Mar 23, 2023
Mar 23, 2023
During its short history of over 200 years, the US has sent troops over 200 times in countries around the world. It has suppressed labor movements, free speech and democracy at home and abroad. To quote the words of Marine General Smedley Butler in 1933 '
I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups.
This is typical with everyone in the military service.
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."
In the late nineteenth century the Manifest Destiny was fulfilled, the native Indians decimated, Alaska purchased from the Russians, with the country extending from sea to shining sea. Then America looked aggressively outward by taking over Hawaii, Cuba, Guam, Philippines, Puerto Rico and several occupations of Caribbean and Central American countries. Earlier Japan had been threatened to forced trading by the fleet of Commodore Perry and forced selling of opium to China began by the British. Hong Kong was taken over and Americans with other Europeans sold opium and carved out controlled zones in the coastal cities of China.
In troubled times immigrants were made scapegoats, discriminated against and legally banned. Irish, Eastern Europeans and Jews early on and Chinese, other Asians, Southern Europeans and Japanese later on. Palmer raids, ban on Italian immigration, Japanese- American citizens' internment in concentration camps during WW2 and the recent treatment of Muslim legal immigrants after 9-11 are a litany of manipulations of the law for politically racist reasons. Domestically, native American land grabbing and banishment to reservations and suppression of black civil rights and lynching continued.
David Margolick's lyrics of the poem "Strange Fruit" were sung by Billie Holiday and still brings sadness and tears to caring people.
Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
Some black American soldiers claimed that they got better treatment as POWs in WW2 than at home in America as free men.
The stock market crash and the following depression caused unbelievable privation to common people and President FDR started a host of programs to give people work. The Supreme Court obstructed the president's attempts as it was ideologically part of the business community right from its inception. The president threatened to pack the court with his added political appointees and the public outcry forced the nine buffoons to relent. Their justice is poll dominated as reversions on capital punishment, abortion and homosexuality in recent times conclusively prove. Deficit spending was not denting the miseries of the depression. FDR's policy had pushed the neo-imperialist racist Japanese into a corner due to restricted access to energy supplies. The world should take note of a similar situation brewing between America, China, Europe, Japan and India presently. The Japanese wanted colonies just like the Europeans and wished to exercise their cruelty on other Asians. Taiwan, Korea and Manchuria were already their colonies. They now desired Southeast Asia and Burma for its oil. FDR put a ban on selling scrap metal and energy to Japan and it attacked Pear Harbor. FDR saw this as a good reason to indulge in military spending Keynesianism and it was adopted by Truman and has become US national policy with bankrupting military budgets. Hitler used the same military Keynesianism to bring Germany out of depression.
The policy of coups, invasions and interference continued in the invasion of the Soviet Union, sending marines to Lebanon, overthrow of the Mossadegh government in Iran, assassination of Lumumba in the Congo, overthrow of Sukarno in Indonesia with slaughter of a million Indonesians and the Korean War to set up a government of right wing former Korean collaborators with the Japanese (interested readers should read the true history of the Korean War by I. F. Stone, Bruce Cummings or Chalmers Johnson's books "Blowback" and "Sorrows of Empire"). The Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia wars were begun under lies and millions were murdered by American bombing and the Phoenix program to assassinate the Viet Cong. Allende was murdered in a coup in Chile. These same policies were pursued in Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia, Haiti and the Dominican Republic (interested readers should read Alfred McCoy and Jennifer Harbury's books on torture as the American way, further substantiated currently by Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Guantanamo Bay and CIA prisoner renditions to North Africa and Eastern Europe). More recently, invasions of Granada, Panama, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq 1991 and 2003 and Iran possibly in the near future add to the dismal historical record. Under Reagan, the US propped up and collaborated with the racist apartheid regimes of South Africa and Ian Smith's Rhodesia. The support of corrupt kleptocratic dictatorships in the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Indonesia, Zaire, Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Central Asian states reveals the lies about spreading democracy.
America has been benevolent only to Europeans and fortunately disinterested in India until recently. It wanted India to be a part of the anti-communist alliance but Nehru refused. He had only glimpses of history without really studying it and thus knew nothing about the conquest of the eastern territories by the Czars or the Soviet massacres and gulags. Furthermore he was an impressionable man brainwashed by Lasky and Fabian Socialism without an understanding of economics, politics or human nature. The propaganda model of empires subtly inculcates their distortions of truth into the people's value systems and the abreaction to prior unpleasant experience channels the colonized or brainwashed choices from outside while maintainig an illusion of free will and choice. Thus America built up Pakistan to India's detriment and even sent a nuclear powered aircraft carrier to the Bay of Bengal during the 1971 India Pakistan war. It sided with the genocidal Pakistani army slaughtering and raping East Pakistanis( Bangladeshis), just as it sided with the genocidal Pol Pot against the Vietnamese installed Cambodian government and the genocidal Saddam against arch enemy Iran in the 1980s war. So much for its human rights baloney.
On the other hand its grain aid under PL480 and subsequent conversion of the debt to INRupees to be used in India averted a famine, a policy distinctly contradictory to the unwashed of the British Raj that nonchalantly ignored the death of the clean poor.
In all fairness, India has been generally well treated and it is the strength of the tattered American democracy that has allowed curious and sceptic cynics like me to learn the truth about US history. This would not have been possible in a totalitarian society of the left or the right and much more difficult in a politically correct, pandering and corrupt democracy like India, where facts are replaced by rumors of conspiracy theories or blind ideological lies and there is a dearth and paucity of honest history scholars. The beauty of America is that despite the dishonesty of its leaders, the stupidity of its electorate and the craven connivance of its press, there are honest intelligent academics unearthing the truth and a mechanism and a small platform to spread it without being killed or imprisoned, especially if one is white or of the upper strata as Chomsky honestly says.
More by : Gaurang Bhatt, MD