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Why of War

Posted in the database on Sunday, November 20th, 2005 @ 00:44:30 MST (4580 views)
by Steven L. Fornal      

Untitled Document

THIS ARTICLE WILL challenge the premise put forth by United States President George Bush as to why an aggressive campaign to remove Saddam Hussein was necessary. A brief, but hugely instructive, history of American foreign policy initiatives will demonstrate why the implementation of democracy has never been and will never be the operative motivation regarding U.S. actions abroad (or, indeed at home).

The New World

Ruthless invasion, wholesale confiscation, and genocide created America, as a reading of Howard Zinn's well documented A People's History of the United States clearly shows. Powered by the stolen wealth of South America, which served as the engine for a newfound system of operation called capitalism, England, Spain, France, and Holland were among the first nations to claim this land as their own during the 17th Century. Unending waves of immigration brought to these peopled shores European hordes looking to better their lives. Soon the thirteen original colonies thrived on trade with the Old World.

A Nation Is Born

By the end of the 18th Century, however the leaders of this new world bitterly resented their colonial ties to Europe. The prime motivating factor of their discontent was the taxation/tribute exacted by the Motherland England. Thus ensued the American Revolution. But, it soon became apparent that the Articles of Confederation (drafted in 1776 and passed by the Continental Congress in 1777) which governed the colonies had become increasingly problematic. Two major schools of thought developed regarding this issue: The Anti-Federalists, who wanted true people-based democracy; and the Federalists, who believed they would be better off by creating an article of law that would provide for the country to be controlled by the wealthy and propertied class. The rationale for the latter point of view was eloquently conveyed via The Federalist Papers written in 1787-1788, by Founding Fathers James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. Reduced to their most elemental, The Federalist Papers put forth the argument that, "The people who own the country ought to govern it." (John Jay, Author of the Constitution, President of the Continental Congress, and first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court).

"At the heart of the differing ideological assumptions that divided the two camps were the Federalists' commitment to what they called republican government and the Anti-Federalists' much greater preference for notions of participatory democracy...For Madison and the Federalists the essential aspect of republican government, government by representative officials as opposed to by the people themselves, which recommended it most persuasively was its filtering effect." [1] In other words, the less the people were involved in democracy the better, more efficient would be governance by the elite. Of course, what logically follows, is the paradigm of an elite class deciding what is important and must be acted upon.

To wit, "...to refine and enlarge the public views by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country...Under such a regulation it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves...Extend the sphere and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength and to act in unison with each other."[2]

The Founding Fathers were white, monied and propertied. Only a decade after the American Revolution there were some rather egregious problems confronting this class. "Money capital was suffering in two ways under the Articles of Confederation. It was handicapped in seeking profitable outlets by the absence of protection for manufactures, the lack of security in investments in western lands, and discriminations against American shipping by foreign countries. It was also being positively attacked by the makers of paper money, stay laws, pine barren acts, and other devices for depreciating the currency or delaying the collection of debts...Creditors, naturally enough, resisted all of these schemes of the state legislatures, and failing to find relief there at length turned to the idea of a national government so constructed as to prevent laws impairing the obligation of contract, emitting paper money, and otherwise benefiting debtors...It was to the interest of the creditors to see the currency appreciate, to facilitate the process for securing possession of forfeited mortgaged property, and to hold the rigor of the law before the debtor who was untrue to his obligations...The government under the Articles of Confederation was not paying the interest on its debt and its paper had depreciated until it was selling at from one-sixth to one-twentieth of its par value...The advantage of a strong national government that could discharge this debt at its face value is obvious; and it was fully understood at the time." [3]

Further proof of the economic imperative as substrate for our Constitution is provided by the following example during George Washington's first administration, "when Congress's power to tax and appropriate money was immediately put to use by the Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton...Hamilton, believing that government must ally itself with the richest elements of society to make itself strong, proposed to Congress a series of laws, which it enacted, expressing this philosophy. A Bank of the United States was set up as a partnership between the government and certain banking interests. A tariff was passed to help the manufacturers. It was agreed to pay bondholders-- most of the war bonds were now concentrated in a small group of wealthy people --the full value of their bonds. Tax laws were passed to raise money for this bond redemption...One of these tax laws was the Whiskey Tax, which especially hurt small farmers who raised grain that they converted into whiskey and then sold. In 1794 the farmers of western Pennsylvania took up arms and rebelled against the collection of this tax. Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton led the troops to put them down." [4]

Hence, our Constitution of the United States of America, a document meant to serve and protect a distinct minority class: Elite white males.

America Grows By Leaps And Bounds

Fifteen years after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, President Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of America via the Louisiana Purchase (1803) from France. Twenty years later, less than fifty years after the American Revolution, popularly rendered as throwing off the yoke of tyranny, President James Monroe declared the "Monroe Doctrine" (1823) which made very clear the intentions of America vis-à-vis Latin America: It's our backyard. Stay out! Another twenty years and America took Texas from Mexico. Thus was the concept "Manifest Destiny" fully implemented.

Filibusterer William Walker (Bush's middle namesake), "operating on behalf of bankers Morgan and Garrison, invaded Central America at the head of a band of assassins. With the obliging support of the U.S. government, Walker robbed, killed, burned, and in successive expeditions proclaimed himself president of Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras...He was welcomed back to the United States as a national hero." [5]

"The idea of Manifest Destiny was foreshadowed by some of the writings during the revolutionary times, with the desire for Canada in the period between the American War for Independence and the War of 1812. It rationalized the Louisiana Purchase and United States' support for Texas independence and annexation...More broadly stated, Manifest Destiny was a conviction that God intended North America to be under the control of Americans. It's a kind of early projection of Anglo-Saxon supremacy and there's a racist element to it...Texas annexation seemed to be a part of the natural expansion of the United States -- a logical sequel to the Louisiana Purchase." [6]

The ultimate defeat of Mexico came in 1848. The ultimate humiliation, however came in the form of the Mexican Cession which ceded to the United States land that today comprises all of California, Nevada and Utah, most of Arizona, and parts of Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. The Gadsden Purchase of 1853 filled out Arizona and New Mexico to their present boundaries. Along with the confiscation of the Oregon Territory, the United States filled out its continental dimensions. The population pushed west primarily via the railroad. "In the thirty years leading up to the Civil War, the law was increasingly interpreted in the courts to suit the capitalist development of the country...English commonlaw was no longer holy when it stood in the way of business growth. Mill owners were given the legal right to destroy other people's property by flood to carry on their business. The law of 'eminent domain' was used to take farmers' land and give it to canal companies or railroad companies as subsidies. Judgments for damages against businessmen were taken out of the hands of juries, which were unpredictable, and given to judges. Private settlement of disputes by arbitration was replaced by court settlements, creating more dependence on lawyers, and the legal profession gained in importance. The ancient idea of a fair price for goods gave way in the courts to the idea of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware), thus throwing generations of consumers from that time on to the mercy of businessmen." [7]

By 1886, "the (U.S. Supreme) Court had accepted the argument that corporations were 'persons' and their money was property protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Supposedly, the Amendment had been passed to protect Negro rights, but of the Fourteenth Amendment cases brought before the Supreme Court between 1890 and 1910, nineteen dealt with the Negro, 288 dealt with corporations...In 1893, Supreme Court Justice David J. Brewer, addressing the New York State Bar Association, said: 'It is the unvarying law that the wealth of the community will be in the hands of the few...The great majority of men are unwilling to endure that long self-denial and saving which makes accumulations possible...and hence it always has been, and until human nature is remodeled always will be true, that the wealth of a nation is in the hands of a few, while the many subsist upon the proceeds of their daily toil'." [8]

A State Department list, "Instances of the Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad," (1962) gives 103 examples of armed intervention against foreign nations between 1798 and 1895; most in Latin America, the United States' backyard.

World Wars Open Doors Of Opportunity

Lecturing at Columbia University in 1907, Woodrow Wilson stated, "Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process...the doors of the nations which are closed must be battered down." During Wilson's 1912 presidential campaigning he said, "Our domestic markets no longer suffice, we need foreign markets." In May 1914 he stated his full support for "the righteous conquest of foreign markets." Wilson's Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan, praised his President for opening "the doors of all the weaker countries to an invasion of American capital and American Enterprise." [9]

Strong pronouncements? Let's compare to the statement made by President William H. Taft in 1912: "The day is not far distant when three Stars and Stripes at three equidistant points will mark our territory: one at the North Pole, another at the Panama Canal, and the third at the South Pole. The whole hemisphere will be ours in fact as, by virtue of our superiority of race, it already is ours morally." [10]

Taft further maintained that U.S. foreign policy, "may well be made to include active intervention to secure for our merchandise and our capitalists opportunity for profitable investment." [11]

The First World War was waged by "advanced capitalist countries...fighting over boundaries, colonies, spheres of influence...Ten million people were to die on the battlefield; 20 million were to die of hunger and disease related to the war." [12]

It must be noted that in America from the first third of the 19th Century and well into the 20th, agitation in advancement of trade unions and worker rights and socialist demands percolated through the laboring classes. Woodrow Wilson himself suggested, "We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks." [13]

Numerous rebellions, riots, strikes, et cetera took place and were violently put down by agents of the government; federal, state and local sometimes at the employ of private enterprisers. After nearly a Century of struggle, in 1917, a Socialist running for Mayor of New York received 22 percent of the vote; ten Socialist state legislators were elected. Party numbers jumped to thirty-plus percent in Chicago and Buffalo. This turn of events led to the Espionage Act of 1917 (to go along with the Sedition Act of 1798 that essentially abrogated free speech protections afforded by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States by criminalizing any "false, scandalous and malicious" statements against the President, Congress or the government that were intended to defame or bring into disrepute or incite popular discontent against them.) One of the Act's first victims was Eugene Debs a former railway worker that was among a small number of men who started the American Railway Union in 1893. He was a passionate unionist and Socialist. In 1918 Debs visited imprisoned Socialists that had opposed the military draft and then spoke to a crowd outside. He took great exception to the notions that America was a true republic, a democracy of free people. Debs stated, "Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder...And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars, the subject class has always fought the battles." His two hour speech got him arrested for violating the Espionage Act. He spent nearly three years in prison.

Author James W. Loewen states that multinational corporations have unduly influenced American foreign policy ever since the Wilson administration. "Pressure from First National Bank of New York helped prompt Wilson's intervention in Haiti. U.S. interests owned more of Mexico than interests from anywhere else, including Mexico itself, which helps explain Wilson's repeated invasions of that country. In Russia the new communist government nationalized all petroleum assets; as a consequence, Standard Oil of New Jersey was 'the major impetus' behind American opposition to the Bolsheviks." [14]

In 1931, former Marine Corps General Smedley D. Butler bluntly admitted, "I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism...Thus, I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for (New York's) National City Bank to collect revenue in...I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras 'right' for American fruit companies in 1903." [15]

"When Mussolini's Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935, the U.S. declared an embargo on munitions but let American businesses send oil to Italy in huge quantities, which was essential to Italy's carrying on the war. When a Fascist rebellion took place in Spain in 1936 against the elected socialist-liberal government, the Roosevelt administration sponsored a neutrality act that had the effect of shutting off help to the Spanish government while Hitler and Mussolini gave critical aid to Franco...Was this simply poor judgment, an unfortunate error? Or was it the logical policy of a government whose main interest was not stopping Fascism but advancing the imperial interests of the United States?" [16]

As for World War II, "It was when Japan threatened potential U.S. markets by its attempted takeover of China, but especially as it moved toward the tin, rubber, and oil of Southeast Asia, that the United States became alarmed and took those measures which led to the Japanese attack: a total embargo on scrap iron, a total embargo on oil in the summer of 1941." [17]

Meanwhile, as another World War was fought, as tens of millions perished, the United States and England created the International Monetary Fund "to regulate international exchanges of currency; voting would be proportional to capital contributed, so American dominance would be assured. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development was set up, supposedly to help reconstruct war-destroyed areas, but one of its first objectives was, in its own words, 'to promote foreign investment'...Averell Harriman, ambassador to Russia, said in early 1944: 'Economic assistance is one of the most effective weapons at our disposal to influence European political events in the direction we desire'." [18]

As further regards "various distortions of U.S. foreign policy owing to specific economic interests of individual corporations and/or to misconceived ideological interests of U.S. policy planners...during the entire period from 1953 to 1977, the people in charge of U.S. foreign policy were all on the Rockefeller family payroll. Dean Rusk and Henry Kissinger, who ran our foreign policy from 1961 to 1977, were dependent upon Rockefeller payments for their very solvency." [19]

Just after World War II with Europe, Russia and Japan, in ruin from war damage, the United States created the Marshall Plan; ostensibly for the humanitarian rebuilding of much of the world. However, the real basis for this infusion of American tax payer money was aptly put by President Harry S. Truman's Secretary of State, Dean Acheson. "These measures of relief and reconstruction have been only in part suggested by humanitarianism. Your Congress has authorized and your Government is carrying out, a policy of relief and reconstruction today chiefly as a matter of national self-interest." [20]

It was under the presidency of Truman that the so-called Truman Doctrine was advanced. This philosophy is still in effect today, albeit in somewhat altered form; originally anti-Communist it has been supplanted with anti-Terrorist substrate. The doctrine essentially put forth America's inherent right to global hegemony under the rubric "national defense" which included the vast oil reserves of the Middle East. Simply stated, since the late 1940s, because the interests of American elites demand unlimited supplies of cheap petroleum, Arab oil became our oil by simple decree; American national security demands it be so.

George F. Kennan, (former Deputy Commandant for Foreign Affairs at the National War College who wrote the famous "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" by X that appeared in 'Foreign Affairs' July 1947 edition) in a memorandum written as head of the Policy Planning Staff of the State Department in 1948 stated, "We have about 50 percent of the world's wealth but only 6.3 percent of its population. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real test in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction -- unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization." [21]

The Exportation Of American-Style Democracy

John F. Kennedy-- very white, very wealthy, Catholic, and a fierce anti-Communist --speaking at the 1961 Punta del Este Conference which launched his ten-year, multi-billion dollar Latin American aid program called the Alliance for Progress, stated that the United States, more than any other nation, understood the dire need for "full recognition of the right of all the people (of Latin America) to share fully in our progress. For there is no place in democratic life for institutions which benefit the few while denying the needs of the many, even though the elimination of such institutions may require far-reaching and difficult changes such as land reform and tax reform and a vastly increased emphasis on education and housing." [22]

Kennedy's effort to assuage the spread of Soviet influence (a fear heightened by the successful Cuban revolution in 1959) produced the Alliance for Progress. His program, despite its democracy rhetoric, produced the following results: "Between a quarter and a half of the Alliance financing disbursed to Latin America during the first four years was diverted from developmental uses into balance-of-payments operations designed to rescue foreign, and largely European, creditors." [23]

Between 1962 and 1967, only $4 billion of the proposed $5.5 billion of U.S. aid found its way south. However, during the same period, "$9.2 billion of U.S. aid went to Military." [24]

"During the 1960s, military rulers overthrew seventeen Latin American governments: more uniformed dictatorships existed in 1970 than in 1960." [25]

Despite the rhetoric in Kennedy's Punte del Este speech, money earmarked for much needed land reform never materialized in Alliance funding. As regards the decisions and provisions of banks involved with the aid program, specifically the InterAmerican Development Band (IDB) and the World Bank, "the United States controlled (them) with its veto power" The Export-Import Bank (EXIMBANK) was, and remains, "a U.S. institution funded by Congress." Little wonder then that Latin America's indebtedness rose from "$6.6 billion in 1960 (to) $19.3 billion in 1970." [26]

Finally, during the Alliance for Progress years, "total earnings of North American direct investments in the region were $9.9 billion...$7.7 billion returned to the United States." [27] The "U.S. Department of Commerce pointed to (the Alliance for Progress') successful creation of new businesses and job sources for private enterprise in forty-four (American) states." [28] And, in January 1968, "President Lyndon Johnson assured Congress that more than 90 percent of U.S. foreign aid in 1969 would be applied to financing purchases in the United States." [29]

How did the countries of Latin America fair under this program? But a single nation met the intended goal of 2.5 percent per-capita growth rate. In other words, Kennedy's Alliance for Progress was in reality an economic on-slaught against the peoples of Latin America, more devastating than any military intervention could possible be. For that terrorist campaign-- conjured from the vapors of America's Castrophobia --was given a manufactured capitalistocratic reality; one totally separate from real. This "new reality" was defined by U.S. elites as a humanitarian effort to ensure freedom, democracy, liberty, justice for all the peoples of Latin America. Despite the above mentioned facts regarding the program's monumental failure, the United States of America maintained a separate accounting.

As the Church Commission (and a decade later the Tower Commission) discovered, America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had been involved in coups that brought down democratically elected governments in Guatemala and Chile; had undermined democratic elections in Italy; had aided and abetted right-wing death squads in their terrorist actions against innocent civilians. In nearly every Latin American nation, indeed, in nations on every continent, U.S. covert (black) operations actively worked against democracy in favor of economic and geo-political interests that best served American elites. Feeble mouthings of America's zeal for instilling the virtues of democracy pale in comparison to the reality of its installing and supporting brutal puppet regimes that served a gilded elite sector and, of course, foreign investors.

Trilateralism: A New Game?

As Noam Chomsky writes, "The Trilateral Commission was founded at the initiative of David Rockefeller in 1973. Its members are drawn from the three components of the world of capitalist democracy: the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. Among them are the heads of major corporations and banks, partners in corporate law firms, Senators, Professors of international affairs -- the familiar mix in extra-governmental groupings. Along with the 1940s project of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), directed by a committed 'trilateralist' and with numerous links to the Commission, the project constitutes the first major effort at global planning since the War-Peace Studies program of the CFR during World War II...The Trilateral Commission has issued one major book-length report, namely, The Crisis of Democracy (Michel Crozier, Samuel Huntington, and Joji Watanuki, 1975)...The report argues that what is needed in the industrial democracies 'is a greater degree of moderation in democracy' to overcome the 'excess of democracy' of the past decade. 'The effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires some measure of apathy and noninvolvement on the part of some individuals and groups.' This recommendation recalls the analysis of Third World problems put forth by other political thinkers of the same persuasion, for example, Ithiel Pool (then chairman of the Department of Political Science at MIT), who explained some years ago that in Vietnam, the Congo, and the Dominican Republic, 'order depends on somehow compelling newly mobilized strata to return to a measure of passivity and defeatism... At least temporarily the maintenance of order requires a lowering of newly acquired aspirations and levels of political activity.' The Trilateral recommendations for the capitalist democracies are an application at home of the theories of 'order' developed for subject societies of the Third World...What must be done to counter the media and the intellectuals, who, by exposing some ugly facts, contribute to the dangerous 'shift in the institutional balance between government and opposition'? How do we control the 'more politically active citizenry' who convert democratic politics into 'more an arena for the assertion of conflicting interests than a process for the building of common purposes'? How do we return to the good old days when 'Truman, Acheson, Forrestal, Marshall, Harriman, and Lovett' could unite on a policy of global intervention and domestic militarism as our 'common purpose,' with no interference from the undisciplined rabble?

"The crucial task is 'to restore the prestige and authority of central government institutions, and to grapple with the immediate economic challenges.' The demands on government must be reduced and we must 'restore a more equitable relationship between government authority and popular control.' The press must be reined. If the media do not enforce 'standards of professionalism,' then 'the alternative could well be regulation by the government' -- a distinction without a difference, since the policy-oriented and technocratic intellectuals, the commissars themselves, are the ones who will fix these standards and determine how well they are respected. Higher education should be related 'to economic and political goals,' and if it is offered to the masses, 'a program is then necessary to lower the job expectations of those who receive a college education.' No challenge to capitalist institutions can be considered, but measures should be taken to improve working conditions and work organization so that workers will not resort to 'irresponsible blackmailing tactics.' In general, the prerogatives of the nobility must be restored and the peasants reduced to the apathy that becomes them." [30]

Further, the abovementioned Trilateral Commission study concluded that the media has become a demonstrable "'excess of democracy' that contributes to 'the reduction of governmental authority' at home and a consequent 'decline in the influence of democracy abroad.' This general 'crisis of democracy' the commission held, resulted from the efforts of previously marginalized sectors of the population to organize and press their demands, thereby creating an overload that prevents the democratic process from functioning properly. In earlier times, 'Truman had been able to govern the country with the cooperation of a relatively small number of Wall Street lawyers and bankers,' so the American rapporteur, Samuel Huntington of Harvard University, reflected. In that period there was no crisis of democracy, but in the 1960s, the crisis developed and reached serious proportions. The study therefore urged more 'moderation in democracy' to mitigate the excess of democracy and overcome the crisis. Putting it in plain terms, the general public must be reduced to its traditional apathy and obedience, and driven from the arena of political debate and action, if democracy is to survive." [31]

And, just how can the "people" be brought into line? Via education. "The Trilateral Commission was created in response to the general democratic participation of masses of people in the Western world in questioning their governments ethical behavior. Its major purpose, as many understand it, was to seek ways to maintain the Western capitalists cultural hegemony. The Trilateral Commission referred to schools as institutions responsible for the indoctrination of the young." [32] As Noam Chomsky summarizes the Commission study's position on education, "Higher education should be related 'to economic and political goals,' and if it is offered to the masses, 'a program is then necessary to lower the job expectations of those who receive a college education.' No challenge to capitalist institutions can be considered, but measures should be taken to improve working conditions and work organization so that workers will not resort to 'irresponsible blackmailing tactics.' In general, the prerogatives of the nobility must be restored and the peasants reduced to the apathy that becomes them." [33]

So, did the Trilateral Commission initiate a new game? No, it initiated the end game for democracy at home and abroad. Members of the Commission form a Who's Who of Corporate and Governmental elites. The group's pronouncements are taken as gospel by subservient "representatives" who push forth its agenda. Even a cursory review of Trilateral Commission members will reveal many names that show up on lists of top governmental officials and multinational corporate officers. "All of the top positions in the government -- the office of President, Vice-President, Secretary of State, Defense and Treasury -- are held by members of the Trilateral Commission, and the National Security Advisor was its director. Many lesser officials also came from this group. It is rare for such an easily identified private group to play such a prominent role in an American Administration." [34]

These same governmental officials are often found on the payrolls of huge corporate concerns such as Bechtel (SanFrancisco); Halliburton and its subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root; Fluor Corporation, etc. The heads of these corporate dynasties are likewise often found on the Board of Directors of EXIMBANK (Export and Import Bank of the United States).

What, you may ask, does any of this have to do with Operation Iraqi Freedom? The definitive answer is, everything, to which the next section will attest.

Elitest End Game

There is a "revolving door" policy involving the biggest names in federal government and some of the world's largest corporate dynasties. None is more pronounced than the umbilical cord connecting the U.S. government, Bechtel Corporation and the ExIm Bank of America.

Bechtel is a San Francisco based construction and engineering giant that employs "tens of thousands of people on scores of megaprojects, worth billions of dollars, in dozens of countries." Bechtel is purportedly "closely allied with the Central Intelligence Agency, especially in the Middle East," and has been implicated in coups in Syria, Iran, Libya and Indonesia. Bechtel has large holdings "in the nuclear power, oil and gas industries," as well as in the coal industry. It's earnings have consistently been "high enough to place it in the top twenty of the Fortune 500.

"At Bechtel's highest echelon, we are talking about an extremely limited group of people-- a club, really --of men, older men, all white, anti-Semitic, Republican and very rich. Men like George Shultz (former Secretary of State during Ronald Reagan's Administration)...Or Casper Weinberger (Reagan's former Secretary of Defense)...Or W. Kenneth Davis, who moved from the old Atomic Energy Commission (A.E.C.) to become head of Bechtel's nuclear operations and went from their to become Deputy Secretary of Energy, thereby controlling a third branch of the Reagan government in ways that might prove useful for his old company. Or Philip Habib, special presidential trouble-shooter in the Middle East, a retired diplomat who has long been on Bechtel's payroll as a consultant.

"The movement of executives between public and private life is part of a pattern established much earlier in the company's history...Earlier examples from the Nixon years include C.I.A. Director Richard Helms, who became a Bechtel consultant; White House political adviser Peter Flanigan, who became a senior partner in Bechtel's investment house Dillon, Reed; A.E.C. general manager Robert L. Hollingsworth, who took a high post at Bechtel; and Treasury Secretary William Simon, who also became a Bechtel consultant.

President Nixon's close friend Henry Kearns was installed "as head of the powerful Export-Import (EXIM) Bank. Kearns promptly appointed second-generation family patriarch Stephen Bechtel Jr. and other Bechtelites to the bank's advisory committee. Soon, Eximbank was handing out financing to Third World governments as if it were scrip to Bechtel's company store, and Bechtel was in turn building huge complexes in the Philippines, Iran, Egypt, Algeria and Indonesia. Bechtel's nuclear projects in Spain, Korea, India, Taiwan and Brazil, for example, were underwritten by Eximbank financing. In 1973 Kearns and his deputy resigned after being investigated by the Justice Department for flagrant conflicts of interest. And where did they go? To Bechtel, of course."

Bechtel's "cozy dealings go back further yet, to the Eisenhower era, when former Bechtel partner John McCone, as head of the A.E.C, got the company started building nukes and then, as director of the C.I.A., used Bechtel to provide cover for (CIA operatives). When McCone was confirmed Congressional hearings revealed that, with his assistance, Bechtel had cleared the awesome sum of $100 million in war profits building ships during World War II." [35]

A 10 December1988 Associated Press article reported, "The Energy Department yesterday selected a Bechtel Corp. subsidiary to design the entire disposal system for highly radioactive waste from the nation's nuclear power stations." A deal reportedly worth between one and two hundred billion dollars.

But, enough of the history. Let us consider the present. "The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics recently reported that Bechtel gave far more in recent years than any of the other construction companies said to be vying for the work. It said Bechtel gave close to $1.3 million in campaign contributions, mostly to Republicans, between 1999 and 2002. In addition, former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz sits on Bechtel's board of directors. "Bechtel, like Halliburton, was a pretty substantial campaign contributor," said Steve Weiss, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics. "It raises the question of why no international companies were invited to bid, and why it was done in secret. People are wondering...Currently Bechtel is also at work on a $1.7 billion project to build an aluminum smelter in Bahrain, and a $1.5 billion project to expand an airport in Saudi Arabia." [36]

A 19 April 2003 Associated Press article reports that Iraq is in debt, "estimates range to $200 billion, making Iraq one of the world's most indebted developing countries." The astute reader may wonder where the money to rebuild that war wracked nation is going to come from? Good question. And the answer will, as so often in the past it has, been The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). This entity, according to its website, was created in 1934 and established under its present law in 1945 to aid in financing and to facilitate U.S. exports...Ex-Im Bank is not an aid or development agency, but a government held corporation, managed by a Board of Directors consisting of a Chairman, Vice Chairman and three additional Board Members. Members serve for staggered terms and are chosen and serve at the discretion of the President of the United States.

The Ex-Im Bank essentially loans money to foreign nations looking to build large construction projects like military bases, airport facilities, etc. The Bank loans money that is used as downpayments to finance such construction further pushing that nation into massive debt. One company that often is the recipient of such "downpayments" is Bechtel.

This is what Congressman Bernie Sanders has to say about Ex-Im Bank. "This country has a $6 trillion national debt, a growing deficit and is borrowing money from the Social Security Trust Fund in order to fund government services. We can no longer afford to provide over $125 billion every year in corporate welfare -- tax breaks, subsidies and other wasteful spending -- that goes to some of the largest, most profitable corporations in America.

"One of the most egregious forms of corporate welfare can be found at a little known federal agency called the Export-Import Bank, an institution that has a budget of about $1 billion a year and the capability of putting at risk some $15.5 billion in loan guarantees annually. At a time when the government is under-funding veterans' needs, education, health care, housing and many other vital services, over 80% of the subsidies distributed by the Export-Import Bank goes to Fortune 500 corporations. Among the companies that receive taxpayer support from the Ex-Im are Enron, Boeing, Halliburton, Mobil Oil, IBM, General Electric, AT&T, Motorola, Lucent Technologies, FedEx, General Motors, Raytheon, and United Technologies.

"The great irony of Ex-Im policy is not just that taxpayer support goes to wealthy and profitable corporations that don't need it, but that in the name of "job creation" a substantial amount of federal funding goes to precisely those corporations that are eliminating hundreds of thousands of American jobs. In other words, American workers are providing funding to companies that are shutting down the plants in which they work, and are moving them to China, Mexico, Vietnam and wherever else they can find cheap labor. What a deal!

"For example, General Electric has received over $2.5 billion in direct loans and loan guarantees from the Ex-Im Bank. And what was the result? From 1975-1995 GE reduced its workforce from 667,000 to 398,000, a decline of 269,000 jobs. In fact, while taking the Ex-Im Bank subsidies, GE was extremely public about it's 'globalization' plans to lay off American workers and move jobs to Third World countries. Jack Welch, the longtime CEO of GE stated, 'Ideally, you'd have every plant you own on a barge'." [37]

A review of past and present members of Ex-Im Bank Advisory Committee listed Jackson Stromberg, president, Bechtel Financing Services, Inc., San Francisco, California. An Ex-Im Bank annual conference promising leading industry experts to "wax prophetic on future export opportunities," hailed Riley P. Bechtel, Chairman and CEO of Bechtel Group as featured speaker. On 25 March 2003, Ex-Im Bank announced the convening of its first Advisory Committee of the year. Among the newest members welcomed to the Congressionally-mandated committee was Daniel K.H. Chao, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Senior Vice President, Bechtel Enterprises; Bechtel Group Inc.

How does this all fit together? An 18 April 2003 Associated Press article informs us that "The government awarded Bechtel Corp. a contract...that could reach $680 million to help rebuild Iraq, including the nation's power, water and sewage systems...Several Democratic lawmakers have complained the Bush administration did not allow open competitive bidding, but rather invited a small number of firms to submit proposals. USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) has defended the procedure as the only way to get help to Iraq quickly...In addition to Bechtel's work on utility systems, the contract also provides for rehabilitation or repair of airport facilities and dredging, repair and upgrading of the Umm Qasr seaport in cooperation with other contractors."

Those other contractors to include Halliburton Company subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), "KBR, which handles general construction work in addition to more specialized work building oil rigs and pipelines, has already won the job of doing emergency repairs to Iraq's oil infrastructure. That job will be done on a 'cost-plus' basis, meaning KBR will be paid for the costs of doing the work, plus a fee that represents a set percentage of those costs. President Bush, as part of his supplemental budget request for war and short-term rebuilding costs, asked for nearly $500 million for oilfield repair, meaning KBR's contract could be almost as lucrative as the entire USAID rebuilding contract." [38]

"Another company with a vested interest in both war on Iraq and massively increased defense spending is the Carlyle Group. Carlyle, a private global investment firm with more than $12.5 billion in capital under management, was formed in 1987. Its interests are spread across 164 companies, including telecommunications firms and defense contractors. It is staffed at the highest levels by former members of the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations. Former President George H. W. Bush is himself employed by Carlyle as a senior advisor, as is long-time Bush family advisor and former Secretary of State James Baker III (as is Frank Carlucci, former CIA Director).

"One company acquired by Carlyle is United Defense, a weapons manufacturer based in Arlington, VA. United Defense provides the Defense Department with combat vehicle systems, fire support, combat support vehicle systems, weapons delivery systems, amphibious assault vehicles, combat support services and naval armaments. Specifically, United Defense manufactures the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M113 armored personnel carrier, the M88A2 Recovery Vehicle, the Grizzly, the M9 ACE, the Composite Armored Vehicle, the M6 Linebacker, the M7 BFIST, the Armored Gun System, the M4 Command and Control Vehicle, the Battle Command Vehicle, the Paladin, the Crusader, and Electric Gun/Pulse Power weapons technology.

"In other words, everything a growing Defense Department, a war in Iraq, and a burgeoning American military empire needs. Benito Mussolini, dubbed 'the father of Fascism,' defined the word in a far more pertinent fashion. 'Fascism,' said Mussolini, 'should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power'." [39]

Do you begin to see a pattern? How the same names, of governmental officials and corporate officers, appear again and again, always in regards to billions and billions of dollars? Need more proof?

Project For A New American Century

According to the document "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century," by the PNAC the group was "(E)stablished in the spring of 1997, the Project for the New American Century is a non-profit, educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership...America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of the past century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership..."

The PNAC has been actively agitating for war in Iraq since its inception. It also calls for intervention in Syria and Korea and perhaps Egypt and even Saudi Arabia. The exact dollar amount contained in its above mentioned report was the dollar amount George W. Bush used in his budget. To say the PNAC has some influence is to wildly understate the obvious: It is purely fascist in its ideological orientation.

"Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century," goes on to say, "At present the United States faces no global rival. America's grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible...serious attention, careful thought and the willingness to devote adequate resources to maintaining America's military strength can make the world safer and American strategic interests secure now and in the future...America should seek to preserve and extend its position of global leadership by maintaining the preeminence of U.S. military forces."

Further the document presents what it terms "core missions" for the U.S. military. Among these missions are the following: "perform the 'constabulary' duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions...To carry out these core missions, we need to provide sufficient force and budgetary allocations. In particular, the United States must: Maintain nuclear strategic superiority...Restore the personnel strength (of U.S. armed forces to 1.6 million)...Reposition U.S. forces...Control the new 'international commons' of space and 'cyberspace,' and pave the way for the creation of a new military service -- U.S. Space Forces -- with the mission of space control...Increase Defense spending gradually to a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, adding $15 to $20 billion to total defense spending annually..."

The document warns, "The true cost of not meeting our defense requirements will be a lessened capacity for American global leadership and, ultimately, the loss of a global security order that is uniquely friendly to American principles and prosperity." It goes on to directly mention Saddam Hussein in the context of regime change. "...past Pentagon wargames have given little or no consideration to the force requirements necessary not only to defeat an attack but to remove these regimes from power and conduct post-combat stability operations...the United States for decades has sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." In that regard, the study laments, "The placement of U.S. bases has yet to reflect these realities."

Maintaining bases in the Middle East is an imperative to PNAC. "...retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the long-standing American interests in the region." The document urges the scrapping of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty because it has "frustrated development of useful ballistic missile defenses." It goes on to state, "The first element in any missile defense network should be a galaxy of surveillance satellites...The report of the National Defense Panel agreed (that) 'Unrestricted use of space has become a major strategic interest of the United States'."

Here is a chilling mention in regards to cyberspace, "If outer space represents an emerging medium of warfare, then 'cyberspace,' and in particular the Internet hold similar promise and threat...From the early use of the Zapatista insurgents in Mexico to the war in Kosovo, communication by computer has added a new dimension to warfare." [40]

"The PNAC has funneled millions of taxpayers dollars to a Hussein opposition group called the Iraqi National Congress, and to Iraq's heir-apparent, Ahmed Chalabi, despite the fact that Chalabi was sentenced in abstentia by a Jordanian court to 22 years in prison on 31 counts of bank fraud. Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress have, over the years, gathered support for their cause by promising oil contracts to anyone that would help to put them in power in Iraq...Most recently, PNAC created a new group called The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Staffed entirely by PNAC members, the Committee has set out to 'educate' Americans via cable news connections about the need for war in Iraq." [41]

Need you ask just who are the members of PNAC? Here is just a partial list:

Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the PNAC founders, who served as Secretary of Defense
for Bush Sr.; I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's top national security assistant; Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, also a founding member, along with four of his chief aides including; Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, arguably the ideological father of the group; Eliot Abrams, prominent member of Bush's National Security Council, who was pardoned by Bush Sr. in the Iran/Contra scandal; John Bolton, who serves as Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security in the Bush administration; Richard Perle, former Reagan administration official and present chairman of the powerful Defense Policy Board; Randy Scheunemann, President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, who was Trent Lott's national security aide and who served as an advisor to Rumsfeld on Iraq in 2001; Bruce Jackson, Chairman of PNAC, a position he took after serving for years as vice president of weapons manufacturer Lockheed-Martin, and who also headed the Republican Party Platform subcommittee for National Security and Foreign Policy during the 2000 campaign. His section of the 2000 GOP Platform explicitly called for the removal of Saddam Hussein..." [42]

Now that Iraq has been invaded and the regime overthrown, democracy should be the order of the day, correct? If you answered yes, you would be wrong. Iraqi Shiites make up sixty percent of the populace. How does the U.S. intend on imposing democracy when the clear majority voting and running for office will be radical muslim fundamentalists? An Associated Press article (25 April 2003) states, "The United States will not allow an Iran-style religious government to take hold in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said."

The Why Of War

As this article demonstrates, America has, since its very inception, operated on pure, brutal capitalistic premises while mouthing sweet democracy rhetoric to veil its true intentions.

The Bush Administration's various claims to substantiate a war to effect a regime change in Iraq have now been shown to be utter fictions. Claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction, of terrorist connections, of a threat to national security were preposterous prior to the war. Now, such claims are beyond absurd. Yet, this deception will be forgotten. After all, the most recent poll shows that seventy percent of Americans support George W. Bush's handling of the Presidency.

How is it conceivable that Americans can believe such pap as Operation Iraqi Freedom when the U.S. PATRIOT ACT goes a long way towards usurping freedom here at home? How can Americans believe in such twisted logic as war is peace? That ravishing the cradle of civilization is the best way to promote civilization? Probably via the same mechanisms that allow them to believe that the United States government is pro-worker rights, for the common man, for liberty and justice for all. Those mechanisms? Ignorance. Arrogance. Self-absorption. And, perhaps a sense of superiority that comes from being unthinking citizens in the world's most powerful empire.

But, with such privilege comes responsibility. We, as a people, can simply enjoy our share of ill-gotten gains and continue a blind obedience to capitalistocratic paradigm. Or, we can begin to shoulder some of that burden of responsibility by rejecting the brutality of a rapacious capitalism that feeds on the flesh and bone and soul of humankind before it is too late. For, anything less will consign humanity to the "dust bin" of devolution.

In the final analysis, ask yourself this: What was the more probable reason for war? Not possible, mind you. But, probable. That USA, Inc.-- with its long, brutal history of profit motivated genocidal tendencies vis-à-vis global foreign policy --is responsible for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Or, was it truly Saddam Hussein's thuggery?



[1] "The Federalist Papers"; edited by Isaac Kramnick; Penguin Books, 1987; page 40-41

[2] Federalist Paper #10; James Madison

[3] "An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States," by Charles A. Beard; The Free Press edition, 1986; pages 31-33; original copyright 1913.

[4] "A People's History Of The United States," Howard Zinn; Harper & Row Publishers; 1980; page100

[5] "Open Veins of Latin America," Eduardo Galeano; Monthly Review Press; 1973; page 121

[6] "An Ideal or a Justification" A conversation with David M. Pletcher.

[7] "A People's History Of The United States," Howard Zinn; Harper & Row Publishers; 1980; page 234

[8] op.cit.; page 255

[9] op.cit.; page 353

[10] "Diplomacia, Garrote y Dolares en America Latina," Gregorio Selser; pages 46-47

[11] "Man's Worldly Goods," Huberman; page 265

[12] "A People's History Of The United States," Howard Zinn; Harper & Row Publishers; 1980; page 350

[13] Woodrow Wilson quoted in Lewis H. Lapham, "Notebook," Harper's (July 1991); page 10

[14] "Lies My Teacher Told Me," James W. Loewen; The New Press; 1995; page 213

[15] "Man's Worldly Goods," Huberman; page 265

[16] "A People's History Of The United States," Howard Zinn; Harper & Row Publishers; 1980; page 400-401

[17] op.cit.; page 401

[18] op.cit.; page 405

[19] "Lies My Teacher Told Me," James W. Loewen; The New Press; 1995; page 214

[20] "A People's History Of The United States," Howard Zinn; Harper & Row Publishers; 1980; page 430

[21] "Lies My Teacher Told Me," James W. Loewen; The New Press; 1995; page 210

[22] "Politics and Social Structure in Latin America," James Petras; Monthly Review Press; 1970; pages 219-220

[23] "The Latin American Economies: A Study of Their Institutional Evolution," Glade; 1969

[24] "Five Years of the Alliance for Progress" Hanson; 1967

[25] "Bordering On Trouble," from chapter "The Alliance In Retrospect," LaFeber; page 348

[26] op.cit.; page 353

[27] op.cit.; page 354

[28] "International Commerce" 3 February 1963; page 21

[29] "Open Veins of Latin America," Eduardo Galeano; Monthly Review Press; 1973; page 249

[30] "Radical Priorities," Noam Chomsky; Black Rose; 1981; pages 158-164

[31] "Necessary Illusions," Noam Chomsky; South End Press; 1989; pages 2-3

[32] "Proposition 227: The Crisis of Democracy And the Indoctrination Of our Children," H. Michael Moya and Professor Deena Hutchinson; 1999

[33] "Radical Priorities," Noam Chomsky; Black Rose; 1981; pages 158-164

[34] op.cit.

[35] "Friends In High Places: The Bechtel Story," Laton McCartney (All quotes as cited by David Weir in 30 April 1988 edition of The Nation)

[36] "Forbes.com: Bechtel in spotlight as it awaits Iraq contracts," Andrea Orr; Reuters News Service; 4 April 2003

[37] "USA: Ex-Im Bank, Corporate Welfare At Its Worst," Bernie Sanders; CorpWatch on-line; 15 May 2002

[38] "Halliburton could get more Iraq work" Mark Gongloff; CNNMoney; 4 April 2003

[39] Truthout article written by William Rivers Pitt (New York Times bestselling author of two books: "War On Iraq" and "The Greatest Sedition Is Silence")

[40] "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century," Project for the New American Century; 2000

[41] Truthout article written by William Rivers Pitt (New York Times bestselling author of two books: "War On Iraq" and "The Greatest Sedition Is Silence")

[42] ibid


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