Ruinous and deadly wars throughout history should have given people everywhere down through the ages cause and pause for thinking about what has happened and why it has happened. While many people presumably have and continue to do just that, what they know and understand is usually controlled by their nation’s power elite. That is never more the case than in America from its beginning and continuing. The power elite (aka the ruling class) in the “Devil’s Marriage” between Corporate America and Government America that make up America’s corpocracy essentially control what most Americans know and understand about what the corpocracy has done, is doing, and plans to do next. As if that sort of exploitative wrongdoing were not enough, the power elite’s evildoing is ruining America and the world. America, as the world knows, is the greatest threat to peace.
This article wrenches itself free of America’s corpocracy and gives readers an unvarnished review and examination of America’s wars since the time America “was born in the womb of war.” In one of my books I wrote about America’s “oldest professions,” warring and spying. If they are allowed to continue, one or more forms of doomsday will visit humanity later this century as some experts forecast. To rescue the future, America first needs to rescue itself from its power elite. In my newest book, “911!” I spell out in detail a rescue plan and who need to be the rescuers.
The purpose of this article is straightforward: to make a convincing argument that war is neither unavoidable nor just nor inevitable. I start by “enlisting” (that word is not really meant to have military connotations) the “reinforcement” (ditto the first parenthetical) of luminaries down through the ages and what they have said against war. Following them, I am on my own with the support of my research and analysis to present my argument full blown. I end by giving my explanation for why war happens, why it seems to be inevitable and why it need not be inevitable.
Luminaries Against War Down Through the Ages
It is more rather than less discouraging to know that many notable people down through the ages have voiced their disapproval of and disgust over the habit called war. If the “voices heard” in this section of the article had instead been a roaring cheer for war, this article might never have been written!
Edward Abbey: Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.
Alfred Adler: To all those who walk the path of human cooperation war must appear loathsome and inhuman.
Aeschylus: In war, truth is the first casualty.
Aesop: Any excuse will serve a tyrant.
Anonymous: A great war leaves a country with three armies: an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves.
Issac Asimov: Violence is the first refuge of the incompetent.
Major General Smedley Butler. War is a racket.
Albert Camus: We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives…inside ourselves.
Bennett Cerf: The Atomic Age is here to stay–but are we.
Agatha Christie: One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.
Clarence Darrow: True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.
Bob Dylan: Come you masters of war. You that build all the guns. You that build the death planes. You that build the big bombs. You that hide behind walls. You that hide behind desks. I just want you to know I can see through your masks.
Barbara Ehrenreich: No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell raising remain the true duty of patriots.
Albert Einstein: War is an act of murder.
Abraham Flexner: Probably, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization. We must make our choice; we cannot have both.
Benjamin Franklin: There never was a good war or a bad peace.
Chris Hedges: The failure to dissect the cause of war leaves us open for the next installment.
Herodotus: In peace sons bury fathers, but war violates the order of nature, and fathers bury sons.
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal.
John Lennon: All we are saying is give peace a chance.
Basil O’Connor. The world cannot continue to wage war like physical giants and to seek peace like intellectual pygmies.
Anne O’Hare McCormick: Today the real test of power is not capacity to make war but capacity to prevent it.
Charles Eliot Norton: The voice of protest…is never more needed than when the clamor of fife and drum…is bidding all men…obey in silence the tyrannous word of command.
George Orwell: Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. War is peace.
Harry Patch, Last surviving WWI soldier: War is organized murder, and nothing else.
Alexander Pope: O peace! how many wars were waged in thy name.
Ayn Rand: Do not ever say that the desire to “do good” by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity is good motives.
Jeannette Rankin: You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.
Bertrand Russel: War does not determine who is right, only who is left.
Antoine De Saint-Exupery: War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus.
Butler Shaffer: In this war – as in others – I am less interested in honoring the dead than in preventing the dead.
Bruce Springsteen: Blind faith in your leaders or in anything will get you killed.
President Donald J. Trump: From the first day I entered the political arena, I made it clear that I did not want to fight these endless, senseless wars.
Charles V of France: Name me an emperor who was ever struck by a cannonball.
Howard Zinn: We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children.
Say and think what you will about President Trump, I do not recall any of his predecessors publicly having made similar statements and then tried to back them up with executive orders. Any US president must be very careful in opposing the “deep” state or risk being assassinated. Recall what happened and why to JFK!
About America’s Wars: Unavoidable and Just?
A Critique of its Wars
I answer here these two questions for each of America’s seven overt wars that I discuss. Was it avoidable? Was it just? The first criterion is self-explanatory. The second could be ambiguous without an explanation. The criterion of justness is preferable to that of legality because the foundation of all law is a consideration of what is just and moral behavior. Moral behavior is doing what is right. Immoral behavior is doing what is wrong. Simple as that.
Born in the Womb of War: The American Revolution
The “Founding Fathers” founded nothing. They invaded a land already occupied and slowly began slaughtering the occupants. The invaders were America’s original wrongdoing and evildoing power elite. They mostly descended from England, a belligerent and imperialistic country that endlessly pursued war such as its 100-year war with France.
These original power elite of America were already creatures of habit and heritage and clearly in no mood to kowtow to King George, so they started America’s first war. It was a totally avoidable and unjust war. To be sure, they presented King George a long list of grievances in their Declaration of Independence, but by signing it they had no intention of relying on state craft to seek a nonviolent resolution. Their “olive branch” petition sent later to the King, moreover, was clearly insincere and the King knew it, since he got it after he was sent the Declaration of Independence.
Seeking a settlement with “Mad King George” would not have been as ludicrous as it may seem. His troops, fighting far away on foreign soil would never have prevailed in the long run even if they had won. Instead, they would have eventually dissolved from exhaustion, lack of resources, and sense of futility in the face of continued resistance and civil disobedience from the colonists. The American Revolution was thus a Pyrrhic victory for the revolutionaries, leaving over 25,000 of them dead and as many wounded, and predisposing the new nation to a future of warring as a habitual means to further its own colonizing and global exploitation.
The late historian Howard Zinn made it clear in his writings that President Lincoln provoked the attack on Fort Sumter that launched the Civil War not with the primary purpose of freeing the slaves but to make sure to maintain the ability to expand the nation’s territory and with it, greater markets and resources. Lincoln, in other words, was an early practitioner of imperialism by deadly military means.
The very Lincoln memorialized in the nation’s capital was also a racist as he clearly indicated in a speech he gave in Charleston:
I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races—and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.
Whatever his motives might have been, and whether he spoke with a forked tongue depending on the audience, his decision to start the Civil War was deadly, unnecessary, and morally outrageous. Moreover, he prevented the balkanization of America into two smaller Americas each too small to wreak havoc, ruin and death on the rest of the world at the hands of America’s power elite over the ensuing centuries.
WWI was a result of multiple causes; namely, idiotic revenge over the assassination of the archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo on June 28th, 1914, rivalries among imperialistic nations along with their lust for more international prestige and more global territory, and mediocre leaders who let the war happen, a war that left 10 million soldiers from the involved countries dead.
That Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Germany declared war on the U.S. are two tragic and memorable incidents that undoubtedly lead many people to believe that WWII was unavoidable and just. Not according to Zinn, though, who raised and answered several key questions. Was the U.S. involvement for the rights of nations to independence and self-determination? To save the Jews? Against racism? For democracy? No, not at all based on his review of the evidence. The U.S. involvement in WWII had no such high-minded purposes, and Zinn concluded that WWII proved the no war can be just. Zinn’s research along with many others’ historical accounts of WWII provide clear-cut evidence that FDR deliberately provoked Japan into attacking and knew the attack would prompt Germany into immediately declaring war on the U.S., which they did do.
Appalling, too, is the fact that America’s power elite were profiting from financing and helping to rearm Hitler’s war machine after it was depleted by WWI. What is even more unforgivable is the U.S.’s atomic bombing of two populous cities in Japan, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombings, the first of their kind and the last so far on human beings, were totally unnecessary. Our government knew that Japan was prepared to surrender before the bombings, but our government bombed anyway to scare its newly created enemy, Russia.
Fourteen countries were neutral during WWII. Not the U.S., where war is a racket!
Vietnam War and the Unprecedented Carnage
That the French left Vietnam after 10 futile years of trying to colonize it should have been a clear signal to our government that any attempt to dominate the country would also be doomed to failure. But our power elite, licking their chops over the prospect of securing a gateway into the markets and riches of Southeast Asia, and motivated to stop the spread of Communism, ignored the signal.
It is so ironic and so sad that Ho Chi Min, who deserved to be the beloved leader of a unified Vietnam, emulated America’s Declaration of Independence in writing one for a unified Vietnam, which we did everything atrociously possible to prevent, yet a unified Vietnam nation eventually prevailed.
The U.S. warriors and their cheerleading imperialists went berserk in ravaging Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Here is an absolutely horrifying tally of the losses to innocent countries and their peoples:
“–Seventy-five percent of South Viet Nam was considered a free-fire zone (i.e., genocidal zones).
–Over 6 million Southeast Asians killed (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia).
–Over 64,000 U.S. and Allied soldiers killed.
–Over 1,600 U.S. soldiers, and 300,000 Vietnamese soldiers remain missing.
–Thousands of amputees, paraplegics, blind, deaf, and other maiming created.
–13,000 of 21,000 of Vietnamese villages, or 62 percent, severely damaged or destroyed, mostly by bombing.
–Nearly 950 churches and pagodas destroyed by bombing.
–350 hospitals and 1,500 maternity wards destroyed by bombing.
–Nearly 3,000 high schools and universities destroyed by bombing.
–Over 15,000 bridges destroyed by bombing.
–10 million cubic meters of dikes destroyed by bombing.
–Over 3,700 US fixed-wing aircraft lost.
–36,125,000 US helicopter sorties during the war; over 10,000 helicopters were lost or severely damaged.
–26 million bomb craters created, the majority from B-52s (a B-52 bomb crater could be 20 feet deep, and 40 feet across).
–39 million acres of land in Indochina (or 91 percent of the land area of South Viet Nam) were littered with fragments of bombs and shells, equivalent to 244,000 (160 acre) farms, or an area the size of all New England except Connecticut.
–21 million gallons (80 million liters) of extremely poisonous chemicals (herbicides) were applied in 20,000 chemical spraying missions between 1961 and 1970 in the most intensive use of chemical warfare in human history, with as many as 4.8 million Vietnamese living in nearly 3,200 villages directly sprayed by the chemicals.
–24 percent, or 16,100 square miles, of South Viet Nam was sprayed, an area larger than the states of Connecticut, Vermont, and Rhode Island combined, killing tropical forest, food crops, and inland forests.
–Over 500,000 Vietnamese have died from chronic conditions related to chemical spraying with an estimated 650,000 still suffering from such conditions; 500,000 children have been born with Agent Orange-induced birth defects, now including third generation offspring.
–Nearly 375,000 tons of fire balling napalm was dropped on villages.
–Huge Rome Plows (made in Rome, Georgia), 20-ton earthmoving D7E Caterpillar tractors, fitted with a nearly 2.5-ton curved 11-foot wide attached blade protected by 14 additional tons of armor plate, scraped clean between 700,000 and 750,000 acres (1,200 square miles), an area equivalent to Rhode Island, leaving bare earth, rocks, and smashed trees.
–As many as 36,000,000 total tons of ordinance expended from aerial and naval bombing, artillery, and ground combat firepower. On an average day U.S. artillery expended 10,000 rounds costing $1 million per day; 150,000-300,000 tons of UXO remain scattered around Southeast Asia: 40,000 have been killed in Viet Nam since the end of the war in 1975, nearly 70,000 injured, and 20,000 Laotians have been killed or injured since the end of the war
–7 billion gallons of fuel were consumed by U.S. forces during the war.
–If there was space for all 6,000,000 names of Southeast Asian dead on the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC, it would be over 9 sobering miles long, or nearly 100 times its current 493-foot length.”
This carnage was encouraged by the diabolically evil Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State and National Security Advisor. “Kill anything that moves” he once told General Alexander Haig.
Just think for a moment about the unprecedented carnage of Vietnam caused by the U.S. No nuclear bombs were dropped on that helpless, innocent nation and its neighbors, yet over 6 million Southeast Asians were killed by the bloodthirsty U.S. “Only” about 199 thousand people were killed by the two U.S. atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If justice were to be served instead of being a travesty, any living perpetrators of the Vietnam War would be permanently locked up in solitary confinement.
Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars
Nothing more need be added to this finding: Early in December of 2016 CODEPINK conducted “The People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War.” Two days of testimony and documentation provided indisputable evidence: Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded not to combat terrorism but to gain control of hydrocarbon resources.”
More Questions About War
Would not a war of self-defense unravel the argument that no war is unavoidable or just? No, the best defense against modern warfare initiated against the U.S. is prevention through the U.S. having the right kind of foreign policies in place over time. Unfortunately, the administrator of our foreign policy, the Department of State, is a subsidiary of the Department of Defense War. Foreign policies are militant military policies.
Would the draft have been abolished after Vietnam if the government was convinced that all future military interventions must be just or avoidable? No, the draft was abolished precisely because the government knew future military interventions could not meet these two standards and more protests on the magnitude of those against the Vietnam War would surely follow.
The more just and avoidable a war would there not be few exemptions granted from battle? No, in any American war to date the elite have avoided it like a plague. And how many politicians have gone into battle? They are spineless creatures that send others to their graves. They ought to be the pall bearers for every person killed from their wars and then held accountable.
If a particular war were just or unavoidable, besides not abolishing the draft, there would be very few conscientious objectors, draft dodgers or deserters. But just the opposite happened during WWII and Vietnam, the last war relying on conscription. During WWII there were roughly 21,000 deserters (one was executed) and 45,000 conscientious objectors. During Vietnam, there were nearly 420,000 deserters.
If a particular war were just or necessary, its warrior-in-chief would not have granted conditional or unconditional pardons or amnesty to war resistors over the years. Yet in the 20th century over 1,000 draft dodgers during WWII were pardoned by President Truman; Vietnam War draft resisters and deserters were offered clemency by President Ford; and hundreds of thousands of Vietnam War draft dodgers were given unconditional pardon by President Carter. Perhaps even warriors-in-chief can have pangs of doubt or guilt over sending young men unnecessarily to battle.
What about military interventions for humanitarian reasons, to prevent massacres and to liberate people from ruthless despots, for example? Americans learn in their youth from school textbooks that America always has good intentions towards other nations. But that is sheer propaganda deliberately foisted by the power elite on the rest of us to protect their own self interests. No war can be legitimized as well-intentioned and humanitarian. To quote Einstein once again, “War cannot be humanized. War can only be abolished.” Finding and using a genuinely humane intervention requires creative diplomacy and a moral conscience, not military might.
Wars do not liberate civilians from oppressors. Wars kill the civilians, and tyrants in their lands often follow by ruling puppet regimes that suit the self-interests of America’s power elites. Throughout history wars on the average have killed more civilians than combat soldiers. The civilian casualty rate rose to 85% of all casualties during the Iraq War and probably is approaching 100% from drone killings wherever the drones drop bombs.
The power elite profit more not by defeating the enemy, but by keeping the war winless and endless.
I would think that only a psychopath or a diehard war rationalizer would argue that war is moral. How can any war justify such universal values as caring for others, fairness and justice gleaned from a search through time and places by a lawyer turned ethicist (an odd switch)?
What about the lesser standard for behavior, the law that the corpocracy ignores, such as Articles 1 and 3 of the Constitution; 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments; all laws protecting human nature such as homicidal laws against murder; and international laws such as the 1928 Kellogg–Briand Peace Pact? I would think only people like the U.S. president’s legal counsel would make the legal case for war, torture, and the like.
MAD: The Safety Valve?
The ultimate war is nuclear war. One insane rationale for stockpiling nuclear warheads and threatening to use them in escalating international conflicts is called “MAD,” or mutually assured destruction. Would not a sane policy require making peace treaties instead?
Born to Kill?
Ever hear of a newborn baby with a weapon clutched in its tiny hand? We must learn why to kill and how to kill other human beings. If killing were instinctive, our species would either be extinct by now or substantially depleted. Were it natural, there would be neither PTSs nor suicides.
Here is what a former Army ranger had to say about the crucial role of military training in learning to kill: “Military training is fundamentally an exercise in overcoming a fear of killing another human.” This enterprising ranger subsequently formed a consulting group, “Killology Research Group,” a bunch of “Warrior Science Group consultants dedicated to protecting our families and our children and to the strong defense of our country.” Nothing surprises me anymore.
And that is why I was not surprised to read later how the military came up with the idea to tell its soldiers the Vietnamese were sub-humans so the Vietnamese could be killed without any guilt or remorse. Soldiers were told the Vietnamese were “gooks, slants, slopes, and anything to make the soldiers think the Vietnamese were not humans.”
Think about it. Our government takes our youth, often under-privileged and poorly educated, and turns them into killers so that politicians can stay in office and the business drivers of the corpocracy can keep on driving and thriving, not dying.
About War as an Act of Murder
Its First Implication
I have no basis for disputing Albert Einstein, one of the world’s most brilliant minds, who claimed that “war is an act of murder.” If you agree, are you prepared to accept the implication that the people who promote war, that the people who provide the means for war and that the people who authorize war are surrogate murderers? And should they not be incarcerated for the rest of their lives as international war criminals instead of being honored?
A Second Implication
Silent Americans are a dependable prop for America’s power elite. Silent Americans thus become the accomplices of America’s international war criminals. If justice were to be served, should not silent Americans share the blame?
Yet Another Implication
We are all warriors. When America is at war, whether an official or unofficial war, it is being carried out in our name, “America,” not in the names of those members of the power elite who actually are responsible for starting and sustaining the war. America’s wars, in other words, are our wars, whether we like it or not, whether we are silent or not. When little children are bombed to smithereens by our bombs, we are the bombers. Loved ones who survive blame America.
What causes war and is war inevitable?
War boils down to behavior, what people do when they tolerate, promote, prepare for, authorize or execute war. Behavior always has two interacting causes, the person and the person’s context, or situations, circumstances and conditions that influence what the person does. By far the most influential part of the context of the corpocracy’s power elite are their countless props that they create for themselves. I call them props because they prop up the power elite’s power. Without their props the power elite would be powerless and there would be no more wars by them. Not being held accountable for their international war crimes is one of the stronger props. I devote a whole chapter in my book, “911!”, to enumerating and explaining all the props, and most of my plan for rescuing America from its power elite focuses on legally and peacefully removing all the props.
A different explanation of war’s inevitability is given by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, a former high-level official in the Reagan administration who subsequently has studied and explained America’s corpocracy even more than I have done. He attributes the inevitability of war to the power elite’s ideology of manifest destiny of ruling the world. While their ideology does indeed influence their resulting war-oriented behavior, singling out and seeking to counter or end any ideology would be futile. Ideologies are strongly held beliefs that have hardened into concrete. Concentrating on eliminating their ideological belief of manifest destiny would be akin to trying to chisel away several thousand people encased in concrete!
If we can accept seven U.S. wars as an acceptable sample of all wars, then no war is either unavoidable or just.
There are two ways to end war. One, knock down the numerous props supporting the power elite so that a “power rectangle,” not a “power triangle,” represents the distribution of power. Two, let doomsday in one form or another end war and everything else. If the first doesn’t happen, the second one will.