War is an instrument of national policy. The belief that wars are initiated to defeat enemies is a popular misconception perpetuated by warmongering politicians who use the notion advantageously in rallying patriotic support for the next alluring standoff. Those most susceptible to good guy, bad guy propaganda are abject fools and sheltered children. Wars are not initiated to defeat enemies. Wars are initiated to create conditions favorable to national policy interests. Certainly this is nothing new.
Back in the 1930's retired USMC Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, "the fighting Quaker" and most decorated U.S Marine in history at the time, contritely joined fashionable U.S. lecture circuits where he concisely assessed his active duty career as having been "a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers". He described himself as "a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism". His experientially acquired premise that American wars provide complimentary corporate muscle for wealthy international business interests is difficult to swallow by those suckled on apple pie. Unfamiliar truths seldom are easily digested. Nevertheless America's military actions in this millennium are emblematic of his proposition.
Gore Vidal informed us in 2002, via an interview published in Dreaming War, that the U.S. had intended occupation of Afghanistan in October 2001 long before events of September unfolded. Impetus for that sinister schedule seemed to be the incremental unpredictability of US-cultivated Taliban leaders' arrangements with California-based Unocal over its intended oil pipeline through Afghanistan and Pakistan to Karachi's seaport for ultimately shipping Caspian-area crude to Chinese destinations.1
Consequently after 9/11 Afghanistan, a country innocent of that episode and coincidentally the place Osama bin Laden was first employed by America and trained to assist the Taliban in opposing Soviet occupation, was invaded by the U.S. using Hitler's rationale for entering Poland. In 1939 the Fuhrer claimed Polish saboteurs so seriously threatened the homeland that invasion was actually a defensive maneuver. In 2001 the U.S. proclaimed the Afghan countryside to be harboring a presumably safeguarded bin Laden and to be nurturing terrorism in a fashion that warranted the illegal U.S. invasion of that sovereign nation as a defensive maneuver. Thus Nazi rationale was recast, ultimately perhaps with even less desirable results still unfolding. Interestingly the first US-installed Afghan ruler was Hamid Karzai, a former Unocal adviser according to numerous sources.
In 2003 America neutralized Iraq's non-existent weapons-of-mass-destruction and non-existent links to Al-Qaeda using its notoriously-accomplished kick-ass killing machine chiefly to topple waning ally Saddam Hussein who threatened to accept other than U.S. dollars in payment for Iraqi oil and had become generally less cooperative than Uncle Sam desired. Having been ignominiously hunted down and hanged, Saddam is not likely to engage in future activities the Empire construes as pettifoggery or commination. Hussein's displaced and unemployed senior military personnel, formerly neglected by hotshot Yankee troops, have found satisfying career opportunities building and guiding ISIS.
Amid all this Mid East chaos by 2011 Hillary's Department of State puppeteers and NATO marionettes began satiating Libyan "humanitarian needs" with additional death and destruction while subverting yet another head of state who also incidentally deprecated U.S. petrodollars with innate uncooperativeness. Five years later Libya still has no unequivocally legitimate government and the power vacuum left by Muammar Gaddafi remains enormous.
Meanwhile Yankee interests continue to bankroll an ephemeral "Free Syrian Army" against Bashar al-Assad, yet another uncooperative-Arab head of state. Western media is fanning the flames of Syrian civil war in order to spawn "justifications" for the bombing of Syria in support of US-backed terrorists attacking legitimate government. Fortunately for reasonable interests everywhere, Russia responded positively to Assad's bid for assistance and subsequently changed the game for the better. The U.S. position in Syria unquestionably attempts to advance an ill-conceived Pentagon "plan" to destabilize the Middle East regardless of outcome—a plan candidly revealed by General Wesley Clark when addressing the Commonwealth Club of California in 2007.2
Looking back, U.S. policies since 9/11 evidently are directly responsible for the greatest European refugee crisis in recorded history and for the escalation of international terrorism by orders of magnitude.3 Obviously recently deposed heads of state were enormously stabilizing influences in that part of the world as is Bashar el-Assad, next on America's list. Nowadays there is so much US-provided devastation, trouble, and heartache in the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa that clearly-illegal U.S. drone activities in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan are hardly noticed. All of this is incidental to the needless slaughter of several million innocents who happen to reside in areas of the planet where the United States is currently, zealously, futilely testing her ability to redeem and remake the world in the image of insatiable avarice.
Now that so much of the world is destablized, at war, and displaced, this might be a good time to rethink U.S. objectives and confess the root causes of international terrorism in order to effectively neutralize them and build token progress toward world peace.4 Osama bin Laden's videotape aired by Al Jazeera in October of 2001 gives three reasons for hatred of the United States and his words are well-documented by Chalmers Johnson in the prologue to Nemesis. They include:
- 1. Sanctions against Iraq since 1991—"One million Iraqi children have thus far died although they did not do anything wrong".
- 2. US policies toward Israel and Palestine—"I swear to God that America will not live in peace before peace reigns in Palestine ...".
- 3. US military bases in Saudi Arabia—"and before all the army of infidels [American soldiers] depart the land of Muhammad [Saudi Arabia]".
Obviously the impetus for 9/11 had nothing to do with religion, lifestyle, social values, or hating our freedoms. Terrorists' rationale focused on perceived injustices inherent in traditional U.S. policies and on consequent retribution for perceived wrongs. As scholars like Chalmers Johnson have suggested, Uncle Sam's response more wisely could have treated Al Qaeda as the criminal enterprise that it was, rather than the wartime enemy that it was not. Nowadays things have changed. Al Qaeda numbers, influence, and dominion mushroomed exponentially once hostile U.S. intrusions into the Arab world intensified.5
In any case official narratives eliciting public support never reveal underlying reasons for initiating warfare. Oily warmongers were salivating over Middle East and North African resources long before the Twin Towers were hit. The 9/11 episode was used as an excuse for war and provided opportunity to once again employ "us against them" narratives in rallying patriotic support for everlasting unnecessary warfare in the euphemistic interests of "spreading freedom and democracy".. Surviving residents in affected areas have truly legitimate beefs.
1 Gore Vidal and Marc Cooper, 2002. "Last Defender of the American Republic?: An Interview with Gore Vidal" published in Dreaming War, Thunder's Mouth Press / Nation Books, New York. The following comments were added to this endnote 09/16/2016: According to Wikipedia Unocal merged in 2005 with Chevron and "continues to conduct many operations as Union Oil Company of California, a Chevron company". Also Dreaming War contains additional substantive information about Caspian-area to Karachi pipeline plans—information which is presented outside the interview cited here.
2 General Wesley Clark, 2007. Videotaped address to Commonwealth Club of California. Fora.tv, YouTube.com, Last retrieved 09/14/2016..
3 Chalmers Johnson, 2010. Dismantling the Empire. Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, New York. In part for disastrous ill-conceived post 9/11 policies, the author predicts "The history books will certainly record that George W. Bush was likely the single worst president in the history of the American republic"—a sure bet before the 2016 election fructifies.
4 Howard Zinn. Videotaped interview with The Real News Network addressing root causes of international terrorism. TheRealNews.com, YouTube.com. Last retrieved 09/14/2016.
5 Many believe the term "Al Qaeda" to have been incrementally expanded to include anyone opposing the U.S. since the original "Authorization to use Military Force" (AUMF) was intended only against the perpetrators of 9/11, proclaimed at that time by U.S. "intelligence" to be a small band of dangerous dissidents. Nowadays AUMF is revised and ISIS is all the rage.