S. Brian Willson

This site contains essays describing the incredible historic pattern of U.S. arrogance, ethnocentrism, violence and lawlessness in domestic and global affairs, and the severe danger this pattern poses for the future health of Homo sapiens and Mother Earth. Other essays discuss revolutionary, nonviolent alternative approaches based on the principle of radical relational mutuality. This is a term increasingly used by physicists, mathematicians and cosmologists to describe the nature of the omnicentric*, ever-unfolding universe. Every being, every aspect of life energy in the cosmos, is intrinsically interconnected with and affects every other being and aspect of life energy at every moment.

*everything is at the center of the cosmos at every moment


Brian's Blog

All blog entries and essays posted on this site are authored by S. Brian Willson.

A LETTER TO THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE “WITH ALL DUE RESPECT…I MUST REFUSE YOUR REQUEST”

Dear Official of the Internal Revenue Service and/or Judge of the U.S, District Court, or other Judicial or Quasi-Judicial Officers:

I am aware of your request for my cooperation in producing monetary amounts or documents to aid in the collection of those amounts, to satisfy a debt that you claim I owe the U.S. government. I disagree vehemently with the basis for your claim of my indebtedness as I have explained in previous writings and discussions with representatives of the IRS. Therefore I cannot honor your request(s).

This refusal on my part is not personally directed to you or any other person(s), nor is it due to any reluctance to support the need of the common good. Again, my previous communications explain my personal, philosophical, moral, legal, and Constitutional reasons for resistance and refusal to support illegal and immoral activities and expenditures of the U.S. government.

I have no assets to speak of. I have given away all funds received from the U.S. government as a result of our mutually agreed upon out-of-court settlement. As you are probably aware, the U.S. Attorney General agreed to payment of a sum of money in lieu of trial for the act of the U.S. Navy knowingly accelerating a munitions train to over three times the legal speed limit running over me and others while peacefully protesting the illegal shipment of munitions designed to murder and maim innocent human beings in Central America.

I am prepared to pursue acquisition of funds in the amount equal to that figure that the U.S. government claims I owe it. But, I will donate these funds directly to duly recognized non-profit organizations. I will not voluntarily pay any money to the U.S. government.

I am fully aware that by not cooperating with your request(s) I am extraordinarily vulnerable to being forced to serve substantial time in prison as well as being subjected to other forms of governmental interference into my life. I am as prepared as I can be to serve the prison time. I will serve this prison time without my two artificial legs in an as-is condition just as the U.S. government left me on the Concord, CA tracks after severing my legs and fracturing my skull. The Navy ambulance that arrived on the scene provided virtually no medical assistance and refused to transport me to a hospital causing a substantial delay in receipt of the emergency attention my traumatic injuries demanded. I will offer to you an earlier pair of artificial legs, a valuable asset I do possess, that perhaps can be used by another unfortunate victim of U.S. “low intensity” warfare being carried out in any one of a number of “Third World” countries. I also will decide at various times to partake in political and spiritual fasts for durations to be determined by personal discernment.

I would prefer to be tried in a public proceeding at which time I would have the opportunity to present the legal, as well as moral, basis for my actions. I am led to believe that no U.S. administrative or legal tribunal will allow me to substantively present my arguments based on international and U.S. Constitutional law and the Nuremberg Obligation. Thus I do not wish to waste precious funds and the valuable time and work of lawyers and others, in a futile effort. I hope that my example will provoke others to search their own consciences as to their own manner of exercising responsible and lawful citizenship in a society whose government is committing countless lawless and heinous criminal acts on a regular basis in many parts of the world. But no matter what others do, I must follow my own conscience.

The Nuremberg Obligation, one that the U.S. was so adamant in advocating as a standard under international law after conclusion of the Nuremberg trial following World War II, prohibits citizens from committing acts that are illegal under international law even when commanded to do so by one’s government and its officials. Nuremberg established the principle of individual responsibility for the crime of attacking international peace. SEE Jackson, Statement of Chief Counsel Upon Signing of the Agreement, 19 Temple L.Q. 169 (1945-6).

I have acquired voluminous evidence of the active involvement, directly or indirectly, of the U.S. government’s participation in crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. This evidence has been developed from extensive reading of various books, reports and documents; from extensive interviews and discussions with former members of U.S. military, security and intelligence agencies; and from personal observations acquired during visits to a number of countries where the U.S. is or has been actively intervening in various overt and covert ways.

I also want it to be clear that I do not have some peculiar desire to spend time in prison or to subject myself to needless deprivation. I believe that in a democracy the ultimate legal and moral authority resides within the heart and mind of each citizen—in conscience. When this government commits a pattern of behavior that consistently violates its own laws, then the government has relinquished its authority to act on behalf of its citizenry. I must act according to my conscience.

I conclude by quoting from Henry David Thoreau’s 1849 essay on Civil Disobedience:

“If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the state to commit violence and shed innocent blood.”

With all due respect for your position and perspective, I must refuse your request.

Sincerely yours,

S. Brian Willson

Sent December 1990

 

 

Reflections – Thirty Years

While watching the docudrama film “Romero” (1989) today, Thursday, January 7, 2016, I flashed back 30 years ago this weekend when I was in Esteli, Nicaragua. The Reagan Contra terrorists attacked three nearby cooperatives, killing 11 campesinos. That weekend the war became viscerally real for me and I have never been the same since. It was like Viet Nam and Nicaragua converged in my spirit psyche producing a newly impassioned activist energy.

I also remembered that it was Archbishop Romero’s assassination in El Salvador on March 24, 1980 that had been a trigger in Catholic FBI agent Jack Ryan’s journey toward becoming politicized that eventually led to his being fired from the FBI in 1987 after his 21-and-a-half years of commendable service. He had refused to investigate six peace activists as domestic “terrorist” suspects, all nonviolently protesting Reagan’s terrorist policies in Central America. Four of those activists were veterans participating in the water only, open-ended Veterans Fast For Life on the Capitol steps, of which I was one.

That expression of conscience, in turn, led to other political experiences in late 1986 and early 1987 that further led to Nuremberg Actions at the Concord, CA Naval Weapons Station in the summer and fall 1987. There I was nearly killed in a famous assault on September 1. This traumatic event catapulted me into another realm of notoriety as a peace activist, a label I did not seek, and for which I was certainly not prepared. It is a mysterious journey this thing called life.

The Weight Of It All: From July 3, 1979 to 9/11 to Paris 2015

President Jimmy Carter’s Fateful July 3, 1979 Decision

On July 3, 1979, as the “Cold War’ marched on, President Carter signed the first presidential “finding” granting secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. He “authorized the CIA to spend just over $500,000 on propaganda and psychological operations, as well as provide radio equipment, medical supplies, and cash to the Afghan rebels”[1]. Afghanistan was ruled by a nationalist secular, not fundamentalist, regime supported by the Soviet Union. It promoted gender equality, free universal education for women & men, agrarian reform that redistributed feudal estates to poor peasants, the separation of religion & the state and adopted an independent foreign policy friendly with the Soviets.

The Carter, not Reagan Presidency, was responsible for organizing, financing, and training the Islamic uprising and its consequent terror campaign. Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbig Brzesinski wrote that the US-Afghanistan campaign was a high point in US Cold War diplomacy since it provoked Soviet intervention on behalf of their secular Afghan ally[2].

In fact, the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 1979 was deliberately provoked by US President Carter’s earlier decision of July 3. Former CIA director Robert Gates confirmed that the US American intelligence services began to aid Mujahidin guerrillas not after the Soviet invasion, but six months before it[3].

The US, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia collaborated on a global campaign recruiting Islamic fundamentalist to engage in a “Jihad” against the “atheistic communist regime”. Thousands were recruited from around the Islamic world, armed and trained by the CIA and Pakistani intelligence, and financed by Saudis Arabia, that fought the Soviet troops until 1989[4]. The Mujahideen had received over $US10 billion in military aid between 1979-1989, half of that from the US, with Saudi Arabia and other European and Islamic countries funding the rest[5]. The brutal war cost an estimated million civilians lives, with some estimates as high as 1.5 million civilians, 90,000 of CIA and Saudi-funded Mujahideen fighters, 18,000 Afghanistan troops, and 14,500 Soviet army soldiers[6]. A Civil war continued after the Soviets withdrew in 1989, enabling emergence of the Taliban as a second generation of Mujahideen who came into power in Afghanistan in 1996.

The year 1979 indeed was a critical year. Not only did the revolutionaries throw both the Shah and the US Americans out of Iran, but the CIA clandestine intervention in Afghanistan funding “freedom fighters” intended to overthrow the government was its largest ever operation. “Blowback” from this intervention continues with ferocity to this day, and it seems likely for many years to come. Blowback does not refer simply of reactions to historical events but more specifically to reactions to operations carried out by the US government that are kept secret from the American public and from most of their representatives in Congress. This means that when civilians become victims of a retaliatory strike, people in the US  are at first unable to put it in context or to understand the sequence of events that led up to it. Even though the American people may not know what has been done in their name, those on the receiving end certainly do: they include the people of Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1959 to the present), Congo (1960), Brazil (1964), Indonesia (1965), Viet Nam (1961-73), Laos (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-73), Greece (1967-73), Chile (1973), Afghanistan (1979 to the present), El Salvador (1980s-1990s), Guatemala (1980s-1990s) and Nicaragua (1980s), and Iraq (1991 to the present). Not surprisingly, sometimes these victims try to get even[7].

Direct Blowback from July 3, 1979 to September 1, 2001 (9/11) to Paris November 2015 and Beyond

There is a direct timeline from the attacks on September 11, 2001, the most significant instance of blowback in the history of the CIA, back to the events of 1979[8].

Furthermore, without the US American crime of lawless aggressive war against Iraq which left anywhere from 500,000 to more than a million innocent people dead, there would be no ISIS/ISIL, no Al Qaeda. And without Saudi and Western arming of Sunni extremist groups throughout the Middle East being used as proxies to defeat Iran, Syria, and their allies, there would be no ISIS. And, without the extensive recruiting of a global movement of armed Sunni extremists – during both the Carter and Reagan presidencies – there would be no endless “War on Terror”, and no terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, etc. There would be no Blowback![9]

Efforts to defeat ISIS/ISIL have now led to a general war in the Middle East. Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world where US military forces have invaded, occupied, and bombed in which US American soldiers have killed or been killed since 1980: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-), now Syria[10].

And, in the end, it is all about controlling oil and other geostrategic resources necessary to assure continued insatiably Western consumptive lifestyles totally dependent upon burning carbon. In a secret memorandum in January 1978, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown under President Jimmy Carter, “ordered the armed services to plan a special highly mobile force of up to 10,000 troops backed by air and naval units for possible rapid intervention in the Persian Gulf and other areas outside of Europe[11]”.  In other words, all of us part of AWOL are complicit in cumulatively demanding global plunder to continue our lethal carbon-based lives as usual.

The CIA as a Secret Unaccountable Presidential Army

Every president since Truman has at his/her disposal a completely secret, financially unaccountable private army, an irresistible asset that has been freely used ignoring the consequences of blowback. In the wake of 9/11 and the false warnings about Iraq’s so-called threat, the CIA continues to grossly distort the facts on the ground while paying no attention to US Constitutional requirements. Enhancing the US’s control of resources and the politics necessary to facilitate same determines CIA policies and decisions.

Former CIA officer Ralph McGehee says this about the agency that was his employer for 25 years: “The CIA is not now nor has it ever been a central intelligence agency. It is the covert action arm of the President’s foreign policy advisers.  In that capacity it overthrows or supports foreign governments while reporting ‘intelligence’ justifying those activities. It shapes its intelligence, even in such critical areas as Soviet nuclear weapon capability, to support presidential policy. Disinformation is a large part of its covert action responsibility, and the American people are the primary target audience of its lies”[12].

Afghanistan’s Riches

 The United States has discovered as much as $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, exceeding previously known, according to senior American government officials. Deposits that include huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical metals like lithium are vast, and they include many minerals essential to modern industry. It is now surmised that Afghanistan could be transformed into one of the most important mining regions in the world.

An internal Pentagon memo states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys. One location in Ghazni Province showed the potential for lithium deposits as large of those of Bolivia, which now has the world’s largest known lithium reserves[13].

These minerals located in what the West views as an impoverished state have been studied from 2009 surveys taken by the Pentagon and the US Geological Survey. A Pentagon task force was researching international business development opportunities. “This really is part and parcel of General [Stanley] McChrystal’s counter-insurgency strategy,” a Pentagon spokesman said[14].

Pipeline Routes – Afghanistan and Syria

Despite the various reasons given for invading and occupying Afghanistan, in 2001, including the original reason – “Preventing a safe haven for terrorists”, Afghanistan was not really about 9-11 or fighting terrorists, but about pipelines.

However, the real US “necessity” required establishment of a military presence in the Caspian Sea region of Central Asia which reportedly contains the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world, to assure construction of oil and gas pipelines from that region running through geostrategically well positioned Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s location is able to serve flows of energy to much of South Asia as well as parts of Europe, laying pipelines that can bypass Washington’s enemies – Iran and Russia. But the lines need to be protected from locals such the Taliban. Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs said in 2007: “One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan, so it can become a conduit and a hub between South and Central Asia so that energy can flow to the south”.

Starting in the 1980s, a number of pipelines have been planned in the region, but have been delayed/canceled due to military, financial or political problems. For example, the so-called TAPI pipeline (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) was favored by Washington since it sought to block a competing pipeline that would carry gas to Pakistan and India from Iran. In the late 1990s Taliban officials held talks with California-based oil company Unocal regarding TAPI, some of which occurred in the US with full knowledge of the Clinton administration which willingly ignored the extreme repression of Taliban society.

On February 12, 1998, Unocal representative John Maresca testified before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific where he discussed the importance of the pipeline project and increasing difficulties in dealing with the Taliban: The region’s total oil reserves may well reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels … From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, leaders, and our company[15].

When those talks with the Taliban stalled in 2001, the Bush administration reportedly threatened the Taliban with military reprisals if the Afghan government did not concede to US demands. On August 2, 2001, US State Department negotiator Christine Rocca, when in Islamabad, warned Taliban’s ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold [oil], or we bury you under a carpet of bombs[16]These talks permanently broke down a month before 9-11.

The US for some time has known the importance of controlling access to Caspian Sea & Persian Gulf oil & gas areas. The first Gulf War of 1990-1 was all about this pursuit. Since 1991 the US has established military bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, & Kazakhstan[17].

The war of terror, that war without end launched in 2001 by George Bush, is spiraling into evermore violence and deceit. It is clear that ISIS/ISIL, or the Mujahideen or al Qaeda, and their barbarisms won’t be defeated by the same Western powers, including the US and UK, that brought barbarisms to Iraq and Syria in the first place. Endless western military interventions in the Middle East and Asia have brought only destruction and division. Only the people of the region can solve this catastrophe, not those who incubated the virus[18].

The same issues apply to Syria because of its geostrategic position for oil and gas pipeline routes, especially the proposed $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria Islamic Pipeline[19]. The Washington intention is to isolate Russia, Iran, and Syria while assuring the flow of oil and gas goes to the EU without benefitting Syria which is slated for “regime change”.

Afghanistan – 1st True Major Narco-State

One way to assess US American success in the war against Afghanistan 7,000 miles distant from Washington, DC is to examine opium production. In July 1979 when President Carter chose to fund the mujahideen in Afghanistan, that country was producing only 250 tons of opium/year. In the early years of the post-9/11 American invasion and occupation of the country, it was producing 3,400 tons. Between 2006 and 2013, it hit a high of 8,200 tons. Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service now claims that 40,000 tons of opiates have been stockpiled in Afghanistan, primarily to be marketed abroad. As of 2012, Afghanistan was the world’s leading supplier of opium – 74 percent of the global market, a figure expected to rise to 90 percent when US combat troops leave, and foreign aid flees. [Opium is often converted into less bulky heroin]. Success in an endless war has produced the world’s first true narco-state[20].

Ferocious Blowback Originating From Carter’s July 3, 1979 Decision

The September 11, 2001 coordinated criminal attacks by four civilian airliners hijacked by members of Al Qaeda, mostly from Saudi Arabia, on US targets in New York City and Washington, DC causing 3,000 deaths, was a spectacular, tragic consequence of the US decision 22 years earlier to meddle in Afghanistan with the largest CIA operation in its history.

Less than a month later, on October 7, the US out of a mood of revenge illegally invaded Afghanistan with troops and bombs, assisted by UK military forces. The US called it “Operation Enduring Freedom”. The ostensible intention was to dismantle Al Qaeda, the alleged planners of the September 11 criminal attacks believed to have trained in that country, and to deny their safe base of operations by removing from power the Taliban. But, soon, the war fever of the US to seek control over Middle East politics and resources, then focused on attacking Iraq.

Downing Street Memo: “Smoking Gun”- Blair and Bush Conspire Against Iraq[21] [Downing Street is the Location of the UK Prime Minister’s Office]

The Downing Street “Memo” is in effect the minutes of a July 23, 2002 meeting attended by many of British Prime Minister Blair’s senior ministers. It was published on May 1, 2005 in The Sunday Times[22]. This memo/document revealed “smoking gun” evidence that the Blair UK and Bush US governments conspired in advance to create the Iraq war, clearly illustrating:

1. Bush’s long-standing intent to invade Iraq

2. Bush’s willingness to provoke Saddam in order to provide a pretext for war

3. That the war effectively began with an air campaign nearly a year before the March 2003 invasion and months before Congressional approval for the use of force

4. An official pervasive campaign to crush dissent while manipulating information to counter its justification for war

5. Total lack of planning for consequences of the war

6. A fundamental lack of understanding of Iraqi society

From March 2002 to January 2003, a number of documents reveal details of the thinking of two other white men, UK Prime Minster Tony Blair and President George Bush II, who co-conspired the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the continued occupation of Afghanistan, causing countless mass murders, maimings, and displacements with impunity.

March 18, 2002, Christopher Meyer, British Ambassador to the US, submitted a letter to UK Foreign Policy Adviser David Manning describing Meyer’s meeting with US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. Meyer confirmed that the UK backed regime change, warning that a clever plan must be developed so that “failure was not an option”. He further acknowledged that if the US wanted UK’s help there had to be a strategy for building widespread support for military action against Saddam[23].

March 28, 2002, US Secretary of State Colin Powell submitted a memorandum for President Bush assuring him that Blair had already given an unqualified pledge to join in war. Note that this was a year before the invasion was launched, contradicting Prime Minister Blair’s public claims at the time that he was seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Blair told voters: ‘We’re not proposing military action’, which of course directly contradicted what the secret memo reveals. It was written a week in advance of Bush’s famous summit meeting with Blair at the former’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. Powell assures Bush that Blair “will be with us” on military action” and that the “UK will follow our lead”. Blair would present “public affairs lines” to convince a reluctant public that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction when in fact none existed. Bush would flatter Blair’s ego and assure the public that the UK enjoyed a “special relationship” [24].

April 5, 2002, during a television interview, Bush made it clear “that he would not back away from his effort to topple Saddam Hussein…I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go”. He conveyed that when he and Prime Minister Tony Blair of the UK “sit down in Texas this weekend to talk about Iraq, ‘we will be discussing all options’” but he quickly added, “I had no immediate plans to conduct military operations”[25]. From April 5 to 7, 2002, UK Prime Minster Blair and Bush in fact share a three day meeting at Bush’s Crawford, Texas ranch. There Blair confirmed in person that the UK would support military action to bring regime change in Iraq[26].

July 23, 2002, The London Sunday Times published the secret “Downing Secret Memo”. The memo contains the minutes from the July 23, 2002 meeting revealing that several of Britain’s top officials believed the Bush administration had already decided to go to war with Iraq by the summer of 2002. The minutes also reveal that the British intelligence service believed at the time that US intelligence was being “fixed”, i.e., politically manipulated in advance, around Washington’s plan to topple the Iraqi government. Andrew Bacevich, a retired Army colonel, said “We can conclude that the memo means precisely what it says. It says that Bush had already made the decision for war even while he was insisting publicly, and for many months thereafter, that war was the last resort”[27].

January 31, 2003, President Bush privately met with UK Prime Minister Blair at the White House. A confidential memo summarizing the meeting written by David Manning, Blair’s top foreign policy adviser, made it clear that Bush was determined to invade Iraq without a second UN resolution, or even if UN-sanctioned arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons. “Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning”, Manning wrote. “The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March…when the bombing would begin”. This White House meeting turned out to be five days before US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was scheduled to make his dramatic appearance on February 5 before the United Nations where he presented the overwhelming US-produced evidence that Iraq posed a severe threat to world security because they were hiding unconventional weapons. The US and UK indeed failed to obtain a second United Nations resolution against Iraq but Bush nonetheless declared that he did not need any authority for an invasion[28].

Further details about Bush and Blair’s January 31, 2003 pre-war meeting are contained in a new edition of Lawless World by leading British human rights lawyer, Philippe Sands, a QC and professor of international law at University College, London. The memo of the two-hour meeting held nearly two months before the invasion, revealed that Bush told Blair that he was so worried about the failure to find hard evidence against Saddam that he considered “flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours”. Then, Bush said, “If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach of UN resolutions”. Sands had earlier exposed doubts shared by British Foreign Office lawyers about the legality of the invasion which eventually forced the prime minister to publish the full legal advice given to him by the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith[29].

Grotesque Civilian and Military Casualties

The war against Afghanistan was code-named “Operation Enduring Freedom”. Estimates of number of people killed in Afghanistan range from over 90,000, 26,000 of whom are civilians[30], to other estimates of 116,000 civilian deaths[31]. Of course, thousands more were maimed and wounded and displaced.

The war against Iraq, code-named “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, has caused a range of civilian deaths from a low of 165,000 whose tabulators think is a low number[32], to a half million civilians whose estimators think is a low figure[33], to as many as 900,000[34] or as many as a million[35].

“Operation Enduring Freedom”, though primarily a US-sponsored invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, saw troops from 29 individual countries, in addition to NATO forces, suffered over 3,500 killed, of whom over 80 percent were US and UK troops[36].

“Operation Iraqi Freedom”, a war conspired by the UK and US, nonetheless saw troops from 23 countries suffering over 4,800 killed, 97 percent of whom were from the US and UK[37].

Armed Drones – Ultimate Terror of the Most Egregious Kind From the Sky

The US has been employing armed drones since the early 2000s. UK now has joined in the use of hundreds of Reaper drone attacks in the Middle East and West Asia, including Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan[38].

Since 2002, the US, and more recently supplemented by UK air forces, have flown thousands of armed drone sorties carrying out nearly 1,200 drone strikes against Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq, killing as many as 6,600, while injuring as many as 2200[39].

Joint Special Operations – Terrorizing People Virtually Everywhere With Secret Boots on the Ground

US Special Forces operatives, of which there are 70,000 soldiers, have set foot in 150 countries from 2011-2014 (over 76 percent of the planet’s 196 nations), tracking and killing suspected “terrorists”. In the process, they torture, destroy homes and families, and kill and wound many innocent. The Special Forces also provide names and cell phone numbers of those they have supposedly identified as targets for guiding drone strikes[40].

The unit best known for killing Osama bin Laden has been converted into a global manhunting machine with limited outside oversight is US SEAL Team 6. The number of casualties due to death squad activities of Joint Special Operations forces is unknown.[41]

The Special Air Service (SAS), part of the UK Armed Forces, is the special forces unit of the British Army which has joined US Special Forces to create Task Force Black with the aim to “cut the head off the snake” by hitting the command structure of the Islamist terror group responsible for their version of a trail of destruction[42].

 Ratio of Military to Civilian Deaths

Total deaths of military invaders/occupiers = 8,318. Total civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq run in the range of 400,000 to 600,000 to one million.

Thus for every military fatality there is a range of 48 to 120 civilian deaths, which does not include millions of civilians maimed and displaced due to the illegal and lawless invasions and occupations.

The Weight of it All: WE Are Responsible For Millions of Casualties

On July 3, 1979, one “born again” Christian man, US President Jimmy Carter, decided to provide as much as US $5 billion to fund the Mujahideen fundamentalist fighters to overthrow a popular reformist Afghanistan government in alliance with the Soviet Union. This decision, alone, led directly to 1.5 million deaths in the decade long war against the Soviets. This in turn led directly to emergence in 1990 of the Taliban as a second generation Mujahideen[43]. The turmoil fueled by the years of US intervention, that included recruiting thousands of Islamic fundamentalists from many countries to fight the Soviets, ultimately led to the September 11, 2001 criminal attacks on the US, causing 3,000 dead in New York and Washington, DC.

Two other white Christian men – Tony Blair and “born again” George Bush – conspired in the 2000s to devastate Afghanistan and Iraq. From October 2001 when the US invaded Afghanistan, and into the 2003 invasion of Iraq, to today, as many as one million civilians alone, probably more, have been killed in those two countries, with egregious destabilization of neighboring countries in West Asia and the Middle East as well. It is unspeakable. And the US is primarily the cause, along with its junior partner, the UK.

And all of those young men and women who obeyed military orders from above to “serve” their supposed nation’s interests to invade and occupy these countries must face their own responsibility of having been complicit in carrying out lawless death and destruction now etched in their souls.

And this premeditated Western murdering plunder has been committed with impunity, meaning that for those in the West who caused this egregious crime, historic memory of the diabolical carnage is erased, and thus there is no reason to take any responsibility for it. It never really happened. It is incumbent on participating soldiers who experienced an awakening to ensure that the historic memory of these diabolical crimes shall not be forgotten in hope they shall never be repeated.

British Playwright Harold Pinter has argued that the United States supported and in many cases encouraged every rightwing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the second world war. Citing many examples, Pinter concludes with straightforward irony, “It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening, it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest[44]“. Our US American eyes are made of wool. No wool blanket is needed to cover them.

S. Brian Willson is a trained lawyer and long-time justice and peace activist. In 1969 he “served” as the night security commander of a forty-man US Air Force Combat Security Police unit in Viet Nam. His web essays: brianwillson.com; He is reachable via postmaster@brianwillson.com.

Endnotes

 

[1] Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to 10 September 2001 (New York: Penguin, 2004). Coll’s book is an excellent study of blowback which presents a much better reconstruction of this history than the official 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Norton, 2004).

[2] “The CIA’s Intervention in Afghanistan”, Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser; Le Nouvel Observateur, & Bill Blum, transl fm French – Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998 (Posted at globalresearch.ca Oct 15 2001); James Petras, “The Venezuelan Referendum: Beware Jimmy Carter!” CounterPunch, July 8, 2004.

[3] Robert Gates, From the Shadows (New York: Touchstone, 1996), 146.

[4] James Petras, “The Venezuelan Referendum: Beware Jimmy Carter!” CounterPunch, July 8, 2004.

[5] Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (New haven: Yale University Press, 2001), 13, 18.

[6] Alan Taylor, “The Soviet War in Afghanistan, 1979 – 1989”, The Atlantic, August 4, 2014; Rashid, 13.

[7] Tomgram: Chalmers Johnson on the CIA and a blowback world, Posted by Chalmers Johnson, November 5, 2004, TomDispatch;; Gates, 146; The CIA’s Intervention in Afghanistan, Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski; John Pilger, The New Rulers of the World (London: Verso, 2002), 150, 149-157; Petras.
[8] Tomgram: “Chalmers Johnson on the CIA and a blowback world”, http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/1984/chalmers_johnson_on_the_cia_and_a_blowback_world). “Blowback” first appeared in CIA reports when it overthrew the Iranian government in 1953 with the aid of and on behalf of British Petroleum. On June 18, 2000, James Risen of the New York Times [WORD FOR WORD/ABC'S OF COUPS; Oh, What a Fine Plot We Hatched. (And Here's What to Do the Next Time)] explained: “When the Central Intelligence Agency helped overthrow Muhammad Mossadegh as Iran’s prime minister in 1953, ensuring another 25 years of rule for Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, the CIA was already figuring that its first effort to topple a foreign government would not be its last. The CIA, then just six years old and deeply committed to winning the Cold War, viewed its covert action in Iran as a blueprint for coup plots elsewhere around the world, and so commissioned a secret history to detail for future generations of CIA operatives how it had been done . . . Amid the sometimes curious argot of the spy world — ‘safebases’ and ‘assets’ and the like — the CIA warns of the possibilities of “blowback”.

[9] Chris Floyd, “The Age of Despair: Reaping the Whirlwind of Western Support for Extremist Violence”, CounterPunch, November 13, 2015.

[10] Andrew Bacevich, “Even If We Defeat the Islamic State, We’ll Still Lose the Bigger War”, The Washington Post, October 04, 2014.

[11] Chomsky and Herman, After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina & The Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology — The Political Economy of Human Rights: Vol II (Boston: South End Press, 1979), 18.

[12] Ralph W. McGehee, Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA (New York: Sheridan Square Publications, 1983), 192.

[13] James Risen, “U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan”, New York Times, June 13, 2010.

[14] Kim Sengupta, “Afghanistan’s resources could make it the richest mining region on earth”, The Independent, Tuesday, June 15, 2010.

[15] William Blum, “The Missing Word in the Afghan War – Pipelinistan”, CounterPunch, June 6, 2013.

[16] Blum; Jonathan Steele, Ewen MacAskill, Richard Norton-Taylor and Ed Harriman, “Threat of US strikes passed to Taliban weeks before NY attack”, The Guardian, September 22, 2001: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/sep/22/afghanistan.september113; Jean-Charles Brisard & Guillaume Dasquie, Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for Bin Laden (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002), 43.

[17] Blum.

[18] Seumas Milne, “Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq – The sectarian terror group won’t be defeated by the western states that incubated it in the first place”, The Guardian, June 3, 2015, (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/03/us-isis-syria-iraq?CMP=share_btn_fb).

[19] Pepe Escobar, “Syria’s pipelinistan War – a war of deals Not Bullets”, Al Jazeera, Aug 6, 2012, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/08/201285133440424621.html; Pepe Escobar, “Syria: Ultimate Pipelineistan War”, CounterPunch, December 8, 2015, ‪http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/08/syria-ultimate-pipelineistan-war; Nafeez Ahmed, “Western firms primed to cash in on Syria’s oil and gas ‘frontier’”, INSURGE Intelligence, December 1, 2015, https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/western-firms-plan-to-cash-in-on-syria-s-oil-and-gas-frontier-6c5fa4a72a92#.g5zsjvuld; Dmitry Minin, “The Geopolitics of Gas and the Syrian Crisis: Syrian “Opposition” Armed to Thwart Construction of Iran-Iraq-Syria Gas Pipeline”, Global Research, June 03, 2013..

[20] Tom Englehart, “We Destroyed Afghanistan: Americans Can’t Remember, Afghans Will Never Forget”, Tom Dispatch.com, October 1, 2013, Alternet, http://www.alternet.org/we-destroyed-afghanistan-americans-cant-remember-afghans-will-never-forget.

[21] Downing Street Minutes, July 23, 2002 are known as the Downing Street Memo: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/1; http://downingstreetmemo.com/; http://www.downingstreetmemo.com/timeline/index3.html.

[22] “The secret Downing Street memo”, The Sunday Times, May 1, 2005: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/article91033.ece.

[23] Michael Smith, “’Failure is not an option, but it doesn’t mean they will avoid it’”, The Telegraph, September 18, 2004: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/1472042/Failure-is-not-an-option-but-it-doesnt-mean-they-will-avoid-it.html.

[24] Glen Owen and William Lowther, “Smoking Gun emails reveal Blair’s ‘deal in blood’ with George Bush over Iraq war was forged a YEAR before the invasion had even started””, Daily Mail, October 17, 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3277402/Smoking-gun-emails-reveal-Blair-s-deal-blood-George-Bush-Iraq-war-forged-YEAR-invasion-started.html#ixzz3v5jTgHm1; David Atkins, “The Lies That Led Us Into Iraq Were Bigger And Earlier Than We Thought”, Washington Monthly, October 18, 2015, http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2015_10/the_lies_that_led_us_into_iraq058168.php; Global Research, “Smoking Gun Emails: Bush and Blair Secretly Plotted War on Iraq in March 2002”, Global Research News, October 19, 2015.

[25] Todd S. Purdum with David E. Sanger, “Bush Is Said to Expect Israel to Pull Out ‘Without Delay’”, New York Times, April 6, 2002, http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/06/international/middleeast/06PREX.html

[26] Paul Corthorn and Jonathan Davis, “British Labour Party and the Wider World: Domestic Politics, Internationalism and Foreign Policy” (London: I.B.Tauris, 2007), 223.

[27] “The Secret Downing Street Memo”, London Sunday Times, May 1, 2005:

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/article91033.ece

[28] Don Van Natta , Jr., “Bush Was Set on Path to War, British Memo Says”, New York Times, March 27, 2006: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/27/international/europe/27memo.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all&

[29] Richard Norton Taylor, “Blair-Bush deal before Iraq war revealed in secret memo”, The Guardian, February 2, 2006, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/feb/03/iraq.usa; Gary Gibbon, “The White House memo: Revealed: Bush and Blair discussed using American Spyplane in UN colours to lure Saddam into war”, London Channel 4, February 2, 2006: http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/the%20white%20house%20memo/161410.html; Philippe Sands, Lawless World: Making and Breaking Global Rules (London: Penguin, 2006).

[30] Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, 111 Thayer Street, Brown University, Box 1970, Providence, RI USA 02912-1970; P +1 401 863 2809; watson_institute@brown.edu; http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/costs/human/civilians/afghan.

[31] Physicians For Social Responsibility, Body Count, Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the “War on Terror”, http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/body-count.pdf.           

[33] Physicians For Social Responsibility, Body Count, Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the “War on Terror”, http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/body-count.pdf; Dan Vergano, Half-Million Iraqis Died in the War, New Study Says – Household survey records deaths from all war-related causes, 2003 to 2011”, National Geographic, October 16, 2003: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/10/131015-iraq-war-deaths-survey-2013/.

[35] Nicolas J.S. Davies, Blood on our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq (Ann Arbor, MI: Nimble Books, 2010); “Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation”, Project Censored, April 10, 2010, http://www.projectcensored.org/1-over-one-million-iraqi-deaths-caused-by-us-occupation/.

[39] https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/drones-graphs/.

[40] Nick Turse, “A Shadow War in 150 Countries”, Tomgram, January 20, 2015 (Printed October 27, 2015; http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175945/.

[41] Mark Mazzetti, Nicholas Kulish, Christopher Drew, Serge F. Kovaleski, Sean D. Naylor and John Ismay, “SEAL Team 6: A Secret History of Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines”, New York Times, June 6, 2015; http://www.nytimes.com/2015, joining the US Special Forces /06/07/world/asia/the-secret-history-of-seal-team-6.html?_r=0.

[42] Aaron Sharp, “SAS and US special forces forming hunter killer unit to ‘smash Islamic State’”, August 23, 2014:http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/sas-special-forces-forming-hunter-4097083):

[43] Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), 13, 18.

[44] Michael Billington, “Passionate Pinter’s Devastating Assault on US Foreign Policy Shades of Beckett as ailing playwright delivers powerful Nobel lecture”, The Guardian UK, December 8, 2005.

The US Fear of Peace

The arrogance of Eurocentric and ethnocentric thinking in the New World, bolstered by the settler’s utilization of military technology, produced an omnipotent mindset enabling the conquering with impunity everything and everybody in their path. Examining US history reveals that when popular domestic movements within or without seriously question power they are perceived as threats to that power. Similarly, when popular revolutionary governments or movements around the world emerge, they are often perceived as a threat to US global hegemony, antithetical to the meme of expansion of historic oligarchic power benefiting a few at any cost.

Wherever Western man went, slavery, land robbery, lawlessness, culture-wrecking, and the outright extermination of both wild beasts and tame men went with him[1]     - Lewis Mumford

The West has ravaged the world for five hundred years, under the flag of master-slave theory which in our finest hour of hypocrisy was called ‘the white man’s burden’….What sets the West apart is its persistence to stop at nothing[2]     - Hans Koning

I.

In 1779, during the Revolutionary War, Continental Army Supreme General George Washington’s ordered General Sullivan to completely defeat the Indigenous Iroquois Indians in upstate New York. He ordered “The Indian Country should be occupied with all expedition…to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed”. The orders stressed the “total destruction and devastation of their settlements”, including to “ruin their crops”, while stipulating that Sullivan would “not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements ….Our future security will be in their inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them”[3]. Here we find historical US military operating principles of total war targeting civilians (all inhabitants) through use of terror, while refusing any efforts for achieving peace.

In 1776, Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence that included the following words: “He (King of Great Britain) has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions”. The description of our original inhabitants – genuine human beings – as “merciless savages”, of course, is grotesquely a racist, demonizing term, enabling massively slaughtering them with no remorse whatsoever. Ironically, this description accurately describes our own US military behavior around the world, an example of what psychologist Carl Jung called the “shadow concept”, a trick that projects ones own inner demons (shadow) on others, rather than honestly addressing them.           

II.

In 1866, as Sioux Indians were opposing construction through their sacred lands of the Bozeman Trail linking white settlers to the newly discovered gold mines in Montana, US Army Captain William J. Fetterman boasted that with his eighty men he could destroy the Indigenous Sioux nation[4]. Shockingly, on hearing of the defeat of the entire Fetterman detachment (Ft Kearney Massacre), General William Tecumseh Sherman wrote US Commanding General Ulysses S. Grant: We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children. Nothing else will reach the root of this case[5].

III.

When there was temporary cessation of shooting in Korea on November 28, 1951, the day after agreement on a cease-fire line, there was a near hysterical fear of peace in Washington. As the truce talks bogged down over existence of air bases and exchange of prisoners, US military officers were readily scheming a roll back war with China. Chiang Kai-shek (the loser, along with his US backers, in the China Civil War when the Communists prevailed two years earlier in November 1949) and right wing political sidekick Syngman Rhee, feared Korean peace would be the end of their political ambitions. And prominent Republican and future Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, feared that peace would severely interfere with plans to build the old axis powers (including of course Japan) into a new anti-Soviet crusade. The dominant trend in US political, economic and military thinking was fear of peace[6]. General Van Fleet confirmed this when speaking to a delegation of Filipinos in January 1952: “Korea has been a blessing. There had to be a Korea either here or some place in the world”[7].

IV.

In May 1986, a National Security Planning Group meeting of Reagan’s Cabinet-level officials was convened due to their alarm that Nicaragua was prepared to sign the Contadora peace plan ending Reagan’s gruesome terrorist war against the elected government of revolutionary Nicaragua. Washington’s strategy was to portray the plan as unacceptable to others in the region “while denouncing the Sandinistas for refusing to negotiate”. One official who attended the meeting was reported to have said it had been convened because “there was a peace scare”[8].

Another report indicated that “U.S. officials said the Reagan administration sought to disrupt the efforts of the Contadora group of nations …..because the peace talks complicated efforts to persuade Congress to approve Contra aid”[9].

New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis, in discussing the Central American peace process, summarized the Reagan administration: “They want war. That is the policy…As Mr. Wright said, they ‘are scared to death that peace will break out’”[10].

V.

Peace absolutely requires justice as a foundation. The U.S. cannot afford justice in Central America (or elsewhere) unless it is willing to endure a painful but liberating revolution of consciousness and values that no longer lives by the principles of greed, unlimited consumerism and domination. The US population with 4.6 percent of the world’s population insists to remain in denial about the fact that preservation of its insatiable consumption habits requires devouring some 30 percent of the world’s resources, outsourcing all the consequent pain and suffering of the majority of the world’s people and  destruction of the Earth’s ecosystem.



[1] Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine: The Pentagon of Power (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1964), 9.

[2] Hans Koning, Columbus: His Enterprise, Exploding the Myth (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1991), 116.

[3] Writings of George Washington. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, XV, pp. 189-93; Richard Drinnon, Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1980), 331.

[4] Robert M. Utley and Wilcomb E Washburn, The American Heritage History of the Indian Wars (NY, American heritage Publishing Co., 1977), 240-41,

[5] Drinnon, 329.

[6] I.F. Stone, The Hidden History of the Korean War, 1950-1951 (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1952), 345-348.

[7] Stone, 348.

[8] Joel Brinkley, “Reagan Offer: A Way to Help Contras”, New York Times, August 6, 1987.

[9] Alfonso Chardy, “Threats Abetted Contras Imperiling Talks Was One U.S. Tactic”, The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 10, 1987.

[10] Anthony Lewis column, “ABROAD AT HOME; The Peace Scare”, New York Times, November 19, 1987.

 

“Thank You For Your Service!” – Armistice Day* Has Morphed Into Veterans Day, From Honoring Peace to Glorifying War

“Thank you for your service.” For more than the three decades that I have publicly acknowledged being a veteran, I continue to hear over and over this professed appreciation. Not long ago I was admitted to the Portland, VA hospital. Once completing medical intake the attending physician made a point to thank me for my service. I cringed. My service? The physician left my room before I could compose an honest response. Nothing I did while in my 3 years, 11 months and 17 days of military functioning could be even closely defined as service – not to the US people, not to the people of the world, and certainly not to myself. And the implicit, if not explicit message is a thank you to veterans for preserving “our freedom.” Ugh!

In 2012 the Pentagon (Department of War) launched a thirteen-year national Vietnam War Commemoration public relations project (until 2025) explicitly designed to justify, glorify and honor the Viet Nam War, especially its brave soldiers. In fact, of course, it is a poorly masked effort to obliterate from our memory the egregiously criminal US war, and the popular GI and citizen opposition to it. This effort has likely made such thank yous a more pronounced ubiquitous policy. Eradicating memory is a long historical pattern of imperial powers.

It is a shame that the public seems unwilling to grasp that virtually all our military adventures are lawless, imperial barbarisms, violently robbing others of their freedom and autonomy. These are necessary to enable the US people to continue living in fantastic opulence justified by a sense of exceptionalism. To accomplish this grotesqueness we callously outsource the consequential pain and suffering inflicted on innocent others and the sacred earth, requiring us to remain in pathological denial. Our veteran “service” does not protect our “freedoms”, though it serves our national freedom to rob, pillage, and rape others – what Noam Chomsky calls our Fifth Freedom.

Since World War II alone, the US military has intervened at the direction of our President, funded by Congress and the US American people, at least 390 times against dozens of sovereign countries in violation of both domestic and international laws while bombing 30 of them, and launching thousands of covert interventions to boot. All have been criminal, conducted with virtual total impunity while murdering and impoverishing millions – a diabolical history beyond comprehension.

During Viet Nam my initial role consisted of designing security procedures for new weapons systems while sitting in an air-conditioned Air Force headquarters office in Washington. Subsequently, I became night security commander of a US air force base in Viet Nam’s hot and humid Mekong Delta where my unit protected invasive lethal fighter-bombers from indigenous sapper and mortar attacks. Our “national interest” required assuring that these death machines could daily inflict their firepower to destroy inhabited, undefended fishing villages, murdering and maiming thousands of innocents.

In effect, I was a cog in a vast murder machine organizing genocide against people I knew nothing about, people simply seeking preservation of their own self-determination (autonomy) from outside imperial, lawless forces. That I was brainwashed and duped is an understatement. Thus, it is painful to hear the persistent “thank yous” which in fact serve only to justify continued, unthinking support of US wars, ad nauseum. This absurd habit of thanking veterans for our service performs a terrible disservice to a genuine search for a truthful national history. Memory is obliterated, fatal for any future enlightenment.

*Known as “The Great War”, World War I ceased with an armistice effective on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. November 11, 1918, was initially regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In 1926, Congress passed a resolution with the words: “the 11th of November 1918 marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals … and it is fitting that … this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving … designed to perpetuate peace …” A 1938 law made every November 11th a legal holiday to be … celebrated as “Armistice Day.” But sixteen years later, in 1954, following the Korean War, veterans service organizations pressured Congress to strike out the word “Armistice” and insert in its place the word “Veterans.” The wars continue.

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