I. Spanish-American War, 1898.
Apparent reasons: (1) "Remember the Maine!" The US battleship blew up while moored in Havana harbor (what was it doing there?), and the blame was laid on saboteurs in the pay of the Spanish. (2) The people of Cuba needed our help to liberate them from the evil Spanish Empire.
Real reasons: (1) Commercial interests in the US (including, but not limited to, sugar merchants) had coveted Cuba, as well as some other Spanish countries, for generations. (2) It was a flashy way for the American Establishment to send a message, both at home and abroad, about America's expanding ambitions in the coming century. (3) The US Navy needed a mission.
Outcome: Victory. Obtained commercial control of Cuba. Made quite a few insiders rich. Cuban peasants not much freer with English-speaking government than with Spanish-speaking government. Great press. Sold many newspapers. Made Republicans look good, especially Teddy Roosevelt.
Blowback: Latin America had one more reason to distrust the US, since everyone who didn't buy into the Yellow Press propaganda knew that the run-up to the war was pure horse-shit. Thirty-some years later, President Franklin Roosevelt had to formally admit and apologize to Spain when he wanted to improve relations. Nevertheless, more than twenty years after that, in the late 1950s, American history books were still "remembering the Maine" to a new generation of school-kids, the baby-boomers, as if it were the gospel truth. I personally remember this.
II. Philippine Insurrection, 1899-1903.
Apparent reasons: (1) President William McKinley prayed about the future of the Philippines that he had captured -- I mean, taken possession of -- and God personally told him to help the little brown brothers become good Christians. (Before that time, they were just Catholics.) (2) Apparently, the Filipinos didn't get the memo from God, because they resisted; so a large contingent of the US Army had to be sent to accomplish the Lord's will.
Real reasons: (1) America had major commercial interests in Japan and China, and needed a forward base for projecting power so they could compete successfully with European empires, primarily British, French, Dutch, and Portuguese. (2) The US Army needed a mission, since the Indians had all been rounded up and locked onto their reservations ten years earlier.
Outcome: Victory. The US established its forward base and expanded its influence in the China Trade. Cost was the lives of about 5,000 American soldiers, and 200,000 to a million or more Filipinos, but who's counting?
Blowback: There were not so many baptisms of new converts as President McKinley might have imagined or prayed for, but there was plenty of waterboarding and other forms of murder. Maybe not too many people chose Protestant Heaven, but plenty of them were sent to Protestant Hell. Well, like General Sherman said, War Is Hell, and he should know.
III. World War I, 1917-1918.
Apparent reasons: (1) To make the world safe for democracy. (2) To end all wars.
Real reasons: (1) To secure the commercial interests of British-Dutch-American families, corporations, and banks; that is, to advance the centuries-old Western imperial enterprise. (2) To provide cannon-fodder in support of reason 1. (3) To up-end the old aristocratic order in Europe in order to make way for a hoped-for and planned revolution based on social-darwin-marxist principles, with the British and Americans in the catbird seat.
Outcome: Victory abroad. British-American empire briefly expanded. Oil interests in the Middle East were secured. German commercial competition was temporarily erased. Plenty of enemy young men were killed, which might keep enemy nations in line for a generation. As the old slogan had said, "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition" -- well, the Lord had been duly praised, and the ammunition had been duly passed. Apparently He was greatly pleased to grant victory to gallant American arms; at least, He was given the credit, or the responsibility. Also, a British general, Allenby, won the battle of Armageddon, expelling the wicked Turks from the Holy Land, a second sign of Divine Approval. Victory at home. Pacifists imprisoned. Dissenters threatened. Communists opposed.
Blowback: Betrayal of alliances, starvation, treachery, debt, repudiation of promises, flu epidemic, epidemic of lies and false justifications. In Europe, there had been a betrayal of an entire generation of young men by their fathers. Many millions were dead. Survivors of gassings and machine-gunnings stumbled home as life-long invalids. Eventually, people in America began to doubt the old British war propaganda and the Wilsonian histrionics. False "prosperity" was fueled by the irresponsibility of the Federal Reserve, which was followed by a real Depression. America prepared to accept elements of the force-fed socialist-communist agenda as a result of the shenanigans of the capitalist class.
IV. World War II, 1941-1945.
Apparent reasons: (1) To take revenge for the completely unexpected surprise attack by the treacherous Japanese upon a peaceful US Navy resting quietly in Pearl Harbor. The wicked heathen Yellow people attacked on a Sunday morning, just when all of our God-fearing sailors were getting ready for church. (2) To stop the almost invincible master plan of the Germans and the Japanese to conquer the entire world. The Japanese were supposed to have planned to take everything west of the Mississippi River and the Germans everything east of it. (Or something like that: see Frank Capra's old "Why We Fight" war propaganda films.)
Real reasons: (1) To defeat Germany, a continental power seen as an economic rival to the waning British Empire. (2) To secure complete American-British hegemony in the Pacific. (3) To promote the dreams and plans of the Trotsky-internationalist wing of the Comintern for the advancement of a communist utopian revolution. In the US, this would come to include imposition of central controls upon US economy in the name of war-time necessity: wage-price controls, women forced to work, husbands and fathers killed, children raised by grandparents, forced shortages, control of factory owners, managers, farmers, small-businessmen, dissenters, artists, writers and thinkers by military draft, bureaucracy, government favoritism, mal-investment, control of the press, dissemination of absurd and vicious propaganda, arrested dissenters, interned citizens and aliens. (4) To advance the personal fortunes and personal power of America's ruling families. (5) To offer another sacrifice to the War God, our Benefactor.
Outcome: Victory abroad. All enemies devastated, and Eastern Europe and China brought under communist control, as planned, as a "natural" result of war horrors. At home, America accepted the loss of political and economic liberty as being a war-time necessity and patriotic duty.
Blowback: There was some mild post-war reaction in the US against domestic totalitarianism. And the use of atomic weapons raised the conscience of some people in and out of the military. But it was also used to raise the fear level of the people, making them more agreeable to being controlled.
Further blowback. The generous sacrifice to the War God apparently backfired. Development and use of atomic weapons appears to have whetted his appetite rather than appeasing it.
V. Korean War, 1950-1953.
Apparent reasons: (1) Surprise invasion of South Korea by North Korea required immediate assistance of the United States to contain communism.
Real reasons: (1) Arrangements made with Stalin at Teheran (1943) and Yalta (1945) were proceeding according to plan (spheres of influence, controlled conflict) (2) Arrangements made with Stalin at Teheran and Yalta were not proceeding according to plan (it seems that both Stalin and Truman were guilty of deviationism). (3) The newly minted United Nations Organization needed a crisis to establish its role and legitimacy, and to further its purpose as a lever to be used by the one-world government crowd. (4) Business had been depressed for the arms manufacturers and profits were way down. They need a stimulus. (5) The social controls that had been successfully imposed during World War II had had to be relaxed to conform to popular expectation. This gave an excuse to re-impose them, by re-awakening fear mentality. (6) The War God had indicated that he desired another sacrifice -- this time, the struggling Korean people would be most acceptable.
Outcome: Plenty of death and distraction, as planned. Eisenhower was permitted to end the war, but hopes (and plans) were underway to provide for a new war, in Indochina, Hungary, or the Middle East. Or all three, as it turned out.
Blowback: Warring powers learned to fight wars to inconclusion, rather than following the formula of demanding "unconditional surrender" as in World War II.
VI. Viet Nam, 1965-1975.
Apparent reasons: (1) An unprovoked attack by North Vietnamese on peace-keeping US naval vessels signaled a new communist aggression in Southeast Asia. (2) The United States had to keep its solemn, moral SEATO treaty commitments so that the "dominoes" would not fall down. (3) America was in mortal danger, and "freedom" was in mortal danger, all around the world.
Real reasons: (1) Certain arrangements made between interested parties as early as 1945 (Yalta) or 1943 (Teheran) were ready to be fulfilled. (2) Business had been good for the arms manufacturers, and profits had not been bad; but on the other hand, a stimulus would be a big help, and a war would justify bigger expenditures. (3) And after all, that is a main reason why Kennedy was murdered a year earlier -- he wasn't playing ball, at least not fast enough and hard enough; it was time to make the coup pay off. (4) The War God wanted more innocent sacrifice. The rice farmers and mountain people of Southeast Asia would fill the bill nicely.
Outcome: Defeat. But on the other hand, the war profiteers really came out okay. So, was it really a defeat?
Blowback: Some Americans began to lose their taste for war. The American image around the world was tarnished. While the world was also afraid of murderous Soviet bullying, they had discovered that American bullying could be just as unprincipled and murderous.
VII. Gulf War 1990-1991.
Apparent reasons: The poor (I mean very rich) people of Kuwait had been surprise-attacked by the evil dictator Saddam Hussein, and needed our immediate help to liberate their country.
Real reasons: (1) The forty-five year cold war with Russia was rapidly coming to an unexpected end, and the arms industry faced a catastrophic depression. A new villain must be quickly found. Our long-time agent and puppet, Saddam Hussein, could be the right villain. He could be persuaded to make the right mistakes. (2) America needed a major dramatic victory to erase the very unpleasant lingering memories of Vietnam, and to remind us that war is, really, a good, fun, and exciting thing if done right. After all, what good is being a sole superpower if you don't make war? What is power for? (3) Preserving the world flow of oil sounded like a righteous enough cause, even though the US didn't get a crucial amount of oil from Kuwait. (4) Really, the War God wanted another sacrifice. Peace would starve him. This time, it would be the Muslims.
Outcome: Great victory. Not enough death to satisfy the War God, but the following decade of "sanctions" and the resultant deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, especially children, could appease him somewhat.
Blowback: military spending was not enough to keep the economy from a downturn in late 1991, and George H.W. Bush lost the presidency to a man less inclined to military adventures than himself.
VIII. Afghanistan, 2001-Present.
Apparent reasons: (1) Osama bin Laden, allegedly operating from a high-tech underground complex in Afghanistan, masterminded and directed the 9/11 attacks on America. His evil Al-Qaida network therefore needed to be eliminated. (2) Bin Laden must be captured and brought to justice.
Real reasons: (1) parts of the American and British oil cartel were deeply interested in Central Asian oil. Afghanistan could be a strategic pipeline route to Asian and world oil markets, and therefore must be controlled. Besides, playing in Russia's back yard would send them a strong message not to resist the "sole superpower." (2) The wealthiest American and British families had made fortunes running drugs all over the world for centuries. These wealthy families had established and staffed the CIA and other security apparatus at the highest levels. Their drug market was not limited to Colombia, Panama, and Southeast Asia -- it had included large quantities of opium from Afghanistan and elsewhere for about two centuries, if not more. (Read up on the Opium Wars.) This war would help secure control and improve profit margins. (3) Certain elements in the American-British-Israeli "intelligence" apparatus know how to create false-flag terror operations. In fact, they have done this over-and-over again in the quest for empire and "security." The September 11 attacks were staged by selected security personnel to implicate the new patsy, bin Laden, and provide a pretext for entry into Afghanistan. (4) In fact, Bin Laden must NOT be captured. To capture him would really end the excuse for the war; and if captured, Osama Bin Laden would be able to testify that, in fact, he did NOT order the September 11 attacks. Fortunately, he died a few months after the attack, and became nothing more than a shadow, whose myth and legend could be endlessly manipulated. The name of the enemy would be shifted to the Taliban. (5) Elements in the elite control structure that governs America-Britain-Israel wanted an excuse to humiliate the US military by forcing them to conduct another unwinnable war: it helps keep them morally off-balance and administratively pliable. (6) The legitimacy of Bush's presidency had been kept in doubt, and the economy was also faltering. He needed to be re-imaged as the tough War President. (7) The War God wanted another sacrifice. More Iraqis would be fine. He could stoke Sunni-Shia tensions, too. Even more Iraqis.
Outcome: Pro-Western puppet government installed in Kabul. US spends hundreds of billions on war munitions, assuring generous contributions from defense contractors to politicians. Republicans re-brand themselves as the only "patriots." Democrats villified as appeasers and traitors.
Blowback: Federal government bankrupts itself. Afghans fight back. US military humiliated after being sent into another impossible situation.
IX. Iraq, 2003-Present
Apparent reasons: Saddam has used chemical weapons on the Kurds, and is buying uranium from Niger with the intention of bringing a surprise nuclear attack on the United States, along with his biological warfare program. He, along with Iran and North Korea, are the Axis of Evil. Also, the Iraqis desperately want us to free them from this tyrant.
Real reasons: (1) Our agent, Saddam Hussein, has outlived his usefulness. After he fought our proxy war against the Iranians during most of the 1980s (using some pretty bad stuff that was sold to him by Rumsfeld and The Boys), he has lasted too long. (2) We want to control Iraqi oil. We can sell it to pay for the war that destroys Iraq. Plus if we control it, we can screw the Chinese. (3) The Neo-Conservative (Israel-First Lobby) wants us to fight another war on their behalf -- this is how you show the Arabs/Muslims/Everybody just Who is in charge. We need to "help" the Kurds. (4) If the Neo-Conservatives can mire the US military in another stupid war, this will create exploitable rifts in the US federal policy establishment. (5) George W. Bush wants to prove to the War Party that he can really deliver, and assure his re-election as the War On Terror President. (6) The arms manufacturers and middle-men need another "stimulus." Yesterday's hundreds of billions are, after all, yesterday's. Today is another day. (7) Blackwater needs contracts for its mercenaries, and missions to justify them. We need to involve this "Christian" soldiers-for-hire organization, in order to implicate Christianity in this war. (8) The War God is impatient for more blood. Innocent blood is the best, so be sure to break into residential neighborhoods, gun down whole families, and foment civil war.
Outcome: Mission Accomplished! George Bush re-elected. Arms suppliers richer than ever. US military officer class bought off by revolving door with rich defense contractors. Lots of soldiers killed and maimed, lots of civilians dead, wounded, sick, displaced. Plenty of depleted uranium to poison Iraq for a generation. War God temporarily happy. Police state accepted by public in US. Wall Street has a free hand to do anything, while nobody is looking.
Blowback: Congress reduces itself to a rubber-stamp money-laundering operation. US government goes bankrupt. Wall Street thieves exposed. War-worshipping evangelical church and religious right properly discredited for their role in enthusiastically promoting an aggressive and totally-uncalled-for war. The lies of officialdom, both political and religious, become too blatant to completely ignore. People begin to realize that they are dependent on the government for their prosperity, or their jobs. War God unhappy as body count decreases, and demands fresh sacrifices in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Pakistan, Bahrain, Somalia, etc.
Without war, we might have had a government for the general good of the people. And there's not much money in that kind of government.
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Sorry that, in the interests of space and attention span, I had to overlook all the United Fruit wars, Nato wars, Caribbean interventions, Balkan adventures, Somali operations, air strikes, proxy wars, regime changes, coups d'etat, Cold War hot spots, assassinations, false flag operations, and the like. And of course I skipped everything before 1898. Oh well, another post . . .
Speaking of other posts, I wrote one a few months ago called: 'Truth In US Wars: Naming.'