Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Right now the U.S. military is practicing an invasion of North Korea. The U.S. and South Korean military have just begun war games called "Invincible Spirit" which will include about 8,000 military personnel from both countries.

North Korea and China are not happy as they witness the U.S. currently doubling its military presence in the region. These war games, ostensibly aimed at North Korea, are ultimately being done in order to show China that the U.S. will "manage and control" this part of the world.

"We resolutely oppose any activities in the Yellow Sea that may threaten China's security," said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman. Imagine if you would the howls of outrage if China was holding similar war game exercises off the coast of California. The politicians in America would be spitting on themselves as they screamed bloody murder. But when the U.S. does the same to other countries it is all "for the good".

Just last Friday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got on her rostrum and amped up the war talk saying, "Peaceful resolution of the issues on the Korean Peninsula will be possible only if North Korea fundamentally changes its behavior."

Translation: North Korea must surrender to the U.S. or they will never have a moment of peace.

The U.S. destroyed North Korea during the Korean War. In his new book called The Korean War, historian Bruce Cumings recalls the truth about the war that to this day has not seen a peace agreement. Instead a truce was declared on July 27, 1953 but the U.S. war "games" today are evidence enough that the "conflict" still rages on.

The New York Times just days ago reviewed the new book by Cumings. Here are some parts of the review.

Americans need to get past the idea, Mr. Cumings says, that the Korean War was a “discrete, encapsulated” story that began in 1950, when the United States intervened to help push the Communist north out of the south of Korea, and ended in 1953, after the war bogged down in a stalemate. The United States succeeded in containment, establishing the 2.5-mile-wide demilitarized zone that still runs through Korea’s middle, but failed miserably at the war for the north, an attempt at Communist rollback.

Mr. Cumings argues that the Korean War was a civil war with long, tangled historical roots, one in which America had little business meddling. He notes how “appallingly dirty” the war was. In terms of civilian slaughter, he declares, “our ostensibly democratic ally was the worst offender, contrary to the American image of the North Koreans as fiendish terrorists.”

Mr. Cumings likens the indiscriminate American bombing of North Korea to genocide. He writes that American soldiers took part in, or observed, civilian atrocities not dissimilar to those at My Lai. An official inquiry is needed into some of these events, he writes, for any kind of healing to begin. (He also writes that this war, during which nearly 37,000 American soldiers died, deserves a memorial as potent and serious as Maya Lin’s Vietnam memorial.)

Among the most important things to understand about North Korean behavior then and now, Mr. Cumings writes, is the longtime enmity between Korea and Japan. Japan took Korea as a colony in 1910, with America’s blessing, and replaced the Korean language with Japanese. Japan humiliated and brutalized Korea in other ways. (During World War II the Japanese Army forcibly turned tens of thousands of Korean women into sex slaves known as “comfort women.”) About this history Mr. Cumings writes, “Neither Korea nor Japan has ever gotten over it.”

North Korea, which is virulently anti-Japan, remains bitter and fearful of that country and of the United States. It will do whatever it can to stay out of the hands of South Korea, where leaders have long-standing historical ties to Japan.

Mr. Cumings, in “The Korean War,” details the north’s own atrocities, and acknowledges that current “North Korean political practice is reprehensible.” But he says that we view that country through “Orientalist bigotry,” seeing only its morbid qualities. We wrongly label the country Stalinist, he argues. “There is no evidence in the North Korean experience of the mass violence against whole classes of people or the wholesale ‘purge’ that so clearly characterized Stalinism,” he writes.

The most eye-opening sections of “The Korean War” detail America’s saturation bombing of Korea’s north. “What hardly any Americans know or remember,” Mr. Cumings writes, “is that we carpet-bombed the north for three years with next to no concern for civilian casualties.” The United States dropped more bombs in Korea (635,000 tons, as well as 32,557 tons of napalm) than in the entire Pacific theater during World War II. Our logic seemed to be, he says, that “they are savages, so that gives us the right to shower napalm on innocents.”

Witness the carnage in this passage from early in “The Korean War”: “Here was the Vietnam War we came to know before Vietnam — gooks, napalm, rapes, whores, an unreliable ally, a cunning enemy, fundamentally untrained G.I.’s fighting a war their top generals barely understood, fragging of officers, contempt for the know-nothing civilians back home, devilish battles indescribable even to loved ones, press handouts from Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters apparently scripted by comedians or lunatics, an ostensible vision of bringing freedom and liberty to a sordid dictatorship run by servants of Japanese imperialism.”

You'd think that Obama and the Pentagon had enough war on their hands at this time. But the U.S. military is currently running provocative war games not only near China and North Korea.

Similar military operations are underway in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman where the U.S. and its war allies have 100 ships on maneuvers. The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet headquarters is based just across the Gulf from Iran in Bahrain. There can be no doubt that the U.S. strategy is to create an incident with Iran in order to justify U.S. and Israeli attack on that nation.

And in the Caribbean, the U.S. has positioned some 5,000 troops in Costa Rica, just a stone's throw from Venezuela, under the pretext of doing "drug interdiction" operations. Clearly, just like the cases cited above, the U.S. is militarily surrounding and provoking Venezuela in hopes to justify the overthrow of the Hugo Chavez administration.

In the case of Iran and Venezuela we know that both those nations have significant supplies of oil. China is a huge importer of oil and thus a rival with the U.S. for declining supplies of fossil fuels. In the case of China the U.S. is developing the naval infrastructure to interdict China's oil importation by sea - thus "managing" their economic expansion.

The bully empire is on the lose and is looking for a fight. But back home in the U.S. the economy is collapsing under the weight of these global military operations. Something has to give - and it will be soon. We will have either total global war or the U.S. empire will collapse.

Which side are you on?


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