By Stephen Lendman
In “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu said “All war is based on deception.” What worked in ancient times more than ever applies now, given instant ways of communicating globally and super-weapons Washington and Israel threaten to use like hand grenades.
In “Doctor Faustus”, Christopher Marlowe mentioned “the face that launched a thousand ships.” He referred to Helen of Troy (formerly of Sparta). To win her back, Greeks launched 1,000 warships. According to Greek mythology, the Trojan War followed. Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad recounted it. So did Roman poets Virgil and Ovid. Homer said it lasted 10 years. Mythological goddess quarrels started it.
Real, mythological, or fabricated reasons work equally well. Then it was Athena and Hera v. Aphrodite. Today it’s “war on terror” fear tactics.
Near its end, Greeks entered Troy in a Trojan Horse. America’s perhaps was 9/11. Both were duplicitous acts used to ravage targeted enemies. The expression, “beware of Greeks bearing gifts” originated from back then. According to Homer and other Greek literature, they burned the city, captured Trojan women, rescued Helen, and returned her to Menelaus, her husband.
Fear, misinformation, and deceit work best enlisting popular support, whether in ancient China, Greece or modern times. Television today supplies it. From its earliest days, it lied, distracted, entertained, and provided a platform for corporate America to control thought, manipulate public opinion, and sell people junk they don’t need.
In a June 1950 commencement speech, Boston University President Daniel Marsh said, “If the (television) craze continues….we are destined to have a nation of morons.”
In May 1961, Kennedy’s FCC chairman Newton Minow called commercial television a “vast wasteland.” He suggested watching it for a day “without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper,” with no distractions. “Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off” as it once did before 24 broadcasting. “I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland, (a) procession of game shows, (nonsensical) formula comedies….blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons.”
“And endless commercials – many screaming, cajoling, and offending….And if you think I exaggerate….try it.”
Try it now. It’s the same on hundreds of channels round the clock ad nauseam.
Communication theorist/media critic George Gerbner once said television has nothing to tell and everything to sell.
In his book, “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” Neil Postman said “Americans are the most entertained and least informed people in the world,” knowing little or nothing about what matters most.
Famed comedian Ernie Kovacs once said television is called a medium because it’s neither rare or well done.
Because most people rely on it for news and information, a nation of “morons” lets America get away with murder.
America’s Permanent War Agenda
In his book titled, “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace,” Gore Vidal said:
“our rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own.”
In his book titled, “Dreaming War,” he compared GW Bush’s imperial ambitions to WW II and subsequent Truman Doctrine pledge:
“To support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”
At issue was keeping Greece and Turkey from going communist. Applied globally, it initiated America’s National Security State strategy.
Ever since, it lurched from one war to another to benefit war profiteers and advance America’s imperium, no matter the body count to achieve both.
In his 1953 collection of historical revisionist essays titled, “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: A Critical Examination of the Foreign Policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and It’s Aftermath,” Harry Elmer Barnes wrote:
“If trends continue as they have during the last fifteen years, we shall soon reach (the) point of no return, and can only anticipate interminable wars, disguised as noble gestures for peace….Such an era could only culminate in a third world war which might well, as Arnold J. Toynbee has suggested, leave only the pygmies in remote jungles, or even the apes and ants, to carry on ‘the cultural traditions’ of mankind.”
Deception, misinformation, popular fiction, and Big Lies launch wars – all of them. Television today incites them. Earlier times, however had other ways to enlist public support or at least avoid opposition enough to stop them.
Historian Gabriel Kolko explained nothing good about “the good war,” WW II, or any others. None achieve peace, security and stability. One conflict begets others. Endless destructive cycles follow. Countless millions die. Vast destruction ravages countries. Human misery, not liberation, results.
Since the 19th century, imperial wars shaped American life. Waging them is prioritized. Technological expertise produces killing machines. Industrial America suffered.
Human needs go unmet, today more than ever in modern times. State capitalism partners with business waging war. Uneducated, disadvantaged, impoverished, disconnected, restless, angry millions get left on their own sink or swim.
Others go to war to get killed, injured, maimed, or emotionally scared for life with nothing in return benefitting them.
In his January 1961 farewell address, Dwight Eisenhower warned about:
the “military-industrial complex,” citing the “grave implications” of a “coalition of the military and industrialists who profit by manufacturing arms and selling them to the government.”
He said “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence….by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
He added that:
“Every gun that is made, every war ship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and not clothed….”
Today, dominant “iron triangle” authority runs America’s war machine. With sitting presidents, it consists of Congress, the Pentagon, and defense industry profiteers, including producers of sophisticated technology for digital age warfare Eisenhower couldn’t have imagined.
In combination, they addicted the nation to war, not for threats. It’s for power and profits. Why else would war be America’s business!
In his book titled, “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters,” James Douglas discussed many reasons. Key was his opposition to force.
After the Joint Chiefs demanded troops for Laos, he told Geneva Conference representative Averell Harriman:
“Did you understand? I want a negotiated settlement in Laos. I don’t want to put troops in.”
He opposed nuclear weapons use in Berlin and Southeast Asia. During the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, he refused to bomb or invade. Afterwards he said, “I never had the slightest intention of doing so.”
In June 1963 (a few months before his assassination), he called for abolishing nuclear weapons, ending the Cold War, and advancing “general and complete disarmament.”
In October 1963, he signed National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 263 to withdraw 1,000 US forces from Vietnam by year end and all of them by 1965.
He wanted “to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”
Before Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem were occupied, he supported UN Resolution 194, authorizing diaspora Palestinians’ right of return they never got.
He wanted the American Zionist Council (AIPAC’s original name) registered as a foreign agent. He opposed Israel’s nuclear weapons program.
He wanted peace, not conflicts. It cost him his life. Future presidents got the message. The rest, as they say, is history. Canadian Law Professor Michael Mandel explained imperial America’s lawlessness in his 2004 book titled, “How America Gets Away with Murder: Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage, and Crimes Against Humanity.”
He discussed Justice Robert’s Jackson’s Nuremberg “supreme crime” declaration. It’s more than ever relevant given America’s out-of-control belligerence, ravaging the world one country at a time or in multiples.
At Nuremberg, Jackson said:
“To initiate a war of aggression….is not only an international crimes; it is the supreme international crimes differing only from the other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
In 1950, the Nuremberg Tribunal defined crimes against peace as:
“(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; (and)
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).”
After WW I, Kellogg-Briand in 1928 renounced aggressive war, prohibiting its use as “an instrument of national policy,” except in self-defense.
Sixty-three nations were signatories, including America, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Soviet Russia, and Japan. The US Senate approved the treaty 85 – 1. Like Nuremberg, it’s binding international law.
Washington’s war machine hardly slowed. WW II followed as well as perpetual others thereafter. Even then, the business of America was war. It’s more than ever that today.
Its “scourge” wants power, profits and unchallenged dominance. Today, America wages war globally against humanity. International law is defied. So is morality and common sense. International peace, security, stability, equity, justice, and freedom are non-starters. Only war spoils matter, including benefits derived from them in all forms.
Since WW II, America, its NATO partners and Israel waged regular aggressive wars. Millions of noncombatant civilians perished. Appalling human suffering resulted. Washington’s imperial war machine is today’s greatest threat, ravaging the world one country at a time. Congressional authority was abdicated. Presidents can act on their own.
In September 2001, Congress approved the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) for “the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”
“War on terror” authority accelerated permanent wars. Presidents now wage them at their discretion.
Where it all ends, who knows. No one’s able to stop them. Short of finding a way, free societies, planet earth and humanity hang in the balance. Even risks that great are ignored.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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