential directives threw those concerns out the door, and the CIA intensified its use of what human rights advocates came to call "torture taxis."
As the new kill/capture program began to kick into full gear in late 2001, the CIA's number-three man at the time, Buzzy Krongard, declared the "war on terror" would be "won in large measure by forces you do not know about, in actions you will not see and in ways you may not want to know about." A US official directly involved in rendering captives told the Washington Post, "We don't kick the (expletive) out of them We send them to other countries so they can kick the (expletive) out of them." Another official who supervised the capture and transfer of prisoners told the paper, "If you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you probably aren't doing your job," adding,
"I don't think we want to be promoting a view of zero tolerance on this. That was the whole problem for a long time with the CIA." Cofer Black put a fine point on it when he told Congress about the new "operational flexibility" employed in the war on terror. "This is a very highly classified area, but I have to say that all you need to know is that there was a before 9/11, and there was an after 9/11," Black said. "After 9/11 the gloves come off."
These acts did not end with Bush. The Drone Program started under GW Bush has expanded under the Obama Administration as were the "Kill Lists".
From Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, Jeremy Scahill, pg.350 - "The Year of the Drone":
Yemen and the United States, 2010 — As thousands of US troops deployed and redeployed to Afghanistan, the covert campaign in undeclared battlefields elsewhere was widening. US drone strikes were hitting Pakistan weekly, while JSOC forces were on the ground in Somalia and Yemen and pounding the latter with air strikes. All the while, al Qaeda affiliates in those countries were gaining strength. When I met again with Hunter, who worked with JSOC under Bush and continued to work in counterterrorism under the Obama administration, I asked him what changes had taken place from one administration to the next. He quickly shot back, "There's no daylight. If anything, JSOCWe have entered the age of attacking anyone, anywhere and at any time
operations have intensified under this administration, there's been a greater intensity in what they're being asked to do, where they're being asked to do it and how they're being asked to do it," he told me. "There are things that are transpiring now, around the globe, that would be unthinkable to the Bush administration, not just because of vocal opposition within the cabinet, or within the Pentagon, but because they would not have the ultimate support of the president. In this administration, the president has made a political and military calculation — and this is his prerogative — that it is best to let the Joint Special Operations Command run wild, like a mustang, in pursuit of the objectives that [Obama] has set."
The Obama administration, Hunter told me, worked diligently to bring an end to the CIA- JSOC divide and to bring all forces together in a unified global antiterrorist campaign, though it would be an uphill task. What became clear in the first year of the Obama administration was that JSOC had won the decade-long war of ideas within the US counterterrorism community. Its paramilitary-focused direct actions would become the central strategy in the new administration's various small wars, not just Afghanistan. "The operations have been institutionalized to a point where it is an integral part of any campaign, in any theater, and at some point we crossed a threshold where Joint Special Operations Command is the campaign," Hunter told me. "In places like Yemen, it is Joint Special Operations Command, and that's it. And they make the rules. It's their house, and they do what it is that they need to do." As the JSOC-ization of US counter terrorism policy spread, the CIA was steadily increasing its paramilitary capabilities and expanding its drone strikes and target lists. In a way, it resembled a mini turf war between JSOC and the CIA over who would mow through the kill lists faster.
By early 2010, there were at least three entities within the US government that were maintaining kill lists: the National Security Council, which Obama dealt with directly during weekly meetings; the CIA; and the US military. The CIA had its own "parallel, more cloistered process" for selecting targets and executing strikes, which were for the most part in Pakistan. The NSC and the DoD had little oversight of that process. Obama exercised final authority over "more complex and risky strikes" in Pakistan. At least twice a month, the CIA's top lawyer would receive a file from the Counterterrorism Center (often no more than two to five pages long) containing targeting recommendations and intelligence. The lawyer would hold small meetings that included CTC lawyers and the head of the National Clandestine Service, formerly known as the Directorate of Operations, which coordinates the CIA's covert operations across the globe. Lawyers from the White House and the National Security Council would review the CIA's list, and the Gang of Eight on Capitol Hill would have to approve it, as well.
The military list, according to reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin, "was really more than one, since the clandestine special operations troops" from JSOC had their own internal list. These lists often overlapped, but as Priest and Arkin noted, "even these highly classified kill lists were not coordinated among the three primary agencies involved in creating them"
A year into his presidency, Obama and his counterterrorism team were fully committed to formalizing the process for conducting assassinations against terror suspects and other "militants." They had, in their own way, embraced the neoconservative vision of the world as the battlefield, and the kill lists they built would encompass the globe. Unlike President Bush, who often delegated decisions on assassinations to commanders and CIA officials, Obama insisted on personally signing off on most strikes. On Tuesday afternoons, the president would preside over meetings that senior officials dubbed "Terror Tuesdays," during which proposed targets would be "nominated" for spots on the kill list. Many of them were known operatives in Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, but at times they were only loosely affiliated with other suspects or were simply residents of a particular region of a country.
War is a Racket:
In the 1930's, retired United States Marine Corps Major General and two time Medal of Honor recipient Smedley D. Butler toured the nation speaking of war profiteering and the commercial benefits of war:
WAR is a racket. It always has been.It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.And what is this bill?
This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.
Not much has changed... It appears only to have gained more presence and momentum
2016 Election and beyond...
The election is done. The dye is cast... The Electoral College in this nation picked another "president" to handle the wars with which this nation has grown accustomed. In fact, the concept of attacking sovereign nations is something with which this nation has grown accustomed.
Imagine that. We break international law, commit war crimes and slaughter people but it's just another day....
We have grown so accustomed to the on-going attacks on people around the world, we didn't bother asking a single question about Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali, and the rest of the nations in which we have sent JSOC, the CIA, and US military might, during the candidate debates.
Sure, a little lip service was given about Syria but only to advance the idea, on both sides, "more war is good."
Clinton espoused her "Red Scare" Cold War talking points...
Moderator: If you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo?
Hillary Clinton: Well, the situation in Syria is catastrophic. And every day that goes by, we see the results of the regime by [Syrian President Bashar] Assad in partnership with the Iranians on the ground, the Russians in the air, bombarding places, in particular Aleppo, where there are hundreds of thousands of people, probably about 250,000 still left. And there is a determined effort by the Russian air force to destroy Aleppo in order to eliminate the last of the Syrian rebels who are really holding out against the Assad regime.
Russia hasn't paid any attention to ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL]. They're interested in keeping Assad in power. So I, when I was secretary of state, advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones. We need some leverage with the Russians, because they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution, unless there is some leverage over them. And we have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground.
But I want to emphasise that what is at stake here is the ambitions and the aggressiveness of Russia. Russia has decided that it's all in, in Syria. And they've also decided who they want to see become president of the United States, too, and it's not me. I've stood up to Russia. I've taken on [President Vladimir] Putin and others, and I would do that as president.
I think wherever we can cooperate with Russia, that's fine. And I did as secretary of state. That's how we got a treaty reducing nuclear weapons. It's how we got the sanctions on Iran that put a lid on the Iranian nuclear programme without firing a single shot. So I would go to the negotiating table with more leverage than we have now. But I do support the effort to investigate for crimes, war crimes committed by the Syrians and the Russians and try to hold them accountable.
While Trump channeled his inner Curtis LeMay/ General Buck Turgidson
Donald Trump: She talks tough against Russia. But our nuclear programme has fallen way behind, and they've gone wild with their nuclear programme. Not good. Our government shouldn't have allowed that to happen. Russia is new in terms of nuclear. We are old. We're tired. We're exhausted in terms of nuclear. A very bad thing.
Now, she talks really tough against Putin and against Assad. She talks in favour of the rebels. She doesn't even know who the rebels are. You know, every time we take rebels, whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else, we're arming people. And you know what happens? They end up being worse than the people.
Look at what she did in Libya with [late leader Moammar] Gadhafi. Gadhafi's out. It's a mess. And, by the way, ISIS has a good chunk of their oil. I'm sure you probably have heard that. It was a disaster. Because the fact is, almost everything she's done in foreign policy has been a mistake and it's been a disaster.
But if you look at Russia, just take a look at Russia, and look at what they did this week, where I agree, she wasn't there, but possibly she's consulted. We sign a peace treaty. Everyone's all excited. Well, what Russia did with Assad and, by the way, with Iran, who you made very powerful with the dumbest deal perhaps I've ever seen in the history of deal-making, the Iran deal, with the $150bn, with the $1.7bn in cash, which is enough to fill up this room.
No real commentary on the US expansion of war across the globe. No addressing of the now acceptable "War On Terror" that justifies our continued imperialism and attempts to rule the planet, (a la Dick Cheney), spreading our personal brand of oppression.
Afghanistan is the location of the longest American war. It has now been 15 long, bloody and destructive years of terrorist inspiring; earth, water and air destroying bloodletting, but neither candidate could take 5 minutes to discuss America's love of war for profit's sake.
From The Washington Post, June 17, 2016:
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, American taxpayers have spent $68 billion to support Afghanistan’s army and police force. An additional $45 billion has been spent on direct humanitarian assistance, according to the special inspector general for Afghan Reconstruction.
But the total cost of the Afghan war is far greater than that, said Neta Crawford, a professor of political science at Boston University and co-director of the Cost of War Project.
Since 2001, Crawford estimates, the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department have spent a total of $783 billion on Afghanistan, factoring in the costs of deploying troops and diplomats. That figure balloons to $1.8 trillion if future interest on the national debt, veterans’ care and other long-term spending is considered, she estimates.
In an interview, Crawford said it was “absurdity” to keep “throwing resources” into the conflict. She noted that both Afghan civilian and military causalities are at record highs.
“It’s clear you cannot kill your way out of this conflict,” Crawford said. “And guess what — we don’t have the money for this.”
Let's take a quick look at the cost of our nation's wars since 2001. (From the Costs of War Project)
....That is $4.792 Trillion to date.
And human cost? From direct action:
...From direct and indirect action, the numbers swell to estimates of between 800,000 and 1.3 million and counting.
Our government has been directly involved in de-stabilization efforts, overtly and covertly, in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Somalia, Mali, Nigeria, Libya, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Haiti, Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Vietnam, Pakistan, China.... The list goes on and on and on.
So, US, we must ask ourselves...
Do, we -as the US populace, as members of the human race, as citizens of the planet, as life in the universe - even care that we are a singularly unified destructive force?
Do we understand that by our imperialism; by our outright, violent aggression, we create our own oppression?
We teach hate and fear then are dumb-founded when it comes back to haunt us. As a nation, we have prevailing attitude of "How dare anyone hate us....Are we not exceptional?"
What makes us anymore exceptional than those we focus our inhumanity, violence and oppression?