The U.S. has bombed, invaded, assassinated leaders, overthrown governments, and killed millions since WW2
October 8, 2018
By Geoffrey O’Neill (Special to Truth and Shadows)
If most of us knew the real motives for the use of American military force around the world, we would never put up with it. And that’s why they don’t tell us.
The U.S. has been at war for 224 out of 242 years since the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, an astounding 93 per cent of the time. And since World War 2 in particular, every instance of American aggression – by bombing, covert subversion, or invasion – has been justified to the public using a lie or other form of deception.
Every last one.
The U.S. was the first country ever to use atomic weapons on civilian targets, which they did against Japan in 1945. This was accompanied by a massive propaganda campaign to justify this unconscionable act. President Harry Truman followed this by signing the National Security Act, which created the CIA and gave birth to what many today refer to as the Deep State.
Between 1947 and 1997, the CIA intervened in no fewer than 31 countries, overthrowing governments, assassinating leaders, and installing military dictatorships (usually right wing) friendly to American corporations. To keep the public unaware of this criminal behavior the agency launched Operation Mockingbird, a program designed to recruit and install journalists in major media outlets. The CIA’s goal was to insure that its crimes would be shielded from public scrutiny. Mockingbird served the CIA well then, and it continues to do so today.
Americans, largely unaware of CIA crimes, are reminded daily they are the good guys and that America is always willing to step up to the plate and fight for what is right. Far too many still believe in American righteousness thanks to Pentagon propaganda and a complicit media.
But if we are the “good guys,” how can anyone explain away the brutal savagery of elected and unelected war planners who show utter contempt for human life outside the borders of the United States? The victims most often targeted are poor, have a different skin color, and do not have the military might to repel American attacks.
Here are some of the most egregious examples of violent aggression by the United States in recent decades along with how lies and deceptions were used to gain the public’s support for them:
On August 4, 1964, U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress and said this:
“My fellow Americans, as Commander in Chief it is my duty to the American people to report that renewed hostile actions against United States ships on the high seas in the Gulf of Tonkin have today required me to order the military forces of the United States to take action in reply.”
On August 7, after a debate lasting all of 40 minutes, the Congress unanimously (and the Senate with just two dissenting votes) passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This granted Johnson the authority to respond to the “act of war” against America.
The problem is that the “hostile action” Johnson referred to was a lie. The mighty North Vietnamese navy, in rubber rafts, is supposed to have fired a torpedo at the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin in international waters, which would have been a clear act of aggression and would have justified a military response under international law. But it never happened. There was not a mark on the USS Maddox, nor a scratch on any American sailor. The Gulf of Tonkin lie that led to so many deaths and injuries is long forgotten, and none of our leaders who perpetrated this lie has ever been held accountable.
What resulted from this lie – not just in North and South Vietnam, but in Cambodia and Laos as well – was unconscionable:
- American troop levels rose steadily, from 16,300 in 1963 to a high of 536,000 in 1968.
- Between 1961 and 1971, the U.S. sprayed 20 million gallons of Agent Orange – a toxic chemical defoliant – over Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, causing cancer and birth defects for millions of Asians and American GIs operating in the area. Medical problems, including birth defects in children born in these areas, still plague the population.
- The My Lai massacre on March 16, 1968 was not the only instance of American troops murdering unarmed Vietnamese civilians, but it was the worst one. Between 347 and 504 women, children, and older men were slaughtered while another 20 women and girls were raped.
- Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger orchestrated a covert bombing campaign in Cambodia code named Operation Menu that lasted from March 1969 until May 1970. The Strategic Air Command flew more than 3,630 missions, dropping 110,000 tons of bombs. The bombings – which killed tens of thousands and turned the capital, Phnom Penh, into a ghost town – were kept secret from Congress and the American public. This happened despite the fact that Cambodia was neutral.
- And then there is Laos. The United States Air Force dropped 270 million cluster bombs, about 25 million tons of bombs in that small country, about the size of Utah. This is equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24 hours a day for 9 years. Laos has the distinction of being the most bombed country in the history of air warfare. As with Cambodia, the United States was not at war with Laos. Few Americans are aware of this barbarity. To this day, thanks to our psychopathic war planners, children are still being born with birth defects and lung disorders in the areas that were heavily sprayed with Agent Orange.
Here is the legacy of the massive use of cluster bombs in Laos:
- Cluster munitions are small bomblets that explode when released from cluster bombs.
- About 80 per cent of the cluster munitions explode, the other 20 per cent bury themselves in the ground, forming little land mines referred to as “unexploded ordinance” or UXO.
- UXOs have killed or wounded more than 20,000 Laotians since the Vietnam War ended.
- About one-third of the land in Laos is contaminated by UXOs.
- Many farmers in Laos know their land is contaminated but have no choice but to farm it since they cannot afford to buy other land.
- The most common injuries UXO victims experience are loss of life, blindness, loss of limbs and hearing, shrapnel wounds, and internal shock-wave injuries.
- Of the estimated 80 million cluster munitions that failed to explode, fewer than 1 million have been cleared since the war ended. Laotians are still experiencing cluster-munitions injuries to this day.
When the Vietnam War finally ended on April 30, 1975, an estimated 2 million Asians civilians had been slaughtered, 5.3 million injured, and 11 million had become refugees in their own countries. There were 58,220 Americans killed and more than 304,000 wounded – most of them teenagers from middle- or low-income families.
What did the Laotian people do to America to deserve this? What did the Cambodians and the North and South Vietnamese do to the United States to deserve this?
The simple answer is nothing.
The USS Liberty: betrayal and cover-up
Unlike the non-incident in the Gulf of Tonkin, the attack on the USS Liberty by Israel was real. It was a lethal, deliberate act of war by any definition of that term. It could be argued that the cover-up of the attack on the Liberty was a betrayal of all service personnel, past and present, and it remains to this day one of the most cowardly acts in American political history.
On June 8, 1967, the USS Liberty, a naval technical research ship sailing in international waters under clear skies off the coast of Gaza, was savagely attacked by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). After surveilling the Liberty numerous times, the IDF bombed then strafed the deck with rockets and napalm. Torpedo boats followed the planes. They shot the life boats out of the water and then fired six torpedoes in an obvious attempt to sink the vessel and leave no evidence of the assault. Five of the torpedoes missed, but one struck midships, killing 25 Americans instantly.
In all, 34 sailors were killed and 172 were wounded, many seriously. No other ship in U.S. naval history suffered as many casualties from a single attack as the Liberty did that day.
An SOS reached the Sixth Fleet during the attack. Rear Admiral Lawrence Geis, in command of the fleet, scrambled jets to assist the Liberty but the planes were immediately called back by Washington. Geis protested that the Liberty was under attack and needed help. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s response was predictable but chilling. “President Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few sailors.”
A massive response was delivered to millions in Southeast Asia over a non-event. Compare that to a non-response and betrayal of U.S. dead and wounded navy personnel following a naked aggressive act of war by Israel.
There never was a real investigation of the attack. There was an inquiry that lasted but a week. The survivors were sworn never to speak of the incident, even to loved ones. Anyone violating this could face a court martial, jail time, or dishonorable discharge. The media cover-up, ordered by Johnson, was so effective that relatively few Americans are aware of what happened that day.
AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) is arguably the most powerful lobby in Washington. They control our foreign policy in the Middle East. Criticism of Israel by a member of our political class, even if it is minor in nature, is suicidal. Just ask former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
This explains why Israel got away with murdering Americans on the Liberty and why they continue to murder Palestinians without fear of reprisal from the media, the president, or any senator or congressperson in America.
The Gulf War
On July 25, 1990, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie met with Saddam Hussein. The meeting was transcribed and primarily about Kuwait.
Glaspie: “We see that you have deployed massive amounts of troops in the south. Why are your troops massed so very close to Kuwait’s border?”
After Saddam explained there was an ongoing border dispute and that Kuwait was slant drilling into Iraq’s oil fields, and he hoped to resolve the dispute peacefully. If not, he said, ”Iraq would not accept death. What is your opinion on this?”
Glaspie: “We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.”
On Aug. 2, just eight days after getting the “green light” from Ambassador Glaspie, Saddam invaded and occupied Kuwait. The Royal family and the Emir of Kuwait were able to escape to Saudi Arabia and then begin to call on the international community to respond. They also hired 25 public relations firms in the U.S. to drum up public support for what was to become Operation Desert Shield, aka the Gulf war.
One of the public relations firms hired by the Royal family of Kuwait was Hill & Knowlton, at the time the biggest PR firm in the world. On Oct. 10, 1990, the Royal family of Kuwait got what they paid for and then some.
The Congressional Human rights caucus held a hearing on Capitol Hill that day. A 15-year-old girl known only by her first name, Nayirah, (allegedly to protect her identity from reprisal), tearfully testified that she witnessed. She said: “Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, go into the room where there were babies in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators and left the babies on the cold floor to die.” Her testimony went viral. This was the emotional war trigger that George H.W. Bush used to browbeat legislators that preferred sanctions to war.
But her testimony was a fraud. She had taken acting classes from Hill & Knowlton before delivering her tearful speech. And she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States.
What followed was described best by Dr. Francis Boyle, a professor of international law at Illinois University. In a paper sent to a symposium held at the Albany Law School, Dr. Boyle documented war crimes that were committed during the Gulf War by numerous individuals. Below is a short list of the crimes attributed to George H.W. Bush, who is referred to in the paper as “defendant Bush.”
- After giving the “green light’ to Saddam Hussein, defendant Bush caused the United Nations to bypass Chapter VI of the UN Charter that mandates specific settlements of international disputes.
- Defendant Bush rejected all attempts by Iraq for a negotiated settlement.
- Defendant Bush ordered the destruction of facilities in Iraq essential to human life.
- Defendant Bush targeted civilian facilities including business districts, schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, and bridges.
- The systematic bombing was ordered to begin on Jan. 16, 1991 at 6:30 p.m. eastern time to be seen on prime time TV by the American public.
- The bombing lasted for 42 days with no resistance from Iraq.
- According to the Red Crescent Society, as a direct result of the bombing, 113,000 civilians were killed, 60 per cent of those being children.
As for George H.W. Bush? After giving Saddam the “green light” to invade Kuwait, using the false testimony of “Nayirah” to galvanize support for the war, killing 113,000 Iraqis, and destroying much of Iraq’s infrastructure in violation of international law, Bush was lauded in the press for using “restraint” in not sending troops into Baghdad.
To put this into context, Bush had, on Dec. 20, 1989, ordered an invasion of Panama to depose Manuel Noriega, who wasn’t in Panama at the time. More property was destroyed and many more civilians were killed in Panama than in the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein. For Bush’s obvious war crime, Washington was not bombed. In fact, after killing thousands of Panamanians and destroying an entire block of property in Panama City, George H.W. Bush was given a standing ovation by a joint session of Congress for announcing that Noriega was no longer the leader of Panama.
9/11 – multiple wars
We were told on Sept. 11, 2001 that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of 9/11 and that 19 hijackers, mostly Saudi civilians, had carried out the “attacks” at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. These claims were used to justify Operation Enduring Freedom, the invasion of Afghanistan, on Oct. 7, 2001.
One might ask how you justify an invasion of a sovereign country on baseless claims? There is no evidence in the public domain that Osama bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11. There is no evidence in the public domain that the accused “hijackers” ever boarded the planes.
Maybe someone with a higher pay grade than this author could explain to Americans and the world the real reason we invaded Afghanistan and why we are still there 17 years later. Could it be to keep the opium trade flourishing? In 2000, the Taliban prohibited farmers from growing poppy for religious reasons. The ban was lifted after the American invasion. Today, Afghanistan is a major supplier of the world’s opium, produced from the poppy fields and guarded by American soldiers. Then there is the oil and gas rich Caspian Basin and the pipeline through Afghanistan that has recently started construction.
If the invasion was actually to protect the opium trade or the profits of oil companies it would be nice if the parents of potential teenaged recruits were given this information – so they would know why their sons or daughters might come home in a flag-draped coffin.
This is a war that the Bush administration created out of thin air.
On Feb. 24, 2001, then Secretary of State Colin Powell said this about Saddam Hussein:
“He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.” On May 15, 2001, Powell went further and said that, “Saddam has not been able to build his military back up or develop weapons of mass destruction for the last 10 years. America has been successful in keeping him in a box.”
Two years later, on Feb.5, 2003, in a speech to the UN to gain support from the Security Council for an invasion of Iraq, Powell lied for an hour-and-a-half and said the exact opposite of what he had said before.
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice seconded Powell’s claim of a weak and defenseless Iraq, telling a CNN reporter on July 29, 2001 that, “Saddam Hussein does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt.”
In September 2002, Rice was assigned to the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), whose sole purpose was to boost support for the planned March 2003 invasion. Her role in that capacity was, in fact, to lie. Instead of a weak Iraq that she told reporters about in July 2001, she was quoted many times as saying, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be in the form of a mushroom cloud.” This was an obvious reference that Saddam, far from being defenseless, now had access to nuclear weapons.
In January 2008, Charles Lewis, founder of the Center of Public Integrity, published a book titled 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity. The 935 lies listed in the book were the total number of lies told to justify the Iraq War by members of the Bush administration.
The invasion of Iraq was a disaster for Iraq’s people, the American public, and the world. This included the loss of life, the destruction of families, the homes turned to rubble, the refugee crisis, the dead and wounded American soldiers. Not one government official was held accountable and not one ever apologized for their role in this monstrous fraud. And it would never have been supported by the American public but for the events of 9/11 and the false implication by members of the administration that Saddam Hussein had ties to al-Qaeda.
All one needs to know about the lies we were told about the “civil’ war in Syria is to do a simple Google Search of a CIA operation code named Timber Sycamore. The goal was to fund and train radical jihadist groups, including ISIS, al-Qaeda, Al Nusra – literally anyone willing to fight in Syria to overthrow the government of Bashar Assad. Then in an email from Hillary Clinton to John Podesta, dated Sept. 27, 2014, and exposed by Wikileaks, revealed that the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar were funding radical groups in the region, including ISIS.
In other words the entire humanitarian crisis in Syria, the deaths, destroyed homes and families, the millions of displaced Syrians, lies at the feet of the United States and our close allies – Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Once again, this never would have been remotely acceptable to the American public but for the events of September 11.
The U.S.-led NATO bombing and destruction of Libya is another unspeakable fraud resulting in a failed state currently overrun by radical jihadist groups. Responsibility for this can be laid at the feet of Barack Obama but even more so at the feet of Hillary Clinton.
Clinton bypassed the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, and went straight to Obama and convinced him to intervene. NATO planes bombed Libya for seven months, including the man-made sub Saharan irrigation system that supplied Libya and other small countries with water – all in violation of international law.
Clinton’s motivation for intervention was revealed in an email titled “Libya Tick Tock.” It was essentially a brag sheet compiled by her staff, listing in chronological order all she did to effect the ouster and death of Muammar Gaddafi so she could claim credit in the presidential debates for her toughness. When it went wrong and Libya became a failed state, she told reporters it was Obama’s decision.
It isn’t surprising that a report from the British government, released on Sept. 14, 2017, determined that the justification given for bombing Libya was baseless.
As an aside, our good friends in Saudi Arabia are using American made bombs to blow up school buses in Yemen. And our good friends in Israel recently completed target practice murdering civilians trapped behind in an outdoor prison called Gaza. Where is the outrage?
Sept. 11 – war and more war
That the government regularly lies America into war is not in doubt. As we have seen, it happens time and time again.
Why then should the subject of 9/11 be sacrosanct? Questioning the truth of this event in polite conversation can often result in a tirade of emotional outbursts, pejoratives, or worse.
A few years ago, on the 14th anniversary of the event, in an attempt to initiate a dialogue, I asked a college professor with a doctorate degree about the use of cell phones in an airliner flying at high speed and altitude. She immediately understood that it was impossible to make such a call from an airplane at high altitude, but rather than acknowledge this, she stalked off in a huff, saying, “I know Bush and Cheney are evil, but they could not be that evil.”
Really? Cheney and Bush invaded Afghanistan illegally and destroyed a society (Iraq). In the process, tens of thousands of civilians were killed in violation of international and national law. The suffering from the U.S. invasion continues in Iraq to this day. We are talking about millions of people who have suffered directly or indirectly from that war.
The events of Sept. 11, 2001 were criminal, but they never were never investigated as such. It took until Nov. 27, 2002, an astounding 442 days after the event, for the 9/11 Commission to be formed. The commission’s report was more of an inquiry, certainly not a criminal investigation of the events. In fact, one of the commissioners, former Senator and decorated Vietnam veteran Max Cleland, quit the commission in protest, calling the whole process “a scam” and claiming that the “White House has played cover-up.”
Even more astounding were statements by the co-chairs, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, who both publicly said the commission was “set up to fail.” Hamilton went further. “People should continue to ask questions about 9/11; the debate should continue.” Excuse me? The debate should continue?
Are the commission co-chairs, who sat through the entire process and called the whole thing a failure, conspiracy theorists? Is Max Cleland the same?
The government told us the following: Nineteen slightly built Arab males, with no known military training and almost no flight instruction, apparently armed only with cardboard cutters, managed to board four airliners without producing any record proving that they even boarded the planes. They somehow forced eight highly trained American pilots to give up control of their cockpits without a struggle and without the Flight Data Recorders registering that the cockpit doors were ever opened during flight. They then flew these jets expertly to their targets without assistance from the FAA. They managed to fly unchallenged for an hour and a half in the most heavily controlled and protected air space in the world. They outwitted, outsmarted and out maneuvered the entire military establishment of the most powerful country in the world, the United States of America. Are we supposed to believe that? Are all of the men and women in the service that pathetic? The government wants us to believe that? Amateurs do not pull off a sophisticated mission like this without years of training and learned skills. It defies logic and common sense.
So why does asking questions of the government’s official story ranging from a highly improbable to a more likely impossible scenario get the questioner summarily dismissed and labeled with the weaponized “conspiracy theorist” pejorative?
I think the infamous Nazi of the Third Reich, Hermann Göring, got it right when he said this at the Nuremberg Trials:
“Naturally the common people don’t want war. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of the country that determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
Are the majority of Americans who accept the official story of 9/11 the very common people that Goring believes are so easily manipulated? If so, I much prefer to be labeled a conspiracy theorist.
And have we been similarly manipulated and lied to about scores of other “stories”? Immediately one thinks of the assassinations of John Kennedy. There never has been a “magic bullet” fired from any weapon, anytime, used to murder anyone anywhere before or after JFK. The Warren Commission Report many believe, is as fraudulent as the 9/11 Commission Report.
And the lies continue in the murders of Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Malcom X. You could add Pat Tillman’s “heroic” death, Jessica Lynch’s “heroism,” George Bush saying, “We don’t torture” before the release of the Abu Ghraib pictures, and the Anthrax letters with Bruce Ivins alleged complicity.
Clearly, the government lies about most everything, which makes it difficult to understand why the 9/11 official story is defended by so many, especially because it features so many omissions, distortions and outright impossibilities.
A democracy depends on the rule of law to protect its citizens. A seriously flawed “Commission” that places the entire blame on an old man with kidney failure and 19 amateurs – with no evidence to support the claim – does not pass the smell test. That no American in a position of authority was ever fired or reprimanded or singled out for blame in the report is equally preposterous.
Independent criminal investigators must do their jobs just as happens every day in the U.S. after a crime is committed. Anyone found guilty needs to be punished so that a barbaric act like this never happens again.
We deserve to know the truth. More importantly, so do our children, grandchildren, and future generations. Americans should be given the opportunity to live in peace with their families. And that needs to extend to everyone everywhere. Our leaders need to focus on the myriad of problems here in America.
They need to stop lying us into illegal wars, and they need to leave the rest of the world alone.
Geoffrey O’Neill is a former Marine Officer who is currently a humanist and proud member of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.