An Open Letter To Joe Biden

June 11, 2020
Posted in Blog
June 11, 2020 Editor

An Open Letter To Joe Biden

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Dear Mr. Biden.

If I might be so bold, I wonder about connecting some dots at this incredible kairos moment of U.S. and world history.

I was moved by your empathetic videoed message to the Floyd family during the funeral service in Houston. You have deeply suffered multiple losses as this article sensitively points out: “Joe Biden’s Secret Weapon Is Grief“.

I also appreciated your drawing on Catholic Social Teaching. With relation to that teaching, I wonder: Do you see any connection at all between the most basic Christian teaching by Jesus in the Gospels to Love your neighbour/Love your enemies, and Black Lives Matter/American international foreign policy past or present?

I wonder in that regard whether Arab Lives Matter? What about organized murder by your country of more than two million Arabs in Iraq, Syria, and Libya—more than a million in Iraq, 600,000 in Syria, and 30,000 in Libya? Many of these were murdered during your watch as Vice President.

I wonder whether at least in retrospect the three million Vietnamese Lives Matter, killed by your government, or whether you have ever spoken out against your country’s involvement in the Vietnam War that “ ‘was an atrocity from the get-go,’ [one veteran] said in a recent telephone interview. ‘It was that kind of war . . . There were hundreds of My Lais. You got your card punched by the numbers of bodies you counted[/murdered].’ ” This from The New York Times article: “Report on Brutal Vietnam Campaign Stirs Memories”.

I wonder whether Non-American Lives Matter—when deemed “The Enemy”? What do you think of this?:

In 1948, George Keennan, State Department Director of policy planning, noted that the United States then possessed “about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population.” The challenge facing U.S. policy makers, he believed, was “to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security.” [1. PPS 23, “Review of Current Trends, U.S. Foreign Policy” (February 24, 1948).] The overarching aim of American statecraft in other words, was to sustain the uniquely favorable situation to which the United States had ascended by the end of World War II. It’s hard to imagine a statement of purpose more succinct, cogent, and to the point. Judged by this standard, the stewards of U.S. foreign policy down to the present day have done more than passably well… (America’s War For the Greater Middle East: A Military History, Andrew J. Bacevich, New York: Random House, 2016, p. 358).

This premier American historian believes “The Enemy” is any people standing in the way of U.S. full spectrum dominance. Like all bullies wanting to pulverize their victims because they had what the bully wanted.

OR . . .

Did Japanese Lives Matter when 100,000 civilians of all ages were slaughtered in Tokyo during one night of conventional carpet bombing in March 1945 (perhaps a million all together in about 80 cities similarly bombed); or in the dropping of two atomic bombs on civilians of all ages in Hiroshima or Nagasaki that instantly slaughtered 120,000, and an additional 80,000 who died slow motion, agonizing deaths—not to mention the horrific environmental devastation?

OR . . .

Did Russian or Chinese Lives Matter during the Cold War when any number of nuclear war planners in Washington contemplated striking 295 Soviet cities, with an estimated death toll total of 115 million, and another 107 million dead in Red China, besides millions more in Soviet satellite countries (The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John W. Dower, Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017, pp. 28 & 29; See also my post: Life Under the Bomb is a Life of Resistance.). When in some circles, as a kind of sick dark humour, the two bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki due to “only” 200,000 dead, came to be called “firecracker nukes (ibid, p. 29).” One strategist, Albert Wohlstetter, referred to this era, and such longstanding policy, as a “delicate balance of terror (ibid, p. 27).”

Or is “terrorism” by definition only what the “Bad Guys” do? As one of my wider family members stupidly, stubbornly argues. (He needs a good dose of the 1975 Academy Award-winning Hearts and Minds. One clip masterfully captures it!:

 

So do we all, regularly need such!)

And God alone knows–and the Pentagon!–what exponential mass murder is being planned with cyber warfare and nuclear strikes now! (The above-noted book knows too a lot about this possible, meticulously planned, unthinkable (but not by the “Good Guys”!), cold-blooded, worldwide horror show.)

The manner in which we treat other nations contains many of the same elements as the racism and violence which the demonstrations on our streets are denouncing. The US military has its knee on the throat of the world. We must vanquish this shape-shifting, Orwellian spectre with which our overlords ensnare us, with their lies of “they hate our freedoms”. Defund the Pentagon!

tells it like it is in this dead-on article: The US Military Has Its Knee on the Throat of the World. She writes:

We slander these two nations [China and Russia] in our media, and impose sanctions, challenging them to respond. Trump’s assertion that “we live in a hostile world of evolving threats” neglects to mention that we ourselves provoke those threats.

But the National Defense Strategy demands “full-spectrum dominance”. This requires absolute control, e.g. military superiority on land, at sea, in the air and in outer space. Therefore, in anticipation of a “high-end” war with these “near-peers”, an exciting upgrade of our arsenals will be required.

OR . . .

Did Other World Citizens Lives Matter—of every colour—when Americans murdered millions in 37 victim nations since World War II, with related massive environmental devastation; or the millions you murdered through US proxy wars, CIA covert operations the world over, surrogate terror exported to countries throughout Central and South America for more than a century, and other parts of the world, etc., etc., etc…

What was true for Latin America was true for around the world: massive human rights abuses, assassinations, regime changes of democratically elected governments, etc., etc., etc. orchestrated by US Empire. Yet Americans invariably have wanted it both ways: to be seen as the exemplary “City on A Hill” that upholds universal human rights and democracy, while operating a brutal Empire directly contrary to all such elevated values, and a concomitant rapacious Empire market economy that takes no prisoners. This began of course even before the founding of the United States of America and continued apace; in its mass slaughter and dispossession of indigenous peoples, in its brutal system of slavery on which its obscene wealth in the textile industry in the first place was built. “The Land of the Free” conceit was a sustained con job on the part of America’s leaders. It was also apotheosis of hypocrisy. American exceptionalism was/is true in one respect only: it was brutal like no other Empire in its eventual global reach.

OR . . .

Did Drone Victims Lives Matter when the President under whom you served became known as “Assassin-in-Chief” in many parts of the world due to his use of ubiquitous reach killer drones that rained down terror (begun by Bush, “perfected” under Obama, expanded by far under Trump) and death on multiplied numbers of innocents each year, including (though so far not American–or not?) women and children?

OR . . . Did Victims Lives Matter in selling weapons of mass destruction to virtually every nation on earth, no matter how oppressive? Your former boss—and of course you—facilitated more arms sales annually throughout the world than all other countries’ arms sales combined—to make billions for voraciously greedy arms dealers in America? (Surprise: it’s only become worse!)

OR . . .

Do Prisoners Lives Matter that you and Obama perpetuated America’s lead as the most carceral nation on earth (a vast majority of whom are non-whites), with rampant brutality towards prisoners throughout your federal, state, and private prison systems—including CIA black sites and Guantanamo—treatment of whom, indicated Dostoyevsky, is also measure of civil society? Your nation in this is a beacon of justice and freedom? And of course, it was crime bill legislation championed by you that led to the expansion of mass incarceration, particularly of African Americans; that in 2015, Bill Clinton said he “signed a bill that made the problem worse, and I want to admit it.” Not just “worse”. Far far worse! And this not to mention the ubiquitous police violence against Blacks and Hispanics, etc.; against whom as well the Obama Administration increasingly outfitted police with military hardware used elsewhere to slaughter unyielding victims–over there! . . .

OR . . .

Do Black, Native, and Non-White Lives Really Matter, considering America’s twin foundations are genocide as described in two studies entitled: American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World (David E. Stannard), and An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 (Benjamin Madley); and its original sin of slavery as in The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Edward E. Baptist)? Have you ever addressed this American History of Horrors all the way back to the Pilgrims? (You may even care to read Roaming Charges: Nothing But Rednecks for 400 Years, If You Check to get further great insights.)

OR . . .

Perhaps by now you get the drift?

So Have Any Lives Really Mattered to any past American federal government administration ever when, if any nation/people group has had or has what American leadership wants (i.e. to “maintain this position of disparity”), or is in the way, there is an American exceptionalism activated for sure: one however of spewing out death and destruction against those opposing America’s full spectrum dominance? I wonder then, Mr. Biden, how you might respond to this well-researched/argued article?: King Joe and the Round Table: Biden’s America in a Multipolar World. In it we read:

In an article in Foreign Affairs in March titled, “Why America Must Lead Again,” Joe Biden claimed that “the world doesn’t organize itself,” and promised to “put the U.S. back at the head of the table” among the nations of the world. But the premise that the world can only organize itself under the direction of the United States and Biden’s ambition to restore the U.S. to such a dominant position at this moment in history are out of touch with global reality.

The next time Congress voted on a bill to authorize the use of military force, over Kosovo in 1999, Biden wrote the bill himself. His war bill failed in the House in a rare 213-213 tie, but the U.S. and NATO attacked Yugoslavia anyway, in a war that was therefore illegal under both U.S. and international law.

As the bombing campaign escalated, killing thousands of civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure from Kosovo to Belgrade, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned that the U.S. and NATO’s decision to go to war without UN Security Council approval had set the world “on a dangerous path to anarchy.” Joe Biden responded, “Nobody in the Senate agrees with that. There is nothing to debate. He is dead, flat, unequivocally wrong.”

[T]he U.S. and NATO attacked Yugoslavia anyway, in a war that was therefore illegal under both U.S. and international law.

Biden then played a key role in the propaganda blitz for war on Iraq. As John Feffer and Stephen Zunes wrote later, “In his powerful position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he orchestrated a propaganda show designed to sell the war to skeptical colleagues and the American public by ensuring that dissenting voices would not get a fair hearing.”

During his final 12 years in the Senate, Joe Biden never once voted against a military spending bill. Then, as vice president, despite the illusion of Obama as a “peace president,” which even fooled the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Biden was a senior member of an administration that set a post-World War II record for military spending and dropped more bombs and missiles on more countries than Bush and Cheney did.

When I sent a similar Open Letter to Michelle Obama four years ago, there was no reply.

Perhaps you instead might care to?

In the article this post began with, we read:

The bereaved are Biden’s special constituency, the people he most easily finds a rapport with…

At a fundamental level, Biden’s promise is that he will heal a world rent by suffering and death.

But is this true? At least, should not the article’s author have inserted a huge qualifier–“American” in front of “bereaved”? And how in the world can it be said of you that you promise to “heal a world rent by suffering and death“, when the very nation you have served for decades, and now vie for its Top Job, is defined by its core value of raining down “suffering and death” on any nation in America’s way? Sadly, though how could you be unaware?, beneath that American Holocaust is a “rending of real people“, a Holocaust that delivers ubiquitously and massively suffering and death. Please tell–better so late in the game–show me it is not so, Joe! Please! Or are you, sadly,  just another typical American religious Bullshitter?

Finally, I wonder: Is the “American Way” as seen above what you also learned from Catholic Social Teaching? Or does Catholic Social/White Evangelical Teaching only apply to (select) Americans whom “God so loved” that he authorized genocide or whatever brutality as needed against all others; (select) Americans who are “exceptional” as since your country’s founding so many like to think you are–though demonstrably, massively and primarily in ubiquitous death-dealing?

Waiting for an answer,

Wayne Northey

  1. [2]See ibid, throughout the book.Historian John Coatsworth in The Cambridge History of the Cold War noted:

    Between 1960, by which time the Soviets had dismantled Stalin’s gulags, and the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those of the Soviet Union and its East European satellites. In other words, from 1960 to 1990, the Soviet bloc as a whole was less repressive, measured in terms of human victims, than many individual Latin American countries [under direct sway of US Empire] (“The Cold War in Central America”, pp. 216 – 221).

    It continued:

    ‘For seven months, Tiger Force soldiers moved across the Central Highlands, killing scores of unarmed civilians – in some cases torturing and mutilating them - in a spate of violence never revealed to the American public,’ the newspaper said, at other points describing the killing of hundreds of unarmed civilians. ‘Women and children were intentionally blown up in underground bunkers,’ The Blade said. ‘Elderly farmers were shot as they toiled in the fields. Prisoners were tortured and executed - their ears and scalps severed for souvenirs. One soldier kicked out the teeth of executed civilians for their gold fillings.”   The New York Times confirmed the claimed accuracy of the stories by contacting several of those interviewed.  It reported: “But they wanted to make another point: that Tiger Force had not been a ‘rogue’ unit. Its members had done only what they were told, and their superiors knew what they were doing. “Burning huts and villages, shooting civilians and throwing grenades into protective shelters were common tactics for American ground forces throughout Vietnam, they said. That contention is backed up by accounts of journalists, historians and disillusioned troops… ‘Vietnam was an atrocity from the get-go,’ [one veteran] said in a recent telephone interview. ‘It was that kind of war, a frontless war of great frustration. There were hundreds of My Lais. You got your card punched by the numbers of bodies you counted.’ Current likely Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry was also quoted giving evidence before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971.  He reported that American soldiers in Vietnam had “raped, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country. Nicholas Turse [later author of: Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam], a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, has been studying government archives and said they were filled with accounts of similar atrocities. ''I stumbled across the incidents The Blade reported,'' Mr. Turse said by telephone. ''I read through that case a year, year and a half ago, and it really didn't stand out. There was nothing that made it stand out from anything else. That's the scary thing. It was just one of hundreds.'' Yet there were few prosecutions. See ibid, throughout the book.Historian John Coatsworth in The Cambridge History of the Cold War noted:

    Between 1960, by which time the Soviets had dismantled Stalin’s gulags, and the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those of the Soviet Union and its East European satellites. In other words, from 1960 to 1990, the Soviet bloc as a whole was less repressive, measured in terms of human victims, than many individual Latin American countries [under direct sway of US Empire] (“The Cold War in Central America”, pp. 216 – 221).

  2. [1]Please look at several articles as well on American/Western will to world domination by clicking on "Selected Articles: Western Aggression Backed by Western Media”. The series of articles is introduced thus:
    The Western allies never run dry of resources to support their global war of terror and aggression, ostensibly an integral part of their foreign policy. They dynamically legislate laws lest the people awaken. They have the unbending support of the corporate media, which skilfully distorts reality. When will they ever back down from their destructive quest for colonies? Read our selection below.
  3. [3]Historian John Coatsworth in The Cambridge History of the Cold War noted:
    Between 1960, by which time the Soviets had dismantled Stalin's gulags, and the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those of the Soviet Union and its East European satellites. In other words, from 1960 to 1990, the Soviet bloc as a whole was less repressive, measured in terms of human victims, than many individual Latin American countries [under direct sway of US Empire] ("The Cold War in Central America", pp. 216 - 221).
    What was true for Latin America was true for around the world: massive human rights abuses, assassinations, regime changes of democratically elected governments, etc., etc., etc. orchestrated by US Empire. Yet Americans invariably have wanted it both ways: to be seen as the exemplary "City on A Hill" that upholds universal human rights and democracy, while operating a brutal Empire directly contrary to all such elevated values, and a concomitant rapacious Empire market economy that takes no prisoners. This began of course even before the founding of the United States of America and continued apace, in its mass slaughter and dispossession of indigenous peoples, in its brutal system of slavery on which its obscene wealth in the textile industry in the first place was built. "The Land of the Free" conceit was a sustained con job on the part of America's leaders. It was also apotheosis of hypocrisy. American exceptionalism was/is true in one respect only: it was brutal like no other Empire in its eventual global reach.
  4. [5]
  5. [4] The highlighted article about renowned whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg points to again what is utterly chilling, horror-filled, exponentially beyond immoral, American (hence the world's) reality: "Daniel Ellsberg: U.S. Military Planned First Strike On Every City In Russia and China … and Gave Many Low-Level Field Commanders the Power to Push the Button". [5]He has since written The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Of it we read:
    Shortlisted for the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist for the California Book Award in Nonfiction The San Francisco Chronicle's Best of 2017 List In These Times “Best Books of 2017” Huffington Post's Ten Excellent December Books List LitHub's “Five Books Making News This Week” From the legendary whistle-blower who revealed the Pentagon Papers, an eyewitness exposé of the dangers of America's Top Secret, seventy-year-long nuclear policy that continues to this day. Here, for the first time, former high-level defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg reveals his shocking firsthand account of America's nuclear program in the 1960s. From the remotest air bases in the Pacific Command, where he discovered that the authority to initiate use of nuclear weapons was widely delegated, to the secret plans for general nuclear war under Eisenhower, which, if executed, would cause the near-extinction of humanity, Ellsberg shows that the legacy of this most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization--and its proposed renewal under the Trump administration--threatens our very survival. No other insider with high-level access has written so candidly of the nuclear strategy of the late Eisenhower and early Kennedy years, and nothing has fundamentally changed since that era.
  6. [6]A classic instance of this aligning with "just war" is the United States' "war on drugs" as subset of "war on crime", while at the same time the CIA was a major worldwide drug dealer in league with other drug cartels -- all done to enhance American Empire during the Cold War -- and continues to the present. The four-part series mentioned below connects American Empire drug dealing to the current War on Terror, in particular in Afghanistan. This of course is colossal hypocrisy as well. Worse: the series posits American federal government administrations over many decades as the Ultimate Drug Cartel, with Blacks, Latinos, and generally the poor directly being knowingly poisoned en masse. Then they have been primary targets of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and thereby become victims of America's too often savage prison system that oppresses and brutalizes them all over again... See: "The War on Drugs Is a Failure, So [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions Is All for It". A citation from the article reads:
    In June [2017], the History Channel aired a four-part documentary series called America’s War on Drugs.” The series asserts that the war on drugs was actually a war of drugs—and that the CIA was essentially a partner in spreading drugs and drug use. The series follows how the U.S. intelligence agency, in an obsession with fighting communism, allied itself with U.S. organized crime and foreign drug traffickers and includes firsthand accounts from many involved. In an interview with Truthdig columnist Sonali Kolhatkar on her radio program “Rising Up With Sonali,” the series’ executive producer, Anthony Lappé, explains why the CIA got involved:
    It’s actually a pretty mind-blowing story when you look at the extent to which the CIA was involved with drug traffickers and drug trafficking throughout the Cold War. … If you look at Cold War policy against the Soviet Union, we were locked in a global battle for supremacy, where we have lots of proxy wars going on. … We needed to team up with local allies, and often the local allies we were teaming up with were people who had access to guns, who had access to underground networks, to help us fight the perceived threat of communism. There are actually a lot of similarities between what drug traffickers do and what the CIA does.
    Lappé elaborates by saying the hypocrisy of the war on drugs has been evident from the start: Secret CIA experiments with LSD helped fuel the counterculture movement, leading to President Richard Nixon’s crackdown and declaration of the war on drugs. The series also explores the CIA’s role in the rise of crack cocaine in poor black communities and a secret island “cocaine base.” In addition the documentary makes the connection between the war on drugs, the war on terror and the transformation of Afghanistan into a narco state and contends that American intervention in Mexico helped give clout to Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and the super cartels, making it easier to send drugs across American borders. Watch Kolhatkar’s full interview with Lappé by clicking here. Please also see the now classic: The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, by noted American historian Alfred McCoy. Of it we read:
    The first book to prove CIA and U.S. government complicity in global drug trafficking, The Politics of Heroin includes meticulous documentation of dishonesty and dirty dealings at the highest levels from the Cold War until today. Maintaining a global perspective, this groundbreaking study details the mechanics of drug trafficking in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South and Central America. New chapters detail U.S. involvement in the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and Pakistan before and after the fall of the Taliban, and how U.S. drug policy in Central America and Colombia has increased the global supply of illicit drugs.
    To be noted as well is Johann Hari's Chasing The Scream, which tells the tragic tale of America's long-standing offensive against drugs, and the way to end such a war worldwide -- that several nations are successfully embracing.

Editor

Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

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