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Posted on Jun 14, 2008
Cheney, Bush and Gates
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

President Bush, flanked by Vice President Dick Cheney, left, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, presses Congress to approve a war funding bill last November.

By Robert Scheer

This piece is excerpted from Robert Scheer’s latest book, “The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America,” and was originally posted on The Nation.

War doesn’t pay, nor does imperial ambition. This proposition should be evident to anyone who has paid attention to the fivefold increase in the price of oil since George W. Bush took office. The principle of nonintervention is neither liberal nor conservative in orientation, and at the inception of the Republic it was accepted as a commonsense.

The dominant assumption of our nation’s founders was to avoid “foreign entanglements,” to use Thomas Jefferson’s words of warning. Indeed, the policy of nonintervention was considered by the founders as a basic demarcation between the politics of the Old and New Worlds. Explaining in his farewell address why he, as our first President, followed “our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world,” George Washington cautioned his countrymen to “moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

What has happened to the American people that these modest yet profound sentiments seem so foreign to the tongues of our politicians and the ears of their constituents? Who among our top leaders, Democrat or Republican, dares warn against the “impostures of pretended patriotism”?

As Washington warned, it is extremely difficult to unmask “pretended patriotism” when the nation is frightened by enemies real and imagined. But Washington could not have anticipated the sort of mass media society in which government propaganda becomes compelling and inconvenient truths are concealed behind the veil of national security. He certainly did not anticipate the modern militarized state, in which a permanent war footing has been the norm since the onset of the cold war.

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For these reasons, Washington’s concerns needed the updating provided by our other great general turned President, Dwight David Eisenhower. Ike’s farewell address provides a perfect bookend to Washington’s, for it marks a modern President’s recognition that the fears of our first President had been realized. The Empire had come to replace the Republic. The “military-industrial complex” that Eisenhower warned against was merely the logical extension of a stark policy of American intervention into the affairs of nations on every continent and the imperial reach of forward military bases throughout the world. What alarmed Eisenhower most was that the system that had grown up to counter communism (something he saw as a real threat) was self-perpetuating and disconnected from the defensive tasks at hand. Eisenhower predicted exactly what has come to pass. Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, and with it the rationale for the cold war, the military-industrial complex soon found another enemy: terrorism.

The disconnect between the arsenal of the terrorist enemy and that arrayed against it in the post-9/11 years affirms Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex’s “unwarranted influence.” One wonders how lobbyists and politicians maintain a straight face as they argue, as Senator Joe Lieberman has, for $2.5 billion submarines to fight terrorists who lack even a dinghy. I don’t doubt that the lobbyists will continue to make their case and that the money spent toward that end will secure political and pundit support, but the gambit is wearing thin. So too is the effort to manufacture crises with “rogue nations” and to exaggerate the cohesion and power of the “terrorist” enemy.

The U.S. military budget is roughly equal to those of all other nations combined, and it is inconceivable that any hostile state could emerge in the next twenty years to match the United States in a combat zone, even if no new weapons are added to the U.S. arsenal. Indeed, our major rivals, China and Russia, are moving deeper into the fray of commercial markets rather than the theater of war games.

The benefits of a substantial cut in military spending would be dramatic, freeing government funds for other purposes, including health and education programs that would make the nation stronger. Neither party wants to raise taxes, and as a result, existing and new programs must compete for a fixed pool of tax dollars. Government funds are further limited because mandatory expenditures, like Social Security and Medicare, will not be cut, for fear of voter resentment. For these reasons, the full range of nonmandated programs, from farm subsidies to children’s health insurance to medical research, are competing with the military budget.

Therefore, after mandated programs are funded, the military consumes roughly six out of ten dollars. As a consequence, increases in domestic spending must be funded by cutbacks in military spending. That is the most honest way to judge the opportunity cost of the military dollar, as in, two unneeded submarines versus health insurance for 4 million kids.

There is, however, a greater cost to having a huge permanent military: the vitality of our democracy. As we saw in the run-up to the Iraq War, the fearmongers who seek an expanded military are not above using their enormous lobbying power to influence the debate. The public will not support the military unless it feels its activities are connected with a real threat, so the military and its suppliers and other allies have to exaggerate that threat. Such is the risk of “the total influence—economic, political, even spiritual” of the military-industrial complex, which Eisenhower warned is “felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the federal government.” It is a built-in and well-financed constituency that stresses the military option over the diplomatic one, that exaggerates the strength of the enemy rather than realistically appraises it and that desperately finds new wars to be fought.

What is going on in our name is irrational, costly and dangerous, but there are powerful vested interests that want to keep it that way. Those interests remain so strong that neither Barack Obama nor John McCain has called for cutting a military budget that is the largest since World War II. But without such cuts all the campaign promises about funding domestic programs, from education to healthcare, are an obvious fraud.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By george [:-), June 22, 2008 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Question from Obtuse Jblack: “Which of the Bush policies has prevented another 9/11 type of attack?”

Simple my dear Watson,just look at the obvious evidense.
Answer to Jblack:-(  none prevented any attack!

PATRIOT Act’s title: “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.Balony Balony Baloney…....

Now Jblack here 2 questions for you.
Fact : If the PatRiot Act is in the thousands of pages,with dense legal term wording and just happened to appear in one week after 911,which means that the act was written prior to 911.
1) Did the this Bush act prevent the US government and Israel prevent them from doing the 911 bombings?No!
2)How about the home grown Anthrax mailings and the killings?—-No!
3) That still missing 1 of 6 nukes from that B52 bomber is just waiting to go off any time prior to Sept 11 2008.
Stealing that nuke is terrrrrror-what policy of Bush stopped it and where is it—????? Won’t go off in Crawford Texass—4 sure!
No Daaaaaahs.Please!

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 22, 2008 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

We have not been attacked because we attacked Iraq, everyone knows that. Good post Thomas George.  We the people loose more every day, as our Liberties go down the Neo-Con Toilet. 

Did not know we were at 5000 dead from the war?

It does not matter, we got rid of SH, that is all that matters, because we were warned that he was a threat by Clinton and we know Bush listened to what Clinton had to say.

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By Sodium, June 22, 2008 at 3:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Senator Chuck Hagel on George W. Bush’s Blunder.

Chuck Hagel is Republican Senator from Nebraska.He is a Vietnam Vet and a member in the U.S.Senate Foreign
Relations Committee.He had supported strongly George W.Bush until GWB started his illegal and immoral war in Iraq,for which Senator Chuck Hagel strongly and wisely had/has opposed.

In one of the meetings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which I personally witnessed on C-Span Channel,Senator Chuck Hagel has made it very
very clear that the invasion,occupation and endless war and quagmire in Iraq has been the most strategic blunder in the history of the United States.

Chuck Hagel’s words are good enough for me to conclude that we certainly are not safe,at all in spite of those who posted posts on this thread,just parroting George W.Bush’s false and boring rhetorics,
claiming them facts.Unreal!!!

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By cyrena, June 17, 2008 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

Well, looks like George Thomas answered the question (I wasn’t even going to bother, so thank you George Thomas)..

•  “…Then the CLAIM that “they made us safer because we have not been any attacked after 911” is a fraud on its face and a JOKE…We are safer BECAUSE THEY DONT NEED TO ATTACK US AGAIN….they have their wars, their patriot act, their torture murder rape kidnapping internment, all the Joys of unbridled WAR…...Hey, were safer, BUT FROM WHOM???  NOT THE GOVERNMENT!!..”

Why haven’t we been attacked again? Like George says…look around, (unless one is blind and cannot see). We’ve been under attack every flippin’ day since The Coup of November 2000, when they highjacked our government. The false flag attack on 9/11/01 set us up to become subjects of a 3rd Reich. We’re now living the same nightmare that the Germans lived under Hitler. What’s amazing is that there are so many people who don’t even know it. It’s the epitome of Hannah Arendt’s “Banality of Evil.”

Hard to actually even imagine that we’re safer, when there are no jobs, (the job loss statistics are higher than they’ve been in decades) and the basics are becoming more and more out of reach for more and more of ‘the masses’ –that’s us-. Bottom line…we’re a 3rd world country now. At least that has become the quality of life for most people under what is clearly a Totalitarian regime headed by Cheney. (with Bush being the ostensible ‘government’ since Cheney is the Shadow Government).

The irony is that the alleged Islamist terrorists that played patsy to the entire 9/11 operation, have actually been created now, by real terrorists, (Dick Bush) as a result of being locked up for years in places like Guantanamo. I just read an excellent report on that earlier, but I’ll have to search for it now, since I can’t remember where I read it, but I did save it.

In short, what most of us already knew to be innocent men ‘plucked off the battlefields’ of Afghanistan and nearby places,( just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time) kidnapped and sold to the US for bounty, have been locked up so long that they ARE now ‘militant’. Consequently, prior to 9/11, we only had the Dick Bush terrorists and their CIA operatives to carry out the dastardly deed. Now they have actually CREATED the same militants that they blamed it on back then.

Meantime, 7 years later, the Cabal has YET to offer any real evidence or proof of their false claim that we were attacked by Islamic terrorists (or ANY ‘foreign entity) on 9/11. ZERO proof. ZERO physical evidence. Just 4 commercial jetliners, ‘disappeared’ without a trace…and a big fat section of Manhattan blasted to smithereens, with all of THAT evidence immediately hauled away as well. They’ve covered their tracks well, and they don’t even care that we know they’re lying.

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By george [:-), June 17, 2008 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jblack,you must not read other people’s post but only your own—“Alright, forget about Bush. What exactly has prevented another 9/11 type of attack? Anybody, anybody, anybody?”
  Try this for an answer blockhead!We are attacked every second of the day—over 5000 troops killed in the M.E. and over 32,000 very sick disabled vets and counting. Country is broke, many folks can’t afford meds and lossing their homes and jobs.USi is the most hated nation next to Israel.What more punishment do you want?
I bet your hoping for another government false flag operation and blame it on the Arabs. Our Zionko-ko government has a surprise for you—that missing nuke bomb from that B52 is just waiting to go off in any city and only known to Cheney.I hope for you Jblack—it be your hometown—not mine.

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By mosco, June 17, 2008 at 10:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My father used to say that we were the most violent nation in history. We talk peace. But reality is that we seem to be constantly at war of some type. I wonder if the only way to have prosperity is through violence towards someone else. That there must be expansion or death. If true then the world at some point is going to have the mother of all wars.

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By Thomas George, June 17, 2008 at 8:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shaul Mofaz, one of Olmert’s leading deputies makes a statement that Israel may find it necessary to strike Iran..Oil prices spike!’‘’‘What will happen if Israel/U.S. DO strike Iran??  They seem to have EMPIRE"S latest lapDOG, Brown onboard….though his addition of ?? two hundred?? was it really two hundred?? more troops in Afghanistan?  How to please the Yanks and keep his numbers just above the privy-pit… Its all obviously an incredible balancing act with the neocon cabal and their wealthy Jewish-enablers/wealthy oil/ fundamentalists on one side and ever restive publics on the other side….as..she…they..zigzag like a clown on an unicycle…across the world stage….a comic ending to their third reich arrival??  It wasn’t SUPPOSED to be this way… Their opening gambit (911) and their Enabling act (the ANTHRAX ASSISTED patriot act) which opened the way for their “Blitzkreig” (shock and awe) their putsch of AMERICAN governance….To bring their 1000 tear reich…....Bush the conquerer!  The Neocon Cabal ASTRIDE THE WORLD vanquishing EVIL!!!.....Not using the B-2 to bomb the ragtag Talliban in Pakistan!!  Its really a CLOWN show…AND ....................JBLACK…....................... Yes the Js have (some, not too many) gone BLACK…..We must subvert ANYthing that MAY be utilized by the (Muslim) ENEMY…..................  +++++++++++++++++++++++++AND++++++++++++++++++++++++++ IF the bush neocon cabal did 911 (as I believe they did) Then the CLAIM that “they made us safer because we have not been any attacked after 911” is a fraud on its face and a JOKE…We are safer BECAUSE THEY DONT NEED TO ATTACK US AGAIN….they have their wars, their patriot act, their torture murder rape kidnapping internment, all the Joys of unbridled WAR…...Hey, were safer, BUT FROM WHOM???  NOT THE GOVERNMENT!!

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By kimberlyrae, June 17, 2008 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

JBlack, like other Bush administration apologists, likes to flog us with the “no attacks since 9/11” argument - as if that truly means something positive for this failed administration.

Let’s focus on the fact that the 9/11 attacks occurred on Bush’s watch, and effectively pushed our country’s course down a path that the perpetrators aimed for us, in their wildest, radical dreams, to take. The reality is, the terrorists won with the big hit in 2001 - and, honestly? Have they needed to do any more than that to reach their goal? They wanted a weakened US, embroiled in bitter in-fighting and reviled by the world. Terrorism has grown 7-fold in response to Bush’s warmongering. In 2008, that once small fanatical and marginalized al qaeda has realized it’s fondest wishes through Bush policies in the Mideast.

——and read today’s NYTimes report on China spanking the US for our souring economy, placing blame directly on Bush policies for evidence of how low the mighty US has fallen.

JBlack, face the fact that Bush and Company DROPPED THE BALL in the lead up to 9/11. If Al Gore had been our president in 2001 the likelihood that the attack would have been avoided - and the perpetrators singled out and cornered through existing evidence and “hair on fire” warnings - is quite plausible. For whatever reason, the Bush administration took no steps to follow up on the “chatter” that summer, or to heed the MANY, MANY dire warnings.

Since 9/11, our leadership in the WH and in Congress have aided bin Laden’s bidding by illegally invading Iraq under false pretenses and inflaming the Mideast with our cowboy recklessness and grossly transparent imperialistic greed. Bin Laden doesn’t need to bring terrorism to the US again, it’s already here and going strong. We live in a fearmongered state, honed to a fine point by the Bush administration. The terrorists won, and you can thank the Bush administration for that.

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By george :^), June 17, 2008 at 3:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JD Black,you said no terrorists attacks since Sept 11,2001.I got bad news for you.In 1993,WTC was attacked,now do the math—2001-1993 =?
  Just looking at the mess USi and the world is in,it is worse then any bomb blast. In speaking of bomb blasts, WTC bombings could not have been planned and put in motion in 8 months of Bush in office. Take a good look of the WTC blasting concrete powder spueing down on the tower site and compare that to Nuke blast. A child of 8 could tell you that they are similiar.
  FYI: WTC 1993,2001 bombings were not done by Arabs . Clinton authorized the development of the Bunker(CONCRETE) busting bomb—small, big blast,little radiation.
  So,JDBlack—eat crow—fool!

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By cyrena, June 16, 2008 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment

Louise,

Thanks, (as usual of course) for the excellent rundown on all that 9/11 ‘accomplished’ for the Thugs-in-Command. I can’t think of anything to add, since you’ve pretty much covered it all.

Well…I could elaborate some on each point, from the shredding of the Constitution, to the complete destabilization of an entire region, and the blatant violation of all International agreements and the crimes against humanity which now make us far, far, far more vulnerable than we ever were before.  Yep, ALL of that in the name of ‘the war on terror’ which is actually a war OF terror, unleashed by Dick Bush upon the rest of the world, beginning with the treasonous assault on us right here at home.

But, I won’t elaborate, since you’ve already done an excellent job with the multiple atrocities that have been put into motion by the original attack. I would only add the very chilling reminder that the entire plan has NOT been carried out as of yet, and Dick Bush Cheney is not going to leave office until it is, or until ‘we the people’ find a way to prevent it. These criminals have every intention of following through with the plans to attack Iran, because it’s as much a part of their global ideology as Hitler’s was in the fantasy of making Nazism a global goal. I’ve discovered very little differences, and huge similarities between the totalitarian movements of Hitler’s Nazism, or Stalin’s Communism, and PNAC’s global hegemony of free market capitalism, and military dominance of the entire globe.

Not unlike the Reichstag Fire that set the stage for Nazi Germany, and moved that nation from Republic to Reich, so did 9/11 move us from a Republic to a nation under totalitarian siege, and it the deepest of decay.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire

Morally bankrupt to be sure, but also bankrupt of our blood and treasure.

After the eventual demise of Hitler and the other Dictators of Europe and Russia after WWII, the rest of the world pitched in to rebuild those nations, and Japan as well. What do you suppose the chances are of us getting help with some new stuff? Like maybe a transit system that isn’t a junkie to the oil industry. Or even a manufacturing industry that would allow us to create for our own needs. Or hell, I’d be happy with an agricultural industry that allows us to grow our own food. And schools? I’m giddy at the mere thought that there might be education available for all of our citizens. I look wistfully at Cuba, (and France, and Canada) and wonder if we’ll ever be able to provide that level of health care to our citizens.

OK…time to break my fantasy hour. All we’ve got here are weapons, and we use them to destroy anything and everyone who might resist our thefts of whatever it is that we need, since we’ve ceased bothering to be in any way self-sufficient.

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By Arabian Thoroughbred, June 16, 2008 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Louise, June 16 at 10:24 am #

JBlack, June 16 at 3:16 am:

Is this a trick question?
==============================
By purplewolf, June 16 at 8:33 am #

Jblack, 9-11 was am inside job.
=================================
Louise and Pupolewolf:

Thank you for posting two strongly worded arguments against Jblack question. I posted earlier a shorter response, which contained the essence of your longer posts.

Another observation that escapes the simpletons is related to the fact that with all the fire, melting and destruction, they managed to find the passports of the so-called perpetrators intact. Steel melts under the fire, and passports, made out of paper, survive! What a sad joke that went unchallenged for all these years!

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By Rodrigo, June 16, 2008 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By JBlack, June 16 at 3:16 am #

I’ve asked this question in another posting on this site but, as of yet, received nothing rational in response.

“Which of the Bush policies has prevented another 9/11 type of attack? Something was obviously done correctly. What was it?”

I reject out of hand the responses I got in another post. The suggestions that 9/11 was carried out by Bush and Co..

Hoping now for some reasonable responses to my question.

JBlack, it’s impossible to prove a negative.  It’s a leap to think that anyone did anything right to prevent something that we don’t know might have existed - another 9/11.
It’s like claiming that my shaving my head has prevented blue elephants from invading this country.  Sure enough, there hasn’t been an invasion of blue elephants, but it would be illogic to make any connection between that and my bald head.
Cheers,

Rodrigo

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By Louise, June 16, 2008 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

JBlack, June 16 at 3:16 am:

Is this a trick question?

The long planned, wide-spread conspiracy that led to 9/11 was so successful, there’s not yet been a need for another. Bush didn’t plan, implement or carry out 9/11. His thought process isn’t that well organized.

He probably knew something was coming, but since he tends to blurt stuff out, I doubt he knew, or even knows today the details. So, if there is a “Bush” policy in place that prevents a second 9/11, I doubt he knows it.

So maybe that’s the trick.

Which Bush [or Bushes] are you talking about?

9/11 Made an obscene profit for a real estate developer, solved a nagging headache for the NY Port Authority, and made everyone look the other way while Wall Street made out like a bandit.

Made us accept an aging moron [Rumsfeld] as an experienced military planner. A greedy creep [Cheney] as a wizened leader. A deserter and coward [Bush] as a noble warrior.

Scared the population shitless, allowing their government to reduce the Constitution to just a piece of paper, and everything they once held in great value to a breakdown of gimme more stuff. Which exploded the race to other shores for manufactured goods and manufactured profit.

Made it easier to convince us our only friend in the Middle East was Israel. Important to the war party in Israel since they are not our friends.

Allowed us to accept Rummy’s changes in attack response, which allowed 9/11, and rules governing military action. And designs of uniforms, helmets, body armor and war fighting vehicles that were inadequate, shoddy, poorly designed and in short supply. Guaranteeing quick profit to war stuff manufacturers.

Allowed us to accept Cheney’s creating the biggest criminal rip-off of the national treasury via private contractors and oil speculation that this world has ever seen.

Reduced the CIA, FBI and other various “law” enforcement agencies to pathetic yes men to a man with half the brain that any one of them has on the worst of their worst days.

Co-opted a congress and judiciary to the point where they’re little more than scavengers on a fence waiting for road-kill. And helped usher in the reign of little king george the first, who badly wanted to play war games. And like Plankton ... rule the world.

All the other crap we’re seeing has been going on for years. A corrupt congress. Runaway capitalism that’s brought us to the same wage disparity preceding the Great Depression. And all the presidents and all the presidents men since Nixon [including Clinton] who’ve given new meaning to the expression money is the root of all evil.

Come to think of it since the elder Bush has been a seldom noticed but important player through all those years, even all the way back to before Kennedy, maybe he’s the Bush whose policy brought us 9/11 and prevents the second one from coming.

But I wont give dubbya credit for either. HIS policy has NOT kept us safer and HIS war has cost us MORE lives than 9/11 did. And I’ll bet daddy spends nights laying awake pondering on how successfully his little boy has screwed things up.

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By purplewolf, June 16, 2008 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Jblack, 9-11 was am inside job. Marvin Bush worked for an agency providing security for the WTC, two weeks before the attack, all bomb sniffing dogs were removed from these buildings. The weekend before the attack there was a power down-all security was unabled. There were people in and out of these building during the weekend in decontamination suits doing questionable work. Marvin Bush-G.W.s’ brother resigned his job just hours before the attack on the WTC. The person who bought the WTC for 7 million dollars-all the buildings- wanted this land for other purposes, was paid billions of dollars back in insurance money. People who worked inside the WTC heard explosions going off even before the planes hit. Building 7 that came down was not even hit by the planes nor was it close to the other 2 buildings hit. The buildings collapsed in a matter of seconds-a controlled demolition. If they had actually come down from the so called terrorist attack, from the fires, it would have taken hours and even days to come down-gradually as all burning(actively) building come down gradually not instantaneously as WTC towers did. The smoke from the crashes show that when a fire smokes it is burning out-not actively burning. The second tower hit, came down in less that 57 minutes after being hit and totally came down in about 10 seconds-a controlled demolition. It also imploded into its own footprint, not collapsing like a truer burning building would come down in segments at a time-not all at once. There is more evidence to show that this was an inside job, but space limits what I can post here.
The reasoning was they needed an excuse to start the plan rolling on this insane plan of world domination and even before the 2000 election Bush wanted war with Iraq his top priority. 9-11 gave him the excuse for that, even though it has been proven Iraq-Sadam were not involved with 9-11. This was one of the steps to start this “world empire” these people want.
Also revealed through much research, it is in the game plan to cause another major event like 9-11 to further the plans of this administration to totally take the rest of the average persons rights away in this country, bringing on a dictatorship-much wanted bu Bush since before 1996-well documented publicly. Today America, tomorrow the rest of the world, in their minds.

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By Ed Harges, June 16, 2008 at 9:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Concerning whether certain US military actions were really “wars”, JBlack is partly right, but not for the reasons he imagines.

Many of these actions were indeed not quite wars, but not because they were nicer than wars - mere benign steppings of US soldiers’ feet somewhere.

They were not really wars because they were worse than wars.

They were, in many cases, one-sided, violent, unprovoked assaults against victims so unable to defend themselves that the engagement did not rise to the dignity of the term “war” and was more like a mugging.

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By Max Shields, June 16, 2008 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

Scottk

Let’s never give up the fight to end this empire and the duopoly that energizes it.

Max

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By Max Shields, June 16, 2008 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

JBlack

I’m not going to play splitting hair games over what constitutes a war. The fact that the US has troops involved (or through air-raids) is enough for those who on the ground suffer the wrath of these nightmarish invasions. There are a number of books on war which would confirm that war does not have to be “total” war as your post implies.

But here’s a simple thought experiment - imagine these raids happened intermittantly in your neighborhood. Would you consider it a war? conflict? inconvenience? terrorism?

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By JMG, June 16, 2008 at 6:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lew Lehman of Harpers put four of the late Walter Karp’s books back in print and man are they fabulous.  I’m reading “The Politics of War” right now and it’s so good I’m reading it very slowly to savor it—- what a hero.  That particular book is all about this question (republic vs. empire) and how it got resolved in favor of empire because of a need to have something to distract the masses from domestic political questions.  The period is 1890 - 1920.  Absolutely one of the best histories I’ve ever read.

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By Max Shields, June 16, 2008 at 6:07 am Link to this comment

And what are Obama and McCain pledging they’ll do to change our record of on-going war? Increase the military budget. Grow the number of troops. Keep on the table nuclear options and military intervention wherever “US interests” require it.

War war war war war war and more war…in the name of national security/interests and defending the American people.

Bottom line, vote for one of these two and you get what we’ve got and what we’ve had - WAR.

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By Max Shields, June 16, 2008 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

I posted earlier, but think it needs re-posting. This is a chronological listing of all of the wars/conflicts the USA has been involved in. A good number are wars of agression. 

18th Century
American Revolutionary War, 1775 – 1783
Boston campaign, 1775 - 1776
Canadian Theatre, 1775 - 1776
New York and New Jersey campaign, 1776 - 1777
Saratoga Campaign, 1777
Philadelphia Campaign, 1777 - 1778
Western Theatre, 1775 - 1782
Northern Theater, 1778 - 1781
Southern Theatre, 1775 - 1782
Northwest Indian War, 1785 - 1795
Quasi-War, France, 1798 – 1800

19th Century
First Barbary War, 1801 – 1805
Sabine Expedition, 1806
War of 1812, 1812 – 1815
Tecumseh’s Rebellion, 1811 - 1813
Lake Champlain Campaign, 1812 - 1814
Niagara Campaign, 1812 - 1814
Detroit Campaign, 1812 - 1814
Chesapeake Campaign, 1813 - 1814
Creek War, 1813 - 1814
Peoria War, 1813
Southern Campaign,
Second Barbary War, 1815
First Seminole War, 1817 - 1818
Winnebago War, 1827
Black Hawk War, 1832
Second Seminole War, 1835 - 1842
Mexican-American War, 1846 – 1848
Cayuse War, 1847 - 1855
Third Seminole War, 1855 - 1858
American Civil War, 1861 – 1865
Union blockade, 1861 - 1865
Eastern Theater, 1861 - 1865
Western Theater, 1861 - 1865
Lower Seaboard Theater, 1861 - 1865
Trans-Mississippi Theater, 1861 - 1865
Dakota Conflict, 1862
Pacific Coast Theater, 1863
Colorado War, 1863 - 1865
Reconstruction, 1865-1876
Red Cloud’s War, 1866 - 1868
Korean Expedition, 1871
Modoc War, 1872 - 1873
Red River War, 1874 - 1875
Black Hills War, 1876 - 1877
Nez Perce War, 1877
Bannock War, 1878
Cheyenne War, 1878 - 1879
Sheepeater Indian War, 1879
Ute War, 1879-1880
Pine Ridge Campaign, 1890-1891
Battle of Leech Lake, 1898
Spanish-American War, 1898
Philippine Insurrection, 1899 - 1902

20th Century
Boxer Rebellion, 1900 - 1902
Banana Wars:
United States occupation of Nicaragua, 1909-1933
United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914
United States occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934
Mexican Expedition, 1916 - 1917
United States occupation of the Dominican Republic, 1917-1924
Battle at Nogales, Arizona, 1917
World War I, 1917 – 1918
European Theatre, 1917 - 1918
First Battle of the Atlantic, 1917 - 1918
Polar Bear Expedition, 1918 - 1919
American Expeditionary Force Siberia, Soviet Union, 1918 - 1920
Yangtze Patrol, 1920’s
World War II, 1941 – 1945
Second Battle of the Atlantic, 1941 - 1945
Pacific War, 1941 - 1945
African Theatre, 1942 - 1943
European Theatre, 1944 - 1945
Cold War, 1947 - 1990 with the following hot wars and campaigns:
Operation PBFORTUNE, Guatemala, 1952
Operation Ajax, 1953
Operation PBSUCCESS, Guatemala, 1954
Bay of Pigs Invasion, Cuba, 1961
Operation Powerpack, Dominican Republic, 1965 - 1966
Operation Urgent Fury, Invasion of Grenada, 1983
Korean War, 1950 - 1953
Operation Blue Bat, Lebanon, 1958
Vietnam War, 1962 - 1973
Laotian Civil War, 1962 - 1973
Cambodian Civil War, 1969 - 1970
Operation Eagle Claw, Iran hostage crisis, 1980
First Gulf of Sidra Incident, Libya, 1981
Operation El Dorado Canyon, Libya, 1986
Iran-Iraq War, 1987 - 1989
Operation Just Cause, Panama 1989 - 1990
Second Gulf of Sidra Incident, Libya, 1989
Persian Gulf War, Iraq, 1991
Operation Desert Shield, 1991
Operation Desert Storm, 1991
Somali Civil War, 1992 - 1994
Operation Provide Relief, 1992
Operation Restore Hope, 1992 - 1994
Yugoslav wars, 1994 - 1999
Bosnian Conflict, 1994 - 1995
Kosovo Conflict, 1997 - 1999

21st Century
War on Terrorism, 2001 - present
Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan 2001 - present
Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines 2002 - present
Operation Iraqi Freedom - Horn of Africa 2002 - present
Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003 - present
Waziristan War, 2004 - present
War in Somalia, 2006 - present
Operation Iraqi Freedom - Trans Sahara 2007 - present

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By Purple Girl, June 16, 2008 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

Anyone who still supports this Administration and Feels no Action needs to be taken againt them needs to Pick up a book about What actually caused the Founding of Our Great nation. they need to see why people risked life and limb to not only travese the deadly open seas and the conditons of such travel, but to struggle to build a life here and assure their descendants would not face such hardships.
As a Scotch Irishmen I am amazed and Appauld by the lack of knowledge regarding our flight from the British Isles- Not just economic, but political and Religius Persecution-Slaughter! They would Honor their Brave Ancestors if they reviewed why and for What they risked their necks to build such a ‘Land of the Free.’ And Afford those who still struggle for such opportunities a helping hand.
Anyone who holds this admin or Mac’s in any high regard might as wel go take a Shit on their ancestors graves!They are not just an embarassment, But Traitors to our Cultural Heritage!

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By Paul_GA, June 16, 2008 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

What goes around comes around, David Veteran. America’s imperial chickens are coming home to roost—-with a vengeance.

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By JNagarya, June 16, 2008 at 3:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“By BlueEagle, June 15 at 11:44 am #

“Robert - thank you for referring to the government our fore fathers setup as a Republic. There are too many people in the MSM who refer to the government we are supposed to have as a Democracy.”

Pay attention, wingnut:

1.  The essence of democracy is elections.

2.  The Constitution expressly incorporates and stipulates elections.

3.  Therefore, the US is a DEMOCRATIC Republic, all your anti-democratic/Constitutional bunk notwithstanding.

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By chaszz, June 15, 2008 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

Sorry, will not wash. A popular song which PRECEDED our nation’s founding and is still with us begins “From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli” and procaims our right to project our ideas of liberty and preemptive self-protection EVERYWHERE. Washington chose to speak out against entangling alliances not as an academic subject but because entanglements were already occurring everywhere, especially all the partisan fighting over who to ally with, France or England, in their ongoing 18th and early 19th century world war. Jefferson may have been a champion of simple stay-at-home agrarian virtues but he gobbled up the Louisiana Purchase as fast as he could. He also predicted and advocated that the white European race would conquer the whole of North and South America and enslave or exterminate their colored peoples. This quote can be found in “A Glorious Defeat : Mexico and its War with the United States,” by Timothy J. Henderson, New York, Hill and Wang, 2007. One of the reasons for the 1846-48 U.S.-Mexican War was the fears of Latin America that the ethnic cleansing of the U.S. would be applied to all of Latin America. The Monroe Doctrine proclaimed our right to rule the hemisphere. In case it hasn’t been noticed, the Amerindian race in Latin America basically survived the European invasion, unlike the Amerindians of the U.S. who were virtually wiped out.  And everywhere in the world, in the 19th century, the racists, enslavers and genociders of the U.S. were known for who and what they were. So all this poppycock about the virtues, in foreign relations, of earlier Americans, is just that—poppycock. George W. Bush is the legitimate product of good old American values.

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By GW=MCHammered, June 15, 2008 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s time to outsource the US Gov’t. Others in the world do it better, cheaper. Now that’s what globalization ought to be about ... government for the people by the people.

Foreign Governments, begin your bidding right here on TruthDig!

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By BlueEagle, June 15, 2008 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

Robert - thank you for referring to the government our fore fathers setup as a Republic. There are too many people in the MSM who refer to the government we are supposed to have as a Democracy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DioQooFIcgE

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By samosamo, June 15, 2008 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

Chalmers Johnson said it in his 3 book trilogy about american hegemony, to give it a one word description. And now Robert Scheer says it and I am sure that others have said it as far back as you could follow modern societies, though not in the same words. Actually maybe in no words but the actual events that would rip a society apart.
A country can have a domestic democracy or an empire(republic or imperialist endeavors) but there cannot be both. All the attempts through history have not held up and I doubt america’s attempt or should I say the forces behind the facade or the people’s government of the USA will either. Unfortunately these clowns(forces) will destroy this country in there attempt to have both but in the end it will just be the orwellian society that will exist.
And just as the msm will not dare to touch on this subject, idea, fool’s hope or whatever it will be people in the background like Chalmers Johnson and Robert Scheer that will keep this alive until big brother conquers.

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By Jim Yell, June 15, 2008 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Depending on ones perspective the same scene can look very different and both still be part of the truth.

Our commitment to social revolution was ambivalent from the very first, because our people were not drawn from a homogenized population, with great ponderous ideals and selfless impulses, but we did in many ways over the decades evolve into a potentially better society and I agree the devolution set in with Ronald Reagan, a most over valued idiot.

Still we have people who don’t look beyond wishful thinking and people who compare apples with oranges. The fact of the matter is the crush of poor out of Europe and other places were presented in North America with a seemingly endless and underpopulated land mass. The poor suddenly had a chance for control and the ambitious an opportunity to grow very rich. The truely embarressing thing about our hypocrisy, is the number of times we made solemn aggreements with the American Indian, in which we obligated ourselves to honor the aggeement and guarantee the Indians interests, only to allow citizens to ignore the treaties and to abuse the Indian and blame the Indian for the debacle.

It is not necessary to give the Indian an undeserved halo of ideal behavior, to acknowledge that we betrayed ourselves by not valuing our own words. Taking our lands from them was no different than the process by which they took each others land. But, it is embarassing that we made hypocrits of our own words in the treaties we made and broke.

It would be better to try and repair the damage the out of control Military Industrial and Banking system has brought on us. It is better to work for a new future in which meaningful wages are once again possible for the majority of America and the obcenity of the bloated rich is controled. Otherwise religious or not it is all mean spirited and destructive. Nothing to celebrate at all.

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By JMCSwan, June 15, 2008 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

YoursTrulyJ

I agree time is running out, depending of course on whether you consider the glass half empty or full, and what interpretation you choose for empty and full….

As for ending the Iraq War by electing a president who will end the War. Frankly, I don’t think Murder Inc. want to end the Iraq War; if they did, they’d be giving Ron Paul the media coverage they’ve given Clinton, Obama and McCain.

I’t appears possible that Murder Inc. are so brainwashed by their own Century of Self dogma propaganda, that they don’t ‘get it’ that they have trapped themselves in O’Brian’s Big Brother Advertising Room 101, military industrial complex Lords of War crack house.

Not too different from ghetto addicts who will sell their kids, for another crack pipe; only difference being these ghetto mama and papa’s are in Wiltshire Boulevard and Georgetown University.

Take a look at their relationships with their spouses and children, and consider whether it resembles Julia and Winston, prior or subsequent to ‘the bullet enters their brain’ psychology.. 

It appears Murder Inc’s cannibal perspective’s as they fine dine in their Lords of War Palace crack houses ain’t much different from Marie Antoinette’s ‘let them eat cake’, thinking that the good ol slave souldier cops and cannon fodder soldiers will protect them from the anger and fury of their next cannibal breakfast, lunch or dinner, i.e. the slave and cannon fodder disgruntled masses, growing by the day.

That remains to be seen….

A General Omar Bradly more enlightened alternative resolution is possible to aforementioned chaos, by both sides realising the benefits of negotiation, not unlike hostage negotiations; however when neither side takes the ‘Gen. Bradly Waco Waitress’ hostage negotiator seriously, then it appears, aforementioned cannibal cake chaos scenario is what is either consciously or unconcsiously wanted, particularly by the telescreen Murder Inc. media.

Hence my Waco Waitress resignation
http://disclosure-jmcswans.blogspot.com/

All my love always: ain’t no bullet or rat in the world, nor 7 years in O’Brians psychotronic torture chamber, that can change that!
YoursTrulyW

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By dihey, June 15, 2008 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

We know the cornerstones of President Bush’s foreign policy. Israel is our only reliable ally in the Middle East. Dangerous regimes are communist/socialist (Cuba and much of Latin America) or militant Islam (Iran). We now also know the cornerstones of wannabe Obama’s foreign policy. Israel is our only reliable ally in the Middle East. Dangerous regimes are communist/socialist (Cuba and much of Latin America) or militant Islam (Iran). Where is the change? What a fraud this Obama!

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By Leefeller, June 15, 2008 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

Looking at many of the previous posts, I would say we are doomed for I am not the only cynic.  Doomed to the whims of the elite.

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By JMCSwan, June 15, 2008 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

Louise,

Your rat story made me smile, not for the examples you provided.

It made me smile for the hopeful - sorry due to brevity it’s a bit of a verbal cluster bomb - analogy I took from it. It made me think of THE DEPARTED, with the ending getting a DEJAVU new kind of Roman Candle twist, where your twins Colin ‘Damon’ Sullivan and Billy ‘DiCaprio’ Costigan discover their existential Valentine intentions, and start a Lithuanian Vilnius Marion embarrasing 2nd Amendment Militia, like Navaho WWII Marines…. 

[“Commit Suicide and Save us the Trouble”] “Buckarood” Red Devil Loveland Iwo-JonMD-Puppydog

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By Max Shields, June 15, 2008 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

ocjim,
“pulling punches”, where I come from we call it lying.

Check out the Vietnam war and LBJ and how he “pulled his punches” and the millions that died. Or you may want to check out the glorious campaign of Woodrow Wilson and see what resulted.

“Pull punches”? and the excuses just go on. It’s called “there’s no one but Obama”.

But there is.

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By Ed Harges, June 15, 2008 at 2:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The relatively enlightened America which we liberals mourn is not the “old” or “original” America, an Eden from which we have fallen. It is not a norm from which we have deviated by waging war on Iraq.

This better America actually only existed for a very brief period, and even then only barely. It was a highly abnormal condition.

The enlightened country that America almost became is something that emerged as a tantalizing mirage, almost real enough to touch, after the terrible tribulations of the late 1960s and early 1970s - Vietnam, the civil rights struggles, assassinations of King and the Kennedys, Watergate.

After these trials, America was in a very introspective, chastened mood. It was a kind of sad but very necessary state of grace from which we almost emerged a better, less arrogant people.

Then Reagan came along and we went back to ravaging the earth without conscience.

The only thing abnormal about the current run of military American aggressions is the degree to which these aggressions are recklessly, directly, massively harmful to our immediate, material interests, while being directly aimed at furthering the material interests of a tiny foreign nation — Israel.

The blatantly self-destructive and proxy nature of our gargantuan wars in the Middle East — especially if we add Iran to the list — all on behalf of another, much smaller nation, has no precedent in US history. It may have no precedent in all of history.

At least our old wars (wrong and evil as they were) were for us.

But now, Americans have become an army of suicide bombers for Israel.

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By yours truly, June 14, 2008 at 10:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who’ll Restore America To The People?

“Us.”

“Why us?”

“We’re here.”

“But how?”

“We elect a president who’ll end the Iraq War, negotiate with Iran plus turning things around here at home.”

“Anything else?”

“Impeachment.”

“And then what sort of world?”

“It’ll be up to us.”

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By ocjim, June 14, 2008 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

“What is going on in our name is irrational, costly and dangerous, but there are powerful vested interests that want to keep it that way. Those interests remain so strong that neither Barack Obama nor John McCain has called for cutting a military budget that is the largest since World War II. But without such cuts all the campaign promises about funding domestic programs, from education to healthcare, are an obvious fraud.”

Scheer is right. There is fraud on both sides. Unfortunately, voters have not proven themselves intelligent enough to handle the real truth about military spending, the dangers of global warming, and the continuing dangers to our democracy. Most of us know that McCain is truly a fraud in all respects, considering his allegiance to the plutocratic and corrupted Republican Party. Obama, one must believe, is tempering his remarks, pulling his punches until he gets elected.

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By Arabian Thoroughbred, June 14, 2008 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A very good article by Robert Scheer, and very thoughtful and perceptive comments by all those who commented thus far. However, I would like to point out that some of the points made here are common knowledge that even the average educated person in third world countries know about.

I myself have pointed painfully over the years many of these inconvenient truths about my adopted homeland, America, even using some of the very quotations that Scheer used, to be met with hateful responses by chauvinist, ignorant individuals who match George Washington’s description as “impostures of pretended patriotism.” In fact, there are several of those types here on Truthdig, who always had a knee-jerk reaction to a person with a different sounding name who utters an inconvenient truth.

Having said this, there is one big inconvenient fact that we must face honestly and courageously, which is that this country, we call home, is in a real mess and has been moving in a regressive movement away from the natural enlightened and progressive civilizational movement. This is a painful fact we have to face and acknowledge before we can move to the second important step of uniting and forming national majority consensus on how to save this country we are all supposed to care about. And it’s here were Scheer’s article and the comments of others serve as re-educational tools about what has gone wrong, then work on finding ways and strategies for a corrective movement to right the wrongs.

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By G.Anderson, June 14, 2008 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment

For people to realize that America’s most cherished values, and her most heart felt beliefs have been used, to gut the country, and steal the future from America’s children.  In a Neo Con, Con Job, that still has millions of American’s deluded.

You may be hurting, but the Neo Con’s and their cronies are sitting on piles of your money, and you have much less politcal power, and much less freedom than you did 8 years ago.

They fixed it so you’ll never get out of the debt hole your in, thanks to credit card reform, and bankrupcy reform.

There are about a quatrillion worth of deriviates, owned by foreign nations that will be coming due in the next few years.

What then?

Our Country has never been this bad off.  And the bottom is still a very long way off.

And yet they stand at the Microphone, as if they are real men, entilted to respect, and capable of reasoning.

When they deserve neither respect or deference.

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By Marc Schlee, June 14, 2008 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No amnesty.  No forgiveness.

Pursue the Bush administration beyond January 20 until they are brought to justice.

Direct Democracy

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By Max Shields, June 14, 2008 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

Paolo, what other nation can you name has been in as many wars as the USA? While there have been pompous speeches, the record speaks, I’m afraid, for itself. These do not include all of the interventions that resulted in toppling of sovereign governments by the US CIA.

18th Century
American Revolutionary War, 1775 – 1783
Boston campaign, 1775 - 1776
Canadian Theatre, 1775 - 1776
New York and New Jersey campaign, 1776 - 1777
Saratoga Campaign, 1777
Philadelphia Campaign, 1777 - 1778
Western Theatre, 1775 - 1782
Northern Theater, 1778 - 1781
Southern Theatre, 1775 - 1782
Northwest Indian War, 1785 - 1795
Quasi-War, France, 1798 – 1800

[edit] 19th Century
First Barbary War, 1801 – 1805
Sabine Expedition, 1806
War of 1812, 1812 – 1815
Tecumseh’s Rebellion, 1811 - 1813
Lake Champlain Campaign, 1812 - 1814
Niagara Campaign, 1812 - 1814
Detroit Campaign, 1812 - 1814
Chesapeake Campaign, 1813 - 1814
Creek War, 1813 - 1814
Peoria War, 1813
Southern Campaign,
Second Barbary War, 1815
First Seminole War, 1817 - 1818
Winnebago War, 1827
Black Hawk War, 1832
Second Seminole War, 1835 - 1842
Mexican-American War, 1846 – 1848
Cayuse War, 1847 - 1855
Third Seminole War, 1855 - 1858
American Civil War, 1861 – 1865
Union blockade, 1861 - 1865
Eastern Theater, 1861 - 1865
Western Theater, 1861 - 1865
Lower Seaboard Theater, 1861 - 1865
Trans-Mississippi Theater, 1861 - 1865
Dakota Conflict, 1862
Pacific Coast Theater, 1863
Colorado War, 1863 - 1865
Reconstruction, 1865-1876
Red Cloud’s War, 1866 - 1868
Korean Expedition, 1871
Modoc War, 1872 - 1873
Red River War, 1874 - 1875
Black Hills War, 1876 - 1877
Nez Perce War, 1877
Bannock War, 1878
Cheyenne War, 1878 - 1879
Sheepeater Indian War, 1879
Ute War, 1879-1880
Pine Ridge Campaign, 1890-1891
Battle of Leech Lake, 1898
Spanish-American War, 1898
Philippine Insurrection, 1899 - 1902

[edit] 20th Century
Boxer Rebellion, 1900 - 1902
Banana Wars:
United States occupation of Nicaragua, 1909-1933
United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914
United States occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934
Mexican Expedition, 1916 - 1917
United States occupation of the Dominican Republic, 1917-1924
Battle at Nogales, Arizona, 1917
World War I, 1917 – 1918
European Theatre, 1917 - 1918
First Battle of the Atlantic, 1917 - 1918
Polar Bear Expedition, 1918 - 1919
American Expeditionary Force Siberia, Soviet Union, 1918 - 1920
Yangtze Patrol, 1920’s
World War II, 1941 – 1945
Second Battle of the Atlantic, 1941 - 1945
Pacific War, 1941 - 1945
African Theatre, 1942 - 1943
European Theatre, 1944 - 1945
Cold War, 1947 - 1990 with the following hot wars and campaigns:
Operation PBFORTUNE, Guatemala, 1952
Operation Ajax, 1953
Operation PBSUCCESS, Guatemala, 1954
Bay of Pigs Invasion, Cuba, 1961
Operation Powerpack, Dominican Republic, 1965 - 1966
Operation Urgent Fury, Invasion of Grenada, 1983
Korean War, 1950 - 1953
Operation Blue Bat, Lebanon, 1958
Vietnam War, 1962 - 1973
Laotian Civil War, 1962 - 1973
Cambodian Civil War, 1969 - 1970
Operation Eagle Claw, Iran hostage crisis, 1980
First Gulf of Sidra Incident, Libya, 1981
Operation El Dorado Canyon, Libya, 1986
Iran-Iraq War, 1987 - 1989
Operation Just Cause, Panama 1989 - 1990
Second Gulf of Sidra Incident, Libya, 1989
Persian Gulf War, Iraq, 1991
Operation Desert Shield, 1991
Operation Desert Storm, 1991
Somali Civil War, 1992 - 1994
Operation Provide Relief, 1992
Operation Restore Hope, 1992 - 1994
Yugoslav wars, 1994 - 1999
Bosnian Conflict, 1994 - 1995
Kosovo Conflict, 1997 - 1999

[edit] 21st Century
War on Terrorism, 2001 - present
Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan 2001 - present
Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines 2002 - present
Operation Iraqi Freedom - Horn of Africa 2002 - present
Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003 - present
Waziristan War, 2004 - present
War in Somalia, 2006 - present
Operation Iraqi Freedom - Trans Sahara 2007 - present

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By Paolo, June 14, 2008 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

Contrary to Sheer, the Founders DID anticipate the dangers of a permanent military. This is why they constantly railed against “standing armies”; that is, armies ready to ride roughshod on the people at any given moment (see FBI, BATFE for starters).

This is why the Founders set a limit in the Constitution for military spending on armies: no bill for financing an army is allowed to be any longer than two years (I don’t know if this proviso is technically violated, but I know it is violated in spirit).

In the views of the Founders, we really shouldn’t have a permanent, “standing” army at all! They placed (rightly) great store on an armed citizenry, aka a “militia.”

Otherwise, Sheer is one hundred percent right; the wisest advice (and the most frequently ignored) of the founders is to avoid foreign intrigues and entanglements. But such intrigues are such a quick path to imperial power, few politicians—Democrat or Republican—can resist them.

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By Max Shields, June 14, 2008 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

Robert Sheer, while I agree with what you’ve said regarding imperialism, empire and war; I’m not as convinced of your reading of American history.

There is ambiguity, as there was about slavery, in the founding “fathers” to say the least. But this nation was born of empire. Great Britain the leading empire of its day gave a kind of birth to the great expansion of Europeans into North America. It’s settlers (regardless of their individual desire for “religious” freedom) had a mission to expand and conquer land; and slaughter anyone who got in the way. And while there was this unexpected separation from the “mother” country, the mission did not change a bit. This country fought war after war with indigenous peoples in various parts of this hemisphere from day one.

The Monroe Doctrine and a Manifest Destiny or American Exceptionalism has driven the American Empire and hence foreign policy from inception to the present.

America has been an empire which has fought horrible bloody wars to strengthen its hold on land and resources, biting off huge chunks of Mexico and occupying the Philipines. The number of military expeditions throughout the Western Hemisphere and beyond by the US are legion.

So, Mr. Sheer, while I like your narrative’s moral, I think we need to acknowledge the dark side of our history. If we are to really have change, it must be fact based.

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By David Veteran, June 14, 2008 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

As it was intended.  Alexander Hamilton set us on the road to eternal debt as a motivating engine of economic growth.  scare the shit out of people who are shoeless, who care less about imported French drapes and Italian glass, to bust their ass on your behalf.  This is the American Dream all right,just the way our aristocratic founding fathers intended it.  This is a tradition.

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By Louise, June 14, 2008 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

Suppose you had two rats in a cage, and you trained one to run in a vertical wheel and the other to run up and down a stairway. Then one day something happened you didn’t expect. Something to make you see those rats were far more clever than you realized. They traded places. Then on an unseen and unheard command which they apparently understood, but you didn’t, they quickly traded back. And then back again, and back again, and again, until it became quite impossible for you to distinguish which rat was which.

At some point in time those rats developed their own means of communicating and decided to shut you out.

Maybe not the best of analogy’s but easy enough to understand. Which rat is which? The rich and powerful who control congress, or a congress that gives homage to the rich and powerful?

If you haven’t yet, watch this weeks, June 13, 2008, issue of Bill Moyers Journal:

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/index-flash.html
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/06132008/profile2.html

Americas democracy of greed. Living the American dream in reverse.

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By David Veteran, June 14, 2008 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

A rose by any other name, Jackpine. I am cynical about our collective capacity for choice, we will not dismantle ourselves anymore than I will kick my own ass, that is for others to do.  The trajectory is in motion, as TAO Walker mentioned, it goes back many thousands of years. 
We are organic, collective, and will carry on till cataclysm.

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By jackpine savage, June 14, 2008 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Good point about America’s early expansion, David Veteran.

I would add that the ink was barely dry on the new Constitution before the new, US Navy was off getting itself entangled with pirate warlords on the North African coast.  In fact, at least one historian has suggested that the impetus for the Constitution was the need for a Navy to protect US trading interests in the Mediterranean.

Regardless, this question of Empire or Republic is moot.  The choice was made a long time ago.  The choice now is whether to admit the empire or dismantle it in favor of a republic.

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By David Veteran, June 14, 2008 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

I think that the American lab rat, is so vicious, because we are a homeless people, somewhere in our minds, we are always haunted by our collective crimes, like a tell-tale heart, we know this is not our home, and we can’t go home either.  But as your 10,000 yr. remark suggests, the entire spread of sedentary humanity,of “history”.  Did you know, that the plague and other deadly infections of that sort are so dangerous because these micro-organisms have lost their flagella?  Without the capacity to move, they move only through reproduction, ultimately overloading and killing their host. 
The thing is not what an abberation Bush and co. are, but how frighteningly consistent with our history. 
The snake of “don’t tread on me” has become the mythic viking world snake, “Jörmungandr”, the Midgard serpent, that encircles the world. “The Final Battle: The last meeting between the serpent and Thor is predicted to occur at Ragnarök, when Jörmungandr will come out of the ocean and poison the sky. Thor will kill Jörmungandr and then walk nine paces before falling dead, having been intoxicated by the serpent’s poison.” (wikipedia)
So, maybe TAO, there is hope.

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By dick, June 14, 2008 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not to worry. Those of the power elite, who are our rulers,  are doing extremely well. War is profitable and risk free for them. Bush is a godsend, and will be followed by more. The masses are controlled by the media, amd are not concerned enough to organize and protest anyway. Mills had it right, 60 years ago.

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By yours trulyj, June 14, 2008 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Time’s Running Out

“Which means?”

“We either end the Iraq War or it’ll be the end of us.

“But how?”

“We elect a president who’ll end the Iraq War, negotiate with Iran plus turning things around her at home.”

“Anything else?”

“Impeachment.”

“And then what sort of world?”

“It’ll be up to us?”

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By TAO Walker, June 14, 2008 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

So, help this old Indian out here.  With these deeply entrenched and ruthlessly determined “interests” (home-grown AND offshore) arrayed against “....the republic…,” you still figure theamericanpeople are gonna be able to VOTE their way out of this mess? 

Of course there’s no chance in hell they can shoot their way out, either (Their plutonic rulers have all the really serious firepower,)....or buy it (and likewise the money.).  Looks from here in Indian Country like the american “experiment,” long gone horribly awry here on Turtle Island, has irretrievably escaped from the “laboratory” and is now slaphappily spreading its poisons around the world.

It remains to be seen whether the rest of the world’s domesticated peoples can overcome ten thousand years of cultivated xenophobia and get together to confront the very Mother-fucker of all rogue “nations.”  Even acting in-concert they may still finally succumb to the bloody instruments of allamerican insanity.  Seperately it’s dead-certain they will.

Meantime, the shuck goes on and on.  Anyone for the Tiyospaye Way?

HokaHey!

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By David Veteran, June 14, 2008 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

Anti-Imperial Fantasyland: The Good Old Days
How is it that people are constantly writing about America’s lack of imperial intention early in the republic?  Non-intervention outside North America wasn’t exactly non-imperial.  The Roman Empire at its height was around 2.2 million square miles.  The Continental United States (w/o Alaska or Hawaii) is 3,119,884.69 square miles.  My question for the apologists for the early republic is, the U.S.  continually expanded how?  Militarily.  But those were just Indians, and in these “liberal” critiques of modern American Imperialism, conquering Indians don’t count because they never existed as people, or so it would seem in these historical fantasy worlds.  I am also an anti-imperialist, but I wish these authors, would stop pretending some imaginary past in which it was not common to utter phrases like “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.”  Our history is full of examples of how exactly crime and war pay. Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!

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