Monday, May 19, 2008

The Big Con

It’s all a big con, a fraud, a fantasy, malarkey built on more malarkey. The nation state exists for only one reason which is the wielding and garnering of power by the few so that they can live like parasites off of the masses. These people we call national leaders who go down in history as figures of greatness are either the stooges for the elite or are the elite as is the case with President Bush but Bush is not the aberration that he is touted to be actually his foreign policies are the culmination of previous administrations on both sides of the isle. History is not irrelevant. History matters because if we are to solve the problems we face today we need to first identify those problems with accuracy without white washing the past. There are connections from the past to the present which reveal the truth of what nation states and their governments actually are and they are the problem not terrorists, not Iran, not Iraq, the problem is our own government and it has been for the last 100 years.

Using the Wayback Machine let’s return to the presidency of Lyndon Johnson and the Tonkin Gulf incident which Johnson used to expand the Vietnam War. In the words of Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon—

Thirty years ago, it all seemed very clear.

"American Planes Hit North Vietnam After Second Attack on Our Destroyers; Move Taken to Halt New Aggression", announced a Washington Post headline on Aug. 5, 1964.

That same day, the front page of the New York Times reported: "President Johnson has ordered retaliatory action against gunboats and 'certain supporting facilities in North Vietnam' after renewed attacks against American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin."

But there was no "second attack" by North Vietnam — no "renewed attacks against American destroyers." By reporting official claims as absolute truths, American journalism opened the floodgates for the bloody Vietnam War.

A pattern took hold: continuous government lies passed on by pliant mass media...leading to over 50,000 American deaths and millions of Vietnamese casualties.

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.

Prior to the U.S. air strikes, top officials in Washington had reason to doubt that any Aug. 4 attack by North Vietnam had occurred. Cables from the U.S. task force commander in the Tonkin Gulf, Captain John J. Herrick, referred to "freak weather effects," "almost total darkness" and an "overeager sonarman" who "was hearing ship's own propeller beat."

One of the Navy pilots flying overhead that night was squadron commander James Stockdale, who gained fame later as a POW and then Ross Perot's vice presidential candidate. "I had the best seat in the house to watch that event," recalled Stockdale a few years ago, "and our destroyers were just shooting at phantom targets — there were no PT boats there.... There was nothing there but black water and American fire power."

In 1965, Lyndon Johnson commented: "For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there."

Read the rest.

And just as today’s Congress obligingly gave President Bush a blank check which has led to the deaths of over one million Iraq people so did that Congress back in 1969 give Johnson a blank check to wage war without declaring war known today as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which opened the floodgates to the massacres in Vietnam.

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

Joint Resolution

To promote the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia.

Whereas naval units of the Communist regime in Vietnam, in violation of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law, have deliberately and repeatedly attacked United States naval vessels lawfully present in international waters, and have thereby created a serious threat to international peace; and

Whereas theses attacks are part of a deliberate and systematic campaign of aggression that the Communist regime in North Vietnam has been waging against its neighbors and the nations joined with them in the collective defense of their freedom; and

Whereas the United States is assisting the peoples of southeast Asia to protect their freedom and has no territorial, military or political ambitions in that area, but desires only that these peoples should be left in peace to work out their own destinies in their own way: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That the Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.

Sec. 2. The United States regards as vital to its national interest and to world peace the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia. Consonant with the Constitution of the United States and the Charter of the United Nations and in accordance with its obligations under the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, the United States is, therefore, prepared, as the President determines, to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force, to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty requesting assistance in defense of its freedom.

Sec. 3. This resolution shall expire when the President shall determine that the peace and security of the area is reasonably assured by international conditions created by action of the United Nations or otherwise, except that it may be terminated earlier by concurrent resolution of the Congress.

In section 2 the reference to vital national interests and world peace ought to sound familiar. This ploy is still in use today by our national leaders yet whose interests are they really in? Johnson also said that if we don’t fight them over there we would be fighting them in Hawaii and then in San Francisco a sentiment that later would be echoed by President Bush regarding the Iraq War.


President George W. Bush said on Saturday U.S. troops in Iraq were fighting to protect Americans at home from more attacks like those of September 11, 2001, starting a five-day focus on his case for the war amid growing public discontent.

"Our troops know that they’re fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to protect their fellow Americans from a savage enemy," Bush said in his weekly radio address.

"They know that if we do not confront these evil men abroad, we will have to face them one day in our own cities and streets, and they know that the safety and security of every American is at stake in this war, and they know we will prevail," he said.

1.4 million military personnel died in the Vietnam War 50,000 of those were American soldiers and possibly over 2 million Vietnamese civilians died as a result of American involvement in that war. In Iraq today we are rapidly approaching similar numbers in civilian deaths and who knows what the final total will be before we end the occupation if indeed we ever do. So if we judge both Johnson and Bush by the numbers as well as their use of lies to involve America in unjust wars it would seem that Bush is not so much of an aberration as many believe him to be.

American imperialism has always been a bipartisan affair. Today national leaders and presidential hopefuls Republican and Democrat alike do not even question America’s right to intervene and wage war as they see fit in order to secure American interests. If we move forward in time from the Johnson era to that of Jimmy Carter we can see that when it comes to imperialism there is not much philosophical difference between Carter and Bush regarding the Middle East.

The Carter Doctrine

January 23, 1980 Carter State of the Union Address:

The region which is now threatened by Soviet troops in Afghanistan is of great strategic importance: It contains more than two-thirds of the world's exportable oil. The Soviet effort to dominate Afghanistan has brought Soviet military forces to within 300 miles of the Indian Ocean and close to the Straits of Hormuz, a waterway through which most of the world's oil must flow. The Soviet Union is now attempting to consolidate a strategic position, therefore, that poses a grave threat to the free movement of Middle East oil.

This situation demands careful thought, steady nerves, and resolute action, not only for this year but for many years to come. It demands collective efforts to meet this new threat to security in the Persian Gulf and in Southwest Asia. It demands the participation of all those who rely on oil from the Middle East and who are concerned with global peace and stability. And it demands consultation and close cooperation with countries in the area which might be threatened.

Meeting this challenge will take national will, diplomatic and political wisdom, economic sacrifice, and, of course, military capability. We must call on the best that is in us to preserve the security of this crucial region.

Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.

Note the reference to the importance of Afghanistan and the Straits of Hormuz and its importance to the flow of oil as it relates to our military presence in Afghanistan today. Also once again America is working for global peace and stability yet the Carter Doctrine clearly helped set the stage for our presence in Iraq today. Though oil has been as it remains today probably the main reason for our presence in the Middle East political gain on the part of our past and present presidents also plays a major role. Once again moving farther along in time to the Clinton years we see how political considerations played a major role in Clinton foreign policy just as was the case with President Johnson.

Andrew Cockburn writes –

A former senior UN diplomat has revealed to me details of how, just over 10 years ago, the Clinton administration deliberately sabotaged UN weapons inspections in Iraq.

American officials were fearful that Iraq would be officially certified as weapons-free, a development that was seen as a political liability for Bill Clinton. Thus the stage was set for the manufacture of the Iraqi WMD myth as the excuse for George Bush's catastrophic invasion of Iraq.

It was March 1997. For six years the UN inspectors had been probing the secrets of Saddam's weapons programs, in the process destroying huge quantities of chemical munitions and other production facilities. To enforce Saddam's cooperation, Iraq was subject to crushing sanctions.

Now, Rolf Ekeus, the urbane Swedish diplomat who headed the inspection effort, was ready to announce that his work was almost done. "I was getting close to certifying that Iraq was in compliance with Resolution 687," he confirmed to me recently.

At the time, he declared that although there were some loose ends to be cleared up, "not much is unknown about Iraq's retained proscribed weapons capabilities."

For the Clinton administration, this was a crisis. If Ekeus was allowed to complete his mission, then the suspension of sanctions would follow almost automatically.

Saddam would be off the hook and, more importantly for the Clintonites, the neo-conservative republicans would be howling for the president's blood.

The only hope was somehow to prevent Ekeus completing his mission.

Enter Madeleine Albright, newly appointed Secretary of State. On March 26, 1997, she strode on to the stage at Georgetown University to deliver what was billed as a major policy address on Iraq. Many in the audience expected that she would extend some sort of olive branch toward the Iraqi regime, but that was far from her mind.

Instead, she was set on making sure that Saddam effectively ended his cooperation with the inspectors. "We do not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted," she declared. Sanctions, she stated without equivocation, would remain unless or until Saddam was driven from power…

…Finally, following 9/11, the war party in George Bush Jr's administration was able to make the case for invasion on the grounds that Saddam had refused to comply with UN resolutions on disarmament by refusing to grant access to the weapons inspectors. The Iraq disaster has many fathers.

The Iraq War has many fathers indeed. Bush foreign policy is the extension of Democratic foreign policy nothing more and nothing less. And despite the oh-so-noble references to world peace and stability not to mention keeping Americans safe the true motives are very dubious indeed. Though all national leaders make much of their heartfelt love of America and world peace it is for the most part as bogus as a plug nickel. And there could be no better example of this than the Bush family who made their fortune through ties to Nazi Germany prior to WWII and even after America had entered into the war. Though national leaders use tribalistic patriotism to manipulate people they care little enough about it themselves.

Robert Parry on Bush ties to Nazi Germany –

The archival evidence is now clear that Prescott Bush, the president’s grandfather, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from and collaborated with key financial backers of Nazi Germany.

That business relationship continued after Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and even after Germany declared war on the United States following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. It stopped only when the U.S. government seized assets of Bush-connected companies in late 1942 under the “Trading with the Enemy Act.”

So, perhaps instead of holding up Sen. Borah to ridicule, Bush might have acknowledged in his May 15 speech that his forebears also were blind to the dangers of Hitler.

Bush might have noted that his family’s wealth, which fueled his own political rise, was partly derived from Nazi collaboration and possibly from slave labor provided by Auschwitz and other concentration camps.

Also see Chris Floyd on the same Bush history –

But the progressive hissy fit over Bush's speech has provided a massive distraction from the real scandal of his appearance before the Knesset, and his reference to Nazi Germany: the fact that this mass-murdering wager of aggressive war would not have been standing before the Knesset at all – if not for his own family’s extensive, and profitable, role in the rise of the Nazi war machine. A role which continued not only after “Nazi tanks crossed into Poland” (where Bush family investments helped finance the concentration camp at Auschwitz) but even after Nazi forces were killing American troops in North Africa.

This is the stark reality of national leaders and while not all of them profited from Nazi Germany most of them profit from condemning Americans and innocent people abroad to die horribly violent deaths, fire bombing in Germany, atomic bombs in Japan, bombs and more bombs for the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Palestine and the next war with Iran brewing, sacrifices on the altar of staying in power and personal gain. When will we learn? Maybe never. Suckers all to the bitter end. Many have high hopes for a Democrat win in November but in regards to endless war and interventions nothing will change. Partial withdrawal is not withdrawal and campaign promises are as ephemeral as a morning mist. When Woodrow Wilson was running for president he claimed he would not lead America into WWI yet soon after attaining the Whitehouse America entered the Great War.

I do not write this to just be negative about America I am trying to identify the actual cause of our very real problems. Before my way of earning a living as a mechanical designer evaporated shipped to foreign lands I worked in the high tech industry. I have designed parts for satellites, robotic machines for etching chips, worked as a checker for designs on the space station batteries and many other projects. If something did not work I had to know why. I could not hide my head in the sand and lie to myself and co-workers about problems with design or manufacture. Yet today what many Americans are doing is tantamount to hiding their heads in the sand when it comes to the Democratic Party. I wish I could believe in the Democrats yet the past seven years have shown that they are not worthy of trust as they mouth platitudes for ending the Iraq occupation while funding it non-stop and have been complicit with President Bush on torture and trashing the U.S. Constitution every step of the way not to mention the role Democrats have played in numerous wars stretching back in time for the last 100 years. The first step to solving any problem always has been and always shall be first recognizing that there is a problem. One cannot hope problems away. With all due respect to Obama hope is not a plan it is a recipe for disaster.

On a final note I am well aware of the part Israel has played in our Middle East adventures and many people have made a very good case identifying the Israeli lobby playing a crucial role in our foreign policy. On the other hand to believe that Israel is the sole reason for the Iraq War is to deny over one hundred years of bloody and brutal American imperialism. I see the relationship as something more along the lines of converging interests. That of Israel’s desires to expand their territory and that of the American government’s desire to dominate the Middle East to control the huge oil reserves in that area and perhaps as much to keep Russia or China from doing the same.