The Black Book of Empire: What Americans Ought to Know in 2015
For most of 2010, I served in Afghanistan as a Marine intelligence officer. I spent about half the deployment visiting my troops at remote patrol bases, accompanying them on missions, and developing a well-acquainted relationship with the shrubbery of northern Helmand Province. I witnessed dozens of IED explosions, both near and far, and one of my squad-sized foot patrols was targeted with small-arms fire. But it was the constant scrutinizing over casualties, which I would check on throughout the day, always in the comfort of a tent or hardened structure, combined with scattered incidents of playing distant spectator to others’ grisly pain, that moved me in ways I’ll never escape. Above all else, it was the fear that one of my own men, who on any given day was out humping with the grunts, would forfeit life or limb, and it was that fear, which still pricks and thorns to this very breath, that propelled me to reject the necessity of such destruction. I use the word “destruction” heedfully, for every road or hospital or school or bridge built, there were a hundred, sometimes a thousand, valued and cultivated realities lost, from something as ostensibly minor as a peasant’s goat, to the legs and arms and heartthrobs of men, women, and children.
It’s no secret Americans are ignorant when it comes to questions of public policy, particularly foreign policy, and especially war and intelligence policy. For this reason, among others, we tend to fall prey to self-righteous rhetoric under the guise of patriotic duty and the marketing of state violence under the pretense of obligations necessary or just. Even our media elites — who savor any opportunity they can get at exposing civic illiteracy — have proven reluctant or hostile to fessing up to our government’s impressive record of death and destruction. What follows marks one small effort at bringing us one small step closer to overcoming what the executive director of the MIT Center for International Studies, John Tirman, calls our “collective autism.”
Let’s begin with the basics. Following World War Two, the United States government has been involved with over forty known interventions around the world. The major conflicts included the Korean War (1950–53), the Vietnam War (1965–73), the Gulf War (1991), The Afghanistan War and Pakistan War (2001-PRESENT), and the Iraq War (2003–2011/2014-PRESENT). Lesser but still devastating operations included the removal of a democratically elected prime minister in Iran (1953) and a democratically elected president in Guatemala (1954); the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba (1959); the proxy wars in the Congo (1960–65) and Angola (1975–76/1981–88); the bombing campaign in Laos and Cambodia (1965–73); the deposition of yet another democratically elected head of state in Chile (1973); the sponsorship of the mujahideen in Afghanistan (1979–1992) and the Ba’athist government during and after the Iran-Iraq War (1982–1990); a myriad of coups, insurgencies, and counterinsurgencies in Latin America linked directly to the US Army School of Americas and the CIA, especially the contra war in Nicaragua (1981–86) and the civil war in El Salvador (1981–1992); and the attack on the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in The Sudan (1998). There was also the “invisible war” of US sanctions against Iraq (1990–2003), an intervention of another sort.
Now, I’m a historian and I know the importance of context. I do not believe this tally proves anything. Nor do I believe the following statistics prove anything either. It is possible each and every American intervention is justifiable, in the sense that each and every intervention signifies the best option relative to its alternatives. I doubt it. In fact, I’m convinced that the overwhelming majority of these interventions were unjustifiable, and I’m convinced of this precisely because I have studied their contexts. Furthermore, I’m convinced that if Americans studied what I have studied, most of them would arrive at similar conclusions, both as a matter of jus ad bellum and jus in bello. I don’t have the collected works of Noam Chomsky in mind when I say “study” (although Chomsky is still worth reading). I’m talking about authoritative texts: Bruce Cumings on Korea; Neil Sheehan and Stanley Karnow on Vietnam; Fawaz Gerges, Nikki Keddie, Rashid Khalidi, and Mahmood Mamdani on the Middle East; Walter LaFeber and Greg Grandin on Latin America; Michael Deibert and Elizabeth Schmidt on Africa; and David F. Schmitz and Melvyn Leffler on the whole of the Cold War.
Read these texts against media darlings like Bernard Lewis, John Lewis Gaddis, Robert Kagan, and Max Boot, or even more careful but equally enthusiastic boosters of American power like Samantha Power. Report back to me.
In the meantime, here are some numbers. Keep in mind that while I distinguish between civilians and combatants, I find the distinction useful but problematic. Any thoughtful person in a warzone knows that there are plenty of enemy combatants who are “innocent,” in any meaningful sense of the term. They are children or young adults entrapped in chaotic maelstroms that leave them little choice. They are the distraught parents or siblings of loved ones maimed and lost by foreign killing machines. They are impoverished peasants or city dwellers saying and doing whatever it is they must to stay afloat. They are ordinary people just like you and those like you, except ordinary people who have suffered the misfortune of being born or thrust into situations of great strife and misery. Most of all, the majority of them are not psychopaths and sociopaths. They are not evildoers. They do not deserve to die.
Yet we still separate them from their “civilian” counterparts. And there are pragmatic and understandable reasons for why this is. Just remember that when experts tell you that somewhere between 50% to 90% of all victims of modern war are civilians, this does not mean that the remaining 10% to 50% are inhumane beasts that have met a just end. To the contrary, were you to know their soul as you know your own, you would likely shed a tear for the lion’s share.
One final request: There is the ghoulish line attributed to Joseph Stalin, where the mass murderer allegedly quipped to the U.S. Ambassador Averell Harriman, “The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.” We now have, alas, the psychological research to back up such a claim. My plea to you is then a bold, painful, but necessary one. I urge you, every time you come across one of the proceeding figures, to summon a happy memory of yourself or someone you adore. Imagine that memory violated accordingly — by violent death, rape, human trafficking, mutilation, immiseration, or migration. Then multiply that sense of violation tenfold, hundredfold, thousandfold, millionfold…
According to Tirman, the number of people who have died in America’s major wars since the end of WWII is at least 6 million. The war in Korea took about 3 million lives alone, with about 1.5 million being civilians and 36,000 American soldiers. The Vietnam War and its accompanying incursions in Cambodia and Laos killed somewhere between 1.5 million and 3.8 million Vietnamese, 600,000 to 800,000 Cambodians, and about 1 million Laotians. Over 58,000 American soldiers died as well, a disproportionate number of them black Americans. The Gulf War directly claimed the lives of more than 24,000, while at least 100,000 died as an indirect result of the conflict. The U.S. military lost 146 soldiers. According to Beth Osborne Daponte, 158,000 Iraqis died — 86,194 men, 39,612 women, and 32,195 children.
In between the Gulf War and the second war in Iraq that would commence in 2003, there was the United Nations sanctions regime. Estimates vary widely on the human costs of the sanctions program, although experts agree that the costs were high. Even the economist Michael Spagat, the most ardent skeptic of the popular belief that the program killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, concedes, “Iraqis did suffer a lot under the sanctions regime.” The healthcare system descended into tatters, malnutrition grew rampant, per capita income and the literacy rate plummeted, and child labor skyrocketed. The UN humanitarian coordinator in Baghdad, Denis Halliday, resigned in protest, calling the policy a “genocide.” The next coordinator, Hans von Sponeck, would do the same, calling it a “true human tragedy.” The head of the World Food Program, Jutta Burghardt, would join them in conscientious objection.
Somewhere between 25,500–40,500 have been killed in the Afghanistan War, 2,257 of those deaths being U.S. service members; 1,130 being allied coalition forces; more than 16,000 being members of the Afghan Security Forces; another 200 being members of the Afghan Northern Alliance; and 1,143 being contractors. As for civilians, the current estimate stands between 18,000 and 20,000. Refugees are in the millions, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) well over a half million. As the Costs of War Project notes, civilians killed in the accompanying U.S.-sponsored war in Pakistan now ranges anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 recorded deaths.
The Iraq War, for its part, has proven especially destructive. The total number of deaths is still hotly debated, and the debate is complicated by the distinction between violent (“direct”) and nonviolent (“indirect”) casualties, as well as the methodological differences between body counts and scientific surveys. Iraq Body Count now claims 206,000 total violent deaths including combatants, where somewhere between 134,087 to 151,315 of these are documented civilian deaths. The number of recorded civilian deaths in 2014 (17,049) was about double the amount in 2013 (9,743), and the amount in 2013 was about double the number in 2012 (4,622). Once one moves beyond media or NGO reports, hospital records, and morgue filings, however, as well as once one factors in the collapse in infrastructure, particularly the collapse of the public utilities, legal and healthcare infrastructure, the numbers grow especially disheartening. Epidemiological methods are complex, and I won’t inundate you with the details, but suffice it to say household surveys play a central role in these studies. The PLOS Medicine Survey, the most rigorous and up-to-date of the bunch, estimates that about a half million deaths “could be attributable to the war” between March 2003 to June 2011.
On more certain ground, the death toll for U.S. service members has reached 4,491; the Iraq Security Forces 17,690; contractors 1,554; and total enemy combatants 34,144 to 37,344. Then there is the question of the drone war. Henry Kissinger recently accused President Obama’s drone program of killing more people than President Nixon’s bombing campaign in Cambodia (1969–79). This amounts to a gross exaggeration, but it does point to a sordid reality. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) concluded that from June 2004 through January 31 2014, drone strikes have claimed 2,537–3,646 lives in Pakistan, where 416–951 were civilians and 168–200 children. The percentage of “high-level” targets is estimated at 2% of the total. In Yemen, the total killed is somewhere between 287–423, with 24–71 being civilians. Another possible 306–486 people have been killed in unconfirmed U.S. drone strikes in Yemen, with 24–47 being civilians. The drone war has killed a few dozen more lives in Somalia. Meanwhile, reporting suggests counterproductive public opinion, enemy recruitment, and geopolitical outcomes, thanks in large part to the great damage done to communities beyond the immediate death and destruction.
All in all, the Costs of War Project asserts that the War on Terror has claimed the lives of at least 350,000 people by direct violence, and hundreds of thousands of more lives indirectly. More than 220,000 of those killed are civilians, although experts make clear the real number is far higher. At least 6.7 million have been displaced, the “equivalent to all of the people of Massachusetts fleeing their homes.” The wars have proven noticeably ruinous for women. Aside from the daunting levels of rape and sex trafficking that naturally ensue in the wake of war (see below), female unemployment and widowhood abound.
As for economic effects, the wars have come with a steep price tag — $4.4 trillion according to an April 2014 measurement — and the opportunity costs have been rendered just as grim. In the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, we are still very much hanging on a cross of iron.
Before moving onto less known American interventions, it is wise to take a temporary detour from such numbers. After all, war leaves us with more than rotting corpses and emptied coffers.
Displacement has already been touched upon. What has not been discussed is the particular contours and meanings of this displacement. Almost five million Iraqis, a quarter of the non-Kurdish population in Iraq, were forced into either external or internal refugee status following the initial invasion of Iraq. A sizable portion fled their homes in haste, meaning most of their belongings were gifted to the vultures. The exodus into surrounding cities like Damascus, Amman, Cairo, Tehran, and even Europe, amounted to one of the largest refugee movements since World War Two. By Tirman’s reckoning, “By the end of 2006, Baghdad had largely been ethnically cleansed.” Of those young women escaping Iraq, many turned to (or were forced into) prostitution and sex trafficking, with an estimated 50,000 Iraqi girls serving time as sex workers in Damascus and throughout Syria, and further thousands being herded like cattle to Dubai and then off to Europe and beyond. This says nothing of those raped by our own troops, a small number, and hardly at the levels seen during the Vietnam War, but a chilling fact nonetheless.
During the initial stages of the war, over 100,000 Iraqi men and boys were violently seized and cuffed in their homes, in the presence of their loved ones, and detained in prisons for indefinite days and months, without any evidence of insurgent or criminal involvement. As one two-star Army general put it during a 2006 Congressional hearing, “Probably 99 percent of those people were guilty of absolutely nothing, but the way we treated them, the way we abused them, turned them against the effort in Iraq forever.” Throughout 2003 and 2004, when IEDs were first beginning to rear their awful heads, rules of engagement in Iraq grew so lax, anyone with a cell phone or any other ostensible detonator could be assaulted, and when an explosion actually ensued, troops would unleash fury on whatever or whoever was within shooting distance. Iraqi vehicles and pedestrians were regularly run off roads by American convoys, and if traffic proved unrelenting, convoys themselves would off-road, clearing whatever populations and markets were in their path, sometimes leading to further injury. The most ghastly civilian casualties, however, took place at the checkpoints marking up the Iraqi countryside, the decisive result of the language barrier and other cultural misreads.
At Guernica, J. Malcolm Garcia covered the health consequences, to civilians and military, of hundreds of “burn pits” housed on bases across Iraq and Afghanistan, something I’m familiar with myself, having ensured a team of my Marines relocate their quarters after discovering they’d been sleeping next door to barrels of smoldering feces. Many returning service members and contractors have already been diagnosed with constrictive bronchiolitis, and I can only surmise the effects on Iraqis and Afghans who do not enjoy the luxury of returning home after six-month to fifteen-month tours.
There is also Sarah Stillman’s reporting in the The New Yorker, which hones in on the plight of civilians from around the world who are being enmeshed in our wars of choice. The piece exposes a network of Department of Defense contractors, sub-contractors, and sub-sub-contractors, flowing downstream to a swampy estuary of “manpower agencies,” many of which are included in the U.S. State Department’s human-trafficking non-compliance registry, many of which are dealing in indentured servitude, all of which are doing business on the American taxpayer’s dime. One of the hapless women profiled asks, “They call this Operation Iraqi Freedom, but where is our freedom?”
The charnel house that is American empire extends beyond its most visible borders. In addition to the (at minimum) 6 million lives lost — and the further millions disfigured and displaced — in our government’s postwar interventions in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the United States is directly or indirectly responsible for the horrific fates of millions more in dozens of distant locales. Nor are these episodes unrelated. Rather, their bloodlettings compound one another.
Take the CIA-sponsored ousting of Mohammad Mossaddegh (1953), the democratically elected prime minister of Iran. The act, which hinged upon the nationalist leader’s decision to nationalize oil production against Anglo-American interests, marked the death knell for Persian democratic life. For the first time in its history, the Central Intelligence Agency overthrew a democratically elected leader. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (“the Shah”) and his secret police (SAVAK) proved an authoritarian and antidemocratic force for the following 25 years, specifically toward dissidents, and with the continued aid and consent of the United States government (until President Carter, that is). Hundreds were executed, thousands tortured, and tens of thousands jailed or imprisoned. Most experts, including high-level officials in the U.S. government, have pinpointed a direct line from the 1953 coup to the advent of the Islamic Republic of Iran (1979) to the Iran hostage crisis (1979–81) to the Iran-Contra affair (1985–87) to the unprecedentedly harsh rule of the Khomeinist government — where tens of thousands of political prisoners and minorities were executed, and tens of thousands more tortured — to the rise of Islamist violence and revolution altogether. The popular term “blowback” was coined by a CIA analyst in reference to the American-backed removal of Mossaddegh, and it signals the unintended consequences of state policy eventuating in revenge-based politics.
A similar tale unraveled in Central America in 1954, where the CIA toppled the democratically elected president, Jacobo Árbenz, for having launched land reform and labor practices antithetical to the interests of the United Fruit Company (UFCO). Progressive and democratic change was stopped in its tracks, a series of military juntas maintained control for the proceeding decades, and the Guatemalan people would come to endure a 36-year civil war that would claim hundreds of thousands of lives.
There was the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, the failed CIA-backed coup attempt in Fidel Castro’s Cuba that killed 114 Cuban exiles from Brigade 2506 and anywhere between 500 to 4,000 Cuban soldiers. Aside from being an embarrassment for the Kennedy administration, it hardened and emboldened Castro’s rule and inspired revolutionary leftists across Latin America.
There was the CIA’s involvement in the murder of the former prime minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba (d. 1961), and its decades-long support for the bloody reign of Joseph Mobutu, all under the pretext of a discredited fear of Communist takeover. Mobutu, who modeled his method of social control off the state terrorist strategy of his friend, the Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, imprisoned, tortured, and killed thousands throughout his tenure. He also laid a large part of the groundwork for the series of Congolese civil wars (1996-PRESENT) that have now killed somewhere between 900,000 and 5,400,000 people.
There was the proxy war in Angola, which broke out in 1975 and would draw to a close in 2002. At least 500,000 lives were lost, and over a million displaced. Apartheid South Africa and the United States, with Israel functioning as an arms-dealing linchpin, bear just as much responsibility for the tragic outcome as does Cuba, the Soviet Union, and the competing proxies on the ground.
There was the CIA-backed deposition of the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende, on September 11, 1973. The coup would lead to the installment of Augusto Pinochet and his military junta, which would promptly crack down on what remained of the Chilean left. Pinochet’s dictatorship would last until 1990, and in the interim tens of thousands of dissidents would be imprisoned, tens of thousands tortured, 200,000 forced into exile, and over 3,000 killed or gone missing. The majority of these acts were committed in the immediate wake of the coup, although an overall authoritarian and oppressive political culture survived well into the late 1980s, along with a slew of disastrous neoliberal reforms.
There was the CIA’s funding, arming, and training of the mujahideen in their war against the Soviets in Afghanistan from 1979–1989, and then their subsequent civil war from 1989–1992. The former conflict cost anywhere from 850,000 to 1,500,000 civilian lives, as well as produced 5 million refugees and 2 million IDPs. The latter conflict killed and displaced tens of thousands more. The Pakistani prime minister at the time, Benazir Bhutto, issued a prescient warning to President George H.W. Bush concerning his government’s sponsorship of such Islamist groups. “You are creating a Frankenstein,” she said.
There was the United States government’s funding, arming, training, and intelligence support for Saddam Hussein’s army in the Iran-Iraq War from 1982 to 1990, yet another conflict that took the lives of at least 500,000, hundreds of thousands of whom were civilians. This includes Hussein’s genocidal assault on the Kurds in the Al-Anfal Campaign, which entailed the use of nerve gas in Halabja in 1988, and where at least 5,000 perished immediately and another 7,000 suffered long-term effects. Many of the victims, likely a majority, were women and children. The U.S. government knew about the Iraqi army’s deployment of chemical warfare throughout the course of the war, both against its enemy and on its own people, yet the U.S. continued to sponsor the Hussein regime, even after Halabja. And so another Frankenstein was born.
There was the CIA’s funding, arming, training, and advising of the brutal (and sadistic) contras in Nicaragua from 1981 to 1986, in which tens of thousands were raped, dismembered, and killed. In addition to culminating in the Iran-Contra affair, a handful from this convoluted network of criminals and counter-revolutionaries became suppliers and dealers in the “crack cocaine epidemic” in Los Angeles, as the San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb so painstakingly documented in a series of exposés in the 1990s.
There was the United State’s government’s intervention on the side of the military junta in El Salvador (1981–1992) in its counterinsurgency against leftist revolutionaries. Somewhere between 70,000 to 80,000 people were killed in the conflict, with another 8,000 “disappeared.” Meanwhile, the civil war created half a million refugees and 550,000 IDPs.
There was the School of the Americas, a U.S. Army training hub for prospective “dictators, torturers and assassins,” as dissenters refer to it. According to the journalist Barbara Starr,
The list of graduates from the School of the Americas is a who’s who of Latin American despots. Students have included Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri of Argentina, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia.
Other graduates cut a swath through El Salvador during its civil war, being involved in the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the El Mozote massacre in which 900 peasants were killed, and the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests.
And, finally, there was President Clinton’s cruise missile assault on the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in The Sudan in 1998, an act of retaliation for the Al-Qaeda bombings of the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The U.S. government insists the factory dealt in VX nerve agent and was associated with Al Qaeda, although the evidence is thin. The attack, nevertheless, killed a single employee and wounded eleven others on impact. It also thwarted the delivery of necessary drugs to numerous civilians, likely killing tens of thousands more.
This hardly adds up to an exhaustive account. From the U.S. government’s troubling involvement in the domestic politics of postwar Greece (where the Truman Doctrine of anti-communist containment was first tested) to its cozy relationship with Apartheid South Africa to the latest round of proxy wars in Africa between the United States and China, dozens of other bloody chapters have been left untouched. On the other hand, rare success stories like the military occupations of Germany and Japan, and more ambiguous outcomes in places like Bosnia and Kosovo, have been ignored. I urge the reader to study up on these lacunae and discriminate accordingly. My guess is that the ultimate verdict will still prove far from rosy.
I have also avoided delving into America’s most explicit massacres and war crimes: No Gun Ri (1950) during the Korean War; My Lai (1968), the Phoenix Program (1965–72), and Tiger Force (1967) during the Vietnam War; the Maywand District (2010) and Panjwai (2012) murders during the Afghanistan War; or the Haditha (2005), Mahmudiyah (2006), John E. Hatley (2006), and Hamdania (2006) incidents during the Iraq War. Nor have I written in depth on the U.S. government’s prosecution of (and support for) state terror and death squads, particularly in Latin America, and how these covert policies have assisted in establishing preferred neoliberal arrangements in the global political economy. I have said nothing about torture and prison abuse in Bagram, Afghanistan (2002), the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (2003), or the Guantanamo Bay detention camp (2002-PRESENT), and more broadly, I’ve said zilch about the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program or the recently disclosed Senate intelligence committee report on CIA Torture (2014). Certain details surrounding both the contents and reception of the Pentagon Papers leak (1971) have gone unmentioned as well.
I’ve stayed away from fleshing out domestic encroachments, mainly civil libertarian and human rights violations, exposed in COINTELPRO (1956–1971), the Church Committee (1975–76), or the Snowden leaks (2013-PRESENT), even though these revelations are entwined in the maintenance of American corporate and state power both at home and abroad. The same could be said, to a less obvious but more urgent extent, for mass incarceration, the great civil rights issue of our time. As the law professor Michelle Alexander has affirmed, “The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid.” And in the words of Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker, “[T]here are now more people under ‘correctional supervision’ in America — more than six million — than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height. That city of the confined and the controlled, Lockuptown, is now the second largest in the United States.”
Finally, this catalog of sin commences after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings (1945) — arguably the two most iconic moments of American power unharnessed from moral restraint. One would think that any fair-minded observer would recoil from acts of state violence terminating in the prompt incineration of over a hundred thousand civilians (and the most ghastly of wounds for tens of thousands of survivors). But the harrowing circumstances at the time made such policy decisions appear reasonable and necessary. To this day, a majority of Americans seem to agree. The social critic Dwight Macdonald had a word or two to say about this, words still relevant to our current predicament, and words I would love to expound on. So did the Catholic mystic Simone Weil and the philosopher Hannah Arendt, however indirectly. But I haven’t the space or time to do these words justice, so I’ll note their absence and leave it at that.
Back to the beginning. As I’ve insisted, these lists and numbers confirm nothing. What they hopefully do achieve is a lasting spark of curiosity or doubt. The conventional wisdom of our time is that the great American evils of ethnic cleansing, slavery, or Jim Crow are behind us. If evil still exists, it exists elsewhere. If it must be expunged, it must be expunged by us, and by “us” I mean the U.S. government. This is the rhetoric anyway. The reality is messier and uglier. Not too long ago, at the dawn of the American empire, one of the nation’s most perceptive and memorable voices shared his thoughts on the matter. Perhaps it’s best I close with those thoughts, with an eye to a better future:
I left these shores, at Vancouver, a red-hot imperialist. I wanted the American eagle to go screaming into the Pacific. It seemed tiresome and tame for it to content itself with he Rockies. Why not spread its wings over the Phillippines, I asked myself? And I thought it would be a real good thing to do.
I said to myself, here are a people who have suffered for three centuries. We can make them as free as ourselves, give them a government and country of their own, put a miniature of the American constitution afloat in the Pacific, start a brand new republic to take its place among the free nations of the world. It seemed to me a great task to which had addressed ourselves.
But I have thought some more, since then, and I have read carefully the treaty of Paris, and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Phillippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. . .
It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make those people free, and let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.
Tagged: Abu Ghraib, Adam Gopnik, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Al-Anfal Campaign, Al-Shifa, Angola, Anti-Communism, Anti-imperialism, Apartheid, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Argentina, Augusto Pinochet, Averell Harriman, Ayatollah Khomeini, Ba’ath Party, Bagram, Baker Capital, Barbara Starr, Bay of Pigs, Benazir Bhutto, Bernard Lewis, Beth Osborne Daponte, Bill Clinton, Blowback, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brigade 2506, Bruce Cumings, Cambodia, Capitalism, Chile, China, Church Committee, CIA, COINTELPRO, Cold War, Collective Autism, Communism, Congo, Contras, Cost of War Project, Cross of Iron, Cuba, David F. Schmitz, Denis Halladay, Drones, Drug War, Dubai, Dwight Eisenhower, Dwight MacDonald, Edward Snowden, El Mozote massacre, El Salvador, Elizabeth Schmidt, Empire, Ethnic Cleansing, Extraordinary Rendition, Fawaz Gerges, Fidel Castro, Gary Webb, George H.W. Bush, Greece, Greg Grandiin, Guantanamo Bay, Guatemala, Guernica, Gulf War, Haditha, Halabja, Hamdania, Hannah Arendt, Hans von Sponeck, Helmand Province, Henry Kissinger, Hiroshima, Hugo Banzer Suarez, Imperialism, Indentured Servitude, Iran, Iran Hostage Crisis, Iran-Contra Affair, Iran-Iraq War, Iraq Body Count, Iraq War, J. Malcolm Garcia, Jacobo Árbenz, Jim Crow, John E. Hatley, John F. Kennedy, John Lewis Gaddis, John Tirman, Joseph Mobutu, Joseph Stalin, Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello, Jutta Burghardt, Korean War, Kosovo, Laos, Leopoldo Galtieri, Mahmood Mamdani, Mahmudiya Murders, Manuel Noriega, Marines, Mark Twain, Mass Incarceration, Max Boot, Maywand District Murders, Media, Melvyn Leffler, Michael Deibert, Michael Spagat, Michelle Alexander, Military-Industrial Complex, MIT Center for International Studies, Mohammad Mossaddegh, Mujahideen, My Lai, Nagasaki, Neil Sheehan, Neoliberalism, Nicaragua, Nikki Keddie, No Gun Ri, Noam Chomsky, Omar Torrijos, Operation Enduring Freedom, Pakistan, Panama, Panjwai Murders, Patrice Lumumba, Pentagon Papers, Phoenix Program, PLOS Medicine Survey, Rashid Khalidi, Richard Nixon, Robert Kagan, Saddam Hussein, Salvador Allende, Samantha Power, San Jose Mercury News, Sarah Stillman, SAVAK, School of the Americas, Simone Weil, Slavery, Somalia, South Africa, Soviet Union, Stanley Karnow, Syria, Tanzania, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, The Kurds, The Left, The New Jim Crow, The New Yorker, The Right, The Shah, The Sudan, Tiger Force, Torture, United Nations, Vietnam War, Walter LaFeber, War, War on Terror, World Food Program, World War Two
Originally published at myrivercityblues.com on January 13, 2015.