Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wars Bump in the Road is American Gullibility

Really, is there anyone in America who actually believes that we would have lost our freedom if we did not go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Well, yes! Unfortunately, there are many who do. They believe that war is necessary and unavoidable; that our government would not send Americans into harm’s way if it were not necessary for the security of the United States and protection of our way of life; that America’s motives are noble.

The fact is that war is avoidable. The fact is that our elected officials will lie in order to create a fear that Americans will lose their sovereignty if we don’t take military action. The fact is our government does not take us into war to protect our freedoms. The fact is that America’s motives are not always noble.

The assertion that American warriors are put into harm’s way to keep America free is one of the many lies disseminated by government, corporate interlocutors, and news media. Rather, our motives are initiated by greed/economic incentives, profit seekers who use war to enrich themselves, and by those who seek power, domination and empire. What our government does is prevaricate, by fudging, obfuscating and misrepresenting the truth, the revelation of which is crystal clear in the Downing Street memo regarding the Iraq war. A disclosure that makes it evident that our government has little concern for the harm or death to innocent civilians or to the warriors we send into harm’s way that their decision will cause. “Behind the fear-mongering, flag-waving and lies of George W. Bush and the blandishments of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama lies the ugly reality that our leaders have been seduced by political ambition, delusions of military superiority, and the promise of secrecy and impunity to commit otherwise unthinkable crimes.”

This is not new or particular to our current conflicts. From The Idler, 1758, Samuel Johnson recognized this ultimate failure of truth, wherein he said, "Among the calamities of war may be justly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates, and credulity encourages,”
[3] prompting US senator, Hiram Johnson in 1918, regarding World War I, to truncate that quote by saying, "The first casualty when war comes is truth." And, he said, "the war warps us, distorts our judgment, and destroys our sense of justice, and our ideals.” [4]

History is replete with accounts of lies, deceit, and misinformation by our government in order to motivate Americans to accept war as the only alternative. Here are some examples:

Abraham Lincoln’s motive behind the Civil War was not to free the slaves; instead, his concern was solely the secession of the South from the Union. [5] When Lincoln said, “Freedom is the last, best hope of earth,” he meant freedom for white people, not for the poor or people of color.

Most Americans are under the mistaken impression that without provocation the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. However, the fact is that through increasing stringent economic sanctions, and other measures, and dismissing Japanese diplomatic overtures to repair relations, the United States intentionally provoked the Japanese. It put Japan in an untenable position, which the United States hoped would cause an incident that would bring the United States into Europe’s war with Germany, with whom Japan was an ally. It worked, and as a result of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and our consequential declaration of war on Japan, on December 11, 1941, Hitler declared war on the United States.

The Vietnam War’s “Tonkin incident,” and “Operation Menu: the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos”; the infamous “Five O'clock Follies” at the Rex Hotel, in what was then Saigon, where in press conference briefings reporters were given inflated enemy body counts
[7], as well as other fudging, obfuscations and misrepresentations throughout the war.

In John Nichols review of David Swanson’s book “War Is A Lie” he ends with two footnotes:

“War comes because of the lies that are told to prepare for and justify it”;

“War (make that ‘wars’) ends when we the people stop accepting those lies from war presidents, war publicists and war profiteers.”

The title of the last chapter of “War Is A Lie” is “War Is Over If You Want It.” Many of us want it, but our bump in the road is American gullibility.


[1] David Swanson, “War Is A Lie,”

[2] John Nichols,
War Is A Lie,

[3] Wikipedia contributors. The Idler (1758–1760). Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. March 30, 2010, 15:37 UTC. Available at: Accessed February 21, 2011.

[4] Lawrence W. Levine,
The “Diary” of Hiram Johnson,

[5] Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Lincoln Cult's Latest Cover-Up,

[6] Robert Higgs,
How U.S. Economic Warfare Provoked Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor,

[7] Tom Engelhardt, Tomgram: Engelhardt, Epitaph from the Imperial Graveyard,

Other related material:

The Real News,
War is a Lie, video: