US Has Killed More Than 20 Million People in 37 “Victim Nations” Since World War II

Global Research, April 01, 2017
Popular Resistance 27 November 2015

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First published in November 2015

After the catastrophic attacks of September 11 2001 monumental sorrow and a feeling of desperate and understandable anger began to permeate the American psyche. A few people at that time attempted to promote a balanced perspective by pointing out that the United States had also been responsible for causing those same feelings in people in other nations, but they produced hardly a ripple. Although Americans understand in the abstract the wisdom of people around the world empathizing with the suffering of one another, such a reminder of wrongs committed by our nation got little hearing and was soon overshadowed by an accelerated “war on terrorism.”

But we must continue our efforts to develop understanding and compassion in the world. Hopefully, this article will assist in doing that by addressing the question “How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII?” This theme is developed in this report which contains an estimated numbers of such deaths in 37 nations as well as brief explanations of why the U.S. is considered culpable.

The causes of wars are complex. In some instances nations other than the U.S. may have been responsible for more deaths, but if the involvement of our nation appeared to have been a necessary cause of a war or conflict it was considered responsible for the deaths in it. In other words they probably would not have taken place if the U.S. had not used the heavy hand of its power. The military and economic power of the United States was crucial.

US Military © AFP 2015/ Noorullah Shirzada / FILES

This study reveals that U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars. The Korean War also includes Chinese deaths while the Vietnam War also includes fatalities in Cambodia and Laos.

The American public probably is not aware of these numbers and knows even less about the proxy wars for which the United States is also responsible. In the latter wars there were between nine and 14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan.

But the victims are not just from big nations or one part of the world. The remaining deaths were in smaller ones which constitute over half the total number of nations. Virtually all parts of the world have been the target of U.S. intervention.

The overall conclusion reached is that the United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world.

To the families and friends of these victims it makes little difference whether the causes were U.S. military action, proxy military forces, the provision of U.S. military supplies or advisors, or other ways, such as economic pressures applied by our nation. They had to make decisions about other things such as finding lost loved ones, whether to become refugees, and how to survive.

And the pain and anger is spread even further. Some authorities estimate that there are as many as 10 wounded for each person who dies in wars. Their visible, continued suffering is a continuing reminder to their fellow countrymen.

It is essential that Americans learn more about this topic so that they can begin to understand the pain that others feel. Someone once observed that the Germans during WWII “chose not to know.” We cannot allow history to say this about our country. The question posed above was “How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII?” The answer is: possibly 10,000.

Comments on Gathering These Numbers

Generally speaking, the much smaller number of Americans who have died is not included in this study, not because they are not important, but because this report focuses on the impact of U.S. actions on its adversaries.

An accurate count of the number of deaths is not easy to achieve, and this collection of data was undertaken with full realization of this fact. These estimates will probably be revised later either upward or downward by the reader and the author. But undoubtedly the total will remain in the millions.

The difficulty of gathering reliable information is shown by two estimates in this context. For several years I heard statements on radio that three million Cambodians had been killed under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. However, in recent years the figure I heard was one million. Another example is that the number of persons estimated to have died in Iraq due to sanctions after the first U.S. Iraq War was over 1 million, but in more recent years, based on a more recent study, a lower estimate of around a half a million has emerged.

Often information about wars is revealed only much later when someone decides to speak out, when more secret information is revealed due to persistent efforts of a few, or after special congressional committees make reports

Both victorious and defeated nations may have their own reasons for underreporting the number of deaths. Further, in recent wars involving the United States it was not uncommon to hear statements like “we do not do body counts” and references to “collateral damage” as a euphemism for dead and wounded. Life is cheap for some, especially those who manipulate people on the battlefield as if it were a chessboard.

To say that it is difficult to get exact figures is not to say that we should not try. Effort was needed to arrive at the figures of 6six million Jews killed during WWI, but knowledge of that number now is widespread and it has fueled the determination to prevent future holocausts. That struggle continues.

The author can be contacted at jlucas511@woh.rr.com

37 VICTIM NATIONS

Afghanistan

The U.S. is responsible for between 1 and 1.8 million deaths during the war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan, by luring the Soviet Union into invading that nation. (1,2,3,4)

The Soviet Union had friendly relations its neighbor, Afghanistan, which had a secular government. The Soviets feared that if that government became fundamentalist this change could spill over into the Soviet Union.

In 1998, in an interview with the Parisian publication Le Novel Observateur, Zbigniew Brzezinski, adviser to President Carter, admitted that he had been responsible for instigating aid to the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan which caused the Soviets to invade. In his own words:

According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on 24 December 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the President in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention. (5,1,6)

Brzezinski justified laying this trap, since he said it gave the Soviet Union its Vietnam and caused the breakup of the Soviet Union. “Regret what?” he said. “That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?” (7)

The CIA spent 5 to 6 billion dollars on its operation in Afghanistan in order to bleed the Soviet Union. (1,2,3) When that 10-year war ended over a million people were dead and Afghan heroin had captured 60% of the U.S. market. (4)

The U.S. has been responsible directly for about 12,000 deaths in Afghanistan many of which resulted from bombing in retaliation for the attacks on U.S. property on September 11, 2001. Subsequently U.S. troops invaded that country. (4)

Angola

An indigenous armed struggle against Portuguese rule in Angola began in 1961. In 1977 an Angolan government was recognized by the U.N., although the U.S. was one of the few nations that opposed this action. In 1986 Uncle Sam approved material assistance to UNITA, a group that was trying to overthrow the government. Even today this struggle, which has involved many nations at times, continues.

U.S. intervention was justified to the U.S. public as a reaction to the intervention of 50,000 Cuban troops in Angola. However, according to Piero Gleijeses, a history professor at Johns Hopkins University the reverse was true. The Cuban intervention came as a result of a CIA – financed covert invasion via neighboring Zaire and a drive on the Angolan capital by the U.S. ally, South Africa1,2,3). (Three estimates of deaths range from 300,000 to 750,000 (4,5,6)

Argentina: See South America: Operation Condor

Bangladesh: See Pakistan

Bolivia

Hugo Banzer was the leader of a repressive regime in Bolivia in the 1970s. The U.S. had been disturbed when a previous leader nationalized the tin mines and distributed land to Indian peasants. Later that action to benefit the poor was reversed.

Banzer, who was trained at the U.S.-operated School of the Americas in Panama and later at Fort Hood, Texas, came back from exile frequently to confer with U.S. Air Force Major Robert Lundin. In 1971 he staged a successful coup with the help of the U.S. Air Force radio system. In the first years of his dictatorship he received twice as military assistance from the U.S. as in the previous dozen years together.

A few years later the Catholic Church denounced an army massacre of striking tin workers in 1975, Banzer, assisted by information provided by the CIA, was able to target and locate leftist priests and nuns. His anti-clergy strategy, known as the Banzer Plan, was adopted by nine other Latin American dictatorships in 1977. (2) He has been accused of being responsible for 400 deaths during his tenure. (1)

Also see: See South America: Operation Condor

Brazil: See South America: Operation Condor

Cambodia

U.S. bombing of Cambodia had already been underway for several years in secret under the Johnson and Nixon administrations, but when President Nixon openly began bombing in preparation for a land assault on Cambodia it caused major protests in the U.S. against the Vietnam War.

There is little awareness today of the scope of these bombings and the human suffering involved.

Immense damage was done to the villages and cities of Cambodia, causing refugees and internal displacement of the population. This unstable situation enabled the Khmer Rouge, a small political party led by Pol Pot, to assume power. Over the years we have repeatedly heard about the Khmer Rouge’s role in the deaths of millions in Cambodia without any acknowledgement being made this mass killing was made possible by the the U.S. bombing of that nation which destabilized it by death , injuries, hunger and dislocation of its people.

So the U.S. bears responsibility not only for the deaths from the bombings but also for those resulting from the activities of the Khmer Rouge – a total of about 2.5 million people. Even when Vietnam latrer invaded Cambodia in 1979 the CIA was still supporting the Khmer Rouge. (1,2,3)

Also see Vietnam

Chad

An estimated 40,000 people in Chad were killed and as many as 200,000 tortured by a government, headed by Hissen Habre who was brought to power in June, 1982 with the help of CIA money and arms. He remained in power for eight years. (1,2)

Human Rights Watch claimed that Habre was responsible for thousands of killings. In 2001, while living in Senegal, he was almost tried for crimes committed by him in Chad. However, a court there blocked these proceedings. Then human rights people decided to pursue the case in Belgium, because some of Habre’s torture victims lived there. The U.S., in June 2003, told Belgium that it risked losing its status as host to NATO’s headquarters if it allowed such a legal proceeding to happen. So the result was that the law that allowed victims to file complaints in Belgium for atrocities committed abroad was repealed. However, two months later a new law was passed which made special provision for the continuation of the case against Habre.

Chile

The CIA intervened in Chile’s 1958 and 1964 elections. In 1970 a socialist candidate, Salvador Allende, was elected president. The CIA wanted to incite a military coup to prevent his inauguration, but the Chilean army’s chief of staff, General Rene Schneider, opposed this action. The CIA then planned, along with some people in the Chilean military, to assassinate Schneider. This plot failed and Allende took office. President Nixon was not to be dissuaded and he ordered the CIA to create a coup climate: “Make the economy scream,” he said.

What followed were guerilla warfare, arson, bombing, sabotage and terror. ITT and other U.S. corporations with Chilean holdings sponsored demonstrations and strikes. Finally, on September 11, 1973 Allende died either by suicide or by assassination. At that time Henry Kissinger, U.S. Secretary of State, said the following regarding Chile: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.” (1)

During 17 years of terror under Allende’s successor, General Augusto Pinochet, an estimated 3,000 Chileans were killed and many others were tortured or “disappeared.” (2,3,4,5)

Also see South America: Operation Condor

China An estimated 900,000 Chinese died during the Korean War.

For more information, See: Korea.

Colombia

One estimate is that 67,000 deaths have occurred from the 1960s to recent years due to support by the U.S. of Colombian state terrorism. (1)

According to a 1994 Amnesty International report, more than 20,000 people were killed for political reasons in Colombia since 1986, mainly by the military and its paramilitary allies. Amnesty alleged that “U.S.- supplied military equipment, ostensibly delivered for use against narcotics traffickers, was being used by the Colombian military to commit abuses in the name of “counter-insurgency.” (2) In 2002 another estimate was made that 3,500 people die each year in a U.S. funded civilian war in Colombia. (3)

In 1996 Human Rights Watch issued a report “Assassination Squads in Colombia” which revealed that CIA agents went to Colombia in 1991 to help the military to train undercover agents in anti-subversive activity. (4,5)

In recent years the U.S. government has provided assistance under Plan Colombia. The Colombian government has been charged with using most of the funds for destruction of crops and support of the paramilitary group.

Cuba

In the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba on April 18, 1961 which ended after 3 days, 114 of the invading force were killed, 1,189 were taken prisoners and a few escaped to waiting U.S. ships. (1) The captured exiles were quickly tried, a few executed and the rest sentenced to thirty years in prison for treason. These exiles were released after 20 months in exchange for $53 million in food and medicine.

Some people estimate that the number of Cuban forces killed range from 2,000, to 4,000. Another estimate is that 1,800 Cuban forces were killed on an open highway by napalm. This appears to have been a precursor of the Highway of Death in Iraq in 1991 when U.S. forces mercilessly annihilated large numbers of Iraqis on a highway. (2)

Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire)

The beginning of massive violence was instigated in this country in 1879 by its colonizer King Leopold of Belgium. The Congo’s population was reduced by 10 million people over a period of 20 years which some have referred to as “Leopold’s Genocide.” (1) The U.S. has been responsible for about a third of that many deaths in that nation in the more recent past. (2)

In 1960 the Congo became an independent state with Patrice Lumumba being its first prime minister. He was assassinated with the CIA being implicated, although some say that his murder was actually the responsibility of Belgium. (3) But nevertheless, the CIA was planning to kill him. (4) Before his assassination the CIA sent one of its scientists, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, to the Congo carrying “lethal biological material” intended for use in Lumumba’s assassination. This virus would have been able to produce a fatal disease indigenous to the Congo area of Africa and was transported in a diplomatic pouch.

Much of the time in recent years there has been a civil war within the Democratic Republic of Congo, fomented often by the U.S. and other nations, including neighboring nations. (5)

In April 1977, Newsday reported that the CIA was secretly supporting efforts to recruit several hundred mercenaries in the U.S. and Great Britain to serve alongside Zaire’s army. In that same year the U.S. provided $15 million of military supplies to the Zairian President Mobutu to fend off an invasion by a rival group operating in Angola. (6)

In May 1979, the U.S. sent several million dollars of aid to Mobutu who had been condemned 3 months earlier by the U.S. State Department for human rights violations. (7) During the Cold War the U.S. funneled over 300 million dollars in weapons into Zaire (8,9) $100 million in military training was provided to him. (2) In 2001 it was reported to a U.S. congressional committee that American companies, including one linked to former President George Bush Sr., were stoking the Congo for monetary gains. There is an international battle over resources in that country with over 125 companies and individuals being implicated. One of these substances is coltan, which is used in the manufacture of cell phones. (2)

Dominican Republic

In 1962, Juan Bosch became president of the Dominican Republic. He advocated such programs as land reform and public works programs. This did not bode well for his future relationship with the U.S., and after only 7 months in office, he was deposed by a CIA coup. In 1965 when a group was trying to reinstall him to his office President Johnson said, “This Bosch is no good.” Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Mann replied “He’s no good at all. If we don’t get a decent government in there, Mr. President, we get another Bosch. It’s just going to be another sinkhole.” Two days later a U.S. invasion started and 22,000 soldiers and marines entered the Dominican Republic and about 3,000 Dominicans died during the fighting. The cover excuse for doing this was that this was done to protect foreigners there. (1,2,3,4)

East Timor

In December 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor. This incursion was launched the day after U.S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had left Indonesia where they had given President Suharto permission to use American arms, which under U.S. law, could not be used for aggression. Daniel Moynihan, U.S. ambassador to the UN. said that the U.S. wanted “things to turn out as they did.” (1,2) The result was an estimated 200,000 dead out of a population of 700,000. (1,2)

Sixteen years later, on November 12, 1991, two hundred and seventeen East Timorese protesters in Dili, many of them children, marching from a memorial service, were gunned down by Indonesian Kopassus shock troops who were headed by U.S.- trained commanders Prabowo Subianto (son in law of General Suharto) and Kiki Syahnakri. Trucks were seen dumping bodies into the sea. (5)

El Salvador

The civil war from 1981 to1992 in El Salvador was financed by $6 billion in U.S. aid given to support the government in its efforts to crush a movement to bring social justice to the people in that nation of about 8 million people. (1)
During that time U.S. military advisers demonstrated methods of torture on teenage prisoners, according to an interview with a deserter from the Salvadoran army published in the New York Times. This former member of the Salvadoran National Guard testified that he was a member of a squad of twelve who found people who they were told were guerillas and tortured them. Part of the training he received was in torture at a U.S. location somewhere in Panama. (2)

About 900 villagers were massacred in the village of El Mozote in 1981. Ten of the twelve El Salvadoran government soldiers cited as participating in this act were graduates of the School of the Americas operated by the U.S. (2) They were only a small part of about 75,000 people killed during that civil war. (1)

According to a 1993 United Nations’ Truth Commission report, over 96 % of the human rights violations carried out during the war were committed by the Salvadoran army or the paramilitary deaths squads associated with the Salvadoran army. (3)

That commission linked graduates of the School of the Americas to many notorious killings. The New York Times and the Washington Post followed with scathing articles. In 1996, the White House Oversight Board issued a report that supported many of the charges against that school made by Rev. Roy Bourgeois, head of the School of the Americas Watch. That same year the Pentagon released formerly classified reports indicating that graduates were trained in killing, extortion, and physical abuse for interrogations, false imprisonment and other methods of control. (4)

Grenada

The CIA began to destabilize Grenada in 1979 after Maurice Bishop became president, partially because he refused to join the quarantine of Cuba. The campaign against him resulted in his overthrow and the invasion by the U.S. of Grenada on October 25, 1983, with about 277 people dying. (1,2) It was fallaciously charged that an airport was being built in Grenada that could be used to attack the U.S. and it was also erroneously claimed that the lives of American medical students on that island were in danger.

Guatemala

In 1951 Jacobo Arbenz was elected president of Guatemala. He appropriated some unused land operated by the United Fruit Company and compensated the company. (1,2) That company then started a campaign to paint Arbenz as a tool of an international conspiracy and hired about 300 mercenaries who sabotaged oil supplies and trains. (3) In 1954 a CIA-orchestrated coup put him out of office and he left the country. During the next 40 years various regimes killed thousands of people.

In 1999 the Washington Post reported that an Historical Clarification Commission concluded that over 200,000 people had been killed during the civil war and that there had been 42,000 individual human rights violations, 29,000 of them fatal, 92% of which were committed by the army. The commission further reported that the U.S. government and the CIA had pressured the Guatemalan government into suppressing the guerilla movement by ruthless means. (4,5)

According to the Commission between 1981 and 1983 the military government of Guatemala – financed and supported by the U.S. government – destroyed some four hundred Mayan villages in a campaign of genocide. (4)
One of the documents made available to the commission was a 1966 memo from a U.S. State Department official, which described how a “safe house” was set up in the palace for use by Guatemalan security agents and their U.S. contacts. This was the headquarters for the Guatemalan “dirty war” against leftist insurgents and suspected allies. (2)

Haiti

From 1957 to 1986 Haiti was ruled by Papa Doc Duvalier and later by his son. During that time their private terrorist force killed between 30,000 and 100,000 people. (1) Millions of dollars in CIA subsidies flowed into Haiti during that time, mainly to suppress popular movements, (2) although most American military aid to the country, according to William Blum, was covertly channeled through Israel.

Reportedly, governments after the second Duvalier reign were responsible for an even larger number of fatalities, and the influence on Haiti by the U.S., particularly through the CIA, has continued. The U.S. later forced out of the presidential office a black Catholic priest, Jean Bertrand Aristide, even though he was elected with 67% of the vote in the early 1990s. The wealthy white class in Haiti opposed him in this predominantly black nation, because of his social programs designed to help the poor and end corruption. (3) Later he returned to office, but that did not last long. He was forced by the U.S. to leave office and now lives in South Africa.

Honduras

In the 1980s the CIA supported Battalion 316 in Honduras, which kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of its citizens. Torture equipment and manuals were provided by CIA Argentinean personnel who worked with U.S. agents in the training of the Hondurans. Approximately 400 people lost their lives. (1,2) This is another instance of torture in the world sponsored by the U.S. (3)

Battalion 316 used shock and suffocation devices in interrogations in the 1980s. Prisoners often were kept naked and, when no longer useful, killed and buried in unmarked graves. Declassified documents and other sources show that the CIA and the U.S. Embassy knew of numerous crimes, including murder and torture, yet continued to support Battalion 316 and collaborate with its leaders.” (4)

Honduras was a staging ground in the early 1980s for the Contras who were trying to overthrow the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. John D. Negroponte, currently Deputy Secretary of State, was our embassador when our military aid to Honduras rose from $4 million to $77.4 million per year. Negroponte denies having had any knowledge of these atrocities during his tenure. However, his predecessor in that position, Jack R. Binns, had reported in 1981 that he was deeply concerned at increasing evidence of officially sponsored/sanctioned assassinations. (5)

Hungary

In 1956 Hungary, a Soviet satellite nation, revolted against the Soviet Union. During the uprising broadcasts by the U.S. Radio Free Europe into Hungary sometimes took on an aggressive tone, encouraging the rebels to believe that Western support was imminent, and even giving tactical advice on how to fight the Soviets. Their hopes were raised then dashed by these broadcasts which cast an even darker shadow over the Hungarian tragedy.“ (1) The Hungarian and Soviet death toll was about 3,000 and the revolution was crushed. (2)

Indonesia

In 1965, in Indonesia, a coup replaced General Sukarno with General Suharto as leader. The U.S. played a role in that change of government. Robert Martens,a former officer in the U.S. embassy in Indonesia, described how U.S. diplomats and CIA officers provided up to 5,000 names to Indonesian Army death squads in 1965 and checked them off as they were killed or captured. Martens admitted that “I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.” (1,2,3) Estimates of the number of deaths range from 500,000 to 3 million. (4,5,6)
From 1993 to 1997 the U.S. provided Jakarta with almost $400 million in economic aid and sold tens of million of dollars of weaponry to that nation. U.S. Green Berets provided training for the Indonesia’s elite force which was responsible for many of atrocities in East Timor. (3)

Iran

Iran lost about 262,000 people in the war against Iraq from 1980 to 1988. (1) See Iraq for more information about that war.

On July 3, 1988 the U.S. Navy ship, the Vincennes, was operating withing Iranian waters providing military support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. During a battle against Iranian gunboats it fired two missiles at an Iranian Airbus, which was on a routine civilian flight. All 290 civilian on board were killed. (2,3)

Iraq

A. The Iraq-Iran War lasted from 1980 to 1988 and during that time there were about 105,000 Iraqi deaths according to the Washington Post. (1,2)

According to Howard Teicher, a former National Security Council official, the U.S. provided the Iraqis with billions of dollars in credits and helped Iraq in other ways such as making sure that Iraq had military equipment including biological agents This surge of help for Iraq came as Iran seemed to be winning the war and was close to Basra. (1) The U.S. was not adverse to both countries weakening themselves as a result of the war, but it did not appear to want either side to win.

B: The U.S.-Iraq War and the Sanctions Against Iraq extended from 1990 to 2003.

Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990 and the U.S. responded by demanding that Iraq withdraw, and four days later the U.N. levied international sanctions.

Iraq had reason to believe that the U.S. would not object to its invasion of Kuwait, since U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, had told Saddam Hussein that the U.S. had no position on the dispute that his country had with Kuwait. So the green light was given, but it seemed to be more of a trap.

As a part of the public relations strategy to energize the American public into supporting an attack against Iraq the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. falsely testified before Congress that Iraqi troops were pulling the plugs on incubators in Iraqi hospitals. (1) This contributed to a war frenzy in the U.S.

The U.S. air assault started on January 17, 1991 and it lasted for 42 days. On February 23 President H.W. Bush ordered the U.S. ground assault to begin. The invasion took place with much needless killing of Iraqi military personnel. Only about 150 American military personnel died compared to about 200,000 Iraqis. Some of the Iraqis were mercilessly killed on the Highway of Death and about 400 tons of depleted uranium were left in that nation by the U.S. (2,3)

Other deaths later were from delayed deaths due to wounds, civilians killed, those killed by effects of damage of the Iraqi water treatment facilities and other aspects of its damaged infrastructure and by the sanctions.

In 1995 the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. reported that U.N sanctions against on Iraq had been responsible for the deaths of more than 560,000 children since 1990. (5)

Leslie Stahl on the TV Program 60 Minutes in 1996 mentioned to Madeleine Albright, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And – and you know, is the price worth it?” Albright replied “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think is worth it.” (4)

In 1999 UNICEF reported that 5,000 children died each month as a result of the sanction and the War with the U.S. (6)

Richard Garfield later estimated that the more likely number of excess deaths among children under five years of age from 1990 through March 1998 to be 227,000 – double those of the previous decade. Garfield estimated that the numbers to be 350,000 through 2000 (based in part on result of another study). (7)

However, there are limitations to his study. His figures were not updated for the remaining three years of the sanctions. Also, two other somewhat vulnerable age groups were not studied: young children above the age of five and the elderly.

All of these reports were considerable indicators of massive numbers of deaths which the U.S. was aware of and which was a part of its strategy to cause enough pain and terror among Iraqis to cause them to revolt against their government.

C: Iraq-U.S. War started in 2003 and has not been concluded

Just as the end of the Cold War emboldened the U.S. to attack Iraq in 1991 so the attacks of September 11, 2001 laid the groundwork for the U.S. to launch the current war against Iraq. While in some other wars we learned much later about the lies that were used to deceive us, some of the deceptions that were used to get us into this war became known almost as soon as they were uttered. There were no weapons of mass destruction, we were not trying to promote democracy, we were not trying to save the Iraqi people from a dictator.

The total number of Iraqi deaths that are a result of our current Iraq against Iraq War is 654,000, of which 600,000 are attributed to acts of violence, according to Johns Hopkins researchers. (1,2)

Since these deaths are a result of the U.S. invasion, our leaders must accept responsibility for them.

Israeli-Palestinian War

About 100,000 to 200,000 Israelis and Palestinians, but mostly the latter, have been killed in the struggle between those two groups. The U.S. has been a strong supporter of Israel, providing billions of dollars in aid and supporting its possession of nuclear weapons. (1,2)

Korea, North and South

The Korean War started in 1950 when, according to the Truman administration, North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25th. However, since then another explanation has emerged which maintains that the attack by North Korea came during a time of many border incursions by both sides. South Korea initiated most of the border clashes with North Korea beginning in 1948. The North Korea government claimed that by 1949 the South Korean army committed 2,617 armed incursions. It was a myth that the Soviet Union ordered North Korea to attack South Korea. (1,2)

The U.S. started its attack before a U.N. resolution was passed supporting our nation’s intervention, and our military forces added to the mayhem in the war by introducing the use of napalm. (1)

During the war the bulk of the deaths were South Koreans, North Koreans and Chinese. Four sources give deaths counts ranging from 1.8 to 4.5 million. (3,4,5,6) Another source gives a total of 4 million but does not identify to which nation they belonged. (7)

John H. Kim, a U.S. Army veteran and the Chair of the Korea Committee of Veterans for Peace, stated in an article that during the Korean War “the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy were directly involved in the killing of about three million civilians – both South and North Koreans – at many locations throughout Korea…It is reported that the U.S. dropped some 650,000 tons of bombs, including 43,000 tons of napalm bombs, during the Korean War.” It is presumed that this total does not include Chinese casualties.

Another source states a total of about 500,000 who were Koreans and presumably only military. (8,9)

Laos

From 1965 to 1973 during the Vietnam War the U.S. dropped over two million tons of bombs on Laos – more than was dropped in WWII by both sides. Over a quarter of the population became refugees. This was later called a “secret war,” since it occurred at the same time as the Vietnam War, but got little press. Hundreds of thousands were killed. Branfman make the only estimate that I am aware of , stating that hundreds of thousands died. This can be interpeted to mean that at least 200,000 died. (1,2,3)

U.S. military intervention in Laos actually began much earlier. A civil war started in the 1950s when the U.S. recruited a force of 40,000 Laotians to oppose the Pathet Lao, a leftist political party that ultimately took power in 1975.

Also See Vietnam

Nepal

Between 8,000 and 12,000 Nepalese have died since a civil war broke out in 1996. The death rate, according to Foreign Policy in Focus, sharply increased with the arrival of almost 8,400 American M-16 submachine guns (950 rpm) and U.S. advisers. Nepal is 85 percent rural and badly in need of land reform. Not surprisingly 42 % of its people live below the poverty level. (1,2)

In 2002, after another civil war erupted, President George W. Bush pushed a bill through Congress authorizing $20 million in military aid to the Nepalese government. (3)

Nicaragua

In 1981 the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza government in Nicaragua, (1) and until 1990 about 25,000 Nicaraguans were killed in an armed struggle between the Sandinista government and Contra rebels who were formed from the remnants of Somoza’s national government. The use of assassination manuals by the Contras surfaced in 1984. (2,3)

The U.S. supported the victorious government regime by providing covert military aid to the Contras (anti-communist guerillas) starting in November, 1981. But when Congress discovered that the CIA had supervised acts of sabotage in Nicaragua without notifying Congress, it passed the Boland Amendment in 1983 which prohibited the CIA, Defense Department and any other government agency from providing any further covert military assistance. (4)

But ways were found to get around this prohibition. The National Security Council, which was not explicitly covered by the law, raised private and foreign funds for the Contras. In addition, arms were sold to Iran and the proceeds were diverted from those sales to the Contras engaged in the insurgency against the Sandinista government. (5) Finally, the Sandinistas were voted out of office in 1990 by voters who thought that a change in leadership would placate the U.S., which was causing misery to Nicaragua’s citizenry by it support of the Contras.

Pakistan

In 1971 West Pakistan, an authoritarian state supported by the U.S., brutally invaded East Pakistan. The war ended after India, whose economy was staggering after admitting about 10 million refugees, invaded East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and defeated the West Pakistani forces. (1)

Millions of people died during that brutal struggle, referred to by some as genocide committed by West Pakistan. That country had long been an ally of the U.S., starting with $411 million provided to establish its armed forces which spent 80% of its budget on its military. $15 million in arms flowed into W. Pakistan during the war. (2,3,4)

Three sources estimate that 3 million people died and (5,2,6) one source estimates 1.5 million. (3)

Panama

In December, 1989 U.S. troops invaded Panama, ostensibly to arrest Manuel Noriega, that nation’s president. This was an example of the U.S. view that it is the master of the world and can arrest anyone it wants to. For a number of years before that he had worked for the CIA, but fell out of favor partially because he was not an opponent of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. (1) It has been estimated that between 500 and 4,000 people died. (2,3,4)

Paraguay: See South America: Operation Condor

Philippines

The Philippines were under the control of the U.S. for over a hundred years. In about the last 50 to 60 years the U.S. has funded and otherwise helped various Philippine governments which sought to suppress the activities of groups working for the welfare of its people. In 1969 the Symington Committee in the U.S. Congress revealed how war material was sent there for a counter-insurgency campaign. U.S. Special Forces and Marines were active in some combat operations. The estimated number of persons that were executed and disappeared under President Fernando Marcos was over 100,000. (1,2)

South America: Operation Condor

This was a joint operation of 6 despotic South American governments (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay) to share information about their political opponents. An estimated 13,000 people were killed under this plan. (1)

It was established on November 25, 1975 in Chile by an act of the Interamerican Reunion on Military Intelligence. According to U.S. embassy political officer, John Tipton, the CIA and the Chilean Secret Police were working together, although the CIA did not set up the operation to make this collaboration work. Reportedly, it ended in 1983. (2)

On March 6, 2001 the New York Times reported the existence of a recently declassified State Department document revealing that the United States facilitated communications for Operation Condor. (3)

Sudan

Since 1955, when it gained its independence, Sudan has been involved most of the time in a civil war. Until about 2003 approximately 2 million people had been killed. It not known if the death toll in Darfur is part of that total.

Human rights groups have complained that U.S. policies have helped to prolong the Sudanese civil war by supporting efforts to overthrow the central government in Khartoum. In 1999 U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) who said that she offered him food supplies if he would reject a peace plan sponsored by Egypt and Libya.

In 1978 the vastness of Sudan’s oil reservers was discovered and within two years it became the sixth largest recipient of U.S, military aid. It’s reasonable to assume that if the U.S. aid a government to come to power it will feel obligated to give the U.S. part of the oil pie.

A British group, Christian Aid, has accused foreign oil companies of complicity in the depopulation of villages. These companies – not American – receive government protection and in turn allow the government use of its airstrips and roads.

In August 1998 the U.S. bombed Khartoum, Sudan with 75 cruise míssiles. Our government said that the target was a chemical weapons factory owned by Osama bin Laden. Actually, bin Laden was no longer the owner, and the plant had been the sole supplier of pharmaceutical supplies for that poor nation. As a result of the bombing tens of thousands may have died because of the lack of medicines to treat malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases. The U.S. settled a lawsuit filed by the factory’s owner. (1,2)

Uruguay: See South America: Operation Condor

Vietnam

In Vietnam, under an agreement several decades ago, there was supposed to be an election for a unified North and South Vietnam. The U.S. opposed this and supported the Diem government in South Vietnam. In August, 1964 the CIA and others helped fabricate a phony Vietnamese attack on a U.S. ship in the Gulf of Tonkin and this was used as a pretext for greater U.S. involvement in Vietnam. (1)

During that war an American assassination operation,called Operation Phoenix, terrorized the South Vietnamese people, and during the war American troops were responsible in 1968 for the mass slaughter of the people in the village of My Lai.

According to a Vietnamese government statement in 1995 the number of deaths of civilians and military personnel during the Vietnam War was 5.1 million. (2)

Since deaths in Cambodia and Laos were about 2.7 million (See Cambodia and Laos) the estimated total for the Vietnam War is 7.8 million.

The Virtual Truth Commission provides a total for the war of 5 million, (3) and Robert McNamara, former Secretary Defense, according to the New York Times Magazine says that the number of Vietnamese dead is 3.4 million. (4,5)

Yugoslavia

Yugoslavia was a socialist federation of several republics. Since it refused to be closely tied to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, it gained some suport from the U.S. But when the Soviet Union dissolved, Yugoslavia’s usefulness to the U.S. ended, and the U.S and Germany worked to convert its socialist economy to a capitalist one by a process primarily of dividing and conquering. There were ethnic and religious differences between various parts of Yugoslavia which were manipulated by the U.S. to cause several wars which resulted in the dissolution of that country.

From the early 1990s until now Yugoslavia split into several independent nations whose lowered income, along with CIA connivance, has made it a pawn in the hands of capitalist countries. (1) The dissolution of Yugoslavia was caused primarily by the U.S. (2)

Here are estimates of some, if not all, of the internal wars in Yugoslavia. All wars: 107,000; (3,4)

Bosnia and Krajina: 250,000; (5) Bosnia: 20,000 to 30,000; (5) Croatia: 15,000; (6) and

Kosovo: 500 to 5,000. (7)

NOTES

Afghanistan

1.Mark Zepezauer, Boomerang (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2003), p.135.

2.Chronology of American State Terrorism
http://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_
terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html

3.Soviet War in Afghanistan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_war_in_Afghanistan

4.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.76

5.U.S Involvement in Afghanistan, Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_war_in Afghanistan)

6.The CIA’s Intervention in Afghanistan, Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998, Posted at globalresearch.ca 15 October 2001, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BRZ110A.html

7.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p.5

8.Unknown News, http://www.unknownnews.net/casualtiesw.html

Angola

1.Howard W. French “From Old Files, a New Story of the U.S. Role in the Angolan War” New York Times 3/31/02

2.Angolan Update, American Friends Service Committee FS, 11/1/99 flyer.

3.Norman Solomon, War Made Easy, (John Wiley & Sons, 2005) p. 82-83.

4.Lance Selfa, U.S. Imperialism, A Century of Slaughter, International Socialist Review Issue 7, Spring 1999 (as appears in Third world Traveler www. thirdworldtraveler.com/American_Empire/Century_Imperialism.html)

5. Jeffress Ramsay, Africa , (Dushkin/McGraw Hill Guilford Connecticut), 1997, p. 144-145.

6.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.54.

Argentina : See South America: Operation Condor

Bolivia

1. Phil Gunson, Guardian, 5/6/02,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/archive /article/0,4273,41-07884,00.html

2.Jerry Meldon, Return of Bolilvia’s Drug – Stained Dictator, Consortium,www.consortiumnews.com/archives/story40.html.

Brazil See South America: Operation Condor

Cambodia

1.Virtual Truth Commissiion http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/ .

2.David Model, President Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and the Bombing of Cambodia excerpted from the book Lying for Empire How to Commit War Crimes With A Straight Face, Common Courage Press, 2005, paperhttp://thirdworldtraveler.com/American_Empire/Nixon_Cambodia_LFE.html.

3.Noam Chomsky, Chomsky on Cambodia under Pol Pot, etc.,http//zmag.org/forums/chomcambodforum.htm.

Chad

1.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 151-152 .

2.Richard Keeble, Crimes Against Humanity in Chad, Znet/Activism 12/4/06http://www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=11560&sectionID=1).

Chile

1.Parenti, Michael, The Sword and the Dollar (New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1989) p. 56.

2.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 142-143.

3.Moreorless: Heroes and Killers of the 20th Century, Augusto Pinochet Ugarte,

http://www.moreorless.au.com/killers/pinochet.html

4.Associated Press,Pincohet on 91st Birthday, Takes Responsibility for Regimes’s Abuses, Dayton Daily News 11/26/06

5.Chalmers Johnson, Blowback, The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2000), p. 18.

China: See Korea

Colombia

1.Chronology of American State Terrorism, p.2

http://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html).

2.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 163.

3.Millions Killed by Imperialism Washington Post May 6, 2002)http://www.etext.org./Politics/MIM/rail/impkills.html

4.Gabriella Gamini, CIA Set Up Death Squads in Colombia Times Newspapers Limited, Dec. 5, 1996,www.edu/CommunicationsStudies/ben/news/cia/961205.death.html).

5.Virtual Truth Commission, 1991

Human Rights Watch Report: Colombia’s Killer Networks–The Military-Paramilitary Partnership).

Cuba

1.St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture – on Bay of Pigs Invasionhttp://bookrags.com/Bay_of_Pigs_Invasion.

2.Wikipedia http://bookrags.com/Bay_of_Pigs_Invasion#Casualties.

Democratic Republic of Congo (Formerly Zaire)

1.F. Jeffress Ramsey, Africa (Guilford Connecticut, 1997), p. 85

2. Anup Shaw The Democratic Republic of Congo, 10/31/2003)http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Africa/DRC.asp)

3.Kevin Whitelaw, A Killing in Congo, U. S. News and World Reporthttp://www.usnews.com/usnews/doubleissue/mysteries/patrice.htm

4.William Blum, Killing Hope (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), p 158-159.

5.Ibid.,p. 260

6.Ibid.,p. 259

7.Ibid.,p.262

8.David Pickering, “World War in Africa, 6/26/02,
www.9-11peace.org/bulletin.php3

9.William D. Hartung and Bridget Moix, Deadly Legacy; U.S. Arms to Africa and the Congo War, Arms Trade Resource Center, January , 2000www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms/reports/congo.htm

Dominican Republic

1.Norman Solomon, (untitled) Baltimore Sun April 26, 2005
http://www.globalpolicy.org/empire/history/2005/0426spincycle.htm
Intervention Spin Cycle

2.Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Power_Pack

3.William Blum, Killing Hope (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), p. 175.

4.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.26-27.

East Timor

1.Virtual Truth Commission, http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/date4.htm

2.Matthew Jardine, Unraveling Indonesia, Nonviolent Activist, 1997)

3.Chronology of American State Terrorismhttp://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html

4.William Blum, Killing Hope (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), p. 197.

5.US trained butchers of Timor, The Guardian, London. Cited by The Drudge Report, September 19, 1999. http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/indon.htm

El Salvador

1.Robert T. Buckman, Latin America 2003, (Stryker-Post Publications Baltimore 2003) p. 152-153.

2.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 54-55.

3.El Salvador, Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Salvador#The_20th_century_and_beyond)

4.Virtual Truth Commissiion http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/.

Grenada

1.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p. 66-67.

2.Stephen Zunes, The U.S. Invasion of Grenada,http://wwwfpif.org/papers/grenada2003.html .

Guatemala

1.Virtual Truth Commissiion http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/

2.Ibid.

3.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.2-13.

4.Robert T. Buckman, Latin America 2003 (Stryker-Post Publications Baltimore 2003) p. 162.

5.Douglas Farah, Papers Show U.S. Role in Guatemalan Abuses, Washington Post Foreign Service, March 11, 1999, A 26

Haiti

1.Francois Duvalier,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Duvalier#Reign_of_terror).

2.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p 87.

3.William Blum, Haiti 1986-1994: Who Will Rid Me of This Turbulent Priest,http://www.doublestandards.org/blum8.html

Honduras

1.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 55.

2.Reports by Country: Honduras, Virtual Truth Commissionhttp://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/honduras.htm

3.James A. Lucas, Torture Gets The Silence Treatment, Countercurrents, July 26, 2004.

4.Gary Cohn and Ginger Thompson, Unearthed: Fatal Secrets, Baltimore Sun, reprint of a series that appeared June 11-18, 1995 in Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, School of Assassins, p. 46 Orbis Books 2001.

5.Michael Dobbs, Negroponte’s Time in Honduras at Issue, Washington Post, March 21, 2005

Hungary

1.Edited by Malcolm Byrne, The 1956 Hungarian Revoluiton: A history in Documents November 4, 2002http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB76/index2.htm

2.Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia,
http://www.answers.com/topic/hungarian-revolution-of-1956

Indonesia

1.Virtual Truth Commission http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/.

2.Editorial, Indonesia’s Killers, The Nation, March 30, 1998.

3.Matthew Jardine, Indonesia Unraveling, Non Violent Activist Sept–Oct, 1997 (Amnesty) 2/7/07.

4.Sison, Jose Maria, Reflections on the 1965 Massacre in Indonesia, p. 5.http://qc.indymedia.org/mail.php?id=5602;

5.Annie Pohlman, Women and the Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966: Gender Variables and Possible Direction for Research, p.4,http://coombs.anu.edu.au/SpecialProj/ASAA/biennial-conference/2004/Pohlman-A-ASAA.pdf

6.Peter Dale Scott, The United States and the Overthrow of Sukarno, 1965-1967, Pacific Affairs, 58, Summer 1985, pages 239-264.http://www.namebase.org/scott.

7.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.30.

Iran

1.Geoff Simons, Iraq from Sumer to Saddam, 1996, St. Martins Press, NY p. 317.

2.Chronology of American State Terrorismhttp://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html.

3.BBC 1988: US Warship Shoots Down Iranian Airlinerhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/default.stm )

Iraq

Iran-Iraq War

1.Michael Dobbs, U.S. Had Key role in Iraq Buildup, Washington Post December 30, 2002, p A01 http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A52241-2002Dec29?language=printer

2.Global Security.Org , Iran Iraq War (1980-1980)globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/iran-iraq.htm.

U.S. Iraq War and Sanctions

1.Ramsey Clark, The Fire This Time (New York, Thunder’s Mouth), 1994, p.31-32

2.Ibid., p. 52-54

3.Ibid., p. 43

4.Anthony Arnove, Iraq Under Siege, (South End Press Cambridge MA 2000). p. 175.

5.Food and Agricultural Organizaiton, The Children are Dying, 1995 World View Forum, Internationa Action Center, International Relief Association, p. 78

6.Anthony Arnove, Iraq Under Siege, South End Press Cambridge MA 2000. p. 61.

7.David Cortright, A Hard Look at Iraq Sanctions December 3, 2001, The Nation.

U.S-Iraq War 2003-?

1.Jonathan Bor 654,000 Deaths Tied to Iraq War Baltimore Sun , October 11,2006

2.News http://www.unknownnews.net/casualties.html

Israeli-Palestinian War

1.Post-1967 Palestinian & Israeli Deaths from Occupation & Violence May 16, 2006 http://globalavoidablemortality.blogspot.com/2006/05/post-1967-palestinian-israeli-deaths.html)

2.Chronology of American State Terrorism

http://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html

Korea

1.James I. Matray Revisiting Korea: Exposing Myths of the Forgotten War, Korean War Teachers Conference: The Korean War, February 9, 2001http://www.truman/library.org/Korea/matray1.htm

2.William Blum, Killing Hope (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), p. 46

3.Kanako Tokuno, Chinese Winter Offensive in Korean War – the Debacle of American Strategy, ICE Case Studies Number 186, May, 2006http://www.american.edu/ted/ice/chosin.htm.

4.John G. Stroessinger, Why Nations go to War, (New York; St. Martin’s Press), p. 99)

5.Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, as reported in Answers.comhttp://www.answers.com/topic/Korean-war

6.Exploring the Environment: Korean Enigmawww.cet.edu/ete/modules/korea/kwar.html)

7.S. Brian Wilson, Who are the Real Terrorists? Virtual Truth Commissonhttp://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/

8.Korean War Casualty Statistics www.century china.com/history/krwarcost.html)

9.S. Brian Wilson, Documenting U.S. War Crimes in North Korea (Veterans for Peace Newsletter) Spring, 2002) http://www.veteransforpeace.org/

Laos

1.William Blum Rogue State (Maine, Common Cause Press) p. 136

2.Chronology of American State Terrorismhttp://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html

3.Fred Branfman, War Crimes in Indochina and our Troubled National Soul

www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2004/08/00_branfman_us-warcrimes-indochina.htm).

Nepal

1.Conn Hallinan, Nepal & the Bush Administration: Into Thin Air, February 3, 2004

fpif.org/commentary/2004/0402nepal.html.

2.Human Rights Watch, Nepal’s Civil War: the Conflict Resumes, March 2006 )

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/03/28/nepal13078.htm.

3.Wayne Madsen, Possible CIA Hand in the Murder of the Nepal Royal Family, India Independent Media Center, September 25, 2001http://india.indymedia.org/en/2002/09/2190.shtml.

Nicaragua

1.Virtual Truth Commission
http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/.

2.Timeline Nicaragua
www.stanford.edu/group/arts/nicaragua/discovery_eng/timeline/).

3.Chronology of American State Terrorism,
http://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html.

4.William Blum, Nicaragua 1981-1990 Destabilization in Slow Motion

www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Blum/Nicaragua_KH.html.

5.Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Contra_Affair.

Pakistan

1.John G. Stoessinger, Why Nations Go to War, (New York: St. Martin’s Press), 1974 pp 157-172.

2.Asad Ismi, A U.S. – Financed Military Dictatorship, The CCPA Monitor, June 2002, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives http://www.policyaltematives.ca)www.ckln.fm/~asadismi/pakistan.html

3.Mark Zepezauer, Boomerang (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2003), p.123, 124.

4.Arjum Niaz ,When America Look the Other Way by,

www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=2821&sectionID=1

5.Leo Kuper, Genocide (Yale University Press, 1981), p. 79.

6.Bangladesh Liberation War , Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh_Liberation_War#USA_and_USSR)

Panama

1.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’s Greatest Hits, (Odonian Press 1998) p. 83.

2.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p.154.

3.U.S. Military Charged with Mass Murder, The Winds 9/96,www.apfn.org/thewinds/archive/war/a102896b.html

4.Mark Zepezauer, CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.83.

Paraguay See South America: Operation Condor

Philippines

1.Romeo T. Capulong, A Century of Crimes Against the Filipino People, Presentation, Public Interest Law Center, World Tribunal for Iraq Trial in New York City on August 25,2004.
http://www.peoplejudgebush.org/files/RomeoCapulong.pdf).

2.Roland B. Simbulan The CIA in Manila – Covert Operations and the CIA’s Hidden Hisotry in the Philippines Equipo Nizkor Information – Derechos, derechos.org/nizkor/filipinas/doc/cia.

South America: Operation Condor

1.John Dinges, Pulling Back the Veil on Condor, The Nation, July 24, 2000.

2.Virtual Truth Commission, Telling the Truth for a Better Americawww.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/condor.htm)

3.Operation Condorhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Condor#US_involvement).

Sudan

1.Mark Zepezauer, Boomerang, (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2003), p. 30, 32,34,36.

2.The Black Commentator, Africa Action The Tale of Two Genocides: The Failed US Response to Rwanda and Darfur, 11 August 2006http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/091706X.shtml.

Uruguay See South America: Operation Condor

Vietnam

1.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine:Common Courage Press,1994), p 24

2.Casualties – US vs NVA/VC,
http://www.rjsmith.com/kia_tbl.html.

3.Brian Wilson, Virtual Truth Commission
http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/

4.Fred Branfman, U.S. War Crimes in Indochiona and our Duty to Truth August 26, 2004

www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=6105&sectionID=1

5.David K Shipler, Robert McNamara and the Ghosts of Vietnamnytimes.com/library/world/asia/081097vietnam-mcnamara.html

Yugoslavia

1.Sara Flounders, Bosnia Tragedy:The Unknown Role of the Pentagon in NATO in the Balkans (New York: International Action Center) p. 47-75

2.James A. Lucas, Media Disinformation on the War in Yugoslavia: The Dayton Peace Accords Revisited, Global Research, September 7, 2005 http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=
viewArticle&code=LUC20050907&articleId=899

3.Yugoslav Wars in 1990s
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslav_wars.

4.George Kenney, The Bosnia Calculation: How Many Have Died? Not nearly as many as some would have you think., NY Times Magazine, April 23, 1995

http://www.balkan-archive.org.yu/politics/
war_crimes/srebrenica/bosnia_numbers.html
)

5.Chronology of American State Terrorism

http://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/
ChronologyofTerror.html.

6.Croatian War of Independence, Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_War_of_Independence

7.Human Rights Watch, New Figures on Civilian Deaths in Kosovo War, (February 7, 2000) http://www.hrw.org/press/2000/02/nato207.htm.

An American Century of Carnage

Global Research, March 31, 2017
TomDispatch.com 28 March 2017

[This essay is adapted from “Measuring Violence,” the first chapter of John Dower’s new book, The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War Two.]

On February 17, 1941, almost 10 months before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Life magazine carried a lengthy essay by its publisher, Henry Luce, entitled “The American Century.” The son of Presbyterian missionaries, born in China in 1898 and raised there until the age of 15, Luce essentially transposed the certainty of religious dogma into the certainty of a nationalistic mission couched in the name of internationalism.

Luce acknowledged that the United States could not police the whole world or attempt to impose democratic institutions on all of mankind. Nonetheless, “the world of the 20th Century,” he wrote,

“if it is to come to life in any nobility of health and vigor, must be to a significant degree an American Century.” The essay called on all Americans “to accept wholeheartedly our duty and our opportunity as the most powerful and vital nation in the world and in consequence to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such measures as we see fit.”

Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor propelled the United States wholeheartedly onto the international stage Luce believed it was destined to dominate, and the ringing title of his cri de coeur became a staple of patriotic Cold War and post-Cold War rhetoric. Central to this appeal was the affirmation of a virtuous calling. Luce’s essay singled out almost every professed ideal that would become a staple of wartime and Cold War propaganda: freedom, democracy, equality of opportunity, self-reliance and independence, cooperation, justice, charity — all coupled with a vision of economic abundance inspired by “our magnificent industrial products, our technical skills.” In present-day patriotic incantations, this is referred to as “American exceptionalism.”

The other, harder side of America’s manifest destiny was, of course, muscularity. Power. Possessing absolute and never-ending superiority in developing and deploying the world’s most advanced and destructive arsenal of war. Luce did not dwell on this dimension of “internationalism” in his famous essay, but once the world war had been entered and won, he became its fervent apostle — an outspoken advocate of “liberating” China from its new communist rulers, taking over from the beleaguered French colonial military in Vietnam, turning both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts from “limited wars” into opportunities for a wider virtuous war against and in China, and pursuing the rollback of the Iron Curtain with “tactical atomic weapons.” As Luce’s incisive biographer Alan Brinkley documents, at one point Luce even mulled the possibility of “plastering Russia with 500 (or 1,000) A bombs” — a terrifying scenario, but one that the keepers of the U.S. nuclear arsenal actually mapped out in expansive and appalling detail in the 1950s and 1960s, before Luce’s death in 1967.

The “American Century” catchphrase is hyperbole, the slogan never more than a myth, a fantasy, a delusion. Military victory in any traditional sense was largely a chimera after World War II. The so-called Pax Americana itself was riddled with conflict and oppression and egregious betrayals of the professed catechism of American values. At the same time, postwar U.S. hegemony obviously never extended to more than a portion of the globe. Much that took place in the world, including disorder and mayhem, was beyond America’s control.

Yet, not unreasonably, Luce’s catchphrase persists. The twenty-first-century world may be chaotic, with violence erupting from innumerable sources and causes, but the United States does remain the planet’s “sole superpower.” The myth of exceptionalism still holds most Americans in its thrall. U.S. hegemony, however frayed at the edges, continues to be taken for granted in ruling circles, and not only in Washington. And Pentagon planners still emphatically define their mission as “full-spectrum dominance” globally.

Washington’s commitment to modernizing its nuclear arsenal rather than focusing on achieving the thoroughgoing abolition of nuclear weapons has proven unshakable. So has the country’s almost religious devotion to leading the way in developing and deploying ever more “smart” and sophisticated conventional weapons of mass destruction.

Welcome to Henry Luce’s — and America’s — violent century, even if thus far it’s lasted only 75 years. The question is just what to make of it these days.

Counting the Dead

We live in times of bewildering violence. In 2013, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told a Senate committee that the world is “more dangerous than it has ever been.” Statisticians, however, tell a different story: that war and lethal conflict have declined steadily, significantly, even precipitously since World War II.

Much mainstream scholarship now endorses the declinists. In his influential 2011 book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker adopted the labels “the Long Peace” for the four-plus decades of the Cold War (1945-1991), and “the New Peace” for the post-Cold War years to the present. In that book, as well as in post-publication articles, postings, and interviews, he has taken the doomsayers to task. The statistics suggest, he declares, that “today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’s existence.”

Clearly, the number and deadliness of global conflicts have indeed declined since World War II. This so-called postwar peace was, and still is, however, saturated in blood and wracked with suffering.

It is reasonable to argue that total war-related fatalities during the Cold War decades were lower than in the six years of World War II (1939–1945) and certainly far less than the toll for the twentieth century’s two world wars combined. It is also undeniable that overall death tolls have declined further since then. The five most devastating intrastate or interstate conflicts of the postwar decades — in China, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and between Iran and Iraq — took place during the Cold War. So did a majority of the most deadly politicides, or political mass killings, and genocides: in the Soviet Union, China (again), Yugoslavia, North Korea, North Vietnam, Sudan, Nigeria, Indonesia, Pakistan/Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, and Cambodia, among other countries. The end of the Cold War certainly did not signal the end of such atrocities (as witness Rwanda, the Congo, and the implosion of Syria). As with major wars, however, the trajectory has been downward.

Unsurprisingly, the declinist argument celebrates the Cold War as less violent than the global conflicts that preceded it, and the decades that followed as statistically less violent than the Cold War. But what motivates the sanitizing of these years, now amounting to three-quarters of a century, with the label “peace”? The answer lies largely in a fixation on major powers. The great Cold War antagonists, the United States and the Soviet Union, bristling with their nuclear arsenals, never came to blows. Indeed, wars between major powers or developed states have become (in Pinker’s words) “all but obsolete.” There has been no World War III, nor is there likely to be.

Such upbeat quantification invites complacent forms of self-congratulation. (How comparatively virtuous we mortals have become!) In the United States, where we-won-the-Cold-War sentiment still runs strong, the relative decline in global violence after 1945 is commonly attributed to the wisdom, virtue, and firepower of U.S. “peacekeeping.” In hawkish circles, nuclear deterrence — the Cold War’s MAD (mutually assured destruction) doctrine that was described early on as a “delicate balance of terror” — is still canonized as an enlightened policy that prevented catastrophic global conflict.

What Doesn’t Get Counted

Branding the long postwar era as an epoch of relative peace is disingenuous, and not just because it deflects attention from the significant death and agony that actually did occur and still does. It also obscures the degree to which the United States bears responsibility for contributing to, rather than impeding, militarization and mayhem after 1945. Ceaseless U.S.-led transformations of the instruments of mass destruction — and the provocative global impact of this technological obsession — are by and large ignored.

Continuities in American-style “warfighting” (a popular Pentagon word) such as heavy reliance on airpower and other forms of brute force are downplayed. So is U.S. support for repressive foreign regimes, as well as the destabilizing impact of many of the nation’s overt and covert overseas interventions. The more subtle and insidious dimension of postwar U.S. militarization — namely, the violence done to civil society by funneling resources into a gargantuan, intrusive, and ever-expanding national security state — goes largely unaddressed in arguments fixated on numerical declines in violence since World War II.

Beyond this, trying to quantify war, conflict, and devastation poses daunting methodological challenges. Data advanced in support of the decline-of-violence argument is dense and often compelling, and derives from a range of respectable sources. Still, it must be kept in mind that the precise quantification of death and violence is almost always impossible. When a source offers fairly exact estimates of something like “war-related excess deaths,” you usually are dealing with investigators deficient in humility and imagination.

Take, for example, World War II, about which countless tens of thousands of studies have been written. Estimates of total “war-related” deaths from that global conflict range from roughly 50 million to more than 80 million. One explanation for such variation is the sheer chaos of armed violence. Another is what the counters choose to count and how they count it. Battle deaths of uniformed combatants are easiest to determine, especially on the winning side. Military bureaucrats can be relied upon to keep careful records of their own killed-in-action — but not, of course, of the enemy they kill. War-related civilian fatalities are even more difficult to assess, although — as in World War II — they commonly are far greater than deaths in combat.

Does the data source go beyond so-called battle-related collateral damage to include deaths caused by war-related famine and disease? Does it take into account deaths that may have occurred long after the conflict itself was over (as from radiation poisoning after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or from the U.S. use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War)? The difficulty of assessing the toll of civil, tribal, ethnic, and religious conflicts with any exactitude is obvious.

Concentrating on fatalities and their averred downward trajectory also draws attention away from broader humanitarian catastrophes. In mid-2015, for instance, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that the number of individuals “forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations” had surpassed 60 million and was the highest level recorded since World War II and its immediate aftermath. Roughly two-thirds of these men, women, and children were displaced inside their own countries. The remainder were refugees, and over half of these refugees were children.

Here, then, is a trend line intimately connected to global violence that is not heading downward. In 1996, the U.N.’s estimate was that there were 37.3 million forcibly displaced individuals on the planet. Twenty years later, as 2015 ended, this had risen to 65.3 million — a 75% increase over the last two post-Cold War decades that the declinist literature refers to as the “new peace.”

Other disasters inflicted on civilians are less visible than uprooted populations. Harsh conflict-related economic sanctions, which often cripple hygiene and health-care systems and may precipitate a sharp spike in infant mortality, usually do not find a place in itemizations of military violence. U.S.-led U.N. sanctions imposed against Iraq for 13 years beginning in 1990 in conjunction with the first Gulf War are a stark example of this. An account published in the New York Times Magazine in July 2003 accepted the fact that “at least several hundred thousand children who could reasonably have been expected to live died before their fifth birthday.” And after all-out wars, who counts the maimed, or the orphans and widows, or those the Japanese in the wake of World War II referred to as the “elderly orphaned” — parents bereft of their children?

Figures and tables, moreover, can only hint at the psychological and social violence suffered by combatants and noncombatants alike. It has been suggested, for instance, that one in six people in areas afflicted by war may suffer from mental disorder (as opposed to one in ten in normal times). Even where American military personnel are concerned, trauma did not become a serious focus of concern until 1980, seven years after the U.S. retreat from Vietnam, when post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was officially recognized as a mental-health issue.

In 2008, a massive sampling study of 1.64 million U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq between October 2001 and October 2007 estimated “that approximately 300,000 individuals currently suffer from PTSD or major depression and that 320,000 individuals experienced a probable TBI [traumatic brain injury] during deployment.” As these wars dragged on, the numbers naturally increased. To extend the ramifications of such data to wider circles of family and community — or, indeed, to populations traumatized by violence worldwide — defies statistical enumeration.

Terror Counts and Terror Fears

Largely unmeasurable, too, is violence in a different register: the damage that war, conflict, militarization, and plain existential fear inflict upon civil society and democratic practice. This is true everywhere but has been especially conspicuous in the United States since Washington launched its “global war on terror” in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Here, numbers are perversely provocative, for the lives claimed in twenty-first-century terrorist incidents can be interpreted as confirming the decline-in-violence argument. From 2000 through 2014, according to the widely cited Global Terrorism Index, “more than 61,000 incidents of terrorism claiming over 140,000 lives have been recorded.” Including September 11th, countries in the West experienced less than 5% of these incidents and 3% of the deaths. The Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, another minutely documented tabulation based on combing global media reports in many languages, puts the number of suicide bombings from 2000 through 2015 at 4,787 attacks in more than 40 countries, resulting in 47,274 deaths.

These atrocities are incontestably horrendous and alarming. Grim as they are, however, the numbers themselves are comparatively low when set against earlier conflicts. For specialists in World War II, the “140,000 lives” estimate carries an almost eerie resonance, since this is the rough figure usually accepted for the death toll from a single act of terror bombing, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The tally is also low compared to contemporary deaths from other causes. Globally, for example, more than 400,000 people are murdered annually. In the United States, the danger of being killed by falling objects or lightning is at least as great as the threat from Islamist militants.

This leaves us with a perplexing question: If the overall incidence of violence, including twenty-first-century terrorism, is relatively low compared to earlier global threats and conflicts, why has the United States responded by becoming an increasingly militarized, secretive, unaccountable, and intrusive “national security state”? Is it really possible that a patchwork of non-state adversaries that do not possess massive firepower or follow traditional rules of engagement has, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared in 2013, made the world more threatening than ever?

For those who do not believe this to be the case, possible explanations for the accelerating militarization of the United States come from many directions. Paranoia may be part of the American DNA — or, indeed, hardwired into the human species. Or perhaps the anticommunist hysteria of the Cold War simply metastasized into a post-9/11 pathological fear of terrorism. Machiavellian fear-mongering certainly enters the picture, led by conservative and neoconservative civilian and military officials of the national security state, along with opportunistic politicians and war profiteers of the usual sort. Cultural critics predictably point an accusing finger as well at the mass media’s addiction to sensationalism and catastrophe, now intensified by the proliferation of digital social media.

To all this must be added the peculiar psychological burden of being a “superpower” and, from the 1990s on, the planet’s “sole superpower” — a situation in which “credibility” is measured mainly in terms of massive cutting-edge military might. It might be argued that this mindset helped “contain Communism” during the Cold War and provides a sense of security to U.S. allies. What it has not done is ensure victory in actual war, although not for want of trying. With some exceptions (Grenada, Panama, the brief 1991 Gulf War, and the Balkans), the U.S. military has not tasted victory since World War II — Korea, Vietnam, and recent and current conflicts in the Greater Middle East being boldface examples of this failure. This, however, has had no impact on the hubris attached to superpower status. Brute force remains the ultimate measure of credibility.

The traditional American way of war has tended to emphasize the “three Ds” (defeat, destroy, devastate). Since 1996, the Pentagon’s proclaimed mission is to maintain “full-spectrum dominance” in every domain (land, sea, air, space, and information) and, in practice, in every accessible part of the world. The Air Force Global Strike Command, activated in 2009 and responsible for managing two-thirds of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, typically publicizes its readiness for “Global Strike… Any Target, Any Time.”

In 2015, the Department of Defense acknowledged maintaining 4,855 physical “sites” — meaning bases ranging in size from huge contained communities to tiny installations — of which 587 were located overseas in 42 foreign countries. An unofficial investigation that includes small and sometimes impermanent facilities puts the number at around 800 in 80 countries. Over the course of 2015, to cite yet another example of the overwhelming nature of America’s global presence, elite U.S. special operations forces were deployed to around 150 countries, and Washington provided assistance in arming and training security forces in an even larger number of nations.

America’s overseas bases reflect, in part, an enduring inheritance from World War II and the Korean War. The majority of these sites are located in Germany (181), Japan (122), and South Korea (83) and were retained after their original mission of containing communism disappeared with the end of the Cold War. Deployment of elite special operations forces is also a Cold War legacy (exemplified most famously by the Army’s “Green Berets” in Vietnam) that expanded after the demise of the Soviet Union. Dispatching covert missions to three-quarters of the world’s nations, however, is largely a product of the war on terror.

Many of these present-day undertakings require maintaining overseas “lily pad” facilities that are small, temporary, and unpublicized. And many, moreover, are integrated with covert CIA “black operations.” Combating terror involves practicing terror — including, since 2002, an expanding campaign of targeted assassinations by unmanned drones. For the moment, this latest mode of killing remains dominated by the CIA and the U.S. military (with the United Kingdom and Israel following some distance behind).

Counting Nukes

The “delicate balance of terror” that characterized nuclear strategy during the Cold War has not disappeared. Rather, it has been reconfigured. The U.S. and Soviet arsenals that reached a peak of insanity in the 1980s have been reduced by about two-thirds — a praiseworthy accomplishment but one that still leaves the world with around 15,400 nuclear weapons as of January 2016, 93% of them in U.S. and Russian hands. Close to two thousand of the latter on each side are still actively deployed on missiles or at bases with operational forces.

This downsizing, in other words, has not removed the wherewithal to destroy the Earth as we know it many times over. Such destruction could come about indirectly as well as directly, with even a relatively “modest” nuclear exchange between, say, India and Pakistan triggering a cataclysmic climate shift — a “nuclear winter” — that could result in massive global starvation and death. Nor does the fact that seven additional nations now possess nuclear weapons (and more than 40 others are deemed “nuclear weapons capable”) mean that “deterrence” has been enhanced. The future use of nuclear weapons, whether by deliberate decision or by accident, remains an ominous possibility. That threat is intensified by the possibility that nonstate terrorists may somehow obtain and use nuclear devices.

What is striking at this moment in history is that paranoia couched as strategic realism continues to guide U.S. nuclear policy and, following America’s lead, that of the other nuclear powers. As announced by the Obama administration in 2014, the potential for nuclear violence is to be “modernized.” In concrete terms, this translates as a 30-year project that will cost the United States an estimated $1 trillion (not including the usual future cost overruns for producing such weapons), perfect a new arsenal of “smart” and smaller nuclear weapons, and extensively refurbish the existing delivery “triad” of long-range manned bombers, nuclear-armed submarines, and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads.

Nuclear modernization, of course, is but a small portion of the full spectrum of American might — a military machine so massive that it inspired President Obama to speak with unusual emphasis in his State of the Union address in January 2016.

“The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth,” he declared. “Period. Period. It’s not even close. It’s not even close. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined.”

Official budgetary expenditures and projections provide a snapshot of this enormous military machine, but here again numbers can be misleading. Thus, the “base budget” for defense announced in early 2016 for fiscal year 2017 amounts to roughly $600 billion, but this falls far short of what the actual outlay will be. When all other discretionary military- and defense-related costs are taken into account — nuclear maintenance and modernization, the “war budget” that pays for so-called overseas contingency operations like military engagements in the Greater Middle East, “black budgets” that fund intelligence operations by agencies including the CIA and the National Security Agency, appropriations for secret high-tech military activities, “veterans affairs” costs (including disability payments), military aid to other countries, huge interest costs on the military-related part of the national debt, and so on — the actual total annual expenditure is close to $1 trillion.

Such stratospheric numbers defy easy comprehension, but one does not need training in statistics to bring them closer to home. Simple arithmetic suffices. The projected bill for just the 30-year nuclear modernization agenda comes to over $90 million a day, or almost $4 million an hour. The $1 trillion price tag for maintaining the nation’s status as “the most powerful nation on Earth” for a single year amounts to roughly $2.74 billion a day, over $114 million an hour.

Creating a capacity for violence greater than the world has ever seen is costly — and remunerative.
So an era of a “new peace”? Think again. We’re only three quarters of the way through America’s violent century and there’s more to come.

John W. Dower is professor emeritus of history at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He is the author of the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning War Without Mercy and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Embracing Defeat. His new book, The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War Two (Dispatch Books), has just been published. This essay is adapted from chapter one of that densely annotated book. (Sources for the information above appear in the footnotes in that book.)

UNICEF: 1.4 Million Children Could Die from Famine in Africa, Yemen

Yemeni child

Local Editor

Nearly 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death from hunger in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, the UN children’s agency warned.

Yemeni child

In Yemen, with war tearing the country apart for two years, some 462,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, UNICEF said.

The Saudi-led strikes on Yemen don’t make the situation any better: in January, the UN warned that over 7,000 people had died in the attacks and about two-thirds of the population is in need of humanitarian aid.

At the same time, 450,000 children are malnourished in northeast Nigeria, and the famine early warning group Fews Net expressed concern that some remote areas of the Nigerian state of Borno are already in famine.

Fews Net also warned that should the disaster go on, aid agencies wouldn’t be able to get to the remote area.

In Somalia, the drought saw 185,000 children malnourished, and these numbers look set to skyrocket to 270,000 over the next few months, according to UNICEF.

Some 270,000 children are currently malnourished in South Sudan and a famine has just been declared in the north of the country.

UNICEF urged the world for prompt response, with Executive Director Anthony Lake saying “we can still save many lives.”

“Time is running out for more than a million children,” Lake added. “The severe malnutrition and looming famine are largely man-made. Our common humanity demands faster action. We must not repeat the tragedy of the 2011 famine in the Horn of Africa.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by Website Team

22-02-2017 | 09:22

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Trump: Trumpeting For a War on Iran?

Global Research, February 06, 2017
donald-trump-iran

The Trump Administration’s rhetoric and actions have alarmed the world.  The protests in response to his visa ban have overshadowed and distracted from a darker threat: war with Iran.   Is the fear of the threat greater than the threat itself?  The answer is not clear.

Certainly Americans and non-Americans who took comfort in the fact that we would have a more peaceful world believing that ‘Trump would not start a nuclear war with Russia must now have reason to pause.  The sad and stark reality is that US foreign policy is continuous.    An important part of this continuity is a war that has been waged against Iran for the past 38 years⎯unabated.

The character of this war has changed over time.  From a failed coup which attempted to destroy  the Islamic Republic in its early days (the Nojeh Coup), to aiding Saddam Hossein with intelligence and weapons of mass destruction to kill Iranians during the 8-year Iran-Iraq war, helping and promoting the terrorist MEK group, the training and recruiting of the Jundallah terrorist group to launch attacks in Iran, putting Special Forces on the ground in Iran, the imposition of sanctioned terrorism, the lethal Stuxnet cyberattack,  and the list goes on and on, as does the continuity of it.

While President Jimmy Carter initiated the Rapid Deployment Force and put boots on the Ground in the Persian Gulf, virtually every U.S. president since has threatened Iran with military action.  It is hard to remember when the option was not on the table.  However, thus far, every U.S. administration has wisely avoided a head on military confrontation with Iran.

To his credit, although George W. Bush was egged on to engage militarily with Iran, , the 2002 Millennium Challenge, exercises which simulated war, demonstrated America’s inability to win a war with Iran.   The challenge was too daunting.  It is not just Iran‘s formidable defense forces that have to be reckoned with; but the fact that one of Iran’s strengths and deterrents has been its ability to retaliate to any attack by closing down the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow passageway off the coast of Iran.  Given that 17 million barrels of oil a day, or 35% of the world’s seaborne oil exports go through the Strait of Hormuz, incidents in the Strait would be fatal for the world economy.

Faced with this reality, over the years, the United States has taken a multi-prong approach to prepare for an eventual/potential military confrontation with Iran.  These plans have included promoting the false narrative of an imaginary threat from a non-existent nuclear weapon and the falsehood of Iran being engaged in terrorism (when in fact Iran has been subjected to terrorism for decades as illustrated above).   These ‘alternate facts’ have enabled the United States to rally friend and foe against Iran, and to buy itself time to seek alternative routes to the Strait of Hormuz.

Plan B: West Africa and Yemen

In early 2000s, the renowned British think tank Chatham House issued one of the first publications that determined African oil would be a good alternate to Persian Gulf oil in case of oil disruption. This followed an earlier strategy paper for the U.S. to move toward African oil⎯The African White Paper⎯that was on the desk May 31, 2000 of then U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, a former CEO of energy giant Halliburton. In 2002, the Israeli-based think tank, IASPS, suggested America push toward African oil.   In an interesting coincidence, in the same year, the Nigerian terror group, Boko Haram, was “founded”.

In 2007, the United States African Command (AFRICOM) helped consolidate this push into the region.  The 2011, a publication titled: “Globalizing West African Oil: US ‘energy security’ and the global economy” outlined ‘US positioning itself to use military force to ensure African oil continued to flow to the United States’.   This was but one strategy to supply oil in addition to or as an alternate to the passage of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.

Nigeria and Yemen took on new importance.

In 2012, several alternate routes to Strait of Hormuz were identified which at the time of the report were considered to be limited in capacity and more expensive.   However, collectively, the West African oil and control of Bab Al-Mandeb would diminish the strategic importance of the Strait of Hormuz in case of war.

In his article for the Strategic Culture Foundation, “The Geopolitics Behind the War in Yemen: The Start of a New Front against Iran” geo-political researcher Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya correctly states: “[T] he US wants to make sure that it could control the Bab Al-Mandeb, the Gulf of Aden, and the Socotra Islands (Yemen). Bab Al-Mandeb it is an important strategic chokepoint for international maritime trade and energy shipments that connect the Persian Gulf via the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea via the Red Sea. It is just as important as the Suez Canal for the maritime shipping lanes and trade between Africa, Asia, and Europe.”

War on Iran has never been a first option. The neoconservative think tank, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), argued in its 2004 policy paper “The Challenges of U.S. Preventive Military Action” that the ideal situation was (and continues to be) to have a compliant regime in Tehran.  Instead of direct conflict, the policy paper [a must read] called for the assassination of scientists, introducing a malware, covertly provide Iran plans with a design flaw, sabotage, introduce viruses, etc.  These suggestions were fully and faithfully executed against Iran.

With the policy enacted, much of the world sighed with relief when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA , or the “Iran Nuclear Deal” which restricts Iran’s domestic nuclear power in exchange for the lifting of sanctions on Iran) was signed in the naïve belief that a war with Iran had been alleviated.   Obama’s genius was in his execution of U.S. policies which disarmed and disbanded the antiwar movements.  But the JCPOA was not about improved relations with Iran, it was about undermining it.  As recently as April 2015, as the signing of the JCPOA was drawing near, during a speech at the Army War College Strategy Conference, then Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work elaborated on how the Pentagon plans to counter the three types of wars supposedly being waged by Iran, Russia, and China.

As previously planned, the purpose of the JCPOA was to pave the way for a compliant regime in Tehran faithful to Washington, failing that, Washington would be better prepared for war for  under the JCPOA, Iran would open itself up to inspections.  In other words, the plan would act as a Trojan horse to provide America with targets and soft spots.  Apparently the plan was not moving forward fast enough to please Obama, or Trump.  In direct violation of international law and concepts of state sovereignty, the Obama administration slammed sanctions on Iran for testing missiles.   Iran’s missile program was and is totally separate from the JCPOA and Iran is within its sovereign rights and within the framework of international law to build conventional missiles.

Trump followed suit. Trump ran on a campaign of changing Washington and his speeches were full of contempt for Obama; ironically, like Obama, candidate Trump continued the tactic of disarming many by calling himself a deal maker, a businessman who would create jobs, and for his rhetoric of non-interference.    But few intellectuals paid attention to his fighting words, and fewer still heeded the advisors he surrounded himself with or they would have noted that Trump considers Islam as the number one enemy, followed by Iran, China, and Russia.

The ideology of those he has picked to serve in his administration reflect the contrarian character of Trump and indicate their support of this continuity in US foreign policy.  Former intelligence chief and Trump’s current National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, stated that the Obama administration willfully allowed the rise of ISIS, yet the newly appointed Pentagon Chief “Mad Dog Mattis” has stated: “I consider ISIS nothing more than an excuse for Iran to continue its mischief.”  So the NSC (National Security Council) believes that Obama helped ISIS rise and the Pentagon believes that ISIS helps Iran continue its ‘mischief’.  Is it any wonder that Trump is both confused and confusing?

And is it any wonder that when on January 28th Trump signed an Executive Order calling for a plan to defeat ISIS in 30 days the US, UK, France and Australia ran war games drill in the Persian Gulf that simulated a confrontation with Iran⎯ the country that has, itself, been fighting ISIS.   When Iran exercised its right, by international law, to test a missile, the United States lied and accused Iran of breaking the JCPOA. Threats and new sanctions ensued.

Trump, the self-acclaimed dealmaker who took office on the promise of making new jobs, slammed more sanctions on Iran. Sanctions take jobs away from Americans by prohibiting business with Iran, and they also compel Iranians to become fully self-sufficient, breaking the chains of neo-colonialism. What a deal!

Even though Trump has lashed out at friend and foe, Team Trump has realized that when it comes to attacking a formidable enemy, it cannot do it alone.   Although both in his book, Time to Get Tough, and on his campaign trails he has lashed out at Saudi Arabia, in an about face, he has not included Saudis and other Arab state sponsors of terror on his travel ban list.   It would appear that someone whispered in Mr. Trump’s ear that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar are fighting America’s dirty war in Yemen (and in Syria) and killing Yemenis.  In fact, the infamous Erik Prince, founder of the notorious Blackwater who is said to be advising Trump from the shadows, received a $120 million contract from the Obama Administration, and for the past several years has been working with Arab countries, UAE in particular, in the “security” and “training” of militias in the Gulf of Aden, Yemen.

So will there be a not so distant military confrontation with Iran?

Not if sanity prevails.  And with Trump and his generals, that is a big IF While for many years the foundation has been laid and preparations made for a potential military confrontation with Iran, it has always been a last resort; not because the American political elite did not want war, but because they cannot win THIS war. For 8 years, Iran fought not just Iraq, but virtually the whole world.   America and its allies funded Saddam’s war against Iran, gave it intelligence and weaponry, including weapons of mass destruction.  In a period when Iran was reeling from a revolution, its army was in disarray, its population virtually one third of the current population, and its supply of US provided weapons halted Yet Iran prevailed. Various American administrations have come to the realization that while it may take a village to fight Iran, attacking Iran would destroy the global village.

It is time for us to remind Trump that we don’t want to lose our village.

This article was first submitted to the print edition of Worldwide Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) newsletter.  

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on US foreign policy.

Obama’s Legacy In Africa: Terrorism, Civil War & Military Expansion

Obama’s Legacy In Africa: Terrorism, Civil War & Military Expansion      

Independent geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser examines the effect of the Obama administration on Africa. What he finds is less hope and change, and more chaos and death.

The corporate media is predictably churning out nauseating retrospectives of Obama’s presidency, gently soothing Americans to sleep with fairy tales about the progressive accomplishments of President Hope and Change.

But amid the selective memory and doublethink which passes for sophisticated punditry within the controlled media matrix, let us not forget that in Africa the name Barack Obama is now synonymous with destabilization, death, and destruction.

The collective gasps of liberals grow to a deafening roar at the mere suggestion that Obama is more sinner than saint, but perhaps it would be useful to review the facts and the record rather than the carefully constructed mythos being shoehorned into history books under the broad heading of “Legacy.”

 

‘Africa’s future is up to Africans’

US President Barack Obama walks with Ghana President John Atta Mills, right, at the Presidential Palace in Accra, Ghana, July 11, 2009. (AP/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

US President Barack Obama walks with Ghana President John Atta Mills, right, at the Presidential Palace in Accra, Ghana, July 11, 2009. (AP/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

In the summer of 2009, little more than six months after being inaugurated, President Obama stood before the Ghanaian Parliament to deliver a speech intended to set the tone for his administration’s Africa policy. In addressing a crowd of hundreds in the Ghanaian capital, he was, in fact, speaking directly to millions of Africans all over the continent and throughout the diaspora. For if Obama represented Hope and Change for the people of the United States, that was doubly true for African people.

In that mostly forgettable speech, Obama declared:

“We must start from the simple premise that Africa’s future is up to Africans … the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants.”

Building prosperity, shedding corruption and tyranny, and taking on poverty and disease, he said
“can only be done if you take responsibility for your future. And it won’t be easy. It will take time and effort. There will be suffering and setbacks. But I can promise you this: America will be with you every step of the way, as a partner, as a friend.”

Despite being the First Black President, Obama’s words and deeds with respect to Africa perfectly embody “the White Man’s Burden” — that desire to help those poor, lowly wretches whose poverty, corruption, disease, and violence must be the product of some natural deficiency. Surely, five centuries of colonialism, combined with Obama-style imperial arrogance, had nothing to do with it.

Women wearing traditional dresses bearing the image of President Barack Obama chant his name after he addressed the Ghanaian Parliament in Accra, Ghana,, July 11, 2009. (AP/Charles Dharapak)

Women wearing traditional dresses bearing the image of President Barack Obama chant his name after he addressed the Ghanaian Parliament in Accra, Ghana,, July 11, 2009. (AP/Charles Dharapak)

But let us take Obama’s words at face value and evaluate whether Obama was able to live up to those high-minded and idealistic goals throughout his two terms in office.

Obama repeatedly stressed African agency, arguing that the United States and the West cannot solve Africa’s problems for her. Instead, he argued that the United States will be a “partner” and a “friend.” And yet, within two years of the pledge to let Africans resolve their own problems, U.S.-NATO jets were dropping bombs on Libya in support of al-Qaida-linked terrorists who would topple and brutally assassinate Moammar Gadhafi, perhaps the single strongest voice for African independence and self-sufficiency.

Considering the tens of thousands of deaths and the utter destruction and dissolution of Libya into warring tribal militias and multiple fragmented governments barely able to be called legitimate, it is particularly galling that Obama stood before the United Nations and declared the U.S.-NATO war on Libya to be a success. Exactly one month before Gadhafi’s heinous torture and assassination, Obama arrogantly stated on Sept. 20, 2011:

“This is how the international community should work in the 21st century — more nations bearing the responsibility and the costs of meeting global challenges. In fact, this is the very purpose of this United Nations. So every nation represented here today can take pride in the innocent lives we saved and in helping Libyans reclaim their country. It was the right thing to do.”

Yes, the very same president who two years earlier proclaimed that “Africa’s future is up to Africans” was a champion of French, British, Italian, and U.S. military forces imposing their will on a prosperous and independent African nation, transforming it into a chaotic and bloody failed state. So much for Hope and Change.

But of course the tragic story of Libya does not stop with just the destruction of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the assassination of Gadhafi. Rather, the war on Libya opened the floodgates for weapons smuggling, terrorism and destabilization all over the African continent. According to a 2013 report by the U.N. Security Council’s Group of Experts:

“Cases, both proven and under investigation, of illicit transfers from Libya in violation of the embargo cover more than 12 countries and include heavy and light weapons, including man-portable air defense systems, small arms and related ammunition and explosives and mines.”

The report continued, warning that “illicit flows from the country are fueling [sic] existing conflicts in Africa and the Levant and enriching the arsenals of a range of non-State actors, including terrorist groups.”

A photo from 2011 shows buildings ravaged by fighting in Sirte, Libya. Islamic State militants have controlled the city since August 2015. The U.S. military has announced ongoing airstrikes against targets in Sirte.

A photo from 2011 shows buildings ravaged by fighting in Sirte, Libya. ISIS militants have controlled the city since August 2015 as the U.S. military has carried out airstrikes against targets in Sirte, and other Libyan cities.

“The proliferation of weapons from Libya continues at an alarming rate.”

Indeed, those weapons flowing from Libya have directly fueled the civil war in Mali, facilitated the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria, empowered the terror group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and led to the rise of terrorist gangs and death squads in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, and elsewhere on the continent. In effect, Obama’s war on Libya was the opening salvo of a continent-wide destabilization the effects of which are still being felt today and likely will continue to be felt for years, if not decades, to come.

With these troubling facts in mind, we return to Obama’s speech in Ghana, where he haughtily pronounced that the West is not responsible for Africa’s problems. Naturally, any student of colonialism and African history would immediately object to such selective memory. One wonders whether decades from now, when the legacy of the wars and terrorism that grew out of Obama’s policies is still being felt, another president will stand before Africa and again chastise her for not solving her own problems.

 

Obama: The smiling face of neo-colonialism

President Barack Obama smiles before he addresses the Ghanaian Parliament in Accra, Ghana, July 11, 2009. (AP/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama smiles before he addresses the Ghanaian Parliament in Accra, Ghana, July 11, 2009. (AP/Charles Dharapak)

Were Obama’s crimes against peace in Africa limited only to the war on Libya and its effects, one could simply call it a blunder of historical proportions. But Obama had much more blood to spill in Africa while expanding the U.S. military footprint there.

Primary among these initiatives to grow the U.S. military presence in Africa was the expansion of the U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM. In June of 2013, Ebrahim Shabbir Deen of the Johannesburg-based Afro-Middle East Centre noted:

“[AFRICOM] has surreptitiously managed to infuse itself into various African militaries. This has been accomplished mainly through military-to-military partnerships which the command has with fifty-one of Africa’s fifty-five states. In many instances, these partnerships involve African militaries ceding operational command to AFRICOM.”

In fact, while President George W. Bush was responsible for the establishment of AFRICOM, it was Obama who expanded it into a continental military force into which national military forces have been subsumed. In effect, Obama was able to make African nations, and especially their militaries, into wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Pentagon and U.S. military-industrial complex. But it’s ok, Obama did it with a smile and with the credibility of the “native son” of the continent.

Similarly, Obama is directly responsible for the ongoing bloodshed in South Sudan, where he championed the separatism which led to the creation of that country and the predictable civil war which has followed. Obama declared in 2011 upon the formal independence of South Sudan that: “Today is a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible. A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn.” But Obama may have spoken too soon, as the darkness of war drags on in the devastated country where a “new dawn” seems about as likely as Obama admitting his failure.

And while Obama, as usual, waxed poetic about independence and freedom, the reality is that his backing of South Sudan was more about gaining a geopolitical advantage against China than about high-minded ideals.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright, outgoing Africa Command commander Gen. William Ward, and the new Africa Command commander Gen. Carter Ham, center from left, take part in the AFRICOM change of command ceremony at the City Hall in Sindelfingen near Stuttgart, Germany, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. (AP/Mandel Ngan)

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright, outgoing Africa Command commander Gen. William Ward, and the new Africa Command commander Gen. Carter Ham, center from left, take part in the AFRICOM change of command ceremony at the City Hall in Sindelfingen near Stuttgart, Germany, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. (AP/Mandel Ngan)

Similarly, Obama used the expanded capabilities of U.S. military and CIA in Africa to greatly increase the Pentagon and Langley’s presence in Somalia. As Jeremy Scahill reported in The Nation in December of 2014:

“The CIA runs a counterterrorism training program for Somali intelligence agents and operatives aimed at building an indigenous strike force capable of snatch operations and targeted ‘combat’ operations against members of Al Shabab, an Islamic militant group with close ties to Al Qaeda.

As part of its expanding counterterrorism program in Somalia, the CIA also uses a secret prison buried in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters … Some of the prisoners have been snatched off the streets of Kenya and rendered by plane to Mogadishu.”

It should be noted that the policies — the crimes against peace — highlighted here represent only a fraction of the eight years of Obama policies on the continent; a complete accounting of Obama’s crimes against Africa would likely require a book-length analysis. The intent here is to illustrate that the man who stood before Africa professing to be a friend was as much friend to Africa as the hangman is to the condemned.

Were it someone other than the first black president, perhaps there might have been an outcry at the rape and plunder of the continent, the militarization and destabilization of Africa. And yet, throughout the past eight years, there has been a deafening silence from liberals whose ideals and values apparently extend only as far as party loyalty allows.

In a beautifully precise term coined by Glen Ford, executive editor of Black Agenda Report, Obama represented not the lesser, but “the more effective,” evil. And when it came to Africa, that was doubly true. Who but Obama could have destroyed nations, fomented terrorism, plundered the wealth, and militarized and destabilized the entire continent all while flashing a hypnotic grin?

For the African people, however, Obama’s perfect teeth and intoxicating smile hide a forked tongue. And as for Obama’s Africa “legacy,” it can be found in the graveyards of Libya, Nigeria, and beyond.

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Daesh Generations أجيال “داعش”

15 كانون الثاني ,2017  13:54 مساء

يعمل تنظيم “داعش” الذي ملأ الدنيا بالدماء وشغل الناس بالقتل والتفجير والتفخيخ والحرق والإبادة على توريث منهاجه من أجل إقامة الخلافة الإسلامية لأجيال جديدة من “داعش” والتي لا تتوفر عنها أي قاعدة بيانات ومعلومات كصورهم وأسمائهم الحقيقية وتاريخهم في العمل المسلح ومناطق وجودهم في العراق أو سورية والعالم العربي والإسلامي والغرب، ويمكن القول إن الجيل الأول من الجهاديين هو الجيل المتدين والذي تبنى العنف والتشدد وحمل على الدول الطاغوتية الكافرة بزعمه، ثم الجيل الثاني الذي تمثل في القاعدة حيث بدأت هذه الأخيرة تهتم بالتنظيم والسرية والعمل الاستخباري، وبرز بعد ذلك جيل ثالث من الجهاديين ممثلاً في “داعش” الذي استفاد من كل الذين قادوا العمل المسلح ضد دولهم ومجتمعاتهم وأضاف المزيد من الأساليب المبتكرة باجتهاد الدم.

ويذهب الخبراء الغربيون ومنهم جيل كيبل إلى القول أن الجيل الثالث من “داعش” موجود في معظم العواصم الغربية كخلايا نائمة بناء على تنظير لأبي مصعب السوري الذي طرح مشروع استهداف أوروبا التي تبقى في جميع الأحوال أقرب إلى ساحة العمليات وأضعف من أميركا، فضلاً عن أن أوروبا تمثل بيئة خصبة لتجنيد الملايين من المسلمين الأوروبيين أو المهاجرين أو حتى المعتنقين الجدد للإسلام، والجيل الثالث للسلفية الجهادية هو جيل شاب فغالبية عناصرها من جيل عشريني وثلاثيني ويتسم خطابهم بتشدد وعدوانية للمخالفين أكثر من الأجيال السابقة، فقد تميز كل من الجيل الأول والثاني من السلفية الجهادية بمحاربة العدو البعيد، بينما ركز الجيل الثالث على المخالف الطائفي والعقائدي فقط.

ويذهب بعض الخبراء إلى القول أن نهاية “داعش” لن تكون وشيكة لأنها مرتبطة بمصالح استراتيجية عملاقة للولايات المتحدة الأميركية والكيان العبري وبريطانيا ثالوث التخصص في تدمير العالم العربي والإسلامي، و قد بدأت “داعش” تتمدد في سيناء المصرية وليبيا وصولاً إلى إفريقيا وتعمل على التمدد في الدول الخليجية والساحة الأوروبية، ويسود لدى فئة من الشباب الأوروبي المسلم شعور بالإحباط والسخط تجاه المجتمع، هم شباب ثائرون يبحثون عن قضية يضحون من أجلها، ويجدون في الجهاد ضالتهم المثالية، لأنهم يعتقدون أن الجهاد عمل بطولي، وأن صورهم ستنتشر في ليلة وضحاها على أعمدة جميع الصحف وسيصبحون حديث الجميع.. كما يقول الخبير الفرنسي أوليفر روي الباحث في الحركات الإسلامية.

 

Love Him or Hate Him, Fidel Castro Had a Huge Impact on the World

Posted on November 26, 2016

 photo castro_zpszv0jnymo.jpg

The Cuban Revolution, 1959

The passing of Fidel Castro is being mourned by some and celebrated by others, but one thing that can’t be denied, even by his detractors, is that the Cuban leader had a major impact on the world.

The Cuban Missile Crisis and the alliance Castro forged with Russia have perhaps been cited more so than anything else in the media obits published today. Much less attention is being given to the Cuban health care system that became a model for the world to emulate, although the New York Times does touch on it briefly.

“What a rich experience we have had, to live the two periods of Cuba–capitalism and socialism,” said Concepcion Garcia, a 55-year-old woman  in Havana. The report continues:

She removed her glasses and pointed at her eyes.

“I have the revolution and Fidel to thank for this cataract surgery,” she said, adding that she would not have been able to afford the procedure without Cuba’s socialized medical care. It did not cost her a cent, she said.

“He put Cuba on the map,” Ms. Garcia added, “and the world has recognized that.”

Her neighbor Josue Carmon Arramo, 57, chimed in: “His life may be over, but his work will live on.”

“This story will not die, because we are followers of his ideas of nationalism and solidarity of the Cuban people,” he said. “That’s who we are.”

Back in the 1990s when I was doing work for a radio station in California, I frequented the Cuban website Granma, which posted commentaries by Castro on various issues. In addition to the US-imposed economic blockade, the Cuban president often addressed issues in the wider world at large, including the conflict between Palestine and Israel–and he was a vocal, outspoken supporter of the Palestinians.

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Yasser Arafat on visit to Cuba in 1974

Cuba extended recognition to the PLO when it was founded in 1964, and Yasser Arafat made several trips to Cuba, where he was welcomed as a legitimate head of state.

“The Cubans trained Palestinian cadres, and Fidel himself was a staunch advocate of the Palestinian quest for freedom and independence,” said Mansour Tahboub, former acting director of the Arafat Foundation.

In those days revolutionary movements were breaking out in many other parts of the world as well, particularly in Africa. This included Libya…

casgaddafi

Castro with Muammar Gaddafi

South Africa…

castmandela

With Nelson Mandela

And Angola, where Cuba sent 25,000 troops in 1975 to back the Peoples Movement for the Liberation of Angola. The MPLA succeeded in overthrowing Portuguese rule in Angola. Most of us think of “regime change” as something done by the US, but Cuba did it too. The 1970s basically brought about the end of colonialist rule in much of Africa, and many of the revolutionary movements supported by Cuba ended up overthrowing regimes backed by the US–which probably had a lot to do with why the US so obstinately and belligerently maintained its economic embargo over Cuba for as long as it did, this in the face of overwhelming support for Cuba shown by much of the rest of the world.

In fact, it got to be something of an annual theater of the absurd at the United Nations, where every year, going back to 1991, the General Assembly would voteon a resolution calling for an end to the US embargo. Year after year the countries of the world, by a lopsided majority, voted in favor of the measure, with the US and Israel often casting the lone votes against.

Although it’s just speculation on my part, Cuba’s success at regime change may well have been the inspiration for the Oded Yinon plan, which was adopted by Israel in 1982. The timing, at any rate, would seem to be about right.

The US managed to assassinate Castro’s fellow revolutionary, Che Guevara, in 1967, but they were never able to assassinate Castro himself despite numerous efforts (some say as many as 600 attempts ) . This is an accomplishment in its own right.

Whether you love him or hate him, what can’t be denied is that Fidel Castro profoundly shaped the world we live in.

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