“Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”–George Washington
“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes . . . known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”— James Madison, Political Observations, 1795
“War is politics carried out by violent means to compel our adversary to submit to our will.”—Carl von Clausewitz
Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson spoke for almost all the founders of the federal state in warning against entangling foreign alliances and urging their countrymen to avoid war by refusing to intervene in the affairs of other nations. However, over time the political elite of America did just the opposite. They urged or dragged the country into numerous wars, some of them totally aggressive and unjustifiable, and in the past century cast the country into the role of policeman for the world, causing wars of intervention in the affairs of other countries—wars that the American people cannot afford and generally come to detest.
The founders of the country risked their lives to secede from Great Britain because of dissatisfaction with British rule of the American colonies. That was a treasonable act under British law, and punishable by death. Yet when scarcely a century later some of the states actually seceded from the U.S in 1861, the rest of the states, under the dominating influence of a U.S. President zealous to preserve “the union” of the states, waged the American Civil War, by far the bloodiest in U.S. history, treating the secession as a rebellion. While the states that seceded were dominated by slaveholders, those states did not secede because of a threat to eliminate slavery, which the overwhelming majority of the population in the other states countenanced and tolerated. Rather, the secession was the ultimate rejection of union with other states dominated by commercial interests having economic goals incompatible with the economic needs of the states of the secession.
Andrew Galambos posited that the state is the sole and unique cause of war. This chapter analyzes that claim in the case of the U.S. by examining the major wars of the U.S. and some related topics, listed below.
- The War of 1812
- The Mexican-American War
- The Civil War
- The Annexation of Hawaii
- The Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War
- Small wars of the United States
- World Wars I and II
- The Cold War
- The Korean War
- The Vietnam War
- Middle East Wars
- Building a defense that defends
The analysis in this chapter concludes that the U.S. could have avoided involvement in some of its more bloody and costly wars, and that in the rest the U.S. could have limited significantly its involvement in the wars and, therefore, could have limited significantly the financial cost and, more importantly, could have greatly limited death and injury among its military personnel.
Note: The comments in this chapter are not intended to be advocacy of a return to the short-sighted U.S. isolationism of the 1930s. Isolationism is a political problem that would not exist once humanity progresses beyond politics. U.S. isolationism in the 1930s was an attitude that the U.S. could and should stand aloof from the growing threat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan to wage aggressive wars of conquest. With Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan obviously intending and preparing to wage war, the passivity of not only the U.S. federal state, but also the passivity of France and England was a virtual invitation to the aggressors to go forward with their most ambitious plans of conquest. What the U.S. in particular and the Western political democracies in aggregate could have done to deter or avoid war with Germany and Japan, is discussed and analyzed below in the context of U.S. foreign and economic policies from 1898 to 1939.
Andrew Galambos’ teaching was dedicated to the eradication of wars. In his view political states are the sole cause of wars. He said states not infrequently justify their monopoly of force by conjuring up an external threat and if the threat does not materialize, by provoking conflict with another state. His remedy for elimination of war is “a stateless concept . . . Where human relationships are based upon production and not upon destruction, there’s no war. . . [Y]ou’ve eliminated the cause and the source [of war].” 1
Wars are started and carried on by means of the coercive power of political states, ranging in size upward from tribal conflicts to large-scale wars by nations.
Just to consider examples of hypothetical armed conflict between businesses lacking the coercive power of the political state is to illustrate the truth of the proposition that only a political state engages in war. Try to imagine, for example, an organized military war between two large oil companies, or two large retail store companies. That has never happened and would never happen because it would be highly unprofitable. First, the aggressor would suffer a public relations disaster, and second, the financial costs would far outweigh any financial benefit. Of course, there is the additional and obvious consideration that political states would not allow private armies as political states reserve to themselves a monopoly of war-making power.
With a political state wars offer the opportunity to aggrandize state power. It is for this reason that Thomas Paine said of the history of Great Britain: “taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes.” 2
Andrew J. Bacevich, who retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of Colonel, has written a book arguing persuasively that since World War II, the U.S. has been in a permanent state of war, which greatly enlarges the power of the state and its military establishment as well as providing a permanent source of business to the ostensibly private companies that focus on supplying the military, to the extent that such companies have become virtually an arm of the state. 3
The Constitution authorizes the Congress to declare war, to raise and support Armies, and to provide and maintain a Navy. 4 In the Declaration of Independence, one of the complaints against the King of Britain was that “He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.” For over twenty years after 1789, the new United States of America had neither a standing army of any consequence nor a seagoing military force worthy of the name “navy.” Nevertheless, to protect American commercial shipping the U.S. had undeclared wars with France (1798-1800) and the Barbary pirates of North Africa (1804 and 1815).
The War of 1812
The War of 1812 was the first time that Congress issued a Declaration of War. U.S. involvement in the War of 1812 occurred in the context of a 22-year war between Britain and France from 1793 to 1815. The British feared an invasion by the army of Napoleon and consequently greatly increased the size and manpower of the British Royal Navy. The British imposed a continual blockade of sea ports in France, the French West Indies possessions in the Caribbean Sea and other countries under control of Napoleon.
A principal motivation of Napoleon in agreeing in 1803 to sell to the U.S. the French claims to the vast Louisiana territory 5 was to raise money “. . . for one purpose: a renewed war of expansion in Europe with at least one-third reserved for an invasion of Britain.” 6
After winning independence from Britain, Americans developed a prosperous commercial trade with England, continental Europe and the West Indies. The British sought to prevent Americans from supplying or trading with Napoleon’s France by seizing American ships engaged in that trade and by confiscating their cargo. The U.S. almost went to war with Britain on this issue in 1794, 1807, and 1808, but in each instance war was averted by diplomacy and negotiation.
The objectives of the U.S. in the War of 1812 were (1) to end Britain’s interference with American commercial trade with continental Europe; (2) to end “impressment” by the British navy, i.e., the practice of boarding U.S. ships and seizing sailors to serve in the British Navy; and (3) to conquer Canada and acquire its territory for the U.S., although American ambitions for Canada were not mentioned in the Declaration of War.
In June 1812, a few days after the U.S. Declaration of War was approved by Congress, the British repealed the law under which impressment was authorized. The news arrived in the U.S. several weeks after the Declaration of War, due to the slowness of communication at the time. Yet the U.S. did not revoke the Declaration of War.
In 1812 Britain was far and away the greatest naval power in the world. However, Britain needed trade with America to supply its armies in Europe. The U.S. had just a few warships, and certainly had no ability to win a sea war against Britain.
Britain considered the U.S. declaration of war in 1812 as tantamount to siding with Napoleon. Consequently, the British navy blockaded U.S. seaports so that by the end of the war U.S. foreign trade had been reduced to practically nothing. In addition the British and Canadians repelled three U.S. attempts to invade and conquer Canada. The British also invaded America, attacked Washington, D.C. and burned the White House to the ground as President Madison and his wife fled for their lives.
Winston Churchill characterized the War of1812 as futile and unnecessary. 7 The war was costly and could not be won. There were about 20,000 American deaths through military combat and other war-related causes; and the war increased the national debt by 164%, costing the U.S. about $90 million at a time when total annual federal tax revenues were only around $10 million. 8
The war of 1812 ended with a treaty in December 1814. The U.S. had accomplished none of its war goals. In the war-ending treaty Britain did not even agree to stop impressment of seamen seized on American commercial ships, although this practice was ended after the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815. The U.S. did not need Canada, as it had a whole continent to the west, between Canada on the north and Mexico 9 on the south that lay virtually unexplored and unsettled.
Instead of war with Britain and the ruin of U.S. foreign trade, the U.S. could have had a prosperous trade with England and the British West Indies and the protection of American ships by the British navy had American ships complied with the British blockade of ports in continental Europe and French possessions in the Caribbean Sea. 10
During the War for Independence the various states required able-bodied males to enroll in the state’s militia, to undergo military training, and to serve for limited periods of time in the army of the Continental Congress. However, the Continental Congress did not have the authority to conscript.
During the War of 1812, when that war was unpopular in the New England states, President James Madison and his Secretary of War (and future President) James Monroe unsuccessfully attempted to create a national draft of 40,000 men. Daniel Webster, a member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts spoke against national conscription as follows. 11
“The administration asserts the right to fill the ranks of the regular army by compulsion . . . Is this, Sir, consistent with the character of a free Government? Is this civil liberty? Is this the real character of our Constitution? No, Sir, indeed it is not. . . Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war, in which the folly or the wickedness of Government may engage it? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest rights of personal liberty?”
The federal state used conscription in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. After World War II, due to the advent of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the U.S. maintained a high level of military spending–and conscription–until the extreme unpopularity of the Vietnam War caused the end of military conscription in 1973. However, federal law continues to require males to register for a possible future conscription.
Most male U.S. citizens and male immigrant non-citizens between the ages of 18 and 26 are required by law to have registered with the federal Selective Service [conscription] System within 30 days of their 18th birthdays and must notify Selective Service within ten days of any changes to any of the information they provided on their registration cards, like a change of address. According to the Selective Service Law, violation of the law is a felony; men who do not register could be prosecuted and, if convicted, fined up to $250,000 and/or serve up to five years in prison. 12
Starting in 1822 Americans began to immigrate into Texas. By 1835 Americans in Texas numbered about 35,000 compared to only about 4,000 Mexicans. Revolting against Mexican control, in 1836 Americans established the Republic of Texas, which survived attacks by the Mexican army. In 1836 Texans requested that the U.S. take Texas in as a state. However, because Texas allowed slavery there was strong opposition to statehood for Texas among northern states’ representatives in Congress, who feared losing voting control to the bloc of states allowing slavery.
In 1845 Texas was admitted to the U.S., becoming the 28th state. By that time there were more than 100,000 Americans living in Texas. There had been a border dispute between Texans and Mexico from 1832 onward that included sporadic armed combat. In 1845 President James Polk sent American soldiers to Texas, not only to contest Mexico’s territorial claims in the disputed border area, but more importantly as a step toward acquiring California as well as the territory between Texas and California. The U.S. offered Mexico $30 million for the disputed area in Texas plus Mexico’s provinces of Alta California (today’s state of California) and New Mexico, which then included what later became the state of Arizona.
The Mexican state rejected the purchase offer. With armed conflict between Mexico and the U.S. continuing, the U.S. Congress approved a declaration of war on Mexico in May 1846. American armed forces engaged the Mexicans on several fronts. A U.S. army crossed over from Texas into northeastern Mexico and conquered the important city of Monterrey in the first major battle of the war. Another U.S. force invaded western Mexico, while the U.S. army and navy deployed forces within California and on the California coast even before the declaration of war.
In California, some thirty American settlers in northern California seized a small Mexican fort in Sonoma 13 and declared the existence of a “California Republic,” which was superseded within a week by U.S. armed forces. U.S. military forces subdued the Mexican population of California, which totaled only about 7,000, but not without some resistance and casualties on both sides.
In 1847 President Polk sent another American army to invade the Mexican heartland via amphibious landing at Veracruz, the seaport nearest to Mexico City, the Mexican capitol.
U.S. forces had defeated the Mexican military throughout the country by mid-1847. The U.S. virtually dictated the terms of a peace treaty signed on February 2, 1848.
Under the treaty the U.S. acquired Mexico’s claim to a large territory including what became the U.S. states of California, Nevada, Utah, most of New Mexico, most of Arizona and Colorado and parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Wyoming. The U.S. paid Mexico $18,250,000, an amount less than the $30 million pre-war offer. Five years later the U.S. paid Mexico another $10 million for the southwestern part of what became the state of New Mexico, and the southern part of what became the state of Arizona. 14 All told Mexico lost 55% of the territory it had before 1836, albeit a territory inhabited by only 54,000 Mexicans, 4,000 in Texas, 43,000 in New Mexico, and 7,000 in California.
The war was controversial in the U.S., as those who favored adding slave-owning territory to the U.S. wanted the war while a numerous opposition to the war existed among those who were against adding slave territory to the country. Henry David Thoreau, an ardent abolitionist, said “. . . the Mexican war [was] the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool . . . [W]hen a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.” 15
President Ulysses S. Grant who served in the U.S. army as a young Lieutenant in Mexico during the war said in his memoirs (1885) that he regarded it as “. . . one of the most unjust [wars] ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.” 16 Grant’s frame of reference included the Civil War in which he personally authorized “scorched earth” total warfare against civilians, with the aim of hastening the defeat of the Confederacy.
NOTE: The scorched earth campaign of the American Civil War began in the fall of 1864, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where union army forces under General Philip Sheridan destroyed the Virginia Military Institute in revenge for its cadets fighting with the confederacy to defend the valley. Sheridan’s forces drove down the Shenandoah Valley ruthlessly burning crops, barns, mills and factories. The impact of the military conflict on civilian residents of the Shenandoah Valley is depicted in the 1965 motion picture Shenandoah. 17 Grant’s subordinate, General William Tecumseh Sherman, who had suggested the “scorched earth” tactics in the first place, carried them out in Georgia. Under Sherman’s orders his troops seized food from the civilian population, burned crops, killed livestock and devastated civilian infrastructure to the point of causing terror and even starvation among the civilian population. 18
The Civil War
The focus of this essay is not on the Civil War itself or its causes, subjects that have spawned a vast historical literature beyond the scope of this essay’s examination of the state as the cause of war and peaceful alternatives to war. Rather, the focus is on the enlargement of the power of the federal state on account of the war.
The Civil War was unique in American political history in several ways, in addition to being by far the bloodiest, deadliest, and most costly war in the history of the United States. There was no formal Declaration of War by the U.S. Congress, nor could there have been a majority of votes in Congress for the war in 1861 had the southern states kept their delegations in Congress. Lincoln called the conflict “the rebellion” not a war. From that position he used his presidential powers to make war against the seceding states, without the consent of Congress.
At the end of 1860, the year before the start of the Civil War, there were 33 states in the United States. Of these 33 states, legislators—federal and state—in a majority likely would have voted against a declaration of war against the southern states. The pro-secession majority included, of course, the eleven southern states that seceded. 19 There were four border states that would almost certainly have seceded but for the arrest of pro-secession legislators under order of the President—an act done to prevent the state legislators from voting on the issue of secession. 20 In New Jersey, a strong majority of politicians and voters favored allowing the southern states to secede. 21 According to historian Thomas J. Di Lorenzo, “The right of secession . . . was thought to be a cherished right of any free and sovereign people by the major opinion makers of the North on the eve of the war.” 22
The war was not popular in the North. “There was a great deal of dissent and political opposition in the North. The Lincoln administration used a variety of tactics to squash dissent: shutting down three hundred opposition newspaper, suspending habeas corpus, imprisoning tens of thousands of political dissenters, deporting [an] outspoken Democratic congressman . . ., censoring telegraphs, intimidating judges, . . . and rigging Northern elections, to name but a few. . . Despite all these dictatorial efforts, [Lincoln] still only won 55 percent of the popular vote in the North in [the] 1864 [presidential election].” 23
The Democratic Party won 45% of the popular vote in an election conducted without the participation of the southern states (of course). The deeply divided Democratic Party convention had adopted a peace platform but nominated for President a man who was for the war and for Vice-President a man who opposed the war and advocated peace with the South. 24
The human and financial costs of the Civil War were beyond enormous; they were monstrous. They included 750,000 military deaths, thousands of civilian deaths in the southern states, hundreds of thousands of men crippled for life, and the near destruction of 40 percent of the nation’s economy. 25 The 750,000 military deaths out of a national population of 31 million at the time of the Civil War was nearly 2 1/2% of the population, equivalent to 7,200,000 military deaths in the early 21st century population of the U.S. Approximately one in seven men of military age died in the war.
The Civil War was the first American war in which photography was available to record the horrors of war. To visualize the barbarity of the Civil War and the human suffering it caused one need only search the internet for images of Civil War casualties and prisoners of war. Perhaps political leaders of north and south did not understand at first how much violence and carnage they were unleashing. However, before the war was just three months old these leaders had reports from their generals of the large numbers of dead and wounded in battles in northern Virginia, within twenty-five miles of Washington, D.C. and 100 miles of the Confederate capitol in Richmond, Virginia. Therefore, these political chieftains must have set aside any humanitarian considerations in order to continue the war, rather than negotiating an end to it.
The war was not at all about humanitarian considerations. It was about political power. Thus, in alarm due to initial union defeats on the battlefield, the U.S. Congress passed the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution on July 25, 1861, stating that that the war was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery. The intent of this action was to prevent more slave states from leaving the Union. Thereafter, bloody battle followed bloody battle. In the battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862 there were more dead and wounded in a single day (23,000 on both sides) than in any other battle in U.S. military history. In the three-day battle of Gettysburg (July 1 – 3, 1863) there was a combined total of 51,000 dead and wounded. Nevertheless, the political and military chiefs on each side were determined to press on with the war rather than negotiate a settlement to end it.
The direct financial spending by both sides in the Civil War was $4.2 billion, equivalent to nearly 100% of Gross Domestic Product, or about $14 trillion if such expenditures were incurred by the U.S. in the early 21st century. 26
The objective of the Confederacy was to secede from the U.S. The goal of the U.S. was to prevent secession, and not to eliminate slavery. This differing outlook was epitomized by the names given to the conflict: the “rebellion” was President Lincoln’s term, while southerners called it “The War Between the States,” a title still in use in the south.
According to a review of a book on American attitudes toward slavery, before the civil war, “Prominent white Americans from Jefferson to Lincoln (at least until he issued the Emancipation Proclamation) believed that with the end of slavery, blacks should be encouraged or even required to leave the United States.” 27
In the north slavery, in and of itself, was not an issue that motivated war against the slave states. Fervent advocates of abolition of slavery amounted to only two percent of the adult population of the northern states. The prevailing view of white Americans, on the eve of the Civil War, was to tolerate slavery where it existed but to prevent its expansion into the western territories. That attitude evinced a desire to keep blacks out of those territories so that whites alone could settle and develop them. Overall, shocking as it is to contemplate so long after the Civil War, the attitude of most white Americans, north and south, then was that blacks were an inferior race that should not have the civil rights accorded to whites—not citizenship, not the right to vote, not the right to be members of a jury, and not the rights of free association within society. 28
Given those attitudes of whites towards black Americans, who represented 14% of the total U.S. population and about 40% of the population of the south, even a peaceful settlement of the differences between north and south would have left the enormous and daunting problem of assimilating 4.4 million blacks (nearly four million of them slaves) into a status of equality and respect in American society—an outcome largely but not fully achieved a century and one-half after the elimination of slavery by amendment to the Constitution in 1865.
President Abraham Lincoln stated his objective in word and deed. In a famous public letter of 1862, during the Civil War Lincoln said:
“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union. I have here stated my purpose according my view of my official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.” 29
Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 carried out his objective: it freed only slaves “. . . within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States . . .” Thus, slavery was to continue in the so-called border states such as Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri which did not join the Confederacy of southern states trying to secede from the union. Not a single slave was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. It was a war measure designed to weaken the south by encouraging slaves to flee.
An English newspaper commented that “the principle [of the proclamation] is not that a human being cannot justly own another, but that he cannot own him unless he is loyal to the United States.” 30
Lysander Spooner (1808-1887), a native of Massachusetts and prominent abolitionist, was also an ardent advocate of the right of secession. He characterized the Civil War as follows:
“[W]e have had governments, State and national, devoted to nearly every grade and species of crime that governments have ever practised upon their victims; and these crimes have culminated in a war that cost a million of lives; a war carried on, upon one side, for chattel slavery, and on the other for political slavery; upon neither for liberty, justice or truth.” 31 Spooner asserted that it is “political slavery” for any government to assert its authority over any person or entity (such as one of the states) that did not consent to that authority. At the time, human slavery was commonly referred to as “chattel slavery,” an odious term because in law a “chattel” is the term for property other than land.
Maryland and Missouri might have joined the secession but were prevented from doing so by force: pro-secession legislators in the two states, and also Kentucky, were arrested and jailed under martial law conditions imposed by President Lincoln. The President had suspended the writ of habeas corpus, a procedure to obtain release of a prisoner held without legal cause. According to historian John Lewis Gaddis, many Presidents of the United States have “. . . sanctioned acts of questionable legality in the interests of national security, and Abraham Lincoln had done so more flagrantly than any of them in order to preserve national unity.” 32
There was widespread popular opposition to the Civil War in the North, as many people, including the small minority who advocated abolition of slavery, believed the South had the right to secede. President Lincoln also imposed federal conscription for the first time in U.S. history. There was much evasion and overt resistance to the draft, with anti-draft riots in New York City, and some men avoiding the draft by traveling to the far west of the U.S. 33
Slavery ended peacefully in all the countries of Europe and Latin America between 1813 and 1888. It could have ended peacefully in America as well.
Just the financial costs of the war to the northern states of the U.S. would have been enough to create a large fund to compensate slaveholders for giving up their slaves, a solution used in other countries. The monetary war costs to the north totaled about $800 per slave, a considerable amount at the time. $800 in 1860 was comparable in purchasing power to $20,000 in the monetary value of the U.S. dollar in the early 21st century. Most southern slaveholders, fearing the impending war with the north, might well have acceded to the compensated relinquishment of slaves.
On the eve of the Civil War the “market value” of black slaves actually averaged about eight hundred dollars ($800) per slave. Therefore, it would have been feasible for the North to buy the freedom of all the slaves (South and North) for just the monetary cost of the war to the North. 34 Had that happened it would avoided the loss of 750,000 lives of soldiers, North and South, and also the wounding and maiming of several hundred thousand more.
For President Lincoln and the states that did not secede, another peaceful alternative was to allow secession. Abolitionists in the north had for some time before the war advocated that the northern states secede from the U.S., leaving it to the slave states. With the slave states out of the U.S., the remaining states could have amended the U.S. constitution to outlaw slavery and repeal the constitutional provisions requiring capture of fugitive slaves for return to their slaveholder. In the western states and territories from the Mississippi River to the Pacific, north and west of Texas, slavery would not have occurred for a variety of reasons, economic and social.
Peaceful secessions have occurred elsewhere. Canada seceded from Great Britain gradually between 1867 and 1931. The largely French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec came close to peaceful secession from Canada in 1995. Norway seceded from a union with Sweden in 1905; and in 1993 Slovakia seceded from a union with the Czechs in what was previously known as Czechoslovakia.
Ireland seceded from Britain in 1921, but only by means of an armed rebellion against British rule. 35 In 2014 the people of Scotland will have an opportunity to vote on a referendum to decide whether to form an independent nation of Scotland or remain part of Britain.
After southern secession, the two nations, the U.S. and the Confederacy, could have lived peacefully side by side, as have Canada and the U.S. for two centuries. Trade would have continued between the northern and southern regions of the former U.S. Because slavery is an uneconomical source of labor in a society undergoing industrialization, it seems likely that slavery was destined for extinction even in the south, probably before the end of the nineteenth century.
For the Confederacy of southern states, facing President Lincoln’s determination to prevent secession, the wise decision would have been to abandon secession and avoid war. It was folly for the Confederacy to have defied President Lincoln and the north with its far greater industrial capacity and overwhelming military manpower available from having more than three times the white population of the south. Furthermore, the south, with its heavy reliance on export of cotton to the north and to England, was far more vulnerable economically than the north and far less capable of sustaining a long war.
Before 1865 the U.S. Constitution and federal legislation required a fugitive slave to be returned to slavery. Canada was then the only safe refuge for an escaped slave. The fugitive slave provisions in the Constitution and federal statutory law could not have been repealed as long as the slave states of the south were part of the United States. Had their secession been allowed, the remaining states and their representatives in Congress would have had the voting power needed to amend the Constitution to abolish slavery in the states that remained after southern states seceded. It could have been done without war. Thereafter for economic and political reasons slavery would not have continued indefinitely in the southern states.
Annexation of Hawaii
Although the acquisition of Hawaii by the U.S. was not accomplished by war, Hawaiians protested the U.S. takeover of their islands. There was no war only because the Hawaiians knew it was futile to resist the U.S. military force thatwas deployed to intimidate the Hawaiians.
Before the coming of Europeans to Hawaii there was a native population of about one million Polynesians. 36
In 1778 a British navy expedition of exploration landed at Hawaii, under the command of Captain James Cook. The Hawaiians lacked immunity to the communicable diseases brought to them by British sailors. Those diseases decimated the Polynesian population of Hawaii, which shrank from one million to 40,000 in little over a century.
In 1820 the first American Christian missionaries from New England arrived in Hawaii. There is a saying in Hawaii that the missionaries “came to do good and stayed to do well.” Missionaries and their descendants took possession of vast tracts of land, developed a sugar industry, and became wealthy in the process.
Hawaiian Polynesians used the word “Haole” to describe foreigners (usually white Caucasians) who were not Polynesian. That appellation stuck and continues in use in the early 21st century, even by Haoles to refer to themselves, long after the number of pure Polynesians has become minuscule.
American land owners imported laborers from China and Japan to work on sugar cane plantations. Long before the time of U.S. annexation, white Haoles ruled Hawaii, even though they were outnumbered twenty to one by native Polynesians and recent immigrants brought in from Asia.
The U.S. navy considered Hawaii “the crossroads of the Pacific” and Pearl Harbor at Honolulu an ideal site for a U.S. navy base and coaling station for refueling coal-burning steam ships. A “treaty” dictated by the U.S. in 1875 compelled the Hawaiians to cede the U.S. a naval base, bolstering the American civilian domination of Hawaii, which was becoming a virtual colony of the U.S.
In 1887 American Haoles forced on the Hawaiians a “constitution” that accorded all political power to the Haoles and deprived Polynesians and Asians of any say in rule of the islands. Hawaiians call this constitution the “Bayonet Constitution” because the King of Hawaii signed it under duress with his palace surrounded by soldiers of the “Honolulu Rifles,” an all-white vigilante organization created by the Haole “Reform party,” dubbed the “Missionary Party” by indigenous Hawaiians.
Early in 1893 Haoles sought to persuade the U.S. to take control of Hawaii by “annexation”—a euphemism for action of a more powerful state incorporating territory of a weaker state or people into the more powerful state. Haole ambitions were favored by prominent members of the U.S. political elite, including then Secretary of State James Blaine and future President Theodore Roosevelt, who for several years had been advocating the seizure of Hawaii. 37
As a step towards U.S. annexation, leading Haoles sought aid of the U.S. minister to Hawaii, John Stevens, in a plan to remove the Queen of Hawaii and replace her government with U.S. rule. Minister Stevens was pleased to assist. On January 16, 1893 he requested that the captain of a U.S. Navy warship, the USS Boston, anchored at Honolulu, land a detachment of marines and sailors “. . . for the protection of the United States Legation, 38 and the United Consulate and to secure the safety of American life and property.” 39
This was a first in U.S. history—a U.S. representative to a foreign state urging U.S. military action to overthrow the rulers of that state by force. The captain of the USS Boston immediately sent a detachment of 162 heavily armed marines into the peaceful streets of Honolulu. The marines surrounded the royal palace and ejected the Hawaiian Queen, Liliuokalani. Minister “. . . Stevens raised the American flag in Honolulu and declared Hawaii an American protectorate.” 40
The U.S. Secretary of State signed an annexation treaty with Haole Hawaiians on February 14, 1893. There was strong opposition to annexation in the U.S. Senate and by newly elected U.S. President Grover Cleveland. Eventually, however, proponents of annexation prevailed. During the Spanish-American War, Congress passed a Hawaii Annexation Resolution on July 6, 1898 and then President William McKinley signed it the next day. Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States of America in 1959. The population of Hawaii has finally reached one million for the first time since the arrival of Captain Cook’s ships in 1778. 41
The Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), the 26th President of the U.S. (1901-1909) was probably the foremost among American opinion-makers of his time who believed the U.S. was destined by racial superiority to establish an American empire by conquest, occupation and control of territories inhabited by peoples claimed to be inferior.
Among the utterances of Theodore Roosevelt are the following: 42
1889: “The vast movement by which this continent was conquered . . . cannot be rightly understood . . . unless we grasp . . . the past race-history of the nations . . .”
1896: “Many good persons seem prone to speak of all wars of conquest as necessary evil. This is, of course, a shortsighted view.”
1897: “Nineteenth-century democracy needs no more complete vindication for its existence than the fact that it has kept for the white race the best portions of the new world’s surface.”
1900: “I wish to see the United States the dominant power on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.” 43
In 1897, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt advocated war with Spain to take its colonies in the Caribbean and the Pacific. On June 30, 1897 U.S. Naval War College planners submitted to Washington a plan to wage war on Spain that stated “hostilities would take place mainly in the Caribbean, but the U.S. Navy would also attack the Philippines.” 44 Spanish colonies in the Caribbean included Cuba and Puerto Rico.
In February 1898 U.S. President William McKinley ordered the U.S. battle ship USS Maine to go to Havana Cuba, ostensibly to protect U.S. citizens on the island of Cuba. The battleship Maine was anchored in the harbor at Havana when it was destroyed by a massive explosion in the ship’s powder magazine. 266 American sailors died. The navy claimed the internal explosion was caused by an external explosion under the ship’s hull but this was never proven. The loss of the Maine caused a popular demand for a belligerent response.
Perhaps in response to warlike news coming from the U.S., in April 1898 Spain issued a Declaration of War against the U.S. and the U.S. Congress responded with a Declaration of War against Spain. By August 1898 the U.S. had defeated the Spanish military and taken control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and in the western Pacific Ocean the island of Guam and the Philippine Islands. A peace treaty was signed in December 1898.
U.S. military forces entered the Philippines Islands in mid-1898, two years after the beginning of a Filipino rebellion against Spain. The Philippines had been a colony of Spain since 1565. Spanish resistance to the U.S. in the Philippines was over in less than two months. The Filipinos welcomed the U.S. as liberators. However, the U.S. had other intentions, including a plan to establish a naval base in the Philippines.
In 1898 some leading Filipinos had already created a functional and operating independent national state, but their plans for self-rule were frustrated by the U.S. intention to control the country. Armed and organized rebellion by the Filipinos started in early 1899 and continued until 1902 in the northern part of the archipelago. In the southern islands of the archipelago, Muslim inhabitants (the “Moros”) waged fierce guerrilla warfare against the U.S. military until 1913.
In 1905, then Secretary of War, and later U.S. President, William Howard Taft made the following statement to an assemblage of Filipino notables:
“I did not come to give you your independence, but to study your welfare. You will have your independence when you are ready for it, which will not be in this generation—no, nor in the next, nor perhaps for a hundred years or more.” 45
In their efforts to suppress the Filipino rebellion, the U.S. military waged war with a savagery and brutality unparalleled in any American war before or since. 46 The U.S. suffered a total of 11,000 military dead and wounded from 1898 to 1913 in the wars with Spain and the Filipinos. The Filipinos suffered the most, with total military and civilian deaths from combat and disease estimated to be anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000.
Although the Philippines finally gained independence from the U.S. in 1946, the Moros were never entirely suppressed. Some of the Moros regard the Philippine state as much an oppressor as they did the U.S. state. Moros have waged guerrilla warfare against the Philippine state perennially, with no end in sight as of the early 21st century.
The wars with Spain and in the Philippines accelerated American involvement in world affairs. Since then, the U.S. has been in numerous military conflicts around the world, and has entered into many treaties and other agreements with foreign states.
Small Wars of the United States
Major wars are only part of the military history of the U.S., which almost since its inception has been fighting small wars in the Middle East, Central America, the Caribbean, and the Asia-Pacific region. “Between 1800 and 1934, U.S. Marines staged 180 landings abroad. The army and navy added a few small-scale engagements of their own.” 47
World Wars I and II
World War I was the most destructive in human history up to that time. According to historian Gerhard L. Weinberg, “. . . neither side had either intended or preferred the massive changes which resulted from the ability of the modern state to utilize the social and mechanical technologies developed in the preceding two centuries to draw vast human and material resources out of their respective societies and employ them—and thereby use them up—in the cauldron of battle . . . [Although World War II was far more destructive than even World War I] in World War II . . . the intent was different from the start. . . German dictator Adolf Hitler had . . . explicitly asserted . . . that the war he intended . . . was, in fact, a struggle not only for control of territory and resources but about who would live and control the resources of the globe and which peoples would vanish entirely because they were believed inferior or undesirable by the victors.” 48
At the time that the U.S. entered World War I there was no threat to U.S. national security or vital interests. No foreign armies threatened invasion; except for the German submarine fleet, no foreign navy was a threat; and no potential enemy country yet had military aircraft capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
World War I typified the sort of European conflict that Thomas Paine denounced in Common Sense; that George Washington warned America to avoid in his Farewell Address of 1796; and that Thomas Jefferson referred to in his first inaugural address of 1801 when he stated that the America is “. . . kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe [and should seek] peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”
In 1914 there were two European political and military alliances that became involved in World War I. Germany and Austria-Hungary formed one such alliance; France, Great Britain and Russia the other.
Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the war started, had been annexed involuntarily into virtual colonial status within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, a Bosnian Serb assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. One month later, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Within less than a month thereafter the alliance of Germany and Austria-Hungary was at war against the alliance of France, Great Britain and Russia. Although a plethora of history books have explained the causes of the war, down to all the minutiae of past grievances and future ambitions, it seems that the fundamental causes were Germany’s militaristic drive to dominate Europe together with the web of alliances which bound the allied countries to make war against each other.
Eventually some 70 million military personnel were mobilized. The war was global as the European countries pulled in their colonies which supplied ten million of the military personnel. Nine million combatants died in the war and millions more were maimed for life. The casualty toll was so high due to the abuse of science and technology by development and use of new or more potent existing weapons of war, such as machine guns, tanks, poison gas, and even military aircraft.
The Unites States remained nominally neutral for nearly three years, although Americans helped the British and French by supplying them with a significant amount of the necessities for their maintenance of the war. Early in the war Germany launched submarine attacks on commercial shipping bound for England and France. In 1915 a German submarine sank the British passenger ship Lusitania, killing 1,198 of the 1,959 people aboard, including 128 Americans. The U.S. objected forcefully to such submarine attacks, and for a time German submarines refrained from attacking American shipping.
In the presidential election campaign of 1916 President Woodrow Wilson and his Democratic Party campaigned on the slogan “He kept us out of war!” saying a Republican victory would mean war with Germany and possibly even Mexico. 49
In early 1917 the leaders of the German state could see that prolongation of the war would mean Germany could not win because the country was exhausting its supply of crucial war materials, while the U.S. was replenishing the war materials of Britain and France by means of ocean shipments to those countries. Furthermore, discontent with the war was rising among the German civilian population and even among the military. Therefore, the German state instituted all-out unrestricted submarine warfare on commercial shipping heading toward Britain. German submarines promptly sank several American merchant ships in March 1917. Consequently, President Wilson asked Congress for a Declaration of War against Germany just four weeks after his second inaugural address.
The German military leadership anticipated that sinking American ships would cause U.S. entry into the war against Germany, but gambled that the submarine warfare would bring Germany such a rapid victory in Europe that America’s entry into the war would be too late to make a difference. The sinking of those American ships in early 1917 meant that Germany was at war against America. Notwithstanding the President’s previously declared intention to keep the U.S. out of the war, popular sentiment had become ready for war and so had President Wilson.
On April 2, 1917, President Wilson asked Congress to declare war on the German Empire, stating that the war would “make the world safe for democracy” and that it would be a “war to end war.” On April 6, 1917 the U.S. declared war by an overwhelming vote in both houses of Congress. The Congress immediately enacted conscription, taking 2.8 million young men into the armed forces. Soon the U.S. was sending 10,000 soldiers a day to fight in France.
The German militarists had miscalculated badly by underestimating the consequences of the U.S. entry into the war. U.S. soldiers in France turned the tide of battle against Germany and in favor of France and Britain. Woodrow Wilson also miscalculated badly. The world was not made safe for democracy as Germany and Russia were taken over by new political regimes even more tyrannical than their predecessors, while Japan was falling under the control of an imperialistic and militaristic oligarchy. Furthermore, World War I sowed seeds of bitterness for an even larger World War II.
The U.S. suffered 116,500 military deaths and 204,000 wounded in the First World War. The financial cost of the war to America was $33 billion, equivalent to nearly two trillion dollars a century later. 50
It appears unnecessary for the U.S. to have sent an army into France in World War I, with the attendant carnage and cost. U.S. national security would have been served fully by limiting U.S. military action to protecting American commercial shipping from German submarines. Eventually a joint British and U.S. navy convoy system was developed that cut submarine-caused losses around the British Isles from 25% to 1%. Furthermore, once effective anti-submarine warfare by England and America commenced, the navies of the two countries destroyed half the German submarine fleet.
It seems reasonable to suppose that had the U.S. devoted to anti-submarine warfare against Germany just a small fraction of what was spent on land warfare in France, the U.S. Navy could have eliminated virtually the entire German submarine fleet. Limiting U.S. involvement to such measures would have spared the U.S. most of the human and financial loss incurred in the war.
Scholar and historian Jim Powell asserts that U.S. participation in WW I was a costly mistake by President Woodrow Wilson. Powell argues that the unintended consequence of U.S. participation was the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party in Germany, and the rise to power of Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik communist party in Russia. In Powell’s well-considered analysis:
1. U.S. participation turned the WW I stalemate into a decisive victory over Germany. In consequence France and Britain imposed vindictive terms of peace settlement on Germans; that settlement motivated the German state to inflate its currency to devalue its debts, and persuaded many of the German people to share in and support Adolf Hitler’s desire to avenge Germany’s defeat by starting a new war.
2. In Russia after the abdication of Czar Nicholas II in early 1917, the U.S. offered large-scale financial aid to the new provisional government to induce Russia to stay in the war against Germany. It was in the best interests of Russia to settle on peace terms with Germany; and had that occurred the new Russian government and the Russian army could have prevented the Bolsheviks from seizing power after gaining popular political support in part by means of the political slogan “land, bread, and peace.” 51
To most Americans World War II (WW II) is the quintessential “just war,” one which the United States could not possibly have avoided. This essay posits a different view—that in the forty years preceding WW II and even at the time of the war—there were actions the U.S. itself could have taken or avoided taking that could have eliminated the need to participate in war with Japan and significantly reduced U.S. involvement in the war in Europe, with an attendant reduction in the human and financial costs to the American people.
The war between the U.S. and Japan that began in 1941 was the consequence of policies of each nation reaching back over more than forty years. The war with Germany was, in part, the consequence of economic policies of the U.S. between 1922 and 1933.
In World War II the U.S. opposed two of the most militaristic, brutal, murderous and barbaric states in recent human history, Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan. 52 Paradoxically, the U.S. had as an ally during WW II, Russia (as the Soviet Union was then known) that was also brutal, murderous and barbaric—to its own citizens and others.
In WW II the principal warring states in Europe were the same as in WW I: France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States. 53 In WW II far more than military victory was involved in the ambitions of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. His goal, stated in his book Mein Kampf, 54 was first to crush the nation of France and make it permanently subservient to Germany, 55 and then to eliminate the Slavic people of Eastern Europe in order to increase the number of Germans from 80 million to 250 million while expanding the nation of Germany into the conquered lands of the Slavs.
Hitler considered the Germans a master race who were entitled and even obligated to subjugate and kill off those peoples he deemed inferior races. Therefore, Hitler believed that Germany should by military conquest seize the vast territory east of Germany inhabited by some 200 million people in the Slavic nations of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Czechoslovakia and several other countries. The elimination of Slavic people from their own countries was to be done by killing, deportation to Siberia, enslavement and extermination by starvation. The targets of this plan included not only the Slavic people of Eastern Europe, but also the entire Jewish population of those and other countries, all of whom Hitler considered inferior and undesirable peoples. 56
In Japan, the aggressive militarists who came to control the country asserted that the Japanese were a racially pure, chosen people of God, superior to all others and entitled to conquer, rule, and exploit other peoples. 57
This essay is not about vilifying and demonizing the entirety of the German and Japanese people. The German people were the first victims of Nazi repression. “On March 5, 1933, the day of the last democratic elections [the German people] were to know during [Adolf] Hitler’s life, they spoke with their ballots. Despite all the terror and intimidation, the majority of them rejected Hitler.” 58
From 1894 to 1905 Japan warred with China and Russia, gaining control of Taiwan, Korea, and part of Manchuria (northeast China). Japan completed its conquest of Manchuria in 1931 and in 1937 invaded the rest of China.
In Japan there was opposition to Japanese militarism at least from the time of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, but there was also repression and assassination of prominent opponents of militarism. 59 During World War II, and leading up to it, “Japanese government propaganda, the educational system, government repression, and social pressures effectively prevented the Japanese people from resisting government policies, military orders, or the war. According to a Japanese citizen ‘. . . nobody said openly that they opposed the war. If you said that you’d have been killed immediately, or taken away and killed later.'” 60
In 1897 future President Theodore, Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, spoke for many like-minded men in the political elite of the U.S. when he advocated war with Spain in order to seize, inter alia, Spain’s Asian colony, the Philippine Islands (hereafter the Philippines). The purpose of the proposal for U.S. control of the Philippines was to establish a military base there in order to implement a plan to achieve U.S. capability to wield military and political power in East Asia.
The U.S. acquired the Philippines in the Spanish-American War of 1898 and used the Philippines as its original and primary military base in Asia for the next 43 years, until Japan ousted the U.S. from the Philippines in early 1942. In the long run the U.S. could not keep its military base in the Philippines. That country gained its independence in 1946, and in 1991 the U.S. had to give up its military bases in the Philippines at the request of the Filipino people.
Theodore Roosevelt, President of the U.S. (1901-1909), met an aristocratic Japanese man when both were students at Harvard University. The two established a lifelong friendship. 61 Theodore Roosevelt believed that, except for the Japanese, Asians were racially inferior to the white race. Roosevelt wanted Japan to establish in Asia its own version of the Monroe Doctrine. 62
Theodore Roosevelt made the following statements about his view of the roles of the U.S. and Japan as the states that should dominate Asia:
1900: “I wish to see the United States the dominant power on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.”
1900: “I should like to see Japan have Korea.”
1904, on the occasion of a Japanese military victory over Russia in the Russo-Japanese war: “I was thoroughly well pleased with the Japanese victory, for Japan is playing our game.”
1905: “Japan is the only nation in Asia that understands the principles and methods of Western civilization . . . Japan should be [the] natural leader [of the Asian nations].” 63
Theodore Roosevelt actively encouraged Japan to take control of Korea, which had previously been under the influence and sometimes control of China. “Theodore Roosevelt stands as the first world leader to endorse with promises and actions Japan’s advancement onto the Asian continent.” 64
By the 1920s, and perhaps as early as 1904, U.S. and Japanese politicians and military planners regarded it as inevitable that there would be war between the two countries. At the time President Roosevelt was encouraging Japanese imperialism in the early 1900s, the U.S. had a naval presence in East Asia, known as The Asiatic Fleet. “The U.S. Asiatic Fleet’s primary mission was to prepare for war against Japan [under] War Plan Orange, first begun in 1904 and revised constantly during the 1920s . . .” 65
In 1921, a former Japanese ambassador to the U.S. “. . . told a dinner audience of Americans and Japanese in Tokyo that the United States and Japan must inevitably go to war ‘. . . if the United States attempted to become dominant in Asia or sought to prevent Japan from her pacific [sic] and natural expansion in this part of the world.’” 66
Time magazine reported in 1932 that leaders in Japan spoke of a “. . . Japanese Monroe Doctrine claiming the right to protect [sic] all Asia . . . and that the originator to be cited for this idea was none other than . . . Theodore Roosevelt.” 67
Before and even during 1941 many in the Japanese political and military elite feared that Japan would lose a protracted war against the U.S. which the Japanese state still hoped to avoid. Nevertheless, Japanese war plans included a willingness to go to war with the U.S. rather than abandon the idea of conquering Southeast Asia. It was Japan’s goal in Southeast Asia to seize the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), French Indo-China (now Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos), Malaya (now Malaysia) and Singapore for the oil, rubber, and tin produced there as well as the fine naval base at Singapore. The Japanese military thought, mistakenly in the event, that possibly brief and limited hostilities against the U.S. would deter the U.S. from interfering with Japanese military ambitions in Southeast Asia. 68
The war against Japan cost the U.S. 111,600 military deaths and 253,000 wounded, in addition to a large portion of the enormous U.S. military spending during WW II.
If the U.S. had never established a military presence in the Philippines, East Asia and the western Pacific Ocean, it seems possible, perhaps likely, that Japan would not have gone to war with the U.S. by attacking the U.S. military bases in the Philippines and Hawaii in December 1941. It is beyond the scope of this essay to speculate on the outcome of WW II hostilities in Asia had the U.S. not been involved in waging war against Japan.
Nevertheless, since the U.S. did go to war with Japan in 1941, it is reasonable to believe that the U.S. could have prevailed with fewer military casualties and without using the atomic bomb. 69
The damage inflicted by Japan on the U.S. military in Hawaii on December 7, 1941 was not as much as the Japanese thought originally, but it could have been reduced considerably by timely U.S. defensive action since the U.S. had long been aware that Japanese war plans included an attack on Pearl Harbor. Such an attack was predicted in a book published in 1909 that was studied in military circles in the U.S. and Japan. 70 According to the diary of U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson about a meeting with President Roosevelt on November 25, 1941, the President said that (1) the U.S. was likely to be attacked by Japan by December 1; (2) the Japanese are notorious for making an attack without warning; and (3) the question was how the U.S. should maneuver the Japanese into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to the U.S. 71
Japan is an island nation with few natural resources—no petroleum, a little coal, and not much else. Therefore, Japan is dependent upon importation by ocean shipping of most of its needs for manufacturing (including military equipment) and much of the country’s needs for food.
During the course of WW II the U.S. military destroyed the Japanese navy and air force almost completely. By early 1945 Japan was in no position to do anything but fight a last-ditch and suicidal ground war of defense on those islands still held by the Japanese army and the home islands, including Okinawa. 72 Although the defeat of Japan was inevitable as early as 1944, the Japanese had shown time and again that they would fight to the death rather than surrender. Therefore, a U.S. invasion of Japan would have been extremely costly in terms of casualties both for the U.S. military and the Japanese; Japan had large numbers of soldiers in Japan still willing and able to fight to the bitter end, as well as even more Japanese soldiers still in China who perhaps could have been moved back to the Japanese home islands for the final defensive stand.
U.S. military planners expected massive American casualties in an invasion of the Japanese home islands, as the U.S. military had suffered 62,000 casualties and 12,500 combat deaths in the battle for the island of Okinawa alone. Hence President Truman made the decision to use the atomic bomb on two Japanese cities, which caused the Japanese to agree to unconditional surrender.
Alternatively, the U.S. military could have instituted a blockade of Japanese ports that would have forced an eventual surrender, given Japan’s extreme dependency on fishing for its food supply and importing other supplies from abroad. Such a blockade would have been costly in terms of the expense of deploying a large naval fleet, but American casualties would have been relatively limited once the Japanese exhausted their remaining supply of airplanes in deadly but futile suicide attacks. 73
Turning to the European part of WW II, at the outset it is to be noted that the causes of German antipathy to the U.S. before World War II included U.S. trade barriers against German imports. The U.S. Congress enacted the Fordney-McCumber Tariff Act of 1922 and the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act of 1930. The goal of these tariffs was to protect American companies from foreign competition in the U.S. market. The effect of the tariffs on Germany was to deprive that country of the means to earn U.S. dollars to help pay reparations required by the Treaty of Versailles that ended WW I, and to deprive German workers of employment in the industries that could sell to America.
In consequence the Great Depression came to Germany as it did to the rest of the world in part because of U.S. tariffs that soon elicited similar trade barriers in other countries. Furthermore, Germany’s creditor nations failed to provide relief from Germany’s debts in time to help the Weimar Republic stay in power. Accordingly, one contemporary and perceptive observer stated that without these adverse economic conditions for Germany, “Hitler would never have come to power, and we should have saved the democratic regime in Germany.” 74
This outcome of pre-WW II economic life is a forceful illustration of the observation by French economist and philosopher Frédéric Bastiat, in the mid-19th century, that when goods don’t cross borders, armies will. 75
For America, WW II military conflict with Germany started when German submarines sank two American ships in the Atlantic Ocean even before the formal declarations of war by each nation in December 1941. The U.S. devoted major resources to trans-Atlantic shipping of supplies and war materials not only to Britain before the U.S. formally entered the war, but also to the Soviet Union after U.S. entry into the war. From 1941 through the end of hostilities in 1945 the U.S. and Great Britain had an all-out sea war with Germany, known as the Battle of the Atlantic, which the U.S. and Britain had largely won by mid-1944.
The German submarine fleet of WW II was a force to be reckoned with, sinking 1,600 U.S. cargo ships destined for Britain, as well as some British and U.S. navy ships. All told, in the Battle of the Atlantic the U.S. military suffered 2,400 navy and marine fatalities and 9,500 fatalities of sailors in the merchant marines. Nevertheless, more than 99% of all ships sailing to and from the British isles during WW II arrived safely. The U.S. and Britain sank 84% of all German submarines with sailors in the German submarine fleet suffering a 75% fatality rate, the highest fatality percentage of any branch of the German military. 76
U.S. WW II military dead and wounded were by far the largest in the aggregate in the campaigns in Europe and North Africa where the U.S. armed forces numbered in the millions. In those theaters of war the U.S. suffered 300,000 fatalities and 418,000 wounded, nearly 70% of all U.S. dead and wounded during the entire war.
A more fundamental question is whether the war itself was entirely necessary for the U.S., since the mainland of America was never in danger of attack by Germany during WW II.
By June 6, 1944, when U.S. troops landed in France on D-Day, the German military was already in shambles. Even by late 1943, it was becoming clear to many of Germany’s military leaders that they were losing the war and would be defeated. 77 At that point, Allied victory in Europe was just a matter of time. By focusing our efforts on an Atlantic sea war against Germany, the U.S. could have avoided the staggering loss of life involved in a land invasion of Europe. Had the U.S. focused on pulverizing the German navy and submarine fleet, enabling unfettered transport of American supplies and munitions to Britain and Russia, we could have effectively supported our allies and avoided 96% of all U.S. military fatalities outside of the Pacific theater of war. (Only 4% of war fatalities against Germany were suffered in the Battle of the Atlantic, including Merchant Marine fatalities as well as deaths of Navy, Marine Corps and U.S. army air force personnel.)
Moreover, the time for the U.S. as well as Britain and France to have acted against Nazi Germany was in 1936–nearly six years before the U.S. entry into WW II in Europe–when it became clear that Hitler intended to invade the demilitarized Rhineland border area with France. Merely a credible showing of U.S. resolve to join France and Britain in opposing Nazi aggression by military force would most probably have encouraged France and Britain to actions which, without the need of actual combat operations, could well have caused an end to Hitler’s rule of Germany and avoidance of WW II in Europe. 78
Germany invaded the Rhineland in March 1936 in violation of the Treaty of Versailles that ended WW I. At the time, isolationist sentiment was then strong in the U.S. Therefore, in retrospect it seems reasonable to suppose that the re-election ambitions of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 were influential in his failure to take a vigorous and resolute stand against the aggression of Nazi Germany.
Another question is whether relieving Europe of Nazi tyranny, in and of itself, justified U.S. military invasion of Europe, whether or not the Nazis presented an immediate military threat to the U.S. mainland. The WW II record of Nazi military aggression is inextricably linked not only with brutality towards all people in the conquered countries, but most notably with the Nazi murder of six million European Jews—the Holocaust—according to a plan concocted by Adolf Hitler himself. All over Nazi controlled Europe, most people were cowed into submission to the tyranny of the Nazi terror. At great personal risk, there were a few people in Germany and even more in other countries conquered by the Nazis who rejected cooperation in the murderous acts or even sought to save Jewish people. 79
In 1938-1939, at the very highest levels of the state, the U.S. was aware of the Nazi peril to the Jews of Europe. Nevertheless, in 1939 the U.S. turned away a ship, the St. Louis, with 900 German Jewish refugees on board, dooming them to return to Europe and their probable death. 80 In Germany, the Nazi newspaper Der Weltkampf commented that America’s rejection of the St. Louis showed that the democracies did not care about the fate of the European Jews. 81
During the time when American action could have prevented a significant part of the slaughter of innocents yet to come, the American public, on the whole, was opposed to aiding the oppressed in Europe. “In the years between 1933 and 1944 the American tradition of sanctuary for the oppressed was uprooted and despoiled. It was replaced by a combination of political expediency, diplomatic evasion, isolationism, indifference and raw bigotry which played directly into the hands of Adolf Hitler even as he set in motion the final plans for the greatest mass murder in history.” 82
U.S. military action could not have stopped the Holocaust, as most of the killing occurred in Poland and Russia and accelerated in 1942-1945 at death camps constructed for that purpose in Poland and Germany before the Russian and U.S. armies had reached those locations. However, there were several practicable rescue measures that were proposed to the U.S. in 1942 that did not involve military action. If timely implemented, those non-military actions could have saved a significant portion of the still large number of Jews who had survived up to mid-1942. These measures are described in the book While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy (1967) by Arthur D. Morse. According to Morse, among the measures suggested to the U.S. that could have been taken by the U.S. without diverting men, money or materials from the war effort were the following:
- A direct appeal to Germany and Italy via neutral countries for the release of the Jews, with a guarantee of the U.S. and its allies (including Britain, Canada, Australia, and Brazil among others) to find them temporary havens until the end of the war
- The temporary suspension of American immigration quotas to expedite the flow of refugees, which had slowed to a trickle
- Relaxation of the Anglo-American blockade of Nazi-controlled Europe to permit the shipment of food, clothing, medical supplies and funds to Jews imprisoned in concentration camps
- Efforts to convince neutral countries to open their frontiers to all escaping Jews
- Pressure on the International Red Cross to provide the same safeguards for imprisoned Jews as for prisoners of wars or interned civilians
- U.S. demand to Britain to end restriction on immigration of Jews to Palestine (then under British control) 83
While some Americans urged rescue action upon the U.S., most of those with the political power to take action—the President, his administration, and Congress, reacted to rescue proposals with indifference or apathy and, in the case of some, with outright hostility coupled with procrastination that seems to have been intended to delay or prevent action. There were exceptions, people in and out of the state, who wanted to help the oppressed, but were unable to overcome the preponderant indifference. To the lasting shame of the U.S. federal state, other countries, such as Denmark, Sweden, and Great Britain either took concrete actions to save Jews or strongly advocated such actions. 84
England would have survived the German onslaught without an American led invasion of Europe, as in 1941 Germany gave up a plan to invade England after losing the Battle of Britain (1940), the first major military battle fought entirely in the air. Nazi Germany then turned east towards Russia, Hitler’s principal goal all along.
Hitler made the same mistake as Napoleon in his 1812 invasion of Russia—attacking a vast and populous country known for its harsh winters. After initial German successes in the summer and fall of 1941, and horrendous struggles in 1942-44, eventually the Russian army pulverized the German army. American aid to Russia was an important factor in helping Russia defeat the Nazis, but an even larger factor was the U.S. invasion of North Africa (1942), and the U.S. led invasions of Italy (1943) and France (1944), which required Germany to divert large forces away from Russia.
The fighting between Russia and Germany was far and away the largest and bloodiest of WW II. The Russians suffered seven million military and thirteen million civilian fatalities and Germany in its battle with Russia suffered the vast majority of its four and one-half million military fatalities of the war. Germany also suffered about one and three-quarter million civilian fatalities, in considerable part from U.S. and British air force bombing raids on Germany. “To destroy the Nazis, the Soviet Union had . . . contributed twenty-five times the human sacrifice made by all the Western Allies together.” 85
Without the U.S. led invasion of Europe, Russia still might have defeated Germany. According to a history of WW II written from the Japanese perspective, by the spring of 1942 it was obvious to the Japanese state that “Moscow would stand,” i.e., that Germany would not defeat Russia. 86 But absent U.S. military action in Europe, no matter whether the victor was Germany or Russia in their war, it would seem that eventually all of Europe would have been ruled by a tyranny, either that of the German Nazis or that of the Russian communists. In the event, U.S. involvement saved Western Europe from the Nazi or communist tyranny, although the communist tyranny engulfed Eastern Europe.
While the U.S. led invasion of Europe caused Nazi Germany to divert military forces away from the Russian front, even without the aid of America’s army in Western Europe, Russia would appear to have been the more likely to prevail in the titanic struggle between Germany and Russia. The pre-war population of the Soviet Union was nearly twice that of Germany. The mechanized armies of WW II devoured oil. The Russians possessed vast resources of oil, while the Germans were running out of oil as the war entered its climactic phase in 1944-1945.
The Russian military capability eventually surpassed that of even the potent German war machine. For example, the Soviet Union began and ended the war with more tanks than the rest of the world combined. Their T-34 tank was perhaps the best in the world during WW II. Not to be overlooked in the German debacle in Russia is the greater difficulty of the invader during the harsh Russian winters, the immense territory of Russia that allowed the Russian army to fall back a long way during the initial Nazi onslaught, the will of the Russian people to fight caused by German genocidal tactics, and the fact that the Russians were defending their home country against an invader.
In case of Russian victory over Germany, the probable ensuing communist tyranny over all Europe seems likely to have collapsed eventually as it did in Eastern Europe and Russia itself by 1989.
Another alternative is that without U.S. participation in the land war on the continent of Europe the Germans and the Russians could have fought to a stalemate, as occurred in the First World War between Germany on one side and France and England on the other, before U.S. entry into the war provided the decisive edge.
The U.S. emerged from WW II by far the strongest country in the world because all the other great powers had been weakened enormously by the war. However, in the period from 1917 to 1945 the U.S. greatly weakened itself by military casualties, losses of non-military production and huge debts incurred in both wars, as well as political attacks against productive enterprises during the Great Depression.
The U.S. costs of World Wars I and II would have been far less in human lives and financial resources if the nation’s leaders could have avoided war with Japan by having no military presence in Asia; and if U.S. participation in both European wars had been limited to supplying England (and Russia in WW II) and to anti-submarine warfare.
The Cold War; Korea and Vietnam
Since the beginning of World War II the U.S. seems to have been involved in almost permanent warfare, doing battle somewhere around the world much of the time and, when not actually at war, maintaining by far the most costly military in the world. It appears that only a shift away from the status quo of U.S. political democracy could change the propensity of the U.S. federal state to become a frequent participant in foreign disputes and military action.
Immediately after WW II the U.S. political leadership became deeply troubled and concerned by actions of the Soviet Union and communist parties in France, Greece, and Italy. Note: Because everything done in the name of the Soviet Union originated in Moscow, the capitol of Russia since 1918, the Soviet Union is usually referred to hereinafter as Russia. 87
Beginning in 1945, immediately at the end of WW II, Russia crushed nascent movements toward independence, self-rule and democracy in the territories it conquered while defeating Germany, including the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Rumania. The Russians installed communist dictatorships in those countries, often by means of violence, including in some cases the murder of a country’s indigenous and independent political leadership.
Less than a year after the end of World War II, on March 5, 1946, the wartime leader of Britain, Winston Churchill, made a famous speech in which he coined the term “iron curtain” to describe the developments in Eastern Europe as follows:
“A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory. Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its Communist international organization intends to do in the immediate future, or what are the limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytizing tendencies. . . From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe.
“Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them . . . are subject [to an] increasing measure of control from Moscow.” 88
After WW II, the French communist party became one of the largest in the French multi-party political system. Its electoral successes in 1946 and 1947 and accompanying surge in membership led some observers, including American under-secretary of state Dean Acheson, to believe that a Communist takeover of France was imminent. 89
From 1944 until 1949 the Greek communist party waged a civil war against the internationally recognized Greek Government which was formed after elections boycotted by the communist party. 90
Italy became a republic after WW II. In the elections of 1946 the Italian communist party won nearly 20% of the seats in the Italian parliament. In 1947, under American pressure, the communists were expelled from the government. 91
The 1949 conquest of China by the Chinese Communist party heightened the concern among U.S. political leaders that there was a rising tide of communist tyranny that could engulf country after country, ultimately threatening the security of the U.S. Then came the North Korean communist invasion of South Korea in 1950. U.S. President Harry Truman had no hesitation about committing the U.S. to war to prevent the communist takeover of South Korea. 92
The Korean War
It was starting with the Korean War that the U.S. undertook to act as a global police force, an activity that has continued into the 21st century.
Korea is a relatively small country in northeast Asia, about the size of the U.S. state of Idaho. Korea is located 5,600 miles west of California, adjacent to China and across a narrow sea from Japan. At the time of the Korean War (1950-1953) control of Korea by a foreign power hostile to the U.S. presented no threat to the security of America. Yet the U.S. went to war in Korea in 1950, a war in which the U.S. military suffered 36,500 fatalities and 103,000 wounded.
At the end of WW II, Russia and the U.S. ejected the Japanese from Korea, which the Japanese had ruled since 1910. Russia and the U.S. divided Korea into a northern part occupied by Russia and a southern part occupied by the U.S. In 1948-1949 both countries withdrew their troops, leaving the north ruled by communists and the south ruled by a non-communist, democratically elected (but decidedly authoritarian) state.
The heads of each of the Korean states burned with zeal to unify the Korean peninsula by war against each other, but only with the backing of their respective sponsors, Russia for the north and the U.S. for the south. The U.S. sponsorship of South Korea proved to be one of those “entangling alliances” that Presidents Washington and Jefferson had warned against.
In June 1950 the army of the North Korean state invaded the south, intending conquest to unify Korea under communist rule. The North Korean communists had sought and received the encouragement and support of Russian dictator Joseph Stalin, who wanted to fight the U.S. by proxy, without risking direct military confrontation. 93
The United Nations (UN) Security Council promulgated a resolution condemning the North Korean invasion and recommending that members of the UN join forces to repel the attack. The Security Council Resolution avoided an undoubtedly certain Russian veto only because Russia was boycotting the UN in protest over the refusal of the UN to seat the new communist state of China. 94
Twenty-one nations agreed to contribute arms, money, medical supplies, or troops to rid South Korea of the aggressor. A U.S. led military force of 341,000 troops went to Korea to repel the North Korean army. The bulk and the backbone of the UN forces were 178,000 soldiers sent by the U.S. There was an even larger number of South Korean troops.
U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, who was in charge of the U.S. and U.N. military efforts, intended to unify all of Korea as a non-communist nation, a goal which President Truman did not at first countermand. In November 1950, after the North Korean army had been routed, communist China sent in over 300,000 troops as the U.N. force neared the Chinese border with Korea. In 1951 President Truman relieved MacArthur of his command because he thought MacArthur’s strategy and tactics carried the risk of greater intervention by China or even war with Russia.
The war continued to rage up and down the Korean peninsula until an armistice was agreed to in July 1953. The armistice was formalized in November 1954, dividing the peninsula between the communist north and the non-communist south at the 38th parallel, a division which has existed into the 21st century.
U.S. defense of South Korea has been of tremendous benefit to the South Koreans, who have built a prosperous and relatively free society. In contrast, North Korea is, in effect, the world’s largest prison camp, with a population of 24 million inmates suffering not only from rule of the cruelest and most repressive state on earth, but also from hunger. Ten percent of the population of North Korea died in a mass famine in the mid-1990s. South Korea, with an area a little smaller than the North, has a population of 48 million, double that of the North.
The cost of Korea to the U.S. has been large. In addition to the war losses, there is the continuing cost of maintaining a U.S. military presence in Korea over the six decades since the war ended. As of the early 21st century the U.S. still had 28,500 troops stationed in Korea and another 36,500 stationed in Japan. Both the Korean and Japanese based contingents of the U.S. military are a deterrent to another invasion by the North Korean army, which now numbers one million in strength. However, should the million-man army of North Korean invade the south the U.S. military there could be crushed before reinforcements could come to their relief. It appears that only the potential for massive U.S. retaliation restrains the North Korean state, which still has the support of communist China.
Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, North Korea apparently has developed nuclear bomb capability and short-range ballistic missiles, and is working on development of inter-continental ballistic missiles with a range as far as the United States. But for these programs, North Korea would be no more a security threat to America than it was at the time of the Korean War.
North Korea is not unique in presenting a security risk to America by means of possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the potential for developing missile delivery systems capable of reaching America. Proliferation of WMD and missile technology by hostile and aggressive states is an issue all the nations of the world face. Virtually every other state that is potentially or currently hostile to the U.S. has greater economic and technological resources than North Korea, which is one of the poorest and most backward states in the world. The problem of WMD and their delivery is addressed briefly below under the heading “Building a Defense that Defends ” and more extensively in the chapter on defense.
On a brighter note for America, the Korean War brought about a large immigration of industrious Koreans eager to assimilate into America. According to the 2010 census there are 1.4 million Koreans in the U.S., some with notable achievements and talents, and most with a strong desire to become Americans, as evidenced by a high rate of attaining U.S. citizenship.
The Vietnam War
Vietnam is a relatively small country in Southeast Asia, a little larger than the U.S. state of Nevada. Vietnam is located 8,000 miles southwest of California, and is adjacent to China on the north with the South China Sea to the west.
The American war in Vietnam was even more costly than the Korean War. At the time of the Vietnam War (1964-1975) control of Vietnam by a foreign power hostile to the U.S. presented no threat to the security of America. Yet the U.S. went to war in Vietnam in 1964, a war in which the U.S. military suffered 58,000 fatalities and 153,000 wounded. Because U.S. military casualties were high, some of the horrors of war in Vietnam were so vividly depicted on television, and because the war seemed to have no end in sight, the Vietnamese war caused more divisiveness and discontent in the U.S. than any war since the Civil War a century earlier.
Vietnam was once part of the French Colonial Empire in Southeast Asia. The Japanese army occupied Vietnam during WW II. After the French returned to Vietnam, they were attacked by an uprising of Vietnamese under the communist Viet Minh. That struggle lasted from 1946 until a climactic defeat of the French army in 1954, when France left its former colony for good.
The U.S. became involved in Vietnam in 1954 when a peace treaty divided the country at the 17th parallel. The communist dictatorship led by Ho Chi Minh took over the north while the U.S. searched for and found an anti-communist alternative in the south: a state headed by a Vietnamese Catholic untainted by cooperation with France. This South Vietnamese Government was authoritarian and corrupt, and by the 1960s had become a target for renewed attacks from North Vietnam.
After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson campaigned for reelection as a moderate and characterized his opponent as one who would escalate the Vietnam War by using nuclear weapons. In August 1964 “. . . the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson . . . obtained Congressional authorization to take whatever measures were necessary to save South Vietnam.” 95 In the same month, President Johnson pledged that he was not “… committing American boys to fighting a war that I think ought to be fought by the boys of Asia to help protect their own land.” 96
U.S. military forces in Vietnam reached 490,000 by 1967 and a peak of 543,000 in 1969. 97
The unpopularity of the Vietnamese war caused Lyndon Johnson to decide against running for reelection in 1968 and caused Congress to eliminate military conscription in 1973. In 1975 the last U.S. troops and embassy staff left Vietnam. The U.S. had lost the war for two principal reasons. First, the Vietnamese opposition fought doggedly because they deemed the war with the U.S. a continuation of their struggle for national independence; and second, U.S. public opinion turned decisively against the war after 1967.
Both during and after the war the Communists wreaked havoc and vengeance in a campaign of terror on those who had opposed them or were suspected of doing so. The term “Communists” in Vietnam refers to the North Vietnamese regime and the Viet Cong guerrilla fighters active in South Vietnam. After the war, the victors imprisoned one million people of whom 165,000 died. People fled the terror by the millions, often in small, un-seaworthy boats, where the survival rate was low due to disease, starvation, piracy and boats sinking in bad weather. An estimated 1.4 million refugees from Vietnam and the neighboring Communist states of Laos and Cambodia were resettled in the U.S. and another 500,000 in Canada, Australia, and France. 98
Vietnam was not a threat to the security of America at the time of the Vietnam War, and is not a security threat today. To the contrary, as of the early 21st century Vietnam is not unfriendly to the U.S. It welcomes U.S. tourists and trade with the U.S. An American visitor to Vietnam in the early 21st century will find the people friendly and lacking any overt resentment of Americans.
America has benefited from the Vietnamese people who have moved to the U.S. The end of the war in Vietnam brought about a large immigration of industrious Vietnamese eager to assimilate into America. According to the 2010 census there were 1.7 million Vietnamese in the U.S., most with a strong desire to become Americans, as evidenced by a 72% rate of naturalization among Vietnamese in America who were born in Vietnam.
Middle East wars
In three wars in the Middle East since 1990, The Gulf War of 1990-1991, the Iraq War of 2003-2011, and the Afghanistan War of 2001-2012, through June 2012 the U.S. military suffered 6,600 fatalities, nearly 48,000 wounded (but not mortally) and has spent $1.2 trillion through the year 2011.
It is the position of this essay that there are reasonable grounds for arguing, as we do herein, that the three wars waged by the U.S. in the Middle East from 1990 onward were unnecessary, futile and counter-productive, notwithstanding the removal of the murderous regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the killing of the terrorist mastermind who planned the attacks on America that occurred on September 11, 2001 and the so far temporary defeat of the inhumane, cruel and savage Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime that ruled Afghanistan before the U.S. invasion in 2001.
Due in principal part to petroleum, the U.S. was involved in politics and conflicts in the Middle East for many years before 1990.
In the 1930s American geologists and petroleum engineers discovered large amounts of petroleum under the desert sands of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and some other smaller countries in the Middle East.
In WW II, the U.S. sent a large army to help the British defeat attempts of Nazi Germany to conquer North Africa and the Middle East. The Nazi goal was to block British and American access to the Suez Canal but, more vitally for the German war effort, to seize control of the oil of the Middle East, and to link up with the attempted drive of the German Army in the Soviet Union into the oil rich areas of the Caucasus region in the southern part of the Soviet Union and oil-rich Azerbaijan to the south of the Soviet Union.
U.S. support of the state of Israel since its inception in 1947 has been a source of irritation towards the U.S. among many of the twenty-two Arab states, as well as outright attacks against Americans by Islamic-Arabic terrorist organizations and individuals. 99
Until 1948 America was the world’s largest producer and exporter of petroleum. However, in 1948, American imports of crude oil and petroleum products together exceeded exports for the first time. 100 As of 2010 oil producing states of the Middle East supplied about 20% of U.S. imports of petroleum. 101
In 1952 the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assisted a group of military officers in Egypt in their successful overthrow of the regime of Egyptian King Farouk.
A political coup in oil-rich Iran in 1953 overthrew the then Prime Minister of Iran, who had spearheaded the nationalization of the British-controlled Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. While those who instigated the coup were Iranians, the CIA helped to facilitate the coup.
In 1957, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower issued a doctrine stating that the U.S. would defend the Middle East from communist takeover—a real and valid concern given activities of the Soviet Union and indigenous communists in several Middle East nations, particularly Iran.
Islamic fundamentalists took control of Iran in 1979 and imprisoned fifty-two Americans as hostages, most of them employees of the U.S. embassy in Iran’s capitol, Tehran. The hostages were held for over a year before being released.
Also in 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to support the ruling Afghan communist political party that was besieged by Afghan guerrillas supported by Arab volunteers. The Afghan guerrillas received covert military and financial support from the U.S and other countries. The Soviet Union waged a bloody war in Afghanistan until it gave up and left the country in 1988. 102
In the 1980s “United States support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War . . . included several billion dollars worth of economic aid, the sale of dual-use technology, non-U.S. origin weaponry, military intelligence, Special Operations training, and direct involvement in warfare against Iran.” 103 Some of the military equipment given by the U.S. to Iraq and the Afghan guerrillas undoubtedly was used against the U.S. military in their campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The U.S. sent troops to Lebanon in 1982 as part of a multi-national peacekeeping effort in a civil war between Muslim and Christian Arab residents of Lebanon. In 1983, Hezbollah, a military organization of warring, anti-Christian Muslims, perpetrated a suicide bombing that killed 241 American marines.
In 1986 the U.S. air force bombed the residential area of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in retaliation for a Libyan terrorist attack that killed two U.S. soldiers at a night club in Berlin, Germany.
In 1987 the U.S. Navy provided escorts for Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Persian Gulf in order to deter attacks from Iran.
On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded its neighbor, the State of Kuwait, a much smaller but oil-rich country. Kuwait is bordered by the Persian Gulf to the east, Saudia Arabia to the south and Iraq to the north and west. Iraq overwhelmed the much smaller Kuwaiti military within twelve hours and took complete control of the country.
President George H. W. Bush announced almost immediately that the Iraqi conquest of Kuwait would not stand. The U.S. military was as good as President Bush’s word. The following year a U.S. led military coalition invaded Kuwait and forced the Iraqi army out of the country. 104
Before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the U.S. was passive, making no show of force that might have deterred the Iraqi invasion, despite the obvious buildup of a large Iraqi army on the border with Kuwait. April Glaspie, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, reportedly said to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in July 1990, that “[The U.S. has] no opinion on your . . . dispute with Kuwait. Secretary [of State] James Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.” 105
The main concern to the U.S. and other countries of the West was the significant threat Iraq posed to Saudi Arabia. Following the conquest of Kuwait, the Iraqi army was within easy striking distance of the rich Saudi oil fields. Control of these fields, along with Kuwaiti and Iraqi reserves, would have given Iraqi’s brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, control over the majority of the world’s oil reserves. Therefore, it appears that the principal reason for the first U.S. war against Iraq was not the liberation of Kuwait but rather preventing the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein from seizing control of the vast petroleum resources of Kuwait and neighboring Saudi Arabia.
Pursuant to the authority of a United Nations Resolution and a close vote in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. assembled a coalition of forces to join it in removing Iraq from Kuwait. The allied military force consisted of troops from 34 countries. U.S. troops represented 73% of the coalition’s 956,600 troops.
After an extensive bombing campaign the U.S. and allied ground forces invaded Kuwait on February 23, 1991. “The result was one of the most lopsided military victories in military history. . .” The Iraqi army was routed in less than four days. “President Bush . . . decided to end the ground war after 100 hours, allowing . . . Saddam Hussein to hold on to power. . .” 106
There have been several explanations given for failure of the U.S. led coalition to oust the Saddam Hussein regime from power in 1991. The most plausible and significant appear to be the narrow margin of vote in the U.S. Senate authorizing the war (47 of 100 Senators voted no), and the U.N. mandate limiting the authority of the invading armies to forcing Iraq out of Kuwait.
At the end of the 1991 Gulf War, the U.N. imposed sanctions on Iraq to prevent Iraq from continuing development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including nuclear bombs, biological and chemical warfare agents, and missile delivery systems. Iraq made it difficult for U.N. inspectors to verify that Iraq was in compliance with the U.N. sanctions, even barring U.N. inspectors from entering Iraq for an extended period of time.
It was reported by the intelligence agencies of the U.S., Israel, and other countries that Iraq was continuing its WMD programs surreptitiously. Therefore, in 2002 President George W. Bush obtained the authorization of Congress to invade Iraq to enforce the U.N. sanctions against development of WMD. Due to obstruction and threats of veto by China, France, and Russia, the U.N. Security Council could not authorize military action to enforce its prior sanctions. President Bush obtained military support from several countries, including Great Britain.
Hostilities started with the U.S. led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003. The invasion was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War in which a combined force of troops principally from the U.S., with significant help from Great Britain, toppled the regime of dictator Saddam Hussein in 21 days of combat. In the north of Iraq, Kurdish irregular soldiers supported the U.S. led invasion and took control of the northern part of the country.
After the initial victory over the Iraqi army, the country was wracked by violence, chaos and near anarchy caused by sectarian fighting between the Iraqi majority Shia Muslims and minority Iraqi Sunni Muslims. A new Iraqi state was formed by democratic elections. A variety of opposing and armed insurgents viewed the new Iraqi state as a collaborator with the conquering foreign armies. The armed opposition consisted of diehard former ruling party members, foreign jihadist terrorists, and armed forces of Iraqi Shia Muslims financed by neighboring Shia Iran.
The sectarian fighting between Shia and Sunni came close to creating civil war conditions. It was not until 2007 that the counterinsurgency tactics of the U.S. military and a new Iraqi army began to succeed in putting down the armed opposition. In 2010 the new Iraqi state declared it would be ready to function by 2012 without the presence of the U.S. military. The last U.S. soldiers left Iraq in December 2011.
For the vast majority of Iraqis life was vastly improved by the U.S. military getting rid of the murderous and oppressive Saddam Hussein regime. However, with the U.S. presence gone from Iraq, life in Iraq does not yet appear safe, secure and stable for Iraqis, except in the Kurdish territory in the northern part of the country, where there is relative peace and stability. 107
An unacceptable risk of WMD getting into the hands of the Saddam Hussein regime was the justification for the war given by President Bush and accepted by Congress when it authorized the war in 2002. The post-war search of the country revealed no WMD. However, there is evidence that the Saddam Hussein regime had plans to reinstitute its WMD program as soon as it could. This was true at least of the nuclear bomb program according to a book by an Iraqi nuclear scientist who after U.S. occupation of Iraq’s capitol in 2003 disclosed the ongoing covert Iraqi nuclear weapons program to the U.S. military. 108
“Many former Iraqi officials close to Saddam either heard him say or inferred that he intended to resume WMD programs when sanctions were lifted. Those around him at the time do not believe that he made a decision to permanently abandon WMD programs. Saddam encouraged Iraqi officials to preserve the nation’s scientific brain trust essential for WMD. Saddam told his advisors as early as 1991 that he wanted to keep Iraq’s nuclear scientists fully employed. This theme of preserving personnel resources persisted throughout the sanctions period.” 109
Getting rid of the Iraqi WMD programs did not eliminate the threat of WMD in the hands of aggressive states in the Middle East that are hostile to the U.S. Adjacent to Iraq is the larger and more developed country of Iran whose fundamentalist religious tyrants say openly that they despise the U.S. Iran has been developing WMD and missile delivery systems in defiance of objections by the U.S. and Israel. The United Nations cannot stand in the way of Iran’s nuclear bomb program because China and Russia have obstructed any effective U.N. actions to eliminate Iran’s atomic bomb capability.
On September 11, 2001 nineteen Arab men of the Islamist group al-Qaeda hijacked four American commercial passenger airplanes. The hijackers intentionally piloted two of those planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City; both towers collapsed within two hours. The hijackers also intentionally crashed another airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. A fourth hijacked airliner crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after some of its passengers attempted to take control of the airplane from the hijackers. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks including the 227 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard the four planes.
Deterrence does not work with fanatics who are willing to die themselves in the act of attacking someone else. However, deterrence could work against the sponsors of terrorism. Thanks to extensive investigation both before and after 9/11 it is known who it is that sponsored the nineteen young men who hijacked the four American commercial aircraft. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 were planned in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001 by the Islamo-terrorist organization known as al-Qaeda, whose activities were organized and financed by a wealthy Saudi Arab, Osama Bin Laden.
The U.S. War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as armed forces of the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and the Afghan United Front (Northern Alliance) launched attacks aimed at dismantling the al-Qaeda terrorist organization and ending its use of Afghanistan as a base. The United States military also waged war to remove from power the Taliban Islamic fundamentalist regime that had given sanctuary to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The U.S. military promptly ejected the Taliban from most of Afghanistan. However, the Taliban has continued to fight a guerrilla war against the U.S. and the democratically elected Afghan state. In the second decade of the 21st century the U.S. continues a military battle against Taliban guerilla fighters. The War in Afghanistan has become the longest-running war in U.S. history.
“Follow the money” is a maxim for showing the way to the source of wrongdoing. It is well known that an oil-rich autocracy in the Middle East has financed an especially violent and militant branch of Islam that builds and operates religious schools where would be suicidal terrorists are indoctrinated. In this still existing era of nation states appropriate pressure by the U.S. and other wealthy nations possibly could cause state sponsors of terrorism to cease their sponsorship. No such pressure has been tried.
That is, however, an indirect means of preventing attack, by attempting to cut off funding for terrorism at the source of the funding. A more direct means of defense is to prevent terrorists from implementing the final and fatal steps in their murderous plans.
Effective defense starts with anticipating the kind of attack one wants to prevent. The U.S. and the entire world had ample advance warning of the possibility commercial aircraft could be hijacked and flown into buildings, causing their unspent fuel to create a fiery inferno that could cause enormous damage. What follows is a chronological list of events that provided advance notice of the possibility of 9/11.
In the mid-1940s a U.S. military plane exploded on collision with the Empire State Building in New York. While the plane was destroyed and all its unspent fuel burned on impact with the building, the damage was limited because concrete had been used as insulation to inhibit the spread of fire in the Empire State Building. Subsequently, asbestos was widely used as a lower-cost heat insulator in construction of buildings.
Some twenty-five years later, when the World Trade Center buildings in New York were being designed and built, the use of asbestos for insulation from heat was banned out of concern that asbestos was a health hazard. It was the heat-induced collapse of the steel framework that destroyed the Twin Towers buildings so quickly. Given the risks to life from not using asbestos, it seems likely that it would have been beneficial to seek ways to use it that would minimize health hazards while still obtaining the fire retardant benefits of asbestos.
When the Twin Towers buildings in the World Trade Center in New York were originally designed in the 1960s, the design specified the use of asbestos insulation on the supporting columns in order to withstand a four-hour fire before its steel beam infrastructure lost so much strength that it would collapse. In that four-hour period, according to some commentators, tower visitors and workers below the fire level would have had ample time to escape, while those trapped in floors above the fire could have been rescued from the roof by helicopter. However, Tower One collapsed one hour and 40 minutes after it was struck by the first airliner; Tower Two collapsed after 56 minutes of fire. 110
In the 1960s terrorists began to hijack commercial aircraft. The Israeli airline, El Al, suffered a single hijacking in 1968 and thereafter instituted protective measures to minimize the chance of a terrorist getting on to an El Al airplane. El Al has suffered no hijacking since 1968.
For a country as large as the U.S. it would entail great expense to prevent terrorists from boarding aircraft in the U.S. or inbound to the U.S. from outside the country. However, the financial cost of 9/11 is reputed to be $200 billion or more, an amount that seems likely far larger than the expense of requiring El Al type security before permitting any commercial aircraft to take off in the U.S. or, if a flight originated outside the U.S., to prevent its to approach American airspace after taking off from another country absent El Al type security.
The U.S. suffered losses from terrorist bombings, suicidal and otherwise, in the 1982 truck bomb attack against U.S. marines in Lebanon, a truck bomb attack on one of the New York World Trade Center Twin Tower buildings in 1993, the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and a small boat bomb attack on a U.S. navy ship (the S.S. Cole) in Yemen in 2000.
In 1994 security forces of France thwarted an attempt of terrorists to fly a hijacked commercial aircraft into the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The terrorists succeeded in hijacking the aircraft, but were overwhelmed in Marseilles, in the south of France, when the aircraft landed to take on more fuel. In 1995, in an incident foreshadowing the World Trade Center terrorist plot, terrorists planned to hijack several U.S. bound commercial aircraft and blow them up over the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. thwarted this plot with the cooperation of the government of the Philippines.
Taking into account the foregoing, U.S. state security agencies had the information necessary to anticipate something like the 9/11 terrorist attacks would be attempted. Cooperation would have been needed between the Congress and the executive branch of the state to implement security measures that would have prevented the 9/11 terrorists from getting on board the aircraft they planned to hijack.
It is sad and tragic that it took 9/11 to galvanize better security for commercial aircraft in the U.S. In a world where security measures could be implemented by air transport companies and airports on their own, without interference by the state, one can anticipate that privately owned airline companies and airports would compete with each other to provide the greatest assurance of security. For example, airports could deny permission to land to any commercial aircraft not operated with the security necessary to prevent potential wrongdoers from boarding an aircraft, no matter where a flight originated.
Building a defense that defends
Between WW I and WW II the U.S. failed to make an effort to develop more effective anti-submarine warfare to defend our merchant shipping. Consequently such efforts had to be initiated during WW II after American merchant shipping came under attack by a German submarine fleet that had been increased in potency by intra-war development.
The wide oceans surrounding North America continue to provide protection against a military invasion by a hostile foreign power, provided that Americans maintain the capability to repel would be invaders.
However, conventional military forces would be wholly inadequate to defend America from weapons of mass destruction delivered by ballistic missiles. America can anticipate that those would be the principal means of attack by a hostile foreign power bent on conquering or even destroying America—an avowed purpose of some extremists and rogue nations around the world.
Beginning in 1983 the U.S. initiated a research and development program to achieve the ultimate goal of defending against ballistic missiles rather than relying solely on the deterrence of a huge U.S. retaliatory capability—that is the ability to launch devastating nuclear retaliation against those who had attacked America with nuclear weapons.
As of the early 21st century this missile defense research and development program had achieved some success despite political challenges to the desirability of achieving such capability at all, and consequent political obstacles to maintaining consistent funding of missile defense research, development and deployment programs.
This topic will be examined in greater detail in the discussion of national defense in a later chapter of this work.
Galambos asserted that the cause of war was the political state, and only the political state. When the author of this internet book first heard that assertion in 1967, the Vietnam War was raging, young American soldiers were dying and being wounded in large numbers in the war, and even more Vietnamese were dying at the hands of the U.S. military.
Considering Galambos’ attribution of war solely to the political state, in preparation of this work it appeared appropriate to do something Galambos did not attempt—that is to examine the history of the cause of each of the major wars of the United States to consider the validity of Galambos’ assertion as it applied to the United States. That examination, inquiry and analysis is the reason for the length of the discussion above on Wars of the United States.
An opinion ventured in the essay on World War II is bound to be considered controversial and even naïve; i.e., that the U.S. could have minimized its participation and its losses. Galambos never made such a statement in V-50, or elsewhere to the knowledge of the present author, who takes full responsibility for that opinion. However, the idea that the U.S. could have limited its participation in WW II has its genesis in Galambos’ teaching that the proper role of government (and even a political state) in national defense is to protect the lives and property of its own citizens mainly by defensive means and by avoiding full-scale war insofar as is possible. That was also the view of founders of the United States such as Thomas Paine, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
Carl von Clausewitz said, correctly, that war is politics carried out by violent means to compel our adversary to submit to our will. 111 Clausewitz’ statement suggests a corollary that appears to be validated by human history: that politics amounts to war carried out by means of the threat of violence. Accordingly, the end of war requires the end of politics.
Politics provides no solutions to human problems. It exacerbates them. As Eckhart Tolle observed, wars beget more wars. 112 That has been true in the case of the United States of America. The Spanish-American War was instrumental in bringing about later war between the U.S. and the Empire of Japan. World War I created the circumstances which engendered World War II despite the declaration of American President Woodrow Wilson that World War I was a war to end all wars.
To end wars humanity shall have to achieve a change in consciousness, a paradigm shift to a revolutionary idea: that the human race must transcend and obviate politics in order to end war.
- V-50 lecture # 9, Sic Itur Ad Astra, p. 310. ↩
- Quotation attributed to Thomas Paine in his book The Rights of Man (1791) at http://www.strike-the-root.com/3/smith/smith6.htm ↩
- Bacevich, Andrew J., Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War (2010). ↩
- Constitution of the U.S., Article I, section 8 ↩
- Described in American history as the Louisiana Purchase ↩
- Quotation from Latimer, Jon, 1812: War with America (2007), page 15. ↩
- In his History of the English Speaking Peoples, quoted at page 458 of Toll, Ian W., Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy (2006). ↩
- U.S. Military Casualties of War, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_casualties_of_war and U.S. Dept. of Treasury, Bureau of Public Debt, http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/history/1800.htm ↩
- then a colony of Spain ↩
- An American view of the War of 1812 is set forth in Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy (2006), by Ian W. Toll, at pages 270-459. An English view of the War is set forth in 1812: War with America (2007), by Jon Latimer. Both books are in agreement on the facts summarized in the text preceding this note. On U.S. ambition to take Canada, see Toll, Six Frigates, p. 325, and Latimer, 1812, pages 25-31. ↩
- Selection from speech by Daniel Webster, in House of Representatives, December 9, 1814, http://www.constitution.org/dwebster/conscription.htm ↩
- The Military Selective Service Act, section 462, as amended by 18 U.S. Code section 3571(b)(3) ↩
- A town northeast of the San Francisco bay ↩
- In an acquisition known as the Gadsden Purchase ↩
- From Thoreau’s essay Civil Disobedience (1849) ↩
- Quoted in Wikipedia under “Grant’s views on the war,” in “Mexican-American War,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican%E2%80%93American_War ↩
- The film is available from Netflix. On the scorched earth war in the Shenandoah Valley, see Wikipedia, Valley Campaigns of 1864, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_Campaigns_of_1864 ↩
- See Wikipedia, “Sherman’s March to the Sea,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman%27s_March_to_the_Sea ↩
- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia ↩
- The border states were Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri. On Lincoln’s use of martial law to imprison state legislators in order to prevent them from voting, see Di Lorenzo, Thomas J. The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War , chapter 5. ↩
- Di Lorenzo, The Real Lincoln, pages 101-105. There was little sympathy in New York for Lincoln’s invasion of the south. 113 Di Lorenzo, The Real Lincoln, pages 139-140. ↩
- Quoted from Di Lorenzo, The Real Lincoln, pages 106-110. ↩
- Quoted from Di Lorenzo, Thomas J., Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe (2006) at p. 52. ↩
- See Wikipedia, United States Presidential Election, 1864, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1864 ↩
- See DiLorenzo, Thomas J., The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War (2002), page 52. Disease, rather than actual death during combat, accounted for a large majority of the military fatalities. “For 110 years [it was accepted that] 618,222 men died in the Civil War . . . But [according to] new research [based on] . . . newly digitized census data from the 19th century, J. David Hacker, a demographic historian from Binghamton University in New York, has recalculated the death toll and increased it by more than 20 percent — to 750,000. The new figure is already winning acceptance from scholars.” Quoted from, “New Estimate Raises Civil War Death Toll,” by Guy Gugliotta, New York Times, April 2, 2012,http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/science/civil-war-toll-up-by-20-percent-in-new-estimate.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 ↩
- http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/costs_of_major_us_wars.htm and http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/downchart_gs.php?year=1848_1860 ↩
- Quoted from “Slavery in the Modern World,” by Eric Foner, The Nation, January 29, 2014, ttps://www.thenation.com/article/slavery-modern-world/ (review of The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation (2014) by historian David Brion Davis) ↩
- DiLorenzo, Thomas J., The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War (2002), pages 22-32 and 46. ↩
- From a letter of August 22, 1862 to Horace Greeley, editor of The New York Tribune, quoted in Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men (1996), pages 207-208 by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel; and The Real Lincoln (2002), page 35 by Thomas J. DiLorenzo. ↩
- Quotation from the London Spectator cited in The Real Lincoln (2002), page 36 by Thomas J. DiLorenzo ↩
- Quotation from Spooner’s essay No Treason No. II, Section X (1867) ↩
- Quotation from The Cold War: A New History (2005) by John Lewis Gaddis, page 157. See also Hummel, Jeffrey Rogers, Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men (1996), pages 141-148 and DiLorenzo, Thomas J. The Real Lincoln (2002), pages 138-142. ↩
- See Opposition to the American Civil War at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_to_the_American_Civil_War ↩
- See “Slavery in the United States,” Economic History Association athttp://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/wahl.slavery.us ↩
- It took full-scale warfare between Irish rebels and the forces of England to convince the British parliament to give up rule of the Irish after centuries of English domination, mistreatment and exploitation of the Irish people. ↩
- The word Polynesians was originated in the 18th century too describe various people who lived on islands throughout a vast area of the Pacific Ocean extending from Hawaii in the northeast to New Zealand in the southwest. ↩
- James Blaine was Secretary of State under outgoing President Benjamin Harrison, during the time between the election of Grover Cleveland to President in November 1892 and his inauguration in March, 1893. ↩
- Legation was the name used before World War II to describe U.S. federal state delegations below ambassadorial status in a foreign country ↩
- Quotation from Bradley, James, Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War (1909), page 157. ↩
- Bradley, James, Imperial Cruise, page 158. ↩
- This discussion of U.S. colonization and seizure of Hawaii is based primarily on James Bradley’s book, The Imperial Cruise (2009) referenced above. Bradley’s treatment of the subject is well referenced, with citations to books by several historians, U.S. Congressional reports and articles in newspapers and magazines. A popular novel, Hawaii (1959) by James Michener tells the story of the first Christian missionaries to Hawaii in the 1800s and their influence on Hawaiian culture and customs. ↩
- All quoted in Bradley, James, The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War (2009), pages 1, 11, 137, and 321 ↩
- Quoted in Bradley, James, The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War (2009), page 1 and note 3 citing sources for the quotation ↩
- Bradley, James, The Imperial Cruise (2009), pages 74-75. ↩
- Quoted in Bradley, The Imperial Cruise, at pages 263-264 ↩
- See Bradley, The Imperial Cruise, chapter 4, entitled “Pacific Negroes.” The title of the chapter is a reference to the racist attitude of many in the U.S. state and its military toward the Filipinos. ↩
- Quotation from The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (2002), page xiv, by Max Boot. Mr. Boot is, inter alia, a military historian whose writings have been widely published in leading journals including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. ↩
- Quotation from A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (1994), page 2, by Gerhard L. Weinberg. ↩
- After the election, in January 1917 Great Britain intercepted a German official telegram to Mexico suggesting that Germany would help Mexico recover territory lost in the Mexican-American War if Mexico joined Germany in war against the U.S. ↩
- When adjusted for changes in the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar and the growth in the population of the U.S. ↩
- See “Woodrow Wilson’s Great Mistake,” Cato Institute, Cato Policy Report, May/June 2014, http://www.cato.org/policy-report/mayjune-2014/woodrow-wilsons-great-mistake?utm and Powell’s book Wilson’s War: How Woodrow Wilson’s Great Blunder Led To Hitler, Lenin, Stalin And World War II (2005). ↩
- “Nazi” is the universal abbreviation for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, translated in English as “The National Socialist German Workers Party,” that ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945. ↩
- France was in the Second World War for only the brief six-week period it took Germany to defeat the French army in May-June of 1940. Austria, which was a warring party in WW I, ceased to exist when it was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938. The Russia of WW I was during WW II the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), or Soviet Union, an entity that went out of existence in 1991. ↩
- In English, My Battle, two volumes, published in 1925-1926 ↩
- One and one-half million French soldiers captured by the army of Nazi Germany in 1940 were sent to be slave laborers for Germany in WW II, according to a book by a French prisoner who escaped. See They Shall Not Have Me: The Capture, Forced Labor, and Escape of a French Prisoner in World War II by Jean Hélion (lst ed. 1943, republished in 2007) ↩
- See The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (1959) by William L. Shirer, Chapter 4, pages 82-88; and “GeneralPlan Ost,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalplan_Ost ↩
- See “Japanese Racial and Gender Beliefs in WW II,” Military History Suite 101, http://suite101.com/article/japanese-racial-and-gender-beliefs-in-wwii-a71122 ↩
- Quotation from The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (1959) by William L. Shirer, Chapter 7, “The Nazification of Germany,” page 195. See also, to the same effect, Defying Hitler (2000) by Sebastian Haffner. ↩
- See “Opposition to Militarism” in Japanese Militarism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_militarism#Opposition_to_militarism ↩
- http://wgordon.web.wesleyan.edu/papers/resistnc.htm ↩
- See The Imperial Cruise (2009) by James Bradley, pages 217-222 ↩
- The Monroe Doctrine issued in 1823 by U.S. President James Monroe warned European colonial powers not to try to establish any new colonies in the western hemisphere, which Monroe said would be viewed by the U.S. as an unfriendly act. ↩
- Quotations of Theodore Roosevelt from The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War (2009) by James Bradley, pages 1, 11, 202, and 217 ↩
- Quotation from James Bradley, The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War (2009) page 313 ↩
- Quotation from The Savage Wars of Peace: America’s Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (2002) by Max Boot, page 256. See also “War Plan Orange,” Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Plan_Orange ↩
- Quoted in Bradley, James, The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War (2009), page 316 ↩
- Quotations from The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War (2009) by James Bradley, pages 316, 317. ↩
- See A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (1994), pages 167, 169-170 and 316 by Gerhard L. Weinberg; and The Rising Sun: the Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945 (1970) by John Toland, pages 94 and 98 ↩
- British historian Max Hastings expresses a differing view—that dropping the atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved more American and Japanese lives than were lost in the two cities. See Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-1945 (2008), chapter nineteen, by Max Hastings. ↩
- The Valor of Ignorance by Homer Lea (1909), reprinted in 1942). ↩
- From quotation of Henry Stimson diary, reported in The Rising Sun: the Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945 by John Toland (1970), page 141 ↩
- Okinawa is a large island 340 miles south of Kyushu the most southerly island of Japan proper. Okinawa is populated mainly by Japanese people. ↩
- The attacks, called kamikaze, consisted of a small airplane fitted with a single 500 pound bomb that was flown into U.S. ships by a pilot knowing that he was flying to his death. ↩
- Quotation from Economics and the Public Welfare: A Financial and Economic History of the United States, 1914-1946 (2nd ed. 1979) by Benjamin M. Anderson, page 245. ↩
- From “Bastiat Was Right,” by Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr., http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/bastiat.html Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) was a French classical liberal theorist and political economist. ↩
- U.S. Merchant Marine Casualties during World War II, http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq11-1.htm#anchor2118718 Wikipedia, Battle of the Atlantic, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Atlantic_United_States US Navy and Marine Corps Personnel Casualties in World War II, Naval History & Heritage Command, http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq11-1.htm#anchor211871 U-Boat, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U-boat#U-boat_developments ↩
- A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (1994) by Gerhard L. Weinberg, from page 668 ↩
- The French ambassador to Germany warned his government months ahead of the Nazi incursion that Hitler intended to invade the demilitarized Rhineland, in violation of the Treaty of Locarno signed voluntarily by the German state in 1925. When neither France itself, England, nor the U.S. opposed Nazi invasion of the demilitarized Rhineland in 1936, Hitler was not only emboldened to launch further aggression, he was also saved from being removed from power by his own generals. When Hitler’s decision was made final on March 1, 1936 it caused consternation among the generals of the German army, most of whom were convinced the French army alone easily could have destroyed German forces. The German generals had decided in advance to make a hasty retreat from the Rhineland if the French army moved to oppose them. Hitler’s move into the Rhineland also caused consternation in the French army leadership which believed that opposing the Germans involved unpredictable and unacceptable risks. Notwithstanding this French timidity, the French had ample time to move against the Germans after the German invasion; they almost immediately appealed to the British for help, but were turned down even though the combined French and British military force would have been overwhelming, forcing a German retreat. And that would have been the end of Hitler, who himself later said retreat would have caused collapse of his leadership. See Shirer, William L., The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (1959), pages 290-293. ↩
- A German, Oskar Schindler, is credited with saving over 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. He is the subject of the novel Schindler’s Ark, and the motion picture based on it, Schindler’s List (1993). ↩
- The ship’s voyage to the U.S. is set forth in While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy (1967) by Arthur D. Morse, chapter XV, pages 269-288. ↩
- Morse, While Six million Died, pages 287-288 ↩
- Quotation from While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy (1967) by Arthur D. Morse, page 99. ↩
- Morse, Arthur D., While Six Million Died (1967), pages 37-38 and 65-66 ↩
- The virtual acquiescence of the U.S. to the mass murder of European Jews is documented in While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy (1967) by Arthur D. Morse. ↩
- Quotation from Retribution: The Battle for Japan (2008), by Max Hastings, pages 445-446. ↩
- See The Rising Sun: the Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945 (1970) by John Toland, page 148 ↩
- The word “soviet” turned out to be misleading and a fraud on the Russian people. The Russian word “soviet” meant, originally, council, advice, harmony, and concord. At the inception of the Russian Bolshevik takeover in 1917-1918 soviets were councils of workers that were supposed to be a grassroots effort to practice direct democracy. With village and factory soviets as a base, soon there arose a vast pyramid of local and regional soviets, each with its executive soviet. Democracy of the workers was short lived. The Communist party created a hierarchical structure in which the party held all power, to which the local and regional soviets were subordinate. See Wikipedia “Soviet (Council)” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_(council) The Soviet Union consisted of fifteen so-called “socialist republics,” the Russian republic and fourteen formerly independent states on the periphery of Russia. Some of these fourteen had been part of the Czarist Russian Empire before WW I and the remainder were annexed by the Soviet Union soon after WW II. Since 1989 all the former satellite “republics” of the former Soviet Union have become independent states. ↩
- Churchill gave the speech at Westminster College, in Fulton, Missouri, after receiving an honorary degree and was introduced by President Harry Truman, who attended the event. ↩
- See “French Communist Party,” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Communist_Party ↩
- The 1985 motion picture Eleni (1985) based upon a book by Nicholas Gage tells the true story of how Gage’s mother, Eleni, was executed for arranging the escape of her children from their Communist-occupied village. ↩
- See Wikipedia, History of Italy, under “Birth of the Republic.” ↩
- Gaddis, John Lewis, The Cold War: A New History (2005), page 43. ↩
- See The Cold War: A New History (2005) by John Lewis Gaddis, pages 41-42. ↩
- Any one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia and China) can veto a proposal for UN action. This provision has defeated collective security action against aggression time and time again. ↩
- Quotation from The Cold War: A New History (2005) by John Lewis Gaddis, page 133. ↩
- Quoted from Wikipedia, The Vietnam War, under heading “Lyndon B. Johnson escalates the war, 1963–1969.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War ↩
- The U.S. Army in Vietnam, U.S. Army Historical Series, http://www.history.army.mil/books/AMH/AMH-28.htm ↩
- The horrible aftermath of the war is recounted in Wikipedia articles entitled “Vietnam War,” “Reeducation Camps,” and “Boat People.” ↩
- The Arab states of Jordan and Morocco have been notable exceptions to the antagonism of Arab states towards the U.S. over its support of Israel. ↩
- Yergin, Daniel, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Money, Oil and Power (1991), page 410. ↩
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, Crude Oil Imports, http://www.eia.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html ↩
- Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) is a motion picture about the U.S. effort to support the Afghan guerillas. The motion picture is based on the book by George Crile entitled Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History (2007. ↩
- Quotation from “United States support for Iraq during the Iran–Iraq war,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_support_for_Iraq_during_the_Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_war ↩
- George Herbert Walker Bush was President from 1989-1993; his son George W. Bush was President from 2001 to 2009. ↩
- See Wikipedia, “Gulf War,” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War#Invasion_of_Kuwait; “April Glaspie” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Glaspie; and The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power, by Max Boot (2002) pages 320-322. ↩
- Quotations from The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power, by Max Boot (2002) pages 320-322. ↩
- A substantial number of Kurds live in eastern Turkey, where there is constant tension and conflict with Turkey arising out of the desire of the Kurds for autonomous self-rule and independence from Turkey. ↩
- See The Bomb in My Garden (2004) by Mahdi Obeidi. ↩
- Quotation from Iraq Survey Group Final Report, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), under caption “Scientific Research and Intention to Reconstitute WMD, ” http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/report/2004/isg-final-report/isg-final-report_vol1_rsi-06.htm The Iraq Survey Group (ISG) was a fact-finding mission sent by the multinational force in Iraq after the 2003 invasion of Iraq to find the weapons of mass destruction alleged to be possessed by Iraq. ↩
- See “WTC collapse due to environmentalism? Fire, heat weakened asbestos-free steel columns of towers,” by John Dougherty, Nov.20, 2001 http://www.wnd.com/2001/11/11727/ According to attorney Andrew Schlafly Tower One had asbestos insulation in the lower one-third of the structure before the ban on further asbestos; what was in place stayed, which accounts for Tower One resisting collapse 45 minutes longer than Tower Two. See “Did Flawed Science and Litigation Help Bring Down the World Trade Center,” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol. 8, No. 3, Fall 2003, PDF document at www.jpands.org/vol8no3/schlafly.pdf ↩
- This statement is a combination of several statements in the book On War (published posthumously in 1832) by the Prussian military officer and strategist Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) ↩
- Eckhart Tolle, born 1948, is a best-selling author/philosopher ↩
2 Responses to Wars of the United States of America