Palestine, Israel and the Sea

There has long been controversy about Palestinian territorial waters. This issue was raised last year, during Israel’s genocidal assault on the Gaza Strip, wherein part of the so-called ‘cease-fire’ agreement included that Israel would respect international law relating to the sea. Now the issue is once again an area of international focus.

Within the next several days, the ‘Gaza Flotilla’, a group of at least three international ships, will attempt to breach the illegal blockade of the beleaguered Gaza Strip, and dock in Gaza. When this was last attempted, Israeli soldier-terrorists killed ten defenseless, unarmed people, causing international tensions between Gaza and Turkey, home to several of the victims.

As the Flotilla approaches Gaza, it is important to remember that the blockade of the Gaza Strip is illegal under international law. Yet this does not prevent Israel from condemning the Flotilla as if it, and not Israel, was the law-breaker.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who has called for the complete annihilation of Palestine and Palestinians, said that the foreign ministry will prevent the Flotilla from reaching ‘Israel’s territorial waters’.

Perhaps Ms. Hotovely would benefit from a geography lesson, combined with one in international law.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) states, in part, the following:

Each country’s sovereign territorial waters extend to a maximum of 12 nautical miles (22 km) beyond its coast.  Foreign vessels are granted the right of innocent passage through this zone.

The members of the Gaza Flotilla have no intention of, or interest in, approaching Israel’s territorial waters. The coastal state to which it is sailing is Palestine, not Israel. So any discussion of Israel’s ‘territorial waters’ is irrelevant in a discussion of the Flotilla; the foreign ministry of Israel has no legal authority over the coastal waters of Palestine.

Additionally, Palestine’s ‘sovereign territorial waters’, like those of every other coastal nation on the planet, extend 12 nautical miles off its coast. As a sovereign nation, Palestine is free to accept or reject any ship it so chooses, without interference from any other nation.

It is unlikely that the Gaza Flotilla will successfully enter Palestine’s territorial waters; Israel will attack the unarmed vessel before it gets even close. One hopes the loss of innocent life will be minimized, but when dealing with one of the most brutal and inhuman regimes in the world, one has little reason for optimism.

Basel Ghattas, a member of the Israeli parliament with the Joint Arab List, has now caused much consternation in Israel by announcing that he would be on one of the Flotilla’s ships. In a letter to Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu, he explained the purpose of the Flotilla: “,,,to end the siege by way of turning international attention to the situation of 1.8 million Palestinians living in disgraceful, prison-like conditions as a result of Israel’s military siege of both land and sea….” Mindful of the brutal response to the previous Flotilla, he concluded his letter thusly: “Taking over the ships and preventing them from arriving at their destination will entangle Israel in another difficult international crisis, the outcome of which will be the responsibility of you and your government.”

So, let us summarize a few salient points: 1) The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is illegal under international law; 2) A foreign nation has no right to regulate what ships enter or leave a foreign port not under its jurisdiction; 3) Any other nation so blatantly violating international law would be censured by the United Nations.

What does all this mean for Israel? For one thing, any attempt to stop the Gaza Flotilla from reaching Gaza will be a violation of international law.

Additionally, it shows that apartheid Israel violates international law each time its terrorists harass Palestinian fishermen fishing within that internationally-recognized territorial limit. IDF soldiers (Israeli Defense Forces, also known as terrorists), routinely shoot and kill fisherman and ‘confiscate’ their boats. For those fishermen lucky enough to escape with their lives, they lose their livelihood, becoming unable to support themselves and their families.

Can we, for a moment, gaze into our crystal ball and see the near future? As stated, in all likelihood Israel will violently prevent the Flotilla from reaching Palestine. The U.N. will say nothing of this. Any criticisms leveled against Israel will be denounced by the U.S. which will summon the holy mantra of the myth of Israel defending its national security. There will, however, be no mention of Palestine’s national security.

So will it be business as usual? The crystal ball is a bit foggy on this point, but indications are that Mr. Ghattas’s closing comment to Mr. Netanyahu will prove to be right on the mark. Few people outside of Israel and the disgraceful halls of the U.S. Congress will see a few unarmed boats sailing towards Palestine as anything but benign. As Israel screams that everyone around the world is trying to ‘delegitimize’ it, it will not recognize that it needs no one else to do so; it is doing a fine job of that all on its own.

So another attempt to hold Israel accountable for its atrocities will be thwarted, but at what price? All indications are that most of global society has had it up to here with Israel, and eventually the final straw will be applied, breaking the apartheid camel’s back. When that happens, not even Israel’s best friend and main financier, the United States, will be able to save it from itself.

First published in Counterpunch, June 26 – 28.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/26/palestine-israel-and-the-sea/

 

Netanyahu: The Fantasy Grows

Early this month, Stephane Richards, the chairman of the telecommunications company Orange, announced that his company would cease its brand-licensing agreement with the Israeli company, Partner. At the time, he said this: “Our intention is to withdraw from Israel. It will take time. For sure we will do it… I am ready to do this tomorrow morning… but without exposing Orange to huge risks.”

Needless to say, this caused a major uproar in Israel, where the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) movement, along with international businesses being cautioned by their governments about doing business with Israeli companies illegally located in the occupied West Bank, is causing major concern. Even Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken of this issue, calling the international boycott of Israel as bad as the Holocaust.

Following Mr. Richards’ announcement, his personal information was posted online by an Israeli hacker and militant Zionist, and Mr. Richards and those close to him received numerous death threats, and hundreds of menacing calls. Mr. Richards has filed suit against ‘persons unknown’ as a result.

Prior to the announcement of his lawsuit, but following the start of the harassment, Mr. Richards groveled before Mr. Netanyahu, saying he would never support a boycott of Israel. One finds the flow of events interesting: 1) Orange announces it will cease its partnership with an Israeli company; 2) Mr. Richards’ personal information is posted to a Zionist website; 3) Mr. Richards and those close to him receive hundreds of threatening calls; 4) Mr. Richards demeans himself before the Israeli Prime Murderer, ‘explaining’ that he never meant to support a boycott of Israel.

The meeting with Mr. Netanyahu was itself noteworthy. During that meeting, the Prime Murderer made these astounding statements: “Israel is the one country in the Middle East that guarantees full civic rights. It’s the one county in the Middle East where everyone is protected under the law equally. We seek a genuine and secure peace with our Palestinian neighbors….”

Let us break that remarkable statement down to its component parts, and see if we can possibly make any sense of it.

* “Israel is the one country in the Middle East that guarantees full civic rights.” This is most puzzling in view of many laws, but we will look at just two for the moment. In 2011, a law was passed that empowers hundreds of local Jewish communities to exclude applicants based on ethnicity or religion. It was upheld by the Supreme Court in September 2014.

Another law passed in 2011 seems to belie Mr. Netanyahu’s words. This law prohibits “anyone from calling for a boycott of Israel, its institutions, or any person because of their affiliation with Israel, including the settlements in the occupied territories.” So much for ‘full civic rights’. [1]

* “It’s the one county in the Middle East where everyone is protected under the law equally.”

A 1950 Law of Return stipulates that every Jewish person can immigrate to Israel. This “extends to the children and grandchildren of Jews, as well as their spouses, and the spouses of their children and grandchildren. The flip side of this is that the rights of Palestinians and others to enter the state and become citizens, even if they were born in the area that is now the State of Israel, are extremely restrictive.” [2]

The ‘ban on family unification’ law of 2003 prohibits citizens of Israel from reuniting with Palestinian spouses living in the West Bank or Gaza. There is a law that bans any political party that denies the existence of Israel as a “Jewish” state. Other laws establish separate educational systems which are then unequally administered. [3]

* “We seek a genuine and secure peace with our Palestinian neighbors.” As amazing as Mr. Netanyahu’s other statements may be, this one is the most astounding of all. During his campaign for re-election earlier this year, he said that there would never be an independent Palestine while he was prime minister. He has accelerated land theft in the West Bank and the expansion of settlements, which are illegal under international law and condemned around the world. Newly-appointed Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, responsible for ‘administering’ the occupied territories, said this in 2013: “[Palestinians] are beasts, they are not human.” The new Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, called Palestinian children ‘little snakes’. She further said that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and called for the complete destruction of Palestine, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.” [4]

Additionally, Mr. Netanyahu says that peace will only come about through negotiations, and demands a completely demilitarized Palestine. This writer hesitates to point out once again that negotiations can only take place between two parties when each has something the other wants, that can only be obtained by surrendering something it has. Israel takes what it wants from Palestine with complete impunity, so negotiations cannot occur. Also, such ‘negotiations’ would be akin to a bank negotiating with a bank robber for the return of some of its money, with the police sponsoring the meetings. It makes no logical sense.

Further, Israel has one of the world’s most powerful military systems, provided by the United States. Why should a country adjacent to it, who has experienced decades-long violence from Israel, not be allowed to protect itself? Again, the idea of reason and logic is completely lacking.

Recent polling indicates that about two-thirds of Israelis feel that the world is against them. How long they have held that belief is unknown, but it is possible that today it is accurate. People around the world see the brutal, unspeakable oppression of the Palestinians, and actively oppose it, often by the boycotts that Mr. Netanyahu so despises.

But what is Israel’s response? If reason and logic were to apply, Israel would adhere to international law, remove its half-million-plus illegal settlers and all its terrorists (generally referred to by Israel as soldiers), end the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and recognize the nation of Palestine. But no, reality and Israel are only marginally acquainted, and their relationship is none too good. So instead, Israel does more of the same: flout international law, increase settlement construction, terrorize and oppress Palestinians, and basically flip the bird to the world.

There is an old cliché that says that insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, but expecting a different result. Based on this, Israel is an insane society.

But it has its international devotees, mainly in the U.S., where AIPAC (American Israel Political Affairs Committee) funnels large sums of money into the campaign coffers of those politicians who do its bloody bidding. But it does appear that much of the rest of the world has grown tired of Israel’s murder of men, women and children; its bombing of hospitals, mosques and United Nations refugee centers; its brutal blockade of the Gaza Strip; the numerous internal checkpoints in the West Bank, the sole purpose of which is to demoralize the population, and the arrests and incarceration without charge of Palestinians, including children. The United States is happy to finance all this, as long as AIPAC continues its role of campaign benefactor. But increasingly, the U.S. is the outlier, the one other nation, along with Israel, that is blind to Israeli genocide.

The insanity may run deep, but it is not contagious. Around the world, people are demanding human rights for the Palestinians. Mr. Netanyahu’s nonsensical rantings, and the funding of the United States, will not silence them.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

Notes

[1]  See http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/database-discriminatory-israel

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4]  See https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-lawmakers-call-genocide-palestinians-gets-thousands-facebook-likes

 

Published in Counterpunch.org, June 19 – 21, 2015

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/19/netanyahu-the-fantasy-grows/

Global Fear-Mongering

World leaders have long known that in order to stay in power, scaring the populace is a vital ingredient in any campaign. Look to the March, 2015 victory of Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu, who fanned the fears of his racist population, claiming that ‘Arabs’ were going to the polls in droves. In the United States, for decades whichever candidate was more successful at stoking the flaming fear of communism glided to easy victory. And as Canada and the U.S. approach election season, with Canada’s election five months away, and the long, drawn out campaign for the White House a tortuous eighteen months away, it is now, apparently, time to begin fanning the fears of what is generally called ‘radical Islam’.

A CNN report of May 11 is headlined thusly: ‘Retired Generals: Be Afraid of ISIS’. The article refers to President Barack Obama as “naïve”; discusses “the ever-growing numbers of victims of radical Islam in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia”, and condemns “the frightfully slow pace America’s commander-in-chief is currently allowing our military and intelligence community to take action against both ISIS and its progenitor, al Qaeda….”

It is interesting that people who make their living from war are called upon to comment on whether war should continue or not. The writers of the CNN article are Retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; retired Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, USMC, and congressional counterterrorism adviser Michael S. Smith II. Interestingly, these gentleman are co-founders of a ‘strategic advisory firm’ called Kronos Advisory. A small quotation from their website puts their fear-mongering into perspective:

“Increased global economic competition among rising powers could also exacerbate issues such as these. Indeed, as lucrative opportunities lure companies from nations with limited defense and intelligence resources into ungoverned areas and failed states the potential flashpoints for conflict will multiply.

“To manage increasingly complex international affairs, security officials require more robust decision-support solutions that leverage high-level subject matter expertise and innovative thought leadership in the areas of irregular warfare, geostrategy, and associated policy development. And history tells us human intelligence will be central to any successful programs that seek to advance American and allied interests in this volatile environment.

“From subject matter expertise with transnational extremist networks, to predictive analytic capabilities that can help officials identify and understand future challenges before they materialize, to strong relationships with lawmakers committed to helping defense and intelligence organizations achieve their missions, Kronos Advisory’s global network can deliver a range of vital resources national security managers require to more fully understand their operational environment — and define it.”

And as long as there is war, there can be little doubt that the costly services of Kronos Advisory will be in demand.

While the words from the Kronos Advisory website are self-explanatory, there is one small area that requires particular focus: “relationships with lawmakers committed to helping defense and intelligence organizations achieve their missions”. And now we get to the crux of the matter. Messrs. Flynn, Livingston and Smith all had prominent roles in the government, and now are capitalizing on the ‘strong relationships’ with those members of Congress who rely on the so-called defense industry to fund their campaigns. These members of Congress will keep the war machine working, thus keeping the military lobby happy, providing endless perquisites for the government officials, and keeping businesses such as Kronos Advisory very busy. Where in this is there anything about what’s best for the people?

Let us take just a moment to look at the three ‘frightening’ expressions quoted above. Mr. Obama, these august businessmen say, is naïve. Perhaps he has, naively, not yet sought out their services and expertise, which may have had a lot to do with their motivation for writing for CNN. Secondly, they state with alarm “the ever-growing numbers of victims of radical Islam in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia”, not mentioning that most of those victims die as a result of U.S.-provided bombs. Lastly, they bemoan “the frightfully slow pace America’s commander-in-chief is currently allowing our military and intelligence community to take action against both ISIS and its progenitor, al Qaeda…”, hoping, perhaps, for a wider, more comprehensive war which will require their services to a far greater extent, thus increasing their bottom line, at the expense of the blood of people around the world.

Meanwhile, north of the border, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a short time ago considered vulnerable in this year’s election, said this during a visit to Canadian troops in Kuwait: “Make no mistake: by fighting this enemy here you are protecting Canadians at home. Because this evil knows no borders”. One is reminded of a statement made on September 12, 2008 by then Alaska Governor and Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, when bidding an official farewell to soldiers on their way to Iraq. She said that their mission was to “defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.” Any connect between Iraq and the September 11 attacks against the U.S. had long since been debunked, but what is this to Mrs. Palin? When the flag can be waved in a patriotic display, what do facts have to do with anything?

The same is true with Mr. Harper’s bizarre statement. The indiscriminate killing of Muslims doesn’t protect ‘Canadians at home’. It has, indeed, the opposite effect. A ‘Tweet’ sent in 2012 by a lawyer in Yemen to Mr. Obama applies as well to Mr. Harper: “Dear Mr. Obama, when a U.S. drone missile kills a child in Yemen, the father will go to war with you, guaranteed. Nothing to do with Al Qaeda.” So Canada, continuing to disgrace itself on the world stage, follows along with U.S. mass murder in the Middle East.

But jingoism sells, whether the original, U.S. version, or the copy that has now apparently been successfully exported to Canada. ‘They’ are bad; ‘we’ are good, and the only thing the ‘good’ people can do is kill the ‘bad’ people. Mr. Harper is positioning himself for victory by framing his campaign in the tried and true ‘us vs. them’ model that has long been successful in the U.S. As the U.S. election campaigning ramps up, with more and more clowns entering the two-ring circus known as the Democratic and Republican primaries, we can watch the candidates from both parties fall all over themselves to prove that they want to kill more of the ‘bad’ people, and will do it longer and more effectively, than any of their opponents. No doubt they will be assisted by Kronos Advisory.

What will future generations say? Will they look upon the current world situation as today we might look upon Neanderthal society, observing the way primitive man lived? Will they comment intellectually on the little value that human life had for twenty-first century society, and the way that society worked hard to develop more effective ways to eradicate it? Will they marvel at how close the population came to extinction through war?

This is the legacy we are leaving; this is what our descendants will say about us.

Sadly, with the media corporate-owned, and the U.S. education system only deteriorating, there seems to be little hope for any significant change in the near future.

 

This article was originally published here: https://alethonews.wordpress.com/

 

Hillary: a Disaster in the Making

One longs for a candidate for president of the United States possessing those rare traits of statesmanship, honesty and integrity. One looks back in vain to see such an example, and the near and far horizons offer no such hope, either.

We will take no time looking at the GOP (Generally Opposed to Progress) candidates, either announced or still keeping everyone on the edge of their seats as they ‘decide’ whether or not to toss their hat into the soon-to-be-crowded ring. Most, including Florida Governor and brother of one of the nation’s worst presidents ever, Jeb Bush, and New Jersey Governor, the obnoxious blowhard Chris Christie, have already decided, but enjoy the spectacle of endless conjecture. So they wait.

But on the Democratic side, no less a worthy than Hillary Rodham Clinton, lawyer, former First Lady, former senator, former Secretary of State, has slow-balled her tattered hat into an otherwise empty ring. Her handlers claim, disingenuously, that she expects competition, and a hard-fought primary campaign. Who, one wants to know, is going to take her on? She has a war chest rumored to hold $2.5 billion, more than twice what Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama each spent on their campaigns in 2012; the total is more than their campaign expenditures combined. The only other potential candidate with anything close to her name recognition is Vice President Joe Biden, and it will be impossible for him to generate the puzzling enthusiasm that seems to follow Mrs. Clinton. And there does not appear to be anyone waiting in the wings to grab the spotlight from her, as Mr. Obama did in 2008.

So, while her various aides struggle to avoid any appearance of invincibility, let us all make the assumption that Mrs. Clinton will be the nominee, and work from there. What possible objections can anyone from the moderate to liberal political philosophy spectrum have to her nomination? Well, this writer asks: how much time do you have?
fantina

In the interest of time, let’s just look at a single area; there will be plenty of time to discuss others as the relentless torture session known as a U.S. political campaign drags on.

One of the most horrific oppressions of people currently happening in the world today is being perpetrated by Israel on the people of Palestine. Now, before anyone says that this is a complex, decades-old problem, and Mrs. Clinton can’t be blamed for not solving it, we question these statements, and at the same time object to her worsening of the situation. And, when one looks at her four years as Secretary of State, one can, indeed, blame her for not resolving the situation. Some facts:

* Clinton is beholden to AIPAC (American Israel Political Affairs Committee), and takes her disgraceful, self-appointed obligation to that lobby group more seriously than she does human rights. During her stint as Secretary of State, she blocked every effort Palestinians made at the United Nations to achieve recognition; these successful efforts to thwart the self-determination of an oppressed people win the kudos of AIPAC. She has spoken of Israel in almost romantic terms: “Protecting Israel’s future is not simply a question of policy for me, it’s personal,” she said in 2013, discussing various visits she has made to that apartheid land. She regularly worships at the AIPAC altar.

* In 2014, as Israel was using U.S.-provided weaponry, some of it illegal under international law, to carpet-bomb the beleaguered and blockaded Gaza Strip, Mrs. Clinton had nothing but praise for Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu. She further echoed the tired old line about Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ from rocket fire, as if an occupied nation does not have an internationally-recognized right to fight its occupier. One must note that, during 55 days in the summer of 2014, Israel fired more rockets into the Gaza Strip than Gaza fired into Israel in the previous 14 years. Additionally, Dr. Norman Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors and an outspoken critic of Israel (he is no longer allowed in that country), calls those ‘rockets’ fired from Gaza ‘enhanced fire works’. No one refers to the advanced weaponry the U.S. gives to Israel in such terms.

*During her last campaign for the presidency, she stated that, if Iran attacked her beloved Israel with nuclear weapons, the U.S., under her presidency would attack Iran and could ‘totally obliterate’ it. One must take her at her word, since she voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq, a nation that in no way threatened the U.S., and in which over half the population was under the age of 15. So she would, one assumes, not hesitate to invade Iran, a nation with twice the population of Iraq, if it, too, did nothing to threaten the U.S.

So why, one wonders, is there so much enthusiasm among Democrats for a woman who, by all accounts, is a hypocritical war-monger, who is more motivated to enhance her own bottom line than to serve the cause of human rights? What is it that draws adoring crowds to her? Perhaps people are seduced by the idea of another first: they elected the first African-American president, so why not follow it up with the first woman president? Maybe it is her resume, which is, indeed, impressive. But any job-seeker will highlight notable job titles on their resume, but once at the interview, may have difficulty pointing to any real accomplishments. The voters, as interviewers, should take a close look at what achievements, if any, Mrs. Clinton has to support those remarkable job titles. They will find little.

But what is all this, when the candidate is surrounded by the magic of invincibility, the aura of newness, and represents the final shattering of the glass ceiling? Does she not deserve the presidency, for all her hard work, regardless of the lack of any real accomplishment? Don’t we, the voters, owe her this?

No, we don’t. She isn’t fit to serve in any capacity in government, due to the reasons detailed above, in addition to many others (stay tuned). In this case it is the empress, not the emperor, who has new clothes, only seen by Democrats stricken with some sudden myopia that prevents them from seeing the reality of her accomplishments which, like the new clothes, simply don’t exist.

One can generally rely on the Republicans to nominate a worse candidate than the Democrats; one hesitates to say the Democrat is usually better, since we are not operating in a ‘good, better, best’ zone here; far beneath it, unfortunately. But this time around, there may simply be no ‘lesser of two evils’ choice to make. And the U.S. will provide yet another tragedy for the country, and the world.

 

(first published in Counterpunch.org http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/04/17/hillary-a-disaster-in-the-making/)

Anti-Israel vs. Anti-Semitism

An apparent rise in anti-Semitism is being commented on throughout parts of Europe. This isn’t terribly surprising, since talking heads seem to be falling all over themselves to portray Israel as a struggling, vulnerable nation with hardly a friend in the world, so why not magnify any episodes of what might be construed as anti-Semitism to throw in as further evidence, no matter how dubious. But, if there is an increase in incidents of alleged anti-Semitism anywhere in the world, perhaps it might be worthwhile to take a closer look. By doing so, we may be able to determine if it is, indeed, anti-Semitism, or simply a manifestation of anger against Israel for its brutal oppression of Palestine.

It is estimated that in the last few years, at least a million residents have moved out of Israel. Studies indicate that this group consists mainly of better-educated, liberal Jews who, for whatever reason, may have wanted to immigrate to Israel, but, once there, found that it wasn’t a democracy, but a totalitarian, racist regime. Their departure paved the way for the re-election this year of Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu. It has also allowed the continuing land theft, daily kidnapping and murder of Palestinians, bombing of the Gaza Strip, and the many other atrocities that Israel commits on a daily basis. As Israeli leaders screech about Israel being a ‘Jewish’ state, and the world sees that very state killing and oppressing innocent men, women and children on a daily basis, and sometimes in huge numbers, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the world may begin to equate being Jewish with being abominably cruel. The realistic extension of this is hostility towards Jews. Then the corporate-owned and controlled press screams anti-Semitism.

It is interesting to see how this cycle works. Israel commits genocide against Palestine, with weaponry the United States provides. This causes increased isolation of, and hostility towards, Israel. The government then plays the anti-Semitism card, and tells the U.S. it needs more money for weaponry for its ‘national security’ (it is amazing to this writer how so many diverse things represent an existential threat to Israel). The U.S. Congress, which is best seen as the humble employee of Israel, rushes in to provide that weaponry, which Israel uses to further oppress Palestine with unmatched barbarity. More nations, businesses and individuals respond to the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, further isolating Israel, as the blogosphere reports its atrocities. Hostility increases, and the merry-go-round never ends.

In addition to providing the weapons and technology Israel uses for its murders and oppression, the U.S. plays another role in the global marginalization and hostility towards Israel, by protecting it from international accountability at the United Nations, and under-reporting (to put it mildly) Israeli atrocities. With those atrocities whitewashed in the news media and by governmental officials, but the reality being shown on Facebook, Twitter and other sites, there is a general feeling of collusion between the two nations. That this collusion is factual is undisputed.

The schoolyard bully who complains that no one likes him has created his own problems. If coddled by the school administration, it, too, is complicit in his ostracization. On a macro level, the bully is Israel, with the U.S. serving the same function as the coddling school administration. And the result is the same: further marginalization of the Israeli bully.

There is a danger whenever a bully, be it an individual or a nation, begins to see that its intimidation is not resulting in its getting its way, but rather is causing it to be thwarted at every turn. In 2007, Russia chose not to sell defense weaponry to Iran, due in large part to pressure from the U.S. and apartheid Israel. Things are different in 2015, and Russia has confirmed that it will sell defense weapons to Iran. This is upsetting to the U.S. and Israel, saying it will complicate any attack they may want to make on Iran. And yes, it certainly will; one thinks that is probably Iran’s goal in obtaining these weapons. With two very powerful militaries rattling their sabers at Iran, that nation, like every other nation on the planet, must do what it can to protect its citizens. That Russia is willing to assist is a very positive sign.

The bully and its main cohort, the U.S., are feeling the effects of their actions, and not liking them one little bit. This will probably ramp up aggression from both; Israel will take out its anger on beleaguered Palestine, the struggling nation who’s destruction the U.S. finances, while the U.S. arms whatever nations it thinks might assist Israel, should a war with that country start. And all this buying and selling of weaponry is a great benefit to U.S. military companies, which are the largest suppliers of weapons in the world. They don’t care if Israel, Iran, Russia or France, for that matter, gets blown off the map: as long as the profits soar, the blood that finances them is unimportant.

No one likes a bully, and when the bully is Israel, the so-called ‘Jewish state’, the news media and the government can attempt to diminish hostility towards that bully by calling it anti-Semitism. They can attempt to shift the focus to violent extremists who pervert one or two verses from the Qur’an to justify their crimes. And why not? It works so well for the so-called Christian right to pick and choose verses from the Bible out of context, to justify their hatred of the poor, minorities, and anyone they view as ‘different’.

But those who oppose Israeli apartheid will not be so easily influenced; the news media, and government-appointed talking heads, are no longer the only sources of information available to the general public. People can see Israel for what it is, and the U.S. as its cash cow. It isn’t anti-Semitism that Israel needs to worry about; it is the exposure of its continued crimes against humanity that is causing so much hostility. That hostility is justified, and will continue until such time as the international community demands justice for Palestine. The strong winds of change are blowing, and not even the mighty U.S. can stop them.

 

(First published on the Palestine News Network: http://english.pnn.ps/index.php/opinion/9565-anti-israel-vs-anti-Semitism)

Muslims, Murder and Media Bias

With the tragic murder of three young Muslims at Chapel Hill University, apparently by an avowed atheist, it will be interesting to see the reactions from the media, politicians and the public. Let us consider some possibilities, based on recent history.

* A new hashtag, #wearechapelhill will flood the Twittersphere, and people around the world will ‘tweet’ their solidarity with the victims.

* Thousands of people will march at Chapel Hill, all carrying placards reading ‘We are Chapel Hill’.

* World leaders will gather at Chapel Hill, far away, of course, from any of the little people, and march together as a show of solidarity against non-religious-motivated terrorism. Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu will not be invited, but will show up anyway, and will push his way to the front of the crowd.

* President Barack Obama will decry this as a terrorist act, saying that while not all atheists are violent, those with violent tendencies must be stopped.

* The media will proclaim that Chapel Hill is now the frontier in the war against atheist-inspired terror.

* Atheists around the world will be the targets of harassment and violence.

Now, perhaps we can return to reality for a moment, and give this more serious consideration.

CNN, in its initial report on the crime, said this: “Police haven’t said what may have compelled the accused, Craig Stephen Hicks, to allegedly carry out the attack Tuesday evening. He turned himself in to police later in the night. But given the victims’ religion and comments the alleged shooter apparently left on a Facebook page, many social media users wondered what role, if any, the victims’ faith played.”

Preliminary, unconfirmed reports indicate that the accused gunman knew the victims, and had some conflicts with them over a parking space. Well, that seems to be a far better reason to kill a person than if he or she made a cottage industry out of insulting one’s religion. It will be interesting to see what the media does with this information, should it be confirmed. Will murderers who have twisted parts of a religion to suit their own bizarre beliefs and killed journalists who insulted their religion be seen as worse than a man who kills three people because of a parking-space dispute?

With the flames of hostility towards Muslims constantly being fanned by the government and media, with prominent right wing extremists even calling for their deaths, can this crime be surprising? Following the bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013, the following Twitter exchange, between FOX News contributor Erik Rush and an individual named Bill Schmalfeldt occurred:

Rush: “Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grab! Let’s bring more Saudis in without screening them.”

Schmalfeldt: “Sweet God are you ALREADY BLAMING MUSLIMS?”

Rush: “@bloodonthemike. Yes, they’re evil. Let’s kill them all.”

Another FOX News political analyst, if such a term can reasonably be applied to a FOX News employee, Andrea Tantaros had these pearls of wisdom to say in August of 2014: “If you study the history of Islam. Our ship captains were getting murdered. The French had to tip us off. I mean these were the days of Thomas Jefferson. They’ve been doing the same thing. This isn’t a surprise. You can’t solve it with a dialogue. You can’t solve it with a summit. You solve it with a bullet to the head. It’s the only thing these people understand. And all we’ve heard from this president is a case to heap praise on this religion, as if to appease them.”

Well, one assumes Ms. Tantaros is gratified that three Muslims from Chapel Hill each did, indeed, receive a bullet to the head. Three down, only 1.8 billion to go.

Prejudice against and corresponding fear of Muslims is nothing new. USA Today reported in 2013 that “Many widely believed Muslims were behind the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, until American militiaman Timothy McVeigh was convicted of the crime.” And following the shootings at Charlie Hebdo, violence against Muslims around the world spiked.

It is still, as is said, early days in the investigation and reporting of this crime. Perhaps it will be seen as just another U.S. campus shooting, so common now as to be hardly newsworthy. Perhaps the religion of the victims and the atheism of the alleged perpetrator will be ignored; after all, when a parking space is at stake, all other considerations pale.

So while the media is to able to paint all Muslims with the same brush as a few extremists in Paris, when Muslims are murder victims, it is merely coincidence. When a Muslim stands on one side of a gun, he and all Muslims are terrorists. When on the other side, they are merely individuals who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It will be interesting to see who is asked to apologize for this crime; perhaps there will be calls for all atheists to do so, although this is, of course, highly unlikely. Atheism is a respected concept in the west, and we all know that atheists, unlike Muslims, are individuals capable of independent thought. It will also be interesting to see how right wing journalists and so-called ministers respond; they are quick to condemn Islam with every invented opportunity, and since they are no fans of atheism, they will have to engage in some interesting verbal gymnastics to condemn atheism without somehow expressing sympathy for Muslims.

It may be some time, if ever, before the motivation for this savage crime is known. But if stories from the lives of the three victims, who by all accounts appear to have been compassionate, promising young people, can be publicized, perhaps prejudices against Muslims can be somewhat reduced, thus giving the deaths of these three young people some meaning.

 

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/13/muslims-murder-and-media-bias/

 

 

Islam: The new invented enemy

As many writers, including this one, have mentioned more than once in the past, the United States always needs an enemy. For much of the last seventy years, this was dominated by Communism, starting with two world wars and then accelerating with the infamous witch hunts of Senator Joseph McCarthy (R- WI). The U.S. was able to build and expand its vast war machine by scaring the populace into the belief that there was a Communist hiding behind every door, just waiting for the right opportunity to wreak all kinds of havoc. It was this manufactured fear that enabled the U.S. to decimate Korea, and leave military basis there for over 50 years (and counting), and to kill millions of Vietnamese people prior to fleeing that nation in humiliating, well-deserved defeat.

Once the Berlin Wall fell, and many eastern European countries had violent or non-violent revolutions, somehow the glamour of fighting Communism faded. Oh, here and there the leader of a nation that was, perhaps, taking his nation too far to the left had to be eliminated, and this was always done under the lofty banner of freeing an oppressed people, although if they were genuinely oppressed, the U.S. never said it was simply changing their repressive leader for another repressive leader, more to the U.S.’s liking.

But fear-mongering is a tried and true method of operation in the U.S. In 2010, when the government, under Democratic President Barack Obama, decided to elevate itself from Third World status in the context of health care, the opposition party invented the concept of death panels. Here, they proclaimed darkly, government-appointed personnel would determine who was worthy of health care, and who must simply be placed on the side of a mountain to die. The elderly, the infirm, all of society’s most vulnerable citizens, the Republicans warned, would be weeded out by government mandate.

Despite the fact that there was never anything remotely resembling death panels in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act, these myths persist as reality in the minds of some. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who screamed the loudest, protested that an ‘end-of-life’ counseling provision, that was eventually dropped, was simply a euphemism for death panels. This program, which helped dying people write wills, decide on hospice care, etc. was exactly the same as Ms. Palin signed into law when she was governor. It was fine when proposed by a Republican, but deadly when proposed by a Democrat.

In 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush and his minions terrified U.S. citizens into believing that al-Qaeda, the organization that had hijacked passenger jets and crashed them into various locations in the U.S., was working closely with the government of Iraq, and it was only a matter of a very short time before unspeakably horrible weapons would be decimating U.S. cities. The fact that al-Qaeda had only a minimal presence in Iraq, and that a bipartisan U.S. Congressional commission said there was ‘no credible evidence’ of Iraq’s complicity in the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the fact that United Nations’ weapons inspectors were finding no evidence of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ didn’t matter when fear-mongering couples with war-mongering. Iraq was invaded, with disastrous results for that country and the U.S.

And now that target has been crystallized, with Islam being the new enemy. An ignorant population that understands little beyond white, Anglo-Saxon Protestantism is more than ready to see Muslims as frightening people, little better than savages, who hate the U.S. because of its cherished, if really negligible, freedoms. They wear hijabs and kufeyahs, attend houses of worship without crosses on them, and speak a language that no self-respecting high school ever teaches. They are all, somehow, in the narrow minds of many U.S. citizens, associated with Sharia law, which, in its strictest interpretation, can be harsh. And government officials and right-wing pundits have not hesitated to exploit that concept.

January 29, 2015 marked the eleventh annual Texas Capitol Muslim Day. This event is billed as ‘an opportunity for community members to learn about the democratic political process and how to be an advocate for important issues.’ This does not seem to be anything that should be particularly controversial in any nation that purports to be a democracy. But this was not the case. One state representative, Molly White (R- Belton) disgraced herself by leaving instructions with her staff that any visiting Muslims must renounce terrorism and proclaim their allegiance to the U.S. To add insult to injury, she left an Israeli flag on the reception desk in her office.

Despite considerable criticism, Ms. White persisted in her ignorant display of Islamophobia. She later posted this on her Facebook page: ‘I do not apologize for my comments. … If you love America, obey our laws and condemn Islamic terrorism, then I embrace you as a fellow American. If not, then I do not.’ It seems for Ms. White, every citizen, or at least every Muslim, must wear an American flag label pin (and possibly an Israel flag lapel pin), go around singing the national anthem, and discuss nothing but the horror of Islamic terror. She doesn’t seem particularly concerned about U.S. drone strikes whose ‘collateral damage’ is often innocent people who happen to be Muslim, or the mass killings by Christians of Muslims in Africa. Murder, apparently, is abhorrent when done in the name of Islam, but not when done in the name of Christianity, or by the U.S. government.

The U.S. has unlimited examples of fear mixing with ignorance and begetting violence. Look no further than Ferguson, Missouri, for a recent example of a white police officer, seeing an unarmed black youth and not hesitating to shoot him. Similar incidents would fill volumes to document. And now violence against Muslims, never far beneath the surface but seldom reported, is being condoned and encouraged by a media rabid for an enemy, and a government content to let it do so.

In 2006, when Keith Ellison was sworn in as the first Muslim member of Congress, he took the oath of office with his hand on the Qur’an. This did not sit well with some of his new peers. Rep. Virgil Goode (R–VA) wrote to his constituents about the horror of this event. Such behavior, he intoned, is a threat to “the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America…” Further, he predicted that more Muslims would be elected, and would swear in on the Qur’an. Said he: “…if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Qur’an”. Mr. Goode’s fear of ‘more Muslims elected to office’ apparently resonates with a significant number of voters.

His proclamations are not isolated incidents. Former Arkansas governor and periodic presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has stated that U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration are ‘incapable of knowing the difference between good and evil’, and are ‘bending over backwards to do everything possible to accommodate Muslims but they don’t mind stomping all over Christians and they do it regularly. This is just the most astonishing reversal of true American tradition that I’ve ever seen.’ More of the ‘us vs. them’ mentality that is necessary when inventing enemies.

Arch-conservative commentator Erik Rush, columnist of the radical right’s World Net Daily, last year tweeted that all Muslims should be killed. In an article of January 30, 2015, he said that there is no ‘distinction that exists between Islam and ‘radical Islam.’’ He further said that ‘all Muslims are part of this diabolical design of supplanting Western civilization with an Islamic one.’

These are just a few examples of rampant Islamophobia morphing into hatred and encouraging violence.

There seems to be some general feeling, as articulated so ineloquently by Ms. White, that every Muslim must actively condemn violence done in the name of Islam. As a Christian, this writer feels no need to apologize for the bizarre proclamations of the so-called Christian right, some of which are mentioned above. The peculiar rantings of radical right, Bible-thumping ministers, or the paranoid ravings of extreme rightwing columnists and broadcasters have nothing to do with this writer’s understanding of Christianity. Even more importantly, they have nothing to do with this writer.

Being ‘sorry’ takes two forms. One can be sorry, as this writer is, that Muslims are being harassed, beaten and killed in many parts of the world. However, this writer does not apologize for such behaviors, because he is not perpetrating them. Muslims may be sorry that people were shot and killed in the offices of a French magazine, without apologizing, since they had nothing to do with that crime. The actions of a few do not represent the feelings of the many. This writer may be sorry that so-called Christian pundits declare that marriage equality will bring an end to civilization as we know it, but he does not apologize for those statements, since he is not making them.

But what is any of this? When the media, with complete government consent, views Islam as the enemy and everyone else as the victim, what is the point of logic? Why let facts get in the way of self-righteous hatred? Who is this writer to attempt to deprive the U.S. of the new enemy it has invented?

Yet he will criticize and work to defeat this behavior, so prevalent now in the U.S. and throughout much of the world. It is this Islamophobia, in part, that enables Israel to commit crimes against humanity with impunity. It is this same Islamophobia that enables the U.S. to perpetrate unspeakable terror against countries in the Middle East, all, incredibly, in the name of peace and freedom. That it is all unjust, unreasonable and unsupportable with facts is clear to anyone who will look beyond flashy hashtags and the popular sound bites of the moment. Convincing a population more interested in waving a flag than in human rights and justice is not an easy task. Yet it must be done.

 

http://www.iiprc.org/islam–the-new-invented-enemy-1.html

The Atonement of Jesus Christ

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is an all-important doctrine for followers of the Savior. Each Sunday, Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) partake of the Sacrament (bread and water), and ponder on the suffering of the Savior in the Garden and on the cross. The emblems of the sacrament symbolize His body and blood, sacrificed for all mankind, and one recalls His resurrection, all combined in the incomparable events known as the Atonement.

In John 17:3, we read: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Why do we need to know Jesus Christ, and why do we need to know that God has sent Him? Because Jesus Christ is actually the Son of God, and He atoned for our sins.

What is the Atonement?

The Atonement of Jesus Christ provides a way for us to return to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father and the Savior after our mortal life ends. Through the Atonement all mankind will be resurrected and receive immortal bodies like God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. However, in order for us to live in the presence of God and Christ, we have to keep the commandments to the best of our ability. The Atonement  is a gift that we can qualify for through striving to keep the commandments of God and through the mercy and grace of our Savior.

As humans, we all sin, and because no unclean thing can enter the kingdom of heaven we would remain alienated from God. In order to qualify us to be able to return to His presence, an infinite sacrifice was required. Alone, we are unable to pay the price of  redemption, so Jesus Christ paid it for us. That is the foundation of the Atonement; it enables us to repent. Only He could do it. An infinite sacrifice was required, because nothing else could reconcile us to God. Had Jesus Christ only been a righteous man, a gifted teacher, or even a prophet, His sacrifice would have been meaningless. As the literal Son of God, His sacrifice was a divine gift to us, and He was foreordained to make this sacrifice for each of us.

The word “Atonement” is defined as the setting ‘at one’ (at-one-ment) of those who have been estranged from God. Sin is the cause of the estrangement. The Atonement of Jesus Christ, therefore, corrects or overcomes the consequences of sin and enables us to become more ‘at-one’ with God.

In the eternities, justice must be satisfied. Once we have transgressed, there is no way we could—by our own efforts—ever become clean again. The stain of that transgression would always remain, even if we were never to sin again, which, for any human, is simply not possible. Without an intermediary, we would never be able to return to live in the presence of God. By sinning, we violate divine rules, and the only way to compensate is through the grace of a divine redeemer.

A Common Analogy

A common analogy to the Atonement of Jesus Christ is that of the young couple who gets deeply into debt. Credit is easy, so they buy a fancy house, furnish it expansively, purchase a new car, and so on. At some point, their creditor comes to them, demanding payment. They’ve been enjoying their luxuries, and haven’t thought much about this day of reckoning. But now that time has arrived. The creditor tells them that if they cannot pay, he will repossess everything. There is nothing they can do; they simply do not have the money. Even though they could plead for mercy, justice must be served. The creditor must either be paid or be allowed to repossess the financed possessions.

Fortunately for this young couple, a dear friend offers to help pay off their debts. The creditor does not care where the payment is coming from. Justice demands that he be paid in full, so when the friend pays him, he is satisfied. But the friend has put some conditions on his payment of the young couple’s debt. He will pay it, but they must agree to do certain things and follow certain instructions that he will set out for them. And he will help them carry out those directives he now requires.

In the context of the Atonement, that friend is Jesus Christ. All mankind has a debt that we can’t pay by ourselves. Justice demands that it be paid, so He paid it for us. In return, He asks, as His stipulation, that we keep the commandments.

In a manner that is beyond human comprehension, Jesus Christ took upon Himself the penalty for our transgressions. This is basic to the plan of salvation. We knew, as spirit beings before our mortal birth, that we would make mistakes in mortality, but we had the assurance that the way back would be provided. The Savior’s sacrifice is that way back.

Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can overcome all things. The Savior knows everything we experience  – illnesses, sorrows, temptations – because He has borne them all.

Overcoming our Mistakes

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is not only for repenting of very serious transgressions. We can and should utilize this great gift always, to assist us in overcoming the little habits we want to rid ourselves of, as well as, when necessary, repenting of more serious sins. We can and should utilize the gift of the Atonement whenever we feel we need extra help with any of life’s challenges, large or small. In Luke 11:11, we read: “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?” Heavenly Father and the Savior are not going to turn us away if we ask in genuine need for assistance, regardless of how large or small that need may be.

Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Only He, as the literal Son of God, could satisfy the demands of justice, by providing us, God’s children, with the mercy we require. The infinite Atonement—the full comprehension of which is beyond the ability of any mortal to grasp—is His great gift to us.

More about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

 “The Atonement of Jesus Christ” was written by Robert Fantina. “The Atonement of Jesus Christ” is important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If you would like to know more about Mormons with no obligation, please click on the following links:

 

 

Palestine, Israel and International Law

By Robert Fantina

On December 30 of 2014, the United Nations, in a very close vote, refused to set a time frame for the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The United States, true to form, voted no, saying, incredibly, that the resolution didn’t adequately address Israel’s security needs, and that recognition could only happen through negotiations.

Both of these reasons are simply lies, presented to an unbelieving world so that Israel can maintain the status quo, which means its incremental genocide of Palestine.

To continue reading this article, click here.

 

Introduction to ‘Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy’

Despite what is taught in public schools across the nation, the U.S. is not unique in the road it took to become a world power. The happy thought of the founding fathers, finding themselves in an unpopulated land, rich in natural resources, and only needing to shed the oppression of Britain in order to fulfill the manifest destiny of the United States, is similar to the myths of Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. Pleasant, whimsical, but void of any truth.

Yet unlike other fairy tales, this one hides the horrendous crimes of murder, land theft and blatant and shocking disregard for human rights, all in the greedy pursuit of wealth and power. From the extermination of the ‘Indians,’ natives who’d lived on the North American continent since time immemorial, through the barbaric murders of Filipinos defending their nation from U.S. invasion, to the killing of ‘insurgents,’’ Iraqi freedom fighters, the U.S., often under the guise of freeing an oppressed people, has caused those very people far more suffering than the governments they were supposedly being freed from.

The irony of an imperial U.S.A. is striking.
“… here is a government created in the fires of bourgeois-democratic revolution against colonialism, and a government whose success in revolution served as an inspiration for scores of similar efforts in many parts of the world in subsequent years; at the same time, this very government, as the U.S. economy became monopoly capitalist – towards the close of the 19th century – itself entered upon a career of colonialism and in our own day stands as the main bastion of what still remains of colonialism.
“The anti-colonialist nature of U.S. beginnings and the inspirational character of the American Revolution have been among the elements helping the American ruling class obscure the pro-colonial and therefore anti-popular essence of its foreign policy.”

In the early part of the twenty-first century, the myth of a freedom-loving people, spreading American-style democracy everywhere, began to be cracked. The U.S. invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq in March of 2003, in order, the world was told by U.S. President George W. Bush, to protect the U.S. from the imminent threat that Iraq posed to the U.S. With these lofty and frightening ideas, Congress, always wanting to appear strong against whatever current bugaboo ‘threatened’ the U.S. (e.g. Communism in the 1950’s; terrorism in the early 2000s), granted the president broad powers to wage war, powers he wasted no time in exercising. Although the war ravaged Iraq; killed hundreds of thousands of its citizens and thousands of U.S. soldiers; displaced millions of Iraqis and left at least hundreds of thousands of them homeless, many languishing in refugee camps in neighboring countries, no weapons of mass destruction, believed by many Americans, based on the statements of Mr. Bush and his cohorts, to be aimed at the living rooms of middle America, were found. In his memoir, published in 2008, Republican economist Alan Greenspan, who’d served as chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve for nearly twenty years, said this about the Iraq war: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

Like that war, most, if not all, of the U.S.’s wars have had more to do with the accumulation of wealth and the increase of power than forcing U.S.-style democracy on foreign nations, whether they wanted it or not. Even during World War II, which established the U.S. as an undisputed world power, and defeated the horrific Hitler regime, the U.S. granted special permission for some U.S. companies to deal with the Nazi regime. Despite Hitler’s savagely cruel trek across Europe, the idea of making a buck from his activities was too enticing for the U.S. to avoid.

An investigation of the nation’s past wars shows stark similarities to those it currently wages. Certainly, the means of invading a nation, overthrowing its government and killing its citizens has been made far more effective with modern weaponry. President James Madison may have been happy to have had heat-seeking missiles when he invaded Canada, but he had to manage with horses. But the reasons for the wars have changed little, and the lies that are used to convince either the populace or Congress, or both, to invade sovereign nations, are alarmingly similar.

From the War of 1812, where Canada was the target, through World War I, the ‘war to make the world safe for democracy,’ all the way to Iraq, the war to rid that nation of weapons of mass destruction that it did not have, the underlying goal has always been empire. In some ways it is subtle; the U.S. fought in Korea ostensibly to prevent a takeover of that nation by Chinese Communists, but sixty years later the U.S. maintains a strong military presence in that nation, again ostensibly for its own protection. U.S. military bases span the globe, ‘protecting’ those nations from their enemies, real or imagined, and also ‘protecting’ the U.S. from its self-defined enemies. This defining of enemies is vital for the government to gain the support of the citizens to fight its wars, thus fueling the continuation and expansion of what President Dwight D. Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex. And once a nation is invaded, the disillusionment of the citizens of the U.S. does nothing to bring about the war’s end; starting a war is far easier for the U.S. than ending one.

The country that proudly proclaims its own success in shedding the yoke of imperialism does not hesitate to exploit, or even create, opportunities to build empire. In the early nineteenth century, when Britain and France were embroiled in war, the U.S. found it convenient to invade Canada. Nearly 200 years later, after the terrorist attacks on the U.S. of September 11, 2001, the nation’s leaders fanned the fears of a frightened populace to inflame hatred for, and justify an invasion of, an oil-rich nation that was in no way associated with those attacks.

Like most nations, the U.S. writes its own history to serve its own purposes. How willing, one might ask, would young men and women be to go to Iraq to fight and die for the benefit of U.S. oil company profits? How willing, generations ago, would they have been to leave their homes to fight in the Philippines, to help ensure profitable trade routes between the U.S. and China? Will they be willing, in the near future, to fight in Iran, so that U.S. politicians’ reelection campaigns can continue to receive the generous largess of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)?

It is beyond the scope of this work to study over 200 years of foreign policy in great detail; such a work would require volumes. But there have been similar, over-arching policies that are manifested in very different foreign-policy decisions. All of them have as their foundation either increased wealth, increased power, or both.

This book is divided into three distinct sections (shown below), although there is much overlap between them. Events and policies from one section do not cease with the start of the one following. The divisions are created simply to show the general, imperialist evolution of the U.S.; there has been little if any significant change in motives, although increasing power has brought increased suffering at the hands of the U.S. There may be information from one section included in one following it, when those policies accompany ones reflecting the new period.

Each chapter includes information about the U.S. economic considerations for the war; the conditions in the U.S. that enabled the government to wage war; the reasons each war was, at least initially, favored by the citizenry, and the blatant disregard for the freedom, dignity and basic human rights of the U.S.’s self-identified ‘enemies’ and, in many cases, its own citizens.

Period 1: 1750 – 1898. Manifest Destiny
– Chapter 1: Native American Oppression
– Chapter 2: The War of 1812
– Chapter 3: The Mexican-American War
– Chapter 4: The Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars
– Chapter 5: Other Foreign Policy Activities of this Time Period

Period 2: 1899 – 1953. A New World Power
– Chapter 6: Early Twentieth Century
– Chapter 7: World War I
– Chapter 8: Between World War I and World War II
– Chapter 9: World War II
– Chapter 10: The Korean War
– Chapter 11: Other Foreign Policy Activities of this Time Period

Period 3: 1954 – Present. Fighting Invented Enemies
– Chapter 12: The Vietnam War
– Chapter 13: The Gulf War
– Chapter 14: The Afghanistan War
– Chapter 15: The Iraq War
– Chapter 16: Israeli-Palestine Conflict
– Chapter 17: Other Foreign Policy Activities of this Time Period
– Chapter 18: Summary and Analysis

The author recognizes that the material in this book brings into question some of the United States’ most cherished principles, and sheds a less-than-flattering light on them. Yet the facts speak for themselves; the U.S. is, and always has been, an imperial nation, far less concerned about human rights than corporate profits; less interested in peace than in power.