Chalmers Johnson "Sorrows of Empire" 2004In addition to ending the draft and so turning the military into a strictly professional force, Vietnam contributed to the advance of militarism, counterintuitively, exactly because the US lost the war. This defeat, deeply disillusioning to America’s leadership elites, set off a never-concluded debate about the “lessons” to be learned from it. For a newly ascended far right, Vietnam became a just war that the left wing had not had the will or the courage to win... For Reagan and Bush...the central lessons of Vietnam was not that foreign policy had to be more democratic, but the opposite: it had to become ever more the province of national security managers who operated without the close scrutiny of the media, the oversight of congress, or accountability to an involved public. the result has been the emergence of a coterie of professional militarists who classify everything the do as secret and who have been appointed to senior positions throughout the executive branch. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.60-1) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in Talk left.com
Richard Gardner, a former ambassador to Spain and Italy, estimates that by a ratio of at least sixteen to one, the United States spends more on preparing for war than on trying to prevent it…. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.63) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in the Third World Traveler
Typical of the former is the widely read Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer. After the terrorist attacks of 2001, he celebrated the “success” of the American bombing campaign in Afghanistan with an article entitled “Victory changes Everything.” “The elementary truth — he wrote — that seems to elude the experts again and again — Gulf war, Afghan war, next war — is that power is its own reward. Victory changes everything, psychology above all. The psychology in the region (Central Asia) is now one of fear and deep respect for American power. Now is the time to use it to deter, defeat, or destroy the other regimes in the area that are host to radical Islamic terrorism.” But even six months before the president declared “war on terrorism,” Krauthammer asserted “America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to re-shape norms, alter expectations and create new realities. How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will.” (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.67-8) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in the Energy Problem and economic nationalism
Sebastian Mallaby, an editorial writer and columnist for the Washington Post, is a typical exponent of such liberal imperialism…… “The question is not whether the United States will seek to fill the void created by the demise of European empires but whether it will acknowledge that this is what it is doing.” (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.71) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited Lance Selfa in the third world Traveler
The United States is the sole country the old World Court (which can try only nations, not individuals) ever condemned for terrorism-owing to the Reagan administration’s covert action to destabilize and destroy the Sandinista government of Nicaragua in 1984. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.75)
“In half a year [since 9/11], we have reinvented ourselves as the most belligerent people on earth. How did this happen?” asks Boston Globe columnist James Carroll….
A century and a quarter later the U.S. Army has 480,000 members, the navy 375,000, the air force 359,000, and the marines 175,000, for a total of 1,389,000 men and women on active duty. The payroll for these uniformed personnel in 2003 was $27.1 billion for the active army, $22 billion each for the navy and air force, and $8.6 billion for the marines. Today, the federal government can tap into and listen to all citizens' phone calls, faxes, and e-mail transmissions if it chooses to. It has begun to incarcerate native-born and naturalized citizens as well as immigrants and travelers in military prisons without bringing charges against them. The president alone decides who is an "illegal belligerent' a term the Bush administration introduced, and there is no appeal from his decision. Much of the defense budget and all intelligence agency budgets are secret. These are all signs of militarism and of the creation of a national security state. Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” p.78-9 also cited in the third World Traveler
Even prior to the Afghan war, a group of right-wing “defense intellectuals” had started to advocate a comprehensive new strategy for global domination. Many had served in earlier Republican administrations and most of them were again given high appointive positions when George W. Bush became president. They focused on plans for the next decade or two in much the same way that Captain Alfred T. Mahan of the navy, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt had emphasized sea power, Pacific bases, and a two-ocean navy at the end of the nineteenth century. Rarely taking the public into their confidence, the members of this new clique were masters of media manipulation, something they acknowledged they had “learned” as a result of bitter experience during the Vietnam War. The terrorist incidents of 2001, much like the sinking of the battleship Maine m 1898, gave a tremendous boost to their private agenda. It mobilized popular sentiment and patriotism behind military initiatives that might otherwise have elicited serious mainstream doubts and protests.
'The determination to militarize outer space and dominate the globe from orbiting battle stations armed with an array of weapons includes high-energy lasers that could be directed toward any target on earth or against other nations’ satellites. The Space Command’s policy statement, “Vision for 2020,” argues that “the globalization of the world economy, will continue, with a widening gulf between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots,’” and that the Pentagon’s mission is therefore to “dominate the space dimension of military operations to protect U.S. interests and investments” in an increasingly dangerous and implicitly anti-American world. One crucial goal of policy should be “denying other countries access to space.” (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.80-1) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in “Science and Ideology in Economic, Political, and Social Thought”
As neoconservative pundit Lawrence F. Kaplan puts it, “Missile defense isn’t really meant to protect America. It’s a tool for global dominance.” (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.84-5)
The Cox Report asserted that espionage had enabled China to achieve a nuclear weapons capacity “on a par” with that of the United States. At the time, China had roughly twenty old, liquid-fueled, single-warhead intercontinental-range missiles, whereas the United States had about 7,150 strategic warheads deliverable against China via missiles, submarines, and bombers. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.86-7)
On April 1, 2001, a U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries ii electronic spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter off Hainan Island. The American aircraft was on a mission to provoke Chinese radar defenses and then record the transmissions and procedures the Chinese used in sending up interceptors. These flights were ordered by the commander in chief in the Pacific, one of the United State’s increasingly independent military proconsuls who are the de facto authors of foreign policy in their regions. While the Chinese jet went down and the pilot lost his life, while the US plane landed safely on Hainan Island and its crew of 24 spies was well treated by the Chinese authorities.
It soon became clear that China, after the United States and Britain now the third-largest recipient of direct foreign investment, was not interested in a confrontation. Many of its most important investors have their headquarters in the United States. But it could not instantly return the crew of the spy plane without risking powerful domestic criticism for obsequiousness in the face of provocation. It therefore delayed for 11 days until it received a pro forma US apology for causing the death of a Chinese pilot on the edge of the country's territorial airspace and for making an unauthorized landing at a Chinese military airfield. Meanwhile, the US media had labeled the crew as "hostages", encouraged their relatives to tie yellow ribbons around neighborhood trees, hailed the president for doing "a first-rate job" to free them, and endlessly criticized China for its "state-controlled media". They carefully avoided mentioning that the United States enforces around the country a 200-mile aircraft-intercept zone that stretches far beyond territorial waters. On April 25, 2001, during an interview on national television, President Bush was asked whether he would ever use "the full force of the American military" against China for the sake of Taiwan. He responded, "Whatever it takes to help Taiwan defend herself." …. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.87-8) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in Asia Times Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in Common Dreams
A little history might be in order. Back in 1994, the United States discovered that the Pyongyang regime was producing plutonium as a by-product of an old Russian-designed reactor for generating electric power. A crisis over the possibility that North Korea might be able to produce a few atomic bombs was resolved within the year by the oddly titled "Agreed Framework." In return for Pyongyang's pledge to mothball its old reactor and allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.S. and its allies promised to build two new reactors that would not produce weapons-grade fissionable material and to open some form of diplomatic and economic relations with the isolated North. The U.S. also agreed to supply the North with fuel oil to replace the energy lost by shutting down the reactor (since the country has no independent sources of energy of any sort). For three years the Clinton administration stalled on implementing the agreement, hoping that the highly militarized North Korean regime, its people suffering from starvation, would simply collapse.
By the end of the decade this standoff had degenerated into stalemate. In June 2000, the president of South Korea, Kim Dae-jung, acting on his own initiative and without consulting the United States, undertook a historic journey of reconciliation to Pyongyang, trying to eradicate the last vestiges of the Cold War on the Korean peninsula. His visit produced a breakthrough, and for his efforts he received the Nobel Peace Prize. Even more important, President Kim's initiative caught the imagination of his own people, much as Richard Nixon's 1971 opening to China captured the imagination of millions of Americans.
South Korea has a population of forty-seven million, more than twice the North's twenty-one million, and is twenty-five to thirty times richer than its desolate neighbor. The South's willingness to help the North reflects a growing democratic and economic self-confidence. It is important to remember that South Korea is one of only three countries in East Asia (the others being the Philippines and Taiwan) to have achieved democracy from below. In South Korea and the Philippines, mass movements fought against oppressive American imposed and supported dictators -- General Chun Doo-hwan in Seoul and Ferdinand Marcos in Manila. During 2000, relations between North and South Korea continued to improve, leading to an October visit to Pyongyang by then U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In the early days of the Bush administration, however, these favorable trends in Korea and in Washington came to a screeching halt. On a visit to Washington in March 2001, Kim was rudely brushed off by Bush, who promptly included North Korea in his increasingly bellicose statements about the world. In his state-of-the-union address of January 2002, Bush about the world. In his state-of-the-union address of January 2002, Bush identified North Korea as one of three nations belonging to an "Axis of Evil." Needless to say, he did not consult his South Korean allies before making this provocative declaration.
In September 2002, the Bush administration asserted in its "national security strategy" a right to wage "preventive war." This rhetoric gained an almost immediate reality for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his associates when by August 2002 the Americans began to mobilize a powerful invasion force on the borders of Iraq, also included in Bush's list of nations targeted for "regime change." Watching Iraq being destroyed by the world's richest and most heavily armed country, North Korea prepared to defend itself in the only way it thought the Americans could understand. It withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, expelled international inspectors, and restarted its old power reactor.
At first, the Bush administration's response was muted. After all, one war was already looming and another in Korea threatened the deaths of millions in the South Korean capital Seoul, a city of 10.8 million within easy artillery range of the North. Among them, were tens of thousands of American troops stationed for decades near the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas as a "tripwire" against an attack from the North (whose firepower near the border was known to be powerful indeed). This was meant to ensure, among other things, that, as the first casualties came in, the American people would have no choice but to back the war.
On the other hand, the men (and woman) of the Bush administration made no effort to back down from or soften their positions. Kim Jong-il's regime thus reached the almost unavoidable conclusion that it was likely to be the next victim of a bully and began trying to "deter" the Americans. It insisted on a nonaggression treaty with the U.S. in return for shutting down its dangerous reactor and halting its nuclear weapons development program. It also initially offered to allow the expelled inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to return to monitor its nuclear facilities.
After the U.S. invaded Iraq -- without any form of international legitimacy, with only a couple of Anglophone allies, and with virtually unanimous condemnation from all the democratic countries of the world -- North Korea pulled back from even this offer. On April 6, 2003, it seemed to accept the logic of the Bush administration and announced that only by arming itself with a "tremendous military deterrent" could it guarantee its own security. "The Iraqi war shows that to allow disarming through inspection does not help avert a war but rather sparks it. . . . This suggests that even the signing of a nonaggression treaty with the U.S. would not help avert a war." Much like a comment attributed to Winston Churchill during the Battle of Britain, North Korea was now telling its citizens, "If you've got to go, take one with you." The places it threatened to take with it were Seoul, the thirty-eight American bases on Okinawa, and as many Japanese cities as it could hit (though in actual fact it may not have the capability of reaching as far as either Okinawa or the Japanese mainland with nuclear-tipped missiles). At the very least, however, were it to arm itself with nuclear weapons, it would certainly spark a nuclear arms race in East Asia.
Over the last two years, South Korean public opinion has shifted radically on the issue of North Korea. The prosperous and well-informed people of the South know that their fellow Koreans, hungry, desperate, oppressed but exceedingly well armed, are trapped by the ironies of the end of the Cold War and by the harshness of the Kim Jong-il regime, but are also being pushed into an exceedingly dangerous corner by the pride and arrogance of the Americans in their newly proclaimed role as the reigning global military colossus. The South no longer much fears the North -- at least a North not pushed to extreme acts by Washington. They fear instead the enthusiasm for war emanating from Washington and the constant problems generated by American troops based in South Korea over the past fifty years…. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.89-95) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in Znet comunications
The army's target for 2002 was to hire 79,500 young adults as new recruits. Demographics and salesmanship matter in trying to raise and retain an all-volunteer army, and, until recently, the main recruiting slogans were "Be all you can be" and "An Army of one" (meaning that the army is a collection of quintessential American individualists). A recent gimmick is a free computer game, called America's Army, aimed directly at capturing the hearts and minds of technology-savvy teenagers. By the autumn of 2002, more than 500,000 copies had been downloaded from americasarmy.com, and recruiters now have a two-CD set of the game to give away to likely prospects. During the summer of 2002, many video-game magazines included the CDs with issues.
The game differs from most other combat videos now on the market in that bullet hits are recorded only by little red puffs instead of gushers of blood and flying body parts. The army wants to avoid any suggestion that actual combat might be unpleasant. According to the game instructions, "When a soldier is killed, that soldier simply falls to the ground and is no longer part of the ongoing mission. The game does not include any dismemberment or disfigurement." In "Soldiers," the second part of the game, players progress through a virtual career in the army, serving in a variety of units and improving their ratings in categories like loyalty, honor, and personal courage as they go. Enemies are portrayed as both white- and black-skinned but have one trait in common -- nearly all of them are unshaven. The government has so far spent $7.6 million to develop the game, and plans to devote about $2.5 million a year to updates and another $1.5 million to maintaining a multiplayer infrastructure. The army hoped to use it to attract 300 to 400 recruits in 2003.*
Another aspect of the attempt to interest adolescent boys in a military career is the army's sponsorship of drag racing. Its twenty-four-foot, 6,000 horsepower dragster "The Sarge" is fueled with nitromethane at thirty dollars a gallon and has emblazoned in gold on its side, "GO ARMY." Anyone who has been to an auto speedway and seen (or heard) the car accelerate from 0 to 200 m.p.h. in 2.2 seconds will appreciate the mechanical machismo the army is using to attract young recruits. In the 1970s, the army had sponsored racing cars with its name on them but gave the effort up as a waste of money. In 1999, it began a new collaboration with the National Hot Rod Association, this time to enter its own car and to install recruiting booths at the racetracks with helicopters and assault vehicles for boys to climb on. In the 2002 season, to compete at twenty-three drag racing events, the army's recruiting command invested about $5.5 million. All the drivers are professionals, though few are veterans of the armed forces. High schools around the country are encouraged to take their pupils out for a "day at the track." In 2001, of some 56,000 young people who were sent to a drag race by their schools, 300 joined the army.* One thing that does seem to work in attracting recruits is the military's offer of up to $50,000 in grants to attend college, although few who enlist end up taking advantage of this program.
Video games and hot rods are both very American examples of the art of advertising, but they seem unlikely to change the composition of the armed forces very much. Race, socioeconomic class, and the state of the U.S. economy, as well as the possibility of an upcoming war, influence the decision to sign up, and women do not respond to video games or dragsters in the same way that men do. During the run-up to the second U.S. war with Iraq, military recruiters noted that virtually no one was joining up to serve the nation in an actual war.
A real deterrent to recruitment is the possibility that a new soldier will find himself or herself in combat. Roughly four out of five young Americans who enlist in our all-volunteer armed forces specifically choose non-combat jobs, becoming computer technicians, personnel managers, shipping clerks, truck mechanics, weather forecasters, intelligence analysts, cooks, forklift drivers -- all jobs that carry a low risk of contact with an enemy. They often enlist because of a lack of good jobs in the civilian economy and thus take refuge in the military's long-established system of state socialism -- steady paychecks, decent housing, medical and dental benefits, job training, and the promise of a college education. The mother of one such recruit recently commented on her nineteen-year-old daughter, who was soon to become an army intelligence analyst. She was proud but also cynical: "Wealthy people don't go into the military or take risks because why should they? They already got everything handed to them."*
These recruits do not expect to be shot at. Thus it must have been a shock to the noncombat rank and file when in March 2003 Iraqi guns opened up on an army supply convoy, killing eleven and taking another six prisoner, including Private First Class Jessica Lynch of Palestine, West Virginia, a supply clerk. The army's response has been, "You don't have to be in combat arms [of the military] to close with and kill the enemy." Despite her high-profile story, Jessica Lynch is still the exception to the rule. It is rare for noncombat military personnel to find themselves in a firefight. But that hardly means that soldiers doing noncombat duty are not at risk. What the Pentagon is not saying to the Private Lynches and their families is that all soldiers, regardless of their duties, stand a real chance of injury or death because they chose the military as a route of social mobility.
Our recent wars have produced serious unintended consequences, and these have fallen nearly as heavily on noncombat soldiers as on their frontline compatriots. The most important factor in that casualty rate is the malady that goes by the name Gulf War Syndrome, a potentially deadly medical disorder that first appeared among combat veterans of the 1990-91 conflict with Iraq. Just as the effects of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War were first explained away by the Pentagon as "post-traumatic stress disorder," "combat fatigue," or "shell shock," so the potential toxic side effects of the ammunition now widely used by the armed forces have been played down by the Bush administration. The implications are devastating, not just for America's adversaries or civilians caught in their country turned battlefield but for American forces themselves (and even possibly their future offspring).
The first Iraq war produced four classes of casualties -- killed in action, wounded in action, killed in accidents (including "friendly fire"), and injuries and illnesses that appeared only after the end of hostilities. During 1990 and 1991, some 696,778 individuals served in the Persian Gulf as elements of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Of these, 148 were killed in battle, 467 were wounded in action, and 145 were killed in accidents, producing a total of 760 casualties, quite a low number given the scale of the operations. As of May 2002, however, the Veterans Administration reported that an additional 8,306 soldiers had died and 159,705 were injured or ill as a result of service-connected "exposures" suffered during the war. Even more alarmingly, the VA revealed that 206,861 veterans, almost a third of General Norman Schwarzkopf's entire army, had filed claims for medical care, compensation, and pension benefits based on injuries and illnesses caused by combat in 1991. After reviewing the cases, the agency has classified 168,011 applicants as "disabled veterans." In light of these deaths and disabilities, the casualty rate for the first Gulf War may actually be a staggering 29.3 percent. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.97-100) (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited at Buzzle.com
During 2002, the army was losing 13.7 percent of all recruits during training. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.102)
In border cities like San Diego, army recruiters have occassionaly crossed into Tijuana to try to sign up young Mexicans with offers of green cards (legal alien residents’ certificates) or possible citizenship after a hitch in the army. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.103)
Both male and female service personnel are indoctrinated to obey the orders of a superior officer or upperclassman….
One said that if he had not joined the navy, “I would only have ended up in prison.” “Probably if I hadn’t joined the army,” said a nineteen-year-old woman, “I would be doing the same thing most of my friends are doing, which is working fast food.” (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.106-7)
Crime is very ubiquitous in the military. Although the military invariably tries to portray all reported criminal or racial incidents as unique events, perpetrated by an infinitesimally small number of “bad apples” and with officers taking determined remedial action, a different reality is apparent at military bases around the Globe….
recruiting and retaining enough people to staff all the outposts and ships of the empire is a full-time job, and the military has become extremely creative in finding ways to lure young men and women into signing up. A standard ploy by recruiters is to obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of students in a community's high schools and flood their homes with unsolicited mail, phone calls, prowar videos, and T-shirts emblazoned with slogans. The message is aimed at parents as well as students and stresses the benefits of serving in the armed forces, including possible help toward a college education. When the recruiters get an interview with a prospect, they are obliged to ask whether he or she has ever smoked marijuana. According to many reports, if the student answers yes, they just keep asking the same question until the answer is no and then write that down . Complaints about harassment by military recruiters in San Diego, California, became so numerous in 1993 that the San Diego Unified School District adopted a policy against releasing student information to recruiters of any kind. From then on, the military mobilized politicians, the chamber of commerce, the superintendent of schools, even the county grand jury to pressure the school board to reverse itself. Yet in those years of "the ban' the Pentagon's message was never absent from the San Diego schools because there are eleven Junior ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) units embedded in the city's high schools that function as permanent on-campus recruiting centers. Finally the military decided to take a national legislative route to force all public high schools to allow recruiters to proselytize under threat of a cutoff of federal funds for education. In 2000, President Clinton signed a new law promoted by the Pentagon that gave military recruiters the same access to high schools granted to college and business recruiters. This law contained no penalties for refusal, however, and exempted schools wherever an official districtwide policy, as in San Diego, had been adopted restricting military access. To overcome these obstacles, in 2001 the Pentagon engineered an amendment to a new law intended to help disadvantaged students. This amended law, which President Bush called (without apparent irony) his No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, states: "Any secondary school that receives federal funds under this Act shall permit regular United States Armed Services recruitment activities on school grounds, in a manner reasonably accessible to all students of such school?' The House of Representatives passed it by a vote of 366-57. The Senate did the same by a voice vote, and on January 8, 2002, President Bush signed it into law. As Representative John Shimkus (R-Illinois) said triumphantly, "No recruiters, no money?” …
Another aspect of the Pentagon’s creative efforts to attract more recruits is its support for pro-war Hollywood films. This is nothing new….(significant and important material available on Google pages indicated) (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.107-12) (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in Asia Times
Closely related to the Pentagon’s film activities are its general public relations operations….
By far the most powerful tool of the Department of Defense in promoting its image and protecting its interests from public scrutiny is official secrecy-the so-called black programs paid for through the "black budget?' Reliance on a budget that systematically attempts to confuse and disinform the public started during World War II with the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. All funds allocated for nuclear weapons research and development were hidden in fake accounts of the War Department and never made public to Congress or the people. The president and the military made the decision entirely on their own to develop the first "weapons of mass destruction?”
With the onset of the Cold War, the Pentagon became addicted to a black-budget way of life. After passage in 1949 of the Central Intelligence Act, all funds for the CIA were (and still are) secretly contained in the Department of Defense's published budget under camouflaged names. As the president, the Pentagon, and the CIA created new intelligence agencies, the black budget expanded exponentially. In 1952, President Truman signed a still-secret seven-page charter creating the National Security Agency, which is devoted to signals and communications espionage; in 1960, President Eisenhower set up the even more secret National Reconnaissance Office, which runs our spy satellites; in 1961, President Kennedy launched the Defense Intelligence Agency, the personal intelligence organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense; and in 1996, President Clinton combined several agencies into the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. The budgets of these ever-proliferating intelligence organizations are all unpublished, but estimates of their size are possible. In August 1994, an internal Pentagon memorandum was accidentally leaked to and published in Defense Week, a weapons-trade magazine. According to this memo, the NSA at that time spent $3.5 billion per year, the DIA $621 million, and the NRO $122 million (the CIA was not included).
The official name for the black budget is "Special Access Programs" (SAPs), which are classified well above "top secret?' ("SAP" may be a subtle or unintentional bureaucratic reference to the taxpayer.) SAPs are divided into three basic types: weapons research and acquisition (AQSAP), operations and support, including much of the funds for the various Special Forces (OS-SAP), and intelligence (IN-SAP). Only a few members of Congress receive briefings on them, and this limited sharing of information itself came about only late in the Cold War, in the wake of the Watergate scandals. Moreover, at the discretion of the secretary of defense, the reporting requirement may be waived or transmitted orally to only eight designated members of Congress. These "waived SAPs" are the blackest of black holes. The General Accounting Office has identified at least 185 black programs and notes that they increased eightfold during the 1981-86 period. There is no authoritative total, but the GAO once estimated that $30 to $35 billion per year was devoted to secret military and intelligence spending. According to a report of the independent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, black programs requested in President Bush's 2004 defense budget are at the highest level since 1988. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.114-8) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in the Third World Traveler
In 1997, responsibility for shaping key foreign political and military strategies was officially given to the regional commanders (called commanders in chief, or CINCs, until October 2002, when Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, apparently feeling threatened by their growing power, rechristened them "combatant commanders"). These semiautonomous generals and admirals perform functions that until the 1990s had been handled primarily by civilian officials. In the Middle East (CENTCOM), the Pacific (PACOM), Europe (EUCOM), and Latin America (SOUTHCOM), the CINCs oversee such things as intelligence, special operations, space assets, nuclear forces, arms sales, and military bases; and they produce what are called "theater engagement plans." These are essentially mini-foreign policy statements for each region and include explicit programs to cultivate close relations with local military organizations .411 This is done chiefly by deploying approximately 7,000 Special Forces soldiers in 150 countries to train local militaries in what is called "foreign internal defense" (FID)-in many cases merely a euphemism for the techniques of state terrorism. The training missions allow the United States to spy on these countries, sell them weapons, and encourage their armies to carry out policies the Pentagon favors. Everything is done very quietly and with virtually no political oversight. Over time, the CINCs have become more influential in their regions than ambassadors. When General Anthony C. Zinni of the marines was head of CENTCOM, he had twenty ambassadors serving under him and a personal political adviser with ambassadorial rank. PACOM (also known as CINCPAC) supervises the affairs of forty-three countries. Each CINC has at his disposal virtually unlimited funds, his own airplanes and helicopters, and numerous staff officers. A CINC reports directly to the president and the secretary of defense, avoiding the service chiefs and the normal chain of command. When, in October 1999, General Pervez Musharraf carried out a military coup d'etat in Pakistan, President Clinton telephoned to protest and asked to be called back. Musharraf instead called General Zinni and reportedly began, "Tony, I want to tell you what I am doing' General Zinni ignored the congressional ban on foreign aid to a country that has undergone a military coup and emerged as one of Musharraf's strongest supporters before 9/11. It was also Zinni, and not officials of the State Department, who made the decisions to refuel warships in the Yemani port of Aden, where, on October 12, 2000, suicide bombers attacked the destroyer USS Cole, killing seventeen sailors. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.124-5) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in the Third World Traveler
The United States has two alternative ways of implementing its [foreign military] training programs, each with different unintended consequences. Both have long-standing precedents in the practices of the British Empire, of which the United States has become a dutiful if not particularly inspired pupil. I call these the "sepoy strategy" and the "private military companies strategy:' The word sepoy probably derives from the Urdu word for "horseman" or "soldier' and the sepoy strategy once involved training "native" troops to serve in regiments commanded by British officers or in imperial Indian regiments thought to be loyal to the British crown, which were normally composed of Sikh and Gurkha mercenaries. In 1857, at the time of the Sepoy Mutiny-which Indian nationalists call their "first war of independence"-Britain deployed an army of 300,000 soldiers in India, 96 percent of whom were sepoys. The fact that, when push came to shove, they proved not to be loyal to Britain highlights one of the major potential pitfalls of this approach.
The classic American example of the employment of sepoys was in the "secret war" in Laos that stretched from 1960 to 1975. Army Green Berets and the CIA supplied clandestine aid to French-trained General Vang Pao of the Laotian army, who, in turn, recruited a 30,000-strong army of Hmong tribesmen to fight the Pathet Lao Communist forces allied with North Vietnam. Vang Pao became a hero to American strategists in Saigon and Washington-the best puppet we ever found in Indochina. Our most important form of aid to him was air power. We backed the Hmong fighters with bombing missions from our bases in Thailand. We also used the CIA's private airline, Air America, to supply the scattered Hmong villages with arms, rice, and other supplies and then transported their main cash crop, opium, to Vang Pao's headquarters in the Plain of Jars. From there the opium went on to supply American troops fighting in Vietnam and, via underworld traffickers, on to the international market.
When, after 1969, the Pathet Lao began to defeat the Hmong guerrillas, Air America evacuated thousands of them to refugee camps under Vang Pao's control and carpet-bombed the Hmong villages that had been overrun. Ultimately, after the collapse of anti-Communist resistance throughout Indochina, the CIA evacuated Vang Pao and thousands of his supporters to the United States, where they now live. Britain's sepoys, Vang Pao and the Hmong always remained loyal to the CIA. As Alfred McCoy, the leading authority on the opium trade that accompanied this secret war, notes, "While the U.S. military sent half a million troops to fight a conventional war in South Vietnam, this mountain warfare required only a handful of American personnel
The private military companies strategy is typified by the Vinnell Corporation of Fairfax, Virginia, a subsidiary of the large defense conglomerate Northrop Grumman. Vinnell was created by retired American military officers and, since 1975, has been licensed by the government to train the Saudi National Guard, the 100,000-strong force that protects the monarchy and serves as a counterweight to any threat from the regular armed forces. Over the years Vinnell has constructed, run, written doctrine for, and staffed five Saudi military academies, seven shooting ranges, and a health care system, while training and equipping four Saudi mechanized brigades and five infantry brigades. Saudi Arabia has, in turn, funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into major defense corporations to equip these forces, which briefly saw action in the first Gulf War by recapturing the Saudi town of Khai, on the Kuwait border, from the Iraqis.'
Vinnell is one of about thirty-five private rent-a-trainer, rent-a-mercenary, and rent-a-cop companies whose leaders and employees, mostly retired high-ranking officers and members of the Special Forces, hire themselves out to the government and its foreign allies to perform any number of military tasks, including troop training. Since these companies are private contractors, they are not subject to military discipline and their operations remain the proprietary secrets of the companies, not subject to any form of public oversight. From the 1950s to the 1970s, the British and South Africans created similar companies of mercenaries to train and sometimes fight alongside both governmental and insurgent forces in the Middle East, Angola, and Sierra Leone. The United States also hired private companies to train South Vietnamese military forces and police during the 1960s and 1970s, but to little avail. I will return to the American private companies below, but let us first consider our record with sepoys.
IMET was created in 1976 in the wake of the Nixon Doctrine, that forlorn attempt to "Vietnamize" the Vietnam War-that is, to shift to the principle that "Asian boys should fight Asian wars." IMET's primary mode of operation was-and remains-to pay foreign officers and soldiers to take courses at such places as the National Defense University in Washington, DC; the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona; the Naval Special Warfare Center (headquarters of the SEALs) at Coronado, California; the Inter-American Air Force Academy at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas; the Air Force Special Operations Command's school at Huriburt Field, Fort Walton Beach, Florida; and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
By far the most notorious of these institutions is the Spanish-language School of the Americas (SOA), which, to evade a congressional order that it be closed, in 2000 renamed itself the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC). This ruse, which fooled no one, nonetheless formally stopped the movement to abolish SOA. Founded in 1946 and situated in the then American colony of the Canal Zone, it was evicted in 1984 by the Panamanian government, whose president, Jorge Illueca, termed it the "biggest base for destabilization in Latin America?' SOA/WHISC is now located on the grounds of the army base at Fort Benning, Georgia. Over the years it has trained well over 60,000 Latin American military and police officers, significant numbers of whom have been implicated in cases of torture, rape, massacre, and assassination. Among them was Roberto D'Aubuisson, the leader of El Salvador's rightwing death squads. Lower-level SOA graduates have participated in human rights abuses that include the March 24, 1980, assassination of El Salvador's Archbishop Oscar Romero (in which the CIA may have been implicated) and the December 1981 El Mozote massacre of 900 Salvadoran civilians. As of late 2002, civil war-torn Colombia's army includes some 10,000 SOA/WHISC graduates.
In 1996, the American press discovered that between 1982 and 1991 the SOA adopted as textbooks seven different Spanish-language manuals based on a U.S. Army original that called for "neutralizing [i.e., killing] government officials, political leaders, and members of the infrastructure?' These manuals were distributed to thousands of military officers in eleven South and Central American countries. According to a Pentagon spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Arne Owens, "The problem was discovered in 1992, properly reported, and fixed ?'9 WHISC remains the focus of a widespread protest movement led by Father Roy Bourgeois, a former navy officer who is today a Maryknoll priest. He has been arrested many times at Fort Benning. Should he and his supporters ever succeed in closing down the school on U.S. soil, the Bush administration has announced backup plans for a successor in Costa Rica.
The rich rival of the State Department's IMET program is the Pentagon's Foreign Military Financing (FMF), which gives money to countries to buy American weapons and then supplies training in how to use them. Appropriations for IMET in fiscal year 2001 were $57,875,000, with proposed expenditures for 2003 of $80,000,000-whereas the FMF appropriations are in the billions and still rising. In 2001, the Pentagon received $3,576,240,000 and promptly put in a request of $4,107,200,000 for 2003. Such differences between the two programs reflect the fact that the Pentagon's budget is almost twenty times larger than the State Department's. J A major portion of the Pentagon's funds traditionally goes to Israel, but the biggest proposed recipients in the FMF 2003 budget were Jordan, at $198 million (plus IMET of $2.4 million); Colombia at $98 million (IMET of $1.2 million); India at $50 million (IMET of $1 million); Pakistan at $50 million (IMET of $1 million); Turkey at $17.5 million (IMET of $350,000); and Uzbekistan at $8.75 million (IMET of $1.2 million). These sums represented the first FMF payments to Colombia, India, and Pakistan in recent years. Uzbekistan, which has one of the worst human rights records anywhere, is a new recipient. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.133-7) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in the Third World Traveler
These private military companies are not small organizations. DynCorp has 23,000 employees, Cubic some 4,500, and MPRI about 700 full-time staff members with a roster of 10,000 retired military personnel it can call on. One authority on these new mercenaries, Deborah Avant of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, estimates that the revenues of the private military companies, which were at $55.6 billion in 1990, will rise to $202 billion by 2010. The companies even have their own industry trade group, the International Peace Operations Association-a name George Orwell would have cherished.
It is not just foreigners these companies train. Until March 2002, MPRI held the contract to run the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs in some 217 American universities. ROTC offers college money to students in return for taking some military courses, wearing uniforms on campus, training during part of the summer at a military base, and accepting a commission in the army reserve upon graduation. When it lost its bid to continue running the ROTC programs, MPRI picked up a contract to operate the nation's military recruiting stations. Both MPRI and Cubic are active in developing curricula, writing doctrine, and running educational programs for military officers as well as training military press attaches. Much of this privatization of our armed forces is actually deeply disliked by uniformed professionals. As Colonel Bruce Grant notes, “Privatization is a way of going around congress and not telling the public. Foreign policy is made by default by private military consultants motivated by bottom-line profits. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.141-2)
Brown & Root, long known in Texas for its political connections, was acquired in 1962 by the oil-drilling and construction company Halliburton. Dick Cheney was secretary of defense when Brown & Root first began to supply logistical services to the army. According to an investigative report by Robert Bryce in the Austin Chronicle, Cheney is the author of the idea that the military's logistical operations should be privatized. He was trying not so much to increase efficiency as to reward the private sector. He basically asked how private companies could assist the army in cutting hundreds of thousands of jobs. "In 1992, the Pentagon, then under Cheney's direction, paid Brown & Root $3.9 million to produce a classified report detailing how private companies-like itself-could help provide logistics for American troops in potential war zones around the world. Later in 1992, the Pentagon gave the firm an additional $5 million to update its report. That same year, the company won a five-year logistics contract from the Army Corps of Engineers to work alongside GIs in places like Zaire, Haiti, Somalia, Kosovo, the Balkans, and Saudi Arabia. "'
After the 1992 election, Cheney left the Defense Department, and between 1995 and 2000 he was the chief executive officer of Halliburton. Under his leadership, Brown & Root took in $2.3 billion in government contracts, almost double the $1.2 billion it earned from the government in the five years before Cheney arrived. Halliburton rebuilt Saddam Hussein's war-damaged oil fields for some $23.8 million, even though Cheney, as secretary of defense during the first Gulf War, had been instrumental in destroying them. By 1999, Halliburton had become the biggest nonunion employer in the United States, although Wal-Mart soon replaced it. Cheney also appointed Dave Gibben, his chief of staff when he was at the Pentagon, as one of Halliburton's leading lobbyists. In 2001, Cheney returned to Washington as vice president, and Brown & Root continued to build, maintain, and protect bases from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf."
During Cheney's term as Halliburton's CEO, the company advanced from seventy-third to eighteenth on the Pentagon's list of top contractors. Its number of subsidiaries located in offshore tax havens also increased from nine to forty-four. As a result, Halliburton went from paying $302 million in company taxes in 1998 to getting an $85 million tax refund in 1999. Following the second Gulf War, while Cheney was vice president, the Army Corps of Engineers awarded the company a no-bid contract to extinguish oil well fires in Iraq. The contract was open-ended, with no time or dollar limits, and was "cost-plus' meaning that the company is guaranteed both to recover costs and then to make a profit on top of that. Such contracts are typical of Brown & Root's operating methods and are worth tens of millions of dollars." On April 4, 2003, in honor of "Big Business Day 2003' Citizen Works, a watchdog organization created by the consumer advocate Ralph Nader, gave Dick Cheney its "Daddy Warbucks" award for eminence in corporate war profiteering. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.144-5)
In the long run, one wonders whether these private companies will be able to recruit employees successfully to work in countries where American bases are deeply resented. On January 21, 2003, at 9:15 in the morning, a gunman fired twenty-four bullets from a Kalashnikov at two American civilians sitting in a Toyota sport utility vehicle at a traffic signal three miles from Camp Doha. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.148)
Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited by the third World Traveler
Much information about the disguised American bases in Britain comes from peace activists like Lindis Percy, coordinator of the United Kingdom’s Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, who has been arrested many times for breaking into them. One recent escapade occurred at RAF Croughton, twenty-five miles southwest of Stratford-upon-Avon, where Percy was charged with "aggravated trespass." She then revealed to the press that the RAF designation was phony and that Croughton is actually a U.S. Air Force base. One authoritative but unofficial source says that the base's active-duty personnel include 400 Americans and 109 employees of the British Ministry of Defense. Its function is communications with U.S. Air Force aircraft, including nuclear bombers. The Americans dropped charges against Percy to prevent "embarrassing evidence" from being presented in open court.15 In June 2002, she had five injunctions against her for entering such bases, including Menwith Hill.
Since 1948, a highly classified agreement among the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand allows them to exchange information not just about target countries but also about one another. This arrangement permits the United States's National Security Agency, Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Canada's Communications Security Establishment, Australia's Defense Signals Directorate, and New Zealand's General Communications Security Bureau to swap information with one another about their own citizens-including political leaders-without formally violating national laws against domestic spying. Even though the US. government, for example, is prohibited by law from spying on its own citizens except under a court-ordered warrant, as are all the other countries in the consortium, the NSA can, and often does, ask one of its partners to do so and pass the information its way. One former employee of the Canadian Communications Security Establishment revealed that, at the request of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain, the GCHQ asked the Canadians to monitor certain British political leaders for them.
Since at least 1981, what had once been an informal covert intelligence-sharing arrangement among the English-speaking countries has been formalized under the code name "Echelon?' Up until then the consortium exchanged only "finished" intelligence reports. With the advent of Echelon, they started to share raw intercepts. Echelon is, in fact, a specific program for satellites and computers designed to intercept nonmilitary communications of governments, private organizations, businesses, and individuals on behalf of what is known as the "UKUSA signals intelligence alliance.' Each member of the alliance operates its own satellites and creates its own "dictionary" supercomputers that list key words, names, telephone numbers, and anything else that can be made machine-readable. They then search the massive downloads of information the satellites bring in every day. Each country exchanges its daily intake and its analyses with the others. One member may request the addition to another's dictionary of a word or name it wants to target. Echelon monitors or operates approximately 120 satellites worldwide.
The system, which targets international civil communications channels, is so secret that the NSA has refused even to admit it exists or to discuss it with delegations from the European Parliament who have come to Washington to protest such surveillance. France, Germany, and other European nations accuse the United States and Britain, the two nations that originally set up Echelon, with commercial espionage-what they call "state-sponsored information piracy." 17 There is some evidence that the United States has used information illegally collected from Echelon to advise its negotiators in trade talks with the Japanese and to help Boeing sell to Saudi Arabia in competition with Europe's Airbus. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.164-5) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in the third World Traveler Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in Gordon coale
As retired Marine Lieutenant General Smedley Butler, winner of two congressional Medals of Honor, wrote way back in 1933, “I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service…. And during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle-man for big business, for Wall Street, and the bankers…. Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested….
Even if the Caspian Basin is not the El Dorado that some claim, it is the world's last large, virtually undeveloped oil and gas field that could for a time compete with the Persian Gulf in supplying petroleum to Europe, East Asia, and North America. It seems to have about 6 percent of the world's proven oil reserves and 40 percent of its gas reserves. China, which has the world's fastest-growing economy, became a net oil importer in November 1993 and continues to try to negotiate a possible pipeline from Kazakhstan to Shanghai via Xinjiang Province. China is also attempting to obtain oil from Russia via a pipeline that would stretch from Angarsk in Siberia to the Daqing oil field in Manchuria.
Imagining the five Central Asian republics that became independent when the USSR broke up in 1991 as potential suppliers of oil to the United States, however, involves numerous problems. Kazakhstan (by far the largest in terms of land area), Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan all share frontiers with China. Turkmenistan borders on Iran. Uzbekistan, in the center, is the only one that abuts all the others plus Afghanistan. All except one are ruled by former Communist Party apparatchiks. Only President Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan was not a former Soviet boss, and he has arranged for all fuel for the military jets flying out of the U.S. base in Kyrgyzstan, the biggest American garrison in Central Asia, to be supplied by a firm owned by his son-in-law.
All the leaders of these Central Asian republics have hopeless human rights records, the two worst being the president of Uzbekistan, where the big US. air base at Khanabad is located, and the president for life in Turkmenistan, who has established a personality cult surpassing that of Stalin and who has placed all oil revenues in an offshore account that only he controls. Even Kazakhstan, which is relatively developed and sophisticated-the famous Russian Cosmodrome that launched the world's first space missions is located at Baykonur in south-central Kazakhstan and the country has a population that is 35-40 percent Russian-is hardly a model republic. Its foreign minister revealed that in 1996 President Nursultan Nazarbayev moved $1 billion in oil revenues to a secret Swiss bank account without informing his parliament. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.169-71) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited on wikiquote Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited at Rense.com Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire”also cite in the Third World Traveler by Michael Parenti Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in General Smedley Butler’s Bio Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in a review of his book Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in the Third World Traveler The problem of course, was the endless civil war in fragmented Afghanistan. In the mid-1990’s, Unocal needed a government in Kabul it could deal with in obtaining transit rights. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.177)
….bases that were built in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are another matter. Less than a month after September 11, 2001, the United States negotiated long-term leases with both countries-reacting incredibly fast for a government responding to an unexpected event. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.182-3)
She used to drive around the Kazakh capital with a bumper strip on her car that read, “Happiness Is Multiple Pipelines.” In December 2001, at a press conference in Almaty, she promised, “When the Afghan conflict is over, we will not leave central Asia. We have long-term plans and interests in this region.” (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.185)
The Monroe Doctrine itself actually reflected the ideas of John Quincy Adams, a member of the Federalist Party, not President James Monroe, a republican. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.190-1)
France opted out of NATO because, as supreme commander, an American General dominated it. (In 1993 France rejoined.) (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.194-5)
From 1945 to 1972, the United States held on to the island as a colony directly governed by the Pentagon. During this period, the 1.3 million Okinawans became stateless, unrecognized as citizens in either Japan or the United States, governed by an American lieutenant general. They could not travel to Japan or anywhere else without special documents issued by American military authorities. Okinawa was closed to the outside world, a secret enclave of military airfields, submarine pens, intelligence facilities, and CIA safe houses. Some Okinawans who protested these conditions were declared probable Communists and hundreds of them were transported to Bolivia, where they were dumped in the remote countryside of the Amazon headwaters to fend for themselves. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.199-200) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in Opinione
When the Greek ambassador told President Johnson that his proposed solution to the Cyprus dispute was unacceptable to the Greek parliament, Johnson reportedly responded, "Fuck your parliament and your constitution. We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks. If your prime minister gives me talk about democracy, parliament, and constitutions, he, his parliament, and his constitution many not last very long." And they did not.
The CIA, under its Athens station chief, John Maury, immediately began plotting with Greek military officers they had trained and cultivated for over twenty years. In order to create a sense of crisis, the Greek intelligence service, the KYP, carried out an extensive program of terrorist attacks and bombings that it blamed on the left. Constantin Costa-Gavra's 1969 film, Z, accurately depicts those days. On April 21, 1967, just before the beginning of an election campaign that would have returned Papandreou as prime minister, the military acted. Claiming they were protecting the country from a Communist coup, a five-man junta, four of whom had close connections with either the CIA or the U.S. military in Greece, established one of the most repressive regimes sponsored by either side during the Cold War….
The leader of the junta, Colonel George Papadopoulos, was an avowed fascist and admirer of Adolf Hitler. He had been trained in the United States during World War II and had been on the CIA payroll for fifteen years preceding the coup. His regime was noted for its brutality. During the colonel's first month in power some 8000 professionals, students, and others disliked by the junta were seized and tortured. Many were executed. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.205-6) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in Bob’s links and rants
In July 1979, Iraq also acquired a new leader, Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti of the Ba'ath Party. Slightly more than 20 years earlier, in 1958, Iraqi military officers inspired by Gamal Abdel Nasser's nationalist revolt in 1952 against the British backed monarchy in Egypt, had seized power and taken the country in a Soviet leaning direction. The leader of the coup, General Abdel-Karim Kassem, proclaimed a republic, withdrew from the anti Soviet Baghdad Pact, legalized the Communist Party, decreed wide ranging land reform, and even granted autonomy to the Kurds in the north. These shifts, coming at the height of the Cold War, were too much for the US-CIA director Allan Dulles publicly called Iraq "the most dangerous spot in the world"- and in 1963, the CIA supported the anti communist Ba'ath Party's efforts to bring Kassem's republic to an end. Ba'ath activists, including a youthful Saddam Hussein, gunned down Kassem and many others on a list the CIA supplied. The plotters were able, however, only to create a coalition government. In 1968, the CIA again fomented a palace revolt in which the Ba'athists eliminated their coalition partners and assumed direct control. According to Roger Morris, a staff member of the national Security Council during the Johnson and Nixon administrations, "It was a regime that was really primary". In July 1979, the same year as the anti American revolution in Iran, Saddam Hussein replaced his mentor, Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr, as president, a position he held until 2003. He was like many other famous beneficiaries of American political intrigue before and since, a CIA "asset".
In September 1980, Saddam, fearing Iranian influence among Iraq's majority Shi'ites, invaded Iran. When, in early 1982, Iranian forces gained the upper hand on the battlefield, the United States launched another covert operation to arm and aid Saddam. NSDD (National Security Decision Directive) 114 of November 26, 1983, is one of the few important Reagan-era foreign policy decisions that still remain classified. The only line from the text that has ever been leaked said that the United States would do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq from losing the war. The Reagan administration soon abandoned its scruples about what was legal.' It began clandestinely to supply Saddam with satellite intelligence on Iran's deployments. As much as $5.5 billion in fraudulent loans to help Iraq buy arms was channeled through the Atlanta branch of an Italian Bank (Banca Nazionale del Lavoro), all of it guaranteed by the Commodity Credit Corporation "to promote American farm exports?' Weapons were also sent via CIA fronts in Chile and Saudi Arabia directly to Baghdad. Between 1986 and 1989, some seventy-three transactions took place that included bacterial cultures to make weapons-grade anthrax, advanced computers, and equipment to repair jet engines and rockets. In December 2002, when Iraq was forced to deliver to the U.N. Security Council an 11,800-page dossier on the history of its weapons programs in accordance with resolution 1441, officials of the Bush administration hurried to New York to take possession of it before any other member could have a look. They then excised and suppressed 8,000 pages that detailed the weapons and dual-use technologies American and other Western companies had sold to Iraq prior to 1991. The American companies included Honeywell, Unisys, Rockwell, Sperry, Hewlett-Packard, DuPont, Eastman Kodak, and many others.
The United States had not had diplomatic relations with Iraq since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. In December 1983, however, President Reagan sent his personal envoy, former secretary of defense in the Ford administration Donald Rumsfeld, to Baghdad to meet with Saddam Hussein. Rumsfeld returned to Iraq in March 1984, precisely when both Iran and the United Nations were accusing Saddam's regime of using chemical weapons in an increasingly brutal war. Rumsfeld, however, made no reference to the Iraqi gas attacks. Instead, he declared that "the defeat of Iraq in the three-year-old war with Iran would be contrary to U.S. interests?" In November 1984, Washington restored full diplomatic relations with Baghdad and stepped up the sales to Saddam of a range of munitions, including helicopters used in subsequent gas attacks. One of these assaults was the March 1988 gassing of Kurds in the village of Halabja that killed some 5,000 people. The United States maintained friendly relations with Iraq right up until the moment that Saddam revived Iraq's old territorial claims on Kuwait and on August 2, 1990, carried out his surprise attack against that country. It was barely two years since the end of Iraq's bloody war with Iran.
In response, the United States at first seemed indecisive. President Bush and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain were attending a conference in Colorado shortly after the attack. According to those in attendance, Bush muttered something like, "It's all right going in, but how are we going to get out?" and commented that most Americans couldn't find Kuwait on the map. At this point, Thatcher allegedly took the microphone and said, "Look, George, this is no time to go wobbly. We can't fall at the first fence?' Nonetheless, the evidence suggests that the administration allowed Saddam to invade and then rebuffed all efforts by other Middle Eastern nations and the United Nations to resolve the issue peacefully. Bush contended that it was his responsibility to maintain human rights in Kuwait and elsewhere in the Middle East, despite the fact that Kuwait's record on human rights is hardly admirable.
The United States assembled a coalition force of more than 600,000 ground, sea, and air force personnel (573,000 of whom were American) in Saudi Arabia and on January 16, 1991, launched Operation Desert Storm to "liberate" Kuwait. By February 28, 1991, the operation was declared over. The United States had flown some 110,000 sorties against Iraq, dropping 88,500 tons of bombs, including cluster bombs and depleted uranium devices. It destroyed water-purification plants, food processing plants, electric power stations, hospitals, schools, telephone exchanges, bridges, and roads throughout the country. Iraqi forces were definitively expelled from Kuwait and decimated in the field (thousands of retreating soldiers were slaughtered in what American pilots referred to as a "turkey shoot"), but the coalition did not press on to Baghdad and attempt to capture or oust Saddam Hussein.
Instead, the period between the two Iraq wars-from January 16, 1991, when General Norman Schwarzkopf launched his assault, to March 19, 2003, when General Tommy Franks ordered the start of the AngloAmerican invasion of Iraq-saw a vast expansion of our empire of military bases in the Persian Gulf region. After the truce following the first war, we consolidated the bases we had acquired in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and prepositioned the tanks and ammunition that would be needed if we reopened hostilities. In the middle of this period, around 1995, a series of terrorist incidents led us to move much of our armor, aircraft, and troops into hardened or extremely remote sites, such as Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia the late 1990s, during the second Clinton administration, the Pentagon began seriously to prepare for a renewed war with Iraq. The Joint Chiefs of Staff's Strategic Assessment 1999 specifically said that an "oil war" in the Persian Gulf was a serious contingency and that "U.S. forces might be used to ensure adequate supplies? "2 It was reasoned that a new war would eliminate once and for all the influence of Saddam Hussein, gain control of his oil, and extend our influence into the vacuum created in the oil-rich lands of southern Eurasia by the demise of the Soviet Union. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.223-7)
Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited on the Democratic Underground
As we have already seen, this renewed interest in Central, South, and Southwest Asia included the opening of military-to-military ties with the independent Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and support for a Taliban government in Afghanistan as a way to obtain gas and oil pipeline rights for an American-led consortium. But the jewel in the crown of this grand strategy was a plan to replace the Ba'ath regime in Iraq with a pro-American puppet government and build permanent military bases there. In preparation for the military campaign, the Pentagon made huge efforts in all its client states surrounding the Persian Gulf to isolate our bases from the predominantly anti-American peoples living there and get them ready to support an expeditionary force for the conquest of Iraq. The terrorist attacks of 9/11, the war against the Taliban, and Bush's "war on terror" merely provided further impetus for a plan that had been in the works for at least a decade.
In the hours following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld asked for an immediate assault on Iraq. The following day, in a cabinet meeting at the White House, Rumsfeld again insisted that Iraq should be "a principal target of the first round in the war against terrorism!" The president reportedly was advised that "public opinion has to be prepared before a move against Iraq is possible" and instead chose Afghanistan as a much softer target.
These statements and their timing are noteworthy because at that point the United States had not even determined that the suicide bombers came from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network and, though the president would later damn Saddam Hussein as an "ally" of al-Qaeda, the Bush administration never provided any evidence substantiating that connection. In fact, the 2001 edition of the Department of State's annual Patterns of Global Terrorism listed no acts of global terrorism linked to the government of Iraq. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.223-7) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in the World Traveler Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited on the Democratic Underground
Then the mobilizing tale of the administration of Bush Senior was that Iraqi soldiers had pulled babies from Kuwait’s hospital incubators and, in Bush’s words, “scattered them across the floor like firewood.” (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.230-2)
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy feign disorder, and crush him.” Sun Tzu
In accordance with the logic of Sun Tzu, Bill Clinton was actually much more effective imperialist than George W. Bush…. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.255)
As even the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, a former director of research at the World Bank, has come to acknowledge, "It is now a commonplace that the international trade agreements about which the United States spoke so proudly only a few years ago were grossly unfair to countries in the Third World .... The problem [with globalists is]… their fundamentalist market ideology, a faith in free, unfettered markets that is supported by neither modern theory nor historical experience." It must be added that, until November 1999, when 50,000 protesters confronted the World Trade Organization in Seattle and began forcing a reluctant First World to acknowledge its exploitation and hypocrisy, statements like Stiglitz's were not "commonplace:' nor had "modern" academic economic theory come to grips with the real nature of globalism.
There is no known case in which globalization has led to prosperity in any Third World country, and none of the world's twenty-four reasonably developed capitalist nations, regardless of their ideological explanations, got where they are by following any of the prescriptions contained in globalization doctrine. What globalization has produced, in the words of de Rivero, is not NICs (newly industrialized countries) but about 130 NNEs (nonviable national economies) or, even worse, UCEs (ungovernable chaotic entities). There is occasional evidence that this result is precisely what the authors of globalization intended.
In 1841, the prominent German political economist Friedrich List who had immigrated to America wrote in his masterpiece, The National System of Political Economy, "It is a very common clever device that when anyone has attained the summit of greatness, he kicks away the ladder by which he has climbed up, in order to deprive others of the means of climbing up after him."' Much of modern Anglo-American economics and all of the theory of globalization are attempts to disguise this kicking away of the ladder.
Leaving aside the former Soviet Union, the main developed countries - Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, and the East Asian NICs (South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore)-all got rich in more or less the same way. Regardless of how they justified their policies, in actual practice they protected their domestic markets using high tariff walls and myriad "nontariff barriers" to trade. Britain, for example, did not accept free trade until the 1840s, long after it had become the world's leading industrial power. Between 1790 and 1940, the United States was probably the most highly protected economy on earth. In the 1970s and 1980s, the only country in the world without a single Japanese car in it was South Korea, because it was nurturing its own automobile industry. All these "developing" nations begged, bought, or stole advanced technology from the countries that first pioneered it and then, through reverse engineering and targeted investment, improved on it. They used state power to support and protect efficient capitalists within their own national boundaries who had the potential to become exporters. They poured subsidies into uncompetitive industries in order to substitute domestically produced goods for imports, often at almost any price. Some of them captured overseas markets through imperial conquest and colonialism and then defended these markets from other would-be conquerors, using powerful navies and armies. Even when defeated, like Japan after World War II and the USSR and the ex-Communist countries of Eastern Europe after the Cold War, they used every device and all the artifice in their power to subvert the economic reform programs that American economists applied to try to turn them into textbook capitalist economies. 16 They understood, as the academicians did not, that a premature introduction of American economic norms was much more likely to produce mafia capitalism than development, as it did in Russia.
In short, the few successful economies on earth did exactly the opposite of what the gurus of globalization said they should have done. In places where economic managers had no choice but to follow the guidelines of globalization-"free" trade, sell-offs of public utilities, no controls over capital movements, the end of all national preferences-the results have been catastrophic. In de Rivero's own Peru, in the twenty-four years preceding the great outburst of terrorist violence by the Shining Path and Tupac Amaru guerrillas, the average yearly per capita income growth rate was 0.1 percent, while the yearly population increase was more than 2.3 percent. In all of Latin America and the Caribbean between 1960 and 1980, gross domestic product grew by 75 percent per person, but over the next twenty years-the high tide of globalization-GDP rose only 6 percent."
Starting in approximately 1981, the United States introduced, under the cover of globalization, a new strategy intended to accomplish two major goals: first, to discredit state-assisted capitalism like Japan's and prevent its spread to any countries other than the East Asian NICs, which had already industrialized by following the Japanese model; and second, to weaken the sovereignty of Third World nations so that they would become even more dependent on the largesse of the advanced capitalist nations and unable to organize themselves as a power bloc to negotiate equitably with the rich countries.
The United States's chosen instruments for putting this strategy into effect were the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Like the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the World Bank and the IMF were created after World War II to manage the international economy and prevent a recurrence of the beggar-thy-neighbor policies of the 1930s. What has to be understood is that both the fund and the bank are actually surrogates for the U.S. Treasury. They are both located at 19th and H Streets, Northwest, in Washington, DC, and their voting rules ensure that they can do nothing without the approval of the secretary of the Treasury. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.262-4) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in the Third World Traveler
In the early 1980s, following the international loan debacle, the United States put the IMF and the World Bank in charge of the Third World debt problem and essentially instructed them to do two things: keep the debtor countries paying something so that official defaults could be avoided and squeeze as much money out of them as possible. The two semi-moribund institutions accepted their new role with alacrity, delighted to act as collection agencies for banks that had made bad loans. Thus were born the World Bank's "structural adjustment loans" and the IMF's "structural adjustment programs."
Under structural adjustment, the World Bank lends funds to a debtor nation so that the nation can continue to "service" its debts in small, pro forma ways. As a condition for the loan, however, the IMF imposes a drastic socioeconomic overhaul of the country in accordance with the neoliberal agenda. If a debtor nation does not accept these terms, all access to international capital is denied it, thereby destabilizing its economy still further and perhaps setting it up for a CIA-abetted coup d'etat. The overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973 and the installation of the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet were an early and classic example of this process, but there have been many others since. The entire Third World very quickly came under the supervision of the IMF's economic ideologues, and by the late 1990s, close to ninety countries were being "structurally adjusted" by means of shock therapy ordered up in Washington."
In a typical structural adjustment program, the IMF and World Bank require that a country "liberalize" trade-that is, give foreigners free access to its economy. The country is also forced to reduce spending on social programs such as health care and education in order to release public funds to repay debts to foreign banks and transnational corporations. Subsidies to local agriculture are eliminated, usually rendering it unprofitable, while subsidies to agrobusinesses growing export crops such as flowers and fruits are increased. The IMF insists that the country drop all controls over the movements of capital and allow foreign investors and businesses to buy state-owned enterprises, such as electric power, telephone, transportation, natural resources, and energy companies. Perhaps most important, a country receiving a World Bank loan has to agree to maintain the convertibility of its currency-that is, it cannot prohibit the exchange of its own money for that of another country's, which would temporarily halt the outflow of capital. Instead, maintaining free convertibility regardless of the exchange rate makes speculation about a currency's future value possible. What a country gets out of such a mélange of "reforms" is not economic recovery, long-term growth, or stability but a government so weakened that it usually declines into a kieptocracy, experiences periodic economic collapses precipitated by rampant speculation (Mexico, 1994-95; Thailand, South Korea, and Indonesia, 1997; Brazil and Russia, 1998; Argentina, 2000; Venezuela, 2002), and is forced to rely on US. corporations to provide virtually all consumer products, employment, and even public services .21
The United States was the architect of and main profiteer from these efforts. From 1991 to 1993, Lawrence Summers was the chief economist at the World Bank and the man who oversaw the tailoring of "austerity measures" to each country that needed a loan. He decided exactly what a country had that Washington wanted to open up. On December 12,199 1, Summers became notorious for a leaked memo to senior officials of the bank encouraging polluting industries in the rich nations to relocate to the less developed countries. He wrote, "I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage countries is impeccable and we should face up to that?” (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.266-8) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in the Third World Traveler
These corporations are thus in a position to extract monopoly profits from poor countries by dominating their agricultural sectors and dictating what they will eat, if they eat at all. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.271)
The IMF agreed to help the Argentine government meet its debt service payments and then made exactly the same mistake it had in 1997 in East Asia. As a condition for its loans, it demanded an austerity budget that involved firing large numbers of government workers, cutting pensions, reducing wages, and eliminating fringe benefits. Rioting and fierce police reaction brought the country to a standstill. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.276)
This means that although the IMF may impose an austerity budget on a country seeking an emergency loan, it permits the purchase of weapons from a foreign power, usually the United States, even as jobs and health benefits are being slashed. In 1997, when South Korea buckled under its burden of debt, the IMF suggested that it suspend buying military equipment until it had recovered, but the US government overruled this directive. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.278)
As the United States devotes ever more of its manufacturing assets to the arms trade, it becomes ever more dependent on imports for the nonmilitary products that its citizens no longer manufacture but need in order to maintain their customary lifestyles. With a record trade deficit for 2002 of $435.2 billion and a close-to-negligible savings rate, Americans may end up owing foreigners as much as $3.5 trillion in the next few years alone. As the economic analyst William Greider concludes, "Instead of facing this darkening prospect, [President George WI Bush and team regularly dismiss the worldviews of these creditor nations and lecture them condescendingly on our superior qualities. Any profligate debtor who insults his banker is unwise, to put it mildly . .. . American leadership has... become increasingly delusional-I mean that literally-and blind to the adverse balance of power accumulating against it." (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.281) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in the Third World Traveler
Although our government was an active promoter of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of 1970, the Bush administration’s weapons proposals are open violations of that treaty’s article 6 which “requires the original five nuclear weapon states pursue effective nuclear disbarment measures.” (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.290)
In the second presidential debate, on October 11, 2000 Bush joked, “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.” (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.291) It appears as if Chalmers Johnson was mistaken about the timing of this comment although not the content; he apparently said this shortly after he was appointed the presidency by the Supreme Court on 12/18/2000 during a meeting with congressional leaders. For more info see CNN transcript Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited by CNN)
Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited at Rense.com
Yet after September 11, 2001 President Bush unilaterally declared that the nation was “at war” more or less forever against terrorism, and a white House spokesman later noted that the president “considers any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of Treason.” (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.292) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited at American Empire Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in the Third World Traveler Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 also cited at Rense.com
The Senate committee investigating these matters after Richard Nixon’s resignation from the presidency revealed that between 1953 and 1973 the Postal Service in New York City had illegally made more than twenty-eight million letters available to the CIA. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.295)
Official lying increases exponentially as imperialism and militarism take over. Our military sees propaganda as one of its major new functions….
In the autumn of 2002, Rumsfeld created a new position, deputy undersecretary for “special plans” (a euphemism for “deceptive operations”). (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.298-9)
During the 1960’s, the Joint Chiefs of Staff actually delivered to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara a proposal, dubbed Operation Northwoods, that the military clandestinely shoot innocent people on American streets, sink boats carrying refugees from Cuba, and carry out terrorist attacks on Washington, Miami, and elsewhere and then pin the blame on Cuban agents. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.301) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited at logosonline
An intelligence insider interviewed by New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh said of this group, “They didn’t like the intelligence they were getting [from the CIA and the DIA], and so they brought in people to write the stuff. They were so crazed and so far out and so difficult to reason with-to the point of being bizarre. Dogmatic, as if they were on a mission from God. If it doesn’t fit their theory, they don’t want to accept it. (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.305)
The economic consequences of imperialism and militarism are also transforming our value system by degrading "free enterprise:' which many Americans cherish and identify with liberty. Our military is by far the largest bureaucracy in our government. Militarism removes capital and resources from the free market and allocates them arbitrarily, in accordance with bureaucratic decisions uninfluenced by market forces but often quite responsive to insider influence and crony capitalism. For example, on March 10, 2003, the government invited five engineering companies to submit bids for postwar reconstruction work in Iraq, including the Kellogg Brown & Root subsidiary of the Halliburton Company and the Bechtel Group. Brown & Root, as we noted earlier, is Vice President Dick Cheney's old company; Bechtel has half-century-old connections with the CIA and high-ranking Republican politicians." Virtually all contracts coming from the military reflect insider trading. Robert Higgs, a senior fellow in political economy at the Independent Institute, summarizes the military-industrial complex as follows: “a vast cesspool of mismanagement, waste, and transgressions not only bordering on but often entering deeply into criminal conduct…. The great arms firms have managed to slough off much of the normal risks of doing business in a genuine market, passing on many of their excessive costs to the taxpayers while still realizing extraordinary rates of return on investment.” (Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” 2004 p.308) Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire” also cited in the Third World Traveler