On May 23, the president announced that the state of perpetual warfare that began after 9/11 will come to an end.
He was referring to the (permanent) Global War on Terror (and Muslims) instituted by Dick Cheney and the neocons, who used 9/11 to implement their plan to make the Middle East safe for Israel.
The Neocons believed they could emulate the Roman Empire without the Romans’ mistakes. Seriously.
General Wesley Clark, as NATO supreme commander, reviewed Pentagon war planning and discovered the Neocons intended to invade Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Libya and Somalia to install governments less hostile to Israel.
Their delusional plan never got beyond the disastrous invasion of Iraq. The noted military historian, Martin Van Creveld, Hebrew University, took up the Roman analogy, calling Iraq “the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them.”
Some people can’t connect cause and effect. Bush contended that Iraq was the “central front in the war on terror.”
It was no such thing … until the U.S. invaded. It’s not freedom they hate, or else they would attack Sweden. It’s all the dead Muslims our pro-Israel policies have created, coupled with the military occupation of their land. Interrogations by Israel and Saudi Arabia of nearly 450 “jihadis” captured trying to sneak into Iraq show that most were responding to calls to drive infidels out of Islamic territory.
The U.S. is now withdrawing from Afghanistan, the longest war in our history. Through a perverse “mission creep,” the campaign to oust al Qaeda became an occupation of another Muslim country.
Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us 6,500 dead and 100,000 wounded; the financial costs are projected to total at least $5 trillion and could reach $7 trillion. Additionally, we have created or reconfigured at least 263 security organizations and increased annual intelligence spending by 250 percent.
Regardless of such costs, there is always a war party in the U.S. arguing for military action against somebody, currently Iran and Syria. They sometimes invoke pseudo-patriotic images like John Wayne, a World War II draft avoider who spent the rest of his career pretending he was a war hero. The interventions are invariably vital to our interests, sure to be short, and will end in victory.
In earlier times, the U.S. intervened in Nicaragua 13 times and on multiple occasions in Mexico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Panama and China. We intervened in the Russian civil war, and landed troops in Yugoslavia and Turkey, Greece and the Philippines, Argentina and Chile, and invaded Granada in 1983.
Our interventions led to dictators like Batista, Trujillo, the Duvaliers, and the Somozas. In addition, we trained and supported Central American militaries and their death squads in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, sent military contingents to Somalia and Bosnia, attacked Serbia, and twice deployed troops to Lebanon to deal with the fall-out from Israel’s invasion.
Marine General Smedley Butler, a two-time Medal of Honor winner, had no illusions: “I spent 33 years and four months … as a high class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. 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.”
Some wars are necessary to defend important national interests, of course, such as World War II, and perhaps Korea and the first Gulf War. At the other extreme is the 10-year war in Vietnam, where we confused anti-Communist hysteria with defending national interests.
Predictably, the super-patriots are claiming Obama’s return to sanity is capitulation. The leader is two-deferment “chickenhawk” Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who asserted that Obama’s speech “will be viewed by terrorists as a victory.”
But the neocons’ Global War on Terror was actually a Trojan Horse. Intelligence collection, law enforcement and international cooperation, along with judicious use of military force, are sufficient to defeat terrorists… provided we stop creating more terrorists.
Tom Maertens describes himself as a political centrist who has worked in national security for both political parties in the White House and in the U.S. Senate. He is part of a Free Press team of readers from all political viewpoints asked to write columns.