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.

Goebbels Is alive in Nicaragua: Relentless US conspiracy against Nicaragua by using fake narratives and instituting terror

S. Brian Willson, April 26, 2021 (edited)

“A lie told once remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.” Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, 1933-1945

President Ortega is a dictator!  President Ortega is a dictator!  President Ortega is a dictator! Say it over and over, and it becomes accepted truth with absolutely no evidence whatsoever. Welcome to the post-truth world – a Goebbels’ world.

In 1979, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN for its initials in Spanish) triumphed over the more than four decades of US-supported Somoza dictatorship.  Thus ended the “stable” playground for the wealthy, right-wing Nicaraguan families and their affluent US investor friends, preserved at the expense of the vast majority of the Nicaraguan people. To this day the US has never forgiven the social-minded Sandinistas for having forced the end of the Somoza era. Many of the wealthy opposition now live in Miami, Florida. 

Ten years of Reagan’s brutal terrorist war against the Sandinista government came to an end in 1990 after more than 50,000 casualties.  The FSLN lost the 1990 elections in which the US financed with nearly $50 million dollars a “Liberal” Party candidate, Violeta Chamorro, as an alternative to the FSLN.[1] During run-up to the 1990 Nicaragua elections, the Bush administration stated its intention of “keeping the Sandinistas guessing” through secret intelligence operations (New York Times, June 11, 1989) aimed at influencing the election. New monies for the opposition parties were justified in order to “level the playing field” to boost the US-created opposition forces’ chance of ousting Sandinista President Daniel Ortega (Miami Herald, Oct. 18, 1989). President Bush had promised in November 1989 that the devastating trade embargo and terrorist war against Nicaragua would be immediately lifted if the US-backed presidential candidate, Violeta Chamorro, was elected by a majority of the Nicaraguan people (Washington Post, Nov. 9, 1989). Understandably, the exhausted Nicaraguans and the FSLN lost the election, but did regain power through democratic elections again in 2007 after 16 years of repressive Liberal rule. 

In diplomatic cables, the US described the Violeta Chamorro government (1990-1995) as one that created “economic shambles”, and the subsequent Aleman and Bolaños administrations (1996-2006) as totally corrupt. Social progress, including women’s rights, experienced serious setbacks during this period. Nonetheless, every US administration since 2007 has continued its determination to oust the Sandinista government headed by President Ortega who remains demonstrably popular with the vast majority of Nicaraguans. The US uses the same old ad nauseum evidence-free accusations – that he’s running a corrupt dictatorship. 

The incoming Sandinista-led coalition created a government where the “recuperation of rights” has played a major role, guiding diverse policies, including renewed literacy campaigns and the reconstruction of public education and public health care, among other key areas.[2]  Social infrastructure, including roads, parks, farmers’ markets, child care centers and maternity homes in each municipality of the country, became the hallmark of the new government.  These policies have contributed to Nicaragua having among the highest rates of economic growth in Latin America between 2007 and 2020. Nicaragua has improved its human development index score faster than other than six countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, while also reaching the highest ranking in the region for gender equality. 

Examining Wikileaks cables, Department of State memos, National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and US Agency for International Development (AID) budgets, and documents seized in arrests of the US-orchestrated 2018 Nicaraguan coup suspects, it is clear the US has expended perhaps as much as $200-300 million to oust the Ortega-led Sandinista government. Alarmed by the November 2006 Sandinista electoral victory, the US’s explicit goal has been the achievement in an immediate future of a government akin to the interest of the US government, and creation of conditions for regime change.

In a memorandum, an NED affiliate, identified ways to destabilize and change Nicaragua’s “regime” that includes strengthening civil society to facilitate a coup d’état against Daniel Ortega.[3] The US Embassy and USAID have been preparing conditions for a coup since at least 2013. Their efforts culminated in the violent but unsuccessful US orchestrated and financed April – July 2018 coup attempt that took several hundred Nicaraguan lives, including 23 uniformed police.  Between 2017-2020, USAID has funded numerous “humanitarian” efforts with over $100 million dollars, all designed to weaken the Sandinista government.  USAID claims its purpose is to “further America’s interest while improving lives in the developing world”.[4] In that same period, 2017-2020, NED has funded 68 projects in Nicaragua with over $5 million, ostensibly to teach Nicaraguans about Democracy, even though the US has never experienced one, nor ever intended to have one.[5] 

Propaganda on steroids: Weaponizing social media[6]

The US incorporates the latest in the Defense department’s DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) tools in using social media – called the Social Media in Strategic Communication project (SMISC).[7] Using voluminous paid social media sites and platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter, complemented by the pathetic, reliable lapdog corporate media, the US and its proxies spin propaganda narratives that spread like wildfire at the speed of light with a click of the mouse. This has proven effective in creating an instant group mind, a collective hallucination convincing much of the US public, and the international community, of “repressive dictators” in social democracies. Thus, the cast is set for Congressional and public opinion support for US “corrective” intervention, i.e., “humanitarian regime changes”, even as the scripted narrative is totally fabricated and absolutely untrue.  The US was able to use these communications techniques in 2018 to claim that Nicaraguans were violently oppressing its own citizens to provoke a coup.

Overwhelming power of propaganda – molding our thoughts – spin and hype

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister from 1933-1945, formulated a principle that if a lie is told often enough, it becomes accepted as the truth.[8] And he wanted the masses to believe so fervently that the people became “addicted” to the German cause.[9] Thus, through the contrived use of propaganda to manage and manipulate public opinion, one can effectuate the death of the integrity of language – distort the genuine meanings of words in efforts to convey a fact or idea to suit an agenda – or what I call linguicide.[10]

The United States obsession with ousting the democratically elected Sandinista President Daniel Ortega approaches a kind of insanity.  With socialist policies benefitting the impoverished, Ortega is perceived as impeding “US interests.” But the history of US meddling and intervention reveals a vast arsenal of techniques, tricks, lies, bribery, methods for “manufacturing consent”, and infliction of domestic economic and political pressures to achieve its goals of neoliberal regime change. As many readers know, for the US privatization of capital is like a neoliberal religion, which inevitably creates de facto class warfare.

The progressive Sandinistas

Since the Sandinistas regained political power in 2007, they have overseen the emergence of the most progressive state in Central America (CA). The achievements include:

* 2nd highest economic growth rates and most stable economy in Central America (CA)

* only country in the region producing 90 percent of the food it consumes

* poverty, and extreme poverty rates halved – country with greatest reduction of extreme poverty

* reached the UN Millennium Development Goal of cutting malnutrition in half

* free basic healthcare, including medicine

* free education for all preschool, primary and secondary students

* illiteracy virtually eliminated, down from 36 percent in 2006

* average economic growth of over 5 percent for the five years preceding 2018 (per IMF and WB)

* safest country in CA with one of the lowest crime rates in Latin America

* highest gender equality in the Americas (World Economic Forum Gender Gap Reports)

* kept out drug cartels, while pioneering community policing

* has not contributed to the migrant exodus to the US (unlike Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala)

* has the best roads in CA

* leader in renewable energy

* the leading tourist destination in CA (before the 2018 US coup attempt and orchestrated media demonization campaign)

* virtually uninterrupted electricity to 99 percent of the country.

US-orchestrated but unsuccessful coup in 2018

On May 1, 2018, Benjamin Waddell wrote an article in a National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded news website, Global Americas, “Laying the groundwork for Insurrection: A closer look at the US role in Nicaragua’s Social Unrest”. He reported that NED had funded 54 projects in Nicaragua between 2014 and 2017, promoting “a new generation of democratic youth leaders…defending democracy”.  Waddell concluded by saying that “regardless of whether Mr. Ortega is removed from power, the NED’s involvement in Nicaragua reveals the power of transnational funding to influence political outcomes in the 21st century”.  The problem is that Nicaragua possesses a stable democratically elected government, but the fact is simply ignored by the US because Nicaragua possesses socialist programs, rejecting strict neoliberal privatization.

USAID’s and NED’s education programs at universities within Nicaragua, especially UCA and UPOLI, prepared a network of over 2,000 young people (some estimates are as high as 5,000) in courses such as social media skills for “democracy defense”. Gifting the students with computers, phones, etc., they were trained to troll Facebook and Twitter with disinformation.  Use of social media campaigns where origins of information are unknown and uncorroborated, is able to create thousands of fake profiles, sponsor Facebook ads, produce thousands of WhatsApp messages to distort facts, and issue fake reports.  

The DARPA SMISC program is able to identify persuasive campaign structures that influence messaging across social media sites and communities, and detects counter-messaging of adversaries. Employing fake news and false reporting on the internet traveling at the speed of light launched into the infectious cyberspace instantaneously creates rumors, lies, and misinformation. It is very difficult to subsequently correct the lies with corroborated truth. The systematic destabilization strategy often successfully manipulates public opinion.

From April 18-22, 2018, this group of social media warriors immediately shaped and controlled public opinion by “reporting” that Nicaraguan police “massacred” protesting students, which in turn contributed to violent protests throughout Nicaragua. On April 18 there were some students protesting changes to the social security laws (which made no sense since the changes were all in favor of the workers) who were all part of the US plan and had received different kinds of “democracy” training. Some of them faked being Sandinista Youth (by wearing their T-shirts) and faked hurting the “protesters” who themselves faked being hurt by putting something that looked like blood on their heads or bodies – it was all part of a well-orchestrated plan. They had still others who provocatively threw rocks or fired at the police, and the police defended themselves.  The first day, April 18, the opposition convinced the nation that the police had killed a student, in reality no one was killed that day. But the entire nation was awash with news of massacres (which in fact did not happen) which inflamed the populace and enraged people in the US and Europe about the “repressive” Nicaraguan police.  In fact, the first three people murdered the next day, April 19, were killed by opposition snipers: a policeman, a young Sandinista helping to guard the Mayor’s office from opposition in Tipitapa, and a passerby.

It was a planned set-up by the US, complicit with paid opposition leaders in Nicaragua and paid delinquent thugs.  With the “uprising” lasting until late July, the participants were very confident of victory over the Sandinista government as they followed their disruption “instructions,” collecting huge amounts of US funds (Just USAID provided US$97.62 million from 2015 to 2018; and the Fundacion Violeta Barrios de Chamorro which is the main conduit for aid to opposition media received US$4.54 million during those same years. (See: https://explorer.usaid.gov/cd/NICUSAID). They openly and daily posted on various social media sites their murders and burnings of Sandinistas in the streets; the burning of a number of Sandinista homes, schools and offices; kidnappings and hundreds of tortures of Sandinistas; all designed to terrorize the entire population.  Hundreds of roadblocks manned by heavily armed and hooded thugs were located throughout Nicaragua, making transportation both dangerous and virtually impossible. From July 8 to July 23 (“Caravana de la Paz”), the police with support from the population finally forcefully removed all the roadblocks. While many of the blockers fired at the police or refused to surrender upon police commands, there were 9 police killed during this removal process.   

Edgar Chamorro, member of the prestigious Chamorro family, a former Jesuit priest and full professor at UCA (University of Central America), was an early member of the Directorate of the main Contra fighting force in the early 1980s, serving as their major public relations spokesperson.  In 1987, Chamorro authored Packaging the Contras: A Case of CIA Disinformation. He wrote:

“In the excesses of inventing an artificial force, and in the need to stage events and to create impressions without consideration for substantial realities, there was no longer a distinction between reality and fiction. The image and impression were more important than substance….[L]ies were used to manipulate people and events to such an extent that behind the lies there was nothing but self-illusion and self-deception….[T]here was a negation of the moral distinction between good and evil…let to a legitimization of concepts such as a good war, a good crime, a good rape, a good lie. This is how murder and torture were justified, how the destruction of property and the sabotage of an economy and the social fabric of a nation were excused, all in the name of patriotism and anticommunism”. 

This is exactly what happened in the coup of 2018, as the coup participants completely concealed reality with fiction using social media, negating the moral distinction between good and evil. 

A leaked USAID memo in the summer of 2020, revealed up-to-date brazen US plans called “Responsive Assistance in Nicaragua” (RAIN) to overthrow the Nicaraguan government by “destroying public order and other violent actions”, that will include “network monitoring to create fake news”.  Over 220 years ago, the Iroquois Indians described George Washington as the “Town Destroyer” (Iroquois: “Conotocarious”) after all their New York villages had been destroyed under his orders.  The US has been destroying nations and villages ever since in the cause of the White Man’s Burden” (civilizing the world), justified by “exceptionalism”.

The same disinformation principles are being applied today with intentions of overthrowing the social revolutionary Sandinista government.  That is why I choose to live in progressive Nicaragua, to document all the lies and disinformation produced with the intention of negating the incredible achievements of the Sandinista government.

S Brian Willson is a Viet Nam veteran and trained lawyer. He has visited a number of countries examining the effects of US policy. He wrote a psychohistorical memoir, Blood on the Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson (PM Press, 2011), and in 2018 wrote Don’t Thank Me for my Service: My Viet Nam Awakening to the Long History of US Lies (Clarity Press). He is featured in a 2016 documentary, Paying the Price for Peace: The Story of S. Brian Willson, and others in the Peace Movement, (Bo Boudart Productions). His web essays: brianwillson.com. He can be reached: postmaster@brianwillson.com. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) 


[1] “How the US Purchased the 1990 Nicaragua Elections”: http://www.brianwillson.com/how-the-u-s-purchased-the-1990-nicaragua-elections/

[2] National Human Development Plan of Nicaragua (PNDH), (2012), Plan Nacional de Desarrollo Humano Actualizado 2012–2016. Available at http://www.pndh.gob.ni/

[3]SOFT BLOW IN NICARAGUA WAS PREPARED IN ADVANCE” :https://bbackdoors.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/soft-blow-in-nicaragua-was-prepared-in-advance/

[4] Note that USAID claims its purpose is to further “America’s interest”, meaning of course, the United States of America. The US is but one of 35 “American” countries which have a combined population of just over 1 billion, residing on 16.4 million square miles. The USA with 331 million people comprises 31 percent of the “Americas” population, residing on 3.5 million square miles, or 21 percent of the “Americas” land area. Thus, USAID typically expropriates the entire Western Hemisphere as its domain.

[5] “Exposing the Founding Fathers and the US Constitution”: http://www.brianwillson.com/exposing-the-founding-fathers-and-the-us-constitution/

[6] P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking, Like War: The Weaponization of Social Media (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018).

[7] “DARPA’s SMISC Program To Identify Misinformation or Deception Campaigns on Social Media and Conduct Its Own Propaganda Campaigns”, https://idstch.com/home5/international-defence-security-and-technology/technology/ict/darpa-using-mind-control-techniques-manipulate-social-media/; “DARPA wants to simulate how social media spreads info like wildfire – DARPA SocialSim program develop high-fidelity computational simulation of online social behavior,” https://www.networkworld.com/article/3158707/darpa-wants-to-simulate-how-social-media-spreads-info-like-wildfire.html.

[8] Leonard Doob, “Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda,” Public Opinion Quarterly 14 (1950), 419-442, cited in Dan D. Nimmo and Chevelle Newsome, Political Commentators in the United States in the 20th Century: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1997); Anthony Pratkanis and Eliot Aronson, Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion (New York: W.H. Freeman and Co., 1992), 8.

[9] Michael Zezima, Saving Private Power: The Hidden History of the ‘Good War’ (New York: Soft Skull Press, 2000), 4.

[10] Tragically, this long pattern of committing harm to others and the Planet Earth to materially benefit ourselves has occurred with little or no critical thought from the prevailing political, religious, economic or academic structures. Thus we tend not to think about it. When confronted by reality we have a way of denying it, and have developed such a rhetorical double-speak that we may have committed linguicide of our own English language. Our obsession with limitless materialism (and the huge profits derived therefrom) requires a constant need to steal more and more resources. Thus, we need to be assured of control over vast regions of the world where the resources, markets, and labor are located. In effect, the Cold War was a cover for this deeper battle of the Haves against the Have-Nots. Any kind of genuine local or regional people’s movement for economic and political autonomy, local reliance, and justice (the essentials of real democracy) becomes a threat to USA need for global hegemony. These perceived threats must be eliminated to assure the continuance of the American Way Of Life (AWOL). Thus, for example, Cuba’s existence as a revolutionary society has been a “threat” since its 1959 people’s revolution, as it is an experiment of a people’s society not subject to the whims and exploitation of an outside force such as the United States or Spain. Of course, many other people’s movements over the past century, especially since World War II, have been ruthlessly thwarted because they have posed similar “threats.”

Cold War Hysteria

S. Brian Willson, March 27, 2021

 “We are willing to help people who believe the way we do.”   —Dean Acheson, Truman’s Secretary of State, 1947

Introduction

I cannot stress enough the overwhelming toxic spell that Cold War propaganda cast on the minds of three generations, including some of the most intelligent people, and its influence continues today. Relentless Cold War rhetoric accomplished a near total indoctrination of our entire US culture. Religious institutions, academic and educational institutions from kindergarten through graduate school, professional associations, political associations from local to national, scientific community, economic system, entertainment industry from radio and TV to Hollywood and sports, fraternal organizations, boy scouts, etc.—all systematically colluded and cooperated to preserve unquestioning belief in the unique nobility of the US American system while instilling pathological, rabid, paranoid fear of “enemies”— in our midst as well as “out there”—in order to rationalize otherwise pathologically inexplicable behavior around the world as well as at home. The atrocities committed in the name of defeating communist bogeymen are nearly beyond belief. As this example shows, our cultural schooling is so pervasive as to generate a universally compelling mythology powerful enough to conceal its own contradictions.

Our cultural corruption was so complete we proudly utilized B-52s blessed by God-fearing chaplains flying five miles high to bomb unarmed, mostly Buddhist peasants living nine thousand miles across the Pacific. It is very difficult to recognize in ourselves what would be considered criminally insane behavior if carried out by others.

Forty years of fanatical “good us versus evil them” leads directly from the 1917 Russian Revolution, the authentic beginning of the Cold War, leading to Korea and Viet Nam. Prior to 1917, Russia has been a semi-colonial possession of European capital that had settled into typical “Third World” patterns, supplying raw materials to industrial countries while primarily internally developing with foreign capital while experiencing dramatic escalation of debt and impoverishment. The Russian Revolution was a radical break from western-dominated exploitation, very unacceptable to the capitalist west, the so-called “advanced” industrial countries. It was, in effect, a radical alternative to the way things had been settling in among “moderns” around the non-indigenous global capitalist world.

During Russia’s 1918–1920 Civil War, a number of the allied nations and Japan invaded Russia in efforts to crush socialism. Winston Churchill, England’s Minister for War and Air (1919–1921), sought desperately “to strangle at its birth” the Bolshevik state.[1] A determined effort by 11 Western nations and Japan to nip the revolution in the bud formed expeditionary forces that invaded Russia in 1918 with nearly nine hundred thousand troops in three regions. Archangel in northern Russia, including five thousand US troops; the Odessa region and Crimea in Southern Russia; and Vladivostok in eastern Russia, including seven thousand US troops who remained there until 1920. US casualties during the occupation in northern Russia were nearly 2,900. The State Department told Congress: “All these operations were to offset effects of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia”.[2]

This US intervention into Russia occurred on President Wilson’s orders without a Congressional declaration of war. It also occurred during peace negotiations that had gotten underway on January 4, 1919 in Versailles, France, to formally end the First World War. The Versailles Treaty was signed June 28, 1919, by Germany and Britain, France, Italy, and Russia, but not by the US.  The intervention into Russia illustrates how terrified the US and the West were of the ideological alternative to capitalism that the Bolsheviks represented. “High level US planning documents identify the primary threat as ‘radical and nationalistic regimes’ that are responsive to popular pressures for ‘immediate improvement in the low living standards of the masses’ and development for domestic needs, tendencies that conflict with the demand for a ‘political and economic climate conducive to private investment,’ with adequate repatriation of profits and ‘protection of our raw materials.’”[3] In essence, the Soviet Union was considered a gigantic “rotten apple,” a “challenge . . . to the very survival of the capitalist order.” As Europe was beginning to self-destruct, the US was for the first time becoming a decisive world influence. The Bolshevik revolution, i.e., Communism, was seen as a global enemy that had to be crushed.[4]

Truman Doctrine Ushers in a National Security State

Truman’s March 12, 1947 containment speech, often described as the formal declaration of the Cold War between the Free World and the forces of Communism, helped entrench the idea that the entire world is the specific business of the United States. Expressing fear of an international Communist threat and marking the beginning of US containment policy, his appeal to congress officially launched the first of thousands of US covert and overt interventions around the world. Despite Truman’s focus on Greece and Turkey in this speech, internal documents reveal that South Korea was as important, if not more important in terms of needing to be contained. This was made clear in 1949, when both Secretary of State Acheson and the head of State’s policy planning, George Kennan, concluded that successful suppression by Syngman Rhee of a Korean people’s independence movement would be a key litmus test of the US’s emerging policy of global containment of Communism, despite the Korean’s passion for self-determination.

Quelling popular self-determination aspirations (autonomy, democracy) around the world became critical for the assurance of continued global Western hegemony. Thus, the Cold War really was a series of hundreds of smaller, but brutal hot wars against popular and revolutionary movements in the “Third World” seeking liberation from historic colonialism (the essential lessons of the Russian Revolution), movements that were essentially supported by the alternative represented by the Soviet Union, in addition to the major post-WWII Third World revolutions in Korea and Viet Nam. In the first, we were stalemated in 1953; the second we lost militarily/politically in 1973, though in each case we decimated and destroyed each culture’s infrastructure while murdering a combined 10 million plus people.

NSC-68: The US, Not the Soviets, Possessed a Global Monolithic Plan

On April 14, 1950, President Truman approved a comprehensive National Security Council study known as NSC 68 (1949-1950). The most fundamental document of the US Cold War, its recommendations began to be implemented on the eve of our hot war in Korea. NSC-68 asserted that the US had the unique right and responsibility to impose our chosen “order among nations” so that “our free society can flourish. . . . Our policy and action . . . must be such to foster a fundamental change in the nature of the Soviet system” and “foster the seeds of destruction within the Soviet system” that will “hasten” its “decay.” It added, “The Soviet Union, unlike previous aspirants to hegemony, is animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own, and seeks to impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world.” The foundation of the strategy was a “view to fomenting and supporting unrest and revolt in selected satellite countries” and “to reduce the power and influence of the Kremlin inside the Soviet Union.” Any less global imperial policy would have “drastic effects on our belief in ourselves and in our way of life.” US ability to act had apocalyptic ramifications: “fulfillment or destruction not only of this Republic but of civilization.” NSC-68 concluded that “the assault on free institutions is world-wide” and “imposes on us, in our own interests, the responsibility of world leadership” such that we must seek “to foster a world environment in which the American system can survive and flourish.” “Any measures, covert or overt, violent or nonviolent” will be called upon as necessary for “frustrating the Kremlin design,” which included “overt psychological warfare” as well as various kinds of “economic warfare.” Utmost care “must be taken to avoid permanently impairing our economy and the fundamental values and institutions inherent in our way of life”.[5]

NSC-68 went on to claim that even “if there were no Soviet Union we would face the great problem of the free society . . . of reconciling order, security . . . with the requirement of freedom.” The subsequent Korean War was the first time the CIA operated in a hot war. Its arguments became the foundation for tripling the “Defense” budget, stationing troops in Europe, and significantly boosting US conventional and nuclear weapons systems, thus further escalating the arms race.[6]

NSC-68 reveals this incredible irony: Throughout the Cold War years, we were taught to fear the evil Soviets, while our government spent literally trillions of dollars defending our real monolithic plan from their fictional one. Further, the Cold War and its consequent expensive arms race only ensured preservation of an obsessively consumptive Western way of life that is literally destroying life on the planet as we face eco- catastrophe due to global warming. Industrial civilization is an intense heat engine.

Staggering Soviet Losses in WWII Ignored by the West

The US government knew that the Soviet Union was so devastated from the war that it had no capacity or will to imagine or carry out a monolithic plan to control the West. Yet, post -World War II hostility toward the Soviet Union resumed anti-Bolshevik and anti-Communist hatred that had begun in 1917-1918. This, despite the fact that it was the Soviet armies essentially responsible for the final defeat of the Nazis in World War II, a war in which the Soviets suffered incredible losses.

A 1994 study published by the Russian Academy of Science estimated USSR casualties at 26.6 million, or 13.5 percent, of its pre WWII war population of 196.7 million.[7] Before their defeat in 1945, the Nazis had leveled or crippled 15 large Soviet cities, more than 1,700 towns, 70,000 villages, and nearly 100,000 collective farms, while devastating most of its factories, railroads, highways, bridges, and electric power stations.[8] In contrast, the US suffered less than 420,000 deaths, or only three-tenths of a percent of its population, and did not lose any infrastructure.

US Naval Intelligence reported in January 1946 that the USSR was “exhausted . . . not expected to take any action during the next five years which might develop into hostilities with Anglo-Americans.” Its policies were determined to be defensive in nature, designed only “to establish a Soviet Monroe Doctrine for the area under her shadow, primarily and urgently for security”.[9] Honest historians, academicians, and political leaders knew the basis of Stalin’s insistence on having friendly neighbors and secure borders on its west flank. Unlike the US, the Soviet Union had no oceans to protect it from external aggression. In 1812, Napoleonic France invaded Russia through Germany. Imperial Japan invaded Siberia in 1906. Germany invaded Russia in 1914 and again in 1941. And Poland invaded Russia in 1920 over an old territorial dispute and new ideological fears of Bolshevism. Thus, Russia’s Western border had been invaded at least four times.[10] George Kennan, architect of the US containment policy, ultimately concluded that “the image of a Stalinist Russia poised and yearning to attack the West was largely a fiction of the Western imagination.” He reminded US Americans that the Russian people believed profoundly in “decency, honesty, kindness, and loyalty in the relations between individuals, in fact that the Russians are human beings after all”.[11]

It has been our delusions and arrogance under “God” ever since our own cultural origins in forceful dispossession of hundreds of “strange” Indigenous cultures, both in the Western Hemisphere stealing land and in Africa stealing chattel labor, that we have possessed the cultural DNA of selfishness and narcissism at the expense of others and the Planet Earth. Our Age of stupid and ecocide/suicide is not recognized, as we have depended upon the techniques of denial and the comforting trick of basking in the arrogance of exceptionalism.  And this pattern of US-inflicted atrocities around the globe continues as a bi-partisan political plundering project of Democrats and Republicans, recently accentuated since Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 election led to creation of the distracting hoax of Russophobia.

This 400-year bestial history of racism, classism, and sexism imposed by primarily White men, on virtually everyone else for 20 generations, was captured perfectly in the 8 minute 46 second video taken by a 17-year-old teenager of a Minneapolis White police officer with the full force of his knee on Black George Floyd’s neck as he tortured, then murdered him. That knee is on all of our necks now. This has caused more reasons for millions of Whites people to intensely preserve their fantasy of denial.

–S. Brian Willson, author, activist, Viet Nam veteran

Footnotes

[1] Michael Zezima, Saving Private Power: The Hidden History of the ‘The Good War’ (New York: Soft Skull Press, 2000), 26-7.

[2] Martin Gilbert, The First World War: A Complete History (New York: Henry Holt, 1994), 515-516; D. F. Fleming, The Cold War and Its Origins, 1917-1920, Vol I (Garden City, NJ: Doubleday, 1961), 16-35; Howard Zinn, The Twentieth Century: A People’s History (New York: Perennial Library/Harper & Row, 1984), 110-111; David S. Foglesong, America’s Secret War Against Bolshevism: U.S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917-1920 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1995), 2-9, 272-3.

[3] Noam Chomsky, “The Face of Colonialism a Century Later” (PeaceWork, July/August 1998), 19.

[4] Noam Chomsky, Year 501: The Conquest Continues (Boston: South End Press, 1993), 67; Chomsky, Chomsky, Deterring Democracy (New York: Hill and Wang, 1992), 37.

[5] National Security Memorandum No. 68 (NSC-68) on “United States Objectives and Programs for National Security” written by a Joint State-Defense Department Committee, under the supervision of Paul Nitze, Director of the Policy Planning Staff, in April 14, 1950, pursuant to the President’s Directive of January 31, 1950.

[6] John Lewis Gaddis, We Know Now: Rethinking Cold War History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 84, 109.

[7] Michael Ellman and S. Maksudov, “Soviet Deaths in the Great Patriotic War: A Note,” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 46, No. 4, 1994, 671-680.

[8] Harvey Wasserman, America Born & Reborn (New York: Collier Books/Macmillan, 1983), 168; Walter LaFeber, America, Russia, and the Cold war, 1945-1971 (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1972), 14.

[9] Lawrence Wittner, Cold War America (New York: Praeger, 1974), 9; Edward Pessen, Losing Our Souls: The American Experience in the Cold War (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1993), 63; Wasserman, 168.

[10] Marty Jezer, The Dark Ages: Life in the United States 1945-1960 (Boston: South End Press, 1982), 23.

[11] Wittner, 52; Wasserman, 169; Fleming, 538.

Exposing the Founding Fathers and the US Constitution

Essentially property – in the form of stolen land, slave labor, and raw materials – serves as the foundation for our nation, along with the attendant desire for material prosperity. This is illustrated in an examination of the participants at the founding Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, May 25 to September 17, 1787, and the final document they authored, a convention held entirely in enforced secrecy during its 116-day duration.

Encroachments on Indian land was exacerbated by the amount of profit that was envisioned in acquiring this phenomenal resource.  The Ohio Company was formed in 1749 when the King granted the Virginia governors huge tracts of land that extended into the Ohio region.  It is noteworthy that many of the White men we call members of our “Founding Fathers” such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Morris, Patrick Henry, and Benjamin Franklin, were early speculators/investors collectively in hundreds of thousands of acres of land in association with a number of land companies.

It was in their financial interests to participate in various ways in the anti-Indian genocide, as their private land holdings could only dramatically appreciate in value once the Indigenous had been conquered. Most of their lands had been stolen from the Indians in illegal defiance of the Proclamation of 1763 which strictly prohibited colonial expansion and settlements west of a line parallel to the Appalachian Mountains. Those lands were reserved for Indians only.   From 1763 to the Revolution, settlers and investors in land were increasingly at odds with the British Crown, which seemed more interested in maintaining peace with the Indians than serving the expansionist desires of the European colonists.

In addition to the Ohio Company there were others such as the Potomac Company, the James River Company, the Mississippi Company, the Loyal Company, the Vandalia Company, the Indiana Company, the Walpole Company, the Greenbrier Company, and the Great Dismal Swamp Company.  

More than half of the selected delegates to the Convention were educated lawyers. The remaining were planters, merchants, physicians, and college professors. Not one member represented, in his immediate personal economic interests, the small farming or mechanic classes.  Most believed their property rights were adversely affected by the relatively “weak” Articles of Confederation government and thus they were highly economically motivated to reconstruct the system.   Thus the Founding Fathers reflected an extraordinary anti-majoritarian, i.e., explicitly anti-democratic bias.  This explains the Constitutional theme of preserving private property and commercial enterprises, controlled by a small minority, ultimately at the expense of human freedom and the health of the Commons.

“Founding Father” John Jay possessed a vision that “the people who own the country ought to govern it”.   This referred, of course, to those who owned land, slaves, and commercial enterprises. Jay also believed that the upper classes “were the better kind of people”, those “who are orderly and industrious, who are content with their situation and not uneasy in their circumstances”.

No less than 85 articles and essays, a collection of documents known as the Federalist Papers, were written in 1787-1788 to urge ratification of the newly drafted US Constitution. The authors were Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Aristocratic Hamilton possessed such contempt for commoners he declared that “the people are a ‘great beast’ that must be tamed . . . rebellious and independent farmers had to be taught, sometimes by force, that the ideals of the revolutionary pamphlets were not to be taken too seriously”.

The Constitution was never submitted to the public for ratification. Since no direct popular vote was even attempted, it is impossible to know what the popular sentiment was. A considerable proportion of the adult white male population was prohibited from participating in the election of the delegates to the separate ratifying state conventions due to property and disqualifications for voting. Historian Charles A. Beard conjectures that of the estimated 160,000 who voted in the election of delegates for the various state conventions, not more than 100,000 favored adoption of the Constitution.

And of course, women, African slaves, the original Indigenous inhabitants, un-propertied white adult males, and white males under 21 had no vote at all. The 1790 Census counted a total United States population of 3.93 million persons: 3.2 million free and nearly 700,000 African slaves. But of the 3.2 million “free” persons, the vast majority were prohibited from voting. So, in effect, the approximately 100,000 propertied white males who may have favored adoption comprised but two-and-a-half percent of the population. So it cannot be said that the Constitution was “an expression of the clear and deliberate will of the whole people” nor of a majority of the adult males, nor at the outside, of one-fifth of them.  In essence, debtors, the poor and un-influential, women, Indigenous natives, slaves – the overwhelming majority of all human beings living in the 13 states of the Union at the time – were either opposed to the Constitution or were not allowed to register a formal, legal opinion.

How US American Exceptionalism (Fake History) Hides Shame, Creates Stupidity and Dangerous Imperialism, October 25, 2020

Premise

The formula for preserving our Disney World US American fantasy: Create a fake story of nobility (exceptionalism) that hides painful shame of two gruesome, founding genocides, murdering millions with impunity, enabling people to live as if in a stupor, a slick technique of denial that easily morphs into dangerous, thoughtless stupidity, and global imperialism. Meanwhile, people continue to shop.

Introduction

When I was a child in rural upstate New York in the 1940s and 1950s, I enjoyed small town life and the tranquility of a luscious surrounding nature. I had pictures of baseball stars plastered on all four of my bedroom walls, including my boyhood hero, Stan “the Man” Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals. I recited a grateful prayer in my little sanctuary before going to sleep each night: “Thank you God for allowing me to have been born and raised in the United States, the greatest country in the history of the world, endowed by our Creator to bring prosperity to the impoverished, and Christianity to the heathen”. It was a wonderful story, greatly enhanced by our nation’s reputedly celebrated victory over Fascism in Europe. Life was good, or so I thought.

Having been born on July 4, 1941, I was a patriotic baby of the World War II generation. My family was lower middle class, devout Baptists and, like my parents, I believed that the FBI under the “leadership” of J. Edgar Hoover protected our democratic Christian freedoms from the Russians. The Cold War propaganda was nothing short of spectacular, virtually all unchallenged by anyone I knew.

My father was pleased that the John Birch Society had been formed in 1958 to help in the fight against Communism, including identifying those books in our local school libraries that should be banned, including anything sympathetic to Russia. I was so taken by the propaganda that during my senior year in high school I read J. Edgar Hoover’s Masters of Deceit: The Story of Communism and How to Fight it[1], and excitedly imagined becoming an FBI agent. And Hoover’s book was, of course, praised and encouraged. But, my parent’s conversations at home not only were saturated with anti-Communism, as with most US American families. But there were also diatribes contemning “the colored”, Jews, and “dago” Italians. And, it seemed, a number of others in my small town of 350 held similar views.

There was another factor operating. Coinciding with the celebrated post-World War II victory, the nation experienced a unique 35-year blip in its history – an age of a large middle class imbibing in insatiable consumerism and optimism. My family replaced their icebox with a new electric refrigerator, bought their first automobile, and by 1958 had purchased an 11-inch B&W television set. People installed indoor plumbing replacing outhouses. It was proof that we are an exceptional people, and God’s chosen people to boot. However, this optimism was tempered by fear of the Soviet Union that severely prevented genuine liberal dialogue and critical thinking education.

This blip of a huge Middle Class came to an end with the election of President Ronald Reagan who in 1981 began to implement huge tax cuts for the rich, while drastically cutting funding for social welfare programs. Numbers of homelessness began to dramatically increase.[2]  

1950s: “Positive Thinking/Prosperity Gospel” – Norman Vincent Peale and US Exceptionalism

Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993), a Dutch Reformed minister, wrote The Power of Positive Thinking in 1952, a bestseller for 186 consecutive weeks, a book prominently in our home religious library, as it was in the Trump’s family home in Queens, New York. Peale also wrote a magazine, Guideposts, a fiercely anti-Communist monthly, which my parents read regularly.Peale served as a guru for the post-depression, post-World War II generation with his cult-like, self-help “bible” for achieving material success with divine blessings. Peale described himself as a “missionary to American business”, opposing unions and the New Deal. Thus, he was exceedingly popular with ambitious US Americans, especially White folks, both the rich, and those seeking riches.

Donald L. Trump, as a 6-year-old child began to regularly attend Peale’s New York City church with his parents. Peale officiated at Trump’s first marriage with Ivana Zelnickova, and both Trump’s sisters were married at Peale’s church. To this day, Trump lauds Peale for his success, unrestrained self-confidence, and from whom he learned modern branding. In Trump’s 2015 book, Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again[3], he attributed his success to Peale, and made claims that “I am a Christian…I love God, and I love having a relationship with Him…[and] the Bible is the most important book ever written”.

Many theologians considered Peale as “God’s salesman”, critiquing him as a dangerous con man and fraud since he convinced people to believe that all basic problems were personal, unrelated to social, political, or economic contexts. Personal failures, Peale, said, were a sign of spiritual weakness, preaching that everyone has the power to make oneself happy and rich.  It fits perfectly with US American exceptionalism and Trump’s narcissism.[4]

Incidentally, Trump’s father, Frederick Christ Trump, (1905-1999), was arrested at age 22 on Memorial Day, 1927, at a KKK rally/march in the NYC Borough of Queens, where Trump lived. An innocent bystander and 5 known Klansmen were arrested at the same time as Trump.[5]

Viet Nam – Great Awakening of the Grand Lie

In Viet Nam I was staggered at how terribly dumbed-down I was as I turned 28, having been drafted in 1966 during my 4th semester of law school. Because of conditioned ignorance, I had thoughtlessly become part of a brutal killing machine that was murdering countless innocents, though I never pulled a trigger or dropped a bomb.

My Disney bliss rapidly evaporated in Viet Nam. The entrance sign to my squadron’s in-country headquarters said, “Welcome to Indian Country”. This reminded me of the slogan, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian”, hinting the same plight for the Vietnamese. Incidentally, Trump, five years my junior, enjoyed five deferments enabling him to avoid Viet Nam.

While performing auxiliary duty as a USAF Combat Security officer, I documented the immediate aftermath of atrocities committed from the air that annihilated inhabited, undefended villages. I was shocked, and sickened from the sight of hundreds of villagers lying dead and suffering horribly in their villages. I wondered who the fuck am I, a 6’ 3” White man, 9,000 miles from my rural farming village in New York State? These Vietnamese were in their home villages. Village life was the essence of Vietnamese culture and we were systematically destroying it. I felt depressingly unauthentic, like a dumb ideological robot.

Clearly we possessed no serious understanding of Vietnamese history and culture. Apparently it wasn’t considered important. At that moment I began to realize that being a privileged White man was in fact an emotional and intellectual disability. White male supremacy has been and remains a powerful force, as it enables a kind of mindless “sliding” through life, pre-empting the need to ask serious questions. However, my discovery of empathy began to radicalize me. I wondered whether as a culture we have become sadistic, criminal psychopaths?Or have we always been?   Hmm?!

Accumulating high body counts, from babies to grandparents, and every age in between, was politically comforting to US politicians and to a large number of their their taxpaying constituents. We simply created a fiction that we were killing the “enemy” to satisfy the emotional, and political momentum of stopping the bogeyman – Communism – when in fact we were murdering innocent Vietnamese peasants. Mass murder was normalized. After all, the Vietnamese were simply “gooks”. My own commander referred to them as vermin. Exaggerating or falsifying statistics, especially body counts, was policy.[6]  When the US war ended in 1975, 13,000 of 21,000 Vietnamese villages had been deliberately wiped out. Huge B-52 bombers left 26 million bomb craters, while targeting and destroying almost 950 churches and pagodas, 350 clearly marked hospitals, nearly 3,000 educational institutions, over 15,000 bridges, 18 power plants, 40 factories, 10 million cubic meters of dikes, and 25 million acres of farmland. The US also chemically poisoned food supplies and forests. Our cultural corruption was so extreme we proudly ordered B-52 death machines flying five miles high blessed by God-fearing chaplains to bomb unarmed, mostly Buddhist peasants living nine thousand miles across the Pacific.  What?!

Over six million Asians were gruesomely, senselessly murdered, with countless additional millions permanently maimed. It was barbaric, truly genocidal. I felt personal shame for my participation, and intense anger of betrayal. At times I felt suicidal. My White male conditioning had made me “disabled”, i.e., a kind of stupidity whose mind hadn’t even thought to seriously ask why I was putting my life on the line in a small country across the seas I knew nothing about? I had been part of a massive conspiracy to violate international law and destroy a sovereign people. Huh?! But I had been conditioned to think that “America” was nonetheless, exceptional.

Another deplorable fact is that the peace plan offered by the National Liberation Front (NLF) in 1973, agreed to by Nixon, was substantially the same terms offered in 1969 but rejected by Nixon. In the 4 years between early 1969 and 1973, the US suffered almost half its casualties, along with the murder of countless Vietnamese. Even more horrendous, is that the final peace plan was similar to the original 1954 peace accords ending the 9-year French Indochina war, but which the US refused to honor. Thus the Vietnamese suffered through 20 more years in what was truly a diabolical genocidal war, murdering millions, with loss of 64,000 US and allied troops. To add insult to injury, the 1973 peace accords included a US pledge of over $4 billion in postwar reconstruction aid that the US never honored.[7]  The Indigenous Americans have warned us over and over that the US Government does not honor its agreements.

I have never fully recovered from my Viet Nam experiences. I felt deep betrayal by the US Government, the church, school, and family about “America”. In Viet Nam I experienced carefree lawlessness, utter cruelty, and the habitual lying of countless government and military officials. The deeper deceitful and violent DNA nature of my own culture came into view. My heretofore belief in the exceptionalism of US “America” was crushed forever, despite presence of many wonderful people and good friends in the country. Though that turned out to be fortunate, it was nonetheless heavy grief from loss of my trusted cultural underpinnings. By the early 1980s, with more than a decade of reflection, it seemed evermore that the culture of the country of my birth and upbringing possessed a severe psychotic mental illness, a paranoia associated with delusions of grandeur. This mentality is very dangerous because it leads to a kind of stupor, or stupidity, uninterested in engaging in truly honest dialogue or discussion, acting like a mindless, conceited fool. This delusional “exceptionalism” is deeply conditioned in us.

In 1981 I came across an article by psychologist Peter Marin titled “Living in Moral Pain”.[8] It started me thinking that what I had been experiencing since Viet Nam – a marked alienation – was a moral dis-ease. Serious moral and soul injuries might be considered an ailment much deeper and very different from and, I believe, more uncomfortable than anxiety. This moral injury may explain the high suicide rate among veterans who have experienced serious, deep cognitive dissonance that challenges the essence of the right and wrong innately known by the soul.[9] And, it explains the suicidal thoughts that come in and out of my head when experiencing the Fellini movie–like experience called Viet Nam, right up to the present day.

One of a number of symptoms I experience is feeling alone even when around lots of acquaintances, friends and family.[10] The betrayal I felt initially undermined the basic groundings of personal identity and loyalty to my country. Any confidence of a collective human moral code had been destroyed. Therapy and association with other veterans who feel similar to me have enabled me to function psychologically and spiritually as a world citizen. But the moral injury always remains in the midst of the continued cruelty and barbarism that continues ad nauseum. War after war, lie after lie, corpse after corpse, the pain is felt very viscerally in my body.

The truth is that from the very beginning, the US possessed absolutely no legal or moral authority whatsoever to wage war against the Vietnamese and their neighbors; talk of seeking victory under such circumstances does nothing but perpetuate imperial barbarism. No Vietnamese person or government policy ever hurt or threatened the United States or its citizens. In fact, it is the US government, with the assistance of the media, that abused US soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines by lying about the origins and causes of the conflict, that sent its youth to kill and be killed in a grotesquely illegal war, and that ignored their psychological, physical, and social needs when they first returned home.

And there is nothing new about this in US history. I have been provoked to study the real history of the US, sadly discovering that the US war against the Vietnamese was not an aberration. For those who argue that we did not utilize sufficient military power to “win”, I ask, “What were to win? How to be successful mass murderers?” Furthermore, I learned that from 1966 on, the US spent 29 times as much on the Indochina war as the Soviets and People’s Republic combined.[11]

Criminal Cruelty to Prevent Vietnamese Autonomy

US premeditated policy intended to destroy Vietnamese self-determination. As historian William Blum has succinctly concluded: “the thread common to the diverse targets of [US] American intervention…in virtually every case involving the Third World… has been, in one form or another, a policy of ‘self-determination’: the desire …to pursue a path of development independent of US foreign policy objectives”[12].

The US war (as with virtually all wars), was based on a Grand lie, in this case that the majority Vietnamese were being invaded by other Vietnamese who the US called “Communists”. And it was maintained by grotesque lies – every day – such as identifying all dead Vietnamese as a victory (body counts), all carried out by heinous war crimes. Official reports abounded about our making progress in the war – lies. The fictional “democratic” South Vietnamese government created by the US and CIA was so unpopular the US military was forced to invade and occupy South Viet Nam for 10 years with nearly 550,000 troops supported by countless daily bombing missions and unprecedented use of chemical warfare. We murdered millions and it still didn’t work. How demonic can we get?

Fake history about Viet Nam was confirmed in the 1971 release of the Pentagon Papers. Despite this, the highly publicized Burns-Novick 2017 TV Documentary, The Vietnam War, claimed the war was “begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings”. Lies die hard.

Dishonest Intelligence

Ralph McGehee, former starter on three Notre Dame national championship football teams in the late 1940s, a cum laude graduate, became one of the 700 CIA officers in Viet Nam. He was shocked when discovering the daily intelligence he was gathering was totally bastardized in official reports. Depressed about the dishonest intelligence system, he became suicidal. McGehee reported that the repressive, oligarchic government of US puppet Nguyen Van Thieu was so unpopular and corrupt that most Vietnamese were organized, committed, and dedicated to his defeat, and a Vietnamese Communist victory[13].

Cold War Redux

Now 78, fifty years out of Viet Nam, I am aghast that we are living through an even more virulent, Cold War. Cold War I propaganda cast an overwhelming toxic spell on the minds of three generations, including many intelligent people. Relentless rhetoric accomplished a near total indoctrination of our entire US culture, such that all systems colluded and cooperated to preserve unquestioning belief in the unique nobility of the US American system while instilling rabid, paranoid fear of “enemies” — in our midst as well as “out there”. We rationalized pathologically inexplicable behavior around the world, as well as at home. Indoctrination was so pervasive it generates a universally compelling mythology that conceals its own contradictions. And, it continues!

Today, the corporate and social media narrative managers so tightly control propaganda that once again our minds are saturated with rages against the evil “adversary”, Russia. They manufacture consent at home, while manufacturing dissent in target countries. The neoliberal religion of privatization makes everyone and everything for sale as a commodity, dictating both domestic and foreign policy. It is enforced at home by an overreaching national security state of surveillance (our Fourth Estate), and abroad with the most brutal “wholesale” terrorist machinery in history. The US government, and its compliant military, enables obscene profits for its Military-Congressional-Intelligence-Banking-Wall Street-Drug Complex. The US population de facto consents to destroying Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syrian and others, i.e, with diabolical imperialism. It is sheer criminal insanity as it is intellectually comfortable. But the noble “exceptional” history we have been taught about ourselves proves to be fantastic fakery which continues to serve as a comfortable escape from experiencing and feeling the horrible truth of the collective shame of our unspeakable criminal genocidal origins. Capitalism itself would not have existed without centuries of egregious colonial plunder of millions of Indigenous Americans, or millions of enslaved Africans. So, not only does the lie of exceptionalism” enable us to avoid extremely unpleasant thoughts and feelings, but it also discourages asking enlightening, delving questions, about who we reallyare as a people. This makes us dangerously stupid. Why mess with the apparent successful myth of being exceptional? But thoughtlessness – a suspension of critical thinking – today leads to a dangerous, nuclear, arrogant war-making society. Not unintelligent, but stupid. And the power brokers, and many in the population, have a vested interest in remaining stupidto protect the comfortable original lie, that requires countless subsequent lies, in turn, to preserve that original lie. We have told ourselves a nice story. But it is a lie and as long as we continue to believe in our superiority we deepen our stupidity.

Thus, throughout our history we have lived by a slick Grand “American” lie, granting us comfort and security in our “superior” cultural identity. Spellbound and flattered we live by our favorite mythological maxims: “Founding Fathers”, “democracy”, “Constitution”, “Rule of Law”, and “greatest country ever”. Our political-religion of US American predatory corporate capitalism (privatization)blocks experiencing the most critical of all social emotions – empathy – that ties all humanity together, something I so painfully, but thankfully learned in Viet Nam. The Grand lie is so huge and pervasive we do not generally recognize it.

Cultural analysts such as Lewis Mumford have described how unchecked “power punctuates the entire history of mankind with outbursts of collective paranoia and tribal delusions of grandeur mingled with malevolent suspicions, murderous hatreds, and atrociously inhumane acts”.[14] So, in effect, much of human civilization history is based on institutionalized dehumanization, a form of Fascism.  Mumford again: “A personal over-concentration of power as an end in itself is suspect to the psychologist as an attempt to conceal inferiority, impotence, and anxiety. When this inferiority is combined with defensive inordinate ambitions, uncontrolled hostility and suspicion, and a loss of any sense of the subject’s own limitation, ‘delusions of grandeur’ result, which is the typical syndrome of paranoia, one of the most difficult psychological states to exorcise”[15].

The US nation is a perfect example of what Mumford described is a criminal enterprise maintained by “collective paranoia” without sense of “limitation”, the result being “delusions of grandeur”, the typical syndrome of paranoia, one of the most difficult psychological states to exorcise”. Built on forceful dispossession, deceit, and fantasy, the USA lives with a DNA of selfishness, arrogance and violence that began long ago, and we seem content to leave it be, increasing our dangerousness to ourselves and the world.

Orwell

In George Orwell’s novel, 1984[16], the Ministry of Truth rearranges facts and rewrites history. On the face of the building in which it is housed are engraved these slogans: “War Is Peace; Freedom Is Slavery; Ignorance Is Strength”. Language is one of the most important tools of the totalitarian state. If all citizens accept the lies that the ruling party imposes—if all records tell the same tale—then the lie passes into history and becomes truth. All that is needed is an unending series of victories over our own memory. This is called Reality control. In Orwell’s Newspeak, doublethink is the official state language. Everything becomes pretend, the lies told over and over in many different forms throughout time.[17] Meanwhile, wars easily continue[18], facilitated by deceit and lies[19], elaborate propaganda mind-control systems[20] that permeate our education institutions[21] and Hollywood[22] and are promoted by the concentrated monopoly of corporate mass media[23]. Our collective minds are systematically colonized to accept the unacceptable.

This McCarthy-like new Cold War dangerously speeds the world toward nuclear holocaust. I raise the question: Are we stupid? Can we not see that our behavior is leading to our ecocide/suicide – climate catastrophe and nuclear war?

US Exceptionalism Has Been Fatal – Creates Stupid, Shameful Monsters

The origins of the Grand Lie of Viet Nam, and the horrific cruelties committed there, are discoverable in the very origins of US America. The psychological and cultural conditioning growing up in US America, especially for a Eurocentric White male like myself, is emotionally and intellectually comfortable. But the noble “exceptional” history we have been taught about ourselves proves to be fantastic fakery which continues to serve as a comfortable escape from experiencing and feeling the horrible truth of the collective shame of our unspeakable criminal genocidal origins. Capitalism itself would not have existed without centuries of egregious colonial plunder of millions of Indigenous Americans, or millions of enslaved Africans. So, not only does the lie of exceptionalism” enable us to avoid extremely unpleasant thoughts and feelings, but it also discourages asking enlightening, delving questions, about who we reallyare as a people. This makes us dangerously stupid. Why mess with the apparent successful myth of being exceptional? But thoughtlessness – a suspension of critical thinking – today leads to a dangerous, nuclear, arrogant war-making society. Not unintelligent, but stupid. And the power brokers, and many in the population, have a vested interest in remaining stupidto protect the comfortable original lie, that requires countless subsequent lies, in turn, to preserve that original lie. We have told ourselves a nice story. But it is a lie and as long as we continue to believe in our superiority we deepen our stupidity.

Thus, throughout our history we have lived by a slick Grand “American” lie, granting us comfort and security in our “superior” cultural identity. Spellbound and flattered we live by our favorite mythological maxims: “Founding Fathers”, “democracy”, “Constitution”, “Rule of Law”, and “greatest country ever”. Our political-religion of US American predatory corporate capitalism (privatization)blocks experiencing the most critical of all social emotions – empathy – that ties all humanity together, something I so painfully, but thankfully learned in Viet Nam. The Grand lie is so huge and pervasive we do not generally recognize it.

Cultural analysts such as Lewis Mumford have described how unchecked “power punctuates the entire history of mankind with outbursts of collective paranoia and tribal delusions of grandeur mingled with malevolent suspicions, murderous hatreds, and atrociously inhumane acts”.[24] So, in effect, much of human civilization history is based on institutionalized dehumanization, a form of Fascism.  Mumford again: “A personal over-concentration of power as an end in itself is suspect to the psychologist as an attempt to conceal inferiority, impotence, and anxiety. When this inferiority is combined with defensive inordinate ambitions, uncontrolled hostility and suspicion, and a loss of any sense of the subject’s own limitation, ‘delusions of grandeur’ result, which is the typical syndrome of paranoia, one of the most difficult psychological states to exorcise”[25].

The US nation is a perfect example of what Mumford described is a criminal enterprise maintained by “collective paranoia” without sense of “limitation”, the result being “delusions of grandeur”, the typical syndrome of paranoia, one of the most difficult psychological states to exorcise”. Built on forceful dispossession, deceit, and fantasy, the USA lives with a DNA of selfishness, arrogance and violence that began long ago, and we seem content to leave it be, increasing our dangerousness to ourselves and the world.

The US Shadow

At the Democratic presidential convention in July 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt, seeking an unprecedented fourth term, refuses to back his Vice-President Henry Wallace, very popular with rank-and-file voters, and the last ardent proponent of the New Deal, in favor of relatively unknown US Senator Harry Truman from Missouri. The war, not the New Deal, had saved the second Roosevelt administration, and the capitalist system, i.e., big-monied interests, vehemently oppose the popular Wallace, who is perceived as too far left and overly friendly with labor.[26] (In truth, Wallace was not a Socialist and did not support the Communists, but he vociferously advocated for a “people’s capitalism” and sought peaceful co-existence with the Soviets.[27])  The Roosevelt-Truman team won the presidential election in November 1944.  To placate Wallace, Roosevelt names him Secretary of Commerce.

On September 10, 1946, Truman’s Secretary of Commerce, Henry Wallace, warned in a speech made at Madison Square Garden in New York that “to make Britain the key to our foreign policy would be the height of folly.” He feared that “British imperialist policy in the Near East alone, combined with Russian retaliation, would lead the United States straight to war.” Wallace’s expressed distaste for US involvement with Britain and Europe was popular across the political spectrum. He clearly opposed the emerging Cold War foreign policy. With monied interests becoming ever more anxious with Wallace, Truman demanded the Commerce Secretary refrain from talking about foreign policy issues. The last of FDR’s twelve New Deal appointees, Wallace refused and was asked to resign on September 20. Using his next position as editor of The New Republic, Wallace continued to harshly critique Truman’s foreign policy, which he believed was leading the US toward war.[28]

The firing of Wallace represented the final triumph of the bipartisan monied oligarchy that had emerged from the earlier Progressive Movement and the New Deal. The oligarchy was composed of four major groups: (1) leaders of the three major corporate components of the economy—labor, agriculture, and finance; (2) sophisticated professional politicians (a “syndicalist oligarchy”); (3) academic and religious liberals known as “ameliorative capitalists”; and (4) permanent government servants and the military establishment.[29]  In the making for 50 years, these oligarchic powers were intent on global expansion that unfortunately meant increasing exploitation of other peoples. Expansion into new overseas was very lucrative, and assured the continued prosperous triumph of US American capitalism.

Henry Wallace’s prediction that the Truman Doctrine would usher in a repressive century of fear came true.[30] Wallace denounced the increasing persecution of radicals at home, and said that “the men who speak of reigns of terror in Europe are fast introducing a reign of terror here at home”,[31] echoing the principle of “shadow projection” articulated by psychologist Carl Jung. The radical journalist I. F. Stone, like Wallace, understood that the manufactured Red Scare at home enabled imperial policies abroad to be conducted with a minimum of effective dissent, would weaken the Left, stifle critical dialogue, foster development of a lucrative military industrial complex, and bring to power those who sought to terminate the New Deal.

Carl Jung discussed defensive societal mechanisms of “projecting one’s shadow”[32] onto others to avoid acknowledging disturbing qualities within oneself. He described a “psychology of war” in which “everything which our own nation does is good, everything which the other nations do is wicked. The center of all that is mean and vile is always to be found several miles behind the enemy’s lines”.[33] Thus, the collective shadow of US imperialism blinds us from “seeing” our own chronic pattern of arrogant, aggressive global behavior. And so it is repeated over and over, preserved by our phony sense of “exceptionalism.” Any willingness to honestly critique harms done by that behavior is blocked at every turn. Understanding historical events and the patterns that emerge from them is terribly important as a precondition for building a better today and tomorrow. Otherwise, we live at the mercy of previously embedded, dysfunctional behaviors.

After World War II, an incredible switch occurred in popular US ideology, when Americans suddenly were obliged to accept that former war allies, Russia and China, were now considered enemies, while former enemies Germany and Japan were allies. What remained consistent was US America’s need for a perceived alien menace, a demonized enemy “out there,” enabling us to continue ignoring our own dark shadows.[34]

A major consequence of civilization, then, is that each of us likely nurses deep psychic trauma in the form of insecurity and shame. These feelings are usually so unbearable that to create viable personas we must develop defense mechanisms to mask them. Carl Jung described how we often play a trick on ourselves by projecting our dark inner shadows onto others. Arrogance rather than humility, ignorance rather than awareness, and violence against “others” rather than mutual respect, became major mechanisms to relieve the anxiety created by these insecurities.[35] Denial serves as a convenient, unconscious defense mechanism that covers over or obscures painful reality. Because our official life as a nation is enabled and built on collective denial of extremely painful realities—the dispossession of others—fantasy politics in the U.S. has become a way of life in our country.[36]

Years after my experience in Vietnam, where I witnessed the immediate aftermath of intentional, low-flight bombings of inhabited fishing villages, I again personally witnessed the cruel and nearly incomprehensible U.S. wars against the restive but humble barefoot and shirtless peoples of Central America in the 1980s. I was in disbelief, literally feeling sick to my stomach. What could possibly motivate individuals, under orders from and paid for by our government in Washington, to commit such unspeakable barbaric acts day after day. We sensed some kind of awful karma leading toward a very horrible future for us U.S. Americans.

I have often thought that Swiss psychologist Carl Jung’s concept of the “projection of shadow” has been operating at the national level in the United States, as well as at the personal level of most of us living in the U.S. As a kid I grew up listening to the Sunday afternoon radio show, “The Shadow,” in which Bret Morrison’s eerie voice, over a background of scary music, asked, “Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men? Only the Shadow knows.” The radio show was launched in July 1930, not long after Jung publicly articulated his shadow concept, and I sometimes wonder if Jung’s ideas contributed to the concept for the show, which was popular for 24 years. The Shadow was transformed into a pop culture icon by legendary pulp writer Walter B. Gibson.

The shadow self, the personal unconscious dark side of one’s personality, is a theory of evil. Jung maintained that the dark side of our personality, a part that we are often ashamed of and afraid to express in the open, is often repressed to the unconscious, forming a more-or-less autonomous splinter personality called the “shadow.” Eventually, the shadow does find its own expression, particularly through projections of images onto others. These projections, often seemingly irrational or illogical, and sometimes dangerous, actually represent aspects of the repressed personality within the projector him or herself. Thus a kind of dishonest jujitsu is performed so as to avoid the pain of emotional and intellectual honesty and accountability to oneself and in one’s public persona.

As individuals, we project evil traits onto those whom we believe, in our jujitsu thinking, are causing us consternation or threatening our well being. This leads to racism, sexism, classism, etc. Spouse abuse is a common result of a projection, as is lynching of African Americans by Whites, or discrimination against immigrants. Feelings of nationalism and patriotism leading to violence against others is another result of shadow projection. On the national level, these projections often lead to diabolical efforts to eradicate the evil we project onto others. The Vietnamese, the Nicaraguans, the Japanese, the Iraqis — i.e., the enemy of the day — must then be bludgeoned in our futile effort to feel secure, but this outward warring behavior only delays our honestly addressing issues within our own nation while further compounding our problems.

As a nation, just as individuals, we need to discover our own shadow if we are to become healthy and whole. We can actually discover our shadow by paying close attention to the images and accusations we project onto others, and the language used to demonize them. The images and descriptions are of our own evil impulses! To become conscious of our shadow, to become knowledgeable about all of our selves, we must be willing to recognize the shadow in our projections so that we can distinguish our own flaws and take responsibility for healing them rather than continuing to accuse others. Failing that, we will constantly create enemies.

The US Record of Barbarism

*Military invaded countries nearly 600 times since 1798; 400 alone since WWII, all illegal, except for 5 that received the Constitutionally required Congressional declarations of war;

*At least 800 military bases in 70 countries;

*US Special Forces operating secretly in 70 Percent of the world’s nations, all illegal;

*Currently bombing seven nations, all illegal;

*Bombing of 30 countries since WWII, all illegal;

*1,240 Army battles against Native Americans before 1900, part of the genocide;

*Claiming 94 islands in the Pacific and Caribbean, all illegal;

*Thousands of covert interventions since 1947, all illegal;

*Global imperialism established: By the early Twentieth Century, the US military had conquered all continental lands and their original inhabitants, stolen half of Mexico, invaded Korea, annexed Hawaii, conquered the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. In its push south, by 1930, Washington had sent military gunboats into Latin American ports over 6,000 times, in addition to having invaded Cuba and Mexico once again, as well as Guatemala and Honduras, and taken Panama from Columbia. These aggressions, in addition to protracted wars fought in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Haiti, all enabled US corporations and financial houses to dominate the economies of most of Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and much of South America, all illegal.[37]

*Overthrowing or attempting to overthrow nearly 60 governments, all illegal.[38]

*Assassinating, or attempting to assassinate at least 44 leaders, all illegal.[39]

*US Interfered in Elections of at Least 85 Countries Worldwide Since 1945, all illegal.[40]

Trump Exposes the Pretend Society; The Deep State Ironically Exposed in Trying to Defeat Trump

The phenomenon of the Presidency of Donald John Trump “offers” our culture, and the world, an overdue undisguised photo of our real culture and its disturbing politics. Some say Trump brings out the worst in people – hatred, thin-skinned, narcissism, lying, cruelty, mean-spirited, crassness, racism, poisonous divisiveness, adolescent delinquency, etc. But is it possible that his language and demeanor are validating expressions of historically suppressed feelings, and values, which have never been sufficiently addressed or openly acknowledged in our Eurocentric, capitalist, money-oriented, nature-defying, culture? These repressed censored feelings once unleashed, no matter how adolescent they seem, are capable of manifesting in a vicious authoritarian and neo-fascist state, as they did in Germany nearly 100 years ago. It seems we are at that point again.

The “developed” world, led by the United States of America, has historically been built on egregious exploitation and violence hidden under fanciful rhetoric of exceptionalism. Inevitably, the chickens come home to roost. As Eurocentrics we have been lying to ourselves and the world with our highly touted economic system and “democracy,” fooling ourselves by myths and lies we have long believed about our “superiority” built on the suffering of others. We select leaders who are corrupted by money but who use politically “correct” language and a finessed demeanor to gain approval. In fact, they have consistently been imperial and oligarchic, selfishly stealing to assure an insatiably consumptive lifestyle for under 5 percent of the world’s population (but only benefitting a minority of its own people), while gobbling up anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of the globe’s resources (depending on the resource and era examined). We ad nauseum excuse our interventions using “national security” or “humanitarian justice.” We have followed in the footsteps of our imperial teachers in the United Kingdom. Have we ever thought about the structural unfairness and gross arrogance that has enabled 500 years of colonization? Trump’s Presidency of “transparency” reveals a lot about us that we have not wanted to recognize, making it more difficult for some of us to sleep at night. But his policies are normal in the historical US context. Our historical chronic complicity in this horror story cannot be ignored.

Trump serves as an avatar, or caricature, the personification of a creepy, violent, racist, disgusting, immature culture, at least as experienced by large numbers of people both in the US and the world. Trump’s appeal can largely be attributed to the fact that he has taken the clothes off of Pretend. His childish nature of lying, tweeting and exaggerating, ironically reveals an ugly “truth” about our modern selves that has been drowned under incredible “public relations” – education, the media, Hollywood, sports, the State Department, etc. His extreme personal narcissism matches well our extreme collective exceptionalism. Is it clearer now just how big the LIE has been, protected by our comfortable 500-year myths? Welcome to dystopia, Kafka, and Orwell.

The World War I Armistice, formally signed on November 11, 1918, ended 52 gruesome months of war. But the Allied blockade of Germany continued until mid-1919, preventing food shipments that caused devastating malnourishment in which an estimated 800,000 Germans perished as a direct result.[41]

The signing of the Versailles (France) Peace Treaty on June 28, 1919, formally ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. Famously called the war to end all wars, history reveals the opposite, that the war and the manner of its ending laid the basis for World War II.[42] However, the Treaty provisions included requiring “Germany to accept the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage” during the war. Germany was forced to unilaterally disarm, make certain territorial concessions, and pay billions of dollars of reparations to allied powers. Historical scholars understand that there were a number of factors and countries involved in fomenting the war, and that holding Germany solely responsible was predictably causing deep resentment among Germans likely to manifest in subsequent revenge.[43] The German people, accused of being responsible for all war damages, and recovering from starvation due to the Allies blockade of food shipments, became disillusioned, and resentful.

Learning From US History with Germany

Ironically, and despite this anti-German sentiment in diplomatic affairs, it is extraordinarily revealing of the incredible sympathy the US possessed for the rise of authoritarian Nazi Germany. Even though the Soviet military was most critical in defeating the Nazis in World War II, deep fear of the Bolsheviks (the emergence of an alternative social-economic system to capitalism) motivated US America’s wealthy class, with the complicity of the US government, to support the rise of Nazi Germany from the mid-1930s into the war years themselves. Many US working class also supported the Nazi cause. In a kind of schizophrenia, as we were fighting the Germans in Europe as the wealthy US barons were financing the German Nazis, 676,000 German prisoners were shipped to a number of prison camps in the US.[44]

The US capitalists supported the Nazi capitalists to defeat the “threat” of socialism. Elite power brokers included leaders of Wall Street and wealthy “barons” such as the Rockefellers and Andrew Mellon, and businesses such as Ford Motor, IBM (tabulating daily location of Jews in the Holocaust), General Motors, General Electric, Standard Oil, Texaco, ITT, International Harvester, Chase Manhattan Bank, the House of Morgan banking dynasty, DuPont, United Aircraft, etc., who enjoyed huge profits from the war.[45]

And following the war, the US’s “Operation Gladio” systematically defeated popular anti-Nazi groups throughout Europe, while “Operation Paperclip” secretly brought Nazi scientists and other professionals to the US. Our affinity for fascism has been established.[46]

Note About Stupidity

The word “stupid” is derived from Latin stupere – to be stunned, numb or astonished, act insensibly, and is related to stupor, a state of near unconsciousness, numbness, mental suspension of sensibility.

One of the “letters” in German Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers From Prison[47] was entitled “On Stupidity”. In prison for secretly planning an assassination attempt on Hitler, he wrote many letters and essays until his execution in 1945, at age 39. He attributed much of Hitler’s success to the stupidity of the depressed and anxious, but very intelligent, German people who sought relief in a savior to whom they could obey as mindless tools in a centralized “democratic” regime rallying against a demonized enemy. They deprived themselves of their inner independence, and more or less consciously, gave up establishing an autonomous position in relationship to the circumstances. They relied on slogans, and catchwords that have the effect of mesmerizing people under a spell or trance. “Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice”, said Bonhoeffer, because the latter can be exposed and forcefully prevented. But “against stupidity we are defenseless” as “reasons fall on deaf ears”. Thoughtlessness is dangerous.

Psychoanalyst Otto Fenichel (1897-1946), known for his study of neuroses, articulated a thesis that supported Bonhoeffer’s notions, describing how people become stupid ad hoc when they do not want to understand, where understanding would cause anxiety, or guilt feelings, or would endanger an existing neurotic equilibrium.[48]

British novelist Doris Lessing concluded there is no fool like an intellectual…a kind of clever stupidity, bred out of a line of logic in the head, nothing related to experience.[49] In the US we have been living in our heads for more than 200 years with a false narrative quite divorced from visceral and factual reality.

British economist, E. F. Schumacher, a severe critic of modern market economics and unlimited growth on a finite planet, argued that the continued and systematic cultivation of greed and envy dims and collapses intelligence, resulting in irrationality and stupidity, and that when whole societies become infected by these vices, and though astonishing things have been achieved, but at the severe cost of increasing incapability to solve the most elementary problems of everyday existence.[50]

Shame Different Than Guilt

Shame is different from guilt. Guilt is much more a personal emotion about specific harmful behavior. Shame is very much a social emotion related to how one perceives self in relationship to how others see you. Shame suggested that even my reluctant willingness to participate in such a profane assignment as Viet Nam, for example, was a product of feeling devalued or worthless, likely partially due to my parental conditioning. And though I was certainly ignorant like so many of us who were caught in that fucking horror, I wondered why I had no yearning to learn about Vietnamese history, i.e., why was I content to remain ignorant when being ordered to put my life on the line? I turned 28 years in Viet Nam. What was my excuse? I attribute it to a kind of conditioned cultural stupidity, a product of the comfort and security of our religion – “exceptionalism”.

A Little History of Exceptionalism

It is important to note that when English settlers arrived in what is now Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, and what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620, they were immigrants funded by private for-profit English venture capitalists possessing land rights granted them from royal authority. The primary intention was to reap financial profits in the New World from the planting, harvesting and exporting crops back to London. By 1630, Puritan lawyer John Winthrop had become Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company, proclaiming it as a Bible Commonwealth. Despite the area inhabited by Indigenous tribes, Winthrop declared the region as a “vacuum” since there was no evidence that local residents had “subdued” the land. The seeds were born in capitalist theology of private property and individual rights.[51]

Winthrop’s 1630 sermon, “A Model of Christian Charity”, has become an axiom for US “American Exceptionalism”: “We shall find that the God of Israel is among us… For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us”. He deeply believed the Puritans were God’s chosen people.[52] The cast was set.

The worldview of White settlers crossing the continent came to be called “Manifest Destiny” after John L. O’Sullivan, editor of the periodical Democratic Review, published in a July 1845 issue: “it is our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the development of our yearly multiplying millions”.[53]  Four years later, Missouri Senator Benton in 1849 urged US America to expand its destiny from our continent to Eastern Asia, to profit from “rich commerce” and “realize the grand idea of Columbus . .  carrying wealth and dominion with it”.[54]  

The comforting term of exceptionalism is used so often we don’t give it much critical thought. It is a given. For example, in a June 3, 2015 Washington Post article, President Barack Obama told the graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being”. This was a normally expressed sentiment. At the same time, a general social survey by the Post, found 84% of people agreed with the statement, “I would rather be a citizen of America than of any other country in the world”. This reminded me of my innocent, naïve bedtime prayer I recited as a child, cited above.

Criminal Nation Born in Genocides and Deceit; Imperial Beginnings

The U.S. Eleventh Census report in 1890 reported that “Since the advent of the European in the present United States there have been almost constant wars between whites and Indians, outbreaks, or massacres, beginning on the Pacific side in 1539 and on the Atlantic side after 1600. Though the official jargon calls them “Indian Wars” they were in fact wars of aggression against Native inhabitants, then against African Americans, waged by White European invaders, not just English, but German, Irish, Scotch, etc. In addition, the US has militarily intervened into other countries hundreds of times against millions of peoples in dozens and dozens of countries in the “Third World” from the Nineteenth century to today.

US wars are not mistakes. They are part of a pattern of brutality written into our country’s DNA since the 1600s. Since the first European settlers raped, pillaged, and massacred the local Indian populations in order to claim the land for themselves, and deraced Africans by kidnapping them to achieve free labor, we in the United States have felt it our manifest destiny as exceptional people to gain more materialism, even at the expense of anyone and everyone else, and the earth.

The US is also a dangerous gun culture. Historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz explains how this “has entitled white nationalism, racialized dominance, and social control through violence”.[55] As Dunbar-Ortiz reveals, New England colonial governments as early as 1632 required each person to have a functioning firearm plus ammunition, and no man could appear at a public meeting unarmed. In 1658, the Virginia colony ordered every settler to carry a functioning firearm. Numerous settler-militias soon became institutionalized for destruction and control of Indigenous peoples, and used as patrols for capturing, sometimes murdering, escaped slaves. Dunbar-Ortiz, in citing historians Ned and Constance Sublette, “Guns and slavery were intimately associated with each other….all slaveholding relied on armed repression”.[56]

Military historian John Grenier described the two essential elements of the numerous frontier wars between 1607 (Jamestown, Virginia) and 1814 (near the end of the “War of 1812”): unlimited war, and irregular war.[57] The violence of the settler-colonists was brutally savage, shamelessly attacking and destroying civilian noncombatants, their villages, and food sources with the goal of annihilation and total conquest by any means necessary. Destroying the will of the people was paramount, just as the US intended in Viet Nam.

Between 1775 and 1902, a period of 127 years, US Continental (settler paramilitary) and Regular Army units, engaged in over 9,000 distinct battles, 3,195 of which caused serious casualties to regular army units, with at least 1,240 being battles against Indigenous Americans.[58]

Brutal Eurocentric values had been introduced into the New World after Columbus’s invasion in 1492. Bartolomé de las Casas, a Spanish priest who arrived in Hispaniola in 1502, became known as the “Apostle of the Indians”. He was shocked witnessing the unspeakable terror inflicted on the peaceful Indigenous inhabitants. He described the Spaniards’ behavior: vicious search for wealth with “dreadful . . . unlimited close-fisted avarice” inflicting “inhumanities and barbarisms . . . as no age can parallel” in “a continuous recreational slaughter, cruelty never before seen, nor heard of, nor read of.” The Indigenous, he said, possessed no vocabulary to even describe such bestiality.[59]

In 1811, James Madison declared our country’s right to control Florida and other Spanish possessions in all the Western Hemisphere.[60]149 In 1823, President Monroe described this imperial manifesto as the Monroe Doctrine, proclaiming rights and obligations of the United States to fulfill its destiny by claiming the entire continent, North and South, from “sea to shining sea.”

The sacrosanct goal of acquiring and expanding private property and markets in the United States was early extended to the rest of the world, often by forceful coercion or brute force. In 1897, US Senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana said, “American factories are making more than the American people can use…Fate has written our policy for us; the trade of the world must and shall be ours”.[61]

Woodrow Wilson, who opposed extra-continental expansion prior to the Spanish-American War, changed his mind soon after. In 1907, while president of Princeton University (six years before being elected president of the United States), Wilson wrote: Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down. Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process. Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused.[62]  

First Genocide

When Columbus invaded the New World, there were as many as eighteen million indigenous inhabitants living north of the Rio Grande, in perhaps six hundred autonomous tribal cultures speaking as many as two thousand languages.[63] Systematic elimination by starvation, disease, murder, and utter hopelessness/suicide, of over ninety-eight percent of the millions of Indigenous inhabitants, caused their numbers to plummet to 250,000 by 1900, enabled the conquering Europeans to develop vast amounts of land stolen with impunity.[64] Thomas Jefferson referred to the Indigenous in the 1776 Declaration of Independence as “merciless Indian Savages”.

Following his Presidency, Jefferson concluded that White Americans were “obliged” to drive the “backward” Indians “with the beasts of the forests into the Stony Mountains”, and later used stronger language “to pursue the Indians to extermination, or drive them to new seas beyond our reach”.[65] This genocide, engineered by the “superior” Eurocentric invaders in the name of “progress,” possessed all the components of the subsequent burning of villages and uprooting of natives we find throughout US war history, including in the Philippines, Korea, Viet Nam, and beyond.[66]

Second Genocide

It is estimated that Africa lost fifty to sixty million human beings to death and slavery during the nearly four hundred years of the transatlantic slave trade. It has been calculated that only ten to fifteen million survived the kidnapping process and the subsequent long, forced march chained to one another for hundreds of miles from their African villages to the coast. If that wasn’t savage enough, they were forced to endure the transport of six to ten weeks on one of 54,000 separate slave voyages, five thousand miles across the ocean. Called floating coffins, each ship held anywhere from 250 to 600 slaves.[67] The trans-Atlantic slave trade is the largest known forced intercontinental movement of human beings in history.[68]

Every African kidnapped from his or her ancient tribal community was seized in deference to intense pressures of the “iron hand of commerce”.[69] Western civilization developed as a capitalist enterprise that could only be economically profitable using free labor. Colonists proclaimed that slaves were the strength of the Western World and that their settlements “cannot subsist without supplies of them”. Planters in the colonies and merchants in England demanded that the English Parliament support the slave trade – thus the moral standard of a whole people was lowered for the sake of material advantage. The English knew that the slave trade was indispensable to “healthy” British economics.[70] Because slavery was so indispensable for the success of capitalist enterprises and the risks in the trade were large, investors in the slave trade insisted that each “legal” slave merchant be covered by underwriters who would make good for any “property” lost or thrown overboard during the voyage.[71]  Thus, millions of African people suffered the most unspeakable barbarities in ways that no White person can imagine, even to this day, committed by the hands of privileged European men who enjoyed the impunity that comes with elevated social status. This enforced savagery enabled “development” of the lands (profits) originally stolen from the Indigenous.

The Violence Has Never Stopped

On the 333rd day of the 2019, there had been 381 mass shootings (four or more shot or killed at one time and place) in the United States. Violence has historically been constant in the US. And on an average day, 3 citizens, disproportionately African American men, are killed by local police, while over 2.2 million mostly poor, disproportionately African American men, are incarcerated in one of the thousands of jails and prisons in the United States. The US has more prisoners per capita than any other country in the world. Social control of the poor is historic and systemic. Though this violence seems shocking, US culture has a long history of gruesome, bloody savagery, founded on white settler colonial terrorism forcefully dispossessing Indigenous of their land, and Africans of their labor, while murdering millions with impunity. And the US has military intervened into other countries nearly 600 times since 1798, yet Congress has declared war on only five of those occasions, meaning the Constitution is not taken seriously. One could summarize the cultural DNA of the US as the few (mostly White men) violently exploiting the many by any means necessary, 1607-2020.

The Myth of the Founding Fathers and the US Constitution

Essentially property – in the form of stolen land, slave labor, and raw materials – serves as the foundation for our nation, along with the attendant desire for material prosperity. This is illustrated in an examination of the participants at the founding Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, May 25 to September 17, 1787, and the final document they authored, a convention held entirely in enforced secrecy during its 116-day duration.

Encroachments on Indian land was exacerbated by the amount of profit that was envisioned in acquiring this phenomenal resource.  The Ohio Company was formed in 1749 when the King granted the Virginia governors huge tracts of land that extended into the Ohio region.  It I noteworthy that many of the White men we call members of our “Founding Fathers” such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Morris, Patrick Henry, and Benjamin Franklin, were early speculators/investors collectively in hundreds of thousands of acres of land in association with a number of land companies.

It was in their financial interests to participate in various ways in the anti-Indian genocide, as their private land holdings could only dramatically appreciate in value once the Indigenous had been conquered. Most of their lands had been stolen from the Indians in illegal defiance of the Proclamation of 1763 which strictly prohibited colonial expansion and settlements west of a line parallel to the Appalachian Mountains. Those lands were reserved for Indians only.[72]  From 1763 to the Revolution, settlers and investors in land were increasingly at odds with the British Crown, which seemed more interested in maintaining peace with the Indians than serving the expansionist desires of the European colonists.[73]

In addition to the Ohio Company there were others such as the Potomac Company, the James River Company, the Mississippi Company, the Loyal Company, the Vandalia Company, the Indiana Company, the Walpole Company, the Greenbrier Company, and the Great Dismal Swamp Company.[74]  

More than half of the selected delegates to the Convention were educated lawyers. The remaining were planters, merchants, physicians, and college professors. Not one member represented, in his immediate personal economic interests, the small farming or mechanic classes.[75] Most believed their property rights were adversely affected by the relatively “weak” Articles of Confederation government and thus they were highly economically motivated to reconstruct the system.[76]  Thus the Founding Fathers reflected an extraordinary anti-majoritarian, i.e., explicitly anti-democratic bias.[77] This explains the Constitutional theme of preserving private property and commercial enterprises, controlled by a small minority, ultimately at the expense of human freedom and the health of the Commons.[78]

“Founding Father” John Jay possessed a vision that “the people who own the country ought to govern it”.[79]  This referred, of course, to those who owned land, slaves, and commercial enterprises. Jay also believed that the upper classes “were the better kind of people”, those “who are orderly and industrious, who are content with their situation and not uneasy in their circumstances”.[80]

No less than 85 articles and essays, a collection of documents known as the Federalist Papers, were written in 1787-1788 to urge ratification of the newly drafted US Constitution. The authors were Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Aristocratic Hamilton possessed such contempt for commoners he declared that “the people are a ‘great beast’ that must be tamed . . . rebellious and independent farmers had to be taught, sometimes by force, that the ideals of the revolutionary pamphlets were not to be taken too seriously”.[81]

The Constitution was never submitted to the public for ratification. Since no direct popular vote was even attempted, it is impossible to know what the popular sentiment was. A considerable proportion of the adult white male population was prohibited from participating in the election of the delegates to the separate ratifying state conventions due to property and disqualifications for voting. Historian Charles A. Beard conjectures that of the estimated 160,000 who voted in the election of delegates for the various state conventions, not more than 100,000 favored adoption of the Constitution.[82]

And of course, women, African slaves, the original Indigenous inhabitants, un-propertied white adult males, and white males under 21 had no vote at all. The 1790 Census counted a total United States population of 3.93 million persons: 3.2 million free and nearly 700,000 African slaves. But of the 3.2 million “free” persons, the vast majority were prohibited from voting. So, in effect, the approximately 100,000 propertied white males who may have favored adoption comprised but two-and-a-half percent of the population. So it cannot be said that the Constitution was “an expression of the clear and deliberate will of the whole people” nor of a majority of the adult males, nor at the outside, of one-fifth of them.[83] In essence, debtors, the poor and un-influential, women, Indigenous natives, slaves – the overwhelming majority of all human beings living in the 13 states of the Union at the time – were either opposed to the Constitution or were not allowed to register a formal, legal opinion.

The Myth of Democracy

Our politicians, teachers, clergy, academicians and general population continue to proudly proclaim the need to protect the image of our sacred US American democratic system. The US was never intended to be a “democracy” but a government “so constituted as to protect the opulent against the majority” as James Madison persuasively argued during the Constitutional debates. In fact, it is an oligarchic/plutocratic predatory political economy, where the winner of 50.1 percent takes it all. Historian Staughton Lynd so concisely summarized it this way: “inherited land at home replaced inherited government of a far off monarchy”. Thomas Jefferson advocated that it be an “empire for liberty” to enhance commercial advantages. James Madison described it as “imperial republicanism”, to be an increasingly expansive mercantile system.

But, as Indian writer Arundati Roy has so accurately described, “democracy” is the “Free” World’s “whore”, enabling commission of every kind of outrage, a word available to be used and abused at will, where “facts don’t matter”.  The US in fact really has only one political party with two right wings, both bribed by the wealthy to continue the profits of war-making and predatory capitalism.

The late evolutionary theorist Stephen Jay Gould suggests that evolution is not progressive, and that the present is a product of many contingencies over time, with no directional trend, no linear path. Human history has wandered across a landscape of possibility governed primarily by happenstance. That we are the only hominid in existence, he concludes, is historically atypical.[84] We are not immune from such a pruning. In the US we have generally been taught that life follows a “progressive” path in our “exceptional” society. But the oligarchy that was created by the Constitution and its framers, despite many changes and laws over 200 years theoretically expanding citizenship to those not included in the Constitution, has not changed the oligarchic nature of the United States.[85]

The Myth of the Rule of Law

We are taught at an early age that the US is uniquely founded on the rule of law, not the rule of men. In fact, the United States of America was founded as a White male supremacy society, to enhance the powerful few at the expense of the many, using any means that works. Examining the historical pattern of behaviors clearly reveal unceasing resort to grotesque hypocritical double standards. A racist, classist and sexist society such as the US is unable to assure “equal justice for all”. The powerful assure the “proper” character of the governing body, select which laws are written and “passed”, which are to be taken seriously, and under what circumstances to apply them or not. For example, even though the Constitution requires a Congressional Declaration of War whenever US military troops invade another country, of the nearly 600 overt military interventions since 1798, Congress has only declared war on five occasions.[86]

The United States government has made 415 Treaties with Indian Tribes in the ninety-year period, September 17, 1778 through August 13, 1868.  In addition, the US Government signed 97 Agreements with Indian Tribes between 1872 and 1909.[87] The United States of America has yet to keep any of its 512 Treaties or Agreements.[88] This, despite the fact that Treaties possess the force of Constitutional Supreme Law. This is another example that the Constitution has never been taken seriously – it has proven more of a commercial document than a humanitarian one, serving the powerful.

I had personally participated in grotesque US criminality conducted with total impunity against the Vietnamese people even as I did not pull a trigger or drop a bomb. And, the US government did not confine its grotesque illegal acts to other countries. At home, too, the government regularly suppresses dissent with illegal monitoring, prosecution, and imprisonment of those who seriously critique its policies both at home and abroad. The US leads the world in number of prisoners per capita–over 800 per 100,000 population.

By 1972, Nixon’s Watergate scandal revealed the existence of an insidious network of domestic surveillance far beyond Nixon’s earlier 1970 illegal Huston Plan—an episode of lawlessness and criminality within the highest levels of government. Eventually, I learned of the FBI’s COINTELPRO program, in which more than 2,000 illegal actions were conducted against US citizens between 1956 and 1971; the CIA’s Operation CHAOS, which kept tabs on 300,000 US citizens suspected of being opposed to the country’s policies; and the National Security Agency’s 30-year Operation SHAMROCK, which kept a massive watch list of people, analyzing 150,000 overseas telegraphic and telephone communications per month.[89] As stated earlier, sophisticated intelligence on US Americans began at least as early as 1934 when President Roosevelt instituted a long-standing joint FBI-military program to conduct domestic intelligence with broad investigative scope.

Why would I take an oath to uphold a paper document called the Constitution, which had long been demonstrated as intended to preserve property and elite political power over human liberty? And why would I honor the flag symbolizing a nation that had long patterns of ruthless intervention into other countries while preserving a class- and race-based system at home?

It is their law, not that of the people. Discretionary justice in a racist-classist-sexist society is not possible. The discretion possessed by police, prosecutors, bondspeople, judges and jurists, prison officials, and parole boards, give favor to Whites over African and Indigenous Americans, men over women, and the rich over the poor. That is the way it is, even as the myths state otherwise – “equal justice for all”.

My Grandfather’s 1906 History Textbook

My grandfather’s popular US history book, The History of the United States, by James Wilford Garner and Henry Cabot Lodge[90], begins its first chapter, “Aboriginal America”, with the sentence: “The origin of the race which first peopled America is obscure in the darkness of prehistoric times. At the conclusion of that same chapter, the authors state “Whole tribes have become extinct….For this destruction the coming of the white man is chiefly responsible. Neither in war nor in peace has the Indian been able to stand against or beside him. “[B]ut history teaches that inferior people must yield to a superior civilization … They must take on civilization or pass out.

At the time, Lodge (1850-1924) was a US Republican Senator from Massachusetts, and chair of its Committee relating to US policy in the Philippines, including Army massacres committed during the Philippine-American War, 1899-1902. He prevented a blue-ribbon committee investigation, and instead held closed-door hearings in which much of the damaging evidence of torture (the water cure) and mass execution was suppressed. Additionally, he refused a single Filipino victim to testify.[91] Estimates of Filipino casualties run from 200,000 to 3 million,[92] from US military activity, famine and disease.

Lodge is the grandfather of Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., (1902-1985), a US Republican Senator from Massachusetts, 1937-1953, who became US Ambassador to Viet Nam, 1963-1967, under President’s Kennedy and Johnson. Lodge Jr., like his grandfather, and his contemporary US military and political officials in Viet Nam, thought of native populations as unfit for self-government[93], and in 1966, Ambassador Lodge had condoned a Vietnamese Colonel’s slaughter of more than 100 Buddhist civilians in DaNang.[94]

Seventh Grade Personal Anecdote

At age 12, my rural New York State 1954 Seventh Grade history text, Exploring New York State[95], devoted a small portion to the “backward” Iroquois life that existed for “thousands of years”, finally destroyed with the “coming of the White man”, i.e., people like myself and all of my white Eurocentric classmates. “Like more civilized peoples” the Iroquois nations “never thought of conserving resources”. They preserved “thick forests” for hunting instead of clearing for ploughing and pasture, “they traveled on foot” over land, “they paddled their canoes” on water, had not learned “to make gunpowder’, and “had no machinery of any kind”, “did not build railroads or highways” and “had no private property” since “the land was owned by the clan as a whole”. In other words, Indian life was very “primitive”, or so we were taught.

Ironically, because our rural school district was poor, our textbook had been recycled from the horrible Thomas Asylum For Orphaned And Destitute Indian Children in Irving, New York, 45 miles away on the Cattaraugus Seneca Reservation. There the Indian children were forcibly taken and punished for speaking their native language, in essence punished for being Indians, i.e., to erase who they were. It was even reported that the children watched cowboy and Indian movies on Saturday where they were encouraged to cheer for the cavalry. Indian boarding schools were widespread in the late 1800s to “kill the Indian and save the child”. And, they read the same fake history about themselves that the rest of us were being exposed to.

In 1888, the New York State Assembly appointed a Special Committee “To Investigate the Indian Problem”, known as the Whipple Report [96] for its chairman. Its goal: “exterminate the tribe and preserve the individual”. One member declared: “The Indian will never be civilized until he ceases to be a communist. This tribal relationship is the bane of civilization, the strongest ally of savagery”.  The Secretary of the Interior, Georgia born L.Q.C. Lamar (1885-1888) under President Grover Cleveland (1885-1889), testified that “the only alternative now presented to the American Indian race is speedy entrance into the pale of American civilization or absolute extinction”. The Report concluded that “when the Indians of the State are absorbed into the great mass of the American people, then, and not before, will the ‘Indian problem’ be solved”.

Growing up near the two Seneca Indian Reservations in Western New York State, I experienced a number of conversations with young and old Senecas alike. One thing I remember most is what they thought of the US flag. They called it “Old Gory”, the red representing centuries of their spilt blood, the white their crushed bones.

Conclusion

As a people we have had it upside down and backward from our origins to the present. It is a fatal flaw. As a result, we are a nation born in forced theft, with a totally rigged domestic political economy. Consequences: the USA threatens nuclear war; dispatches special forces to 70 percent of the world’s countries seeking to murder “terrorists”; owns 800 military bases in 70 countries; spends most of our resources on war making rather than domestic social needs; angering people all over the Planet; destroying our ecosystem; our citizenry remain complicit in a totally rigged political economy owned by the most wealthy; insist on privatizing rather than understanding the evolutionary feature of social cooperation; perpetuate a predatory capitalist economy that creates everyone as either a predator or prey such that we become stupid. This is because we have become stupid exceptionalists.


[1] Henry Holt, 1958.

[2] Liberation staff, “Homelessness and the Reagan legacy”, Feb 01, 2013, https://www.liberationnews.org/homelessness-and-the-reagan-legacy-html/ (Liberation, Newspaper of the Party for Socialism and Liberation). 1998), 147: Noato Pressr IIison camps in the US. wealthy US barons were financing the German Nazis, 676,000 German prisoners w.

[3] Simon & Schuster, pp 130-1.

[4] Chris Lehman, “The Self-Help Guru Who Shaped Trump’s Worldview: How the Commander-in-Chief Succumbs to the Perils of Positive Thinking”, In These Times, December 13, 2017; Gwenda Blair, “How Norman Vincent Peale Taught Donald Trump to Worship Himself”, PoliticoMagazine, October 6, 2015.May 13pectator, May 19, 2018in a basic huan moral codeo  my body.d cruelty and barbarism that continues ad nauseum. War after wa

[5] John R. MacArthur, “Analysing the dream: Is there a straight line from Fred Trump’s arrest, along with five Klan members, to his son’s racist claptrap 90 years later”? The Spectator, May 19, 2018, https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/analysing-the-dream

[6] Frances Fitzgerald, Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1972), 363.

[7] Marvin E. Gettleman, Jane Franklin, Marilyn B. Young, and H. Bruce Franklin, eds., American and Vietnam: The Most Comprehensive Documented History of the Vietnam War (New York: Grove Press, 1995), 431, 471-2, 487.

[8] Peter Marin, “Living in Moral Pain”, Psychology Today, November 1981.

[9] Alice Lynd with Staughton Lynd, Moral Injury and Conscientious Objection: Saying No to Military Service (Fayetteville, NC: Quaker House, 2015).

[10] Psychologist Carl Jung said that “loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible”. [Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections (New York: Random House, 1965), 356]. In other words, loneliness is the feeling of not being known. War experiences are so far removed from normal ranges of experiences that what is known to the veteran (or other trauma survivors) is often not possible to communicate to the non-veteran.

[11] William Appleman Williams, Thomas McCormick, Lloyd Gardner, and Walter LaFeber, eds., America in Vietnam: A Documented History (Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1985), 310.

[12] William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), 15.

[13] Ralph McGehee, Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA (New York: Sheridan Square, 1983), 125-26, 147-157.

[14] Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine: Technics and Human Development (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1967), 204.

[15] Mumford, 1967, 218.

[16] George Orwell, 1984: A Novel (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1949).

[17] S. Brian Willson, “The Pretend Society,” http://www.brianwillson.com/the-pretend-society

[18] Norman Soloman, War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons, 2005).

[19] David Model, Lying for Empire: How to Commit War Crimes with a Straight Face (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2005); Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2003); John R. MacArthur, Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1992).

[20] Christopher Simpson, Science of Coercion: Communication Research & Psychological Warfare 1945-1960 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); Herbert I. Schiller, The Mind Managers (Boston: Beacon Press, 1973).

[21] John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (Vancouver, Canada, New Society, 1992); Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society (New York: Harper & Row, 1971).

[22] Carl Boggs and Tom Pollard, The Hollywood War Machine: US Militarism and Popular Culture (Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2007).

[23] Ben H. Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly (Boston: Beacon Press, 2000).

[24] Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine: Technics and Human Development (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1967), 204.

[25] Mumford, 1967, 218.

[26] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1944_Democratic_National_Convention; D. D. Guttenplan, American

Radical: The Life and Times of I.F. Stone (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009), 191, 219.

[27] David Caute, The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge under Truman and Eisenhower (New York:

Simon and Schuster, 1978), 31

[28] Guttenplan, 2009, 220; Henry A. Wallace, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_A._Wallace#Secretary_of_Commerce.

[29] William Appleman Williams, The Contours of American History (Cleveland: The World Publishing Co., 1961), 469-478.

[30] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_A._Wallace#Secretary_of_Commerce. Chronology

[31] Caute, 1978, 31.

[32] Carl G. Jung, Man and His Symbols (New York: Anchor Press, 1964), 93.

[33] June Singer, Boundaries of the Soul: The Practice of Jung’s Psychology (New York: Anchor Books, 1994),

176-177, citing Jung’s 1928 studies.

[34] Lawrence S. Wittner, Rebels against War: The American Peace Movement, 1941-1960 (New York:

Columbia University Press, 1969), 106-107.

[35] Michael A. Milburn and Sheree D. Conrad, The Politics of Denial (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1996), 1-29.

[36] Ibid., 3.

[37] S. Brian Willson, Don’t Thank Me For My Service: My Viet Nam Awakening to the Long History of US Lies (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2018), pp. 347-49, Appendix I, “Overt and Covert US Interventions Around the World, by the Numbers”.

[38] Blum: https://williamblum.org/essays/read/overthrowing-other-peoples-governments-the-master-list.

[39] Blum: https://williamblum.org/essays/read/us-government-assassination-plots, plus Maduro in Venezuela, 2018;

[40] have become  social cooperation; who are content with ther = enterprises. Jay also believed that the upper casses, 1988, 32 https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-interfered-in-elections-of-at-least-85-countries-worldwide-since-1945/5601481.

[41] Harry Elmer Barnes, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace (Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1953), 96.

[42] Barnes; Charles Callan Tansill, America Goes to War (Boston: Little, Brown, 1938). Dr. Tansill had a long history as a professor of American history, and was technical advisor on diplomatic history to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, focusing on causes of WWI. America Goes to War is a most exhaustive single volume (731 pages) history on the responsibility for the First World War.  Even after reading Tansil’s humongous treatise, one still has to wonder why World War I was necessary. Controversial, Tansil became an “isolationist” and joined Gore Vidal and others in opposing US entrance in WWII. Tansill’s belief in isolationism, also caused him to support a strong US military. Born in Texas, he came to oppose desegregation, and also published an article in the Birch Society publication, American Opinion, opposing US disarmament. Nonetheless, I found his study of World War I to be extremely enlightening, partially because he dared to question the usual suspected US “exceptional” version of events.

[43] Charles Beard, President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War 1941: A Study in Appearances and Realities (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948).

[44] Mike Wright, What They Didn’t Teach You About World War II (Novato, CA: Presido Press, 1998), 147.

[45] Charles Higham, Trading With the Enemy: The Nazi-American Money Plot 1933-1949 (New York:

Delacorte Press, 1983); Michael Zezima, Saving Private Power: The Hidden History of ‘The Good War’ (New

York: Soft Skull Press, 2000), 26-50.of the lly, and drly man sentiment indilomatic affairs, tong US le volume (731 pages) history n th responsibility for mittee on

[46] Robert Kirkconnell, American Heart of Darkness, Vol I (Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris LLC/ www.Xilibris.com, 2013), 389-396.

[47] London: Fontana Press, 1959; Originally published posthumously in 1951.

[48] Otto Fenichel, The Psychoanalytical Theory of Neurosis (NY: WW Norton, 1945), 181.

[49] Under My Skin, Vol One of my Autobiography to 1949 (London: Harper Collins, 1994), 122.

[50] E.F. Scumacher, Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered (New York: Perennial Library, 1973, 1989), 31-34, 39-41. Different than Schumacher, I distinguish “stupidity” from “intelligence”, though the message of lack of wisdom due to greed and envy is clear, no matter which word is used. In my view, people can be innately intelligent, yet become so addicted to a articular ideology, as if in a stupor, to become functionally stupid.

[51] Richard B. Morris and Jeffrey B. Morris, eds., Encyclopedia of American History, Bicentennial Edition (New York: Harper & Row, 1953, 1976), 1187-88; Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Ed., 2986); Charles C. Mann, “America Found & Lost”, National Geographic, May 2007, 52; Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States (New York: Harper Perennial, 1980), 13.

[52] Page Smith, A New Age Now Begins (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976), 19-20.

[53] John O’Sullivan, “Annexation”, United States Magazine and Democratic Review 17, no. 1 (July-Aug 1845).

[54] William Appleman Williams, Thomas McCormick, Lloyd Gardener, and Walter LaFeber, eds., America

in Vietnam: A Documented History (Garden City, NJ: Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1985), 11.

[55] Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment (San Francisco: City Light Books, 2018), 25.

[56] Dunbar-Ortiz, 65, 215n14.have become  social cooperation; who are content with ther = enterprises. Jay also believed that the upper casses, 1988, 32

[57] John Grenier, The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier, 1607-1814 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 10.

[58] Quincy Wright, A Study of War, Vol II (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1942), 687; Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1789-1903, Vol II (Washington, DC: GPO, 1903), 301–474, 295.

[59] Bartolomé de las Casas, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, 1552, as cited in Barry Lopez, The Rediscovery of North America (Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1990), 1-9.

[60] William Appleman Williams, Empire as a Way of Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 65.

[61] Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States (New York: HarperPerennial, 1990, original 1980), 292.

[62] Sidney Lens, The Forging of the American Empire: From the Revolution to Vietnam: A History of U.S.

Imperialism (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 1971), 195.

[63] Zinn, 18; David E. Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 261-268; Russell Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492 (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987), 22-25; Hirschfelder and de Montano, The Native American Almanac: A Portrait of Native America Today (New York: Prentice Hall, 1993), 83; Arlene Hirschfelder, Native Americans: A History in Pictures (New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000), 10.have become  social cooperation; who are content with ther = enterprises. Jay also believed that the upper casses, 1988, 32

[64] Thornton, 30; Stannard, 267-278.

[65] Stannard, 120, 303n91.

[66] Zinn, 1980, 131.

[67] Zinn, 1980, 28-29; “The Story of Africa,” BBC World Service web site: http://bbc.co.uk/worldservice/specials/1624_story_of_africa; George Francis Dow, Slave Ships and Slaving (New York: Dover Publications, 1970, xxvi-xxxv; Peter M. Bergman, The Chronological History of the Negro in America (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1969), 1-2.

[68] http://www.academia.edu/5551320/Motivations_and_Impacts_of_Atlantic_Slave_Trade

[69] Dow, xxii.

[70] Bergman, 1-2; W.E.B. DuBois, The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America,

1638-1870 (Williamstown, Massachusetts: Corner House Publishers, 1970), 4, 194.

[71] Dow, xxxv.

[72] Anthony F. C. Wallace, Jefferson and the Indians: The Tragic Fate of the First Americans (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1999), 36-49., slavesndigenous nativesistory

[73] Wallace, 1999, 40.

[74] Wallace, 1999, Chapter One, “The Land Companies”, pp. 21-49. My Viet Nam Awakening to the LongHistory of US Lies (Atlanta, GA: Clarity Press, 2018), anti-Communist elements in “.

[75] Charles Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1913, 149-151.

[76] Beard, 73.

[77] Jerry Fresia, Toward An American Revolution: Exposing the Constitution and other Illusions (Boston: South End Press, 1988), 78; Robert A. Dahl, How Democratic is the American Constitution (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), 29-33.

[78] Fresia, 25-95.

[79] Fresia, 32.

[80] Fresia, 32.

[81] Noam Chomsky, Profit over People (New York: Seven Stories Press, 1999), 46; Eric Foner, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), 190, as cited in Fresia, 3, 231n6. It is interesting to note that Hamilton, Madison and Jay were relatively young men at the time of the writing of these articles—30, 36 and 42 years old, respectively.

[82] Beard, 250.

[83] Beard, 1913, 250-1.

[84] Richard York, “Homo Floresiensis and Human Equality, Enduring Lessons from Stephen Jay Gould,” Monthly Review 56, no. 10 (March 2005): 14-19.

[85] Jasper McChesney, “Study: US is an Oligarchy, not a Democracy”, Information Clearinghouse, December 19, 2019, citing Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens”, published online in Perspectives on Politics, Volume 12, Issue 3, September 18, 2014, pp. 564-581, Cambridge University Press.

[86] S. Brian Willson, Don’t Thank Me For My Service: My Viet Nam Awakening to the Long History of US Lies (Atlanta, GA: Clarity Press, 2018), Appendix I: Overt and Covert US Interventions Around the World, by the Numbers.

[87] A Chronological List of Treaties and Agreements Made By Indian Tribes With the United States (Washington, D.C.: The Institute For the Development of Indian Law, 1973.

[88] Vine DeLoria, Jr, Custer Died For Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. New York: Avon Books, 1969), 35.

[89] In 1967 the CIA initiated “Operation CHAOS,” exceeding its statutory authority in response to a presidential request that the agency unearth any ties between US anti-war groups and foreign interests. The operation indexed 300,000 names, kept 13,000 subject files, and intercepted large numbers of letters and cables to compile information on the domestic activities of US citizens [James Trager, The People’s Chronology (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1992), 1008]. The other major CIA domestic spying programs that involved collection of information about US Americans were CHAOS, MERRIMAC, and RESISTANCE [Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports On Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans, Final Report of the Select Committee To Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities, United States Senate {“The Church Committee Report”} (Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1976), 681–732]; Ward Churchill, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens (Oakland: AK Press, 2003), 71]. However, there is evidence that Operation CHAOS actually began much earlier—in 1959. [Verne Lyon, “CUBA—Domestic Surveillance: The History of Operation CHAOS,” Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1990. Verne Lyon is a former CIA undercover operative].

[90] Philadelphia: John D. Morris and Company, 1906), 3, 29-30.

[91] Richard Drinnon, Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1980), 315, 452, 525-6.

[92] James Bradley, The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2009), 127 (1-3 million); Robert Kirkconnell, American Heart of Darkness, Vol I (Xlibris LLC/www.Xlibris.com, 2013), 331, citing E. San Juan, Jr, “US Genocide in the Philippines: Case of Guilt, Shame, or Amnesia?”, March 22, 2005 (1.4 million); Ward Churchill, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens (Oakland: AK Press, 2003), 58 (600,000); Paul L. Atwood, War and Empire: The American Way of Life (London: Pluto Press, 2010), 10 (200,000).

[93] Drinnan, 448; Frances Fitzgerald, Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam (Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1972), 353.

[94] Fitzgerald, 367.

[95] Bertrand M. Wainger and Edith Brooks Oagley, Exploring New York State (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1946), 20, 39, 50, 88, 89.

[96] Report of the Special Committee to Investigate the Indian Problem of the State of New York. This report is commonly known as the Whipple Report, after the chairman of the Special Committee, J.S. Whipple, February 1, 1889. Paperback Edition: HardPress Publishing (January 10, 2012).  [https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.amindian/iprob0001&div=1&src=home].

Whose Blood, Whose Hands?

“Qasem Soleimani had the blood of Americans on his hands”, so said US Representative Eliot Engel, Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Relations. A similar accusation was made by many other politicians and commentators. But these blood-drenched politicians and commentators only know what the extremely biased anti-Russian and anti-Iranian US intelligence reports say which are predictably unreliable. They have no idea of Soleimani’s history who many observers credit with being the chief strategist in defeating ISIS. And the most important question of all is ignored – why are unwanted US military present in other countries? They are there illegally, a blatantly imperial menace. Why is Congress funding this policy that in fact threatens the people of the US, rather than protecting them?

Of course, these mostly White men hypocritically ignore gruesome history, including militarily supporting Iraq’s Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons in his 8-year war against Iran that took one million of their lives. Or, the totally concocted, grotesquely illegal and criminal US war against Iraq, 1990-1991, and 2003-present, killing over a million lives. Since the blood is not streaming out of their bodies, they callously ignore the blood of Iranians, Iraqis, Afghanis, Syrians, Yemenis, Libyans, Somalis, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, Hondurans, Bolivians, Sudanese, Pakistanis, Nigerians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, and citizens of many other countries, that is in fact on their hands, and on the hands of countless US Generals, Colonels, Majors, Captains, Lieutenants, and their Navy and Marine counterparts, and common soldiers and sailors under the direction of these officers, the President Commander–in-Chief, and all their funders in the bipartisan US Congress comprised of 535 (s)elected representatives, such as Mr. Engel, and the hands of millions of taxpayers.

How many US citizens know of the crimes our country systematically has committed, and continues to commit, throughout the world, crimes that are constant, remorseless, and fully documented? British playwright and Nobel Prize recipient Harold Pinter sadly commented: “Nobody talks about them. . . . It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest”.[1] Without historical context, there is little capacity to critique the veracity of contemporary policies and rhetoric. So, it is believed, the US just couldn’t be involved in patterns of criminal interventions; our origins just couldn’t be built on dispossession and genocide. “That is not the American way.” But the fact is that it is the American way. We simply don’t know about it and don’t want to know about it. Impunity has erased memory.

We would all be enlightened to re-read Barbara Tuchman’s classic, The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam,where she clearly articulates the horrific patterns of war folly that have played out around the globe for millennia.[2] Only now it would be from Troy to Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.

Impunity

Cultural historians, philosophers, psychologists, essayists, and scientists caution us to seriously understand the past and its patterns. Sigmund Freud declared that in psychic life, nothing of what has been formed in the past ever disappears. Everything that has occurred is preserved in one way or another and, in fact, reappears under either favorable or unfavorable circumstances.

When impunity dominates, memory disappears and justice as a permanent value in human history ceases to exist. Sickness in the soul – of the individual, as well as of a nation – results where nothing is real. Everything becomes pretend, lies told over and over in many different forms throughout time.[3]

Impunity in fact produces severe disturbances within the individual and collective psyche, manifesting in behavioral psychopathologies of huge magnitude, such as wars. Think of a spoiled child who has never been taught boundaries or been held to account for harmful behavior. Collective as well as individual narcissism can lead to extreme antisocial conduct. Security is experienced through individuality, attracted to authoritarianism, but not social justice. An acquisitive habit settles into the inner life, preempting an authentic inquisitive and socially empathic mind. A social compact is destroyed in deference to privatization, creating anomie. Life is commodified. Disparity between the Haves and Have-Nots becomes extreme; today this is called neoliberal economics. History is negated, concealing past traumas such as unspeakable genocides and deceitfully based wars.[4]

The Shame of Forceful Dispossession Hidden by Exceptionalism

The United States of America was founded on two horrific genocides – the forceful dispossession of Indigenous Americans, stealing their land, murdering millions with impunity, and the forceful dispossession of Africans, stealing their labor, murdering millions with impunity. Their blood is still on our hands.

So, we created a kind of “religious” mythology about our country to conceal our painful shame. It is called exceptionalism, enabled by impunity. The psychological and cultural conditioning growing up in US America, especially for a Eurocentric White male like myself, is emotionally and intellectually comfortable. But the noble history we have been taught about ourselves is fantastic fakery which continues to serve as a comfortable escape from experiencing and feeling the horrible truth of the collective shame of our unspeakable criminal genocidal origins. Capitalism itself would not have existed without centuries of egregious colonial plunder of millions of Indigenous Americans, or millions of enslaved Africans. Karma exists in some fashion, or as the saying goes, what goes around comes around.

Exceptional Stupidity

So, not only does the lie of being superior over others enable us to avoid extremely unpleasant thoughts and feelings, but it also discourages asking enlightening, delving questions, about who we reallyare as a people. Why mess with the apparent successful myth of being exceptional?

US policy operates in paranoia with delusions of grandeur. By the early 1980s, with more than a decade of reflection since being in Viet Nam, I sensed that this culture of my birth and upbringing possesses an illness of psychotic denial. This feeling of superiority – of being uniquely exceptional – is very dangerous because it leads to a kind of stupor, or dangerous stupidity, uninterested in engaging in truly honest dialogue or discussion. It acts like a mindless, conceited fool. And against stupidity we are defenseless since reason and diplomacy are confidently ignored. It is much more dangerous than malice. Exceptionalism is deeply conditioned in us.

But thoughtlessness – a suspension of critical thinking – today leads to a Planet-threatening nuclear, arrogant war-making society. Not unintelligent, but stupid. And the power brokers, and many in the population, have a vested interest in remaining stupidto protect the comfortable original lie, that requires countless subsequent lies, in turn, to preserve that original lie. We have told ourselves a fairy tale, and it feels good, serving as a successful technique of denial.

Our dangerousness was again evidenced by our latest act of war – targeted drone assassinations at the Baghdad International Airport of Iran’s popular General Qasem Soleimani, and Iraqi military leader Abu Mehdi Muhandis. And until we the people are able to literally take the money out of the Military-Congressional-Intelligence-Banking-Wall Street-Drug Complex, and the ability of that wealthy complex to absolutely control with bribery our political process, we are doomed to war, climate catastrophe, and extinction, or near so.

Immediately after the assassination of Soleimani, the stock of major US weapon’s manufacturers surged as investors look forward to additional obscene profits from more war. Trump had it right in his campaign promise to get the US out of the Middle East, but he has forsaken that goal in deference to the Neocons and elements of the Deep State, in cahoots with Congress. Ironically, all this military bully posturing, murdering, lying, and disrespect for diplomacy, severely endangers everybody. The Department of Defense (DOD) really should be described as the Department of Offensive War (DOOW).

What is required is a massive, widespread popular rebellion rooted in a global consciousness that tenaciously empowers us to replace our deceitful oligarchy. Why do we continue to allow this insane national misbehavior? Will we escape our stupor, and instead feel, taste, and experience the countless liters of blood on our hands? If so, we might be awakened to the most important of all social emotions – empathy – that enables all humanity to live as one interconnected species, even with different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. It really is our choice, and the stakes could not be higher – survival with dignity.

S. Brian Willson is a Viet Nam veteran and trained lawyer. He has visited a number of countries examining the effects of US policy. He wrote a psychohistorical memoir, Blood on the Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson (PM Press, 2011), and in 2018 wrote Don’t Thank Me for my Service: My Viet Nam Awakening to the Long History of US Lies (Clarity Press). He is featured in a 2016 documentary, Paying the Price for Peace: The Story of S. Brian Willson, and others in the Peace Movement, (Bo Boudart Productions). His web essays: brianwillson.com. He can be reached at postmaster@brianwillson.com.


[1] Harold Pinter, Various Voices: Prose, Poetry, Politics, 1948-1998 (New York: Grove Press, 1998, 237.

[2] New York: Knopf, 1984.

[3] S. Brian Willson, “The Pretend Society,” http://www.brianwillson.com/the-pretend-society/.

[4] B. Paz Rojas, “Impunity and the Inner History of Life,” Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict and World Order, 26(4), 1999.

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