This Date Should Live In Infamy, Too

August 9, 1945. Imagine that instead of nuking the Japanese city of Nagasaki, the US government instead lined up 80,000 of its civilians– children and teenagers, babies and the elderly, men and women alike–and shot them in the head and kicked them into a ditch. How would this have been different than dropping a Plutonium bomb on their heads, which in reality ripped them apart, burned them to death or fatally poisoned them?

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The government has worked insidiously to convince us since early childhood that there is a difference between foreigners targeting innocent Americans to achieve their objectives and the US government targeting innocent foreigners to achieve its objectives. We are to believe that when others do it, it’s called terrorism, but when the US does it, it’s called foreign policy, or at worst it’s excusable as the euphemism “collateral damage”.

With Hiroshima and Nagasaki in particular, the government has gone so far as telling us tales about how half a million American soldiers would have died if not for its brutal destruction of these two Japanese cities full of civilians, and thus it had to be done.

Well, that is simply false, as confirmed by the military commanders and other government officials at the time. That number was made up by propagandists after the fact and repeated relentlessly over several decades to rationalize the nuclear slaughter of massive numbers of civilians.

The real estimate of soldiers that might be killed in an invasion of Japan was less than one tenth of that number and the Japanese were on the verge of surrendering anyway, holding out on the condition of keeping their emperor (which they ultimately were allowed to do). Yet, we’re supposed to believe that destroying not one but two cities full of civilians with nuclear weapons was strategically necessary?

General Dwight D. Eisenhower:

…the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.

Admiral William D. Leahy (president Truman’s chief of staff):

…the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan.

But even if those massively inflated numbers of projected American soldier casualties were true, how can the act of targeting innocents in order to achieve certain goals be logically or morally different depending on who is doing the killing? What if it had been the Germans or Japanese who dropped atomic bombs on cities in the United States or Great Britain? How is that different?

Answer: It isn’t. It’s all the same. Killing innocents is always wrong and wholly unjustifiable in any case, by any perpetrator. Period.

Imperial Japan committed unspeakable atrocities in WWII. We’ve learned about them since we were little kids. There are many days from that horrible war that will live in infamy. But August 6 and August 9, and the intentional slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians by the US government, should live in infamy too.

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Bomb, Bomb Again

This past week President Obama decided he can start bombing Libya (again) because of a 15 year old authorization granting power to go after those responsible for the attacks on 9/11/01.

But Libya had nothing to do with 9/11. And the target of the bombing campaign, ISIS, did not even exist until post-9/11 US interventions caused the conditions leading to its creation.

Further, the US government has indirectly armed and funded ISIS for years now.

Further still, ISIS only occupies portions of Libya in the first place because the US, led by Hillary Clinton with justifications that turned out (shockingly!) to be false, overthrew Muammar Gaddafi’s secular regime in 2011.

Even further, this new round of bombing will cause plenty of “collateral damage”, aka slaughtered innocents whose loved ones will have legitimate reasons to hate the US. 

…But we’re supposed to trust these fools in government as our security force. This is madness.

Stop President Obama’s Gun Violence!

The hypocrisy of this man is shocking. President Obama is the largest arms dealer on earth, selling weapons to brutal governments who oppress and kill innocent people on a routine basis. He has literally provided guns to known terrorist groups because they share the same political objectives of the US government (e.g. he’s supported radical jihadists to overthrow secular dictators in Libya and Syria).

He is also the most violent person on earth. He’s actually bragged that “Turns out I’m really good at killing people”. He has ordered the deaths of thousands of people via Hellfire missiles without charge or trial, most of whom he does not even know their identity (Google “signature strikes”). An enormous number of his victims are innocent civilians, whom he callously dismisses with the euphemism “collateral damage”. He has bombed hospitals, wedding parties, funerals, and first responders. He’s even redefined the term “militant” so that he doesn’t have to count any 18+ male civilians he kills as innocent victims.

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Besides, gun laws do not prevent criminals from getting any gun they want. All that gun laws do is shift the balance of power of gun ownership from the American people to criminals and government. Not exactly a comforting thought. Human beings have a natural right to own whatever means of defense they deem necessary. They don’t have the right to commit acts of aggression, of course, but those are already illegal, despite the fact that the so-called authorities violate this law every single day.

Keeping guns away from law-abiding people will not solve the problem of violence in society. However, taking away the ability of the US government to wield violence on its every whim would  be a huge step in the right direction.

 

You have to respect the office

Presidents

I’ve heard it said that whether you voted for the current president or not, and whether you agree or disagree with his policies, “you have to respect the office”. I’m sure I even said it myself many years ago. But why on earth should that be the case?

Over the past century, the office of the US president has allowed the near elimination of the Bill of Rights in America. It has enabled the transfer of trillions of dollars from the American people to powerful and politically connected special interests. It has needlessly sacrificed the lives of tens of thousands of young Americans and left hundreds of thousands physically and psychologically wounded.

The office of the president authorized the rounding up of innocent Americans into concentration camps based on their Japanese descent. It ordered the only two nuclear attacks in history and intentionally did so against hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. It has launched one aggressive war after the next, routinely invading, occupying, bombing and destroying countries at will. It has commanded the killing, maiming and displacement of countless millions of innocents in Southeast and Central Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere.

The office of the president now claims the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner at any time, any place in the world against Americans and non-Americans alike. It also presides over the government with the largest prison population in the entire world. It also oversees the most expansive spying and surveillance apparatus (against the American people and the rest of the world) that has ever existed. It also viciously prosecutes courageous truth-tellers and whistle-blowers who expose government crimes against society.

The US president is the executive of the biggest government and world empire in the history of time. What could there possibly be for Americans to respect about this terrible office?

The true role of Islam in terrorism

The War on Terror is credibly estimated to have caused the deaths of well over one million people, most of them innocent Muslims. And that’s just the past 14 years. Add to it the decade before 9/11, which included half a million dead Iraqi children due to the Clinton-era sanctions and bombing (a price the administration said was “worth it” to accomplish their goals). Add to it the 60+ years of overthrowing governments, installing/propping up dictators, and general US imperialism in predominantly Muslim countries.

And now there’s the Obama era of the War on Terror. In addition to plunging entire countries into violent chaos (e.g. Libya, Syria) like Bush did before him, Obama’s regime terrorizes innumerable people daily from above. Drones patrol the skies over several countries and rain down hellfire missiles (their actual name) upon wedding partiesfirst respondersfuneral mourners and countless other innocents. This is in pursuit of targets whose identities aren’t even known — they’re just individuals who have supposedly demonstrated terrorist behavior (Google “signature strikes”). The drone operators execute their faceless targets from thousands of miles away via joystick and computer monitor, and refer to them as “bug splats“.

All told, in the past several decades the US has caused the death, suffering and displacement of millions of innocent Muslims. Many millions.

Terrorism against Americans is blowback from the US government’s foreign policy. The primary role of Islam among the terrorists amounts to this: solidarity. The same type of solidarity Americans feel when we find ourselves under the threat of retaliation resulting from our government’s actions in the world.

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I want to stress that this is not some kind of justification. Murder is murder. The terrorists who murder innocent Americans are evil murderers who deserve to die. Screw them.

I’m just trying to emphasize that the terrorist threat against Americans exists not because Muslims hate our (relative) freedom, and not because some of them are so devout that they are compelled to kill Westerners over religious differences. Demagogues have told us these lies since 9/11/01, and have propagandized us daily to get us to hate their scapegoat of “Radical Islam” and shield the true motivations, lest we demand they change their foreign policy.

The reality is that mass-murderers like Bin Laden have been able to recruit people to kill and die for their cause with this simple argument: “The American imperialists are murdering and oppressing you, your family, and your fellow Muslims. The only way to make them stop is to murder them back and draw them into a war that will bankrupt their empire.” (A plan that the unfathomably stupid US government has been playing into perfectly for 14 long years, I might add.)

The evil bastards have stated this over and over and over and over and over again.

(H/T Scott Horton)

The perpetual war economy

There are many destructive economic myths out there. One of the worst has got to be the notion that war is good for the economy.

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It is simply not true that the US government expropriating money from the American people to build weapons helps the economy. And how could it be so? Sure, it helps those select few weapons contractors feeding on the “defense” budget, but this is not a productive use of capital. On the contrary, it is destructive. The loss is compounded as the capital wasted on unproductive activities is then used to destroy more wealth and property (and even worse: life).

Why should we desire a bunch of smart people to be spending their days designing and building weapons of war? What if their labor and our capital was instead put towards things to make society more peaceful and more prosperous? You know…cures for diseases, new technologies, problem-solving entrepreneurial ventures, innovative ways of peacefully providing value to society, etc.

In addition, when all the US government has is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Washington’s reckless and aggressive foreign policy results in the threat of retaliation from those on the receiving end of its power. And thus, the “need” for more weapons. It’s quite a racket.

The US military empire and its corresponding domestic Military Industrial Complex are what puts us in danger of both bankruptcy and attack. They are a machine for perpetual war. Neither have a place in a free society. Both must be abolished.

Using dead kids to sell more war

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Regarding the tragic death of poor little Aylan Kurdi and the unimaginable suffering of millions of Syrian refugees, I think it is essential that the American people correctly identify the main cause of this catastrophe.

For four years and up to this very day, official US policy has been supporting, training and/or arming various factions of Syrian rebels to destabilize the Syrian government and overthrow the secular dictator Bashar al-Assad. This is against the will of the majority of Syrians, and particularly against the will of vulnerable minorities, such as Syrian Christians, who support the Assad regime out of fear for their lives if he is deposed.

It’s as if President Obama has never even heard of George W. Bush or Saddam Hussein or the humanitarian crisis that the overthrow of that secular dictator caused. It’s like he’s forgotten the humanitarian crisis that he and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton caused in Libya when they launched a war to overthrow that secular dictator.

This policy is staggering in its stupidity, recklessness and carelessness. And callousness. It’s not the powerful US government officials’ kids dying, of course. So, they have no interest in changing their policies specifically aimed at their strategic objectives — policies which have been having the exact consequences that they were predicted to have for years by people who knew better/gave a damn.

It is imperative that Americans get to the root of this humanitarian crisis before it gets astronomically worse. The US media is intent on focusing solely on the tragic symptoms — symptoms which are often cynically used for war propaganda purposes to further escalate these horrible policies. I haven’t checked yet today, but in the wake of this news are the calls getting louder for the US to “finally” intervene and do something about the Syrian crisis and depose Assad? If not, just wait…