Is provoking wars an American tradition?

The USS Maine
The USS Maine

It seems to me that there’s an accepted narrative when it comes to history and current events that involve our nation. The theme that cuts across both is the idea that we’ve only entered wars for noble causes like the defense of freedom or to promote democracy.  These are vague and innocuous phrases that reduce the reasons for going to war into simple terms that one is supposed not to question unless he’s prepared to be accused of being “unpatriotic”.  A proper distillation of history certainly casts the accepted narratives about America’s past wars in doubt for those who become aware of the truth. The truth is that many of the wars that our nation has engaged in have involved false flags that have been used as a cover to engage in war for reasons far less than noble.  Often the real motivation was conquest and the false flag gave the cover of an excuse. After all, you can’t expect to galvanize people behind the effort if you tell them they must give their lives for oil, the US dollar or in general support of hegemony.    It’s important to look at the backdrop of history  with respect to war now as I happen to believe that we’re in the unannounced phase in the war with Iran that will soon be formally announced as soon as we can position them to appear as the aggressor.

So what has the history actually been?   Here are a few of examples to consider that will challenge the accepted narratives and directly call into question the narrative on Iran:

 Spanish American War of 1898:  How exactly did our our nation wind up with Puerto Rico and Guam as possessions while having broad influence in the Philippines and Cuba before Castro’s  revolution?  That came as a result this war where a weakened Spain lost the remaining remnants of  its colonial empire to the US.  The concept of manifest destiny was limited to sea to shining sea and the result was the extirpation of the Native American. The Monroe Doctrine extended US control and influence to the entire western hemisphere and simple hegemon type tendencies took us beyond the hemisphere.  According to the history books, the war began with the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor which was sent to Cuba to support Cubans in their effort to “liberate” the island from Spain and to protect US “interests”.   Although uncertain of the cause of the explosion, the press of that time, led by Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, whipped the public up in a frenzy claiming that Spain planted a mine.   In its weakened state, the last thing Spain wanted was war, but that’s what they got and subsequent investigation revealed that a weapons magazine explosion was responsible rather than the Spanish mine that was assumed.   But by the time that was acknowledged, Spain was relieved of its remaining colonies.  The general conclusion was that the US was looking for an excuse so it could achieve this outcome.

The Gulf of Tonkin/Vietnam War: Before hostilities get formally announced, the CIA is running a covert action against North Vietnam using speed boats manned by South Vietnamese to conduct a series of coastal raids.   This effort is supported by American warships conducting electronic surveillance in “international waters” that is used to direct the speed boat attacks against the North Vietnamese—in effect an act of war in and of itself.   In response to continued raids by the speed boats, the North Vietnamese respond by attacking the USS Maddox and are able to score a hit with a single 14.5 millimeter machine gun bullet which gets the boats they used to do this strafed and destroyed.   Our nation decides not to back down and the USS Maddox and another ship reappears a few days later along with more speed boats to do the same thing.  While doing this, the ships receive radar and sonar information indicating another North Vietnamese attack, but as it turns out “freak weather effects on radar” may have accounted for the attack as the USS Maddox’s captain is unable to visually spot any North Vietnamese boats.   Nevertheless, Lyndon Johnson goes on TV to address the nation about the incident and eventually gets the Gulf of Tonkin resolution approved authorizing military force without a declaration of war. So one attack was provoked and another was imagined and that was the entire reason for engaging in a conflict that cost about 50,000 American lives and untold numbers of Vietnamese lives.

World War II:  A new book authored by President Herbert Hoover is out entitled Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s History of the Second World War and It’s Aftermath that sheds new light on World War II involving Japan.   I‘ve not read the book yet, but according to all of the reviews, it sheds a lot of light on the history of WWII and does not paint a flattering picture of FDR’s role.  Hoover was an isolationist and was totally against any US role in what was occurring in Europe.  At the time Germany was on the move and primarily looking east for “acquisitions” which actually threw it at loggerheads with Russia.  Hoover’s council to Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain was to appease them by not interfering with their eastward expansion which he did for a while, but ultimately Britain and France decided to support Poland when it got in Hitler’s crosshairs.  Hitler promptly came an agreement with Russia to divide up Eastern Europe among them and with peace with Russia, turned his attention to France and England.  The common narrative with regard to Chamberlain was that his appeasement didn’t stop Hitler, but according to Hoover, it was his interference with Germany’s eastward expansion that was the source of his problem and France’s.

But even more interesting is how the US and Japan came to war.  I had heard previous accounts that Japan attacked the US because of an oil embargo, but hadn’t read anything definitive.  I find that quite interesting especially when one considers the effect of the current round of sanctions on Iran that are designed to strangle it economically by forcing it to sell its oil well below market.   It’s an act of war, much like how Japan apparently interpreted our actions back in 1941 and this is why they’re threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz –which is the casus belli that the US is looking for  just as it was in the Gulf of Tonkin, the sinking of the USS Maine and apparently even with Japan.    Here’s an excerpt of a book review describing what happened with Japan according to Hoover.  It’s an amazing story far different than the commonly accepted history book narrative and the parallels between our economic actions against Japan and the current ones against Iran are very apparent :

Consider Japan’s situation in the summer of 1941. Bogged down in a four year war in China she could neither win nor end, having moved into French Indochina, Japan saw herself as near the end of her tether.

Inside the government was a powerful faction led by Prime Minister Prince Fumimaro Konoye that desperately did not want a war with the United States.

The “pro-Anglo-Saxon” camp included the navy, whose officers had fought alongside the U.S. and Royal navies in World War I, while the war party was centered on the army, Gen. Hideki Tojo and Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka, a bitter anti-American.

On July 18, 1941, Konoye ousted Matsuoka, replacing him with the “pro-Anglo-Saxon” Adm. Teijiro Toyoda.

The U.S. response: On July 25, we froze all Japanese assets in the United States, ending all exports and imports, and denying Japan the oil upon which the nation and empire depended.

Stunned, Konoye still pursued his peace policy by winning secret support from the navy and army to meet FDR on the U.S. side of the Pacific to hear and respond to U.S. demands.

U.S. Ambassador Joseph Grew implored Washington not to ignore Konoye’s offer, that the prince had convinced him an agreement could be reached on Japanese withdrawal from Indochina and South and Central China. Out of fear of Mao’s armies and Stalin’s Russia, Tokyo wanted to hold a buffer in North China.

On Aug. 28, Japan’s ambassador in Washington presented FDR a personal letter from Konoye imploring him to meet.

Tokyo begged us to keep Konoye’s offer secret, as the revelation of a Japanese prime minister’s offering to cross the Pacific to talk to an American president could imperil his government.

On Sept. 3, the Konoye letter was leaked to the Herald-Tribune.

On Sept. 6, Konoye met again at a three-hour dinner with Grew to tell him Japan now agreed with the four principles the Americans were demanding as the basis for peace. No response.

On Sept. 29, Grew sent what Hoover describes as a “prayer” to the president not to let this chance for peace pass by.

On Sept. 30, Grew wrote Washington, “Konoye’s warship is ready waiting to take him to Honolulu, Alaska or anyplace designated by the president.”

No response. On Oct. 16, Konoye’s cabinet fell.

In November, the U.S. intercepted two new offers from Tokyo: a Plan A for an end to the China war and occupation of Indochina and, if that were rejected, a Plan B, a modus vivendi where neither side would make any new move. When presented, these, too, were rejected out of hand.

At a Nov. 25 meeting of FDR’s war council, Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s notes speak of the prevailing consensus: “The question was how we should maneuver them (the Japanese) into … firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.”

“We can wipe the Japanese off the map in three months,” wrote Navy Secretary Frank Knox.

As Grew had predicted, Japan, a “hara-kiri nation,” proved more likely to fling herself into national suicide for honor than to allow herself to be humiliated.

Out of the war that arose from the refusal to meet Prince Konoye came scores of thousands of U.S. dead, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the fall of China to Mao Zedong, U.S. wars in Korea and Vietnam, and the rise of a new arrogant China that shows little respect for the great superpower of yesterday.

http://buchanan.org/blog/did-fdr-provoke-pearl-harbor-4953?utm_source=feedburner&utm_med

An amazing and astounding reset of the history of WWII that’s highly disturbing.  Basically, our dominance emerging from the War was planned.  . Perhaps the most disturbing thing beyond that is the whole idea that the architects of our war with Japan deliberately put American lives on the line in Pearl Harbor and in the battles beyond for conquest by maneuvering Japan into attacking us.  This is astounding.   When considered against the backdrop of history, several questions immediately present themselves about whether the narratives around many other things are truthful and that would include many current events.

This also brings the current situation with Iran in sharp focus particularly as it follows Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and countless other low intensity conflicts that we’re involved in.  The nuclear weapons narrative is a lie that’s being marketed to us to justify conquest.  That much is clear.

It’s also clear that the seeds of our current predicament were sewn back then when one ties this current events.  Here we sit economically broken conducting wars we can’t even finance internally for the benefit of a very small group of oligarchs.  Our congress who should have the authority to declare war can’t because they’ve been taken out of that by the precedent that Johnson set for this to come under the purview of the executive. (Hoover would argue that the precedent was set by FDR). Not only doesn’t the congress not exercise the voice of the people, it’s really lost the consent to govern in light of the recent polls showing only an  11% approval rating.  These things, our policies and the want of a truthful premise to support them combine to form our true crisis as a nation.  It’s a certainty that someone is waiting in the shadows seeking strategic advantage from our greed and stupidity and it’s highly likely that there are those who are just patiently waiting to pick up the remnants of our empire as we head for our own date with the scrap heap of history.

 

 

  • Anonymous

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  • Anonymous

    “The truth is that many of the wars that our nation has engaged in have involved false flags that have been used as a cover to engage in war for reasons far less than noble.  Often the real motivation was conquest and the false flag gave the cover of an excuse. ”

    I like your thesis. 

    Republicans take delight in referring to our nation as that “shining city upon a hill,” noble in its purpose and high-minded in its pursuits. Nothing could be further from the truth, which   several unvarnished histories of this nation have unmistakably shown. We’re driven by greed, and an imperialistic approach to world affairs, dealing as treacherously with other nations, as our leaders would have us believe they’re dealing with us.

    We pay too high a price for our standard of living.

    I don’t recall the details, but there was a group negotiating with a state legislature to whitewash American history in textbooks to downplay slavery, and this nation’s genocidal behavior towards American Indians. 

    “So one attack was provoked and another was imagined and that was the entire reason for engaging in a conflict [the Vietnam War] that cost about 50,000 American lives and untold numbers of Vietnamese lives.”
    The official American line was that we were stopping the spread of communism, that a domino effect was inevitable, if we didn’t stop the march of communism in Vietnam.

    It wasn’t hard to bring the American people along, a fearful bunch, frighten of anything that smacked of a communist threat, or the expansion of communism (the capitalists’ successful propaganda machine at work), just as they are today when the words Muslim, or Islamist terrorist are spoken.

    “This also brings the current situation with Iran in sharp focus particularly as it follows Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and countless other low intensity conflicts that we’re involved in.  The nuclear weapons narrative is a lie that’s being marketed to us to justify conquest.  That much is clear. ”

    We justify our actions by saying that we’re protecting a friend and ally–Israel.  This begs the question: Why are we protecting Israel, when it’s more than capable, militarily, to protect itself. 

    Some believe that our justification for attacking Saddam Hussein was predicated on our desire to provide protection for Israel, and, of course, to secure large oil reserves–whatever story, credible or not, that  would resonate with the public to keep it compliant with the wishes of the government.

    “Here we sit economically broken conducting wars we can’t even finance internally for the benefit of a very small group of oligarchs.”

    And Republicans chafe at asking these elites to pay their “fair share”? It’s not that their children–in large numbers–are volunteering to fight these wars.  Not only are we paying for the wars that benefit them, but the middle class and the poor are being asked to sacrifice life and limb to secure their various sources of wealth.

    • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

      >>>We justify our actions by saying that we’re protecting a friend and
      ally–Israel.  This begs the question: Why are we protecting Israel, when
      it’s more than capable, militarily, to protect itself.
       

      Some believe that our justification for attacking Saddam Hussein was
      predicated on our desire to provide protection for Israel, and, of
      course, to secure large oil reserves–whatever story, credible or not,
      that  would resonate with the public to keep it compliant with the
      wishes of the government.<<>>In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history,
      Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France –
      to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies
      including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new,
      unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council,
      including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

      Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and
      central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the
      scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars<<<<

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/the-demise-of-the-dollar-1798175.html

      Recall in the post above how the US caught Spain at a weak point to grab the remnants of its empire and how we positioned Japan to attack us so we could have the preeminent position in the world after the end of WWII?  Well, this may be our take down. If they succeed in breaking linkage between the dollar and how oil is priced, they break us.  All the paper that we issue to get oil won't be accepted and those nations holding the paper for the purpose of buying oil will no longer need it.  When a paper currency becomes worthless because it's no longer needed or fewer accept it, the effect is inflation or a devaluation as you simply will need more of it to buy what you used to buy for less.  A forced devaluation of the currency like this is almost  like firing a volley of rockets into our borders because it threatens everything—including our ability to conduct war.  The problem is that we've done so much stuff to antagonize and piss off other nations, that they want to put us in the cross hairs.  All of this is occurring outside of the awareness of most people because while this should be headline news, it isn't. 

      This is the main reason why we're going after energy resources in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.  To maintain that link, it will be necessary to control those resources outright. 

      • Black Diaspora

        “In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, 
        Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – 
        to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies.”
        Of the several nation’s cited, their currency is still more risky than the dollar, and that includes the euro, which has in recent months been under a great deal of pressure. 

        Right or wrong, given a choice, I still believe that the middle east will stick with the dollar–it makes good economic sense, and good political sense to keep the U.S. happy and not seen as an enemy, especially when you, yourself, are surrounded by enemies.

        It’s possible that they may not, when you take into consideration the enemies we’ve made around the world, the size of our national footprint abroad, and the heavy-handed way with which we conducted foreign affairs under the Bush administration.

        It doesn’t help, however, that our nation has been downgraded by S&P to less than Triple A (thanks to TeaPublican threats to shut down the government unless the president and Democrats in congress meet their autocratic demands), but some nation’s in the eurozone aren’t doing much better.

        “This is the main reason why we’re going after energy resources in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.  To maintain that link, it will be necessary to control those resources outright.”And as long as we continue to throw our weight around, the greater the likelihood we’ll trigger a war with China or Russia, or both at the same time.That these nations will align themselves against us in the future is almost assured as our economic and military power wane.And wane it shall, as long as this nation persists in pursuing the policies that have brought us to this moment–the fighting of expensive wars on credit with little or nothing to show for them but dead and wounded Americans, and a nearly depleted treasury; the exempting of the rich from paying for the upkeep of this nation, while encouraging them to offshore their money, rewarding corporations that create jobs abroad, instead of right here at home, allowing corporations like G.E. to avoid paying any taxes because of tax loopholes, and other provisions within the tax code that favor such outcomes; and the gutting of  government, the only entity that stands between us and 
        rapacious corporations such as the Koch brothers, dead set on dismantling unions and federal regulatory agencies in their quest for more billions.Like
        Reply

        • black_diaspora

          “In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, 
          Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – 
          to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies.”
          Of the several nation’s cited, their currency is still more risky than the dollar, and that includes the euro, which has in recent months been under a great deal of pressure. 

          Right or wrong, given a choice, I still believe that the middle east will stick with the dollar–it makes good economic sense, and good political sense to keep the U.S. happy and not seen as an enemy, especially when you, yourself, are surrounded by enemies.

          It’s possible that they may not, when you take into consideration the enemies we’ve made around the world, the size of our national footprint abroad, and the heavy-handed way with which we conducted foreign affairs under the Bush administration.

          It doesn’t help, however, that our nation has been downgraded by S&P to less than Triple A (thanks to TeaPublican threats to shut down the government unless the president and Democrats in congress meet their autocratic demands), but some nation’s in the eurozone aren’t doing much better.

          “This is the main reason why we’re going after energy resources in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.  To maintain that link, it will be necessary to control those resources outright.”And as long as we continue to throw our weight around, the greater the likelihood we’ll trigger a war with China or Russia, or both at the same time.That these nations will align themselves against us in the future is almost assured as our economic and military power wane.And wane it shall, as long as this nation persists in pursuing the policies that have brought us to this moment–the fighting of expensive wars on credit with little or nothing to show for them but dead and wounded Americans, and a nearly depleted treasury; the exempting of the rich from paying for the upkeep of this nation, while encouraging them to offshore their money, rewarding corporations that create jobs abroad, instead of right here at home, allowing corporations like G.E. to avoid paying any taxes because of tax loopholes, and other provisions within the tax code that favor such outcomes; and the gutting of  government, the only entity that stands between us and 
          rapacious corporations such as the Koch brothers, dead set on dismantling unions and federal regulatory agencies in their quest for more billions.Like
          Reply

          • black_diaspora2

            “In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, 
            Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – 
            to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies.”
            Of the several nation’s cited, their currency is still more risky than the dollar, and that includes the euro, which has in recent months been under a great deal of pressure. 

            Right or wrong, given a choice, I still believe that the middle east will stick with the dollar–it makes good economic sense, and good political sense to keep the U.S. happy and not seen as an enemy, especially when you, yourself, are surrounded by enemies.

            It’s possible that they may not, when you take into consideration the enemies we’ve made around the world, the size of our national footprint abroad, and the heavy-handed way with which we conducted foreign affairs under the Bush administration.

            It doesn’t help, however, that our nation has been downgraded by S&P to less than Triple A (thanks to TeaPublican threats to shut down the government unless the president and Democrats in congress meet their autocratic demands), but some nation’s in the eurozone aren’t doing much better.

            “This is the main reason why we’re going after energy resources in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.  To maintain that link, it will be necessary to control those resources outright.”And as long as we continue to throw our weight around, the greater the likelihood we’ll trigger a war with China or Russia, or both at the same time.That these nations will align themselves against us in the future is almost assured as our economic and military power wane.And wane it shall, as long as this nation persists in pursuing the policies that have brought us to this moment–the fighting of expensive wars on credit with little or nothing to show for them but dead and wounded Americans, and a nearly depleted treasury; the exempting of the rich from paying for the upkeep of this nation, while encouraging them to offshore their money, rewarding corporations that create jobs abroad, instead of right here at home, allowing corporations like G.E. to avoid paying any taxes because of tax loopholes, and other provisions within the tax code that favor such outcomes; and the gutting of  government, the only entity that stands between us and 
            rapacious corporations such as the Koch brothers, dead set on dismantling unions and federal regulatory agencies in their quest for more billions.Like
            Reply

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