In Part 1 of this series I examined how global elites have shaped the world so as to advance their own personal wealth and power. They have done this through a variety of means, including economic trickery, political manoeuvring and through both hot and cold warfare. Since World War II, the Western elites mostly associated with the USA and Europe have acted through the power and reach of the USA and its apparatus of public and private organisations that collectively constitute the US War Machine. This article briefly describes the elements of the US War Machine and then covers the main components of the toolkit deployed against targeted nations. Part 3 deals with narrative as a tool of war.
The US War Machine has become one of the distinguishing features of that nation. Since World War II, both the state bodies and private industry have combined to form what is collectively terms a military industrial complex of huge magnitude so that in 2018 the US military budget rose to over $700 billion (including budgets for the various intelligence agencies totaling some $71.1 billion) and further allocations for interfering in other nations, which in 2014 was some $47.8 billion. These numbers do not even include budget allocations for outside the Defense Department budget, such as for atomic weapons research and production, Veterans Affairs and military pensions, State Department financing of foreign arms sales and military-related development assistance, the Department of Homeland Security and counter-terrorism activities of the FBI. In total, the combined budget for the US War Machine in 2019 is certainly well over $1 trillion. At an economic level, the main goal is to channel money from the public purse into the hands of private suppliers of military equipment and services, while opening new opportunities to exploit resources, sell weapons and develop new markets in other countries—usually with assistance of corrupt local politicians and elites who are granted a slice of the pie in return for selling out their country.
To these figures must also be added the—albeit modest in comparison—private spending of organisations that seek to influence US policy and lobby for increased military spending, either for their own company or for a pet project of some elite. Such spending includes public and private funding of a plethora of “think tanks” and organisations which act to influence, shape and direct the US War Machine, such as American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC), Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Renew Democracy Initiative (RDI), The Alliance for Securing Democracy, The Atlantic Council, Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, Council for National Policy, Gatestone Institute, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS), Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), Project for a New American Century, Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), The Heartland Foundation and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Additionally, companies and corporations that supply resource and support the US military and defence agencies—such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Electric, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet (Google) to name just a few of the most prominent—spend millions on lobbying and influencing US military and state security spending policy.
But far from being just a military and security phenomenon, the US War Machine has evolved into a beast that has extended its tentacles into a wide range of US civil institutions. This includes influence of the US entertainment industry through organised CIA endeavours such as Operation Mockingbird and the ongoing involvement of both the Pentagon and CIA in financing and shaping movie scripts and messages, as well the migration of former intelligence personalities into positions within news rooms and as guest commentators (such as, ex-CIA Director James Clapper). The security state has also penetrated academia through the financing of institutions such as strategic studies departments and programmes aimed at training and preparing state civil and military personnel.
The US War Machine always maintains a list of target nations for the focus of its actions and justification for its continued relevance and ever-expanding slice of the economic pie. In the aftermath of 9/11, the list comprised Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran, as was so well explained by General Wesley Clark in this YouTube video Wars Were Planned – Seven Countries In Five Years. Under Trump’s much touted transition back from the war on terror to the war of nations, the current list seems to focus more specifically on the great US geopolitical adversaries of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea—“Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security”. Meanwhile, the War Machine still has designs on Afghanistan (lost, but who knows what trouble they have in store to keep this going), Syria (lost, but not forgotten), Yemen (through the Saudis, also partly lost), Venezuela (shaky coup underway as denouement to an eight year economic war of attrition), Lebanon (seems it may be the route to Tehran), Somalia, Libya, Nicaragua and Cuba. Please forgive me if I have missed any out.
The pattern of conquest of target nations subject to the US War Machine reveals a toolbox of regime change mechanisms. Each of these mechanisms entails a complex and well-developed set of measures that are combined in parallel or as a series of actions to produce the desired effect.
Propaganda & Media Control
The first stage in any US War Machine war of aggression is to justify the intended action and gain popular support for it from the domestic public and allied nations. Typically, this involves developing a narrative that positions the war as a humanitarian intervention (Iraq, Libya and Syria liberated from their despotic evil leaders) or as a self-defensive response to some sort of existential threat (North Korea with its nuclear missiles, Vietnam with its rampaging communism, Russia with its designs on democracy everywhere, China for stealing our intellect and jobs). The leadership of the regime will be demonised as an inhuman murdering tyrant (Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad), an unstable insane megalomaniac (Kim Jong-il) or diabolically evil mastermind (Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping). These cartoon caricatures of the motivations and personal characters of the leaders of the target nations are popularised through the corporate media, which as Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky document in their book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, operate as propaganda organs of the state.
With the rise of social media and use of sophisticated information warfare techniques, organisations such as Cambridge Analytica have taken the next steps to weaponise social influence to a personal level. This can be seen most effectively in how social media was used during the UK’s Brexit referendum to persuade young voters (who were mostly anti-Brexit) that a remain outcome was certain (and therefore not worth them voting), while target swing voters with anti-EU messages, such as the cost and social ills of immigration and the supposedly undemocratic overbearing nature of the EU bureaucracy (see Brexit: A Corporate Coup D’Etat by Graham Vanbergen). The significant aspect of the Brexit example is how these techniques and the use of social media news feed algorithms and search engine suggestions and page rankings to target messages to specific groups of people in order to shape their attitudes and behaviours were developed in the first instance to support military use in other countries.
While the more obvious propaganda mouthpieces, such as the Daily Mail, are often looked for their obvious bias and enthusiastic warmongering, Media Lens has over many years documented how so-called “lefty” media outlets such as The Guardian and BBC News have acted as powerful, uncritical supporters of the UK government’s propaganda positions, with the most lefty columnists (eg George Monbiot) being reserved as the ones to lend final credence and a stamp of approval to the official narrative. Propaganda campaigns targeting specific issues or events are initiated through what Media Lens calls a Propaganda Blitz. In early 2019, an indicator of the extent and nature of the UK government’s propaganda infrastructure was laid bare in the revelations about a clandestine organisation called—in true Orwellian fashion—the “Integrity Initiative.” As reported by RT News a series of hacked emails and other papers revealed a UK government-funded organisation ostensibly run from a derelict factory in Scotland but with basement offices in The Temple in London “running Europe-wide anti-Russia influence campaigns using “clusters” of cooperative journalists, academics and politicians.”
The US has been quite blatant about some of its propaganda efforts aimed at various other nations, albeit that these have been dressed up in the language of spreading the message of freedom and democracy. For example, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has since 1949 broadcast “the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.” Much less obvious have been the activities of various think tanks, NGOs and cultural exchange programmes, such as those it now criticises China of using to promote soft power through its network of Confucius Institutes. The CIA has also used NGOs to source information from their operations in conflict zones and as reported in How the US Propaganda System Works – Consortiumnews, evidence was found that the US government had paid journalists to produce biased coverage of a trail of the so-called Cuban Five.
“…the same journalists who were paid $1,125 to $58,600 to appear on anti-Castro programs produced by the U.S. Office of Cuba Broadcasting before and during the trial for the Cuban Five also published scandalous articles about the Five in an influential Spanish language newspaper owned by the Miami Herald and in other local media.” Source: The Federal Government Paid Journalists to Sabotage Trial
by Linn Washington Jr., Counterpunch
As reported in ZeroHedge, in 2017 the US government passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act providing funding for a Center for Information Analysis and Response tasked with pinpointing sources of disinformation, analyzing data, and developing and disseminating ‘fact-based narratives’ to counter effrontery propaganda. In other words, a propaganda factory aimed at the US public; around this time the Atlantic Council linked PropOrNot website was launched through The Washington Post (owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos whose company Amazon has contracts worth over $600 million with the CIA) and the still going strong “fake news” campaign was launched against Russian and alternative (non-corporate) news outlets.
For the US War Machine, foreign aid is also employed as an instrument of state, as reported by Jeremy Caddel in “The President, Congress, and the Allocation of US Foreign Aid” (2012):
“A large literature studies the determinants of foreign aid and finds a strong correlation between US development aid and strategic security concerns… The US and other developed countries spend billions of dollars a year in foreign assistance. This foreign aid serves a variety of purposes—arming allied militaries, providing emergency relief after natural disasters, supporting economic development, promoting democratic reforms, and more. Among foreign aid donors, the US shows a unique tendency to direct foreign aid to countries with strategic importance or security concerns, rather than to those countries most in need.”
The weaponised use of ostensibly humanitarian aid as a propaganda tool in regime change operations is exemplified in the recent shipment of a few trucks worth of aid to Venezuela which were rejected by the Maduro government on the basis of their politicised nature, a position which was supported by the United Nations: “The United Nations warned on Wednesday against using aid as a pawn in Venezuela after the United States sent food and medicine to the country’s border and accused President Nicolas Maduro of blocking its delivery with trucks and shipping containers.” (Source: Reuters) The hypocrisy and propaganda elements of this made-for-TV news stunt are laid bare when one considers how the US has in the past 12 months actively supported the Saudi blockade of Yemen’s ports and prevented food and medical aid from reaching some 20 million Yemenis who have been pitched into starvation and health epidemics that have killed tens of thousands of men women and children—a news story which, if reported at all, has been timid at best and absent the howls of anguished outrage that such an action undertaken or supported by Russia or China would have aroused.
In Syria, the much feted White Helmets civil defence organisation which ostensibly rescued civilians in opposition held areas of the war-torn country was revealed by investigative journalists Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley to have been founded by a former MI6 officer and funded by the UK Foreign Office and the US State Department as an elaborate propaganda front. In February 2019, the role this organisation played in staging a false narrative concerning the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma and other reporting (such as the September 2013 BBC Panorama documentary “Saving Syria’s Children”) was revealed in the mainstream when BBC reporter Riam Dalati finally broke ranks.
The use of sophisticated propaganda techniques has morphed through the use of psychological and sociological research that constructs and targets messages to support the intended narratives. These narratives are created using resources in the field trained in video production and supplied with modern production equipment, as the White Helmets have been, to construct shocking images for the compliant and uncritical corporate media. The “evidence” provided by these narratives is used to support military interventions and actions—as with the Trump administration’s April 2018 missile attack on Syria following the staged Douma gassing false flag.
“The employed propaganda approaches are constantly evolving. Therefore, propaganda coverage of the conflict in Syria has some differences with those which were observed in Iraq. Now, mainstream media, the Pentagon, the intelligence services and diplomats are actively using Hollywood-style approaches. This style of the coverage is based on providing catchy, even if horrible, pictures and videos influencing the emotions of the audience rather than convincing it with logical conclusions.” Source: Staged Chemical Attack Videos And Other Trends In Modern Propaganda, South Front
Economic warfare is the use of measures such as sanctions, trade restrictions and financial transaction systems to coerce or interfere with other sovereign nations. Since World War II, the US War Machine has developed sanctions as a way of trying to bring target nations to their knees by encouraging their leaders to capitulate due to economic necessity or for the citizenry, tiring of the resulting deprivation, to bring about regime change through the ballot box or popular insurrection. In recent years, the use of the US petro dollar to interfere with trade has risen to prominence in actions against both Iran and Venezuela and, in the case of Iran, the denial of access to the SWIFT interbank facility used for trade and currency transactions across the world.
The US has recently also started applying its own laws extra-territorially to punish companies based in other countries for trading with Iran using Secondary Sanctions; as documented by OFAC Law Group “These kinds of sanctions supplement other sanctions programs by targeting non-U.S. persons (primarily foreign financial institutions and foreign sanctions evaders) who do business with individuals, countries, regimes, and organizations in Iran.” One of the indictments recently brought against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is for “circumventing US sanctions on Iran”. These indictments against Meng come as a part of Trump administration’s economic war on China, which includes countering a perceived threat to US technological dominance—particularly in relation to the global rollout of 5G cellular networks.
As at January 2019, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury lists sanctions against the nations of Belarus, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, Sudan and Darfur, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Zimbabwe. Additionally, the OFAC’s Complete Specially Designated Nationals List contains literally thousands of individuals who have been sanctioned by the US. Some of these sanctions have been approved under the guise of the UN Security Council, but many are unilaterally applied by the US under a range of laws that target countries and individual citizens of them without the need for any trial or judicial review (such as the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012).
While these sanctions are dressed up as punishments for the very, very bad, bad evil leaders of the offending nations, in reality while the foreign assets and travel plans of those people may be affected, the sanctions tend to be aimed at the civilian populations through the targeting of food and medical supplies. US sanctions on Cuba have been going for over 40 years and have impacted travel between the countries (tourism) and trade so as to impoverish the country, which has in turn allowed the US the propaganda industry to blame these ills on socialist government of that country. The sanctions the US imposed on Iraq in the 1990s after the first Iraq war are estimated to have resulted in the deaths of over 500,000 children. The current situation in Venezuela with shortages of food and basic supplies reported is set against a harsh regime of sanctions affecting its oil revenues and assets that have been applied to put pressure on the Maduro government. As well as the appropriation of some $7 billion worth of US assets of the state-owned oil company PDVSA, the Bank of England has refused to give back $1.56 billion in Venezuelan gold that could have been used to back the purchase of such supplies. Given that some 90% of Venezuela’s foreign earnings are from the sale of oil and that most of that is to the US, the financial and social disruption that these sanctions present to ordinary Venezuelans is obvious. Mint Press reported in Sept 2018 that “United States sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela have cost the Latin American nation $6 billion since August of 2017, leaving the fate of healthcare and access to basic goods in jeopardy for millions of already struggling Venezuelans.“
“Sanctions are a tool of international politics, which must be seen as incompatible with the ideas of diplomacy and peaceful co-existence among nations. As is obvious from the provisions of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, sanctions are coercive measures just one stage below the use of armed force. In moral terms, measures of this type indeed share the characteristics of war.” Source: Sanctions from the perspective of International Law by Hans Köchler
As mentioned above, the US spends a truly eye-watering amount of money on its War Machine. After World War II the US focused on outspending and encouraging the USSR and China, in particular, to devote more of their resources to keeping up. Small countries have no chance of competing in this sphere and while they may spend very large sums of money on armaments, they usually have little or no domestic arms industry and the weapons purchased are directed towards defending against or threatening neighbouring nations, tackling insurgents and exerting control over their own people.
It is well documented that the US spends on its military more than the next 10 countries combined. The scale of this asymmetric spending is exemplified in the fact that the US boasts 10 aircraft carriers in service (plus the associated carrier support vessels and aircraft)—as opposed to Russia (one, currently being refitted), China (one, plus another in construction), UK (one, plus another in construction) and France (one).
While the US military is managed under the Department of Defense, the fact is that the US mainland is in absolutely no danger of having to defend itself against any form of military invasion. While a number of other armies have substantial numbers of people under arms, no other country possesses the military infrastructure that would be required to mount such an endeavor. In fact, the aircraft carrier fleet would not be required to defend against such an invasion, rather it stands as a tool to threaten and mount wars of aggression against weaker nations, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. However, this fleet has a major weakness when facing nations with advanced missile defence systems—such as Russia and China (and most likely Iran).
In US government policy, such a level of spending has been justified on a doctrine of being able fight two wars simultaneously. But, what this glosses over is not that the US needs to be able to defend itself from two attackers, rather the doctrine is about enabling the US to fight two wars of aggression at the same time. No other country in the world has such a policy. For instance, Russia’s published military doctrine is explicitly defensive in nature:
“The two common features of the Russian Military Doctrines of 1987, 1993, 2000, 2010 and 2014 is their defensive nature and the growing attention paid to the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) phenomena. Despite widespread belief in the West, the key thesis of Russian Doctrine is to avoid conflicts and manage disagreements peacefully. In cases where a conflict cannot be prevented, the Doctrine states that Russia localize and neutralize military threats. Political, diplomatic and other non-military settlement is defined as preferable at both global and regional levels.” Source: The Evolution of Russian Military Doctrine, Weapons and Warfare
The defensive nature of other countries’ military spending is evidenced in the much lower budgets involved. It costs vastly less to arm and equip for a defensive war than an offensive one—particularly if it is assumed that it will only be necessary to fight one such war at any particular time. The fact is that the US has been able develop and maintain such a huge War Machine can be attributed to its ability to borrow in its own currency. However, the US’s current $22 trillion debt may be a problem as other countries increasingly retreat from the US petro-dollar due to the way it has been used against targeted nations and those wishing to trade with them.
The Trump administration’s current withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and the suggestion that withdrawal from the New START treaty may be next, follows Trump’s campaign strong-arm NATO countries into spending at least 2% of GDP on defence. With the Europeans being reluctant to come on board with this demand, Trump attacked them as “freeloaders” and threatened to withdraw from NATO. The INF treaty withdrawal will enable the US and NATO to position land based intermediate range missiles right on Russia’s border, in response to which the Russian government has said it will develop the capability to position land based missiles to target the European nations hosting such weapons. It seems that a ready market has been created for US missile and missile defense manufacturers to sell billions of dollars worth of weapons to the reluctant Europeans and help them achieve that 2% spend after all.
The INF treaty withdrawal has been in part justified on the basis that China, in particular, is not party to it (indeed it may have been aimed mostly at China anyway) and scrapping it may be a way to create a more encompassing treaty. However, there seems to be no tangible diplomatic moves to initiate such a process. Obviously, not having such a treaty opens the way to sell billions of dollars worth of such weapons to countries in the region, such as South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar, on the basis of countering the threat of Chinese expansionism and hegemony, for instance:
“The U.S. State Department has approved the sale to Japan of two Aegis Weapon Systems and other associated equipment for an estimated cost of $2.15 billion, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a release. The government of Japan requested to buy two AEGIS Weapon Systems, two Multi-Mission Signal Processors and two Command and Control Processor Refreshes and other related equipment, the Tuesday, January 29 release said.” Source: The Defense Post, 30 January 2019
Significantly, the Aegis system sold to Japan is said to be able to:
“…incorporate the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System which was developed to provide missile defense against short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles, destroying them after boost phase and prior to reentry using Standard Missiles.” [emphasis added]
Gaining the support of important elites, military elements and disaffected or easily swayed sections of the civil society inside and outside (ie diaspora communities and expatriate dissidents) the target country forms an important element in the US War Machine’s toolkit for effecting regime change actions.
At the simplest level, the subversion of the young and consumer minded among a citizenry often takes the shape of the glittering images of what they are missing. For instance, in countries subject to economic sanctions or that have eschewed the temptations of IMF and World Bank funded debt the government must act to balance trade income and expenditure, meaning that foreign currency must be rationed. This creates a tension of expectations driven by an ability for citizens to have what is apparently freely available elsewhere. This effect was seen in New Zealand in the period from World War II during which the New Zealand dollar exchange rate was fixed until 1985 when the New Zealand dollar was floated to resolve a severe balance-of-payment crisis. Prior to 1985, the currency was highly managed so that imports of luxury items such as new cars were restricted (in the 50’s there was a six month waiting list to buy a new car—even if you had the money to buy one) and citizens travelling overseas had to apply to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to buy overseas funds of than $200 of their own money. In 1985, New Zealanders cheered when these onerous restrictions were finally lifted; however, as at 2018 the country’s foreign debt has reached US$191 billion or US$42,470 for each man, woman and child. Obviously, the citizens of such countries look outwards and see what seems to be an amazing array of consumer goods and experiences that they are denied—seemingly, at the whim of an authoritarian bureaucracy. The feelings of envy and wanting what is denied to you but which others have—seemingly so easily and by right—is a powerful lever that can be pulled using the persuasion techniques developed for consumer societies and now used by propaganda masters. Given the spread of images highlighting Western affluence through television, movies and now the Internet in the form of Facebook and other social media, there is hardly any need to try to convince the people of target nations that they are missing out—they are seduced through the screens in their living rooms, their movie theatres and in their hands.
The actions of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the guise of cultural exchange, provision of aid, health programmes and educational facilities constitute a more energetic level of subversion. Obviously, not all NGOs are implicated in such activities and many eschew any form of involvement with the US government agencies to avoid any such implication. However, there is substantial evidence that many act in ways beyond their ostensible purpose.
“On the surface, NGOs can appear as benign, helpful and harmless creatures which do work to promote the betterment of humanity. Many of them do perform philanthropic work, however others are created and controlled right from the start to be nothing more than instruments of infiltration and influence – influence which is highly unwanted in the target nation. These latter kind of NGOs are a manifestation of the US-NWO’s soft power, through which the U.S. can manipulate and dominate a country without having to fire a single bullet. This subterfuge worked very well for a while, but now, in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukraine coup and other events, nations are beginning to wake up to this trickery and are passing laws restricting or forbidding NGOs on their turf.” Source: NGOs: Choice Tool of Subversion for the New World Order by Makia Freeman, Wake Up World
The US is not alone in using such NGOs in this way, for instance Saudi Arabia has exported the fundamentalist Wahhabi version of Islam across many Islamic nations by funding an extensive network of madrassas schools and mosques:
“The Saudis demanded religious conformity in return for their munificence, so Wahhabi rejection of all other forms of Islam as well as other faiths would reach as deeply into Bradford, England, and Buffalo, New York, as into Pakistan, Jordan or Syria: everywhere gravely undermining Islam’s traditional pluralism.” Source: Wahhabism to ISIS: how Saudi Arabia exported the main source of global terrorism by Karen Armstrong
It is interesting that in 2018, the Saudi Crown Prince claimed that America asked the Saudis to spread ideology of ISIS, “MBS has admitted not only that Saudi Arabia spreads its Wahhabist strain of Islam across the world but also that it was done at the request of its western allies, there is proof that MBS’ claim is a well-kept secret of former and current American administrations.” Likewise, the network of Gülen charter schools that spans the US and several central Asian countries have been outed as a possible CIA front by FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds—FBI Whistleblower and Teacher Expose Islamic Gülen Movement Infiltrating U.S. Through Charter Schools. Founder, Fethullah Gülen, who lives in the US is under the government’s protection, was implicated in an attempted coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who blamed the coup on the Gülen movement. The Turkish authorities subsequently embarked on a purge of Gülen supporters through all levels of government. Another example of NGO subversion in the interests of the US War Machine is the 2014 coup in Ukraine. Hacked emails show that American speculator and billionaire, George Soros, was a key figure (along with US Senator John McCain and US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and her neocon husband Robert Kagan) in funding and fomenting the Orange Revolution and subsequent coup that ousted a democratically elected government that was favourable to Russia and installed a violently anti-Russian government aligned to US and NATO interests—see US Staged a Coup in Ukraine — Brief History and Facts. Key NGOs implicated in the Ukraine coup were Soros’ International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) and the US taxpayer-funded National Endowment of Democracy (NED).
As mentioned above under Propaganda & Media Control, social media influence campaigns are used to target dissident and easily swayed groups, encouraging them to take action against the government through protest and civil disobedience. To quote Graham Vanbergen where he discusses the use of social media and manipulation in Brexit:
“One former employee of the leading company involved, Cambridge Analyitca, confirmed they were using psychological operations – the same methods the military use to effect mass sentiment change. It’s what they mean by winning ‘hearts and minds’ in the battlegrounds of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. “We were just doing it to win elections in the kind of developing countries that don’t have many rules.” ” Source: Brexit: A Corporate Coup D’Etat by Graham Vanbergen
The existing elites or near elites of a target nation form another avenue for subversion by the US War Machine. Those who see a personal advantage in changing the current rulers so that they can take power themselves or have someone put in place who is more amenable to promoting their own commercial and private interests. For instance, Abby Martin reporting from Venezuela in 2017 discovered that a large supermarket chain owner had engineered shortages of basic items such as toilet paper to create the impression of people having to queue for necessities (an extensively promoted image for propaganda purposes) and then selling these items on the black market at inflated prices—see Empire Files: Abby Martin in Venezuela – Supermarkets to Black Markets. Obviously, complicit elite subversion goes much deeper than this and the unconstitutional selection and elevation of US trained and educated Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guadó by the Trump administration is as blatant as it comes. However, every coup engineered by the US War Machine inevitably involves the cooperation and involvement of some element of the elites in the target nation—if merely to provide the cover of legitimacy for the subsequent exploitation.
Lastly, the US War Machine seeks to subvert military elements of a target nation. This has an obvious benefit in that a coup engineered from within the military can often be effected with little bloodshed or fighting. This can be seen in the—so far largely ineffective—appeals to Venezuelan military personnel to defect to the opposition and the role of military officers in the attempted 2016 coup in Turkey and in various US backed coups across Central and South American nations over the past 100 years. Use of military exchanges and training programs, such as at the US Army School of the Americas (now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) which has been instrumental in producing a body—some 60,000 since 1946—of US ideologically indoctrinated military personnel across the Latin America:
“South American militaries have been sending soldiers to the U.S. for “ethics” and “human rights” training for years, but history shows that many of these alumni go on to become notorious torturers and murderers, not defenders of peace.” Source: The School Of The Americas Is Still Exporting Death Squads, by Ramona Wadi Follow, Mint Press News
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the legal definition of terrorism is “the unlawful use or threat of violence especially against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion.”
After the events of 9/11, the US declared a War on Terror and embarked on range of actions across the world with the ostensible objective of wiping out what is not a thing or person or even anything tangible at all, but rather a tactic of war or resistance that can be adopted by any person, group of people or nation at any time and in any time period. By 2014, it was reported that acts of terror across the world had increased 9-fold and according to the Global Terrorism in 2017 report from the Global Terrorism Database “in 2017, there were 10,900 terrorist attacks around the world, which killed more than 26,400 people, including 8,075 perpetrators and 18,488 victims” and “in the decade prior to the September 11th attacks, the frequency and lethality of terrorist violence each year was less than one-third of what took place in 2017.” Obviously, the War on Terror has been a complete failure if you fall for the idea that ending terrorism had anything to do with the program’s real intent.
Actually, in spite of the stated intention to wipe out terrorism across the world, the US War Machine has been and continues to be a big supporter of terrorist organisations, having funded, trained, armed and supported terrorists as a way to destabilise a range of target nations, including in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia and Syria. This being regardless of the UN convention that defines acts of aggression (which are illegal under international law) as including:
“The sending by or on behalf of a State of armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against another State of such gravity as to amount to the acts listed above, or its substantial involvement therein.” Source: Definition of Aggression, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3314 (XXIX)
The reason the US War Machine has adopted this strategy of war is clearly stated by neocon Max Boot—one of the architects of regime change in Iraq—as follows:
“In other words, the tragedy of foreign wars isn’t that Americans die, but that too few Americans are willing to die. To solve this problem, Boot recommended recruiting foreign mercenaries. “The military would do well today to open its ranks not only to legal immigrants but also to illegal ones,” he wrote in the Los Angeles Times. When foreigners get killed fighting for America, he noted, there’s less political backlash at home.” Why Are These Professional War Peddlers Still Around? by Tucker Carlson, The American Conservative
In many of these actions the US War Machine has used and worked in collaboration with the intelligence agencies of client nations—such as Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency (GIP) and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)—to train, fund and arm terrorist actions in target nations. It is now an acknowledged fact that the US deliberately fostered the Islamic terriorist activity in Afghanistan that led to the USSR invading that country in 1978 and the Soviet-Afghan War that lasted until 1989. The US the went on to train, fund and arm the Afghan terrorists using GIP asset Osama bin Laden who founded Al-Qaeda for the purpose.
What still remains a murder of history, is the fact that the ’79 war was surprisingly initiated by the US government through an initial secret aid fund signed by Jimmy Carter on July 3, 1979. This fact was accepted by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the then US National Security Advisor, in an interview saying,“We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would (by funding the anti-Soviet forces). The day the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War… ” Source: How the US initiated the 79′ Soviet war in Afghanistan, PravdaReport
After the Afghan war ended, bin Laden and Al-Qaeda went on to assist with other US actions in places such as Chechnya and Bosnia. These actions often also involve the use of US based contractors, such as Erik Prince’s Blackwater (now known as Academi), which supplies mercenaries to the US military and to anyone who can pay.
“Bin Laden had been a critical component in the paramilitary capability of intelligence services of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, as well as the CIA. His network played a central, coordinated role with the U.S. in Bosnia. In November, 1994, bin Laden met with the Bosnian President after delivering hundreds of fighters and tonnes of arms from bases in Sudan, at the same time that US envoy Richard Holbrooke and then head of the US European Intelligence Directorate Gen. Michael Hayden were in Bosnia on the same mission. U.S. Special Forces and bin Laden’s Mujahedin carried out joint military operations for a short period in the area around Ploce, Croatia. The mission in Bosnia included a U.S. Navy Seal named Erik Prince.” Source: Erik Prince: American Bin Laden – CIA Asset, Money & Gunmen, The Daily Kos
Al-Qaeda has also been a key tool of the US War Machine in Syria, where they have been re-branded a number of times—as Al-Nusra Front and more recently as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
With the US War Machine ramping up the rhetoric and actions against Iran in recent years, the terrorist People’s Mujahedin of Iran—also known as Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK)—were taken off the US terror list in 2012. The MEK is now a darling of the US War Machine—in 2018, former New York mayor and Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, gave a speech at an MEK event. Other US administration names linked to MEK events include National Security Adviser John Bolton, former U.S. Representative Newt Gingrich, Vice President Mike Pence and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner (see: Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Gives Rally Calling for Iran Regime Change Right Outside Warsaw Middle East Summit Featuring Jared Kushner, Mike Pence, Newsweek). Meanwhile, terrorist activity has increased in Iran following the US’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal with “a terrorist attack on a military parade targeting civilians and military personnel alike left at least 29 dead and up to 70 more wounded in Iran’s southwest region of Ahvaz” in September 2018, ‘US Vows to “Overthrow” Iran as Terrorists Target Iranians’.
As well as using terrorist organisations as proxies in its wars against target nations, the US War Machine constantly engages in acts of terror against civilian populations in its own right through the use of propaganda, targeted assassinations, drone killings, abductions, torture and a network of “black sites” across the world. While the carpet bombing, firestorming and nuclear destruction of civilian centres such as Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, North Korea, Hanoi, Mosul, Fallujah and Raqqa were arguably just plain crimes against humanity, they are equally acts of terror in that they were design to coerce through acts of violence against the civilian populations. As documented in Douglas Valentine‘s book, The Phoenix Program, the CIA and US military intelligence developed a sophisticated domestic terror program in Vietnam based on Fusion Centers and featuring abductions, torture, mutilation and murder. The techniques learned in Vietnam were later adapted for use in Iraq at notorious facilities (such as Abu Ghraib) and Afghanistan, as well as at Guantanamo Bay and at the network of CIA “Black Sites” located in countries such as Afghanistan, Lithuania, Romania, Poland and Thailand. People such as psychologists John “Bruce” Jessen and James E. Mitchell designed and apply “enhanced interrogation techniques” for the CIA:
“”It was thoroughly planned and rehearsed,” Jessen later explained, according to a CIA investigator’s report. “They dragged him outside, cut off his clothes and secured him with Mylar tape,” before beating him and forcing him to run wearing a hood. When he fell, they dragged him down dirt passageways, leaving abrasions up and down his body. …On Nov. 20, 2002, Rahman was found dead in his unheated cell. He was naked from the waist down and had been chained to a concrete floor. An autopsy concluded that he probably froze to death.” Source: Two psychologists’ role in CIA torture program comes into focus, LA Times 14 Dec 2014
As Valentine points out the operations of “Special Forces” which ostensibly seek to root out insurgents and terrorists in target countries (what we call people who resist the occupation of their own countries that have been liberated in the name of democracy) are in fact terrorist operations in their own right. Tragedies such as the My Lai massacre are not isolated events but part of a wider context of deliberate civilian terror aimed at squashing all forms of opposition in a subjugated population. Blackhawk helicopters buzzing the skies and heavily armed black-clad special ops forces arriving in the dead of night to attack a village shooting a 14 year old boy in the back and children just tending animals terrorise the population.
“In one case investigated by the Times, two brothers were killed as they watered their fields. In another case, a unit pursuing an alleged Taliban member entered the wrong home and killed a dozen civilians. In yet another case, 02 placed two brothers in handcuffs and spit hoods and interrogated them in front of their wives and children. After they were done being questioned, 02 dragged the brothers away and executed them in the corner of a bedroom, and then detonated the building. According to “several current and former Afghan officials,” Americans help the unit find targets and guide operations. Those detained by such units frequently claim they have been tortured and Afghan officials say that Americans have been present at bases during such abuses. In the Nangarhar province alone, human-rights workers registered 15 complaints of torture by 02, according to the Times.” Source: Afghan Civilians Fear CIA-Backed Death Squads that Can Call In Airstrikes, Mint Press News
Likewise, the US War Machine ‘s use of drones to assassinate people in places like Pakistan and Yemen (also an illegal act) have often left many others dead in the destruction—such as the Yemeni wedding party that was slaughtered in one such action. Death arriving out of the blue unannounced and seemingly at random, targeting guilty (if never convicted of any crime or, if so, in any court where they were represented, let alone aware of) and innocent alike—all of these are acts of terror.
False Flag Actions
The US War Machine runs on public consent. This consent is engineered based on often quite longstanding propaganda campaigns that construct and support a narrative positioning a target country and its leadership as legitimately evil or threatening.
When planning a military action, this background narrative is leveraged and expanded on to create a convincing account of why it is necessary to take action now. Sometimes this takes the form of a plain lie, as we saw in the weapons of mass destruction lie that was used to justify the second Iraq war and the murdering of babies lie that was employed to kick off the first Iraq war. In other circumstances, a false flag event is engineered by the US War Machine itself (as on the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin false flag attack used to justify the invasion of Vietnam) , via some proxy (as in the 2018 White Helmets gassing false flag in Douma) and occasionally by a third party with its own objectives (as in the devastating 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty which was designed to provoke the US into attacking Egypt).
In the case of the Gulf of Tonkin, as situation was created that was an egregious misrepresentation of the facts and, in the end, a lie:
“The official story was that North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched an “unprovoked attack” against a U.S. destroyer on “routine patrol” in the Tonkin Gulf on Aug. 2 — and that North Vietnamese PT boats followed up with a “deliberate attack” on a pair of U.S. ships two days later. The truth was very different. Rather than being on a routine patrol Aug. 2, the U.S. destroyer Maddox was actually engaged in aggressive intelligence-gathering maneuvers — in sync with coordinated attacks on North Vietnam by the South Vietnamese navy and the Laotian air force. “The day before, two attacks on North Vietnam…had taken place,” writes scholar Daniel C. Hallin. Those assaults were “part of a campaign of increasing military pressure on the North that the United States had been pursuing since early 1964.” On the night of Aug. 4, the Pentagon proclaimed that a second attack by North Vietnamese PT boats had occurred earlier that day in the Tonkin Gulf — a report cited by President Johnson as he went on national TV that evening to announce a momentous escalation in the war: air strikes against North Vietnam. But Johnson ordered U.S. bombers to “retaliate” for a North Vietnamese torpedo attack that never happened.” Source: 30-Year Anniversary: Tonkin Gulf Lie Launched Vietnam War, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
The Syrian war is a classic case of false flags from its initiation. This well heralded war on Syria (known from the list reeled off by General Wesley Clark in 2007) was started in 2011 using popular discontent that followed on the heels of a drought. As documented in Tim Anderson’s book The Dirty War on Syria, the war was initiated using snipers in the city of Daara to target both the unarmed police and protesters alike. This led to an escalation of violence that was the supported by armed insurgent forces that crossed the border from neighbouring Jordan. A similar technique was employed in Ukraine during the US CIA backed 2014 coup, where as was reported that “‘Professional’ snipers target the protesters of Independence Square on the bloodiest day in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history” a bloodbath was used to escalate the situation while blaming the government—however, subsequent analysis of the event revealed something quite different.
“This academic investigation concludes that the massacre was a false flag operation, which was rationally planned and carried out with a goal of the overthrow of the government and seizure of power. It found various evidence of the involvement of an alliance of the far right organizations, specifically the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland. Concealed shooters and spotters were located in at least 20 Maidan-controlled buildings or areas. The various evidence that the protesters were killed from these locations include some 70 testimonies, primarily by Maidan protesters, several videos of “snipers” targeting protesters from these buildings, comparisons of positions of the specific protesters at the time of their killing and their entry wounds, and bullet impact signs.” Source: The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine, Ivan Katchanovski
Coming back to Syria, a number of gas attacks have been blamed on the Syrian government. However, all of these have relied on reports from what the US and corporate media refer to as the “moderate opposition”—or, more accurately, terrorists (mostly Al Nusra, now known as HTS). In the April 2018 incident at Douma which has now been shown to be at staged event courtesy of the White Helmets fake civil defense organisation (see above), the US did not even wait for any form of investigation before finding the Syrian government guilty and launching a missile attack on some storage buildings and a technical college near Damascus (which had been inspected and cleared by the OPCW only six months before) with Britain and France. As a number of critics of the war have observed, these gas attack events have usually occurred when the Syrian government was on the verge of winning a battle against the terrorists and had no reason to resort to such methods—while, on the other hand, the terrorists had every reason to create such an event to elicit supporting publicity and possible US actions against the Syrian government—as occured in Douma.
History shows that when the US War Machine decides to invade a target nation for invasion it tends to unleash a veritable orgy of destruction. Rather than high precision targeted strikes against military facilities and forces, the result tends to be complete destruction of civil infrastructure such as bridges, roads, power and water facilities and hospitals.
The question over whether these acts shortened any of its wars has been debated at length—particularly in the case of Japan. However, whatever the excuse, the targeting of civilian populations is a crime against humanity.
“The definition of ‘crimes against humanity’ is codified in article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). “The notion encompasses crimes such as murder, extermination, rape, persecution and all other inhumane acts of a similar character (wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health), committed ‘as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack’.”” Source: Democratic Republic of the Congo 1993-2003, UN Mapping Report, War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and Genocide
A few examples of the callous fury, wanton destruction and humanitarian tragedies resulting from direct US War Machine actions are outlined below (please forgive me for missing so many out):
a) Germany — Berlin and Dresden
The campaign against Germany in World War II was the first war in modern time to feature an all out program of targeting civilian infrastructure and civilians themselves. The destruction wrought on German cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Dresden was on a mammoth scale under the command of by Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris, head of Bomber Command. As reported by the BBC’s Lauren Turner in 2015 “”His main aim was to break the civilian population and bring war to an end that way,” he said. “But he was wrong. Civilian morale never cracked, as it never did in the UK.” Estimates of those killed in Germany by allied bombing range up to 420 000 with many more being seriously injured and millions made homeless.
“In the last months of World War II, Allied bombers from the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force conducted several major bombing raids on the eastern German city of Dresden. Beginning on the night of February 13, 1945, more than 1,200 heavy bombers dropped nearly 4,000 tons of high-explosive and incendiary bombs on the city in four successive raids. An estimated 25,000 people were killed in the bombings and the firestorm that raged afterward. More than 75,000 dwellings were destroyed, along with unique monuments of Baroque architecture in the historic city center. The scale of the death and destruction, coming so late in the war, along with significant questions about the legitimacy of the targets destroyed have led to years of debate about whether the attack was justified, or whether it should be labeled a war crime.” Source: Remembering Dresden: 70 Years After the Firebombing by Alan Taylor
b) Japan — Nagasaki, Hiroshima and Tokyo
Most people are aware that the US dropped two atomic bombs over Nagasaki and Hiroshima that totally destroyed those cities and which are estimated to have killed some 140,000 people in Hiroshima (39% of the population) and 70,000 people in Nagasaki (28% of the population), with uncounted more dying of radiation sickness, birth defects and other effects in the years after.
Fewer are aware of the firestorming of Tokyo of 10 March 1945, when 280 American B-29 Superfortresses dropped over 1,600 tons of bombs on that city with its narrow alleyways and wood houses in an event that killed an estimated 100,000 people (mostly civilians) and rendered a million more homeless and destitute.
“…a firestorm larger and hotter than ever before was brewing. During the firebombings of Dresden and Hamburg, temperatures reached 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, but in Tokyo it soared to a blinding 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Such was the heat unleashed by US bombers over the Japanese capital, that civilians in their air raid shelters were beginning to suffocate. Rather than be overwhelmed, they fled into the streets, becoming glued to the melting asphalt under their feet. Those now stuck in the roads or pavements were helpless, many of whom were heavily charred by the rapidly growing fires. Source: US Firestorming of Tokyo Rivaled the Hiroshima Bombing, What Really Happened
The effects on Japan’s civilian infrastructure and civilians themselves was a deliberate strategy adopted by the US to cripple and punish the country. Research by David Fedman at Stanford University’s Branner Library mapped the effects of the US bombing and found that rather than high precision targeting of military assets “there was a striking gap between the rhetoric and the reality of these bombings”:
“This map was produced by geographers in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the US intelligence agency formed during the war that would become the CIA. It shows the extent to which war planners sought out information about the vulnerability and inflammability of Japanese urban spaces. They used black to indicate the most flammable areas, which happened to correspond to the most densely populated and working-class neighborhoods of Tokyo, Fedman explained. “They did a lot of research into the nature of Japanese urban spaces so they could understand how to best burn them to the ground,” Fedman said.” Source: Maps reveal how Japan’s cities were destroyed during World War II by Alison Bert
The Korean war, which started on 25 June 1950 lasted just three years, resulted in the death of three million people and caused massive destruction of property.
“The Korean War, a “limited war” for the US and UN forces, was for Koreans a total war. The human and material resources of North and South Korea were used to their utmost. The physical destruction and loss of life on both sides was almost beyond comprehension, but the North suffered the greater damage, due to American saturation bombing and the scorched-earth policy of the retreating UN forces. 1 The US Air Force estimated that North Korea’s destruction was proportionately greater than that of Japan in the Second World War, where the US had turned 64 major cities to rubble and used the atomic bomb to destroy two others. American planes dropped 635,000 tons of bombs on Korea — that is, essentially on North Korea –including 32,557 tons of napalm, compared to 503,000 tons of bombs dropped in the entire Pacific theatre of World War II. 2 The number of Korean dead, injured or missing by war’s end approached three million, ten percent of the overall population. The majority of those killed were in the North, which had half of the population of the South; although the DPRK does not have official figures, possibly twelve to fifteen percent of the population was killed in the war, a figure close to or surpassing the proportion of Soviet citizens killed in World War II.” Source: The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea, 1950 – 1960, Charles K. Armstrong
The devastation was on a huge scale, hitting not just military targets but wiping out huge parts of the cities and civilian infrastructure, including agricultural land, dams, power plants and railways.
“Consequently, as Armstrong again points out, “By the fall of 1952, there were no effective targets left for US planes to hit. Every significant town, city and industrial area in North Korea had already been bombed.” This is barely hyperbole : the bombings destroyed 100 percent of Sinanju, 95 percent of Sariwon, 85 percent of Hungnam, 80 percent of Wonsan, and Hamhung, and 75 percent of Pyongyang. Thereafter, American and allied aircraft turned their sights to North Korea’s hydroelectric plant and the the twenty dams in North Korea that controlled 75 percent of the country’s water, which was needed for agricultural and the production of rice. In May 1953, U.S. forces knocked five of these dams out , causing massive flooding. It also put millions in North Korea at risk for starvation, although the worst of that was prevented because of a massive influx of food aid from the Soviet Union and China. The bombings did cause widespread electrical outages, and by the U.S. Air Force’s estimates destroyed all but 4 to 5 percent of North Korea’s railways.” Source: How American Air Power Destroyed North Korea by Zachary Keck, The National Interest
The Vietnam War (or as the Vietnamese call it the American War) officially started in 1955 when the French pulled out and lasted until 1975. However, American involvement started in 1950 with the arrival of military advisors when the US started helping the French forces “to avert a communist takeover of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam”. From the Vietnamese perspective the war was about gaining independence from colonial rule as was Ho Chi Minh’s stated intention in 1941:
“But another opportunity for decolonization had been only an illusion. Allied leaders overruled Ho Chi Minh, agreeing that postwar Vietnam would be split in two. Minh’s nationalist forces didn’t gain control over either the North or the South, and no Western power recognized his Democratic Republic. What’s more, France wanted to reclaim its lost colony. But Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh were well prepared to resist those efforts, and by the end of 1946, the Franco-Vietnamese War had begun.” Source: The Vietnam War Summary & Analysis
After the Gulf of Tonkin false flag, the President Lyndon Johnson ordered the first US ground troops to Vietnam in March 1965. With the goal of merely supporting the South Vietnamese government to prevail over the North the war was mainly fought in the South with just aerial bombing in the North. In the South, the war was fought in the villages, river deltas and the jungles. Notwithstanding this “limited” war the Vietnam War featured massive destruction and humanitarian costs.
“The Indochina War, centered in Vietnam, was the most intense episode of aerial bombing in human history (Clodfelter 1995): “The United States Air Force dropped in Indochina, from 1964 to August 15, 1973, a total of 6,162,000 tons of bombs and other ordnance. U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft expended another 1,500,000 tons in Southeast Asia. This tonnage far exceeded that expended in World War II and in the Korean War. The U.S. Air Force consumed 2,150,000 tons of munitions in World War II – 1,613,000 tons in the European Theater and 537,000 tons in the Pacific Theater – and 454,000 tons in the Korean War.”” Source: The Long Run Impact of Bombing Vietnam by Edward Miguel and Gérard Roland
The use of Agent Orange and created huge immediate and long-term environmental and health costs with exposure being linked to cause multiple types of cancer and health problems. As reported in HealthLine, “The Vietnam Red Cross estimates that Agent Orange has affected 3 million Vietnamese people, including at least 150,000 children. Babies in Vietnam are still being born with birth defects due to Agent Orange.”
“American planes dropped seven million tons of ordnance – three times the amount they had dropped in World War II – as well as napalm and chemical defoliants. This not only claimed lives, it devastated cities, buildings, infrastructure, farmland and vegetation. Neither this bombing or the ground war was confined by the borders of Vietnam. Neighbouring countries Laos and Cambodia both suffered enormous human loss and material devastation, as well as the rise of terroristic and genocidal regimes.” Source: The costs of the Vietnam War, AlphaHistory
e) Iraq Wars
The US has invaded Iraq twice in the last 30 years, the Gulf War of 1990 and the Iraq War (also called Operation Iraqi Freedom) which began on 20 March 2003.
The Gulf War, which was justified on the basis of Saddam Hussein’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait, featured a roll-back of the forces occupying Kuwait accompanied by targeted destruction of civilian infrastructure of the country, such as water supplies and water treatment plants. Once one of the most modern and prosperous nations in the Middle East, Iraq was plunged in a humanitarian crisis as a result of the US actions taken against its people.
“During the Gulf War the United States deliberately bombed Iraq’s water system. After the war, the U.S. pushed sanctions to prevent importation of necessary supplies for water purification. These actions resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians many of whom were young children. Documents have been obtained from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which prove that the Pentagon was fully aware of the mortal impacts on civilians in Iraq and was actually monitoring the degradation of Iraq’s water supply. The destruction of civilian infrastructures necessary for health and welfare is a direct violation of the Geneva Convention.” Source: U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq’s Water System by Thomas J. Nagy in https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/SAandUSWC.pdf
The justification for such wanton destruction is that it is “dual use” so that a power grid or a sewage plant can be used for both military and the civilian purposes.
“A key example of such dual-use targeting was the destruction of Iraqi electrical power facilities in Desert Storm. While crippling Iraq’s military command and control capability, destruction of these facilities shut down water purification and sewage treatment plants. As a result, epidemics of gastroenteritis, cholera, and typhoid broke out, leading to perhaps as many as 100,000 civilian deaths and a doubling of the infant mortality rate. Given such effects on non-combatants, are electrical power facilities legitimate military targets? Does airpower doctrine acknowledge, support, or condemn such indirect effects? Must air campaign planners weigh these indirect effects in their target selection process?” Bombing Dual-Use Targets: Legal, Ethical, and Doctrinal Perspectives” by Kenneth R. Rizer, (USAF) Air & Space Power Chronicles, May 1, 2001
The Iraq War (also called Operation Iraqi Freedom) of 2003 was (falsely) justified on the basis of Iraq’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction and (also falsely) alleged links to Al Qaeda. Its destructive effects were magnified by that fact that between these wars Iraq was subject to a crippling sanctions regime that impacted health and social conditions and by some accounts resulted in the deaths of up to 500,000 children—Madeleine Albright – The deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth it for Iraq’s non-existent WMD’s.
“According to one veteran UN aid official in Baghdad, 11 years of deprivation caused by the 1991 war and UN sanctions have seriously undermined the general health of people and their ability to ward off sickness. “People will be far more vulnerable to future attack than before; they are weaker, and they have little resistance,” he said. “It (war) is going to be horrendous for lots and lots of people.” Moreover, the horrific injuries caused by US bombing would go substantially untreated. UN sanctions have prohibited the import of medical equipment such as x-ray machines, incubators, and heart and lung machines, together with vaccines, analgesics and chemotherapy drugs that the UN Security Council claims could be converted into chemical and biological weapons. Another drug on the UN proscribed list is morphine, one of the most effective painkillers, meaning that thousands of injured will endure terrible pain.” Source: The impact of a US war on Iraq’s civilian infrastructure by Terry Cook
These two wars and the sanctions between have had a devastating effect on the country. The total destruction of cities like Mosul and Fallujah in the war to liberate them from ISIS which was sporned from the chaos and mismanagement that followed the 2003 Iraq War just added to the overall misery.
“The modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a virtual failed state … the United States, beginning in 1991, bombed for much of the following 12 years, with one dubious excuse after another; then, in 2003, invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly … the people of that unhappy land lost everything—their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives… More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile… The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lying in wait for children to pick them up … a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again…” Source: The US Destruction of Iraq: We Should Never Forget by William Blum
The so-called 2011 military intervention in Libya was war on another well-developed nation which was said to the most prosperous and advanced in all of Africa at the time. This war was undertaken on the pretext of defending the civilian population from the actions of President Muammar Gaddafi who was fighting an insurgent war (Libyan Civil War 2011) that was threatening to divide the country. However, rather than merely a domestic vying for control of the country the civil war was largely orchestrated by NATO and the US.
“The U.S. military has spent about $1 billion so far and played a far larger role in Libya than it has acknowledged, quietly implementing an emerging “covert intervention” strategy that the Obama administration hopes will let America fight small wars with a barely detectable footprint. Officially, President Obama handed the lead role of ousting Muammar Gaddafi to the European members of NATO. For this he was criticized by Washington war hawks who suggested that Europeans working with a ragtag team of Libyan rebels was a recipe for stalemate, not victory. But behind the scenes, the U.S. military played an indispensable role in the Libya campaign, deploying far more forces than the administration chose to advertise. And at NATO headquarters outside Brussels, the U.S. was intimately involved in all decisions about how the Libyan rebels should be supported as they rolled up control of cities and oil refineries and marched toward the capital, Tripoli.” Source: America’s Secret Libya War: U.S. Spent $1 Billion on Covert Ops Helping NATO, The Daily Beast
After initiating a “No Fly Zone” under a UN Security Council mandate, NATO forces supported the rebels by arming and providing air cover (yes, no fly zones only apply the the enemy—US/NATO forces could fly and bomb at will).
“In truth, the Libyan intervention was about regime change from the very start.In truth, the Libyan intervention was about regime change from the very start.
The threat posed by the Libyan regime’s military and paramilitary forces to civilian-populated areas was diminished by NATO airstrikes and rebel ground movements within the first 10 days. Afterward, NATO began providing direct close-air support for advancing rebel forces by attacking government troops that were actually in retreat and had abandoned their vehicles. Fittingly, on Oct. 20, 2011, it was a U.S. Predator drone and French fighter aircraft that attacked a convoy of regime loyalists trying to flee Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte. The dictator was injured in the attack, captured alive, and then extrajudicially murdered by rebel forces.” Source: The Big Lie About the Libyan War, Foreign Policy
In the eight years since Gaddafi’s death the country has remained a place of chaos and humanitarian disaster featuring ongoing inter-faction wars, slave markets and periodic bombings by US or NATO forces—and then there’s ISIS. Meanwhile, the situation for its people still seems grim:
“Seven years of instability and insecurity have taken their toll on the wellbeing of many children, women and men in Libya. Each passing year people struggle to withstand the impacts of the crisis that has destabilized the country, put them in harm’s way, driven up food prices, and ravaged the economy. Libya is now producing well over one million barrels of oil a day. However, this has not yet translated into tangible benefits for people. Many Libyans get poorer every year. Basic health and education services decay, and frustrated citizens cannot understand why oil production and increased government revenue does not lead to improved living standards, security and well-being for all in Libya. Vulnerable people and families are unable to afford food, water, and basic household items and are forced to resort to taking desperate measures and adopting degrading coping mechanisms just to get through these difficult times.” Source: 2019 Libya Humanitarian Response Plan (January – December 2019), UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Part 3 is here…
3 thoughts on “Nations Under Attack (Part 2): The US War Machine”
If you haven’t read John Pilger’s Hidden Agendas, it’s worth reading even though it came out a couple of decades ago.
Thanks, Mallee. I will get a copy. Hope you liked my new series so far.
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