Tag Archives: U.S. government

Welfare Rights are Wrong

As I post this, I do so with some inner conflict as is always the case with these types of principled arguments  I am on SSI and Medicaid because of disabling medical conditions. My principles though, run counter to this. I hate using other people’s money when it is taken from them by force. I believe Social Security Taxes and Income Taxes are intrinsically evil and cannot remember a time when I did not think so.

Yet, here I am needing them, in part because those same taxes are a disincentive for voluntary charity. I have always believed that Churches and local organizations would be much better at helping those in need than any government ever could. Individuals are even better.  (E)

By Tibor Machan

Dr. Tibor Machan

Ever since John Locke developed the theory of natural individual human rights, there has been an ongoing attempt to change his idea to something very different.

For Locke the natural rights all human beings have are basically prohibitions. They forbid people from intruding on other people − from killing, assaulting, kidnapping, robbing them and so forth. In the field of political theory they are referred to as negative rights. They hold up a sign to all concerning invading people’s lives and spheres and insist: “Halt! You need permission to enter!”

This can be well appreciated when one considers that throughout much of history ordinary folks had been viewed as subjects, not sovereign citizens. A subject is one who must follow the dictates of some master or superior. Kings have subjects who must obey their will! Once this fiction is abandoned, it becomes clear that all adult human beings are independent agents, no one’s subject!

But, of course, many insist that such sovereignty is highly objectionable because it leaves it to the individual whether he or she will give support to others and their various projects. Involuntary servitude is ruled out if we are all sovereign citizens rather than subject to the will of a king, tsar, or ruler. Even the majority may not ignore this fact about us, so democracy is properly limited to some very few matters once the sovereignty of individuals is acknowledged.

But by introducing the idea of welfare or positive rights, we are back in the old system since a positive right imposes an enforceable obligation on one to provide others with goods and services, never mind what one chooses to do. Thus, if people have a positive right to health care or insurance or education or housing or a job, they must be provided with this, just as when their right to life or liberty is recognized, they must not be interfered with.

One’s basic rights impose obligations on everyone not to violate them. But negative rights only impose an obligation to treat others without resorting to coercion, without using them against their will. Involuntary servitude counters this and sanctions violating such rights as to one’s life, liberty, property, etc., holding that we are born with enforceable obligations of various sort of services to others − God, the state, our neighbors, etc. Instead of seeing us all as free and independent persons, the positive rights doctrine re-affirms the ancient idea that we do not have a life of our own.

The more modern idea is that while we ought to be generous and charitable, this has to be something we choose! The only way our moral nature is protected and preserved is if the right things we ought to do are done voluntarily, not forcibly imposed by others.

The basic point here is that the doctrine of positive or welfare rights stands on its head John Locke’s insight about the status of an adult human being in a human community, an insight that had been growing in influence in America and the West until recently. But instead of relying on people’s good will and generosity to help out those in need of various goods and services, the positive or welfare rights doctrine reintroduces the old regime that people in society aren’t free agents but serfs. (Here is the main point of F. A. Hayek‘s superb book, The Road to Serfdom [Routledge, 1944] in which he critiques the modern welfare state!)

Tibor R. Machan holds the R.C. Hoiles Chair in Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Argyros School of Chapman University.


Ray McGovern on WikiLeaks Assault

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By RT America
October 27, 2010

The U.S. news media is framing the debate about the WikiLeaks revelations of the Iraq War‘s savagery as a story about the alleged misconduct of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, in an attempt to destroy the message by discrediting the messenger, says former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

In an interview with RT America, McGovern criticized the U.S. media‘s focus on Assange and whether he should be prosecuted for releasing the secrets, rather than on the grisly details about the war contained in nearly 400,000 secret military field reports that WikiLeaks released last weekend.

(The story summary continues below.)

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McGovern suggests that the reason for this concentration on Assange instead of what the documents reveal is that otherwise the U.S. press corps would have to come to grips with the fact that the U.S. government committed “the supreme international crime” by invading Iraq and thus touching off the barbarity that the documents recount.

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The Truth About Terrorism, and the U.S. Government

by Scott Lazarowitz

Recently by Scott Lazarowitz: The Choice Between Two Americas

My writing this was inspired by Paul Craig Roberts’s great article The War on Terror, in which he tells the truth about what’s really going on, and I wanted to expand more on this terrorism subject.

There are many reasons why the U.S. government needs to place itself on the Terrorist Watch List, but since there isn’t enough space to include all that here, I’ll just touch on the most important points.

To begin, millions of Americans report their income and employment status to the U.S. government out of fear, and for no other reason. It certainly isn’t out of the goodness of their hearts (except for the most naïve amongst us). Most Americans who are required to pay a certain percentage of their income to the feds aren’t really paying – it is being taken from them under the threat of various intrusions, such as garnishing their wages or putting a lien on their homes (like a lien on one’s home really matters anymore now in the time of ForeclosureGate). For many Americans, the taking is automatic, directly from their paychecks. So employers as well as workers must submit to the threat of brute force if they don’t comply with the demand for information on employment status and payment. Millions of Americans are terrorized by the federal government, not only for what might happen to them if they don’t comply with the demands, but if a mistake is made. There have been horror stories told by many Americans of what happened to them because a mistake was made – including mistakes made by the government.

And many owners of businesses, especially of small businesses, are terrified that they will be persecuted by some government bureaucrat for not following one of the many thousands of regulations that businesses must obey, regulations that exist for no good reason – only to protect larger businesses’ profits. (Thanks, Herr Lincoln.) And especially because of the unstable economic environment now, millions of businesses are afraid to take risks, make any new investments, or hire new workers because they don’t know what the situation will be for them even months from now, let alone years. And Congress won’t even let people know whether or not the Bush tax cuts will be extended or allowed to expire after January 1st, 2011. No one knows what to do. (I’m sure businesses and workers all across America would prosper, if we could only abolish Congress.)

Regarding the War on Terrorism and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), I am now terrified of flying. This is not because a terrorist might hijack the plane, but because of the intrusiveness of what people now have to endure when going through security checkpoints: the pornographic X-rays, the frisking and groping, the searching of my clothing and belongings, the harsh interrogations. Out of their blind faith in the State, the American sheeple have assumed that there should be no alternative to the State’s monopoly in territorial protection, and have passively accepted the constantly growing intrusions by the State against the people and their Liberty. As an experienced pilot has suggested, the airlines should be responsible for their security, not the government. And arm the pilots as well. And arm the passengers as well. In the meantime, I won’t fly.

And then there are the anti-civil liberties, anti-Due Process presidential powers that the Bush Administration had usurped, and that the Obama Administration seems to enjoy having, of apprehending and detaining individuals without actual suspicion, of extraordinary rendition, torture, even presidentially-directed assassinations of individuals deemed by the president and his agents to be “terrorists” without due process or trial. And, given that the whole world, including U.S. territory, is considered to be part of the Global Battlefield in the Global War on Terror, and given that Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano has issued warnings against “right-wing extremists,” essentially those who disagree with Obama’s policies, and given that I happen to be one who disagrees with just about all of Obama’s policies from his war crimes to his communist social policies, then obviously no place in America is safe, and it really is terrifying now.

And regarding the federal government’s intrusions into Americans’ private health matters, I know someone who has said that, because of the new ObamaCare medical intrusions, he will not have his follow-up medical procedures as long as ObamaCare is in place. He just doesn’t want his medical details being scrutinized by government officials. And I also have some health situations for which I rely very much on OTC vitamins and supplements. But, because the Obama FDA wants to crack down on OTC supplement makers, that really is a direct threat to me. I am literally terrified that these bureaucratic misfits in Washington want to take away my only real means of keeping me in (somewhat) good health, and all on behalf of Big Pharma. It’s disgusting how so many people in various federal agencies are on the boards of large pharmaceutical industries, and the cahoots between Big Pharma and Big Government, with lobbyists and campaign donations to legislators to vote Big Pharma’s way, is downright scary.

Also, because the U.S. government has done nothing but provoke Muslims in Middle Eastern countries to act against Americans, I am terrified of another major terrorist attack in the U.S. It would be solely because of what the U.S. government has been doing, especially since 1990. The U.S. government’s actions of terrorism against innocents in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other parts of the Middle East, and its intrusions into just about every aspect of daily life, have been making me less safe, as well as all other Americans.

Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Bush’s father George H.W. Bush actually should all be tried for war crimes and terrorism, especially against Muslims in the Middle East. The IRS, the FDA, the TSA, and other extensions of the federal Leviathan also need to be held accountable for their actions. If we can’t have that, then at the very least, the U.S. government must place itself on the Terror Watch List, as it is the one organization that has been most responsible for terrorizing the most people, ever.

October 20, 2010

Scott Lazarowitz [send him mail] is a commentator and cartoonist at Reasonandjest.com.

Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

The Best of Scott Lazarowitz


Human Experiments by US Revealed Again

National Institutes of Health

Image via Wikipedia

Brought to You by the folks over at
the US NIH working for your health.

HA!

People have often looked at the 3rd Reich as an anomaly. This shows that using “lesser races” as human guinea pigs is not limited to those we might consider evil. This is another example of the fact that government is always evil and will use whatever means at it’s disposal to control, manipulate and use the masses for it’s own purposes. (E)

Guatemalan STD medical experiments were just one crime in a long history of medical-government collusion to use humans as guinea pigs

Saturday, October 02, 2010
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

(NaturalNews) It has now been widely revealed that the United States conducted medical experiments on prisoners and mental health patients in Guatemala in the 1940’s. Carried out by a government-employed doctor working in a psychiatric hospital, these experiments involved intentionally infecting Guatemalans with syphilis (and other STDs) without their knowledge in order to determine the effectiveness of penicillin. They were sponsored in part by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), and they’ve now been widely reported by ABC News, the Washington

The outrage against this inhumane medical science experiment is reflected in mainstream news headlines across the globe, and the Guatemalan government now characterizes this sad chapter in U.S. history as a “crime against humanity.” News reporters are shocked in reporting the story, and U.S. government officials seem to be almost beside themselves in discovering that this ever took place in America.

But what you’re about to reveal here will shock you even more. The U.S. medical experiments on Guatemalan citizens, you see, barely scratch the surface of the criminal experiments the U.S. government and the medical industry has carried out on innocent victims over the last century.

Post and many other mainstream papers (who have suddenly taken an interest in a subject they normally wouldn’t touch).

The U.S. pretends to be surprised

The discovery of this medical experiment generated a series of official U.S. responses that can only be called political theater given how contrived they are. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton went on the record saying, “Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health… We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called the discovery “reprehensible,” and President Obama

You know what all these actions have in common? An implied message that this experiment from the 1940’s was somehow an aberrant mistake that never happens in America. They want you to believe this is just some lone researcher who went off his rocker and committed some atrocious crime in the name of medicine. But the reality is that Big Pharma and the U.S. government use innocent people in medical experiments every single day. This wasn’t some bizarre, rare event. It was a reflection of the way the U.S. government has consistently conspired with the medical industry to test drugs on innocent victims and find out what happens.

even picked up the phone to call Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom and offer a verbal apology.

U.S. government and Big Pharma continue to commit crimes against humanity

This pattern extends to the modern day, of course. Remember the Gulf War veterans who were diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome shortly after returning from serving in Iraq? It is widely believed that this syndrome is the side effect of experimental vaccines and drugs forced upon these soldiers by the U.S. government. In the timeline of medical experiments shown below, you’ll notice a disturbing pattern of governments exploiting soldiers for their experiments.

More recently, last year’s swine flu vaccine was essentially one grand medical experiment involving hundreds of millions of people around the world. The vaccine was entirely untested and had never been scientifically tested and then approved as safe by any health authority, yet it was aggressively pushed by government authorities in the hopes that people would take the shots so they could find out what happens. (It’s a lot like Nancy Pelosi trying to pass the health care reform bill so that we can all find out what’s in it…)

The timeline of medical experiments on innocent victims

What’s really interesting about this story is how the discovery of this 1940’s medical experiment suddenly came to light. It was “discovered” by Susan M. Reverby, a professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, who said, “I almost fell out of my chair when I started reading this… Can you imagine? I couldn’t believe it.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy…)

Well maybe she should have been reading NaturalNews. We’ve been publishing the truth about medical experimentation on innocent humans for years. If Susan Reverby knew anything about how the medical industry really operates, she wouldn’t have been surprised at all. The history of medical experiments conducted in the name of the pharmaceutical industry is chock full of accounts of prisoners, blacks, women and other groups being exploited as human lab rats (see the timeline link below to read it for yourself).

Upon discovering this medical experiment, Susan Reverby was so outraged that she went public with her findings. ABC News picked up on the story and then it spread like wildfire throughout the mainstream media. That’s the curious thing about this: The mainstream media so rarely prints the truth about the history of medicine that when something truthful appears, it’s “amazing” news.

But here on NaturalNews.com, we print these kind of stories every single day. To discover that yet another group of victims was abused and exploited by a government-paid doctor working for the drug industry is routine. The abuses of human life committed by the pharmaceutical industry goes far beyond 1500 Guatemalans and actually extends to tens of millions of Americans who are being treated like guinea pigs every single day.

Psychiatry – An Industry of Death

If you really want to be freaked out by the true, documented history of how people have been tortured, abused, injected, maimed and otherwise had their lives destroyed by the medical industry, check out the Psychiatry An Industry of Death Museum created by CCHR (www.CCHR.org).

Watch the video here: http://www.cchr.org/museum.html%23/…

You can actually walk through this museum yourself. It’s in Los Angeles, and it’s one of the most disturbing things you’ll ever see about the true history of medicine. The STD experiments in Guatemala, by the way, were carried out in a psychiatric hospital. (No surprise.) I walked through this museum and practically found myself in tears before it was over. The things that psychiatrists and doctors will do to other human beings in the name of “medicine” will rock you to the core.

The psychiatric industry has done unspeakable things to women, children, prisoners, senior citizens, African Americans and racial minorities — all in the name of “science” and “medicine.” In fact, these experiments continue to this day in the form of the psychiatric drugging of children who are diagnosed with fictitious health conditions such as “ADHD.” See my disease mongering engine to invent your own psychiatric disorders, if you want a bit of satire on this subject: http://www.naturalnews.com/disease-…

Nobody has documented the real history of medicine’s criminal abuse of human beings as well as CCHR – the Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights. Check out their amazing, shocking and eye-opening videos such as The Marketing of Madness (http://www.cchr.org/videos/marketin…) and Making A Killing (http://www.cchr.org/videos/making-a…).

Here, you’ll begin to scratch the surface of the true story of criminal abuse by the pharmaceutical industry — often in collusion with government. Normally, these stories are all covered up and we never hear about them. After all, to discover that the U.S. government conspired with the pharmaceutical industry to infect Guatemalans with a sexually-transmitted disease doesn’t exactly reflect the kind of image Obama wishes for people to believe about America.

A timeline of medical experiments on humans

Below, I’ve reprinted a timeline of human medical experiments that we first put together here on NaturalNews several years ago. This is just a partial list, by the way: There are more experiments that were conducted in secret and were never documented.

As you’ll see here, the experiment on Guatemalans just barely begins to paint the full picture of just how many human beings have been killed, poisoned, maimed or otherwise had their lives destroyed by criminal medical experiments carried out in the name of “medical science.”

Many of these experiments involve organizations whose names you would instantly recognize: Merck, the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, the Sloan-Kettering Institute, the National Institutes of Health, Massachusetts General Hospital and many more. This is like a Who’s Who of the pharmaceutical industry, and they were all involved in using human beings as guinea pigs to conduct medical experiments.

And as you’ll see below, the Guatemalan experiment isn’t even the most grotesque or disturbing.

Note: Below is only a partial list of human medical experiments we’ve documented here on NaturalNews. See the full list here: http://www.naturalnews.com/022383_r…

(1845 – 1849)

J. Marion Sims, later hailed as the “father of gynecology,” performs medical experiments on enslaved African women without anesthesia. These women would usually die of infection soon after surgery. Based on his belief that the movement of newborns’ skull bones during protracted births causes trismus, he also uses a shoemaker’s awl, a pointed tool shoemakers use to make holes in leather, to practice moving the skull bones of babies born to enslaved mothers (Brinker).

(1895)

New York pediatrician Henry Heiman infects a 4-year-old boy whom he calls “an idiot with chronic epilepsy” with gonorrhea as part of a medical experiment (“Human Experimentation: Before the Nazi Era and After”).

(1896)

Dr. Arthur Wentworth turns 29 children at Boston’s Children’s Hospital into human guinea pigsSharav).

when he performs spinal taps on them, just to test whether the procedure is harmful (

(1906)

Harvard professor Dr. Richard Strong infects prisoners in the Philippines with cholera to study the disease; 13 of them die. He compensates survivors with cigars and cigarettes. During the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi doctors cite this study to justify their own medical experiments (Greger, Sharav).

(1911)

Dr. Hideyo Noguchi of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research publishes data on injecting an inactive syphilis preparation into the skin of 146 hospital patients and normal children in an attempt to develop a skin test for syphilis. Later, in 1913, several of these children’s parents sue Dr. Noguchi for allegedly infecting their children with syphilis (“Reviews and Notes: History of Medicine: Subjected to Science: Human Experimentation in America before the Second World War”).

(1913)

Medical experimenters “test” 15 children at the children’s home St. Vincent’s House in Philadelphia with tuberculin, resulting in permanent blindness in some of the children. Though the Pennsylvania House of Representatives records the incident, the researchers are not punished for the experiments (“Human Experimentation: Before the Nazi Era and After”).

(1915)

Dr. Joseph Goldberger, under order of the U.S. Public Health Office, produces Pellagra, a debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system, in 12 Mississippi inmates to try to find a cure for the disease. One test subject later says that he had been through “a thousand hells.” In 1935, after millions die from the disease, the director of the U.S Public Health Office would finally admit that officials had known that it was caused by a niacin deficiency for some time, but did nothing about it because it mostly affected poor African-Americans. During the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi doctors used this study to try to justify their medical experiments on concentration camp inmates (Greger; Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).

(1932)

(1932-1972) The U.S. Public Health Service in Tuskegee, Ala. diagnoses 400 poor, black sharecroppers with syphilis but never tells them of their illness nor treats them; instead researchers use the men as human guinea pigs to follow the symptoms and progression of the disease. They all eventually die from syphilis and their families are never told that they could have been treated (Goliszek, University of Virginia Health System Health Sciences Library).

(1939)

In order to test his theory on the roots of stuttering, prominent speech pathologist Dr. Wendell Johnson performs his famous “Monster Experiment” on 22 children at the Iowa Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home in Davenport. Dr. Johnson and his graduate students put the children under intense psychological pressure, causing them to switch from speaking normally to stuttering heavily. At the time, some of the students reportedly warn Dr. Johnson that, “in the aftermath of World War II, observers might draw comparisons to Nazi experiments on human subjects, which could destroy his career” (Alliance for Human Research Protection).

(1941)

Dr. William C. Black infects a 12-month-old baby with herpes as part of a medical experiment. At the time, the editor of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, Francis Payton Rous, calls it “an abuse of power, an infringement of the rights of an individual, and not excusable because the illness which followed had implications for science” (Sharav).

An article in a 1941 issue of Archives of Pediatrics describes medical studies of the severe gum disease Vincent’s angina in which doctors transmit the disease from sick children to healthy children with oral swabs (Goliszek).

Researchers give 800 poverty-stricken pregnant women at a Vanderbilt University prenatal clinic “cocktails” including radioactive iron in order to determine the iron requirements of pregnant women (Pacchioli).

(1942)

The Chemical Warfare Service begins mustard gas and lewisite experiments on 4,000 members of the U.S. military. Some test subjects don’t realize they are volunteering for chemical exposure experiments, like 17-year-old Nathan Schnurman, who in 1944 thinks he is only volunteering to test “U.S. Navy summer clothes” (Goliszek).

Merck Pharmaceuticals President George Merck is named director of the War Research Service (WRS), an agency designed to oversee the establishment of a biological warfare program (Goliszek).

(1944 – 1946) A captain in the medical corps addresses an April 1944 memo to Col. Stanford Warren, head of the Manhattan Project’s Medical Section, expressing his concerns about atom bomb component fluoride’s central nervous system (CNS) effects and asking for animal research to be done to determine the extent of these effects: “Clinical evidence suggests that uranium hexafluoride may have a rather marked central nervous system effect … It seems most likely that the F

component rather than the T

is the causative factor … Since work with these compounds is essential, it will be necessary to know in advance what mental effects may occur after exposure.” The following year, the Manhattan Project would begin human-based studies on fluoride’s effects (Griffiths and Bryson).

The Manhattan Project medical team, led by the now infamous University of Rochester radiologist Col. Safford Warren, injects plutonium into patients at the University’s teaching hospital, Strong Memorial (Burton Report).

(1945)

Continuing the Manhattan Project, researchers inject plutonium into three patients at the University of Chicago’s Billings Hospital (Sharav).

The U.S. State Department, Army intelligence and the CIA begin Operation Paperclip, offering Nazi scientists immunity and secret identities in exchange for work on top-secret government projects on aerodynamics and chemical warfare medicine in the United States (“Project Paperclip”).

(1945 – 1955) In Newburgh, N.Y., researchers linked to the Manhattan Project begin the most extensive American study ever done on the health effects of fluoridating public drinking water (Griffiths and Bryson).

(1946)

Continuing the Newburg study of 1945, the Manhattan Project commissions the University of Rochester to study fluoride’s effects on animals and humans in a project codenamed “Program F.” With the help of the New York State Health Department, Program F researchers secretly collect and analyze blood and tissue samples from Newburg residents. The studies are sponsored by the Atomic Energy Commission and take place at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Strong Memorial Hospital (Griffiths and Bryson).

(1946 – 1947) University of Rochester researchers inject four male and two female human test subjects with uranium-234 and uranium-235 in dosages ranging from 6.4 to 70.7 micrograms per one kilogram of body weight in order to study how much uranium they could tolerate before their kidneys become damaged (Goliszek).

Six male employees of a Chicago metallurgical laboratory are given water contaminated with plutonium-239 to drink so that researchers can learn how plutonium is absorbed into the digestive tract (Goliszek).

Researchers begin using patients in VA hospitals as test subjects for human medical experiments, cleverly worded as “investigations” or “observations” in medical study reports to avoid negative connotations and bad publicity (Sharav).

The American public finally learns of the biowarfare experiments being done at Fort Detrick from a report released by the War Department (Goliszek).

(1947)

Col. E.E. Kirkpatrick of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) issues a top-secret document (707075) dated Jan. 8. In it, he writes that “certain radioactive substances are being prepared for intravenous administration to human subjects as a part of the work of the contract” (Goliszek).

A secret AEC document dated April 17 reads, “It is desired that no document be released which refers to experiments with humans that might have an adverse reaction on public opinion or result in legal suits,” revealing that the U.S. government was aware of the health risks its nuclear tests

The CIA begins studying LSD’s potential as a weapon by using military and civilian test subjects for experiments without their consent or even knowledge. Eventually, these LSD studies will evolve into the MKULTRA program in 1953 (Sharav).

(1947 – 1953) The U.S. Navy begins Project Chatter to identify and test so-called “truth serums,” such as those used by the Soviet Union to interrogate spies. Mescaline and the central nervous system depressant scopolamine are among the many drugs tested on human subjects (Goliszek).

posed to military personnel conducting the tests or nearby civilians (Goliszek).

(1948)

Based on the secret studies performed on Newburgh, N.Y. residents beginning in 1945, Project F researchers publish a report in the August 1948 edition of the Journal of the American Dental Association, detailing fluoride’s health dangers. The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) quickly censors it for “national security” reasons (Griffiths and Bryson).

(1950)

(1950 – 1953) The U.S. Army releases chemical clouds over six American and Canadian cities. Residents in Winnipeg, Canada, where a highly toxic chemical called cadmium is dropped, subsequently experience high rates of respiratory illnesses (Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).

In order to determine how susceptible an American city could be to biological attack, the U.S. Navy sprays a cloud of Bacillus globigii bacteria from ships over the San Francisco shoreline. According to monitoring devices situated throughout the city to test the extent of infection, the eight thousand residents of San Francisco inhale five thousand or more bacteria particles, many becoming sick with pneumonia-like symptoms (Goliszek).

Dr. Joseph Strokes of the University of Pennsylvania infects 200 female prisoners with viral hepatitis to study the disease (Sharav).

Doctors at the Cleveland City Hospital study changes in cerebral blood flow by injecting test subjects with spinal anesthesia, inserting needles in their jugular veins and brachial arteries, tilting their heads down and, after massive blood loss causes paralysis and fainting, measuring their blood pressure. They often perform this experiment multiple times on the same subject (Goliszek).

Dr. D. Ewen Cameron, later of MKULTRA infamy due to his 1957 to1964 experiments on Canadians, publishes an article in the British Journal of Physical Medicine, in which he describes experiments that entail forcing schizophrenic patients at Manitoba’s Brandon Mental Hospital to lie naked under 15- to 200-watt red lamps for up to eight hours per day. His other experiments include placing mental patients in an electric cage that overheats their internal body temperatures to 103 degrees Fahrenheit, and inducing comas by giving patients large injections of insulin (Goliszek).

(1951)

The U.S. Army secretly contaminates the Norfolk Naval Supply Center in Virginia and Washington, D.C.’s National Airport with a strain of bacteria chosen because African-Americans were believed to be more susceptible to it than Caucasians. The experiment causes food poisoning, respiratory problems and blood poisoning (Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).

(1951 – 1956) Under contract with the Air Force’s School of Aviation Medicine (SAM), the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston begins studying the effects of radiation on cancer patients — many of them members of minority groups or indigents, according to sources — in order to determine both radiation’s ability to treat cancer and the possible long-term radiation effects of pilots flying nuclear-powered planes. The study lasts until 1956, involving 263 cancer patients. Beginning in 1953, the subjects are required to sign a waiver form, but it still does not meet the informed consent guidelines established by the Wilson memo released that year. The TBI studies themselves would continue at four different institutions — Baylor University College of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine — until 1971 (U.S. Department of Energy, Goliszek).

American, Canadian and British military and intelligence officials gather a small group of eminent psychologists to a secret meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal about Communist “thought-control techniques.” They proposed a top-secret research program on behavior modification — involving testing drugs, hypnosis, electroshock and lobotomies on humans (Barker).

(1952)

At the famous Sloan-Kettering Institute, Chester M. Southam injects live cancer cells into prisoners at the Ohio State Prison to study the progression of the disease. Half of the prisoners in this National Institutes of Health-sponsored (NIH) study are black, awakening racial suspicions stemming from Tuskegee, which was also an NIH-sponsored study (Merritte, et al.).

(1953 – 1974) The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) sponsors iodine studies at the University of Iowa. In the first study, researchers give pregnant women 100 to 200 microcuries of iodine-131 and then study the women’s aborted embryos in order to learn at what stage and to what extent radioactive iodine crosses the placental barrier. In the second study, researchers give 12 male and 13 female newborns under 36 hours old and weighing between 5.5 and 8.5 pounds iodine-131 either orally or via intramuscular injection, later measuring the concentration of iodine in the newborns’ thyroid glands (Goliszek).

As part of an AEC study, researchers feed 28 healthy infants at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine iodine-131 through a gastric tube and then test concentration of iodine in the infants’ thyroid glands 24 hours later (Goliszek).

(1953 – 1957) Eleven patients at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston are injected with uranium as part of the Manhattan Project (Sharav).

In an AEC-sponsored study at the University of Tennessee, researchers inject healthy two- to three-day-old newborns with approximately 60 rads of iodine-131 (Goliszek).

Newborn Daniel Burton becomes blind when physicians at Brooklyn Doctors Hospital perform an experimental high oxygen treatment for Retrolental Fibroplasia, a retinal disorder affecting premature infants, on him and other premature babies. The physicians perform the experimental treatment despite earlier studies showing that high oxygen levels cause blindness. Testimony in Burton v. Brooklyn Doctors Hospital (452 N.Y.S.2d875) later reveals that researchers continued to give Burton and other infants excess oxygen even after their eyes had swelled to dangerous levels (Goliszek, Sharav).

A 1953 article in Clinical Science describes a medical experiment in which researchers purposely blister the abdomens of 41 children, ranging in age from eight to 14, with cantharide in order to study how severely the substance irritates the skin (Goliszek).

The AEC performs a series of field tests known as “Green Run,” dropping radiodine 131 and xenon 133 over the Hanford, Wash. site — 500,000 acres encompassing three small towns (Hanford, White Bluffs and Richland) along the Columbia River (Sharav).

In an AEC-sponsored study to learn whether radioactive iodine affects premature babies differently from full-term babies, researchers at Harper Hospital in Detroit give oral doses of iodine-131 to 65 premature and full-term infants weighing between 2.1 and 5.5 pounds (Goliszek).

(1955 – 1957) In order to learn how cold weather affects human physiology, researchers give a total of 200 doses of iodine-131, a radioactive tracer that concentrates almost immediately in the thyroid gland, to 85 healthy Eskimos and 17 Athapascan Indians living in Alaska. They study the tracer within the body by blood, thyroid tissue, urine and saliva samples from the test subjects. Due to the language barrier, no one tells the test subjects what is being done to them, so there is no informed consent (Goliszek).

(1956 – 1957) U.S. Army covert biological weapons researchers release mosquitoes infected with yellow fever and dengue fever over Savannah, Ga., and Avon Park, Fla., to test the insects’ ability to carry disease. After each test, Army agents pose as public health officials to test victims for effects and take pictures of the unwitting test subjects. These experiments result in a high incidence of fevers, respiratory distress, stillbirths, encephalitis and typhoid among the two cities’ residents, as well as several deaths (Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).

(1957)

The U.S. military conducts Operation Plumbbob at the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Operation Pumbbob consists of 29 nuclear detonations, eventually creating radiation expected to result in a total 32,000 cases of thyroid cancer among civilians in the area. Around 18,000 members of the U.S. military participate in Operation Pumbbob’s Desert Rock VII and VIII, which are designed to see how the average foot soldier physiologically and mentally responds to a nuclear battlefield (“Operation Plumbbob”, Goliszek).

(1957 – 1964) As part of MKULTRA, the CIA pays McGill University Department of Psychiatry founder Dr. D. Ewen Cameron $69,000 to perform LSD studies and potentially lethal experiments on Canadians being treated for minor disorders like post-partum depression and anxiety at the Allan Memorial Institute, which houses the Psychiatry Department of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. The CIA encourages Dr. Cameron to fully explore his “psychic driving” concept of correcting madness through completely erasing one’s memory and rewriting the psyche. These “driving” experiments involve putting human test subjects into drug-, electroshock- and sensory deprivation-induced vegetative states for up to three months, and then playing tape loops of noise or simple repetitive statements for weeks or months in order to “rewrite” the “erased” psyche. Dr. Cameron also gives human test subjects paralytic drugs and electroconvulsive therapy 30 to 40 times, as part of his experiments. Most of Dr. Cameron’s test subjects suffer permanent damage as a result of his work (Goliszek, “Donald Ewan Cameron”).

In order to study how blood flows through children’s brains, researchers at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia perform the following experiment on healthy children, ranging in age from three to 11: They insert needles into each child’s femoral artery (thigh) and jugular vein (neck), bringing the blood down from the brain. Then, they force each child to inhale a special gas through a facemask. In their subsequent Journal of Clinical Investigation article on this study, the researchers note that, in order to perform the experiment, they had to restrain some of the child test subjects by bandaging them to boards (Goliszek).

(1958)

The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) drops radioactive materials over Point Hope, Alaska, home to the Inupiats, in a field test known under the codename “Project Chariot” (Sharav).

(1961)

In response to the Nuremberg Trials, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram begins his famous Obedience to Authority Study in order to answer his question “Could it be that (Adolf) Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?” Male test subjects, ranging in age from 20 to 40 and coming from all education backgrounds, are told to give “learners” electric shocks for every wrong answer the learners give in response to word pair questions. In reality, the learners are actors and are not receiving electric shocks, but what matters is that the test subjects do not know that. Astoundingly, they keep on following orders and continue to administer increasingly high levels of “shocks,” even after the actor learners show obvious physical pain (“Milgram Experiment”).

(1962)

Researchers at the Laurel Children’s Center in Maryland test experimental acne antibiotics on children and continue their tests even after half of the young test subjects develop severe liver damage because of the experimental medication (Goliszek).

The FDA begins requiring that a new pharmaceutical undergo three human clinical trials before it will approve it. From 1962 to 1980, pharmaceutical companies satisfy this requirement by running Phase I trials, which determine a drug’s toxicity, on prison inmates, giving them small amounts of cash for compensation (Sharav).

(1963)

Chester M. Southam, who injected Ohio State Prison inmates with live cancer cells in 1952, performs the same procedure on 22 senile, African-American female patients at the Brooklyn Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital in order to watch their immunological response. Southam tells the patients that they are receiving “some cells,” but leaves out the fact that they are cancer cells. He claims he doesn’t obtain informed consent from the patients because he does not want to frighten them by telling them what he is doing, but he nevertheless temporarily loses his medical license because of it. Ironically, he eventually becomes president of the American Cancer Society (Greger, Merritte, et al.).

Researchers at the University of Washington directly irradiate the testes of 232 prison inmates in order to determine radiation’s effects on testicular function. When these inmates later leave prison and have children, at least four have babies born with birth defects. The exact number is unknown because researchers never follow up on the men to see the long-term effects of their experiment (Goliszek).

(1963 – 1966) New York University researcher Saul Krugman promises parents with mentally disabled children definite enrollment into the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, N.Y., a resident mental institution for mentally retarded children, in exchange for their signatures on a consent form for procedures presented as “vaccinations.” In reality, the procedures involve deliberately infecting children with viral hepatitis by feeding them an extract made from the feces of infected patients, so that Krugman can study the course of viral hepatitis as well the effectiveness of a hepatitis vaccine (Hammer Breslow).

(1963 – 1971) Leading endocrinologist Dr. Carl Heller gives 67 prison inmates at Oregon State Prison in Salem $5 per month and $25 per testicular tissue biopsy in compensation for allowing him to perform irradiation experiments on their testes. If they receive vasectomies at the end of the study, the prisoners are given an extra $100 (Sharav, Goliszek).

Researchers inject a genetic compound called radioactive thymidine into the testicles of more than 100 Oregon State Penitentiary inmates to learn whether sperm production is affected by exposure to steroid hormones (Greger).

In a study published in Pediatrics, researchers at the University of California’s Department of Pediatrics use 113 newborns ranging in age from one hour to three days old in a series of experiments used to study changes in blood pressure and blood flow. In one study, doctors insert a catheter through the newborns’ umbilical arteries and into their aortas and then immerse the newborns’ feet in ice water while recording aortic pressure. In another experiment, doctors strap 50 newborns to a circumcision board, tilt the table so that all the blood rushes to their heads and then measure their blood pressure (Goliszek).

(1964 – 1967) The Dow Chemical Company pays Professor Kligman $10,000 to learn how dioxin — a highly toxic, carcinogenic component of Agent Orange — and other herbicides affect human skin because workers at the chemical plant have been developing an acne-like condition called Chloracne and the company would like to know whether the chemicals they are handling are to blame. As part of the study, Professor Kligman applies roughly the amount of dioxin Dow employees are exposed to on the skin 60 prisoners, and is disappointed when the prisoners show no symptoms of Chloracne. In 1980 and 1981, the human guinea pigs used in this study would begin suing Professor Kligman for complications including lupus and psychological damage (Kaye).

See the rest of the list at http://www.naturalnews.com/022383_r…


The Culture of Violence in the American West: Myth versus Reality

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The Culture of Violence in the American West: Myth versus Reality

By Thomas J. DiLorenzo
This article appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of The Independent Review

Abstract

Contrary to popular perception, the Old West was much more peaceful than American cities are today. The real culture of violence on the frontier during the latter half of the nineteenth century sprang from the U.S. government’s policies toward the Plains Indians.


Article

The Not-So-Wild, Wild West

In a thorough review of the “West was violent” literature, Bruce Benson (1998) discovered that many historians simply assume that violence was pervasive—even more so than in modern-day America—and then theorize about its likely causes. In addition, some authors assume that the West was very violent and then assert, as Joe Franz does, that “American violence today reflects our frontier heritage” (Franz 1969, qtd. in Benson 1998, 98). Thus, an allegedly violent and stateless society of the nineteenth century is blamed for at least some of the violence in the United States today.

In a book-length survey of the “West was violent” literature, historian Roger McGrath echoes Benson’s skepticism about this theory when he writes that “the frontier-was-violent authors are not, for the most part, attempting to prove that the frontier was violent. Rather, they assume that it was violent and then proffer explanations for that alleged violence” (1984, 270).

In contrast, an alternative literature based on actual history concludes that the civil society of the American West in the nineteenth century was not very violent. Eugene Hollon writes that the western frontier “was a far more civilized, more peaceful and safer place than American society today” (1974, x). Terry Anderson and P. J. Hill affirm that although “[t]he West . . . is perceived as a place of great chaos, with little respect for property or life,” their research “indicates that this was not the case; property rights were protected and civil order prevailed. Private agencies provided the necessary basis for an orderly society in which property was protected and conflicts were resolved” (1979, 10).

What were these private protective agencies? They were not governments because they did not have a legal monopoly on keeping order. Instead, they included such organizations as land clubs, cattlemen’s associations, mining camps, and wagon trains.

So-called land clubs were organizations established by settlers before the U.S. government even surveyed the land, let alone started to sell it or give it away. Because disputes over land titles are inevitable, the land clubs adopted their own constitutions, laying out the “laws” that would define and protect property rights in land (Anderson and Hill 1979, 15). They administered land claims, protected them from outsiders, and arbitrated disputes. Social ostracism was used effectively against those who violated the rules. Establishing property rights in this way minimized disputes—and violence.

The wagon trains that transported thousands of people to the California gold fields and other parts of the West usually established their own constitutions before setting out. These constitutions often included detailed judicial systems. As a consequence, writes Benson, “[t]here were few instances of violence on the wagon trains even when food became extremely scarce and starvation threatened. When crimes against persons or their property were committed, the judicial system . . . would take effect” (1998, 102). Ostracism and threats of banishment from the group, instead of threats of violence, were usually sufficient to correct rule breakers’ behavior.

Dozens of movies have portrayed the nineteenth-century mining camps in the West as hot beds of anarchy and violence, but John Umbeck discovered that, beginning in 1848, the miners began forming contracts with one another to restrain their own behavior (1981, 51). There was no government authority in California at the time, apart from a few military posts. The miners’ contracts established property rights in land (and in any gold found on the land) that the miners themselves enforced. Miners who did not accept the rules the majority adopted were free to mine elsewhere or to set up their own contractual arrangements with other miners. The rules that were adopted were often consequently established with unanimous consent (Anderson and Hill 1979, 19). As long as a miner abided by the rules, the other miners defended his rights under the community contract. If he did not abide by the agreed-on rules, his claim would be regarded as “open to any [claim] jumpers” (Umbeck 1981, 53).

The mining camps hired “enforcement specialists”—justices of the peace and arbitrators—and developed an extensive body of property and criminal law. As a result, there was very little violence and theft. The fact that the miners were usually armed also helps to explain why crime was relatively infrequent. Benson concludes, “The contractual system of law effectively generated cooperation rather than conflict, and on those occasions when conflict arose it was, by and large, effectively quelled through nonviolent means” (1998, 105).

When government bureaucrats failed to police cattle rustling effectively, ranchers established cattlemen’s associations that drew up their own constitutions and hired private “protection agencies” that were often staffed by expert gunmen. This action deterred cattle rustling. Some of these “gunmen” did “drift in and out of a life of crime,” write Anderson and Hill (1979, 18), but they were usually dealt with by the cattlemen’s associations and never created any kind of large-scale criminal organization, as some have predicted would occur under a regime of private law enforcement.

In sum, this work by Benson, Anderson and Hill, Umbeck, and others challenges with solid historical research the claims made by the “West was violent” authors. The civil society of the American West in the nineteenth century was much more peaceful than American cities are today, and the evidence suggests that in fact the Old West was not a very violent place at all. History also reveals that the expanded presence of the U.S. government was the real cause of a culture of violence in the American West. If there is anything to the idea that a nineteenth-century culture of violence on the American frontier is the genesis of much of the violence in the United States today, the main source of that culture is therefore government, not civil society.

The Real Cause of Violence in the American West

The real culture of violence in the American West of the latter half of the nineteenth century sprang from the U.S. government’s policies toward the Plains Indians. It is untrue that white European settlers were always at war with Indians, as popular folklore contends. After all, Indians assisted the Pilgrims and celebrated the first Thanksgiving with them; John Smith married Pocahontas; a white man (mostly Scots, with some Cherokee), John Ross, was the chief of the Cherokees of Tennessee and North Carolina; and there was always a great deal of trade with Indians, as opposed to violence. As Jennifer Roback has written, “Europeans generally acknowledged that the Indians retained possessory rights to their lands. More important, the English recognized the advantage of being on friendly terms with the Indians. Trade with the Indians, especially the fur trade, was profitable. War was costly” (1992, 9). Trade and cooperation with the Indians were much more common than conflict and violence during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Terry Anderson and Fred McChesney relate how Thomas Jefferson found that during his time negotiation was the Europeans’ predominant means of acquiring land from Indians (1994, 56). By the twentieth century, some $800 million had been paid for Indian lands. These authors also argue that various factors can alter the incentives for trade, as opposed to waging a war of conquest as a means of acquiring land. One of the most important factors is the existence of a standing army, as opposed to militias, which were used in the American West prior to the War Between the States. On this point, Anderson and McChesney quote Adam Smith, who wrote that “‘[i]n a militia, the character of the labourer, artificer, or tradesman, predominates over that of the soldier: in a standing army, that of the soldier predominates over every other character.’” (1994, 52). A standing army, according to Anderson and McChesney, “creates a class of professional soldiers whose personal welfare increases with warfare, even if fighting is a negative-sum act for the population as a whole” (52).

The change from militia to a standing army took place in the American West immediately upon the conclusion of the War Between the States. The result, say Anderson and McChesney, was that white settlers and railroad corporations were able to socialize the costs of stealing Indian lands by using violence supplied by the U.S. Army. On their own, they were much more likely to negotiate peacefully. Thus, “raid” replaced “trade” in white–Indian relations. Congress even voted in 1871 not to ratify any more Indian treaties, effectively announcing that it no longer sought peaceful relations with the Plains Indians.

Anderson and McChesney do not consider why a standing army replaced militias in 1865, but the reason is not difficult to discern. One has only to read the official pronouncements of the soldiers and political figures who launched a campaign of extermination against the Plains Indians.

On June 27, 1865, General William Tecumseh Sherman was given command of the Military District of the Missouri, which was one of the five military divisions into which the U.S. government had divided the country. Sherman received this command for the purpose of commencing the twenty-five-year war against the Plains Indians, primarily as a form of veiled subsidy to the government-subsidized railroad corporations and other politically connected corporations involved in building the transcontinental railroads. These corporations were the financial backbone of the Republican Party. Indeed, in June 1861, Abraham Lincoln, former legal counsel of the Illinois Central Railroad, called a special emergency session of Congress not to deal with the two-month-old Civil War, but to commence work on the Pacific Railway Act. Subsidizing the transcontinental railroads was a primary (if not the primary) objective of the new Republican Party. As Dee Brown writes in Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow, a history of the building of the transcontinental railroads, Lincoln’s 1862 Pacific Railway Act “assured the fortunes of a dynasty of American families . . . the Brewsters, Bushnells, Olcotts, Harkers, Harrisons, Trowbridges, Lanworthys, Reids, Ogdens, Bradfords, Noyeses, Brooks, Cornells, and dozens of others” (2001, 49), all of whom were tied to the Republican Party.

The federal railroad subsidies enriched many Republican members of Congress. Congressman Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania “received a block of [Union Pacific] stock in exchange for his vote” on the Pacific Railroad bill, writes Brown (2001, 58). The Pennsylvania iron manufacturer and congressman also demanded a legal requirement that all iron used in constructing the railroad be made in the United States.

Republican congressman Oakes Ames of Massachusetts was a shovel manufacturer who became “a loyal ally” of the legislation after he was promised shovel contracts (Brown 2001, 58). A great many shovels must have been required to dig railroad beds from Iowa to California.

Sherman wrote in his memoirs that as soon as the war ended, “My thoughts and feelings at once reverted to the construction of the great Pacific Railway. . . . I put myself in communication with the parties engaged in the work, visiting them in person, and assured them that I would afford them all possible assistance and encouragement” (2005, 775). “We are not going to let a few thieving, ragged Indians check and stop the progress [of the railroads],” Sherman wrote to Ulysses S. Grant in 1867 (qtd. in Fellman 1995, 264).

The chief engineer of the government-subsidized transcontinental railroads was Grenville Dodge, another of Lincoln’s generals during the war with whom Sherman worked closely afterward. As Murray Rothbard points out, Dodge “helped swing the Iowa delegation to Lincoln” at the 1860 Republican National Convention, and “[i]n return, early in the Civil War, Lincoln appointed Dodge to army general. Dodge’s task was to clear the Indians from the designated path of the country’s first heavily subsidized federally chartered trans-continental railroad, the Union Pacific.” In this way, Rothbard concludes, “conscripted Union troops and hapless taxpayers were coerced into socializing the costs of constructing and operating the Union Pacific” (1997, 130).

Immediately after the war, Dodge proposed enslaving the Plains Indians and forcing them “to do the grading” on the railroad beds, “with the Army furnishing a guard to make the Indians work, and keep them from running away” (Brown 2001, 64). Union army veterans were to be the “overseers” of this new class of slaves. Dodge’s proposal was rejected; the U.S. government decided instead to try to kill as many Indians as possible.

In his memoirs, Sherman has high praise for Thomas Clark Durant, the vice president of the Union Pacific Railroad, as “a person of ardent nature, of great ability and energy, enthusiastic in his undertaking” (2005, 775). Durant was also the chief instigator of the infamous Credit Mobilier scandal, one of the most shocking examples of political corruption in U.S. history. Sherman himself had invested in railroads before the war, and he was a consummate political insider, along with Durant, Dodge, and his brother, Senator John Sherman.

President Grant made his old friend Sherman the army’s commanding general, and another Civil War luminary, General Phillip Sheridan, assumed command on the ground in the West. “Thus the great triumvirate of the Union Civil War effort,” writes Sherman biographer Michael Fellman, “formulated and enacted military Indian policy until reaching, by the 1880s, what Sherman sometimes referred to as ‘the final solution of the Indian problem’” (1995, 260).

What Sherman called the “final solution of the Indian problem” involved “killing hostile Indians and segregating their pauperized survivors in remote places.” “These men,” writes Fellman, “applied their shared ruthlessness, born of their Civil War experiences, against a people all three [men] despised. . . . Sherman’s overall policy was never accommodation and compromise, but vigorous war against the Indians,” whom he regarded as “a less-than-human and savage race” (1995, 260).

All of the other generals who took part in the Indian Wars were “like Sherman [and Sheridan], Civil War luminaries,” writes Sherman biographer John Marszalek. “Their names were familiar from Civil War battles: John Pope, O. O. Howard, Nelson A. Miles, Alfred H. Terry, E. O. C. Ord, C. C. Augur . . . Edward Canby . . . George Armstrong Custer and Benjamin Garrison” (1993, 380). General Winfield Scott Hancock also belongs on this list.

Sherman and Sheridan’s biographers frequently point out that these men apparently viewed the Indian Wars as a continuation of the job they had performed during the Civil War. “Sherman viewed Indians as he viewed recalcitrant Southerners during the war and newly freed people after: resisters to the legitimate forces of an ordered society” (Marszalek 1993, 380). Marszalek might well have written also that Southerners, former slaves, and Indians were not so much opposed to an “ordered society,” but to being ordered around by politicians in Washington, D.C., primarily for the benefit of the politicians’ corporate benefactors.

“During the Civil War, Sherman and Sheridan had practiced a total war of destruction of property. . . . Now the army, in its Indian warfare, often wiped out entire villages” (Marszalek 1993, 382). Fellman writes that Sherman charged Sheridan “to act with all the vigor he had shown in the Shenandoah Valley during the final months of the Civil War” (1995, 270). Sheridan’s troops had burned and plundered the Shenandoah Valley after the Confederate army had evacuated the area and only women, children, and elderly men remained there (Morris 1992, 183). Even Prussian army officers are said to have been shocked when after the war Sheridan boasted to them of his exploits in the Shenandoah Valley.

“[Sherman] insisted that the only answer to the Indian problem was all-out war—of the kind he had utilized against the Confederacy,” writes Marszalek. “Since the inferior Indians refused to step aside so superior American culture could create success and progress, they had to be driven out of the way as the Confederates had been driven back into the Union” (1993, 380).

Sherman’s compulsion for the “extermination” of anyone opposed to turning the U.S. state into an empire expressed the same reasoning he had expressed earlier with regard to his role in the War Between the States. In a letter to his wife early in the war, he declared that his ultimate purpose was “extermination, not of soldiers alone, that is the least part of the trouble, but the people.” Mrs. Sherman responded by expressing her similar wish that the conflict would be a “war of extermination, and that all [Southerners] would be driven like the swine into the sea. May we carry fire and sword into their states till not one habitation is left standing” (qtd. in Walters 1973, 61). Sherman did his best to take his wife’s advice, especially during his famous “march to the sea.” It is little wonder that Indian Wars historian S. L. A. Marshall observes, “[M]ost of the Plains Indian bands were in sympathy with the Southern cause” during the war (1972, 24).

One theme among all of these Union Civil War veterans is that they considered Indians to be subhuman and racially inferior to whites and therefore deserving of extermination if they could not be “controlled” by the white population. Sherman himself thought of the former slaves in exactly the same way. “The Indians give a fair illustration of the fate of the negroes if they are released from the control of the whites,” he once said (qtd. in Kennett 2001, 296). He believed that intermarriage of whites and Indians would be disastrous, as he claimed it was in New Mexico, where “the blending of races had produced general equality, which led inevitably to Mexican anarchy” (qtd. in Kennett 2001, 297).

Sherman described the inhabitants of New Mexico, many of whom were part Mexican (Spanish), part Indian, and part Negro, as “mongrels.” His goal was to eliminate the possibility that such racial amalgamation might occur elsewhere in the United States, by undertaking to effect what Michael Fellman called a “racial cleansing of the land” (1995, 264), beginning with extermination of the Indians.

Sherman, Sheridan, and the other top military commanders were not shy about announcing that their objective was extermination, a term that Sherman used literally on a number of occasions, as he had in reference to Southerners only a few years earlier. He and Sheridan are forever associated with the slogan “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” “All the Indians will have to be killed or be maintained as a species of paupers,” he said. Sherman announced his objective as being “to prosecute the war with vindictive earnestness . . . till [the Indians] are obliterated or beg for mercy” (qtd. in Fellman 1995, 270). According to Fellman, Sherman gave “Sheridan prior authorization to slaughter as many women and children as well as men Sheridan or his subordinates felt was necessary when they attacked Indian villages” (1995, 271).

In case the media back east got wind of such atrocities, Sherman promised Sheridan that he would run interference against any complaints: “I will back you with my whole authority, and stand between you and any efforts that may be attempted in your rear to restrain your purpose or check your troops” (qtd. in Fellman 1995, 271). In later correspondence, Sherman wrote to Sheridan, “I am charmed at the handsome conduct of our troops in the field. They go in with the relish that used to make our hearts glad in 1864–5” (qtd. in Fellman 1995, 272).

Sherman and Sheridan’s troops conducted more than one thousand attacks on Indian villages, mostly in the winter months, when families were together. The U.S. army’s actions matched its leaders’ rhetoric of extermination. As mentioned earlier, Sherman gave orders to kill everyone and everything, including dogs, and to burn everything that would burn so as to increase the likelihood that any survivors would starve or freeze to death. The soldiers also waged a war of extermination on the buffalo, which was the Indians’ chief source of food, winter clothing, and other goods (the Indians even made fish hooks out of dried buffalo bones and bow strings out of sinews).

By 1882, the buffalo were all but extinct, and the cause was not just the tragedy of the commons. Because buffalo hides could be sold for as much as $3.50 each, an individual hunter would kill more than a hundred a day for as many days as he cared to hunt on the open plain. This exploitation of a “common property resource” decimated the buffalo herds, but the decimation was also an integral part of U.S. military policy aimed at starving the Plains Indians. When a group of Texans asked Sheridan if he could not do something to stop the extermination of the buffalo, he said: “Let them kill, skin, and sell until the buffalo is exterminated, as it is the only way to bring lasting peace and allow civilization to advance” (qtd. in Brown 1970, 265).

The escalation of violence against the Plains Indians actually began in earnest during the War Between the States. Sherman and Sheridan’s Indian policy was a continuation and escalation of a policy that General Grenville Dodge, among others, had already commenced. In 1851, the Santee Sioux Indians in Minnesota sold 24 million acres of land to the U.S. government for $1,410,000 in a typical “trade” (as opposed to raid) scenario. The federal government once again did not keep its side of the bargain, though, reneging on its payment to the Indians (Nichols 1978). By 1862, thousands of white settlers were moving onto the Indians’ land, and a crop failure in that year caused the Santee Sioux to become desperate for food. They attempted to take back their land by force with a short “war” in which President Lincoln placed General John Pope in charge. Pope announced, “It is my purpose to utterly exterminate the Sioux. . . . They are to be treated as maniacs or wild beasts, and by no means as people with whom treaties or compromises can be made” (qtd. in Nichols 1978, 87).

At the end of the month-long conflict, hundreds of Indians who had been taken prisoner were subjected to military “trials” lasting about ten minutes each, according to Nichols (1978). Most of the adult male prisoners were found guilty and sentenced to death—not based on evidence of the commission of a crime, but on their mere presence at the end of the fighting. Minnesota authorities wanted to execute all 303 who were convicted, but the Lincoln administration feared that the European powers would not view such an act favorably and did not want to give them an excuse to assist the Confederacy in any way. Therefore, “only” 38 of the Indians were hanged, making this travesty of justice still the largest mass execution in U.S. history (Nichols 1978). To appease the Minnesotans who wanted to execute all 303, Lincoln promised them $2 million and pledged that the U.S. Army would remove all Indians from the state at some future date.

One of the most famous incidents of Indian extermination, known as the Sand Creek Massacre, took place on November 29, 1864. There was a Cheyenne and Arapaho village located on Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado. These Indians had been assured by the U.S. government that they would be safe in Colorado. The government instructed them to fly a U.S. flag over their village, which they did, to assure their safety. However, another Civil War “luminary,” Colonel John Chivington, had other plans for them as he raided the village with 750 heavily armed soldiers. One account of what happened appears in the book Crimsoned Prairie: The Indian Wars (1972) by the renowned military historian S. L. A. Marshall, who held the title of chief historian of the European Theater in World War II and authored thirty books on American military history.

Chivington’s orders were: “I want you to kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice” (qtd. in Marshall 1972, 37). Then, despite the display of the U.S. flag and white surrender flags by these peaceful Indians, Chivington’s troops “began a full day given over to blood-lust, orgiastic mutilation, rapine, and destruction—with Chivington . . . looking on and approving” (Marshall 1972, 38). Marshall notes that the most reliable estimate of the number of Indians killed is “163, of which 110 were women and children” (39).

Upon returning to his fort, Chivington “and his raiders demonstrated around Denver, waving their trophies, more than one hundred drying scalps. They were acclaimed as conquering heroes, which was what they had sought mainly.” One Republican Party newspaper announced, “Colorado soldiers have once again covered themselves with glory” (qtd. in Marshall 1972, 39).

An even more detailed account of the Sand Creek Massacre, based on U.S. Army records, biographies, and firsthand accounts, appears in Dee Brown’s classic Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West: “When the troops came up to [the squaws,] they ran out and showed their persons to let the soldiers know they were squaws and begged for mercy, but the soldiers shot them all. . . . There seemed to be indiscriminate slaughter of men, women and children. . . . The squaws offered no resistance. Every one . . . was scalped” (1970, 89). Brown’s narrative gets much more graphic. The effect of such behavior was to eliminate forever the possibility of peaceful relations with these Indian tribes. They understood that they had become the objects of a campaign of extermination. As Brown writes, “In a few hours of madness at Sand Creek, Chivington and his soldiers destroyed the lives or the power of every Cheyenne and Arapaho chief who had held out for peace with the white men” (92). For the next two decades, the Plains Indians would do their best to return the barbarism in kind.

The books by Brown and Marshall show that the kind of barbarism that occurred at Sand Creek, Colorado, was repeated many times during the next two decades. For example, in 1868 General Winfield Scott Hancock ordered Custer to attack a Cheyenne camp with infantry, which Custer did. The attack led Superintendent of Indian Affairs Thomas Murphy to report to Washington that “General Hancock’s expedition . . . has resulted in no good, but, on the contrary, has been productive of much evil” (qtd. in Brown 1970, 157). A report of the attack prepared for the U.S. secretary of the interior concluded: “For a mighty nation like us to be carrying on a war with a few straggling nomads, under such circumstances, is a spectacle most humiliating, and injustice unparalleled, a national crime most revolting, that must, sooner or later, bring down upon us or our posterity the judgment of Heaven” (qtd. in Brown 1970, 157).

As the war on the Cheyenne continued, Custer and his troops apparently decided that to “kill or hang all the warriors,” as General Sheridan had ordered, “meant separating them from the old men, women, and children. This work was too slow and dangerous for the cavalrymen; they found it much more efficient and safe to kill indiscriminately. They killed 103 Cheyenne, but only eleven of them were warriors” (Brown 1970, 169).

Marshall calls Sheridan’s orders to Custer “the most brutal orders ever published to American troops” (1972, 106). This is a powerful statement coming from a man who wrote thirty books on American military history. In addition to ordering Custer to shoot or hang all warriors, even those that surrendered, Sheridan commanded him to slaughter all ponies and to burn all tepees and their contents. “Sheridan held with but one solution to the Indian problem—extermination—and Custer was his quite pliable instrument,” writes Marshall (1972, 106).

One of the oddest facts about the Indian Wars is that Custer famously instructed a band to play an Irish jig called “Garry Owens” during the attacks on Indian villages. “This was Custer’s way of gentling war. It made killing more rhythmic,” writes Marshall (1972, 107).

During an attack on a Kiowa village on September 26, 1874, soldiers killed more than one thousand horses and forced 252 Kiowas to surrender. They were thrown into prison cells, where “each day their captors threw chunks of raw meat to them as if they were animals in a cage” (Brown 1970, 270). On numerous occasions, fleeing Indians sought refuge in Canada, where they knew they would be unmolested. Canadians built their own transcontinental railroad in the late nineteenth century, but they did not commence a campaign of extermination against the Indians living in that country as the government did in the United States.

No one denies that the U.S. government killed tens of thousands of Indians, including women and children, during the years from 1862 to 1890. There are various estimates of the number of Indians killed, the highest being that of historian Russell Thornton (1990), who used mostly military records to estimate that about forty-five thousand Indians, including women and children, were killed during the wars on the Plains Indians. It is reasonable to assume that thousands more were maimed and disabled for life and received little or no medical assistance. The thousands of soldiers who participated in the Indian Wars lived in a culture of violence and death that was cultivated by the U.S. government for a quarter of a century.

Conclusions

The culture of violence in the American West of the late nineteenth century was created almost entirely by the U.S. government’s military interventions, which were primarily a veiled subsidy to the government-subsidized transcontinental railroad corporations. As scandals go, the war on the Plains Indians makes the Credit Mobilier affair seem inconsequential.

There is such a thing as a culture of war, especially in connection with a war as gruesome and bloody as the war on the Plains Indians. On this topic, World War II combat veteran Paul Fussell has written: “The culture of war . . . is not like the culture of ordinary peace-time life. It is a culture dominated by fear, blood, and sadism, by irrational actions and preposterous . . . results. It has more relation to science fiction or to absurdist theater than to actual life” (1997, 354). Such was the “culture” the U.S. Army created throughout much of the American West for the quarter century after the War Between the States. It is the “culture” that all military interventions at all times have created, and it contrasts sharply with the predominantly peaceful culture of the stateless civil society on the American frontier during much of the nineteenth century.

Fussell made this statement based on his personal experiences in combat, but it echoes the scholarly writing of Ludwig von Mises (who, let us remember, was also an Austrian army officer who had substantial combat experience during World War I): “What distinguishes man from animals is the insight into the advantages that can be derived from cooperation under the division of labor. Man curbs his innate Instinct of aggression in order to cooperate with other human beings. The more he wants to improve his material well being, the more he must expand the system of the division of labor. Concomitantly he must more and more restrict the sphere in which he resorts to military action.” Human cooperation under the division of labor in the civil society “bursts asunder,” Mises wrote, whenever “citizens turn into warriors” and resort to war (1998, 827).

It is not true that all whites waged a war of extermination against the Plains Indians. As noted earlier and as noted throughout the literature of the Indian Wars, many whites preferred the continuation of the peaceful trade and relations with Indians that had been the norm during the first half of the nineteenth century. (Conflicts sometimes occurred, of course, but “trade” dominated “raid” during that era.) Canadians built a transcontinental railroad without a Shermanesque campaign of “extermination” against the Indians in Canada. It is telling that the Plains Indians often sought refuge in Canada when the U.S. Army had them on the run.

The U.S. government dehumanized the Plains Indians, describing them as “wild beasts,” in order to justify slaughtering them, just as Sherman and his wife, among many others, dehumanized Southerners during and after the War Between the States. The same dehumanization by the government’s propaganda machine would eventually target Filipinos, who were killed by the hundreds of thousands at the hands of the U.S. Army during their 1899–1902 revolt against the U.S. conquest of their country barely a decade after the Indian Wars had finally ended. President Theodore Roosevelt “justified” the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos by calling them “savages, half-breeds, a wild and ignorant people” (qtd. in Powell 2006, 64). Dehumanization of certain groups of “resisters” at the hands of the state’s propaganda apparatus is a prerequisite for the culture of war and violence that has long been the main preoccupation of the U.S. state.

It was not necessary to kill tens of thousands of Indians and imprison thousands more in concentration camps (“reservations”) for generations in order to build a transcontinental railroad. Nor were the wars on the Plains Indians a matter of “the white population’s” waging a war of extermination. This war stemmed from the policy of the relatively small group of white men who ran the Republican Party (with assistance from some Democrats), which effectively monopolized national politics for most of that time.

These men utilized the state’s latest technologies of mass killing developed during the Civil War and its mercenary soldiers (including the former slaves known as “buffalo soldiers”) to wage their war because they were in a hurry to shovel subsidies to the railroad corporations and other related business enterprises. Many of them profited handsomely, as the Credit Mobilier scandal revealed. The railroad corporations were the Microsofts and IBMs of their day, and the doctrines of neomercantilism defined the Republican Party’s reason for existing (DiLorenzo 2006). The Republican Party was, after all, the “Party of Lincoln,” the great railroad lawyer and a lobbyist for the Illinois Central and other midwestern railroads during his day.

References

Anderson, Terry, and P. J. Hill. 1979. An American Experiment in Anarcho-capitalism: The Not So Wild, Wild West. Journal of Libertarian Studies 3: 9–29.

Anderson, Terry, and Fred L. McChesney. 1994. Raid or Trade? An Economic Model of Indian-White Relations. Journal of Law and Economics 37: 39–74.

Benson, Bruce. 1998. To Serve and Protect: Privatization and Community in Criminal Justice. New York: New York University Press for The Independent Institute.

Brown, Dee. 1970. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. New York: Holt.

———. 2001. Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow. New York: Owl Books.

DiLorenzo, Thomas J. 2006. Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed to Know about Dishonest Abe. New York: Crown Forum.

Fellman, Michael. 1995. Citizen Sherman: A Life of William Tecumseh Sherman. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press.

Franz, Joe B. 1969. The Frontier Tradition: An Invitation to Violence. In The History of Violence in America, edited by Hugh D. Graham and Ted R. Gurr, 127–54. New York: New York Times Books.

Fussell, Paul. 1997. The Culture of War. In The Costs of War: America’s Pyrrhic Victories, edited by John Denson, 351–57. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction.

Hollon, W. Eugene. 1974. Frontier Violence: Another Look. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kennett, Lee B. 2001. Sherman: A Soldier’s Life. New York: HarperCollins.

Marshall, S. L. A. 1972. Crimsoned Prairie: The Indian Wars. New York: Da Capo Press.

Marszalek, John F. 1993. Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order. New York: Vintage Books.

McGrath, Roger. 1984. Gunfighters, Highwaymen, and Vigilantes: Violence on the Frontier. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Mises, Ludwig von. 1998. Human Action. Scholar’s Edition. Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Morris, Roy. 1992. Sheridan: The Life & Wars of General Phil Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books.

Nichols, David A. 1978. Lincoln and the Indians: Civil War Policy and Politics. Columbia: University of Missouri Press.

Powell, Jim. 2006. Bully Boy: The Truth about Theodore Roosevelt’s Legacy. New York: Crown Forum.

Roback, Jennifer. 1992. Exchange, Sovereignty, and Indian-Anglo Relations. In Property Rights and Indian Economies, edited by Terry Anderson, 5–26. Savage, Md.: Roman & Littlefield.

Rothbard, Murray N. 1997. America’s Two Just Wars: 1775 and 1861. In The Costs of War: America’s Pyrrhic Victories, edited by John Denson, 119–33. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction.

Sherman, William T. 2005. Memoirs. New York: Barnes & Noble.

Thornton, Russel. 1990. American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492. Oklahoma City: University of Oklahoma Press.

Umbeck, John. 1981. Might Makes Rights: A Theory of the Formation and Initial Distribution of Property Rights. Economic Inquiry 19: 38–59.

Walters, John Bennett. 1973. Merchant of Terror: General Sherman and Total War. New York: Bobbs-Merrill.



Thomas J. DiLorenzo is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, and Professor of Economics at Loyola College in Maryland.


Other Independent Review articles by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Fall 1998 The Great Centralizer: Abraham Lincoln and the War between the States

When Will the Bad Dream End?

by Anthony Gregory

In a normal country, war is front-page news. It is a big deal to invade and bomb another nation. Most of the world’s people can probably name all the foreign governments their own government is at war with. If any other industrialized nation were bombing Pakistan, for example, and displacing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, the average taxpayer would be aware. It would be the biggest news story. If you are a typical person living in a normal country, and your government threatens to invade, say, Eritrea, you would probably hear something about it. And you would probably even want to know where Eritrea is on a map.

The United States is not a normal country. If it ever was one, it certainly isn’t now. Its imperial foreign policy has long made it special, and now that it’s the world’s lone superpower – with an effective monopoly on aerial warfare, calling the shots as to who can have nukes, claiming the unilateral right to start wars against anyone – the U.S. government has become so belligerent, and especially in remote lands, that American wars have become routine, its casualties relegated to the back page.

This decade has obviously been especially bad. Nine years ago, the Twin Towers fell, the Pentagon was hit, and the United States, its government and political culture, fell under a spell of mass delusion that still shows no signs of abating. It has been nine whole years since 9/11, and it is starting to look like the “post-9/11” insanity that marked America under Bush has become a permanent feature of the American landscape.


Looking around at what has happened in these last nine years, we are reminded of what a long period of time this is in the modern age. iPods took the world by storm and became obsolete. Such movies as the Lord of the Rings trilogy forever changed film in ways we now take for granted. Trashy reality TV conquered most of the airwaves, but television has at the same time blossomed into a bona fide art form, with HBO, Showtime and even network TV producing programs of a quality previously unimagined. The internet has gone from being a ubiquitous convenience to becoming the major network of all communication, to which practically every other communicative and technological medium is to be connected.

In nine years, we’ve seen the housing market boom and bust. We’ve seen, according to the hyperbolic media, our nation’s greatest environmental disaster, one of the worst natural disasters, and a nearly unprecedented financial collapse. And speaking of the old media, the giant newspapers still seemed like leaders in 2001. Now they look like a dying breed, with whole enterprises selling for literally less than a single issue at a newsstand price. Meanwhile, many consumer goods, including food staples, have nearly doubled in cost.  China is now the second biggest economy in the world.

And certainly, nine years is quite some time in the lives of actual people. We all know folks who’ve had children or passed away. Kids have grown from losing their baby teeth to taking their SATs. We’ve been to many weddings.

On the political scene, in the last nine years we have watched nearly two full terms of one president and half a term of another – two presidents who represent different parties, opposing sides of the culture war and, ostensibly, contrasting approaches on how to govern the country. We’ve seen the Republicans capture the federal legislature and then lose it all again. We’ve seen both parties undergo significant rhetorical makeovers.

But one thing that hasn’t changed at all is U.S. foreign policy, and the entire American style of responding to supposed threats abroad with the brute force of war and the continual expansion of government power at home.


This is not to say that there was a qualitative break in U.S. policy nine years ago, not even as far as the Muslim world was concerned. The U.S. overthrew Iran’s government in 1953, installed a dictator and taught his goons how to torture. The U.S. backed Saddam and his ilk from the late 50s through the 1980s. The U.S. engineered the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and continued to meddle in that country, radicalizing Islamist fighters and helping to create the modern fanaticism there. In the 1980s, the U.S. government bombed Libya and encouraged Saddam to invade Iran, even as President Reagan secretly sent weapons to Iran. In 1990, the U.S. government started a war with Iraq that has essentially continued to this day. Clinton bombed Iraq and Afghanistan. In the decades leading to 9/11, it is fair to say that the U.S. government directly or indirectly murdered millions of innocent people in its interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia. Every president from Eisenhower through Clinton shares some of the blame.

But there has been something particularly insane about U.S. policy since the events of 9/11. Previous limits upon imperial boldness, even if they existed only out of pragmatic concerns, have been swept aside. What was once considered beyond the pale is now accepted as normal.

Abroad, there is the war with Iraq that seems crazy even for the U.S. empire. It used to take something like the Soviet Menace, with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons – or someone like Hitler or Tojo, with some of the mightiest militaries on earth – to scare the living daylights out of Americans. But the Iraq war showed that the most ludicrous of pretenses – that a lame duck dictator like Saddam, who had never attacked the United States and showed no signs of doing so, was somehow a threat to America – could now be used to justify a project to “liberate” and bring democracy to a whole nation that itself was cobbled together by the West, held precariously intact under a brutal strongman, and that would inevitably fall short of American dreams of democracy no matter how many times its people voted.


Then there’s the fact that the U.S. government now goes to war, and is peripherally involved in even more wars, without anyone in America seeming to care. This is an era when threatening Eritrea is the least of it. The U.S. supports an Ethiopian invasion of Somalia – barely a blip in the news. The U.S. backs an ally, Israel, that invades its other ally, Lebanon, and maybe the talking heads care for about a day. The U.S. is essentially at war with its own nuclear-armed ally, Pakistan – and many Americans have no clue. The U.S. backs suicide bombers in Iran with possible ties to al Qaeda who are bent on changing Tehran’s government – not that most Americans even know the difference between Iran and al Qaeda, Persians and Arabs or Sunni and Shi’ia. And then, when an airplane passenger fails in his attempt to kill Americans on Christmas Day with explosives hidden in his underwear, the media scream that perhaps it’s time to wage war on Yemen. No one of prominence even mentions that Obama was already bombing Yemen, days before the underwear bomber almost struck.

But Afghanistan has got to be the most insane example of what’s going on. This is the war that marks the shift since 9/11 – even more than Iraq. The U.S. realists, in one of their only foreign policy successes ever, used Afghanistan against the Soviets, knowing it was the graveyard of invading empires. Now the U.S. is, in the midst of a recession, tripling down on a completely unjust and completely unwinnable project to save Afghanistan from its own tribal people, win the war on drugs there, bring freedom to the land and defeat a terrorist network that barely even exists in the country.

This is a reminder of why it’s so important to oppose a war before it begins. The Afghanistan war was always a terrible idea. Nine years ago, a few Americans stood up and pointed out that the 9/11 attacks were retaliation for U.S. foreign policy, which must be changed if we are ever to address the problem of terrorism. But these voices were in the minority. More than 90% of Americans cheered the invasion of Afghanistan. Now many on the left think it was folly, but the U.S. can’t pull out. Or they are quiet because their beloved president is doing the killing.

The Democrats practically all backed this war, and in both 2004 and 2008 attacked Bush for “neglecting” Afghanistan. Obama always promised us he’d be even worse on this war than his predecessor. It almost inspires nostalgia for Bush, who was essentially no more aggressive than Obama but who seemed to get away with less.


Obama has meanwhile “ended” the war in Iraq by keeping 50,000 troops there – troops involved in shooting and killing. Then there are the 100,000 contractors and permanent bases. Americans are snoozing. Who cares about Iraq? That’s so 2003. And on the civil liberties front – detention, rendition, surveillance, even the unilateral presidential right to assassinate US citizens he deems terrorists – Obama has pushed the envelope further than Bush. But what’s the big deal? Even conservatives who think Obama a totalitarian tyrant don’t seem to care about these, his most totalitarian and tyrannical policies.

As for the national debate about U.S. foreign policy, there is none. The idea that the minority was pushing even on 9/12 – that the attacks were blowback from decades of U.S. aggression – is still hardly more discussed than it was back then. Ron Paul made it a somewhat common point of discussion back in 2007, but since then, who has even touched upon the fundamental nature of 9/11? Instead, Americans are divided as to whether to blame all of Islam or whether to blame radical Islam, when revenge over U.S. aggression is the true motivation behind the anti-U.S. attacks, and stopping the wars is the only answer.

But far from finally being open to the truth of blowback and the insanity of the Afghanistan project, and far from having learned from Iraq to distrust U.S. war propaganda, the American people appear to have forgotten about these wars, to have stopped caring about U.S. foreign policy, except to be worried, once in a while, about the next supposed foreign threat. The media claim, without justification, that Iran is getting close to having a nuke. The press, year after year, spins a story up about how Iran is just one year away, but there is no proof this is even an Iranian goal, and practically no one ever talks about the Non-Proliferation Treaty to which Iran is a signatory, except to dishonestly imply that Iran has violated it. A poll this year reveals that 70% of Americans believe Iran already has a nuclear weapon – an astonishing accusation that the U.S. establishment has never outright articulated. But just as the Bush administration, without ever saying it, got Americans to believe that Saddam was behind 9/11, the powers that be are now doing nothing to dissuade the American public from these dangerous misconceptions about Iran. Indeed, all the actual aggressiveness is coming from Washington, in the form of sanctions and threats, and is directed against the Iranians – not the other way around.


Will the U.S. really go to war with Iran – a nation that has never attacked America, a nation that offered its support right after 9/11 in the fight against al Qaeda, a nation that would be even more unconquerable than Iraq and could become the trip wire for world conflict? Is the government going to challenge another country when it’s already in the middle of more than two wars with no end in sight? In a normal country, this would be an easier question to answer.

It is just an accepted fact that the wars and siege mentality must continue, that we cannot give up the empire lest we surrender to the terrorists. Instead, we must give away more and more of our freedoms for which we are supposedly hated. And how much longer can this charade go on? How much longer will the president be seen as the proper arbiter of life or death for all people everywhere, the judge, jury and executioner at the top of the U.S. justice system, with no territorial bounds on his power? How much longer will we deal with increasing humiliations at the airports, the rapid militarization of our police, the economy-crushing Pentagon that seems to double in size every few years, the demonization of Muslims that has become so commonplace? Will the U.S. be occupying Afghanistan nine years from now?

And it goes without saying that the U.S. government hasn’t even caught Osama bin Laden. Not that his capture would vindicate the million killed, the trillions squandered and the liberties smashed in this war. This would be obvious to people in a normal country.

But the madness will end, eventually. The bad dream that is post-9/11 America must at last give way to something else. If the people don’t get sick of it and demand that it end, or military defeat doesn’t do it, the U.S. empire will simply run out of money. Its days are numbered. It’s just tragic and sickening that many more will die before that happens.

September 11, 2010

Anthony Gregory [send him mail] is a research analyst at the Independent Institute. He lives in Oakland, California. See his webpage for more articles and personal information.

Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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