Read the keystone essay – The American Empire
Since I noticed that every day now as many Americans are dying in the Trump Pandemic as died during the 9/11 attacks I have thought about how different public and government reactions have been.
How America Tortures by M. P. Denbeaux, & Seton Hall University. (2019) This report includes eight drawings by Abu Zubaydah, a Guantanamo detainee, illustrating his experiences during torture sessions. Abu Zubaydah is also a figure in the movie discussed below. This report is really a short book, some 95 pages including extensive notes, that covers all aspects of the CIA torture program. Download the report here>>>>. Here are screen grabs of the Abu Zubaydah drawings —>> read more –>>
Recently Noted – Overthrow: 100 Years of US Meddling & Regime Change, from Iran to Nicaragua to Hawaii to CubaAugust 22, 2019
We’ve written quite a bit about the US Empire. A key component of this US foreign policy is regime change. Here is a list of the posts here on this topic. Recently Democracy Now! ran a 22 minute discussion of the history of US regime change actions over the last 100 years plus. It features discussion with Stephen Kinzer the author of many books on the history of American foreign policy.
Prompted by President Jimmy Carter, here is a list, self-described to “not pretend to be definitive or absolutely complete.”, of some of our adventures to bring democratic values to others in need.
The recent movie The Post (about the Washington Post newspaper and its involvement with the Pentagon Papers – see below) poses interesting reminders of the power of the US government to rain death on countries that fall under our imperial domain and simultaneously keep the American people in the dark or asleep. Iconic image of “pacification” campaign during Vietnam War In the case of the Vietnam War (1950 – 1975)1 it took Daniel Ellsberg’s theft —>> read more –>>
- American "advisors" joined the French in 1950. The US government paid for most of the French military effort until their ignominious defeat at Dien Bin Phu in 1953 led to their withdrawal and the Geneva Accords of 1954
Intervention in Iran – 65th Anniversary Iranian Premier Mohammed Mossadegh ca. 1951 On August 19, 1953 President Eisenhower authorized the CIA to support British efforts to launch a coup against the popularly elected government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in favor of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. At immediate issue were plans by Mossadegh to nationalize the British owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and allegations that Mossadegh was in bed with the Soviet Union. Here —>> read more –>>
Cost of War – $5.6 trillion for US wars 2001-2017 The Watson Institute at Brown University has just released an updated report: United States Budgetary Costs of Post 9/11 Wars Through FY2018: A Summary of the $5.6 Trillion in Costs for the US Wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Post 9/11 Veterans Care and Homeland Security by Neta C. Crawford. This report includes many war costs that the official Pentagon figure of $1.52 trillion leaves —>> read more –>>
- Department of Defense, “Estimated Cost to Each Taxpayer for the Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.” July 2017, http://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2018/Section_1090_FY17_NDAA_Cost_ of_Wars_to_Per_Taxpayer July_2017.pdf
- page 32 of the Watson report
- Wikipedia provides an extensive, exhaustive even, list of estimates: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War
Corrective History The NYTimes posted a bit of Turkey Day corrective history: “Most Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong” By MAYA SALAM “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth,” from 1914, by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe borrowed from NYTimes Adaptive Turkeys The Trump pardoned two turkeys yesterday at the White House. But, no surprise for us here in Columbia County, wild turkeys are doing just fine. Once again the NYTimes, ever on spot for trending issues, has an article —>> read more –>>
Americans are unable to see the ironies in complaints about outsiders like the Russians attempting to influence our elections. We have a long history of conducting regime change.
Pete Seeger wrote a song “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” in 1967 that became closely associated with President Johnson and the Vietnam War. Does Trump remember it?
A report about an amendment to the defense budget that would end the 2001 AUMF (Authorization for the Use of Military Force) that has provided legal cover for more than forty military actions around the world without Congressional oversight, just the decisions of three Presidents.
In the context of ceaseless angst and drum beating by politicians and experts over the threat of Iran to us and the rest of the world there is new evidence that the Iraq War has redounded to the benefit of Iran. In the July 15, 2017 NYTimes Tim Arango wrote an article about Iran’s quite comprehensive penetration of Iraqi society and government and the pipeline that exists between Iraq and the fighting in Syria. “Iran —>> read more –>>
Netflix has just released War Machine onto the streaming media waters. This movie fits into the long tradition of American media mostly puffing up our military exploits or turning them into light tragi-comedy. Brad Pitt, applying the acting style of a trimmed down George Clooney, portrays the fictional General Glen McMahon. Broadly and obviously based on the story of the real General Stanley McChrystal who took over the War in Afghanistan in June 2009 only to be ousted —>> read more –>>
Recently I stopped at the US Marine Corp War Memorial in Washington DC. Walking around the base with its lengthy list of Marine engagements since 1775, now a double row on several sides, I thought, “How many of these can faithfully be considered to be in defence of the homeland? How many expansionist wars within North America and how many imperialist ventures around the world?” Run through them yourself and see what you think. Keep —>> read more –>>
John le Carré, author of many beloved spy novels, e.g., Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy, wrote this piece critiquing the then upcoming War on Iraq in January 2003. Besides pointing out the very strong connections between big oil and the Bushes, many other elements of the critique continue to be applicable to current American foreign policy. Here it is reproduced in its entirety: The United States of America Has Gone Mad by John le Carré Times —>> read more –>>
The other day I stumbled on this Tom Lehrer song, “Send in the Marines”. This is as good a summary of American foreign policy as there is, though to update the lyrics for the Obama version just substitute “drones” for “Marines”. Here is a YouTube video performance, perhaps from the That Was The Week That Was (the American version on NBC not the BBC original).
On March 19, 2003 George Bush, Dick Cheney and the cabal surrounding them launched their war of Shock and Awe on Iraq. The stated purpose was “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.” This war that no one is celebrating was based on a nest of lies and deception not only by the President but many others in the government. —>> read more –>>
Having successfully avoided much of the national moment for our politicians to blather on about the true meaning of 9/11, I was struck this morning by parallel between our “War on Terror” and our longest war, the “War on Drugs” (I have written earlier about this here). Some may be offended initially by this comparison. The War on Drugs was invented for the most cynical of purposes by one of our more craven Presidents, President Nixon ((I —>> read more –>>
Submitted Today to Hudson’s Register Star Letter to the Editor May 6, 2011 As our politicians and the media continue the “debate” about our public budgets, Federal and state, we need to continue to ask that they have a debate that includes all aspects of income and expenditures. I want to focus here on our spending in the Dept. of Defense. Let’s just focus on the more than 750 military bases outside of the US —>> read more –>>
The return of George Bush to the national scene with the release of his memoir, Decision Points, once again roused feelings of anger and despair. Anger that we have such a weak sense of ethics, basic right and wrong stuff, in our culture. This man and his cohorts lied, aggressively distorted facts, and mislead the country into what has turned out to be a disastrous adventure in aggression in Iraq. If we had any real politics in —>> read more –>>
There is much to applaud in Obama’s speech: control of nuclear weapons, assertion of human and civil rights, multilateralism in conflict resolution and enforcement, denial of religion as a justification for oppression of others. But, we come to a significant claim, one that the US government has asserted for my entire lifetime, and which the US media and populace would support: “Whatever the mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the United States —>> read more –>>
Americans do not like to use the word “empire” in reference to the country’s role in the world. Our Presidents uniformly role out rhetoric that sounds just like Obama’s. Here is a paragraph from his Inaugural speech: And so, to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born, know that America is a friend of each nation, and every man, —>> read more –>>
An article in today’s NYTimes about cyber crime, malware, etc. suggests to me that another line of attack may be through the Internet against our utilities, telecoms, or financial institutions. There have already been massive attacks against whole countries with successful breakdowns that lasted for hours and days. Ukraine, Lithuania, and Georgia were targets over the last year. My memory is that suspicions fell to the Russian government because the attacks, in these cases massive —>> read more –>>
November 1, 2008 So, here I am having coffee and my favorite lunch, a toasted bagel with peanut butter thinking about the approaching election. Finally this will conclude what has been an overly long campaign, but one with enormous pleasures. Assuming that Obama is not just a curiosity to all those throngs at his campaign events, we will have a President who seems bright, competent, and level-headed with an adequate level if toughness. I don’t —>> read more –>>
Through our friend Esther Hanig we attended a showing of Errol Morris’s new documentary, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara at the Kennedy Library in Dorchester MA on December 14, 2003. This documentary is an extended adventure into the historico-biography of Robert S. McNamara, most famous as the Secretary of Defense during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. The movie intersperses close up head shots of McNamara (always shown off —>> read more –>>