The United States has used terror as a means of warfare since the Indian wars. Terror is used by authoritarian governments for absolute totalitarian domination. The current term used by the U.S. military is Full-Spectrum Dominance, words meaning global control by military force. For the United States, which has been most prominent in waging wars of terror before (genocidal Indian wars, Spanish/American war in Cuba, Philippine war), during, and after WWII, to proclaim it is waging a “war on terror” to protect democracy ranks high among the world’s greatest hypocrisies.
“When we recognize that the terrorists are not those who respond as victims of invasion and warfare, but instead are the same so-called ‘democratic’ and ‘Christian’ governments, we are closer to the truth. These so-called ‘democratic, Christian’ governments, along with their private-sector manufacture of weapons, their massive, world-threatening militaries, are the implementers of terror, as they have been for centuries. When we understand, we avoid the creation of victims and refugees and the deaths of millions of innocent civilians.”
– Denis Halliday, former United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, who resigned in protest over the UN sanctions.
Hannah Arendt wrote, “Terror can rule absolutely only over men who are isolated against each other … Therefore, one of the primary concerns of all tyrannical government is to bring this isolation about. Isolation’s hallmark is impotence insofar as power always comes from men acting together…isolated men are powerless by definition …”
Sanctions are economic warfare that cause societies to collapse and children to starve and that make it impossible to provide medical care for their people. Denis Halliday condemned the sanctions against Iraq as collective punishment, as well as a form of genocide–both considered war crimes under international law. After resigning his post as the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, he said, “I was driven to resignation because I refused to continue to take Security Council orders, the same Security Council that had imposed and sustained genocidal sanctions on the innocent of Iraq. I did not want to be complicit. I wanted to be free to speak out publicly about this crime.”
Contrast that compassion with the totalitarian mindset of Madeline Albright, at the time U.S. secretary of state. When asked if sanctions were worth the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi children, she answered in the affirmative: “But the price–we think the price is worth it.” You have to ask yourself, what kind of mentality is that? But for those who believe absolute control is necessary, any price is worth it–as long as you call it bringing democracy to people.
Lies, Myths and Hypocrisy
I.F. Stone, one of the world’s greatest journalists, said, “All governments lie.” Some governments lie more than others. A government based on greed, destruction and death – militarism and war–will resort to lying. A government/military/industrial complex with a direct connection to corporate media will promote and magnify the lies in the public mind.
Many of these big media outlets are deeply connected or owned by weapons manufacturers. Consequently the public gets a distorted version of reality with a heavy military slant.
This “land of the free, home of the brave” was founded through genocidal war on the original inhabitants and built on the backs of enslaved people. U.S. capitalism depends on mass incarceration at home, the oil and weapons industry and wars for resources abroad. None of that dilutes the patriotic mythology that we are conditioned to believe. There is a kind of violent insanity embedded in the American system. The United States has been at war for most of its 244-year history, is currently waging war in seven countries, with special forces in 149 countries and some 800 bases in foreign lands.
In a Global Peace index the United States ranked 117 out of 161 countries evaluated for peacefulness; it consistently ranks as the number one threat to world peace.
Whistleblowers and Julian Assange
Propaganda based on lies and hypocrisy is the essential weapon governments use to drive people and countries to the worst of all crimes–war.
Truth is a danger to the U.S. system of propaganda, lies and exceptionalism. Those who speak the truth do so at great personal risk. Truth released publicly is viewed by this system as a crime. Hannah Arendt said long ago, “Authoritarian and totalitarian leaders are very good liars.” When those lies are publicly exposed, as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Daniel Hale, Julian Assange and other whistleblowers have done, the response is vicious and often deadly.
Fred Burton, former Deputy Chief of the State Department’s Counterterrorism Division, said, “Move him [Assange] from country to country to face charges for the next 25 years. But seize everything he and his family own, to include every person linked to Wiki … Assange is a peacenik. He needs his head dunked in a full toilet bowl at Gitmo.”
In a recent panel discussion, economist Alex Krainer emphasized that at the higher level (where banking, intelligence and military affairs are integrated), the cold hard logic of empire stands as an unbreakable iron rod devoid of humility, flexibility or morality.Noam Chomsky tells us, “ … the United States … the most powerful, important country in world history, when it races to the precipice, has an impact on others. With the United States in the lead and marching to destruction, the future is very dim. And it’s our responsibility here to control it, to terminate it, to turn the country back to sanity before it’s too late.”
Necessity compels us to speak, publish and in every possible way, present a truthful reality to the public. It’s the only weapon we have that can directly counter the lies that are driving us to war and environmental destruction.
There are alternative websites, radio shows, TV news programs that do get the truth out. We live in desperate times. Ultimately it is up to individual citizens to be discriminating and to look past the lies for truth. Many of these alternative media outlets are cited at Peace & Planet News.
We present the truth on these pages as a direct response and a potential remedy for the lies and myths that have so disturbed, divided and deceived the American people.
A Short list of Truthful Sites
About Face/Veterans Against the War • Democracy Now! • Counterpunch • Consortium News • Common Dreams • Vietnam Full Disclosure • Veterans For Peace • Black Agenda Report • Pressenza • Covert Action Magazine • The Empire Files • Ray McGovern • The Intercept • Popular Resistance • Hedges On Contact • Americans Who Tell the Truth * The Indypendent • Portside * LA Progressive • Ban Killer Drones • Mondoweiss • Miko Peled * Agent Orange Campaign* World Beyond War • Waging Peace in Vietnam • School of the America Watch• Mijente • Black Alliance for Peace • World Can’t Wait • Movement for Black Lives • Courage to Resist
Mike Ferner was a hospital corpsman during the Vietnam War and has travelled to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a past president and executive director of Veterans For Peace.