August 2013        

US aggression: a familiar story

The continuing attempts by the American media to go to war in Syria have been stepped up in recent weeks with claims that the Syrian government has been using chemical weapons, something we have all heard before over many decades of US imperialism and its continuing love affair with war and all things military.
     Yet history has shown that the United States will use any method and tell any amount of lies to advance its position in global affairs.
     In 1898 the US government used the pretext of the mysterious sinking of the warship Maine to declare war on Spain. The American public were baying for war because of the spreading of lies that said that Spanish forces were raping women in Cuba. These stories were exacerbated by the yellow press, especially the New York Journal, owned by William Randolph Hearst, and the World, owned by Joseph Pulitzer.
     Some years later it was disclosed that the Maine sank because of a fire in its coal bunker, but that was soon forgotten.
     America’s involvement in the First World War was again triggered by a fallacy, after a German submarine sank the English liner Lusitania. The sinking could not have come at a better time for the British and American forces. The First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, had written to the Board of Trade some weeks earlier: “It is most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores in the hopes especially of embroiling the United States with Germany.”
     Well, it worked, because soon afterwards the United States declared war on Germany. It was not disclosed until some years later that the Lusitania was carrying rifle ammunition for the war effort. It was another classic American story of deceit to get involved in conflict.
     We are familiar with the classic 1970s American film Tora Tora Tora! which we watched as children, about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and Admiral Yamamoto saying, ”Gentlemen, I’m afraid we have awoken a sleeping giant.” The facts, as usual, are completely different.
     Two weeks before the attack the Honolulu Advertiser had predicted it, and seven days before, on 6 December, Japanese naval codes were broken. Ten days before the attack the US Secretary of State, Henry Stimson, known as a hawk, wrote in his diary the following remarks about the president, Franklin D. Roosevelt: “He brought up the event that we are likely to be attacked perhaps next Monday, for the Japanese are notorious for making an attack without warning, and the question was what we should do. The question was how we should manoeuvre them into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.”
     American records released in 2011 show that Roosevelt knew the attacks were going to take place three days before, on 6 December.
     In August 1964 the famous Gulf of Tonkin incident took place, when the American destroyer Maddox, which was conducting electronic espionage, claimed it was fired on by North Vietnamese forces for a second time on 4 August. President Lyndon Johnson used this as a way of showing the American public that this “attack” was typical of Vietnamese “communist aggression,” and within a short period the Congress passed laws allowing the United States to go to war.
     In 2005 a historical study by the National Security Agency showed that no attack happened on 4 August 1964; yet more than three million Vietnamese and hundreds of thousands of Cambodians and Laotians died needlessly.
     10 October 1990 saw another shameful act of American aggression when Nayirah al-Sabah declared for all to see at the US congressional human rights caucus that she had witnessed Iraqi troops taking Kuwaiti babies from their incubators. This led to President George Bush (senior) lending his support to Kuwait in its war against Iraq. After the invasion it was disclosed that Nayirah al-Sabah was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. The incident also showed how NGOs like Amnesty International can be used to suit American interests, as her comments were at first corroborated by them.
     The disgraceful invasion of Iraq by many different countries but in particular the United States and Britain in 2003 was on what is now known to be the false excuse that Iraq was stockpiling “weapons of mass destruction.” The mass propaganda was fed by a press that claims to be free and unbiased, yet any good investigator would have shown that Iraq had no such weapons and that the removal of the Iraqi president was its intention from the beginning. Yet hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis have died needlessly, and still do to this day.

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