Readers are invited to contribute to this developing site by sending additions to Dick Bennett: firstname.lastname@example.org
VICTIMS OF UNITED STATES INVASIONS
SINCE THE END OF WORLD WAR II
Invade: enter forcefully as an enemy; go into with hostile intent; enter to take possession ; conquer; enter and affect injuriously or destructively; infringement by intrusion; offensive; penetrate; spread into or over; attack; subvert. U.S. invasions are typically facilitated by secrecy, deceit, and lying by presidents and their subordinates in order to deny the public the truth and gain their support for acts that violate international laws and the U.S. Constitution and that kill innocent people.
"...a few million people have died in the American holocaust and many more millions have been condemned to lives of misery and torture as a result of US interventions extending from China and Greece in the 1940s to Afghanistan and Iraq in the 1990s." William Blum, Killing Hope (p. 1).
"Since its violent beginning, the United States has launched a constant stream of military battles. Nine major wars and more than 200 armed invasions have occurred since 1776. From 1977 to 1993, the United States sent armed troops to carry out 32 invasions abroad."
Blase Bonpane describes the US as a serial killer supported by 250 million enablers.
No one should believe any U.S. government statement regarding foreign interventions; not arbitrarily, not a-priori, but post-priori, based upon repeated discoveries of secrecy and chicanery by the president and his officials, that enabled them to lead its large population, generally indifferent to and ignorant of foreign affairs, into wars regardless of their violations of international laws and the Constitution. Nor can the U.S. press be trusted to discover the truth early on when it matters, before the invasion has begun or in its early stages--or even years later! Nor can we count on our two main political parties to act as watchdogs. For example, the U.S. war in eastern Laos escalated through four Republican and Democratic adminstrations, including arming 30,000 Hmong and hiring 20,000 Thai troops, running an airline for the war, and devastating the Plain of Jars with 1.5 million tons of bombs, more than in World War II..
Our knowledge of U.S. international depredations is now extensive, thanks to the research of William Blum, John Quigley, Noam Chomsky, and a host of other scholars. With the knowledge of their books, we can better appreciate the gross warping of values and reality in the annual military budgets--for FY 2001 over $300 billion. Empire and the war system are not the exclusive domain of Democrats or Republicans, and now both would extend U.S. power into outer space. Every citizen should read these books and then confront their representatives until the U.S. war system is abandoned and the money is spent to help people.
William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World
War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower (email@example.com).
Killing Hope (revised and expanded The CIA: A Forgotten History) gives a history of rabid US anti-communism and the MIIC--the military-industrial-intelligence (CIA)-complex--constructed for the Cold (Hot) War, with its war economy and war foreign policy perpetuted constantly frightening the public with manufactured stories of threats from abroad, particularly of a communist conspiracy. The book also offers helpful lists of US armed interventions abroad from 1798 to 1945 and US assassination plots 1949-1991. The result in the 21st century? The extreme militarization of the US.
Rogue State tests the US by the same stadards US leaders use to judge other countries. The result is a bill of wrongs, an encyclopedia of terrorism, malfeasance, and mendacity hypocritically carried out in the name of democracy. Blum suggests that the leaders of the US have a lust for hegemony over the rest of the world, divorced form moral considerations. The first part explains why the US is attacked by terrorists (it is the chief terrorist nation). Part II focuses on US weapons of mass destruction--bombs, chemical, and biological. And the last section samples aspects of Us global interventions (perverting elections, subverting the UN, clandestine eavesdropping on the world, kidnapping, looting, drug running, etc.).
John Quigley, The Ruses for War: American Interventionism Since World War II: Why did the U.S. invade the Dominican Republic, Libya, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, etc.? An introduction to the coverups, distortions, and manipulation of the media by our country's leaders to gain public support for nefarious, bullying, imperial purposes. "In instance after instance, the American public gave tacit consent to military action, the reasons for which it did not understand because it accepted the White House's skewed presentation of the facts" (15).
Chomsky, Noam. Turning the Tide: U.S. Intervention in Central America and
the Struggle for Peace. South End, 1985.
Noam Chomsky. The Culture of Terrorism. South End, 1988
In contrast to Roosevelt's Four Freedoms announced during WWII--the freedoms of speech, of worship, from want, and from fear--,the US National Security State seeks the Fifth Freedom.The U.S. international security policy, rooted in the structure of power in the domestic society, pursues the freedom to rob, to exploit and dominate, to undertake any course of action to ensure the preservation of US privilege.
____. Necessary Illustions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies. South End, 1989. Applies the Chomsky/Herman propaganda model toUS media coverage of US actions around the world, to show how democracy is limited.
____. World Orders Old and New. Columbia UP, 1994.
A critique of US foreign policies and actions, and the complict media.
This website is entitled "Victims," because, in contrast to its main scources, individual human beings killed by U.S. armed forces will be named and the circumstances of their dying given--a Memorial Wall for Victims of US Interventions.
Pre-World War II: taking the continent from the native Americans, War with Mexico land grab, Spanish-American War extending empire from Cuba to the Philippines, 1918-1919 intervention in Russia for the Czar.
Conquering the Continent, Indian Genocide
Andrist, Ralph. The Long Death: The Last Days of the Plains Indians. Oklahoma UP, 2001. Dispossession of the Plains Indians during the half century after 1840.
Basu, Ritta. "It's Time to Say We're Sorry." Northwest Arkansas
Times (Sept. 17, 2000) F4. On the apology by the assist. secretary
of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs for the harm the agency has inflicted on
Native Americans. Basu calls upon the President to apologize.
Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Hibakusha (he-bach-shah) refers both to those who were killed by and those who survived the atomic bombings. We might say that all of the "explosion-affected persons" from all US invasions are hibakusha.
Walker, J. Samuel. Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic
bombs Against Japan. U of NC P, 1997. Rev. Peace and Change (Jan.
(The lists can be only symbolic, so numerous are the victims).
China 1945 to 1960s
The Cold War, 1947 to 1989
The U.S. in 1947 created its National Security State: changed the name of the War Department to the Defense Department, created the CIA, initiated the containment policy against the Soviet Union, and so on. Bill Moyers observes in his PBS program, "The Secret Government": "it's stunning how easily the Cold War enticed us into surrendering popular control of government to the national security state."
China 1945 to 1960s
US opposition to communist forces in China began immediately after the Japanese surrender. US Marines blocked communist capture of Peking, and US tranport planes dropped anti-communist Geneeralissimo Chiang Kai-shek's troops into Shanghai to prevent a victory by Mao Tse-tung's forces there. And all over China, the 100,000 US troops directly engaged in fighting supported the extension of Chiang's Nationalist government. By 1949 the US had given Chiang $3 billion to build 39 army divisions. But despite all this help, Chiang's genocidal tyranny lost to Mao, and the Nationalists moved to Taiwan and Burma. US support continued for frequent interventions into China with CIA officers flying in commandos and saboteurs during the 1950s and 60s. The US also raised Tibetan refugees as saboteurs, in violation of its Charter. And evidence exists that the US used germ and insect warfare against China during these years.
Greece 1947 to 1950s
Philippines 1940s and 1950s
After World War II, Korea was arbitrarily divided into North and South by the U.S. and the Soviet Union along the 38th parallel. One Korea eventually was the aim. All along the 38th parallel witnessed intermittent hostilities, increasing during 1949 and early 1950 into a virtual civil war. South Korea's Syngman Rhee attacked North Korea on June 23, 1950, and quickly captured Haeju, but the Truman administration, declaring North Korea the aggressor, pushed a resolution through the Security Council naming North Korea the aggressor, which Truman then used to send troops, without asking Congress for a declaration of war and in violation of the Constitution. The Korean War was not an international war (and therefore not covered by the UN Charter) but a civil war intervened in by U.S. leaders out of fanatical anti-communist, Sovietphobic prejudice. Every related agency of the government was engaged to convince the public that the war originated in the Kremlin by the "international communist conspiracy," despite the absence of evidence. The government drummed up fear, loathing, and patriotic righteousness, until the public caught the fever, until 75% supported sending troops. The Cold War and permanent militarization shifted into high gear now, with Truman ordering the 7th Fleet to defend Formosa and increasing aid to the French colonialists in Indochina, leading to the U.S. phase of the Vietnam War (Quigley, Chs. 3, 4, 5).
Eastern Europe 1948-1956
In 1979, a group of Iranians took the U.S. Embassy staff hostage. Pres. Carter in final desperation during his second campaign for the presidency, sent a rescue mission to Tehran, but it was aborted before reaching the prisoners.Why did the Iranians take the hostages? Most Iranians disliked the U.S. for its interventions in Iran's politics. In 1953 The CIA under its chief operative in Iran, Kermit Roosevelt, engineered a coup that deposed prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh and gave control to the Shah. Mossadegh had nationalized a British oil company, and Pres. Eisenhower said Iran was not offering enough compansation, and because--the usual Cold War rationalization for intervention--that Iran might fall to the Soviet side. A grateful Shah gave U.S. oil companies part of the British monopoly, and the U.S. built up a bloody secret police for the Shah, called ?? In 1980 Iran asked the U.S. to apologise for its misdeeds in exchange for the hostages, but Pres. Carter refused, despite the publication in 1979 of Roosevelt's book giving an account of the coup.(Quigley, Chap. 19)..
In 1950, following his election as president, Jacobo Arbenz nationalized uncultivated land belonging to the U.S.-owned United Fruit Company. He offered to pay the assessed value, but the Eisenhower administration accused him of being a communist, and the CIA and the United States Information Service initiated a global smear campaign against him. Eisenhower then ordered the CIA to overthrow Arbenz, which occured in 1954, and UFC's land was returned. From that time forward, Guatemala has suffered under a sequence of brutal dictators and paramilitary groups. As in all of these invasions, the public was deceived by the government. (Quigley Ch. 6).
Costa Rica mid-1950s, 1970-71
Middle East 1957-1958
Indonesia 1957-1958 (see 1965)
After failing to overthrow President Sukarno, who was considered too sympathetic to communists, by trying to buy the election in 1955, the CIA backed rebellious officers in trying to overthrow Sukarno violently, supplying planes and pilots. The insurrection failed. (Quigley Ch. 7)
British Guiana 1953-1964
Soviet Union 1940 to 1960s
Italy 1950s to 1970s
In 1950, the Truman administration began paying the French to fight the Vietnamese insurgency. After the French were defeated in 1954, under an agreement in Geneva, Vietnam was separated temporarily at the 17th parallel (not an international boundary), with the leftists mainly in the north and the pro-French or neutralists mainly in the south; the agreement stipulated national elections in 1956 to pick a single government. Fearing Ho Chi Minh in the north would win, the U.S. backed the south in reneging. By 1963 under Pres. Kennedy the U.S. had military advisors in South Vietnam, and in 1964 Pres. Johnson decided on a major escalation. In order to convince Congress, the Johnson Administration chose a false report of a North Vietnamese attack on one of our ships as the occasion to panic Congress into war--called the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. So (willingly?) deceived and so anti-communist, all 416 members of the House voted for the Resolution, and all but two Senators. The public was again infected by the war fever, and the war escalated. From this deceptive beginning, the U.S. intervention in a civil war became massive both in lying and killing: some two million Vietnamese were killed and over 50,000 U.S. troops. (Quigley Ch. 11).
Many war crimes were committed by the US during the Vietnam War, including illegal chemical warfare. Between 1962 and 1971 the US sprayed 19 milliion gallons of herbicide on Vietnam, including 12 million gallons of Agent Orange containing dioxin, which impairs the central nervous system and the immune system, is a carcinogin, and causes diabetes, chronic bronchitis, irregular heartbeat, thyroid disorders, lower IQ in children, birth defects, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, cataracts, club feet, and deformities. Well known is the at least 2 million Vietnamese killed during the war; much less known is the approximately 1 million Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange. In addition to spraying much of the country with the murderous Agent Orange, on more than twenty occasions US Special Forces used the nerve gas sarin on both combatants and civilians (the same gas used by the cult leader in the tokyo subway in 1995, and by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds in the eighties). For this and many more reasons, Henry Kissinger should be tried for war crimes.
The artist Chris Burden created "Viet Nam Rollidex" to symbolize the two million Vietnamese killed during the U. S. intervention in Vietnam. Designed to suggest the Rollidex swinging file system, the huge metal plates (pages) contain names taken from a Vietnamese telephone directory, perhaps to suggest the random slaughter of civilians by Agent Orange, napalm, bombs from B-52s, and machine-gunning villagers.
Phan Thi Kim Phu is the Vietnamese woman who as a 9-year old was photographed fleeing naked and screaming from a 1972 napalm attack. The photo won a Pulitzer Prize for the photographer, Nick Ut. In 2000 Kim Phuc, now 37 and living in Canada, said she wants the picture to be used as a protest against wars.
Hoan Quang Sy, age 11, lost his left hand blown off by a land mind left over from the Vietnam War, as Pres. Clinton discovered when he reached out to shake hands with him during his visit to Vietnam in November 2000. Clinton also met twin brothers Nguyen Duc Hoa, who was severely burned about the face, and Nguyen Duc Huynh, who lost a hand and an eye, both age 12, also victims of land mines. The unexploded leftovers of the war still wound or kill about 2,000 Vietnamese a year. Clinton called land mines "'the curse of innocent children all of the world.'" Yet at that time the US had not signed the treaty outlawing land mines and it had stockpiles of the mines estimated at 11 million. If Pres. Bill Clinton is typical, US leaders learned little from the war. Shortly before he left office, with the most pathetically cliched euphemisms he justified Pres. Johnson's escalation of the war, with the 30,000 US soldiers and perhaps one million Vietnamese killed during Johnson's presidency: "These decisions are hard....when you decide to employ force, there will always be unintended consequences." Clinton would not apologize to the Vietnamese nor admit that the 58,000 US soldiers lost their lives in vain, though he did not offer an explanation of what they accomplished, except for this astonishing evasion: "'People fight honorably for what they believe in and they lose their lives." Terence Hunt, "Clinton Sympathizes with LBJ." The Morning News (11-15-00) 1D.
Cambodia 1969 to 1973
From 1969 to 1975, under Pres. Nixon the USAF dropped half a million tons of bombs on neutral Cambodia, as in most of these invasions, in secret (1969-70) and in violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law. As usual the press failed its watchdog role and the public was duped (secrecy against US public and democracy). When finally questioned by Congress, Pentagon officials lied, and evidence was not immediately available because the Air Force had falsified its reports. In 1970 Nixon ordered an equally illegal ground invasion of Cambodia. In defense of these invasions, the Nixon admin. declared they were fighting aggression by the North Vietnamese Some 2 million Cambodians (out of a total pop. of 6 million) had been uprooted., and immense civilian casualties had resulted. These war crimes by the Nixon admin. brought one good though weak result: the War Powers Act, requiring the President to notify Congress if he sends troops abroad for combat and establishing a procedure for Congress to stop the operation if it disagrees. An unexpected additional disaster of the bombings and ground invasion was the strengthening of the Khmer Rouge rebellion against the central government, which fell to the Khmer in 1975, when began another blood bath of genocidal proportions. A footnote to US violations of Cambodia was the mini-invasion of Cambodia by the Ford admin. ostensibly to rescue a detained US vessel and crew, but actually to demonstrate that the US was still tough despite its loss in Vietnam. (Quigley, Chap. 16).
Under cover of its anti-communist crusade, the Eisenhower Adminstration sent 10,000 Marines and airborne units into Lebanon, backed up by the 35,000-man Sixth Fleet. In fact, the force was designed primarily to defend the pro-western president Chamoun against his Arab-oriented rivals, and secondarily in case a similar nationalist threat might emerge in Iraq and Jordan, whose King Hussein was subsidized by the CIA. That is, Eisenhower and his Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had expanded U.S. interventionist aims from opposing communism to opposing Arab nationalism. The U.S. also falsely claimed that the rebellion in Lebanon was fostered by outside aggressors, and that U.S. troops were necessary to rescue U.S. citizens. From the time of this intervention, Lebanon has suffered from almost constant conflict and destruction. (Quigley Ch.8).
As in Vietnam, the political left in Laos, the Pathet Lao, was the main force against French colonialism. After the French withdrawal, Laos had a neutralist government and the left opposition. The Eisenhower administration, blinded by its Cold War mentality, and perceiving the communist conspiracy from the Soviet Union and China, and Laos as another domino, strove to exclude the Pathet Lao from the government of Laos. The U.S. funded the entire Laotian army, bought politicians, and gave aid to rural areas where the Lao was strong. When the Pathet Lao won the elections and the army would not fight them, Eisenhower ordered the CIA to organize its own army among the Hmong (Meo), who had been on the side of France. To induce the Hmong to fight again, the CIA provided money, guns, and rice--and transportation for their opium trade. Presidents. Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon continued the operations: at one point Kennedy almost invaded the country, and Johnson and Nixon bombed the Plain of Jars in eastern Laos (a neutral country), sometimes up to 800 sorties a day, turning the agricultural area into a moonscape. Of course, all of these activities were kept secret from the public (running a secret war on opium profits!) and lies were as numerous as the bombs. Again the press failed in its investigative, watchdog "fourth estate" responsibility, and did not report the secret war and U.S. opium trade until 1970, but still Nixon lied. The bombings did not end until 1973, by which time the USAF had dropped 1.5 million tons of bombs on Laos, more tonnage than during World War II. Soon the Lao gained control of the government, the people preferring, as in Viet Nam, an indigenous left to control imposed by the West.
Cuba 1957 to present
The CIA under Pres. Eisenhower began training Cuban exiles for the invasion of Cuba in 1957 at a base in Guatemala. The invasion occurred in 1961 under Pres. Kennedy, but the expected popular uprising against Pres. Castro did not occur, and the assault was repelled. As usual, secrecy and lying by both presidents shrouded the invasion. The failure only inflamed the CIA to continue its attacks through fomented internal dissension in Cuba, attempts to assassinate Pres. Castro, and raiding parties from Florida to sabotage industries ("Operation Mongoose"), all in violation of the U.N. Charter, international laws, and the U.S. Constitution. The consequences of the U.S. depredations against Cuba were horrendous. The Soviet Unionn responded by giving Cuba missiles with nuclear warheads, to deter further attacks, which led to a U.S. quarantine of Soviet ships and almost to nuclear holocaust. The public, unaware of its presidents' culpabilities, gullibly accepted its government's clamorous denunciations of
Soviet aggression ninety miles off our coast. Another consequence was the permanent militarization of Cuba in fear of Yankee invasion, including increased suppression of dissent. Successive hypocritical U.S. administrations, backed up by the influential Cuban exile population in Miami, have covered over U.S. wrongs against Cuba by castigating Castro for violating human rights. (Quigley Ch.9).
Guatemala 1960 to 1980s
The president, Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes permitted the CIA to established in Guatemaa its chief base for te preparation of the invasion of Cuba. Because of this, a rebellion arose. President Eisenhower, in order to protect the secret base, sent the U.S. Navy to Guatemala, claiming falsely it was to prevent communist intervention in Guatemala. U.S.A.F. pilots who were training the Cuban exiles at the CIA base were used to strafe rebel headquarters, which contributed to their defeat. (Quigley p. 91).
The Congo 1960-1978
After The Congo won independence from Belgium, Patrice Lumumba became Prime Minister. Perceiving Lumumba as pro-Soviet, the CIA persuaded the head of the army, Mobutu, to overthrow Lumumba (ending parliamentary rule), and when that was accomplished the CIA set out to assassinate Lumumba by poison or to abduct him from the UN soldiers guarding him. Lumumba was eventually captured by agents of the new government and the CIA and was murdered. These CIA outrages were denied by the U.S. government, and so false was the US in its Cold War fanaticism that it joined a UN resolution calling Lumumba's murder a crime. The CIA kept its paramilitary operation alive in the Congo until 1967. (Quigley, Chap. 13)
During a civil war in which insurgents had taken international hostages, the U.S. flew Belgian paratroopers into the heart of rebel territory, ostensibly to rescue the hostages, actually to uphold the pro-Western central government, which the U.S. had supported significantly to keep it in the Western camp. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) condemned the landing. The U.S. also helped create a mercenary brigade to spearhead the government's operations against the rebels. (Quigley Ch. 12).
U.S. involvement in the Congo began in 1963 when the Johnson administration's CIA created a paramilitary army of mercenaries to assist the pro-Western Congo central government's army against rebels, including the use of Cuban exile pilots, to keep the Congo in the Western camp (one more example of the Cold War). In 1964 Johnson sent over 100 military personnel, helicopters, and other planes to help the central government. And the U.S. and Belgium helped the central government recruit a mercenary force.--the Fifth Brigade--which became the spearhead of the government's army. When U.S. planes transported Belgian soldiers into the country to rescue Western hostages captured by the rebels, the intervention was denounced by the Organization of African Unity, which was mediating the conflict and which charged that the U.S. and Belgium by taking sides were disrupting peace negotiations. The OAU (and the UN Security Council earlier) asked the central government to disband the mercenaries, but it refused. (Quigley, chap. 12).
The U.S. intervened in the Congo (now Zaire) again in 1978 at the outbreak of a rebellion against Mobutu's government by the Lunda of Shaba province. The Carter admin. gave air support to Belgian and French troops sent in ostensibly to protect Western workers and in Cold War mode to drive out invaders sponsored by Soviet-bloc countries. As in 1964 the intervention defeated the rebellion and shored up again Mobutu's goveernment. Four U.S. administrations had supported the pro-Western Mobutu, whose corrupt rule motivated the rebellion, as part of the US Cold War against the Soviet Union in Africa, despite the lack of evidence of Soviet involvement, which the Carter admin. exaggerated (as did all U.S. administrations) in order to maintain public support.
Dominican Republic 1963-1966
In 1963 the elected president of the DR, Juan Bosch, was overthrown by the military. In 1965 Bosch's supporters revolted and began to win, at which point Pres. Johnson sent in 23,000 troops to quell the rebels. Yet again the U.S. had sided with dictators because its fanatical anticommunist, Sovietphobic leaders viewed them as more friendly and more anti-Soviet/communist than the elected leader (Bosch was no communist). Johnson administration lies were particularly egregious during this invasion, ranging from the old "saving American lives" con to the astonishing fabrication that Dominicans beheaded by the Bosch forces littered the streets. (Quigley, Chap. 14). Lies by Johnson, Dean Rusk, and other government leaders about a communist takeover were prolific, despite the lack of evidence. Again using anticommunism as its justification, the U.S. bully overthrew another popular government in favor of a dictatorship. (Quigley, Chap. 15).
When military officers forced Sukarno out of office and decided to murder communist activists, the CIA provided the rebels with the names and locations of 5000 local Communist Party officials. When "one of the largest political bloodlettings in history" was completed, several hundred thousand communists had been butchered.
East Timor 1965
After the bloody 1973 coup, an execution detachment known as the Caravan of Death toured the country dragging political prisoners from jails and killing them. The murderers were under the direct command of Gen. Sergio Arellano, who was the direct representative of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the coup leader.
Angola 1975 to 1980s
In 1975 Angola became a Cold War battlefield, with the Soviet Union supporting one faction and the US others. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and the CIA set up an elaborate, secret support system for the two parties it supported (FNLA and UNITA), including a propaganda campaign and the hiring of mercenary soldiers to help the two groups. Again a fascist CIA was used to subvert democracy, for Congress and the public were not informed of these activities. When it was, the operations unravelled. Kissinger's lies to Congress and the press have not yet been fully tabulated. For example, the USSR and Cuba were supported the other faction, but only in response to US initiatives, in contrast to Kissinger's claims. (Quigley, Chap. 17)
Quigley takes three chapters to tell the story of the US invasion of Grenada, so unjusttified was the invasion and so tortured the lies. In 1981, because Grenada was friendly with Cuba, Pres. Reagan had the Pentagon run a training exercise off the coase of Puerto Rico that was preparation for the later invasion. In 1983 Reagan ordered the invasion, giving the public many reasons, all false: that the Soviet/Cuba bloc was building an airport on the island for military invasions of the Caribbean, that several hundred US medical students were in danger, etc. Most media accepted the administration's deceptions as true. (Quigley, Chaps.23-25).
Some Grendadian soldiers, a few US military, seventeen patients at a mental hospital apparently accidentally bombed, 24 Cuban workers, and various civilians were killed.
Pres. Reagan returned the Marines to Beirut into the same situation as in the 1958 intervention: a civil war between the pro-Western government and Muslim-based Arab nationalists. The intervention was precipitated by the Israel's invasion of Lebanon intended to expel the PLO. The U.S. joined Israel in supporting the Christian rightist Phalange party, although Reagan publicly declared neutrality. In September Phalange soldiers killed Palestinian civilians in refugee camps indiscriminately. On Oct. 19, 1983, a Shia Muslim blew up himself and a Marine barracks killing 241 Marines. The Reagan Administration and the U.S. press deplore the bombing as terrorism, but the to the Shias the Marines were the Phalange/Israel-backing enemy. Subsequently, Reagan ordered the the USS New Jersey to shell Syrian positions, which killed civilains, further angering the Arabs. Reagan withdrew the Marines in 1984. Throughout those two years, the Reagan administration conned the U.S. public with his neutrality line, a deception leading to terrible consequences for the Lebanese and the U.S. Marines. (Quigley Chap. 22).
For years the CIA had encouraged Libyan exile groups to overthrow or assassinate Col. Moammar Qaddafi, Libya's ruler. Beginning at least in 1981, the US had engaged in a disinformation campaign against Gaddafi. William Casey, a major CIA deceptionist, fabricated claims that Gaddafi was organizing assassination teams, and that one was already in the US. In 1985 the Reagan admin. asked Egypt to invade Libya, but Pres. Mubarak declined. In Jan. 1986 the US imposed economic sanctions on the Libya, alleging on the basis of almost no evidence that Libya was behind recent shootings at the Rome and Vienna airports.
In 1986 33 US bombers hit Tripoli, the capital of Libya, killing 37 people and wounding 93, mainly noncombatants, including Gaddafi's child. The Reagan admin. claimed it had targeted terrorist facilities, but bombing at night, at high speed, in congested urban areas, by inexperienced pilots made civilian casualties inevitable. The real purpose of the raid was to assassinate Col. Gaddafi. The Reagan admin. justified the attacks by citing Libya's alleged bombing of a West German nightclub where a US soldier was killed, for which there was very little evidence. A majority of the UN Security Council voted censure, but it was vetoed by the US, France, and Britain; the UN General Assembly condemned the raid. (Quigley, chap. 26)
When Marines left Nicaragua in 1933, after pacifying a rebellion aagainst them and the U.S. companies they were there to protect, the U.S. organized a National Guard headed by Anastasio Somoza Garcia, who ruled with an iron hand. In the 1970s his son Anastasio Somoza Debayle inherited the dictatorship. In 1979 the Sandinista party overthrew him. Many of the National Guards fled to Honduras, where they began raids on Nicaragua. A committee of businessmen opponents of the Sandinistas were established in Miami as leaders by the CIA as a cover, while the CIA organized the ex-Guard into an invasion force, all under Pres. Reagan's orders. This force became known as the "Contras." The CIA trained the ex-Guard in the U.S., paid their salaries, planned the missions, even produced a pamphlet on how to assassinate local officials. That is, as part of U.S. fanatical anti-communistic Cold War, secretly the Reagan Admin.started an illegal war (in violation of the U.S. Constitution and international treaties) to overthrow a sovereign nation by using mercenaries and terrorists paid for and trained by CIA terrorists. The truth was exposed in 1982, but CIA Director and, of course, master deceiver William Casey lied to Congress that the Contras were only trying to stop arms shipments from Nicaragua to El Salvador. Congress tried to stop the invasion, but in the fall of 1983 and winter of 1984 the military operations escalated--bombing economic installations, raiding the coast, blowing up oil depots, undersea mines at ports (ten ships from around the world hit and sailors killed or injured). Asked about the mining, the Reagan Admin. denied responsibility. The Nicaraguan government sued the U.S. in the International Court of Justice and won, the Court calling U.S. attacks acts of international aggression. But the Reagan Admin. dismissed the Court's conclusion. Finally, Congress cut off funds, but the Reagan Admin. found legal and illegal private funds, including CIA drug-running. Then Reagan persuaded Congress again to fund the Contras. All along the passive to supine public at large allowed Reagan to have his monstrous way, until finally the impoverished and life-endangered people of Nicaragua voted the Sandinistas out. Reagan and the Contras had won. Quigley Chap. 20.
In 1903 the US fomented a rebellion in Colombia in its Panamanian provice in
order to build a canal (Colombia had rejected the plan), sending warships to
ensure victory. The new country gave the US sovereign control over a ten-mile
wide zone across the country. During the 1980s the leader of Panama, General
Noriega, was a close ally with the US--a CIA informant, a supporter of the US
war against the insurgency in El Salvador and the US/Contras war against Nicaragua,
and he cooperated with the Drug Enforcement Admin. But by 1986 Noriega was less
and less willing to help the US overthrow the Nicaraguan government and threatened
to reveal CIA drug smuggling. The US then indicted him for cocaine smuggling
and began economic sanctions against the country. During the 1989 elections,
Noriega's opponent won, but because the US had given him $10 million, Noriega
declared the election void. The US next in 1989 conducted military maneuvers
in Panama. A coup was attempted but it failed.
The United States invaded Panama on Dec. 20, 1989 with 24,000 troops to kidnap Noriega. US planes leveled several city blocks of housing nearby Panamanian Defense Forces headquarters. The barrios of San Miguelito and El Chorillo were leveled by the attack and some two thousand Panamanians were killed (Red Cross estimate) and thousands hospitalized. The exact number was never known because the US sealed off the barrios and buried the victims in mass graves. Some unarmed Panamanians were executed by US soldiers, and no soldier was ever indicted. Damage from the bombings and subsequent lootings was estimated at $1 billion. (Quigley, Chap. 28)
The Bush admin. deceived the public with both familiar and bizarre disinformation. The invasion was necessary to protect US citizens; Panama had declared war and was according to Secretary of State James Baker preparing a commando attack on US citizens; it was necessary to save Panamanian democracy; the US needed to arrest Noriega as a drug trafficker. All explanations were either false or disingenuous. The Organization of American States deplored the invasion 20 to 1 (the US the 1); the UN Security Council majority condemned it but was vetoed by the US, Britain, and France; and the UN General Assembly denounced it 75 to 20(Quigley Chap. 29).
A survivor, Rita Padilla, who was paralyzed during the 1989 invasion, was carried to the presidential palace in Panama City in 1999 to meet with President Mireya Moscoso. Panamanians injured in the invasion took part in protest marches as the 10-year anniversary of the invasion neared. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Nov. 13, 1999) 6A). Some commentators connect the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki--the hibakusha--with all the survivors of what Blase Bonpane refers to as the U. S. holocaust of invasions and bombings.
In the middle of a civil war, the US sent six battleships with 2,100 Marines to--you guessed it--protect US citizens. The force stayed 7 months. The real purpose was to protect our military installations there vital to US global domination and worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Iraq 1990-to present (see: separate web site file on Iraq)
From 1990 to the year 2000 the sanctions against Iraq claimed the lives of
1.7 million Iraqis, most of them children, and caused the mortality rate to
double. The sanctions were adopted on August 6, 1990, exactly 45 years after
the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, quickly killing some 100,000 people.
The sanctions have killed over 10 times that many humans. Despite U.S. leaders'
rhetoric deploring weapons of mass destruction, the sanctions are such a weapon.
Furthermore, during the 45 days of the 1991 Gulf War, more bombs fell on Iraq than were dropped in total during the entire 45 months of World War II. During the nine-month period between December 20, 1998 and the end of September 1999, U.S. and British pilots flew 12,157 combat sorties, dropping 20 million pounds of explosive. Much of this ordnance was coated with depleted uranium, which becomes a toxic, radioactive dust in exploding.
February 13, 2001 was the tenth anniversary of the bombing of the Al-Amiriya Shelter by US aircraft in which several hundred women and children died
Mariam Hamza, who is ill with leukemia, is well known throughout the Middle East as a symbol of all Iraqi children suffering under the UN sanctions on Iraq. Because parts were not available for the equipmnet used for her treatment, she became blind. Opponents of the sanctions have brought her to Britain and to the US for treatments.
The Peace Pledge to stop the "war on terrorism" from spreading to
Iraq (February 2002):
I support peace for Iraq. I grant permission to use my name and city publicly as an opponent of the ongoing economic and bombing war on Iraq, and of any escalation of that war. I will communicate by support for peace to my elected officials and consider other actions to work for peace with Iraq and other nations. (To sign the pledge, visit www.peaceresponse.org/pledge/index.shtml).
El Salvador 1980-1994
The armed rebellion by the landless, malnouirshed poor against the small number of powerful families who owned the large plantations broke out in 1980. The peasants had revolted earlier in 1932, only to be slaughtered by the oligarchy's army. In 1980, the army met civil protests --marches and strikes--with jailings, killings, kidnappings, assasinations, and disappearances. Finally, the opposition started a civil war. One of the leaders had been a vice-presidential candidate from the military stole an election. To help suppress the insurgency, the Carter Administration began giving aid to the landowners' government. The next U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, increased military aid, including actively involved military advisors. The Reagan Admin. justified its support of the oligarchy in standard Cold War fashion by denying there was a civil war and claiming outside interference, publishing a "white paper" to substantiate its case, like the Vietnam white paper of 1965.. The paper was soon exposed as a collection of lies and half-truths, so fraudulent in fact that the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Robert White, protested, and the CIA official responsible for analyzing data on El Salvador, David MacMichael, resigned. Congress finally required certification that El Salvador was improving its human rights record before authorizing more money, but each time the Reagan Admin. lied and the aid continued. In 1983 the government's air force began indiscriminate, saturation bombing of peasant areas, but Congress continued funding. Thousands of combatants and civilians were killed. U.S. aid and Reagan Admin. lying clearly kept the landowners in power and the war going. (Quigley Chap.21).
Dear Barbara, This is a major, major vindication after so many years. You may have watched "Justice for Generals" a few months ago on PBS, in which a similar case to try the Salvadoran Generals for the deaths of the four U.S. churchwomen was lost. It was so difficult for Francisco and me to watch that documentary, knowing that our many many friends and relatives suffered a similar fate (or worse) during those horrible years. At last some justice is being done in the case of these three victims of torture. Barbara Acosta ---------- Two Salvadoran generals liable in torture case The Associated Press State & Local Wire July 23, 2002, Tuesday, BC cycle By JILL BARTON, Associated Press Writer WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. Two generals were found liable Tuesday of ignoring acts of brutality and massacres on civilians by their soldiers 20 years ago in El Salvador. A jury ordered Gens. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova and Jose Guillermo Garcia to pay $54.6 million in reparations to three torture victims. The 10-member jury heard four weeks of testimony and deliberated 20 hours before reaching a decision. The generals, who are retired and now live in the United States, were sued by a church worker, doctor and professor who later fled their country in fear after they were tortured by Salvadoran soldiers during that country's civil war. Two of the victims, Carlos Mauricio and Neris Gonzalez, were in court Tuesday and wept as the verdict was read. Defense attorney Kurt Klaus said he will advise the generals to appeal because they are unable to pay the verdict. The victims, who also live in the United States, sued the generals under the 1991 Torture Victim Protection Act that allows U.S. courts to assess damages against perpetrators of human rights abuses committed abroad. The jury was asked to determine whether the generals knew their troops were torturing and murdering civilians but failed to stop it. "This reign of terror involved tens of thousands of deaths and torture," attorney James Green said in his closing argument. "You have a historic opportunity and a historic obligation to set the record straight and to tell these generals what they did was wrong." Klaus described the men as champions of democracy, like great American presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and said they helped reform their country's corrupt banking system and its agriculture-based economy. "There's no doubt that what happened in El Salvador was horrible, that what happened to these people was horrible. It was a horrible war, a dirty war," Klaus said, referring to the three plaintiffs. "But I don't think the parties that are responsible for what happened to these people are here." On Friday, the jury asked U.S. District Judge Daniel Hurley if the identity of the men who tortured the victims needed to be known. Hurley said the question suggested "some serious confusion" among the jury. The torture victims included a doctor, Juan Romagoza Arce, who was beaten, raped and shot while being interrogated over 22 days. Shriveled to 80 pounds when he was released, Romagoza's fingers were ruined after being bound by wire cables. He said Vides visited him on one occasion when he was chained to the floor. Gonzalez, a church worker who helped peasants learn to count to 100, was eight months pregnant when she was abducted. Beaten and raped repeatedly, she was piled in a truck with dead bodies and let go. Her son was born but died two months later from injuries. Mauricio was strung up by his arms, starved and beaten during eight days of torture. Vides, 64, and Garcia, 68, were cleared in a similar case 20 months ago in another federal trial. A jury found the two men had no control over the rogue soldiers who raped and murdered four American Catholic missionaries in a remote area of El Salvador two decades before. The two men moved to South Florida in 1989. THIS AP REPORT DOES NOT REVEAL THAT THE GENERALS WERE TRAINED AT THE US SCHOOL OF AMERICAS, FORT BENNING, GA.
During the Spanish American War we succeeded Spain as the ruler of the Philippines, which was followed by an insurgency bloodily suppressed by the US (several hundred thousand casualties). We then turned the Philippines into a colony, until in 1946 we withdrew, but keeping two military bases: Clark Air Force Base and Subic Naval Base.
In contrast to all the other entries in this catalog (the US using armed force to remove a government it disliked), in 1989 the US used armed force in the Philippines to keep the government in power. When Pres. Corazon Aquino was threatened by an army coup, Pres. Bush ordered jet fighters at Clark Air Force Base to shoot down any rebel planes in the air. The coup was defeated. Pres. Bush stated that the US intervened to protect an elected government and to protect US citizens. The second reason was completely false. US real aims were to protect US interests by protecting Aquino, to advance the war against the Philippine leftist insurgency, and to protect our two air military bases by engaging Aquino's gratitude. (Quigley, Chap.27)
One of the indirect disasters of the attack on Yugoslavia was the subversion
of international law. Prof. Mandel and other lawyers filed a complaint in 1999
to the International Criminal Tribunal arguing that NATO had no legal right
to bomb Yugoslavia and its province Kosovo. In many other ways too NATO violated
international laws. It bombed targets that were off limits; it used banned weapons;
it destroyed public services--electric power system, drinking water supply,
food supply, transportation facilities, living quarters, hospitals, schools,
monasteries, museums--; by bombing chemical factories and tanks it poisoned
the Danube River and other drinking water sources; in countless ways it damaged
the environment; it killed several thousand civilians and wounded some 6000
Noam Chomsky, The New Militlary Humanism: Lessons from Kosovo. Common Courage, 1999. The new military "humanitarianism" is founded upon a policy in which victims of human rights violations are either "worthy" or "unworthy."
Turkey's Oppression of the Kurds 1992 to present
At least nine times since 1992 Turkish forces have invaded northern Iraq to
attack Kurdish rebels. These attacks in clear violation of international law
are carried out with U.S. approval and U. S. F-16s and helicopters. Focus: a
heavily armed army repeatedly crossed an international border to attack another
country's population. Yet the U.S. press barely took notice. A recent invasion
in April 2000 involved more than 5,000 Turkish troops backed by jets and helicopter
gun ships. The special ironical outrage: Turkey was protected by U.S. and British
planes because northern Iraq is a no-fly zone set up to protect Kurds from being
attacked--by Baghdad but not by Ankara! General observation: U.S. respect for
territorial sovereignty is quite selective. (In January 2001 Turkey again attacked,
this time with 10,000 troops.)
Israel and Palestine (2nd Intifada) 2000
Israel, supported by the U.S., routinely uses arbitrary arrest, home demolition, torture, and heavy weapons to suppress the Palestinian population, whose land has been occupied by Israel for 34 years. Against international law, the Israeli government has encouraged its citizens to move into Palestinian areas. While the names of the few Israeli soldiers and settlers killed in the conflict are well-publicized, the names of the much more numerous dead Palestinians (16 to 1) are rarely reported, since the U.S. media reflect their government's bias. Israel's actions have been condemned by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, a total of 126 Palestinians were killed and 5499 injured in the West Bank and Gaza from Sept. 28 to Oct. 27, 2000.
Ahmad Mohammad Qassem, 15 years old from Tulkarem, shot and killed by live
Tull, Muhanned. "A Palestinian's View." Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (10-20-00).
Afghanistan October 2001-
140 civilians were killed or wonded during a US-led operation in southern Afghanistan on July 2, 2002. Bombs hit 4 villages, but the hardest hit was the village of Kakrak, where a wedding party was being held. President Bush extended condolences and Secretary Rumsfeld expressed regret. Four wounded children under age 5 were flown to a hospital at the Kandahar air base. One Afghan official said the casualties could be as hight as 200. Malika, 7, was one of the children wounded. Carlotta Gall with Eric Schmitt, "Schocked Afghans Criticize U.S. Strike; Toll Is Some 40 Dead and 100 Wounded." The New York Times (July 3, 2002) A3.
A note on monetary restitution for victims and their families.
A U.S. court awarded more than $213 million plus interest to eight U.S. families for the alleged abuse of a family member by foreign agents. What U.S. leaders deny is their own vulnerability to similar lawsuits from victims of U.S. abuse all over the world. Miller, Bill. "Terrorism Victims to Get $213 Million." Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (10-23-00) 4A.
(Although this website presents only post-World War II invasions, these references cover the history of U. S. imperialism from the nineteenth century to the present. Please send additions to firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Most people in the U.S. are concerned for the state of the world, but they tend to restrict that concern to their family and their friends. Dale Kline has wondered if there existed a "concern-for-others" hormone, which many people seem to lack. He cites a "60 Minutes" interview of a hit man for the Mafia, who said he had no remorse for his victims because he "didn't know them." He had a concern for family and friends, but no one else. Kline also cites Stanton Samenow's book, Inside the Criminal Mind, which describes the criminal as a person who treats other people as pawns to be pushed around at their will. Such a definition fits our warmaking presidents and congresspeople. The peace movement must learn how to engage larger numbers of people (at least those who are not working two or three jobs and have no leisu re for citizen participation) in a concern for all the people in the world in order to elect non-criminal leaders.