My Experiences in America Regarding Iraq

By Wade Frazier

"...For a peek into our boys' mentality during the Gulf War, the U.S. Air Force's 77th Tactical Fighter Squadron published a songbook before the bombing began, describing their plans for Iraq. The only part that can be reproduced in polite company was this little ditty:

Phantom fliers in the sky,

Persian-pukes prepare to die

Rolling in with snake and nape,

Allah creates but we cremate.

The rest of songbook is, in the words of David Stannard, a "melange of sadism and obscenity, most of them employing personifications of entire Arabic and Islamic peoples as racially inferior, maggot-infested women whose mass destruction by the Americans is equated with brutal, violent s-x..."

In 1990 I was recovering from my experiences with Dennis Lee (Other parts of my book tell that tale.). I realized that my indoctrination (by school, media, etc.) presented a worldview quite different than what I saw with Dennis. I bought my first computer a year earlier, and I was beginning to investigate alternative media publications like Lies of Our Times, Covert Action, and groups like the Christic Institute. Then I moved to Ohio and experienced the first war our nation waged since I became an adult. Bombing Libya and invading Grenada and Panama were also unpleasant events for me, but what happened in Iraq was on a vastly larger scale.

I lived in Dayton and worked at a bank's headquarters in a small town called Wilmington. Over one hundred people worked at the headquarters. Some of the most alienating experiences of my life happened there. When the bombs finally started dropping in January of 1991, the office virtually erupted in cheering. By that time I was informed enough to know that Iraq had made several withdrawal proposals, all summarily rejected by United States. I knew that the United States had fabricated its "coalition" by bribing and threatening nearly all the nations involved. We were doing stuff like forgiving billions of dollars of debt to nations that joined the coalition (for instance, USA forgave Egypt about $7 billion dollars from its debt), and threatening aid cut-off to those who didn't. (1)

Also I knew something about the region's history, how Europe had been exploiting the region for sometime, and when Britain officially pulled out in the 1920s, their actions guaranteed the strife we see there today. For instance, Iraq was literally a nation created by the British drawing lines on the map. Iraq was an invention of Britain, imposing a national identity on a land of tribes.(2) If you look at Iraq on the map, you'll see a large country that is almost completely landlocked. Iraq has only about 20 miles of coastline, and its only port is actually upstream on the Shatt-al-Arab (the waterway formed by the joining of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers) at Al-Basrah, known as Basra to westerners. Kuwait was carved out from Iraq rather arbitrarily. Both were parts of the Ottoman Empire (Kuwait being a district of Iraq) until the British moved in. An oil rich region was intentionally landlocked by Britain's power politics.

I also knew that Iraq had legitimate beefs with Kuwait. Their national borders were literally drawn up by Britain, and Iraq had always maintained that Kuwait was part of Iraq, and had to be held back by Britain from simply invading and annexing Kuwait. The Kuwait/Iraq border was long disputed, particularly around the rich Rumaila oilfield. Kuwait may have drilled into Iraqi oil fields while Iraq was occupied with fighting Iran. A bone of contention that led to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was Kuwait's refusal to lease two uninhabited islands to Iraq, so Iraq could have a port on the Persian Gulf.

I also smelled propaganda being purveyed to justify the subsequent devastation of Iraq. For instance, a friend angrily called me up one day in 1990, telling me the story of Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators in Kuwait, letting them die so Iraqi babies could have the incubators. Also I heard about George Bush telling the world about Iraq's threat to Saudi Arabia, and the media swallowing it whole. Seven U.S. Senators actually cited that incubator "incident" as part of their justification for going to war. I also heard other dubious reports about Iraq and their intentions. I had studied enough wartime propaganda to doubt what I was hearing, and it later turned out that the incubator story, the Arabia threat and the like were all lies. They weren't just shameful lies, they were murderous lies, designed to incite a nation to commit mass murder.(3) To those Americans who cheered the Gulf War, how does it feel to be manipulated into supporting mass murder?

I am certainly not justifying Hussein's behaviour, but nearly all the Middle East nations are dictatorships (often euphemistically called kingdoms), and Britain set them up that way. That is consistent with a long-standing Western practice of installing dictators in their client states. The populations are more easily controlled with dictatorships. Democracies in client states have always been anathema to the U.S. and Western Europe. That is because dictators effectively exploit client state populations. Democracies are too hard to control. Dictators act as our proxies, keeping the population in line while their nation provides the U.S. and its corporate structure with cheap bananas, tin, wood, shoes, oil and other commodities, while the dictators and the plutocratic elite at the top live the high life, and the masses suffer greatly.

Our overthrow of Iran's government in 1953, installing the Shah atop one of the more brutal dictatorships of modern history, was our usual meddling with other nations, visiting disaster onto their people. When Iran had their revolution in 1979 and stormed the U.S. embassy, taking those hostages, while calling the U.S. the "Great Satan", few Americans probably know how justified was their rage. Our media doesn't like telling the people the whole story, particularly one that puts the U.S. government and commercial interests in a bad light.(4)

For those of you who are challenged by these assertions, my book lays out these situations quite clearly, with plenty of supporting documentation. The work of Noam Chomsky is probably the best single source of these ideas and their support. He has probably been my greatest influence in these areas. This page fleshes out these ideas more fully, if you keep reading.

My office in Wilmington had a sound system that played mellow music at low volume during the day. It was a pleasant background to work to. The men that ran the bank were big military boosters, their office walls adorned with photos of relatives in uniform. The day the bombs began dropping the music was replaced with a news/talk show played at high volume. The night before, as we began bombing them, the U.S. media was dominated with ex-generals and other hawks literally rhapsodising about what was going on. I remember hearing one ex-general on the radio commenting on the air show over Iraq, calling it a "great day to be a soldier." That day at the office I was treated to the loud blast of war coverage. During that day it was announced that we had taken out Iraq's air force, so there was no air resistance from Iraq, and one of the bank's owners came running out of his office, listening raptly to the announcement, nearly thrusting his fist into the air. It was hard to maintain my composure, and very hard to get any work done.

Then the war coverage was interrupted by a talk show. The host sounded like a protégé of Rush Limbaugh. In all of Ohio there was only one protest of the war, at least as far as our media presented. About twenty students protested at the University of Cincinnati. For a state of over ten million people, twenty people amounts to less than .0002% of the population. The talk-show host made those few protesting students the subject of his show. He asked his listening audience if those students were "stupid or evil." And his callers were unanimous in their condemnation of anybody daring to protest our bombing of Iraq. One caller cleverly said that the students were "sterile."

A week later the first letter to the editor I ever wrote was on its way to the Dayton Daily News. They published it on February 5, 1991. Here it is.

As the United States subdues another enemy in freedom's name, or so it is said, the blood of our children will again be spilled for the noble cause. It could be very profitable at this time to consider an ancient strategy. Many years ago, a radical genius offered a means to absolutely destroy one's enemies. The succeeding years have proven the tactic too outrageous and incomprehensible to even attempt. History tells us that practically nobody has ever gathered the courage to see the strategy through.

The ancient extremist theorized that his manoeuvre would not only win the day, but could be used over and over to annihilate any and all enemies. The bizarre theory involved the obscure and very, very rarely used strategy of loving the enemy.

This country was not officially founded in that radical's name, nor are his theories officially recognized here, but the person's work and life supposedly has many adherents in this country. You could fool me.

His ideas were far ahead of his time back then, and they seem equally far ahead of the present time. When ever will the example of the life of Jesus actually be taken seriously? I hope soon, for the sake of us all, including those awful Iraqis.

It was my first experience in writing to a newspaper, it was the first thing I had published, and it was my first experience with editing. The newspaper edited out "or so it is said" from that first sentence. That changed the tenor of my letter a little, particularly my intended irony in using the word "awful" to describe the Iraqis. But I was glad they published what they did, and maybe it caused a few people to reconsider their lusty cheers for the bombing. Right next to my letter was printed the wit and wisdom of Hughie Sprinkle, whose sentiments reflected the public attitude better than mine. Hughie wrote,

"The only sensible way to win the war and save American lives is to nuke (Iraq), using neutron bombs. Kill them all - man, woman and child. Kill 'em quick and kill 'em good. Then bulldoze the area over, and begin again."

One might think that Mr. Sprinkle's opinion was from the lunatic fringe. It wasn't. At about the same time as my letter and Mr. Sprinkle's were published, the Dayton Daily News ran its weekly Cal Thomas column. Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist, a man who calls himself a Christian from the conservative tradition. In Thomas' column he also called for dropping nuclear weapons on Iraq. And Thomas was not alone on the national stage with his opinion. Thomas wrote that nuking Iraq would "save lives." He obviously didn't mean the lives of Iraqi citizens.

What made the sentiments of Thomas and Sprinkle truly bizarre was that the events in Iraq and Kuwait obviously weren't a "war" in any meaningful sense of the word. In the words of American soldiers, what happened in Iraq was a "turkey shoot." Iraq was virtually defenseless to our record bombing campaign. It was the most intense bombing campaign in history. We'll never know exactly how many Iraqi soldiers died in that "war." Credible estimates range from 100,000 to 200,000 soldiers dying. And it wasn't Iraq's elite Republican Guard that was decimated, the dead were mostly Iraqi conscripts. The vast majority never even saw an American soldier before they died. They generally died in their shelters and trenches, huddling from the awesome devastation raining from the air.

The United States tried out many new weapons in Iraq. Americans generally only heard only about the Patriot Missile system that we used to shoot at Iraqi Scuds. Unreported was the Iraqi population's suffering. Those realities were hidden from the American people. Pentagon censors screened virtually every American news report that came from Iraq. What the American people were treated to daily were propaganda exercises led by Norman Schwarzkopf, now in America's pantheon of heroes. Once in a great while some truth made it through, and it was usually by the Los Angeles Times and CNN, two non-members of the eastern oligarchy.

For instance, in the Los Angeles Times on February 24, 1991 John Balzar brought a little reality to the Times readers with his front page article titled "Apache Copters: Deadly Havoc in the Dark of Night." Balzar was able to watch night vision gunfight footage from the briefing room. He told of what he saw.

"They looked like ghostly sheep flushed from a pen - Iraqi infantrymen bewildered and terrified, jarred from sleep and fleeing their bunkers under a hellish fire. One by one, they were cut down by attackers they could not see or understand. Some were blown to bits by bursts of 30-millimeter exploding cannon shells. One man dropped, writhed on the ground, then struggled to his feet; another burst of fire tore him apart… Even hardened soldiers hold their breath as the Iraqi soldiers, as big as football players on the television screen, run with nowhere to hide. These are not bridges exploding or airplane hangers. These are men." (5)

The weapons used in the Gulf War were truly horrific. Bombs that explode at waist level were not the kinds of smart bombs our newsmen oohed and aahed over. Ninety-three percent of the bomb tonnage used by America in the Gulf War wasn't "smart." Missiles that turned around buildings in quest of their targets were the evening news fare, but the vast majority of what we dropped onto Iraq was the good old dumb kind, about 70% of it missing its target. If Americans had seen what was really going on in Iraq, I hope they would not have cheered so loudly.

The first casualty of any war is the truth, and the Pentagon had practice in muzzling the press in Panama a year earlier. It wasn't until the Academy Award-winning documentary Panama Deception came out that many Americans found out what was being hidden about our blatant, illegal and murderous invasion of Panama. As Napoleon said, if you can keep the truth from the people long enough so they do what you want, if the truth comes out later it doesn't really matter.

During the Gulf War some of the weapons systems deployed are considered the most powerful weapons short of a nuclear bomb. One is called a fuel-air bomb. The bomb works thusly: there are two detonations; the first spreads a fine mist of fuel into the air, turning the area into an explosive mix of vast proportion; then a second detonation ignites the mixture, causing an awesome explosion. The explosion is about the most powerful "conventional" explosion that we know of. At a pressure shock of up to 200 pounds per square inch (PSI), people in its detonation zone are often killed by the sheer compression of the air around them. Human beings can generally withstand up to about a 40-PSI blast. The bomb literally sucks the oxygen out of the air, and can apparently even suck the lungs out through the mouth of people unfortunate enough to be in the detonation zone. And our military used it on helpless people. The U.S. also dropped a bomb called "Big Blue" with a specialized high-tech explosive mixture that can produce up to a 1,000-PSI shock wave, a magnitude only exceeded by nuclear weapons.(6) That kind of shock wave turns a body into hamburger, even if no shrapnel hits it.

Some of the other weapons systems deployed are called "bouncing" bombs. "Adam" was one of those bombs used in the Gulf War. It is euphemistically called an antipersonnel bomb. What the bomb does is bounce up to about waist high after it hits the ground, so when it explodes it has a better chance of eviscerating the "personnel" on the ground unfortunate enough to be near it. Another novel weapon deployed in the Gulf War was dubbed "The Beehive." The Beehive is a bomb that spins at high velocity, spitting out 8,800 pieces of shrapnel with razor edges in all directions, producing a "Swiss-cheese" effect on anybody near it when it goes off. As the Los Angeles Times reporter who wrote about those weapons in 1991 observed, "The mechanics of death and destruction are a grim affair. The military's scientific approach and its philosophies - for example, its preference for wounding vital organs over blowing off limbs - can be deeply disquieting to anybody who imagines such matters are left to chance. Many people would rather not know about the gruesome details."(7) Norman Schwarzkopf never regaled the press with footage showing the results of those weapons.

While the bombing was going on, America went into a frenzy of jingoistic support. Yellow Ribbon campaigns blanketed the nation. The bank where I worked literally had a Red, White and Blue day at the office, where everybody was supposed to wear those colors and pose for a company group picture. I was working as a temporary employee at the time, and decided to not toe the line, maybe risking my job. I wore black and green that day, and found a way to disappear when the group photo was taken, amidst the chest-beating cheers. Concurrently there was an office campaign to send Valentines to American Persian Gulf soldiers. It wasn't an optional program. Over the sound system each department was summoned to a room to sign those Valentines. There was an irony: Valentines to soldiers annihilating a helpless enemy, an enemy that was their ally a few months earlier. I also left the building when my department signed the Valentines.

And I vividly remember on Valentines Day the "news" blaring from the speakers as the U.S. media was spinning an event from February 13th. The United States military bombed one of Baghdad's bomb shelters. The U.S. said their intelligence told them the bomb shelter was actually a military headquarters, and they sent a sophisticated bomb that penetrated into the shelter, obliterating its interior. But the shelter was filled with women and children huddling from the nightly bombings of Baghdad. About five hundred women and children died. And on Valentines Day the American airwaves were filled with "experts" trying to spin that disaster into a propaganda ploy by Saddam Hussein. The "experts" were making rationales like there were so few bomb shelters in Baghdad that only a small percent of the population could hide in the shelters, so therefore those woman in children were pawns of Hussein, and their deaths the responsibility of Iraq, not America. It was nauseating.

And the intrepid Peter Arnett did things that have made him hated by the U.S. government. He went to the bomb shelter and witnessed the fact that there was no evidence of any military installation. Arnett did a similar thing when he witnessed the milk factory we bombed, claiming it was a chemical weapons facility. He toured the bombed ruins and found it was indeed a milk factory. He toured the factory the summer before, as it was producing milk.(8)Those incidents were similar to our 1986 bombing of Libya, with Ronald Reagan telling the world he had uncontested proof that Libya was behind the bombing of a nightclub in Germany which killed some U.S. soldiers. It turned out that Reagan was lying when he said that, for we had no proof. None has ever been presented, and the U.S. promised that proof to Britain and France because they allowed their countries to assist the bombing raid. They let us bomb first and provide proof later. When it came time to provide the proof the U.S. admitted it didn't have any, a betrayal reported throughout the world…except in the U.S. mainstream media.

The same situation happened when we bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical lab last summer, in retaliation for the "terrorist" bombings in Africa. Our government said there was incontrovertible evidence the lab was being used for producing substances that could be used in chemical weapons. Once again, we lied to the world, and that "ironclad" evidence has simply vanished when subject to scrutiny. Sudan has been the stage for famine and other disasters in recent years. That pharmaceutical lab was about the only one in the country. How many children will die because of that action? You can be sure that the American media will not speculate about it. It is going straight into the memory hole, so Americans can cheer the next time we bomb somebody on a whim.

Those days in 1991 were among the most alienating of my life. I was never more ashamed of being an American. While the bombing continued I was writing a letter which became a book. Writing it was a form of therapy, trying to make sense of and recover from my experiences with Dennis Lee. I was putting my wife through graduate school for her doctorate in psychology. Consequently she believed in the process and began insisting that I see a psychologist. She found one who specialized in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His office was literally down the road from Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the premier Air Force base in the world. He specialized in treating soldiers for PTSD. He felt I was definitely a candidate for therapy, and I had a few months of it, and it helped. I finished my letter/book (a 106-page letter) as part of my therapy. He assured me I was quite sane but living in an insane world.

As I talked about my traumas in that spring of 1991, outside of my therapist's window you could see American flags flying from every light pole and sign. The flags fluttered, the yellow ribbons abounded, and the parades marched through American cities. George Bush rocketed to an approval rating of 82 % as our "turkey shoot" in Iraq progressed. It had fallen to 56% the previous autumn, from its high of 80% right after U.S. troops invaded Panama to arrest Bush's former employee Noriega (They tried killing him, but Noriega outsmarted them by strolling into the Vatican embassy.), an act that violated all international law regarding heads of state and their sovereignty. The public was nearly delirious in its approval of what we did to Iraq, with something like 90% of Americans thinking we had performed a righteous and noble deed. Nothing boosts an American president's popularity more than sending the military somewhere, anywhere, to annihilate some helpless "foe."

My therapist abandoned his therapist's role with me at times, and confided that he was sickened by events. He told me one of his clients was a young Navy SEAL, and one of the first Americans into Iraq for the short-lived "ground war." The SEAL got to see America's handiwork up close. He got to see heaps of bodies of women and children, euphemistically termed "collateral damage" by the Pentagon and our national press. The young man was having a difficult time coming to grips with his experiences, and couldn't find anything honorable about what we did there. People like that never appear on Nightline NBC, describing their experiences. "National security" makes sure that can't happen.

Many of our Gulf War actions qualified as war crimes. One of them was the infamous bombing of the retreating Iraqi army on the highway leading from Mutlaa, Kuwait to Basra. It was a mass exodus from the city, including the Iraq military that was withdrawing to Iraq on Hussein's orders, and also civilians and prisoners. What the United States military did on that highway stands as one of the greatest and most defenceless mass murders of the modern era. What the U.S. did was disable the front and rear vehicles on that highway, trapping the two thousand vehicles and their occupants into a seven-mile-long parking lot. Then the planes flew mission after mission on the helpless vehicles and their occupants, annihilating and incinerating many thousands of people, perhaps tens of thousands. That highway became known as the "Highway of Death."

Pilots who flew the "Highway of Death" mission described it as "shooting fish in a barrel", and they literally rushed back and forth from the aircraft carriers supplying them with bombs. According to the Washington Post, "Their preferred weapon, the Rock-eye cluster bomb was passed over for others because elevators were too slow getting them up to the flight deck in time for the next launch."(9) It was a quick trip to the parking lot to drop their payloads, then back to the aircraft carrier to get more bombs. Those activities were in direct violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949's common article 3, which outlaws killing soldiers who are "out of combat."

And that wasn't the only highway so treated by our heroic armed forces. A sixty-mile stretch of highway further east was treated similarly. That action was one of 19 war crimes that ex-Attorney General Ramsey Clark got George Bush and friends (Dan Quayle, Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf, James Baker, Richard Cheney, etc.) prosecuted for. The International War Crimes Tribunal found them guilty, not that the U.S. citizens heard much about it over the cheers.(10) Winners never worry about little things like war crimes trials, only losers do.

Another innovative act of our armed forces was a new version of trench warfare. During the ground war the United States deployed vehicles that were basically tanks with bulldozer blades. The ground war, like the air war, was not a war in any meaningful sense. It was another "turkey shoot" with entire armoured divisions of Iraq's army decimated without returning even one effective shot. The surviving Iraqi soldiers were generally fleeing, hiding in their bunkers or rushing to surrender. Thousands of Iraqi conscripts were huddled in trenches and bunkers, and some were attempting to mount a pitiful defence to the juggernaut bearing down on them. The tank-bulldozers performed an unprecedented act: they approached the trenches and bunkers, and literally filled them with earth, burying thousands of Iraqi soldiers alive. It qualified as another war crime. Not one American was killed in the live entombment of thousands of Iraqi soldiers.(11)

Once again, what happened in the "Gulf War" wasn't "war". It was annihilation. War is what World War II was like, where both sides were fairly evenly matched, and both sides endured similar levels of casualty. In the "Gulf War" the casualty ratio was about 1,000-to-1. We likely killed over 100,000 Iraqi soldiers (some estimates go as high as 300,000), while fewer than 200 Americans died, and about half of those by "friendly fire" by our own troops. But like with Panama, the U.S. government has a great vested interest in keeping the bloody facts from the public that cheers and finances the bloodshed. Our armed forces actively prevented any accurate body count of the "enemy" in Panama or Iraq. Their motto seemed to be, "Just bury them quickly and hope nobody ever exhumes those mass graves. Where are the Auschwitz incinerators when you need them?"

And don't think those American boys were just a bunch of innocent lambs, having no idea what was going on, just following orders. To a degree that is true, as nations always send out young men with no idea of their mortality or why they are fighting, but make able killers (As one friend punned in 1991, "Support our dupes."). But for a peek into our boys' mentality during the Gulf War, the U.S. Air Force's 77th Tactical Fighter Squadron published a songbook before the bombing began, describing their plans for Iraq. The only part that can be reproduced in polite company was this little ditty:

Phantom fliers in the sky,

Persian-pukes prepare to die

Rolling in with snake and nape,

Allah creates but we cremate.

The rest of songbook is, in the words of David Stannard, a "melange of sadism and obscenity, most of them employing personifications of entire Arabic and Islamic peoples as racially inferior, maggot-infested women whose mass destruction by the Americans is equated with brutal, violent sex." One of the honours our soldiers got, which is a time-honoured ritual, was writing messages on the bombs about to be launched. The bombs had quaint messages like "Mrs. Saddam's sex toy" and a "suppository for Saddam" on them as they dropped, and again, those are the messages I can print in public.(12) One post-war study found that over half of the American women in the Gulf felt they were sexually harassed verbally by their fellow male soldiers, and eight percent of the women reported attempted or completed sexual assaults by American soldiers (about 3,000 instances).(13)

Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf publicly admitted his disappointment with being unable to finish his job in Iraq. Schwarzkopf said, "We could have completely closed the door and made it a battle of annihilation…(it was) literally about to become the battle of Cannae, a battle of annihilation." To his disappointment Schwarzkopf was prevented from exterminating the Iraqi army.(14)

In the aftermath, as was publicly wished for by George Bush and our media hacks, some of the Iraqi population revolted against Iraq's government, an action fomented by the CIA.(15) And the world watched as Hussein's Republican Guard mopped up the Kurds, with the surreal situation of the U.S. military standing by, watching it, and even refusing the let the Kurds have captured Iraqi arms to fight with. The hypocrisy was awe-inspiring to witness. Democratic revolutions in foreign lands are the worst nightmares our corporate/government planners can imagine. We prefer dictators, obedient ones

The American media was extremely complicit with the warmongering. Project Censored has been tracking the censorship in our "free press" for over twenty years. In 1991 their top censored story was CBS and NBC refusing to air footage from Iraq that was initially commissioned by NBC and shot by Emmy-award-winning producers. The footage showed civilian devastation of Iraq that contradicted the propaganda being purveyed by the government and media, giving the impression that the Gulf War was a "clean" one with minimal "collateral damage." NBC Nightly News Executive Producer Steven Friedman and anchor Tom Brokaw were enthusiastic about the film that was produced, and wanted it aired. But NBC President Michael Gartner killed the story. The producers then took the video to CBS. CBS Evening News Executive Director Tom Bettag told a producer that he would appear with Dan Rather the next evening. That same evening Bettag was fired and the story was killed. And the cheering continued.

Project Censored's number two story for 1991 was the heavy censorship that attended Gulf War reporting, where stories about Iraqi civilian casualties, air-fuel bombs, Highway of Death footage and the like were all suppressed, and U.S. battlefield casualties were disguised as training accidents. The media served as a propaganda organ of the government, and destroyed any notion of a "free press" in the United States.

Project Censored's number six story for 1991 exposed one of the many lies and inventions George Bush told as he prepared the public for war. On September 11, 1990, Bush surprisingly announced that the main reason we had our troops massed in the Gulf was because Iraq was threatening to invade Saudi Arabia, and the Pentagon said Iraq had 250,000 troops and 1,500 tanks in Kuwait, based on satellite images. The public never saw those images, but Russian satellite images showed that no such military build-up existed. That was one of many lies told to the American public, getting them riled up to support the war.(16)

The purpose of our bombing campaign was officially stated as driving Iraq from Kuwait. We were "liberating" Kuwait. Again, when the imperial powers pulled out of the Middle East in the 1920s, the governments left behind were dictatorships that could be controlled, and would also control the public in those nations. Kuwait was and is a bloody and brutal dictatorship. Saudi Arabia, the other nation we were theoretically defending, has one of the most brutal and oppressive regimes on earth. The Saudis are notorious for executing political prisoners, keeping their women in virtual slavery, flogging children, kangaroo courts and the like. Saudi Arabia's method of public execution is using a sword to decapitate their prisoners, sometimes taking a few whacks to get the job done.

We immediately reinstalled a dictatorship in Kuwait. In Kuwait and Iraq were many activists for democratic reform, representing various oppressed groups. The United States never considered giving them any voice or influence. The dictatorship we reinstalled in Kuwait immediately began throwing people into prison, torturing prisoners to death, and ruthlessly stomping out any notion the populace might have harboured regarding freedom.(17)

Our government said we were driving Iraq from Kuwait. In a logical war that would mean doing just that: invading Kuwait to beat the Iraqi army back into Iraq. That did not happen. Instead we unleashed the most intense bombing campaign in history. We specifically targeted the infrastructure of Iraq, including their transportation system, electric system, sewer system and water supply. What we did was a form of biological warfare, akin to starving out the enemy.

Going back to the end of World War II when we dropped nuclear weapons on Japan, in a move historians now conclude had little to do with saving American lives and everything to do with a demonstration of power to the world, and the Soviet Union in particular, the United States has excelled at fighting the coward's war.(18) Our high-tech wars, where we drop devastating weaponry on helpless populations, never seeing the "enemy" face-to-face, and using the powers of state to ensure the cheering people at home never know the truth, guarantees that such disasters continue. We did it to Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, and most recently to Iraq.

Something happened after Vietnam though. The war planners realized that the American people would no longer stand to have their young men killed in foreign wars of dubious benefit. So a new strategy was crafted, which is obvious if you follow the events of the past generation. People like Noam Chomsky have written extensively on the phenomenon. The new strategy is this: we will only wage war against weak enemies. The strategy is to pick on enemies that can't fight back, have our propaganda machine (the "free press" and government, working hand in hand) turn them into malevolent demons of tremendous stature, and then we resoundingly defeat them in mere weeks, enduring few or no casualties amongst our armed forces. Then the public will be delighted that we overcame such an invincible adversary so easily, at little cost to ourselves. It makes us a proud people, destroying such evil monsters with righteous ease.

The Gulf War was a textbook example of that strategy. If you follow the rhetoric of Norman Schwarzkopf, George Bush and the American media during the build-up to the Gulf War, with Saddam Hussein being compared to Hitler, Schwarzkopf talking about how outnumbered his forces were by Iraq, the strategy is clear. Amazingly, the new "Hitler" was our ally until the day he invaded Kuwait, and he even told American ambassador April Glaspie that he was planning on invading Kuwait a week before his troops did, and she basically said the United States had no interest in Arab border disputes.(19) Iraq may have been lured into invading Kuwait by America, which is not a pleasant thought to consider.

As the dust was settling in Iraq, the real suffering was about to begin. A public health team from Harvard went into Iraq soon after the bombs stopped dropping. They issued a report based on their findings. They estimated that 170,000 children under the age of five would die in the succeeding year due to the destruction of Iraq's infrastructure by the U.S. bombing.(20) That news was barely reported in the U.S. mainstream media in 1991. I think about the only national journalist who mentioned the tremendous death toll that the Iraqi children were about to endure was Mike Royko. Other than his voice in the mainstream American media wilderness, the American people were blissfully insulated from the looming children's holocaust they were responsible for. And to add murderous insult to injury, we led an economic embargo of Iraq, a nation that bought 70% of its food from abroad. That embargo is standard American foreign policy, something we did to Vietnam, Cuba and Nicaragua - basically what we do to any weak nation that stands up to our gangsterism.

I have been watching the Iraqi children's death toll mount through the years. In 1995 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) issued a report on the Iraqi food supply and health. They stated the Iraq health minister stated that over 500,000 children had died (in excess of normal rates before the Gulf War) in the previous four years due to starvation and disease. The report said they couldn't confirm that number, but it also didn't seem unreasonable. The report discussed the current children's death rate in Iraq (several thousand a month), and their observation of starvation conditions among the children like marasmus and kwashiorkor. Iraqi citizens had higher life expectancies than American citizens did before the Gulf War.(21) Ramsey Clark's "genocide" description of what we are doing to Iraq is close to the mark, and as we continue to turn down the screws on Iraq as I write this, we may see a genuine genocide come to pass in Iraq, courtesy of the United States. I don't know anything about the Gulf War and its continuing aftermath that should cause any American to be proud. I suppose we can cheer that we still get cheap oil from the Middle East and our gangsterism there hasn't cost many American lives as of yet.

Over the past several years I wrote a book or two, corresponded with authors and others quite a bit, and for several months had up a six hundred page web site that discussed the Iraqi situation, among many other topics. But I wasn't writing to newspapers, partly because Iraq was a kind of non-story in America, and they don't run letters on non-stories. Over the years Americans have often accused me of being a lover of Saddam Hussein. Nothing could be further from the truth. The man is a tyrant, the same as when he was our favored ally, obligingly killing hundreds of thousands of Iranians in the 1980s, sending hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men to death in senseless battles, and using chemical weapons on his Kurds. And he bought nearly all the material for his chemical and biological weapons from the "civilized" world, like United States and German firms. Hussein's crime was not being a dictator, it was stepping on the wrong toes. Our government obviously could not care less about the Iraqi people's welfare, which is standard imperial behavior.

In the wake of the 1995 UNFAO report, and the activism of a relative handful of Americans, the United States government was shamed enough to begin an oil-for-food program with Iraq through the U.N. Life there is slightly better than it was in 1996, with the emphasis on slightly. Iraq was an industrialized nation before the Gulf War. Allowing Iraq to buy food with its oil is like putting a Band-Aid on a chest wound. Not only do the poorest lose out, like in most nations, as a dictator like Hussein is more interested in holding onto power than his people's welfare, the Iraqi people need far more than food. As I write this, more than a third of Iraq's water supply is unfit to drink. That is because our embargo has strangled Iraq so thoroughly that they cannot purify all the water they need, and they have not completely rebuilt their water supply infrastructure, as we have turned down the screws. It is well known that a contaminated water supply is today's single greatest cause of death in small children worldwide. The Iraqi hospitals have long since run out of things we take for granted like painkiller, antibiotics and other medicines, as the U.N. sanctions (ruthlessly over-enforced by the United States) strangles them. If a child has to go to an Iraqi hospital today, it is taken for granted the child will die there. As America is incredibly moving to tighten the embargo in the wake of our recent bombing, the Iraqi infrastructure may indeed fully collapse, and we will have true genocide in Iraq, the greatest death toll happening to the children.

A little over a year ago the United States began beating the war drums again over the still never discovered "weapons of mass destruction" that Saddam Hussein supposedly was still harboring. I deal with the awesome hypocrisy of that situation later in this piece. The U.S. government was clearly mobilizing the brainwashed American masses once again to cheer another bombing of Iraq. In November of 1997 I was moved for a second time to write a letter to the editor, this time to The Seattle Times, as I was back home in Washington. They ran my letter on November 30th, 1997. Here it is.

I have been watching Seattle's mainstream media while all the saber-rattling has been going on over Iraq lately. The Seattle Times article of November 14 is the first-time I have seen a substantive reference to the harm United States has inflicted on the Iraqi people over the past seven years ("Iraqi Sanctions Split U.S.-Arab Coalition").

It is not surprising that the first reference I have seen is not due to some "bleeding heart" American mainstream journalist digging up the facts, but was in response to our "Arab allies" refusing to fall into line and get behind a U.S. military action against Iraq.

The article, authored by Barbara Demick of Knight Ridder Newspapers, at least said that there is apparently a lot of suffering going on an Iraq. But her characterization of those "more virulent commentators" and the comparison to the atomic bomb attacks on Japan was highly misleading. So far, the United States' economic attack on Iraq has killed far more people than our atomic attacks on Japan. Two of the most prominent commentators have been former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization investigators.

Two years ago, it was estimated that the death toll in Iraq, because of the U.N. embargo, was approaching one million people, including over a half-million children. Today the death toll is more than one million people, five percent of their population.

The children's death toll because of the embargo is about 700,000 as of today, and starvation conditions like kwashiorkor and marasmus are now common. That the American mainstream media fail to mention the horrendous human toll our economic attack has extracted from Iraq is a crime.

Oh yes, we can say the United Nations is doing this, but we are the ones making the sanctions happen, just like we fabricated the "coalition" in 1990. The mainstream media in America are accomplices in this great crime against humanity, and there is a lot of blood on their hands. Making letters like mine public would help turn things around. The choice is yours.

A few months later the war drums and propaganda were reaching a fevered pitch. We were on the brink of bombing Iraq, and I was compelled once again to write a letter to The Seattle Times. That one was a little more forceful. For that letter The Seattle Times called me at home before running it, I suppose so if I got lynched they could say they confirmed it was Wade Frazier who wrote it. It was written on February 2, 1998 and run in the February 8th edition of The Seattle Times. Here it is.

Once again in America the drum beat has begun. It looks like we are going to unleash more death and destruction onto the people of Iraq. Once again, the pertinent questions are not being asked. One pertinent question would be, "What has Iraq ever done to us?" The answer is, "Nothing, except resist our attacks."

It is indeed ironic that the only nation to ever unleash weapons of mass destruction on another is the United States. It is also very illuminating to see that there are but two nations getting ready to bomb Iraq: the former and current masters of the world.

In another irony, during the seven-year saga between the United States and Iraq (allies until the day Iraq invaded Kuwait), the only mass destruction that has taken place has been to the nation and people of Iraq. The United States, through economic warfare following on the heels of an unprecedented bombardment, has killed over one million Iraqi citizens, most of them children under the age of five (800,000 and counting). That situation, which should assail the conscience of every American, still is barely being mentioned in the nation's media, amidst all the saber-rattling.

One of the greatest ironies of all is that back in April of 1990, when Saddam Hussein was still our ally, he made an offer to the United States that he would destroy his chemical and non-conventional weapons if Israel would also destroy theirs. And in another surreal twist, much if not most of the material that Iraq has for making "weapons of mass destruction" were purchased from the United States and Europe. Hussein's offer and the United States' response was reported in the Boston Globe on April 14, 1990 and by other publications around the world. The reaction of United States government was interesting. We said that we would not be willing to enter into negotiations on that issue. Our politicians cleverly avoided mentioning Israel's nuclear arsenal as they rejected Hussein's offer. The Israeli arsenal (hundreds of nuclear bombs) is not that controversial an issue, as far as its existence goes, as Israel kidnapped and imprisoned one of their citizens for divulging its existence (The celebrated Vanunu case, and he is still in prison after a decade.). But the United States cannot officially acknowledge Israel's nuclear arsenal, because to acknowledge that Israel has secretly built a nuclear arsenal would make all of our aid to Israel (billions of dollars a year) illegal, according to our own Foreign Aid Act.

The hypocrisy of the situation is evident to anybody who knows what is going on. The United States will go to the lengths of killing millions of people to prevent an ex-ally from being able to use what we sold him. But, if a nation finds itself in the fortunate position of being one of our allies, we will go out of our way to ignore their weapons of mass destruction.

Amazingly, the American people are generally ignorant of the points I have made in this letter. People who live outside of this country are not so disinformed. What this country has done to the children of Iraq over the past seven years is terrifying and hard to forgive. The current global Imperial menace is engendering a lot of fear and hatred, particularly in the Arab countries. The ex-Soviet Union apparently cannot account for about 100 suitcase nuclear bombs. If one of those goes off one sunny day in Washington D.C., for instance, it will be no great surprise.

What Bill Clinton may have done with a woman who worked in the White House is an incredibly minor situation. But, unfortunately, the American media and people find what Bill Clinton may have done in a closet far more fascinating than the blood which is on the hands of all Americans today, the blood of children whose crime it was to be born in Iraq.

I was three-for-three in getting my letters published. I was shocked that they ran that one, if for no other reason than at over 600 words it was over twice as long as their recommended 300-word limit. The paper actually called me the day after they ran it, giving me the phone number of a man who wanted to talk to me. I called him. He was almost 80 years old, and called to congratulate me for my bold and righteous views, and said he was "flabbergasted" the paper would run a letter like mine, and that he had written letters for many years to the paper and never had one published. The Seattle Times won some points in my book. Forty years ago I may have been beaten up (at the least) for publishing a letter like that. Ten years ago I doubt that any mainstream American paper would have published that letter. The social awakening that began to the 1960s has made this country a better one in many ways. But the struggle is far from over. I sent that letter to ex-CIA operative Ralph McGehee, who gets coverage elsewhere on this web site. He said he was "amazed" that any American mainstream newspaper would run a letter like that. He said a letter like mine would never see print in newspapers like the New York Times or the Washington Post. Ralph would know.

Thankfully there are enough people in America these days not enslaved to our indoctrination systems, and are beginning to feel something very awry with our foreign policy, particularly regarding Iraq. In February 1998 the federal government staged a "town meeting" at Ohio State University to air their rationale for their proposed bombing of Iraq. The public was invited, though the meeting was more for show, to fabricate a fig leaf of public consent for the bombing. Our government reckoned incorrectly. Students protested noisily, and even the "mature and responsible" citizens who were allowed to approach the microphone were anything but enthusiastic about bombing Iraq again. Their questions, even more then the rabble-rouser's protests, took the politicians by surprise. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was virtually stuttering in the face of the tough questions her team was being asked. The staged meeting became a public relations disaster for the United States government. At the 11th hour we backed down from bombing Iraq.

I was cautiously optimistic, but I doubted our government officials became good boys and girls overnight. Iraqi children were still dying by the thousands, our government would look for another opportunity to bomb Iraq, and they had learned their lesson. The next time they moved to bomb Iraq, even the appearance of a democratic consensus being achieved with the public would not be risked. Our government will likely stage no more "town meetings" before they bomb somebody. The latest bombing of Iraq validated that opinion of mine. That one had virtually no warning. This past fall the propaganda machine revved up once again. For the fourth time I wrote a letter to the editor regarding Iraq. That one broke my streak and they didn't publish it. Getting published the first three times I tried to was encouraging regarding getting my book published. At least my work was apparently interesting enough to read. But I admit I was weary of writing in hopes of helping to avert the violence.

The motivation for writing letters to the editor should not necessarily be to get published, but to let the newspaper know how many people out there feel that way, and perhaps they will run one of those letters. If the people truly stand up, I think they will be counted. But the system is rigged against people participating in it, which is a subject for my book. Noam Chomsky has written about how the system works for many years in many books. In nearly every society there are an elite few at the top of the food chain, and they generally view those below them as beings to be used for their own ends. And the West immediately attacks any nation that attempts to form an egalitarian society, as we think we own the world. Ralph McGehee said it quite clearly in the conclusion of his Deadly Deceits.(22) Egalitarianism is incompatible with elitism, and United States leads the field in destroying egalitarian movements worldwide. That attitude is what led William Blum to title his book about our foreign military and CIA adventures Killing Hope.

The fourth letter I wrote about Iraq is below, written on November 12, 1998. You can tell my patience was wearing thin, and I was getting more strident. It is a far cry from my "love the enemy" letter of 1991. They predictably did not run that one. I was going just a little too far.

Apparently the U.S. government won't be denied its fervent desire to bomb Iraq again. What the U.S. has done to Iraq's children over the past several years will become one of history's great evil acts. Watching the deadly spectacle of starving out an enemy over several years has made me ashamed to be an American. With all the false rhetoric about weapons of mass destruction, maybe it is about time to let a little honesty slip into the discussion.

We are the world's masters of mass destruction, with the world's largest store of devastating weapons by far, and we are the only nation to use them on another. Our great ally Israel has about 100 nuclear missiles aimed at the biggest Arab cities, and has done so for many years. Our government won't even mention that situation because not only would it make our aid to Israel illegal, it would make us look like the world's biggest hypocrites.

Our bludgeoning of Iraq has nothing to do with freedom, making the world safer, or any of those noble ideals. It has everything to do with our hegemony in the region, assuring ourselves of a steady and cheap supply of oil, with nobody over there changing the rules of our game. It is a might-makes-right world, and always has been. We are merely the latest winners of the game, and our vast wealth and power allows us to rain more death and destruction onto a devastated nation. In every instance I know of, our foreign military adventures have primarily served our interests. That's why we do it. We aren't the guys in the white hats. Our diplomats must study Machiavelli's The Prince each night.

So let's sneak in a little honesty here: we are about to bomb Iraq once again because we have the power to, and the world had better not forget it. As the world watches with horror at how greatly we can make a disobedient ex-ally suffer, with a death toll rising into the millions, they had better pray they never get on our black list.

At least the paper ran letters like mine, if not so forceful. I have noticed that the coverage of the latest bombing attacks is a far different affair than it was in 1991, or even the saber rattling in the winter of 1997-1998. But what happened in December literally made me sick. They impeached Clinton for the wrong crime. And this time nearly the entire world was against us. Clinton, with a straight face, told the American people that the bombs we were dropping in Iraq as he spoke were dropped to protect Iraq's neighbors. That would be a wonderful joke if it weren't so tragic. Not one of Iraq's "threatened" neighbors voiced approval of the bombing. They all said to stop bombing Iraq. Even nations that supposedly hated Saddam Hussein, like Syria and Iran, protested what the United States and Great Britain were doing. They know that a devastated nation of starving people poses no threat to them, and the writing on the wall is obvious: if they displeased the United States they could end up just like Iraq. We couldn't even get Israel to support our bombing of Iraq.

And for anybody who has eyes and a brain, our hypocrisy regarding the United Nations is laid bare. If we can manipulate the United Nations to vote our way, we present their vote as the authorization for our actions, speaking fair words about the need to obey international law and the voice of United Nations. When the U.N. doesn't vote the way we like, we give them the finger, doing as we please. The fact that we outraged two of the five members of the U.N. Security Council, China and Russia, while France looked for a place to hide, is nearly incontestable proof of what kind of country we are. The whole world sees that our actions in Iraq benefited nobody but us. But we are the masters of the world, and nobody will dare stand up to us. These days some activists are saying that dropping a nuclear bomb once a year on Iraq would be more humane than the slow starvation and strangulation of its population. Their arguments are not easily dismissed.

The night of our surprise bombing of Iraq on December 16th was not a happy one for me. I decided against writing another letter to the editor, and wrote the piece below. I was up until about 3:00 AM writing it. I titled it "In the Service of Empire." Here it is.

This evening I watched the reactions of average Americans to our latest bombing campaign in Iraq. The news shows I watched interviewed people in bars and on the street, and the only reactions aired were Americans nearly shaking their fists into the air with approval, saying that the United States should have bombed Iraq long ago. But it wasn't Iraq that they talked about, it was Saddam Hussein. Even Bill Clinton's speech to the nation today spoke in terms of Saddam more than Iraq. We aren't bombing Hussein, but the citizens of Iraq. In the last eight years over a million people have died due to the American bombing of Iraq, our subsequent economic warfare, and Saddam Hussein's callous disregard for the welfare of his people. I would say the blood is on our hands roughly equally, but nobody would have died if it weren't for our actions

Our media and government present the situation as if it is our unalienable right to bomb another nation. There is speculation by Republican legislators that the timing of this bombing has to do with deflecting the nation's attention from the looming impeachment vote on Bill Clinton. But nobody in power is questioning our righteousness in bombing Iraq, except for some of our allies. France, China and Russia, on the United Nations Security Council, are voicing their protest, making this action unilateral on the behalf of the U.S. and Great Britain.

What is most disturbing, as this saga has been unfolding over the last eight years, is how justified Americans feel in invading and bombing any nation they wish. In recent months we bombed Afghanistan and Sudan. We invaded Panama in 1989 without a shred of legal standing to justify our invasion. We respect no nation's sovereignty but our own. We carried on a proxy war against Nicaragua for years to overthrow a popular revolution, and our undertaking was condemned by the World Court. We propped up the terror state of El Salvador for many years as they slaughtered their population. We have been carrying on economic warfare against Cuba for almost forty years. It is painfully clear that any nation not populated by white people is fair game. What is nearly incredible to me is that most Americans apparently feel justified in all these invasions and bombings. The only rationale for these behaviors is the philosophy that might makes right. We invade and bomb other nations at will because we are the world's most powerful nation, and nobody will stand up to us.

The rhetoric our politicians and media always serve up is that there is some honorable cause behind our violent actions. I have yet to see one instance of that clearly being the case, going back to the founding of our nation. Arguments can be made for the World Wars, as the white people fought over who would control the world, yet we came out on top. I do not know of one instance in the last fifty years where our mass murders have been justified by any notion of noble intention. We have invaded or overthrown or manipulated about fifty nations since World War II. And every single time it was really being done in the name of empire and greed. There has never been a global gangster like the United States. The United States has always been more of an empire than a nation.

Greedy, murderous people, sometimes called our Founding Fathers, carved out the borders of our nation. George Washington, the richest man in America when he became president, getting rich by stealing land from the natives, presented a plan in 1782 to swindle the natives out of their land by forcing them to sign treaties the United States would never honor. Washington proposed a plan of deception and low-intensity violence as the cheapest way of wresting the land from the natives. The U.S. government swiftly adopted Washington's plan, and the natives of what is now the United States were robbed of nearly all their land.(23) Relocation, extermination and concentration camps (euphemistically called reservations) accompanied the hundreds of fraudulent treaties that were forced on the natives. The other epic Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and a slave owner like Washington, had a philosophy almost identical to Washington's greedy ambition. Jefferson wrote to a future president, William Henry Harrison (who based his political career on fighting the natives), that removing the Indians from their land should be done using business methods. Jefferson wrote that the best way to do it would be to run the Indians into debt at the trading posts and settle the bill by having them cede their lands.(24) Jefferson wrote that any native who resisted the United States' imperial ambitions for their land should be met with "the hatchet", and their choice was to be "extirpate(d) from the earth" or get out of the way. Hitler couldn't have said it any better. The machinations of Jefferson and Washington came after nearly two centuries of genocide of the natives where the thirteen colonies were.

Natives or other European nations having claims to the land would not thwart the imperial ambitions of America. After "buying" the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon (too bad the natives who lived in those lands were not consulted), Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark on a reconnoitering mission across the continent in 1803, to see what rich lands might be further exploited, and to further sketch the ultimate reach of empire. Following in the wake of Lewis and Clark was the vanguard of invasion, like trappers and traders. When gold was eventually found in the Western lands, waves of Americans looking for free land and gold swarmed westward. The natives west of the Mississippi were annihilated in about fifty years, as the empire grew. American immigrants seized Texas from Mexico in 1836, adding it to the American Empire in 1846. Also in 1846 President James K. Polk sent General Zachary Taylor and his army into Mexico to provoke Mexico into fighting them, and the U.S. quickly started a war in 1846 that stole the American Southwest from Mexico in one prodigious land grab. Those imperial ambitions were given a quaint name, Manifest Destiny, as if God was sanctioning the bloody and greedy expansion of the American Empire. Taylor, whose military career was built by killing natives in battle, was so successful at stealing half of today's Western United States that he became president in 1848.

When the slave-owning states tried breaking away from the empire, they were forcibly brought back into the fold by the Civil War.(25) American imperial ambition knew no bounds, and extended to manufacturing a war with Spain to seize Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines in 1898. The U.S. made grand speeches that their seizure of Cuba had no imperial ambition behind it, a sentiment anybody can judge by looking at our posture toward a truly independent Cuba today: our politicians can barely restrain themselves from calling for an invasion of Cuba, and we have been waging economic warfare against them for almost forty years. And their speeches regarding Cuba were further belied by the fact that the United States stole Hawaii from the Hawaiians in 1893.

There is nothing in U.S. history that suggests that the U.S. was doing anything other than expanding a new kind of empire. With the official boundaries of the empire complete by 1900, the next fifty years saw two World Wars as the powers that came late to the empire game, namely Germany and Japan, wanted their own empire, but the other European powers and the U.S. already "owned" the whole world. After World War II the U.S. found itself in the position of being the only truly global power in the history of the world, unseating its parent and rival, Great Britain. With half of the world's wealth and two-thirds of its industrial capacity, the U.S. was in an unprecedented position of global hegemony.

Declassified internal federal documents of the post-war years have given us a look into the intentions of the men who ran the U.S. government. The post-war U.S. planners were quite frank while discussing secretly among themselves how to guide foreign policy. Documents like National Security Council Memorandum 68, written in 1950 by Paul Nitze (who would later be a member of the Reagan Administration), were quite open about U.S. foreign policy. NSC-68 was a right wing document, written for the Secretary of State, which was candid about turning America into a police state in order to marshal the forces to overthrow the Soviet Union. Those were the same years the United States was hiring the Nazis to act as our spies, funding Nazi-related armies to foment discord in the Soviet Union, and the wonder years of the McCarthy Hearings and the executions of the Rosenbergs for a crime they likely did not commit.(26)

The famous diplomat George Kennan authored Planning Policy Study 23 in 1948 for the State Department, where he admitted that we were the world's richest country by far, and our foreign policy goal should be to maintain that position of disparity with the world. Kennan wrote that the way to do that would be to dispense with the unrealistic goals of "human rights, the raising of living standards and democratization. The day is not far off when we're going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better." I have seen nothing that has happened in the last fifty years to hint that the U.S. foreign policy has ever been guided by any other principles.

Once in awhile even American soldiers figure out what they are really fighting for, and it's virtually never for freedom. One of America's most respected military leaders, Major-General Smedley Butler, after running the U.S. Marines for generation, finally figured it out. In an interview with Money magazine, published in December 1951, Smedley assessed his career.

"There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its 'finger men' to point out enemies, its 'muscle men' to destroy enemies, its 'brain guys' to plan war preparations, and a 'Big Boss,' Supra-nationalistic Capitalism.

"It may seem odd for me a military man, to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to do so. I spent thirty-five years and four months in active service as a member of our country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks, from second lieutenant to Major General. During that period I spent most of my life being a high class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short I was a racketeer - a gangster for Capitalism.

"I suspected I was just part of the racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the Service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation, while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military.

"Thus I helped to make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped to make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1909 to 1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China in 1927 I helped Standard Oil.

"During those years I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, and promotion. Looking back on it, I feel that I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate in three city districts. I operated on three continents."

Butler eventually wrote a book titled War is a Racket. Butler was one of the most decorated soldiers in U.S. history. His military career ended in the 1930's, long before we began justifying our international depredations as a reaction to the Soviet Union's ambitions. Since World War II America's military gangsterism has only gotten worse, as we have few rivals. We are truly a global power. Also the United States is far more sophisticated than it used to be. After World War II the United States formed spy agencies like the CIA and National Security Agency to use cloak and dagger strategies to stay number one. Instead of boldly marching in the soldiers and overthrowing governments like Butler regularly did when he ran the Marines, organizations like the CIA have specialized in trying to hide the hand of the United States

One way to hide our hand is by hiring proxies to do the dirty work, attempting to create the appearance of a legitimate revolution in the nations our government plunders. The Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba was one of numerous instances of American proxy armies acting on our behalf. The Contras in Nicaragua were another band of mercenaries that we hired, and Ronald Reagan had the gall to call them "freedom fighters." The list of democratically supported/elected governments overthrown/destabilized by the United States since 1945 is quite long, beginning as the dust was still settling in Europe after World War II, like what we did in Italy and Greece. The U.S. even used Japanese troops in China in 1945 to try suppressing the Communist revolution just getting underway. The list of legitimate governments we overthrew in order to install bloody dictators since 1945 is long and grim, and a few of the countries we raped that way were: Iran, 1953; Guatemala, 1954, Indonesia, 1965; Vietnam, 1950s and 1960s; Brazil, 1964; Ghana, 1966; Chile, 1973, and the list goes on and on.(27) Once again, sending in the Marines is usually the tactic of last resort, when the more clandestine methods fail to produce the desired result. We boldly invaded Vietnam in the 1960s, Grenada in 1984, Panama in 1989, and we bombed the smithereens out of Iraq in 1991. We conducted a secret war in Cambodia, a very questionable war in Korea, and have even destabilized governments in nations like Australia when their leaders didn't prove servile enough. All in all, the United States has in one way or another bludgeoned about fifty nations since World War II, as it makes sure global capitalism and American supremacy stays unchallenged.

No longer is it outright colonialism, where the Queen of England would officially rule over far-flung realms. Today it is corporate colonialism, where the people still don't get to eat the food they grow, but the food, oil and other resources go to the industrialized world, and the people of the subjugated nations suffer greatly. The last time I looked, of the poorest forty nations in the world, thirty-six exported food to the United States.(28) The mechanisms of oppression differ from the good old colonial days. Today institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund keep the game rigged against the working people of the world, particularly in what we used to call the "Third World." Structural Adjustment Programs and other policies make sure the people can barely eat as they make shoes for Americans in Indonesia, or toys for American children in Southeast Asia. International treaties like NAFTA and GATT (and the failing MAI) are designed to make the world safe for corporate profits at the expense of the workers and environment. Their dire state is the result of centuries of exploitation by Europe and its political descendents like the United States.

What is going on in Iraq as I write this is merely more of the same. It is no accident that the United States had its Persian Gulf "war" soon after the Soviet Empire collapsed. The only power that could stay our hand in the Middle East was gone, and we were able to march a tremendous army into the Middle East and engage in the biggest bombing of all time, using Iraq as a testing ground for new weapons. We specifically targeted the infrastructure of Iraq when we bombed them. We targeted their electric, transportation, water and sewer systems. What we did to Iraq had no rationale related to "expelling" them from Kuwait. Even the British press said that our bombing amounted to "biological warfare." During our turkey shoot in Iraq in 1991, our troops committed many acts that by the standards of Nuremberg and the Geneva Convention qualified as war crimes. By the Nuremberg standards that we imposed on the Nazi hierarchy in 1945, George Bush should have gone to the gallows instead of an all-time public approval rating. Ex-Attorney General Ramsey Clark has been futilely trying to get the United States prosecuted for war crimes for several years now because of what they did to Iraq.(29) Winners never have to face war crimes trials: only losers do.

In the wake of the unprecedented bombing of Iraq in 1991, the United States has engaged in economical warfare against Iraq, this time using the United Nations as its proxy. Without the United States bending arms and exerting great pressure, there would be no economic embargo against Iraq today. But the embargo is standard American foreign policy. We have always done it to any nation that has dared to stand up to us. We have economically embargoed Cuba for almost forty years. After our failed invasion of Vietnam our government embargoed the area for a generation, even going to the extreme of trying to prevent international aid groups like Oxfam and Mennonites from helping those countries. Our diplomats could have taught Machiavelli and the Marquis de Sade a thing or two.

The economic embargo against Iraq, though, has been unprecedented in its severity. Iraq was an industrialized nation before 1991. The life expectancy of an Iraqi citizen was literally higher than that of a United States citizen in 1990 (according to UN data). The destruction of Iraq's infrastructure, and the continuing economical warfare that the United States is practicing against Iraq, is one of the greatest crimes against humanity perpetrated in this half of the century. Over one million Iraqi citizens have died as the result of the situation, and most of them have been children under the age of five. In 1995 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report on the state of Iraq's health and food supply. The report is grim reading. Starvation conditions like kwashiorkor and marasmus, once the province of desperate places like Ethiopia and Sudan, are now common in Iraq. The United States has been turning Iraq into one large death camp. Iraq used to purchase 70% of its food from abroad. The sanctions stopped that. In the wake of enough Americans and others making noise about this inhumane behavior on the part of the United States, an oil-for-food program was initiated. It has helped, but not nearly enough. The Iraqi hospitals are full of suffering people, and items we take for granted in the West, like antibiotics, painkiller and other medicines, have been denied the people of Iraq. And of course our national media, performing its brainwashing and propaganda duties, has generally kept this information from the American people.

This situation of Americans having little idea about what is going on is not a new phenomenon. During the 1970s, when one of our favorite dictators, Suharto of Indonesia, invaded East Timor using American arms, the American media was totally silent on what our ally was doing. The invasion of East Timor and subsequent occupation (which had no legal justification whatsoever - it was naked aggression at its finest) killed off between 28% and 44% of its population. It is perhaps the greatest proportional genocide in this century, greater than even what the Jews experienced in World War II. And few Americans have ever even heard of East Timor. That is a horrifying example of your tax dollars at work. And as the dust settled and the screams faded to silence in East Timor, the Western oil companies moved in to find more cheap oil reserves in the Timor Gap, with upstanding nations like Australia fighting over the spoils.

So here we are, bombing Iraq once again, because Saddam Hussein hasn't allowed arms inspectors into every nook and cranny in the country. In one of the many hypocritical ironies of the situation, the United States probably has more weapons of mass destruction than the rest of the world put together. And in another great irony that the American people still are rarely told about, back in April of 1990 when Saddam Hussein was still our ally, he made an offer to the United States.(30) He offered to get rid of his "weapons of mass destruction", mainly purchased from "civilized" nations like West Germany and the United States, if Israel would also get rid of theirs. Our government made an interesting response. We said we would not enter into negotiations on that issue. Our politicians cleverly avoided using Israel's name when rejecting Iraq's offer. The reason they did that was because Israel's nuclear arsenal (about 80 nuclear missiles aimed at all the Arab major cities and targets, and other bombs) is an open secret. Anybody who is informed about the world scene knows about their nuclear arsenal. They developed their arsenal in secret. If our government acknowledged that Israel had secretly built a nuclear arsenal, our own Foreign Aid Acts would make all of our billions of dollars a year in aid to Israel illegal. So like the saints we are, we go out of our way to overlook Israel's nuclear arsenal, while we are today bombing a devastated nation because they will not let us look into every corner for weapons far less devastating than what Israel is aiming at them as I write this.

What our military is doing this evening is not making the world a safer place. The people of Iraq will suffer only more. In recent months their infrastructure has teetered on the verge of collapse. Over a third of the water that comes out of Iraq's faucets is unfit to drink. The death toll of the Iraqi citizens, particularly the children, has been quietly (at least to Americans) mounting since 1991. The consequences of what we have done to Iraq are no surprise to anybody who is informed. The people of the Arab nations accurately view what the United States is doing to the Iraqi people as an act of great cruelty.

Let there be no misunderstanding here, Saddam Hussein is no friend of his people. Dictators never are. But that is not why we are bludgeoning Iraq. We love dictators, as long as they are obedient to us. Nearly all of the bloodiest dictators of the last half of the 20th-century have the United States to thank for coming to power. It is only when they step out of line or get too independent, like Noriega and Hussein, that they have to go. As long as dictators like Suharto are obedient to U.S. interests, they can invade their neighbors and put the entire population to the sword, and we will give them the arms to do it, carefully hiding those facts from the people financing the bloodshed.

What the United States wants to do is remove Hussein from power and install a friendly dictatorship, one that will let us have all the oil we want for a cheap price. Watch how events unfold from here, and see if that is an incorrect assessment. Look at what happened in 1991: we reinstalled a dictatorship in Kuwait. There have been some minor democratic improvements in Kuwait in the past few years, but in the years after we "liberated" Kuwait, a military dictatorship was reinstalled in Kuwait, where dozens of people simply disappeared and the prisons were well stocked with political prisoners. People died in the custody of the Kuwaiti government, tortured to death, with stuff like their ears and noses being cut off. Amnesty International has published a report on what kind of things have happened in Kuwait since we "liberated" them. Our foreign policy has never had anything to do with exporting democracy and freedom. We are merely playing the modern colonial game, and we export death, mayhem and exploitation, just like our European ancestors and cousins did when they conquered the world. The situation is crystal clear to anybody not brainwashed by our indoctrination systems.

With all the blood on our hands, is there any end in sight? Not if our politicians and corporations keep running the show. They have no desire to make this world a better place. Their game is amassing as much wealth and power to themselves as they can. And it is particularly disheartening to watch Americans on TV cheering what is going on.

Violence always leads to more violence. If there is any lesson of history more clear than that one, I don't know what it is. With all the incredibly deadly weaponry that we have been selling around the world, and as other nations have developed their own nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and who knows what else, we may be nearing the brink of World War III. It won't be pretty. It takes no great stretch of the imagination to envision a situation where very irate and fanatical Arabs or other oppressed groups sneak in a nuclear, biological or chemical weapon into the United States, setting it off in Washington D.C. or Manhattan. And the more we bludgeon countries like Iraq, the more likely it is that that day will come.

There are some big lessons ahead that humanity has yet to learn. I pray that we learn them before we destroy ourselves.

That piece met with very favorable response. In fact the response was so favorable that it got published in a few places and sent far and wide. And in a way it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I hadn't had a web page up for a couple of years, and wasn't planning on going public until my book was published. But my writings have been getting published around the Internet in various places, and I am getting more requests for my work. So I decided to start another web page, putting my latest writings under one roof. This Iraq piece is the first part of that project. I hope this piece was informative.


(1) For a good summary of how the U.S. bribed and blackmailed its way to forming the coalition, see Phyllis Bennis' "Bush's Tool and Victim", Covert Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, pp. 26-30.

(2) See David Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace, particularly pp. 449-454. See also William Blum's Killing Hope, p. 321.

(3) The tale of Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators and leaving them to die was given in heart-wrenching testimony in a Congressional hearing by a young woman who said she saw it. That "atrocity" was later exposed as a complete fabrication, given by the Kuwait ambassador's daughter (her true identity wasn't given to the public when she testified), her performance coached along by an American public relations firm, Hill and Knowlton, the firm Kuwait hired to "manage" the perception of Kuwait's situation. See Stauber and Rampton, Toxic Sludge is Good for You!, pp. 172-174. See also Jeffords and Rabinovitz, Seeing Through the Media, pp. 12-13. Regarding the phantom Saudi threat, it is dealt with later in this piece.

(4) A good summary of what we did to Iran to keep the oil companies in the chips is found in William Blum's Killing Hope, pp. 64-72. For an inside look at what the Iranians found in the CIA vault at the American embassy, and how it further enraged them, see Philip Agee's On the Run, pp. 313-318 and elsewhere in the book. Agee proposed a files-for-hostages resolution to the Iran hostage crisis. Agee thought if the CIA gave the Iranian revolutionaries the CIA files, it would tell the truth about how the CIA was behind the terror-state the Shah presided over, and the Iranian people would know the truth, and the world would know the real story, and maybe there could be a healing for both nations. Needless to say, the U.S. would rather ship the Iranians weapons to use on their neighbors than give them the truth, as it demonstrated with its "October Surprise" deal (that the U.S. media and government still goes out of its way to deny, though investigators like Danny Casolaro and Paul Wilcher suddenly "committed suicide" as they were about the bring the issue into public awareness) and the Iran-Contra scandal.

(5) Quoted in Ray, Ellen. "The Killing Deserts", Lies of Our Times, April 1991, p. 3. Also see Rogers, Paul. "The Myth of the Clean War", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, pp. 26-30.

(6) See Rogers, Paul. "The Myth of the Clean War", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, pp. 26-30.

(7) Vartabedian, Ralph. "Ordnance: High Tech's Gory Side." Los Angeles Times, February 24, 1991. Quoted in Ray, Ellen. "The Killing Deserts", Lies of Our Times, April 1991, p. 4.

(8) The bomb shelter, milk factory and similar incidents are covered in Lies of Our Times, March 1991, pp. 3-7.

(9) Washington Post, February 27, 1991. Quoted in Ray, Ellen. "The Killing Deserts", Lies of Our Times, April 1991, p. 3. Also see Rogers, Paul. "The Myth of the Clean War", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, pp. 26-30. The Rockeye is an antipersonnel bomb that can carpet an acre with about 500,000 high-velocity shrapnel fragments.

(10) The charges by Ramsey Clark, the tribunal judgment and the ongoing effort by his organization to stop what he calls "genocide" in Iraq is readily available on the Internet at the time of this writing.

(11) See Rosenfeld, Nancy. "Buried Alive", Lies of Our Times, October 1991, pp. 12-13.

(12) For the songbook quote, Stannard's words and those clever messages, see American Holocaust, p. 253. For a tame message to the Iraqis, the cover of Lies of Our Times in the November 1990 issue features an American soldier on an M-1 tank, and the tank's gun barrel is adorned with the professional looking label "Baghdad Express", with a smiling soldier sitting on the barrel penning more artwork onto it.

(13) William Blum. Killing Hope, p. 337.

(14) See Stannard, American Holocaust, pp. 253-254.

(15) See Hunter, Jane. "Sowing Disorder, Reaping Disaster", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, p. 25

(16) Those Project Censored stories can be obtained today in 20 Years of Project Censored News, by Carl Jensen and Project Censored. For an excellent summary of Bush's constantly changing rationale for the Gulf War that he was about to wage and the Gulf War in general, see William Blum's Killing Hope, pp. 320-338.

(17) Those situations are amply documented by Amnesty International reports, readily available on the Internet. In Arabia the women are only executed with the firing squad, being spared decapitation.

(18) The leading historian on the decision to use the atomic bombs on Japan is Gar Alperovitz, and his The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb virtually destroys any notion of noble intentions regarding our bombing of Japan. Read pages 458 to 471 in particular.

(19) That meeting with Glaspie is well known to have happened. The Iraqis produced the transcript of that meeting, and it is arguable that the United States knowingly lured Iraq into invading Kuwait. The text of that meeting, whose authenticity has never been effectively disputed by the U.S. government, can be found in sources like The Gulf War Reader (Cifry and Serf, eds.). See discussion of the possible conspiracy by America in Blum, Killing Hope, pp. 322-325.

(20) Some critics might take my terminology to task and say it was an "allied" bombing. Great Britain, whose neocolonial interests in the region were well served by the Gulf War, was the other "big" bomber with the U.S. By one count, the British dropped about 3,000 tons of bombs in the Gulf War, the United States dropped 88,500 tons. See Rogers, Paul. "The Myth of the Clean War", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, p. 28. I have seen varying tallies of the bombing tonnage, but the U.S. was always responsible for the vast majority of the bombing. Calling it the "U.S. bombing" is not misstating the facts by much, and in spirit is correct. It wasn't much of a coalition. It was lead by the current and former masters of the world (as it was in our recent bombing of Iraq again, when we acted alone against world opinion), with various bribed and blackmailed parties giving token support to the effort, like mercenaries.

(21) According to the United Nations' 1995 Demographic Notebook, table 22, in 1990 life expectancy at birth in Iraq was 77.43 yeas for men and 78.22 for women. In the United States in 1993 it was 72.20 years for men and 78.80 for women, making the average Iraqi life expectancy significantly higher than the United States' (more than two years). Since the Gulf War I have not found any reliable Iraqi statistics (and there may not be any), but with the skyrocketing children's death rate, I'll bet the life expectancy at birth is now significantly lower than the United States'.

(22) McGehee began his book's conclusion with: "The CIA is not now nor has it ever been a central intelligence agency. It is the covert action arm of the President's foreign policy advisers. In that capacity it overthrows or supports foreign governments while reporting "intelligence" justifying those activities (McGehee says he has never once seen a CIA official tell the truth to Congress. Instead comes a steady stream of lies.). It shapes its intelligence, even in such critical areas as Soviet nuclear weapon capability, to support presidential policy. Disinformation is a large part of its covert action responsibility, and the American people are the primary target of its lies. As noted in the Church Committee's final report, the Agency's task is to develop an international anti-Communist ideology. The CIA then links every egalitarian (which means "all men are created equal" - ed.) political movement to the scourge of international communism. This then prepares the American people and many in the world community for the second stage, the destruction of those movements. For egalitarianism is the enemy and it must not be allowed to exist."

(23) See a discussion of Washington's plan, called nothing less than "criminal" and a "conspiracy" by its author, in Allan Eckert's That Dark and Bloody River, pp. 439-442.

(24) See discussion of Jefferson's Indian policy in Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage, pp. 346-350.

(25) This might seem a radical notion to some. There is still lively controversy over just what the Civil War was fought for. Slavery was certainly an issue, and to a degree it was a moral one. But America was not exactly in the moral lead among the "civilized" nations on that issue, being one of the last "civilized" nations to abolish it, among the last to recognize Haiti's government, and other issues. Many Southerners feel the war was an imperial one, and books like The South was Right! (Kennedy and Kennedy) make that case, though I feel their logic is a little strained, like making the case that the blacks liked being slaves. There are conspiracy theories that have Lincoln saving the Union by keeping a united nation, as Europe fomented the war and wanted to divide, conquer and recolonize America. In looking at history and the rise and fall of empires, to me it is fairly clear that holding the empire together was the underlying reason, whatever external pressures there might have been. Even though the United States had an elected emperor, it was and is an empire nevertheless, and no empire easily gives up its lands. I believe the imperial analysis of the Civil War holds the most water, but not exclusive of other factors, like abolition.

(26) Christopher Simpson's Blowback gives an overview of that situation with the Nazis and America. Noam Chomsky's What Uncle Sam Really Wants gives a brief overview of American Foreign policy since 1945, with many references to find out much more. Secret Agents, edited by Garber and Walkowitz lays out the Rosenberg Affair, which today looks like judicial murder by the United States.

(27) The best single summary of these situations is found in William Blum's Killing Hope.

(28) To get familiar with that situation, if you aren't already, read publications from Oxfam, one of the premier relief organizations in the world. Many papers of theirs are available on the Internet.

(29) Clark actually prosecuted his complaint at the International War Crimes Tribunal, and in 1992 and the Tribunal ruled the United States had in fact committed the war crimes Clark charged them with. Unfortunately such a tribunal does not have any teeth that can bring the American officials convicted to any sort of accounting. The ruling has gone ignored by the United States.

(30) That offer was reported in the world media on April 13 and 14, 1990, places like the Boston Globe, Reuters and the London Financial Times on April 18th.


Top of Page Contact Mission Islam Discussion Board Recommended Links