October 19, 2021
photo above: Photograph Source: Reagan White House Photographs – Public Domain
WN: Saint Augustine recounts this story of Empire:
The king asked the fellow, “What is your idea, in infesting the sea?” And the pirate answered, with uninhibited insolence, “the same as yours, in infesting the earth! But because I do it with a tiny craft, I’m called a pirate: because you have a mighty navy, you’re called an emperor[Prime Minister/President].” (Saint Augustine, Concerning the City of God Against the Pagans, trans. Henry Bettenson, New York: Penguin Books, 1984, IV, 4, p. 139. See too Noam Chomsky’s: Pirates and Emperors, Old and New: International Terrorism in the Real World.)”
From the dawn of history the oppressor has always insisted that oppression was good for the oppressed. — Moorfield Storey
Each act of aggression, each new expedition of conquest is prefaced by a pronouncement containing a moral justification and an assurance to the victims of the imperial aggression that all is being done for their benefit. — Richard F. Petticrew
The Expansion of the Roman empire, which accusers were blaming Christ for having reversed, was not an automatic benefit to the human race; for “if justice has been abolished, what is empire but a fancy name for larceny?” — Augustine (The Illustrated Jesus Through the Centuries, Jaroslav Pelikan, 1997, p. 30.)
Roman historian Tacitus wrote so long ago:
To plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname empire; they make a desolation and call it peace[/democracy].
Novelist J.M. Coetzee writes in Waiting for the Barbarians (1980):
One thought alone preoccupies the submerged mind of Empire: how not to end, how not to die, how to prolong its era. By day it pursues its enemies. It is cunning and ruthless, it sends its bloodhounds everywhere. By night it feeds on images of disaster: the sack of cities, the rape of populations, pyramids of bones, acres of desolation (p. 133).
American public intellectual Edward Said wrote in the Preface of Orientalism (1978):
Every single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires1, as if one shouldn’t trust the evidence of one’s eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest ‘mission civilisatrice.’
American Empire has always and supremely been about “plundering, butchering, and stealing,” “the sack of cities, the rape of populations, pyramids of bones, acres of desolation,” leaving “desolation,” “destruction and misery and death” in its wake (while calling it “peace and freedom”), and long since has been in voracious bid for worldwide domination, in order to extract maximum wealth from all peoples and the Planet. Our call is simply to practise insurrection against Empire in all its avaricious, brutal and horribly destructive ways. (No small order!)
In this historical moment that supreme manifestation of Empire is the United States – to which the entire Western world is tied in various supportive ways; under which domination much of the rest of the world suffers2: in the Greater Middle East as only one example, which endures brutal will to domination and oppression at the hands of American Empire. I reflect on this in an introduction to a posting here. An expanding list of postings on American Empire may be accessed here.3
The Vietnam War is classic instance of what it means for America to be “leader of the free world.” It was prosecuted under five Presidents: from Eisenhower to Nixon, 1955 to 1975. The New York Times ran an article in 2003 about a series published by The Toledo Blade, based upon accounts of several Vietnam War veterans, entitled “Report on Brutal Vietnam Campaign Stirs Memories.” The article reads in part:
The report, published in October  and titled ‘Rogue G.I.’s Unleashed Wave of Terror in Central Highlands,’ said that in 1967, an elite unit, a reconnaissance platoon in the 101st Airborne Division, went on a rampage that the newspaper described as ‘the longest series of atrocities in the Vietnam War.4
Please consult further two of many websites: Major US Vietnam War Atrocities Case Exposed by Ohio Newspaper; and The Mad Men Premiere’s Dark Vietnam Subtext.
There is “no honour among thieves”? There is no honour among American leaders—with rare exceptions throughout its history. Expressed differently, American leadership has been for centuries made up of thieves, brigands and murderers of the highest order.
One American scholar asks: Was America Great When It Burned Native American Babies? That kind of question with its implicit answer (detailed in a book the article tells about) can be asked of any historical period of the United States.
In the middle of the Vietnam War President Lyndon Johnson made a speech about America “The Great Society” to a group of university students. He said in part, while fully aware of the supreme atrocity that was the Vietnam War–one he was vigorously prosecuting:
Will you join in the battle to make it possible for all nations to live in enduring peace — as neighbors and not as mortal enemies?
Will you join in the battle to build the Great Society, to prove that our material progress is only the foundation on which we will build a richer life of mind and spirit?
There are those timid souls who say this battle cannot be won; that we are condemned to a soulless wealth. I do not agree. We have the power to shape the civilization that we want. But we need your will, your labor, your hearts, if we are to build that kind of society.
Those who came to this land sought to build more than just a new country. They sought a new world. So I have come here today to your campus to say that you can make their vision our reality. So let us from this moment begin our work so that in the future men will look back and say: It was then, after a long and weary way, that man turned the exploits of his genius to the full enrichment of his life.
Thank you. Good-bye.
In the end, he was only fooling himself–and/or utterly cynical! The United States has been above all else about “soulless wealth” almost since inception. Its way of enduring peace has ever been that only of the graveyard–of vast hordes of slaughtered victims over time and the world, multiple times in excess of the tally of The Nazi Holocaust. The classic biblical text is of course: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)5 In answer to the question posed, the majority of “settler” Americans simply do not know it–never have!
One of my longstanding (American theology professor) friends has asked me over the years: Why are you so angry (about this)? To which I reply thunderously: THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE TRUTH ABOUT THE AMERICAN HALL OF HORRORS HAS NEVER BEEN TOLD (to average white Americans)!!! But there are they who have told it. One could start with Howard Zinn . . .
Yet even people who know me well do not want to hear this. Why?! Does The Truth hurt that much?! There is in this regard the ominous comment by Desmond Tutu about White South Africa during apartheid:
The former apartheid cabinet member Leon Wessels was closer to the mark when he said that they had not wanted to know [about brutal repression of Blacks and Coloureds], for there were those who tried to alert them (p. 269).
There are always “those who try to alert.” They are called prophets. They are generally ignored and worse. Jesus (Matthew 23:30 -32):
And you [Americans] say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets/[Native Americans/Blacks/Etc./Etc./Etc.]’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets/[Native Americans/Blacks/Etc./Etc./Etc.] Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!
And to this day America tragically has been doing exactly that!
But Archbishop Tutu also indicated:
There but for the grace of God go I (p. 253). . . .
And that puts us all in the West in the same soup!
Nuclear strategist Albert Wohlstetter described this longstanding policy as a “delicate balance of terror.”6
And these “noble” American nuclear strategists holding up of course America as bastion of freedom and democracy throughout the world, blithely contemplated over many decades mass murder on a scale that all previous mass murderers combined in the history of the world could only dream of! And serious contemplation of first-strike deployment was given repeated consideration: Public as well as confidential proposals to launch a “preventive” or “pre-emptive” strike against the Soviet Union were not uncommon before the Soviets developed a serious retaliatory capability — including for instance General Douglas MacArthur. The American public likewise supported this in general.7
This is America — Leader of the Free World?! Vocabulary for such gargantuan evil mindsets utterly fails! Yet every US Administration since Truman authorized the first atomic bombs dropped (which phenomenon he, a Baptist Sunday School teacher, declared to be “the greatest event in human history” — and not the Resurrection?! — one massively death-dealing, the other universally life-giving), along with thousands of strategists, day-in, day-out, went off to work with this kind of obscene potential horror, like “visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads”. How delightfully American (Empire)8
And Hitler, and Stalin are considered “mad” in their mass murders?! By the above dark humour standard, they were only “firecracker despots” compared to a long line of US Presidents. What then are all these upstanding Americans — right up to the present, with possibly a genuinely deranged former President (Trump–though Biden for all intents the same) seemingly itching to “nuke” some nation such as North Korea — if not mad monsters?
And the overwhelming monstrosity of America the Ultimate Evil Empire only increases exponentially when one reads noted historian Alfred McCoy’s description of what is being developed by said American Empire. A paper that I wrote years ago, Christianity and the Subversion of Just About Everything!, in relation to this, with an introduction and excerpt, may be accessed here. I explain in introducing it that today were I writing the paper, the overall positing of “Just About Everything!” would mean Empire. The Judeo-Christian Story is nothing if not one long Counter-Narrative to Empire! A sermon preached on this theme by Pastor Rob Brown of Eden Mennonite Church may be found here. There is an expanding scholarship that underscores this, links to several instances of which are below, and also mentioned on the page introducing the paper above.
Please also see the post on U.S. biological warfare: Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act by Nicholson Baker. And Trump blames the Chinese!
I also draw attention to a trilogy of Empire Justice issues that have dogged the Church since its inception: Just War, Just Deserts, and in significant ways undergirding the first two, Just Hell (of eternal conscious torment). Each doctrine subscribed to by the Church has led to the Church’s wreaking (or blessing the wreaking of) untold violence and misery on vast swaths of humanity – all in the name of Christ! These three Justice doctrines constitute a massive travesty that arguably has turned away (and/or occasioned the slaughter of) more would-be Christ followers or otherwise than the Church has ever gained in its collective evangelistic efforts across the centuries. The trilogy of Justice Doctrines represents direct inversion of the Good News – which invariably calls us out of Empire ways to liberation in Christ on every level of relationship brokenness:
• towards God (theological);
• towards ourselves (psychological);
• towards others (sociological);
• towards Creation (ecological and cosmological). This is what is at play in II Corinthians 5:17 – 21:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness [“justice” – see Chris Marshall’s paper on “justice” in Paul] of God.
You may wish also to peruse my Just War9, Just Deserts, and Just Hell and also a much longer essay, War and Hell; including with this web page, notice and commentary of/on Kevin Miller’s (editor) November 2017 book, Hellrazed?, to which I contributed Chapter 20 — a variation, but much shorter, on the “War and Hell” essay. Twenty-five in all, from all the major Christian Traditions, wrote a piece. There is much powerful witness.
Finally, a list (by no means exhaustive) of resources on the Gospel as Counter-Narrative to Empire:
• “Come Out My People!”: God’s Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond
• Unveiling Empire: Reading Revelation Then and Now
• Empire Baptized: How the Church Embraced What Jesus Rejected (Second-Fifth Centuries)
• Jesus and the Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder
• Religion and Empire: People, Power, and the Life of the Spirit
• In the Shadow of Empire: Reclaiming the Bible as a History of Faithful Resistance
• Paul and the Roman Imperial Order
• Christ & Empire: From Paul to Postcolonial Times
• Christ and the Emperor: The Gospel Evidence
• God, Neighbor, Empire: The Excess of Divine Fidelity and the Command of Common Good
• Faith in the Face of Empire
• Empire and the Christian Tradition: New Readings of Classical Theologians
• Paul and Empire (website on The Paul Page).
And a prayer: Amen! Thy Kingdom Come! Maranatha! (Come, O Lord–I Corinthians 16:22; Revelation 22:20)
Then please see: Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus | Advent Hymn | Janet Sullivan Whitaker | Choir with Lyrics
It’s crucial to remember just how important Colin Powell was to selling the Iraq War, and how deliberately he used his public credibility to boost the lies that pushed us into the war. That is his biggest legacy.–Jack Mirkinson10
Americans have a remarkable ability of sanitizing the crimes of their ruling class.
Powell would later blame his role in peddling these lies on an “intelligence failure.” This is the go-to excuse for the American military establishment, as we see with the latest atrocity they committed in Afghanistan, the recent drone bomb incineration of a family in Kabul after the disastrous pull out of American troops. Now that he is dead, he will not face justice at the Hague for these crimes. But really, no member of the American ruling class ever does.
It is hardly likely that Mr Powell was unaware of the gaps, elisions and outright lies being put about by the neoconservatives who fomented the [Iraq] war, with all its disastrous consequences. The question after his death is how history will judge his decision to go along with them.–by Andrew Naughtie | October 21, 2021In this same week we lost Sister Megan Rice who was 91 years old. Rice was imprisoned for two years in federal prison when she was in her 80s after she broke into a government complex to protest nuclear weapons. Her activism was influenced by her parents who worked with Dorothy Day for economic justice during the Great Depression and by her uncle who had spent four months in Nagasaki, Japan, following the criminal nuclear bombing of civilians by US forces. After living and working in West Africa for 23 years as a teacher and pastoral guide she returned to the US and became a major activist in the peace movement. Sister Rice will not get the attention of a dead general in the mainstream press or by politicians of the ruling parties. Those who expose war crimes or who advocate peace are generally marginalized, imprisoned or silenced in militaristic societies.
There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.–Howard Zinn
Please click on: War Criminal Colin PowellFootnotes
- see for example Canadian Empire Lite: Nation Building In Bosnia Kosovo Afghanistan; and my book review: Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World by (Christian!) Jean Bethke Elshtain[↩]
- See for example: The CIA: 70 Years of Organized Crime , and Valentine’s book: The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World. See as well my post: Interaction With The CIA: 70 Years of Organized Crime. See too,by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout, : UK High Court Should Deny Extradition Because CIA Planned to Assassinate Assange. We read:
High Court Should Consider U.S. Plans to Kidnap and Assassinate Assange
The indictment against Assange stems from WikiLeaks’ 2010-2011 revelations of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo. They included 400,000 field reports about the Iraq War, 15,000 unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians, and evidence of systematic torture, rape and murder after U.S. forces “handed over detainees to a notorious Iraqi torture squad,” the documents reveal. They included the Afghan War Logs, 90,000 reports revealing more civilian casualties by coalition forces than the U.S. military had reported. And the Guantánamo Files contained 779 secret reports revealing that 150 innocent people had been imprisoned there for years and documenting the torture and abuse of 800 men and boys, in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Perhaps the most notable release by WikiLeaks was the 2007 “Collateral Murder” video, in which a U.S. Army Apache helicopter gunship in Baghdad targets and fires on unarmed civilians. At least 18 civilians were killed, including two Reuters journalists and a man trying to rescue the wounded. Two children were injured. A U.S. Army tank then drives over one of the bodies, cutting it in half. The video depicts three separate war crimes prohibited by the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Army Field Manual.
It was WikiLeaks’ publication of CIA hacking tools known as “Vault 7,” which the agency called “the largest data loss in CIA history,” that incurred the wrath of Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Vault 7 materials revealed electronic surveillance and cyber-warfare by the CIA.
In 2017, Pompeo called WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” and CIA and government officials hatched “secret war plans” to abduct and kill Assange, according to a stunning Yahoo! News report. Some senior CIA and Trump administration officials requested “sketches” or “options” for ways to assassinate Assange. Trump “asked whether the CIA could assassinate Assange and provide him ‘options’ for how to do so,” according to the report.
Pompeo advocated “extraordinary rendition,” which the CIA used in the “war on terror” to illegally seize suspects and send them to its “black sites” where they were tortured. The scenario was that the CIA would break into the Ecuadorian Embassy in which Assange was staying under a grant of asylum and clandestinely fly him to the United States to stand trial. Others in the agency wanted to assassinate Assange outright by poisoning or shooting him to avoid the hassle of kidnapping him.[↩]
- 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.[↩]
- 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.[↩]
- American evangelical historian/sociologist Douglas Frank published Less Than Conquerors: How Evangelicals Entered the Twentieth Century (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1986.) He argued that the core characteristic of dominant evangelicalism is indeed as the Archbishop observes, a spirit of pharisaism; a spirit not likely easily to disappear from those who set the evangelical agenda. He yearned nonetheless for
… a church that awakens to the Stranger, Jesus Christ, the Jesus Christ of the biblical witness; not the denatured, ideologically and morally useful Jesus Christ of evangelicalism… (p. 277).
The Epilogue’s penultimate paragraph reads:
Whether in auspicious or declining times, as we have seen, we display a tenacious commitment to self-deceit. It is true that we are those who like to think we heed Jeremiah’s words, ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.’ Our history, however, gives evidence of Jeremiah’s wisdom in adding these words: ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?’ (Jer. 17:7, 9). In our very protests of trust in the Lord, we find occasion for our deepest self-deceits (p. 278).[↩]
- The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John W. Dower, Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017; p. 37. See also my post on this here.) In short, 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 (ibid, pp. 28 & 29).
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).” (This is not to mention the millions killed since World War II with related devastation in at least 37 countries around the world, or the millions 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… (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).[↩]
- ibid, p. 41[↩]
- 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“. ((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.[↩]
- 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 , 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.[↩]
- We also read in Colin Powell: The man who sold the Iraq War:
The ‘grand game of Powellian deception’
On February 5, 2003, Powell gave testimony to the UN Security Council in which he claimed that the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s government was hiding a secret chemical weapons program from the international community and supporting terrorism following the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
His address was an effort to provide delegates “with additional information…about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction as well as Iraq’s involvement in terrorism, which is also the subject of resolution 1411 and other earlier resolutions.”
The proof? “My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid evidence.”
Did Iraq revive their nuclear weapons program? “There is no doubt in my mind,” he concluded.
Despite the eventual hand wringing by acknowledging how the UN speech was a “blot” on his record and a “great intelligence failure,” Powell displayed no sincere remorse over the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of US soldiers. He remained insistent the war was a just one.
[Powell’s chief of staff Larry] Wilkerson said Powell’s UN testimony was significant for both its dishonesty and that Powell’s “gravitas” was a crucial “part of the two-year-long effort by the Bush administration to get Americans on the war wagon.”
“That effort led to a war of choice with Iraq, one that resulted in catastrophic losses for the region and the United States-led coalition, and that destabilized the entire Middle East,” wrote Wilkerson in 2018.[↩]