The American Empire

 

By Wade Frazier

Revised July 2014

 

Purpose and Disclaimer

Timeline

Introduction

The New World Before “Discovery,” and the First Contacts

The First Century of the New World’s Invasion

Imperial Jockeying

The English and Their Rivals in North America

Fathers of a Different Kind of Empire

To Steal a Continent – An Empire Begins

To Steal a Continent – Finishing the Job

The Empire Goes Global

Sitting on Top of the World

The New Era Looked a Lot Like the Old Era

Attacking Iraq

The Continuing War and the Body Count

Subsequent Events 

Yugoslavia and East Timor

America’s Humanitarian Record

The Kurdish Plight

Helping Kosovo

Helping East Timor

Helping Colombia

A World Trade Center Postscript

Invading and Occupying Iraq – A Postscript

Footnotes

 

Purpose and Disclaimer

Not many Americans will find this essay an enjoyable read, but that is not its purpose.  I am an accountant by profession, not a historian, political scientist, economist, or scientist, and this essay should to be read with that in mind. 

The radicalizing experience of pursuing alternative energy woke me up to the extent that I created this website.  This essay is not just an exercise in scholarship, but also tells what it has been like to be an American while my nation throws its weight around.  Please do not take my word for anything, but find out for yourself what is true for you.

This essay was written during the USA's war against Iraq, which really began in 1990, and the essay was originally finished in the summer of 2002.  It is partly a historical document of what it was like to live in those times, and was rather dated in ways in 2014, when I revised it.  My energy and the human journey essay, published in 2014, will be periodically updated, but this essay likely will not be revised much in the future.  This essay was partially intended as an antidote to nationalism, and I believe that it gets the point across, and continuing to chart the decline of the American Empire holds little interest for me, as I am after bigger game and only have so many hours in a day and years in a life. 

Timeline

This essay contains many names and dates.  This timeline is an abbreviated version of this site’s timeline, and is intended to make the reading experience easier.

Timeline from 1492 onward.

This timeline presents events related to this site, with links to pertinent parts of it, and some Wikipedia links

   

Event

Date

Global Population Statistics

Behaviorally modern humans appear and a group of about 300 leave Africa and colonize the rest of Earth.

c. 60,000-50,000 BCE

c. 5,000

First inhabitants of British Isles arrive.

c. 17,000 to 10,000 BCE

 

Humans reach the Americas.

c. 13,000 BCE by boat and 9,000 BCE by land

Via Siberia-Alaska (15 kya by boat, 11 kya by land)

The most recent ice age ends. 

c. 10,000 BCE

 

Extinction of most large mammals in North America.

c. 9000 BCE

 

Large mammals become extinct in South America, which was not covered in a continental ice sheet.  Hunter-gatherer lifestyle is increasingly unsustainable.  Domestication Revolution begins in Fertile Crescent and the Americas.  Wheat, peas and olives domesticated in Fertile Crescent.  Squash and pumpkins first domesticated in Mesoamerica

c. 8500 - 8000 BCE

c. 5 million

Civilization begins forming in the Fertile CrescentMetallurgy first practiced near mountains of Eastern Europe

c. 5000 BCE

 

Stratification of early society begins, with elites - priest class, craftsmen, rulers and probably the first medical doctors.

c. 4500 BCE

 

Mass warfare begins in Sumer.  Horse domesticated in steppe region north of Black Sea.  Llama and Alpaca domesticated in South America.  Invasions from steppe regions wash across Europe, Fertile Crescent, and Middle East. 

c. 4000 BCE

c. 7 million

Migrating farmers from Fertile Crescent settle Indus valley in present day Pakistan.  Bronze age begins in Fertile Crescent.  The wheel is invented in Mesopotamia.  By this time, corn, potatoes, manioc, beans and turkeys are domesticated in the Americas.

c. 3500 BCE

 

Bronze invented in the Fertile Crescent.

c. 3300 BCE

 

Sumeria becomes the world’s first literate society.  History begins.  State bureaucracy and military establishment are developed.    Plow agriculture begins in Fertile Crescent.  The Pacific Northwest marine-based culture begins fully developing, from southern Alaska to Northern California. 

Camel first domesticated near Fertile CrescentRice paddy system of China grows.

c. 3000 BCE

c. 15 million

Sumerian wheat yields decline by 42% between 2400 and 2100 BCE. 

c. 2400 BCE

 

Migration wave of pastoral societies from steppe regions (generally between the Caspian and Black Seas) into the Fertile Crescent, India, and Europe.  Intense deforestation of the region from Morocco to Afghanistan commences.  Today, only about 10% of that forest remains; much has turned to desert.

c. 2000 BCE

c. 27 million

Wheat yields in Sumeria decline by 65% since 2400 BCE.  Fields turn white from salt.  Sumer declines as a power, and the center of Mesopotamian civilization shifts north.

c. 1700 BCE

 

A four hundred year period of chaos and warfare begins to sweep Europe, the Fertile Crescent, and Mediterranean region.  The violent, male sky-gods come to dominate religion, including one named Jehovah.  The Aryan (pastoral tribes of the steppe regions) invasion of India leads to their caste system; the invaders are the favored class. 

c. 1500 BCE

 

First iron age begins in Anatolia, Balkans, or Caucasus.  

c. 1300 BCE

 

Iron weapons rapidly replace bronze and become common throughout Europe, the Fertile Crescent, Egypt, and elsewhere.  The feminine-friendly Minoan civilization on Crete collapses, as does Mycenaean civilization not long afterward. 

c. 1200 BCE

 

Agriculture collapses in central Mesopotamia due to soil salination.  In 1990, Iraq imported 70% of its food.  The anti-feminine culture of ancient Greece develops, known as Greece’s “dark age.”  Women are gradually excluded from public life.  Although male gods dominated Greek mythology, women were also present, if subservient.  The Greeks make the first heat-treated iron weapons

c. 1000 BCE

c. 50 million

A village that began with shepherds’ huts becomes the city called Rome. 

c. 750 BCE

 

Republic of Rome begins, which takes power away from local kings.  The Roman republic tries balancing the needs of peasants and aristocrats. 

509 BCE

 

Etruscan civilization is at its peak influence, to eventually fall to neighboring states. 

c. 500 BCE

 

Persians sack and nearly destroy Athens. Themistocles, and later Pericles, rebuilds Athens into a great city.  At its height, of its 200,000 inhabitants, only 50,000 were citizens (men).  The rest were women, slaves, and foreigners. 

480 BCE

 

Roman law codified on twelve wooden tablets.  The laws make men the absolute rulers of family households, giving them the authority to sell their children into slavery, among other rights. 

c. 450 BCE

 

Peak of the Greek classic period.  Hippocrates, Socrates, Thucydides, and Aristophanes are alive. 

432 BCE

 

Rome begins rising as a power, eventually defeating the Etruscans of today’s northern Italy, and incorporate Etruria’s cultural and technical achievements.  By the time of Jesus, Etruscan culture was almost completely absorbed into Roman culture. 

c. 400 BCE

 

Alexander the Great of Macedonia conquers Persia and tries uniting East and West.  The short-lived Macedonian Empire helps pave the way for the Roman Empire. 

334 BCE

 

After subduing Italy, Rome engages in its first war against Carthage.  Italy and Sicily are rapidly deforested to meet Rome’s needs.

264 BCE

 

Rome defeats the forces of Carthaginian general Hannibal, ending the second Punic War.   

202 BCE

 

Lion and leopard are extinct in Greece and coastal regions of Asia Minor.  Beaver is extinct in northern Greece due to trapping. 

c. 200 BCE

 

Rome invades Greece and conquers them.  Rome would incorporate much of Greek culture into its own, borrowing its gods and technology. 

197 BCE

 

Greek resistance to Roman rule leads to the complete destruction of Corinth and the sale of its inhabitants into slavery.  That same year, Rome does the same to Carthage.  The Roman Republic begins expanding across Europe, northern Africa and the Middle East. 

146 BCE

 

Rome begins handing out free food.  Eventually, hundred of thousands of Rome’s citizens received free food for political reasons.  Intensive agricultural exploitation of imperial lands are undertaken to feed the empire.  Places such as today’s Libya are forced to become farms for Rome, with the agricultural practices eventually turning Libya into the desert nation it is today. 

58 BCE

 

Julius Caesar’s armies defeat the inhabitants of southern Great Britain.  

54 BCE

 

Cleopatra and Anthony’s forces defeated by Rome, and Egypt comes under Roman rule the next year. 

31 BCE

 

After a century of bitter civil war, the Roman Republic ends with the naming of Augustus Caesar as the first Roman Emperor.  Rome’s citizens cease having representation in government. 

27 BCE

 

Jesus is alive.  Much of Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and surrounding regions are deforested by Rome, eventually turning it into desert.  In the Caribbean, agricultural Arawakan peoples begin migrating along the archipelago from South America, eventually displacing/absorbing the hunter-gatherer peoples there.  They populate the Greater Antilles in the millions by 1492, and are loosely known as the Taino. 

1 CE (all subsequent dates in this table are CE)

World population: c. 170 million

An epidemic sweeps through the Roman Empire until 270, killing 5000 of Rome’s citizens each day during the epidemic’s peak, including the Emperor Claudius in 270.  Rome was forced by the population loss to recruit barbarian troops.  The first mass conversions to Christianity were apparently a consequence of the epidemic. 

251

 

Polynesians discover Hawaii

c. 300-800

 

Roman Emperor Constantine convenes the Council of Nicea, his gambit to hold the fragmenting empire together through a state religion.

324

 

Visigoths invade Rome, for the first invasion of the city in eight centuries. 

410

 

Hun invasion of Roman Empire stopped by a great battle in France.  Hundreds of thousands die in battle. 

451

 

Western Roman Empire falls.  Germanic peoples invade the Roman Empire’s lands in Europe during the late 400s, including the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Great Britain.  The Eastern Roman Empire lasts nearly continually for the next 1,000 years, with Constantinople (earlier named Byzantium and later Istanbul) as its capital city.  Europe, however, fell into its Dark Ages. 

476

 

Plague of Justinian kills up to half of Europe.

541-542

c. 200 million

32-year drought begins to afflict the Moche culture in South America.  El Niño cycles regularly affect South American civilization, and elaborate food production and storage systems are designed to cope with them, as well as other environmental challenges.  That region’s people become the world’s greatest agricultural experimenters. 

562

 

Muhammad born, founder of Islam. 

c. 570

 

Muhammad dies.

632

 

Mesoamerican empire centered in city of Teotihuacan begins its collapse, to be replaced in power by the militaristic Toltecs, similar to the way empires rose and fell in the Fertile Crescent. 

c. 650

 

Islamic armies invade the Iberian Peninsula.  Jews live under Moorish rule in Iberia, and it is their golden age in Europe, lasting for 300 years. 

711

 

Mayan civilization begins its collapse.  It attained a peak population of several million, before its overtaxed environment failed to support the population.  Famine, war and disease accompanied the collapse of the Mayan population to perhaps a million before 1000 CE, similar to Fertile Crescent dynamics.  The forest recovers and covers the Mayan ruins.  Charlemagne tries to create a new Western Roman Empire, with a unity of church and state.  The Holy Roman Empire lasted until Napoleon.  Vikings begin raiding the British Isles, and some settle in France and become the Normans.  Others go inland and become the Russians. 

c. 800

 

Leif Ericson extends Viking colonization past Greenland settlements to North America, probably in today’s Newfoundland.  They may have driven Irish monks from Iceland before them to North America.  The Vikings’ violent ways quickly create resistance from the local Algonquin people, and their colonization is not permanent.  In Iceland, the Vikings are unable to easily plunder neighboring lands and quickly become a peaceful people, engaging in trade.  This is the beginning of the High Middle Ages and height of the Medieval Warm Period.

c. 1000

c. 400 million

Umayyad dynasty ends in Moorish Iberia, and fractures into mutually hostile, petty kingdoms. 

1036

 

Northern and central Europe, especially the Germanic lands, engage in great age of deforestation, making way for civilization, clearing about a third of the forest in a couple of centuries, and up to 75% deforestation by the end of the medieval era.  In 1900, about 25% of the forest remains.

c. 1050

 

Ferdinand I, who proclaimed himself the Emperor of Spain, undertakes “Reconquest” of the Iberian peninsula.

1056

 

William the Conqueror leads the Norman invasion of Great Britain.  Islamic preachers incite anti-Jew riot in Granada, which kills about 5,000 Jews.

1066

 

Christian conquest of Toledo, which introduces European scholars to the ancient Greek writings via Islam.  The introduction of the Greek writings leads to humanism, the Renaissance and Protestant Revolution. 

1085

 

Christian Europe makes its first united act: the first Crusade to Palestine.  The first wide-scaled Jew slaughters in Europe take place as a warm-up for the first Crusade, in France and Germany.  Jews would no longer be safe in Europe, and warfare would be the European way of life until World War II ended. 

1096

 

Mesoamerican Toltec city of Tula is destroyed, probably due to major drought and population migrations that led to war.

c. 1170

 

The Islamic culture attains the world’s highest standard of living.  Incan people conquer the land around Lake Titicaca, the first step in their empire building. Human hunters render large mammals on Madagascar extinct. 

c. 1200

 

Fourth Crusade ends up sacking its “ally” Constantinople.

1204

 

In a great battle near Toledo, Christian armies defeat the Islamic forces in the decisive conflict of the “Reconquest” of the Iberian Peninsula. 

1212

 

Magna Carta sealed by England’s King John I.  Pope Innocent III convenes the Fourth Lateran Council

1215

 

Genghis Khan’s Mongol armies conquer Islamic armies in Indus valley.  Islamic peoples are devastated by the Mongol invasion, and Islam begins its decline as a social force. 

1221

 

Massacre at Montségur, the last stronghold of the Cathars.  The Catholic Church eliminates the greatest threat to its religious monopoly, until Martin Luther posts his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517.  Medieval Warm Period ending. 

1244

 

Polynesian people begin colonizing New Zealand

c. 1280

 

Marco Polo returns to Venice from many years in the court of Kublai Khan in China.  His account deeply influences European merchants.  

1295

 

Europe is gripped by major famine that lasts until 1317. 

1315

 

Immigrants to Valley of Mexico settle in marsh in the valley’s lake, the only land available to them.  They are known as the Mexica, and eventually form the Aztec Empire. 

c. 1325

 

Ottoman Empire is born, as the Turks attack the Eastern Roman Empire. 

1326

 

England and France begin the 100 Years War.  Originally invented in China several centuries earlier, and gunpowder for weaponry begins to be manufactured in England and Germany at about this time. 

1337

 

The Black Death probably originated in China.  In 1347 it swept across Asia to Europe.  The death toll for Europe and Asia was about 50 million people by 1351, killing off one-quarter to one-third of Europe’s population, and periodically recurring for the next three centuries.  Troubadour movement ends, and warfare and death imagery would become prevalent in European art.

1338

Europe’s population declines from about 75 million to 50 million.  It would not regain 1345 levels until the 16th century.

The Pope “awards” the Canary Islands to Castile. 

1344

 

Beginning in northern Italy’s city-states, a multifaceted phenomenon begins that is now called the Renaissance.  Humanism takes root, which eventually undermines the Catholic Church’s influence. 

Late 1300s

 

After a century of unrelenting epidemics, warfare and calamity, Europe’s population is two-thirds-to-half of what it had been in 1300.  The Moa is virtually extinct on New Zealand, about a century after "discovery" by the Maoris.

1400

c. 400 million 

Ming Dynasty begins mounting great naval expeditions along southern Asia, which reach Africa.  They do not plunder the people or lands they sail to.  The last expedition is in 1433.

1405

 

Christian Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula reenergized with attack on Granada. 

1410

 

Portuguese defeat Moors at Ceuta in North Africa.  Prince Henry subsequently encourages the study of maritime science.  Henry’s motivation is outflanking Islamic rivals in the gold trade. 

1415

 

Portugal begins colonizing the Madeira Islands, the Azores in 1427, and the Cape Verde Islands in 1450. 

1418

 

Itzcoatl leads Mexica to military victory and Aztec Empire begins.  

1428

 

“Little Ice Age” begins, and runs for four centuries, until about 1850. 

c. 1430

 

Portugal enters the African slave trade

1434

 

Gutenberg invents printing press in the German city of Mainz.  

c. 1439

 

Ottoman armies capture Constantinople, which terminates the Eastern Roman Empire, controls Europe’s trade route to the Orient, and inspires effort to find another European route. 

1453

 

The Wars of the Roses, which are several dynastic civil wars that last until 1485, begin in England. 

1455

 

Isabella I of Castile marries Ferdinand V of Aragon.

1469

 

Incas conquer the imperial city of Chan Chan and the Chimoran people, completing their imperial consolidation.

c. 1470

 

Paolo Toscanelli of Florence suggests to Prince Alfonso V of Portugal that the quickest way to the Indies (spice trade) is sailing across the Atlantic.  Toscanelli was wrong.  Christopher Columbus eventually obtains the letter from Toscanelli that makes the suggestion.  Castile and Aragon formerly united under Isabella and Ferdinand. 

1474

 

Isabella I initiates the Spanish Inquisition, which is largely concerned with hunting down Moors and Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity, but may still practice their erstwhile faith in secret. 

1478

 

Portugal cedes Canary Islands to Castile, and Queen Isabella I mounts their invasion.  The conquest of the Guanches was complete in 1496, and the Guanches became an extinct culture by 1600. 

1479

 

Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias rounds the southern tip of Africa, and Portugal abandons the idea of reaching Asia by crossing the Atlantic Ocean.  Columbus, who made a living in the Portuguese slave trade, takes his plan to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Castile, which the experts thought was an impossible plan because the distance to Asia would be too great.  Columbus had badly miscalculated Earth’s circumference.  His early attempts to convince the Castilian court fail.

1488

 
     

Timeline from 1492 Onward

Event

Date

Global Population Statistics

The Spanish “Reconquest” of the Iberian peninsula ends in January with the conquest of Granada, the last city held by the Moors.  Jews are given the options of conversion, expulsion or death.  In April, Columbus finally gets authorization for his doomed plan to reach Asia via the Atlantic Ocean.  He stumbles into the New World in October, enslaving the first humans he meets.  He builds a fort on Española from the wreckage of his flagship. 

1492

World population: 500 million, at least half in East Asia and India.  Population in the Americas: 30 to 100 million (this site uses 50-80). Europe’s population: 70 to 80 million.  Taino population: at least 1 million

Columbus is named Admiral of the Ocean Sea and returns to Española to mount a large-scale invasion.  The Incan Empire is at its peak in South America. 

1493

 

Treaty of Tordesillas delineates the eventual New World domains of Portugal and Spain. 

1494

 

The genocide of the Taino is well underway on Española.  Selling the Taino in the European slave markets does not work, because they quickly die upon being shipped to Europe, and the Spanish sovereigns officially frown upon the idea when it proves unprofitable.  Columbus devises a tribute system to force the Taino into mining gold.

1496

 

Vasco da Gama sails from Portugal to India around Africa; Arab traders cure his crew of scurvy in 1498, and he returns in 1499 with trade specimens, including valuable spices.  

1497

 

First major gold strike on Española. 

1499

 

Montezuma II crowned, the last pre-invasion Aztec emperor.

1502

 

Henry VIII ascends throne of England.

1509

 

Portuguese ships conquer the Muslim port of Goa in India, beginning the era of Portuguese dominance along southern Asia.  Portugal makes its first official sale of African slaves in the New World

1510

 

Portuguese traders capture Malacca, in today’s Malaysia, establishing themselves in the spice trade

1511

 

Vasco Núñez de Balboa “discovers” the Pacific Ocean in present-day Panama, and claims it in the name of the Spanish crown.  Juan Ponce de León hunts for slaves for Caribbean gold mines and “discovers” Florida.  Niccolò Machiavelli writes The Prince, which foreshadows future European political practice. 

1513

 

Martin Luther publishes his Ninety-Five Theses, which begins the Protestant Reformation. 

1517

 

First New World smallpox epidemic begins, wiping out most of the surviving Taino on Española, who were already only a tiny fraction of their 1492 population.

1518

 

Hernan Cortés and his men kidnap Aztec Emperor Montezuma and loot all the gold they can get.  As Columbus did, Ferdinand Magellan seeks route across Atlantic to the Asian spice trade.  He dies in 1521, battling the natives in the Philippines, but his mission circumnavigates the planet in 1522.   Charles of Spain bribes his way into becoming the Holy Roman Emperor.

1519

 

Smallpox epidemic that began on Española in 1518 comes across with the Cuban governor’s army, probably killing several million people in Mesoamerica. 

1520

 

The Cortés-led siege of Tenochtitlán completely destroys what is may be the world’s most spectacular city.  Ponce de León invades Florida again, and dies from battle wounds. 

1521

 

Giovanni Verrazano, an Italian explorer in the employ of France, sails along the coast of North America. 

1524

 

European epidemic sweeps through Incan Empire, kills emperor and ignites civil war.

1525

 

Pánfilo de Narváez's entrada into Florida ends in disaster.

1528

 

Ottoman armies lay siege to Vienna, but fail, in the greatest advance into Europe that it would make.

1529

 

Portugal begins its colonization of Brazil.

1530

 

Francisco Pizarro invades Incan Empire, kidnaps Incan emperor and sacks empire.  Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, gives birth to Elizabeth.

1532

 

Native American medicine man cures Jacques Cartier’s crew of scurvy on Saint Lawrence River with evergreen foliage and tree bark tea, which was high in vitamin C.  Henry VIII’s England begins confiscating Roman Catholic properties. 

1535

 

Hernando de Soto invades southeastern North America, seeking gold.

1539

 

Francisco Vázquez de Coronado invades southwestern North America, seeking gold.

1540

 

Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo “discovers” the Californian coast.  Hernando de Soto dies on banks of Mississippi River after his fruitless gold quest devastates southeastern North America.  Spanish expedition asserts Spain’s claims to the Philippines.  Bartolomé de Las Casas's efforts persuade Emperor Charles V to sign laws repealing native slavery

1542

 

Portugal begins trading with Japan

1543

Taino population on Española: 200

The great silver mine at Potosí (in modern-day Bolivia) is established. 

1545

 

A Portuguese expedition establishes a large colonial presence in Brazil.

1549

 

The English deforestation of Ireland is underway. 

c. 1550

 

Las Casas publishes his A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, which quickly becomes a bestseller, especially in Protestant Europe, and the “Black Legend” begins. 

1552

 

Portuguese establish port of Macau on Chinese coast.

1556

 

Spanish crown goes bankrupt, the first of several bankruptcies that would chart Spain’s decline as an imperial power.

1557

 

Elizabeth I becomes England’s first ruling queen. 

1558

 

Catholic Church publishes its index of banned books.  Index survives until the 1960s.  Tristán de Luna expedition goes where de Soto’s went, hoping to find rich lands to plunder as de Soto did, and finds the region depopulated from aftermath of de Soto's expedition.  Portuguese Crown gives official approval to begin shipping African slaves to Brazil

1559

 

Wars of Religion begin in France, a series of nine conflicts that last until 1598.  

1562

 

Spain begins conquest of the Philippines, and establishes Manila in 1572.

1564

 

Saint Augustine, in today’s Florida, is established, originally a fort to protect Spain’s plunder route from pirates.  It is the first permanent European settlement in North America.

1565

 

Ottoman sultan Suleiman dies, and the Ottoman Empire begins its long decline. 

1566

 

Oppressive Spanish rule leads to Dutch revolt, which lasts until 1648.  Spanish “discovery” of the Solomon Islands

1568

 

Hiawatha and Deganawidah form the Great Law of Peace and the Iroquois Confederation, which influences the creation of the USA's Constitution.  It might have been formed as early as 1200 CE, however. 

c. 1570

 

Martin Frobisher seeks gold near Baffin Island.  He ravages natives and hauls back hundreds of tons of fool’s gold to England on the next voyage.  

1576

 

Francis Drake mounts pirate expedition to plunder the Pacific ports of Spain’s empire.  His successful voyage circumnavigates the world, returning home in 1580, and got him knighted as well as made him England’s richest private citizen. 

1577

 

Spain annexes Portugal, and remains in control of it for 60 years.  Castile is no longer able to produce enough food to feed its population.

1580

 

Russia invades Siberia in pursuit of fur trade. 

1582

 

Walter Raleigh establishes the ill-fated Roanoke colony.  

1585

 

Spain goes to war with England, to try ending the Dutch revolt. 

1586

 

Spanish Armada is destroyed in battle with English navy.  The defeat marks the end of Spain’s imperial dominance.   

1588

 

Walter Raleigh seeks golden city of El Dorado in South America.

1595

 

The year its Wars of Religion finally conclude, the French try to establish a colony on uninhabited Sable Island off of Nova Scotia, in a rich fishing area, and with no interference from natives or European rivals, the colony completely fails. 

1598

 

Spanish forces slaughter hundreds of Pueblo Indians at Acoma, in present day New Mexico, in revenge for the killing of eleven Spanish soldiers who had been plundering and raping the natives at will.  Spain ends the 16th century probably worse off than it began it

1599

 

The English East India Company is incorporated.  The Dutch begin sailing to Asia for spices, and establish their own East India company in 1602.

1600

 

Elizabethan Era ends with the death of Elizabeth I of England.  England completes its conquest and subjugation of Ireland. 

1603

 

English war with Spain ends, and Spain never again rises to its former imperial dominance. 

1604

 

Squanto, of Puritan fame, first kidnapped by the English. 

1605

 

Jamestown established.  The first task is finding gold. 

1607

 

With their French allies using guns, Huron warriors surprise a war party of their Mohawk rivals, with deadly effectiveness.  On behalf of the Dutch, Henry Hudson, while searching for the Northwest Passage, explores the river that is named for him, in present-day New York.

1609

 

Squanto is captured by John Smith’s men.

1614

 

The Thirty Years’ War, Europe’s last great religious war, begins.  About four million people die in the conflict. 

1618

 

Squanto returns as interpreter with English and discovers that his entire tribe had been wiped out by European disease.  The Puritans would settle on that tribe’s land.  The Dutch establish Jakarta, which becomes the center of the Asian spice trade. 

1619

 

The Pilgrims land at Plymouth, and Squanto teaches them how to survive in the New World.  Squanto dies in 1622 of disease. 

1620

 

The Dutch “buy” Manhattan Island from the natives. 

1626

 

Dutch ships seize entire Spanish silver fleet off of Cuba.

1628

 

The English surround Pequot village of several hundred people on the Mystic River at night, then burn it to the ground while killing nearly every inhabitant and selling the few survivors into slavery. 

1637

 

Three million pounds of tobacco per year are exported from present-day Virginia, reaching 17 million in 1672.  Caribbean sugar growing becomes a business on Barbados, and the great period of New World sugar growing begins.  New Sweden established in present-day Delaware.

1638

 

Japan kicks out Portuguese traders, and thereafter trades exclusively with the Dutch.  Dutch fleet defeats Spanish fleet in the English Channel. 

1639

 

Fur trade renders the beaver extinct in the Hudson River Valley. 

1640

 

The Dutch governor of Manhattan offers the first scalp bounty.

1641

 

English Civil War, also called the Puritan Revolution, begins.  It is the last significant religious conflict in Europe. 

1642

 

Spanish army destroyed by French army at Rocroi. 

1643

 

John Underhill successfully reproduces his strategy of strategy of surrounding Native American villages at night and annihilating all of its inhabitants.  That time, he did it under hire to the Dutch, and Manhattan's church fathers declared the second Thanksgiving to celebrate the feat.

1644

 

Pamunkey tribe (natives who initially fed the Jamestown invaders) is completely destroyed and survivors are sold into Caribbean slavery.

1646

 

Only 40 years after receiving military assistance from the French, the Huron tribe becomes extinct.  King Charles I of England is publicly tried and beheaded. 

1649

 

Western Hemisphere’s population about nine million, down from 30-100 million in 1491, for history’s greatest demographic catastrophe

1650

c. 500 million

English and Dutch navies begin a series of wars that last until 1684.

1652

 

Dutch lose their North American possessions to English. 

1664

 

Charleston founded, which becomes the center of the early English-American slave trade. 

1670

 

The French East India Company establishes its first outpost in Bombay

1675

 

King Phillip’s War results in the extinction of the tribe that welcomed the Puritans.

1676

 

The Pueblo Indians revolt against brutal Spanish rule and drive them from today’s New Mexico.  Spaniards begin their reconquest of them two years later.  The revolt leads to horses becoming part of Native American life, especially benefiting the Plains Indians. 

1680

 

Frenchman La Salle explores Mississippi river, finds it deserted, depopulated by disease left by de Soto’s expedition and other European-introduced epidemics. 

1682

 

England has its Glorious Revolution, which limits the power of English sovereigns and empowers its Parliament. 

1688

 

King William’s War begins, between France and England, largely over dominance in North America, and it involves native tribes.  The English Bill of Rights is passed by Parliament, and the Toleration Act, which promotes religious toleration.  Those laws become the model for the USA's Bill of Rights. 

1689

 

Twenty people executed in Salem, Massachusetts for practicing witchcraft.

1692

 
 

1700

c. 600 million

Queen Anne’s War begins between the French and English in North America.  It was known in Europe as the War of Spanish Succession. 

1702

 

England unites with Scotland, becoming Great Britain.

1707

 

Voltaire spends his first stint in the Bastille for his satirical writings.  His work would come to embody the ideals of the Enlightenment.

1717

 

Spain tries halting trade between England and its American colonies, and the conflict is called the War of Jenkins’ Ear, and becomes part of the War of the Austrian Succession, which begins in 1740.

1739

 

King George’s War begins, which is waged in North America, but is also part of a larger war, the War of the Austrian Succession.

1744

 

The Enlightenment becomes prominent in France at about this time.  China and India comprise 57% of world industrial output

1750

 

French and Indian War begins in North America, which was the last war of dominance between England and France in North America.  Benjamin Franklin, influenced by the Iroquoian model of government, introduces his Albany Plan of Union, which sought to unite the colonies.  The plan becomes the first step toward creating the USA's Constitution.

1754

 

The Seven Years’ War breaks out in Europe between the imperial powers, England and France most notably.  The Third Carnatic War in India between France and England breaks out at this time.  

1756

 

Lord Jeffrey Amherst suggests deliberately introducing smallpox amongst the Native Americans who resisted the English invasion.  The subsequent epidemic kills more than 100,000 natives.  The French and Indian War ends in North America, with the English prevailing.  The Third Carnatic War in India ends, with the English victorious over the French.  The English announce the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which forbids the American colonists to settle west of the Appalachians. 

1763

 

Battle of Buxar establishes British rule over Bengal.  The British rape of India begins.

1764

 

James Cook visits Australia, names it New South Wales, and targets it for British colonization. 

1768

 

James Cook visits New Zealand and claims it in the name of Great Britain.  The Maoris had eliminated about a third of New Zealand’s forests by that time, and large animals, such as the Moa, were extinct.  In the first century of the European invasion, more than 75% of the Maori population dies off.  Similar population collapse accompanies the Europeans wherever they appear in the South pacific.  Junípero Serra establishes first mission at San Diego.  James Watt patents the modern steam engine.  Daniel Boone begins the illegal invasion of Kentucky.

1769

800 million

British exploitation of Bengal leads to a great famine that killed one-third of Bengal’s peasantry.  Famines always greatly increased wherever Europe had colonial dominance. 

1770

 

James Cook makes the first visit to Antarctic icepack and surmises that it had to be formed in connection with a landmass.  Boston Tea Party helps lead to the American Revolution. 

1773

 

The American Revolution begins.  Adam Smith publishes his Wealth of Nations

1776

 

James Cook “discovers” the Hawaiian Islands, with the world’s human-friendliest climate.  His crew’s venereal disease rapidly spreads through the islands and quickly depopulates Hawaii.  The Hawaiian Islands’ population had hundreds of thousands of inhabitants.  Within a century, fewer than 50,000 Hawaiians survived. 

1778

 

Kamehameha begins conquering the Hawaiian islands by using Western arms and waging bloody battles.  It takes 13 years to complete his empire building. 

1782

 

George Washington proposes a plan to the Continental Congress to swindle Native Americans out of their land.  His plan becomes national policy for the next century. 

1783

 

Because of the American Revolution, England can no longer ship its criminals to North American penal colonies.  Australia is picked as the next English penal colony.  The aboriginal population in southeastern region of Australia (site of the penal colony) declines by about 95% in 60 years.  Shays’ Rebellion begins in the USA. 

1786

 

Great Britain claims Tasmania, and within 50 years, none of the 5,000 aboriginal inhabitants remain on the island.  Only 43 survived in 1843, and the last Tasmanian aborigine died in 1905.

1788

 

French Revolution begins.  George Washington becomes the first USA's president.  The USA's Bill of Rights is passed, 100 years after the English Bill of Rights.

1789

 

Inspired by the American and French revolutions, Haitian slaves lead a successful revolution against the French colonial masters.  The USA, with its millions of slaves, would not officially recognize Haiti until the American Civil War.  The U.S. Army suffers it greatest proportional defeat ever, at the hands of Native Americans, as it invades the Ohio River Valley

1791

 

The U.S. Congress passes the Alien Act and the Sedition Act.  The Sedition Act makes it a crime to criticize American government officials.  The Alien Act authorizes summary deportations of “aliens.”  It is specifically intended to rid the nation of people with revolutionary ideas, such as French and Irish immigrants. 

1798

 

Napoleon leads overthrow of French government.  He begins war with neighbors in 1803 and crowns himself Emperor in 1804

1799

 

Great Britain unites with Northern Ireland to become the United Kingdom ("UK")

1800

 

French invasion to try reconquering Haiti fails. 

1802

c. 1 billion (estimated to have happened between 1800 and 1810)

The USA consummates Louisiana Purchase from France.  Lewis and Clark expedition sets out to reconnoiter the new territory.  The expedition initiates the short-lived exploitation of the fur trade's last frontier.

1803

 

Haiti declares itself independent, for the world’s only successful slave rebellion. 

1804

 

Spain supports Napoleon in war against Portugal, which ignites the Peninsular War that lasts until 1814. 

1807

 

In reaction to Napoleon crowning his brother as the King of Spain, Venezuelan colonists form self-government and send Simón Bolivar to England as its emissary, to try gaining recognition. 

1808

 

Venezuela is first Spanish colony to declare its independence, in a revolution that fails the next year. 

1811

 

Napoleon begins his disastrous invasion of Russia.  War of 1812 begins.  

1812

 

British troops burn Washington, D.C.  First self-contained cotton mill is built, in Waltham, Massachusetts.  Napoleon’s reign ends, as all of Europe unites against France. 

1814

 

Battle of Waterloo ends Napoleon’s bid for a comeback to power, a year after he was finally defeated.  The Congress of Vienna is convened by the European powers, to reestablish lines of political demarcation. 

1815

 

After years of battles and exile, Simón Bolivar and his troops overthrow the Spanish Crown in 1819 in New Granada, now called Colombia.  It is the first successful Latin American revolution, and Bolivar becomes Colombia’s first president.  Bolivar seeks to unite South America on the model of North America’s United States, and the plan fails.  

1819

 

Americans establish colony to ship slaves back to Africa.  In 1847, the colony became Liberia.  Brazil achieves its independence relatively peacefully

1822

 

The Monroe Doctrine is formulated.

1823

 

The beaver pelt trade collapses in western North America after only 30 years of exploitation. 

1835

 

American settlers complete theft of Texas from Mexico

1836

 

Cherokee and other “civilized” tribes are forced to migrate to Oklahoma, even after the Cherokee prevailed in the U.S. Supreme Court.  The genocidal relocation becomes known as the Trail of Tears.

1838

 

The UK begins exploitation of China with first Opium War, and forces opium addiction on China by also forcing the Bengal region into opium production. 

1839

 

The UK captures Hong Kong. 

1841

 

Charles Dickens publishes A Christmas Carol

1843

 

Irish potato famine begins

1845

 

America wages war on Mexico to steal what becomes the Southwestern USA. 

1846

 

The USA finishes stealing most of southwestern USA from Mexico.  Gold discovered at Sutter’s Mill in California.  Revolution sweeps Europe.  Karl Marx presents his Communist Manifesto

1848

 

California admitted to the union, and its first governor declares open season on natives

1850

 

Diplomatic invasion of Japan by the American Commodore Perry forces Japan into the world economy.  Expanding rail system allows mass “hunting” and shipping of passenger pigeons from American Midwest to markets in east.  Passenger pigeon population begins collapsing.  Seal fur trade collapses in North Atlantic.  Crimean War begins, in the first great struggle of the great European powers, which would eventually lead to the World Wars of the 20th century. 

1853

 

First American oil well drilled. 

1859

 

American Civil War begins. 

1861

 

The USA recognizes Haitian independence.

1862

 

John Rockefeller enters the oil industry and concentrates on taking over oil refining. 

1863

 

Sand Creek massacre of Black Kettle’s Cheyenne tribe in dawn attack.

1864

 

American Civil War ends.

1865

 

George Custer’s troops slaughter Black Kettle’s Cheyenne tribe in dawn attack.  Revolution in Japan leads to a unified nation, and Japan begins playing catch-up with the West. 

1868

 

Franco-Prussian War begins, which is the last major conflict on European soil until World War I.

1870

 

Custer’s luck” runs out at the Little Big Horn.  El Niño-caused drought that lasts three years, combined with European export crop imperialism, devastates India, China and Brazil, causes as many as 30 million deaths from starvation and disease.  Japan forces trade agreement on Korea; similar to what Perry did to Japan in 1853.

1876

 

John Rockefeller’s empire controls 95% of the USA's oil refining.  Pacific whaling industry has largely collapsed, in less than 80 years of Pacific whaling. 

1880

 

Jews expelled from Moscow, and Jewish pogroms spread in the Russian Empire.

1882

 

Belgium begins plundering the Congo

1885

 

John Rockefeller begins rebuilding a Baptist seminary into the University of Chicago.

1887

 

Massacre at Wounded Knee, ending Native American resistance to the USA's land theft.  Extermination of Plains Indian sustenance, the bison, is also complete, as only 23 animals survive in the wild, compared to 40 to 60 million before the white man’s invasion. 

1890

 

Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, celebrating 400 years of European presence in the New World, with the largest event attendance in world history to that time.

1893

 

Japan wages a war that easily defeats China and supplants it as Korea's dominator. 

1894

 

Another El Niño-caused drought, combined with European exploitation, ravages India and China and causes perhaps another 30 million deaths over several years, similar to 1876 event.

1896

 

Chinese uprising against foreign occupation becomes the Boxer “Rebellion.”  It is put down by foreign troops, including American, British, French, Russian, Japanese, and German troops. 

1899

 

After 150 years of European exploitation, beginning in Bengal, China and India produce 8% of world industrial output, versus 57% in 1750.  The gray whale is thought to be extinct at this time. 

1900

 

The USA steals Panama from Colombia, creating the divided nation of Panama so that it can own the route for its proposed canal.  

1903

c. 1.6 billion

Japan beats Russia in war. 

1905

 

Mark Twain writes King Leopold’s Soliloquy regarding the Belgian rape of the Congo, and the American publishing establishment completely suppresses its publication in the USA. 

1906

 

Federal Reserve Act sneaks through the USA's legislature. 

1913

 

World War I begins.  The last passenger pigeon dies in captivity in Cincinnati. 

1914

 

The USA invades Haiti and overthrows its government. 

1915

 

World War I ends.  Prescott Bush, father of George Bush the First, allegedly robs the grave of Geronimo, and the remains were put on display at the Skull and Bones Society, an oligarchical secret society at Yale.  George the First and Second also belong to the club.  The Great Powers of Europe begin carving up the Ottoman Empire into controllable nation-states.  Oil politics dominates the affair. 

1918

 

Hitler writes Mein Kampf

1924

 

Pancho Villa’s tomb raided, and his skull allegedly acquired by the Skull and Bones Society at Yale

1926

 

Rockefeller’s Empire enters into its first cartel agreement with I.G. Farben.

1927

c. 2 billion

Wall Street collapses. 

1929

 

Hitler comes to power.  Franklin Roosevelt takes office as president.  American industrialists try to mount a Fascist coup of the White House

1933

 

Smedley Butler writes War is a Racket

1935

 

Japan invades China, and the Rape of Nanking is the first major atrocity of what became World War II. 

1937

 

World War II begins.

1939

 

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, and the USA enters World War II.  Hitler’s Final Solution is underway. 

1941

 

Nazi disaster at Stalingrad late in the year.  Father of George Bush the First is director and shareholder of company that the USA's government seizes because it helped arm and finance Nazi Germany.  The Rockefeller Empire, which also helped Nazi Germany, escapes that fate.

1942

 

Third Reich ends, as well as greatest war in human history, ending with two nuclear bombs being dropped onto civilian population centers

1945

 

Anti-Jewish sentiment in the USA reaches its all-time high. 

1946

 

The CIA and NSA are formed.  The United Nations proposes the establishment of Israel.  The USA engages in first major manipulations of post-war era, as it overthrows popular communist movements in Greece and Italy. 

1947

 

Israel established, and Jewish oppression of Palestinian people begins

1948

 

George Orwell’s 1984 published

1949

 

The USA's invasion of Korea begins. 

1950

 

The USA prevents nationalization of British oil monopoly in Iran by overthrowing the government and installs the Shah and one of the 20th century’s more brutal regimes.

1953

 

The USA prevents nationalization of United Fruit’s investments in Guatemala by overthrowing its USA-friendly government, which leads to a generation of brutal rule by Guatemalan juntas.  The USA takes over from the French failure of trying to recolonize Southeast Asia. 

1954

c. 3 billion (reached in 1960)

John Kennedy murdered.  Gerald Ford of the Warren Commission would help concoct the “magic bullet” theory to pin the crime on “lone nut” Lee Harvey Oswald. 

1963

 

The USA fabricates the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and begins the destruction of Southeast Asia. 

1964

 

CIA helps military junta take power in Indonesia, and Suharto’s forces “cleanse” Indonesia of about a million “communists” by murder. 

1965

 

Israel invades neighboring areas and seizes large swaths of land. 

1967

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy are murdered by “lone nuts.”  Nixon elected president.  In Saigon, Ralph McGehee finally figures out what the CIA is all about.

1968

 

The USA's “secret” war in Cambodia kills hundreds of thousands of people and sets the stage for the Khmer Rouge’s reign. 

1969

 

Watergate burglary, planned by the CIA’s E. Howard Hunt, begins Nixon’s downfall.  George Wallace shot by “lone nut” while campaigning for president. 

1972

 

OPEC oil price shocks create worldwide cycle of inflation until the 1980s.  Vice president Agnew resigns to avoid criminal charges of bribery and income tax evasion.  The USA overthrows elected Marxist government of Chile and installs one of the world’s most repressive regimes. 

1973

 

Nixon resigns, taken down by his own people.  Gerald Ford takes office, makes Nelson Rockefeller his vice president, and pardons Nixon for alleged crimes. 

1974

c. 4 billion

Two assassination attempts on Gerald Ford by “lone nuts,” nearly making Rockefeller the second appointed president, and Ford was the first.  With American approval, Indonesia invades East Timor using American weapons and kills off about a third of East Timor’s inhabitants.    

1975

 

Jimmy Carter signs treaty to give Panama Canal back to Panama. 

1977

 

The Shah of Iran is overthrown in a revolution.  The USA manipulates the Soviet Union into invading Afghanistan.

1979

 

Ronald Reagan elected president.  October Surprise operation, probably aided by George Bush, helps sabotage Carter’s attempt for re-election.  Iraq invades Iran, beginning eight-year war. 

1980

 

Ronald Reagan becomes president.  “White paper” of fabricated documents “justifies” reign of terror that the USA begins in Central AmericaReagan shot by “lone nut” friend of vice-president George Bush’s family.  Panamanian national hero Omar Torrijos dies in “plane crash” and Manuel Noriega takes over.   

1981

 

Ronald Reagan signs Savings and Loan deregulation law, which sets the stage for America’s greatest financial scandal. 

1982

 

The USA ships weapons to “enemy” Iran through Israel, which becomes basis for Iran-Contra Scandal. 

1985

c. 5 billion (reached in 1987)

George Bush the First is elected president, and the next week the American people are told of the magnitude of the Savings and Loan Scandal

1988

 

Berlin Wall falls.  The USA invades Panama and Bush apprehends his former employee, Noriega. 

1989

 

With virtual encouragement from the USA, Iraq invades Kuwait.  Tomb of Omar Torrijos robbed, probably by the Skull and Bones Society that both George Bushes belong to.

1990

 

After actively avoiding negotiations for an Iraqi withdrawal, the USA bombs Iraq into the Stone Age, and the subsequent death toll is more than one million people. 

1991

 
 

1999

c. 6 billion

George Bush the Second comes to office in a voting scandal. 

2000

 

Terrorist attacks on World Trade Center and PentagonGeorge Bush the Second begins his “war on terror”

2001

 

Enron Scandal makes news.  America prepares to invade Iraq.

2002

 

Introduction

Ever since humanity's ancestors left their native habitat in the tropical rainforests, they had to exploit new energy sources.  Whether it was tools to scavenge predator kills, weapons that made humans into super-predators, fur from human prey worn as clothing, felling trees and using deforested land to grow crops and pasture animals, the game was always about securing or preserving human-usable energy.

The hunter-gatherer lifestyle began coming to an end about 10,000 years ago, on a global basis, as human super-predators hunted all the easily killed and large animals to extinction.  Then the Domestication Revolution began, and plants and animals were made into human-controllable and human-digestible food.  The “agricultural surplus” allowed humans to begin creating “civilization.”  According to today’s evidence, the first place where civilization made its appearance was Sumer, which was in present-day Iraq.  It took thousands of years to happen, but deforestation, irrigation, mass grazing, plow agriculture, and continually increasing human populations eventually turned much of the Fertile Crescent into a desert.  In 1990, Iraq imported 70% of its food.

Along with civilization came social stratification, with elites, professions, slaves, and ideological justification of their hierarchical positions.  The Zero-Sum Game came into being.  As each civilization appeared, whether it was in China, the Fertile Crescent, or Mesoamerica, elites tried expanding their energy base, and empire building was one of humanity’s most common “civilized” activities.  Because humans became superpredators during their evolutionary journey beyond the tropics, humans killing each other became one of the species’ most identifiable aspects.  Energy capture, preservation, and consumption comprise the basis of all the world’s ecosystems, and hence every economic and political system, and the word “power” has similar meaning in each discipline.  Violence has usually been the primary method by which political-economic power has been amassed, whether the violence was against the environment or fellow humans.

Altering Earth’s ecosystems and mining its elements to create human-friendly environments and products is called “progress” in the West.  It has also been the dynamic of Earth’s destruction.  One of humanity’s oldest histories is perhaps also the bloodiest, filled with tales of mass murder, largely to seize land and peoples to secure energy and resources.  The Jews of the Old Testament, led by Moses, began an era of genocide as they acquired their Promised Land.  The practice of invading and annihilating the inhabitants, while the Jewish god cheered them on, is a predominant Old Testament theme.  The complete annihilation of Jericho's residents was Joshua's most famous feat in securing the Promised Land, with divine assistance, as his god crumbled Jericho’s walls.  There is doubt is scientific and academic circles whether Moses was a historical figure or if the siege of Jericho really happened, but conquering cities and slaughtering their inhabitants was a long-standing tradition in that part of the world.  From the beginning, ideological justifications were concocted to make it seem that naked theft was not so naked, and the murders transformed into righteous deeds, usually by making those who were annihilated, enslaved, or forced to migrate somehow impure, worshipping the wrong gods, or subhuman.  The people on the wrong end of the weaponry were thus made exploitable/expendable, and people could then commit their awesome crimes against each other with clear consciences. 

Empires rose and fell in the Old World for millennia.  The Roman Empire ruled over more than a quarter of humanity two millennia ago, and its bloody reign devastated the Mediterranean region, helping to turn such places as Libya into deserts.  Environmental degradation has contributed to the decline and fall of nearly all earthly empires.[1]

When the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the 5th century CE, Europe reverted to a primarily agrarian economy; mining declined, and Islamic lands and the Eastern Roman Empire became vastly more civilized than Europe's peoples.  European Crusading coincided with the High Middle Ages, which was a great period of deforestation and city building.  Europe’s High Middle Ages also took advantage of a global warming trend, and previously unsuitable lands were deforested and put under the plow.  By 1300, Earth was cooling off, Europe had bred to its Malthusian limit, and the High Middle Ages ended, and a major famine began in 1315.  England entered a new era of incessant battling with France, beginning with its Hundred Years’ War, in 1337.  In 1347, the Black Death swept into Europe, and in 1400, Europe’s population was perhaps as low as half of what it had been in 1300, although two-thirds is a more common estimate.

The Renaissance began in the late 1300s in the city-states of northern Italy, and the 1400s were a period of ferment and change in Europe that would have a global impact.  Portugal began exploring, colonizing and conquering the East Atlantic and African coast in the early 1400s.  As Spain completed wiping out Moorish rule on the Iberian Peninsula, it joined the game, which led to Christopher Columbus’s fateful voyage

 

The New World Before “Discovery,” and the First Contacts

The Western Hemisphere has been a source of great interest and controversy among anthropologists and other scholars, on a wide variety of topics.  During the past century, especially since the 1960s, the New World’s pre-Columbian past, as viewed by academia and mainstream society, has changed drastically.  Early in the 20th century, the prevailing view among anthropologists was that humans first inhabited the New World no more than a few thousand years ago and that the New World’s pre-Columbian population was perhaps eight million.  Those views were held quite dogmatically by academia, and it took a long time to overturn them.[2]  Beginning with the Berkeley School’s efforts, represented by the work of Woodrow Borah, Sherburne Cook, and Carl Sauer, both the early date of inhabitation and the pre-Columbian population have changed dramatically.  Today, a first date of New World inhabitation of at least 15,000 years ago is widely held in academia, and credible estimates for 1492 run from 30 million to 100 million and even higher.  This site generally uses an estimate of 50-80 million, which is well within the range of current estimates.

From the Arctic ice cap to Tierra del Fuego, an astonishing diversity of terrains, climates, and peoples existed.  Pre-Columbian natives spoke about 2,000 languages from about 150 language families, for vast linguistic diversity, providing more evidence that the New World has been peopled for a very long time.  As was the case elsewhere on Earth, particularly in China and the Fertile Crescent, when the hunter-gatherer lifestyle became unsustainable, the Domestication Revolution began.  In the New World, the Domestication Revolution began in Mesoamerica, where the New World’s most advanced “civilized” activity took place, and squash and pumpkins were the New World’s first domesticated plants.

Along the Andes mountain range appeared one of the world’s most remarkable feats of human adaptation.  From seashore to mountaintop, from desert to jungle, in a region that was extremely vulnerable to El Niño climate fluctuations, the feats of engineering and environmental adaptation of that region’s pre-Columbian peoples are still marveled at by modern anthropologists.  The Incan Empire “discovered” by the Spanish was merely the latest in a series of empires that rose and fell there.[3]  Machu Picchu may have been at least partly an agricultural laboratory, as those people were the world’s greatest agricultural experimenters.  Maize was probably first domesticated in Mesoamerica, and the potato along the Andes.  Even during the 1990s and early 21st century, “academics” defended Columbus Day, have called the pre-Columbian New World a sparsely populated land of primitive hunter-gatherers, and called the coming of Europeans the best thing that ever happened to the New World.[4]  The facts are different.

Of the estimated 50-80 million people who lived in New World in 1492, the vast majority lived in sedentary agricultural communities.  The natives had developed three thousand varieties each of maize and potatoes, and maize was grown from New England to Chile in 1492.  Most crops raised worldwide today are of Native American origin.[5]  Agriculture was the basis of the two largest New World populations: the Mesoamerican and Andean civilizations.  The Arawakan peoples of the Caribbean had an agriculture-based civilization, and along with the Hawaiian peoples (and the South Pacific, in general) lived in what was probably the closest thing to an earthly paradise that historic humans have seen.  Agriculture was practiced in North America’s eastern woodlands, today’s American South, the Great Plains, and today’s Southwest USA.  In addition, food-procurement practices in many parts of the pre-Columbian New World have become the source of intriguing evidence, heated debate, and a fair amount of amazement.

As with most animals, humans cannot digest cellulose, and most of the Sun’s energy that goes into creating forests and grasslands is not directly digestible by humans.  Forests are the world’s greatest soil producers, and trees have unique abilities to break up rocks, extract minerals, circulate water through the soils, vent it to the sky, and dead leaves and trees provide vast nutrient deliveries to the forest biome.  A temperate forest can produce a foot of topsoil in about 400 years.  Grasslands create topsoil on a far more modest level.  Human-caused deforestation began with the Agricultural Revolution, in order to create environments conducive to crop production.  While razing forests to raise crops can be highly productive in the short run, it can create long-term environmental devastation, including soil loss, which also fills rivers with silt as the soil blows and washes away.

While there is evidence that environmental over-taxation led to the decline and fall of civilizations such as the Anasazi and Mayan people and at Cahokia, in general the New World natives had a much gentler tenure on their lands than Old World peoples did.[6]  Anthropologists have surmised that the situation was because the New World was “behind” the Old World in “progress,” as the “agricultural surplus” in Mexico was thousands of years behind the Fertile Crescent in its development, as maize ears were still only a few inches long in 1492.  Although the North American Eastern Woodland peoples’ adoption of swidden agriculture seems to have begun because of the demands of the European introduction of depopulating disease and violence, and laborsaving metal axes, they did not use plow agriculture, which helped ensure long-term soil fertility.  Parts of Mexico today have been using milpa agricultural methods for four thousand years continuously, with no decline in soil fertility.[7]  In 2014, it is thought that the introduction of maize to today’s Northeastern USA about a millennium ago increased the agricultural yields and led to greater population density, which made it more sedentary.  That led to population pressure with its resultant warfare, which the Iroquois responded to with their Great Law of Peace

While almost all of the New World's natives were in their Stone Age (there was some bronze smelting in Incan civilization), and that is arguably why they did not devastate their lands to the extent that the Old World did, there were many intriguing examples of sustainability in New World practices.

One of the few sustainable civilizations that Earth has ever seen was the Pacific Northwest culture, largely because spawning salmon provided a digestible energy delivery to villages established where the salmon ran.  The natives, depending on the calories of salmon-borne deliveries of sunlight energy that fell in the North Pacific, did not deforest the land to divert the Sun’s energy into crops, so when white men finally conquered that part of the world, the trees they razed were prodigious and the soils were intact.  That kind of culture could have been developed in some Old World environs, but it was not, not on that scale or duration.

The first Europeans to North America’s Eastern Woodlands remarked on a park-like, open forest, which was a hunter’s paradise.  That open forest was maintained by humans burning the undergrowth every year, which turned the woodlands into an environment conducive to feeding animals that humans could hunt and eat.  There is significant evidence that the Great Plains was an environment husbanded by humans over millennia, burning the plains regularly so forests could not recover, and turning it into the world’s biggest pasture, where bison, elk, and other edible animals could flourish.[8] 

Similarly, the Amazon may at least partly be a human-created biome.  It is controversial today, but there is persuasive evidence that the Amazon basin and vicinity was partly terraformed, millennia ago, on a scale so vast it is difficult for modern observers to even imagine, much less accept.  Thousands of square miles of the Amazon basin were terraformed by mixing ceramics into the soil, thereby creating a kind of super-soil, and ancient earthworks in the plains above the Amazon basin are so vast that it is challenging to imagine the civilization that wrought them.  As with nearly everywhere else in the New World, early European invaders described a thickly-populated Amazon, and the plants of the “wild” Amazon are highly unusual in their abundance of fruits, nuts, and other human-usable nourishment, which is strong evidence that the biome was transformed by humans millennia ago.  More than half of the Amazon's domesticated plant species (more than 100 of them) were trees that provided such bounty.  The Amazon rainforest may be the world’s largest garden.[9]

History has shown that all cultures unravel when subjected to the stresses of disease, famine, warfare, and the like, especially when large fractions of the population die off.  Because European contact was so quickly and universally disastrous for Native Americans, what later chroniclers recorded were generally remnants of New World cultures that existed before Columbus. 

What the New World was like before Europeans arrived will be a source of enduring controversy, but some pursuable evidence is the first contact accounts of Europeans in the New World.  The early Europeans to North America, whether they saw the Great Plains, the Eastern Woodlands, or California, described peoples who were not particularly hostile toward one another, even enemy tribes.[10]  Few early European observers left behind detailed descriptions of the New World they encountered, and those that do can have major deficiencies.  Columbus and Cortés chronicled the first contacts between Europeans and the intact cultures in the Caribbean and Mesoamerica, but both chroniclers had agendas.  Although his journal is dominated with his quest for gold and how he might exploit the wealth of the discovered lands, Columbus regularly remarked on the incredible beauty of the islands and the happy, healthy, peaceful natives, and many of them did not know what weapons were.  He described the islands as an Edenic paradise and the natives its worthy inhabitants, and he was right.  Columbus and his invasions quickly destroyed it, however, so reconstructing that extinct culture has been a challenging task for modern anthropologists.

When Ponce de León first invaded Florida in 1513, for the first recorded contact with Florida’s natives, they almost certainly had already suffered from Spanish slavers, as they fought off the invasion.  Cortés and Castillo described the first European encounters with the natives of inland Mesoamerica, meeting the Aztecs in 1519.[11]  The Spaniards had already pillaged the Mesoamerican coastline, so their welcome was not friendly there, and they easily slaughtered the Mayans with their superior weaponry.  As they marched toward Tenochtitlán however, they were welcomed along the entire route, except when they encountered a rival state, Tlaxcala.  The Tlaxcalans ferociously fought them off, but when the Spanish invaders began slaughtering women, children, and the elderly (unthinkable in Mesoamerican society), the Tlaxcalans realized that they were facing barbarians of a kind that they had never seen before.  They then surrendered and became the Spaniards’ first significant ally in Mesoamerica, a relationship that they would later regret.[12]

In 1519, the same year that Cortés invaded Mesoamerica, Ferdinand Magellan led the expedition that first sailed around the world.  Magellan’s voyage marked Europe’s first encounters with many native peoples along his route.  Magellan’s men violated many of the natives that they met along the way, as well as killed each other in mutinous behavior.[13]  Magellan died fighting the natives in today’s Philippines.  In 1568, a Spanish expedition from Peru landed in the Solomon Islands (named after King Solomon and his mines, because the Spanish, as usual, were seeking gold), for the first European contact in that region.  Although the natives were once again friendly and welcoming, there was little gold to be found, and the Spaniards wasted little time in waging war against them.[14] 

Cortés and Castillo recorded a Mesoamerican civilization that overwhelmed them, with sights so incredible that some Spanish mercenaries thought they were dreaming.  The Aztec capital city was more fantastic than anything in the Old World, and some of the invading Spaniards had seen Constantinople and Venice.  There was also the grim spectacle of human sacrifice, although the cannibalism issue is probably the New World’s first urban legend.  Columbus made up the story of Caribbean cannibalism nearly from thin air.  Cortés concocted the tale of Aztec cannibalism in 1522 after he conquered them, and his mention of his foes carrying “roasted babies” sounds like classic wartime propaganda.  In 2014, the issue of Aztec cannibalism is still unsettled. Consequently, various aspects of their reporting must be viewed with skepticism.  Nearly every early interaction with Spanish and Native American cultures show that when given a choice, natives thought European culture to be inferior, even when treated to the best that Europe had to offer.[15]  While the Aztecs had a stratified society that was materialistic, violent, and greedy to a degree found nowhere else in the New World, it still paled beside the European versions of those qualities.  When some Brazilian Indians visited France in the 1560s, they were amazed at the disparity in French society, as gluttons turned away emaciate beggars at their doors.  The Indians did not understand why the poor did not kill the rich.[16]  When Charles Mann asked seven scientists and academics in the early 21st century where they would have chosen to live in 1491, Europe or with the Iroquois, the scholars, who were all specialists in the subject, were wary of being asked such a question, being acutely aware of the presentism issue.  Nevertheless, with all their caveats, all seven of them chose the Iroquois.[17]  Native Americans also valued cleanliness, which was a virtue that Europeans would not appreciate for centuries. 

When Portugal’s Corte Real expedition landed in today’s Newfoundland in 1501, or Ayllón's ships sailed to South Carolina in 1521, or France’s Verrazano expedition of 1524 explored the coastline from the Carolinas to Maine, or Cartier’s expedition explored the St. Lawrence River in 1535, they always captured natives, usually to make them slaves.  All first contact situations along the east coast of North America were openly predatory on the Europeans’ part, and they always preyed upon friendly natives.  By the time that the Pilgrims showed arrived the 1600s, the local natives had already been attacked numerous times and their people carried off to short lives of slavery.  Even then, the invading Pilgrims were welcomed and fed by the natives.

Spanish invasions were called entradas, and Narváez's entrada invaded Florida in 1527 on the Gulf side, landing in Tampa Bay and outrunning the Spanish reputation in southern Florida.  The natives that the Narváez expedition encountered were generally timid or friendly, and although the Spaniards did plenty to provoke the natives, it rarely became violent.  That entrada was doomed by its incompetence, not native resistance.

When the Spaniards began discovering, conquering, and sacking the Incan Empire in 1532, the Incas had already been devastated by an epidemic several years earlier, generally thought to be smallpox, but also may have been an indigenous disease, which killed the emperor and led to a civil war.  Warfare was far from unknown in Andean civilization, but happening upon an empire in the midst of a civil war and easily kidnapping the emperor seems like too much coincidence.  Whatever the European contribution to the mayhem may have been, Pizarro's entrada did not meet a people living in close to typical circumstances.

Even then, their welcome was initially good, although with Soto in charge, a reconnaissance foray raped an entire nunnery of several hundred virgins and then slaughtered the local populace when they resisted it.[18]  The surprise attack, capture, ransoming, and murder of the Incan emperor made even Charles V uneasy, as his men did that to a sovereign, which challenged the Divine Right of Kings doctrine.  The Spanish accounts of Cuzco's subsequent sack give some hint of what their capital city was like, and along with Tenochtitlán, they were the New World’s two most spectacular cities, and perhaps the world’s.[19] 

When the Soto's entrada invaded Florida in 1539 and marauded through today’s Southeast USA for three years, it may have been history’s most destructive expedition; it laid waste to the entire region, mainly from the diseases they left behind.  One native empire had already been devastated by European epidemics when Soto passed through, so even then, Soto intruded upon a far from unsullied land, but the chroniclers of that expedition, as bent as they were for plunder, described intriguing peoples, ones who seemed largely at peace with their neighbors, although warfare was not unknown and apparently increased as populations became more dense.  Soto was about the first and last European to see the Mississippian culture, which had flourished for several centuries before becoming extinct from European invasion and disease.  Some mounds are several thousand years old.  The Mississippian period began declining a century before Soto showed up.  Why they declined is one of archeology’s current mysteries, and there are educated guesses about what it was like then.  It is not unreasonable to wonder if European epidemics washed through the Mississippian culture as early as the 1518 smallpox epidemic that raged through Mesoamerica and carried off millions of people, or even the unrecorded slavers that hit the Florida coastline before Ponce de León’s entrada of 1513. 

When Francisco Vázquez de Coronado's expedition invaded today’s American Southwest in 1540, looking for cites gilt in gold, the natives had already been visited by Spanish slaving expeditions, so they resisted Coronado’s invasion, which was the first Spanish entrada that tried treating the natives well.  It ended up much as the other Spanish invasions did, however.[20]  Although openly predatory, the Coronado entrada described gentle peoples, with even rival tribes relatively peacefully, including those who hunted bison on the plains.

In 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo “discovered” the California coast, and the native welcome was not always warm, and he discovered why.  The supplier of the Coronado expedition, Melchor Díaz, had already marauded through Southern California and slaughtered the natives and amused himself by hunting natives from horseback, which was one of the Conquistadors’ favorite activities.  Cabrillo described a densely populated California coastline, and the natives were usually friendly.  Epidemics devastated them long before Serra arrived to “civilize” them.  The east and west coasts of what became the USA had numerous matrilineal cultures, which are always gentler than patrilineal ones.  There was inter-tribal violence, but it was relatively insignificant among the Chumash, for instance.[21] 

In 1577, Francis Drake came through on a pirate expedition, sailing beyond the European reputation and putting ashore in Northern California (some scholars argue that he really landed in Oregon).  They stayed for several weeks as they repaired their ship, and the natives helped feed the expedition and treated the strange white men with great reverence.  At about the same time, Martin Frobisher described gentle people that he captured in his voyages to the North Atlantic.

In short, in about every European first contact account that history offers during the 16th century, in the New World and Pacific islands, Europeans described relatively gentle and either timid or welcoming natives, and when the welcome was less than friendly, it was nearly certainly because Europeans had already visited the region, and the natives were acquainted with the greedy, kidnapping, murderous men with white skin.

It is questionable whether Europeans did to the New World what anybody else would have done in their situation.  In the same century that Columbus stumbled into the New World, the Ming Dynasty mounted a series of massive naval expeditions along southern Asia, including trips to Africa.  They did not rape and plunder the peoples they visited.[22]  Europeans were uniquely violent, and their mastery of violence allowed them to conquer the world, once they achieved the technological feat of turning the world's oceans into one large low-energy transportation lane.

 

The First Century of the New World’s Invasion

The development of the Europe that gave birth to Christopher Columbus was a long time in coming.  Arguments can be made that go back to the Fertile Crescent and the dawn of the Old World’s civilizations.  After Rome fell, Germanic tribes conquered most of Europe.  Islam made its rise during the 600s, and Moors invaded and conquered the Iberian Peninsula in 711 CE, wresting it from the Visigoths, and today’s Spain was Europe’s most civilized place during Moorish rule, and Jews lived in their golden age in Europe.  Vikings began their disastrous invasions of Europe in about 800, conquering and settling lands from Newfoundland to Russia.  A global warming trend, beginning around 800, helped lead to Europe’s High Middle Ages, which was a great period of deforestation and city building.  In 1036, the Umayyad dynasty ended in Moorish Iberia, and the Christian conquest of Moorish Spain began in 1056.  Normans (Vikings who settled in today’s France) invaded and conquered England in 1066.  The Crusades, the first launched in 1096, were Europe’s first united acts, and Europe’s first great Jew slaughters were a warm-up for the first one. 

The Catholic Church owned about a quarter of Western Europe’s land, and it was Europe’s dominant medieval institution.  The Crusades backfired in ways that the Church did not anticipate.  Instead of the Church extending its religious monopoly, returning Crusaders brought back Catharism, which flourished in southern France, Christian Europe’s most culturally advanced region, which led Pope Innocent III to declare a Crusade on France.  The resulting Albigensian Crusade killed perhaps a million people, and also became an opportunity for the Parisian elite to extend their rule, which helped lead to today’s France. 

In the century that the Black Death swept off at least a third of Europe’s population, Europe became a hell on Earth, as famine, disease, and warfare continually raged.  Europe’s cities were extremely deadly, and the continual influx of the “surplus population” from the countryside was the only thing that kept urban populations sustained.  The Renaissance began in the late 1300s in northern Italy’s city-states, and it led to humanism, which eventually undermined the Church’s power.  By the early 1400s, the “Reconquest” of Spain was reenergized with a renewed attack on Granada, which was the last holdout of Islamic rule on the Iberian Peninsula. 

Portugal is a tiny nation compared to Spain, both in land mass and population, which had about a million people, compared to Spain’s eight million, around 1500.  It came into being during the Reconquest, and if the peoples of what is called Spain today were not busy fighting the Moors and friends, and each other, Portugal as a political entity may not have come into being.  Its existence was aided by geography, being bounded by mountains, rivers, and the Atlantic Ocean. 

Spices can be tasty and can hide the taste of stale and rotting food, but the primary reason for using them was their antibacterial properties, to preserve food, especially in warmer climates, where food can spoil quickly.  Spices generally came from Asia and the Spice Islands, and were not only lucrative trade items for the right players, but were seen as necessities by many, especially in the meat-eating culture of the Iberian Peninsula, as spoiling animal products are the deadliest foods of all.  Luxury items also came from Asian trade, such as silk and porcelain.  The spice trade from Asia to the Middle East and Europe was an ancient one, and Rome gained control over the sea routes with its conquest of Egypt in 30 BCE, and Alexandria became a hub of trade, which bypassed Arab traders, who regained control with the fall of Rome and the rise of Islam.

Christian elites on the Iberian Peninsula had been seeking another route to Asian trade for some time, and Portugal’s conquest of Ceuta in 1415 was an attempt to gain a trade route across Africa, to outflank its hated Islamic rivals.  It would not be as easy as it first seemed, and Portugal began sailing along the Atlantic coast of Africa in the 1430s, seeking West Africa's gold, where most of the Old World’s gold was mined.  Those efforts led to Portugal's entry to the African slave trade in 1434.

There have been very few, if any, pre-industrial, sedentary cultures that did not have some form of forced servitude.  History has seen a wide spectrum of coercive institutions, with great diversity in how they operated.  Even today, relatively gentle Western taxation is a form of coerced servitude in which people are compelled to part with the fruits of their labor to support violent states.  In Western and Northern Europe, slavery was nearly an extinct institution by the late Middle Ages.  It flourished in the Middle East however, and Arab slavers plied their trade in Africa and elsewhere.  The Balkan side of the Adriatic became a slave coast, and the very word “slave” came from “Slav.”  Enslaving the Islamic “infidel” became a feature of the Spanish Reconquest, and would lead to slavery making its rise again in Western Europe.  Christian rationales were prominent during the coming age of slavery.  Even during America’s push for abolition (after nearly the rest of the West had abandoned the institution), Southern defenders of slavery could often be found pointing to their Bibles to justify it.  The new version of slavery also became a uniquely economic and racist institution, with scientific management principles and other sophistication that earlier incarnations of it did not possess.[23]  Portugal’s quest for slaves and gold became a popular theme of European “exploration” and “settlement."

Portugal helped advance Europe’s maritime science and technology (and also borrowed some from Islamic culture), and began exploring, conquering and settling the Eastern Atlantic’s islands.  In 1418, the Portuguese discovered the uninhabited Madeiran islands and colonized them, the Azores in 1427, and the Cape Verde Islands in 1450.

The Fourth Crusade sacked its “ally” Constantinople in 1204, and the Eastern Roman Empire never fully recovered from it.  Venice gained a monopoly on the Asian trade with Europe from Constantinople’s sack, and charged exorbitant prices to Europeans.  Turkish expansionism and Byzantine weakness led to the fall of Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) in 1453, which ended Venice’s trading monopoly and led to its decline.  It also led to renewed Portuguese attempts to find an alternate route to the Asian spice trade.  The fall of Constantinople also hastened the rise of European humanism, as Byzantine scholars fled to Europe with their knowledge of classical Greece.  Beginning with the reign of John II in 1481, Portugal began launching ambitious expeditions down the African coast, and in 1488, Portuguese explorers rounded the southern tip of Africa.  Christopher Columbus tried getting Portugal to finance his ideas for sailing across the Atlantic to Asia, but after rounding Africa’s tip, Portugal was no longer interested and doubted his strategy, which had been proposed by Paolo Toscanelli long before.[24]  Columbus finally sold Spain on the idea, getting the sovereigns of Iberia, who finally wiped Moorish rule off the Iberian Peninsula in early 1492 with its conquest of Granada, to finance his foolhardy journey. 

After Bartolomeu Dias returned with news of his successful rounding of Africa’s southern end, in 1497 Vasco da Gama set sail down Africa with four ships.  Two years later he returned with news of reaching India, and he brought back specimens of spices and other coveted trade goods.  He had violent encounters along the way, and his trading overtures were not well received, as Persian and Ottoman traders in India easily guessed Portuguese intentions.  Of 168 men who began the voyage, only 44 survived to make it back to Lisbon.

At the time, a successful voyage to India was more useful news to the European powers than what Columbus had stumbled into across the Atlantic.  In 1500, 13 ships, with Dias captaining one of them, set sail toward India again.  The fleet visited Brazil along the way, taking a circuitous route around Africa, and seven ships were lost, including Dias’s.  The six-month journey returned to Calicut on the western coast of India, and once again the reception was less than welcoming.  The Portuguese retaliated by bombarding the city with cannons and burning boats.  A series of explicitly military voyages ensued, and the Portuguese violently established a trade route to India and conquered the Muslim port of Goa in 1510.  In 1511, Portugal conquered Malacca, in today’s Malaysia, which was the spice trade’s heart.  While the Portuguese found the Arabs and other Muslims relatively easy to defeat militarily, and seizing their trading ports was how Portugal established itself, the Chinese Empire was another matter.  The Ming Dynasty’s voyages in the early 1400s were tremendous, with more than 20,000 men on each excursion.  The few Portuguese boats that arrived failed to overawe the Chinese, who were far more civilized than the European interlopers.  The Portuguese were reduced to smuggling as they continued to try gaining trading rights with China, and they began trading with Japan in 1543.  In 1557, Portugal finally secured the rights to an easily watched and non-defendable tip of a peninsula.  Their toehold became Macau.  Pepper was by far the greatest import from Portugal’s trade route to Asia, which amounted to about 6,000 tons annually by 1520 and accounted for about 40% of Crown revenues.[25] 

Christian proselytizing accompanied the Portuguese trading missions, and it was fairly successful in Japan, perhaps too successful.  While the Chinese sneered at missionary efforts in Macau, which generated only about 20 Chinese Christian converts, Portuguese successes in Japan were another matter.  By 1580, there were an estimated 150,000 Japanese Christians, and Nagasaki was the heart of the proselytizing effort.  The Japanese converted largely to gain the advantages that came from trading with the Portuguese.  Apparently the Portuguese success went to their heads and they began treating Japanese converts shabbily and arrogantly.  In 1587, a powerful Japanese ruler saw the “Christian invasion” as a threat, and began courting the Protestant, non-proselytizing Dutch.  He also began a savage persecution of the missionaries and Japanese converts, and thousands were killed.  In 1639, Portugal was completely expelled from Japan, and the leadership of a subsequent delegation from Macau was infamously beheaded.  The Dutch then served as Japan’s foreign trade conduit for the next two centuries.

It can be difficult for modern Westerners to comprehend the conditions that prevailed back then, for the Europeans who began sailing across the world.  In 1500, Europeans had been living on the cusp of disaster for the previous two centuries.  Earth began cooling off in the 1200s, and the High Middle Ages’ aggressive deforestation and agriculture on previously unsuitable lands, combined with the resultant population explosion, left Europe in a precarious state.  The first great famine that began in 1315 set the stage for what came afterward.  The “Little Ice Age” continued until about 1850, and war, famine, and disease were constant facts of life.  During those centuries, there was no European city that went an entire generation without suffering an outbreak of famine, war, or epidemic disease (or all three at once).  Not that Europe was a paradise before then, but Europe became a hell on Earth during those centuries. 

Some motion pictures have attempted to recreate the ambience of those days, but no movie can do justice to the smells, feelings, and general atmosphere.  Heretics and witches burned across Europe.  In “civilized” London, a man did not walk down the street without a weapon in hand.  In European cities, criminals waited on every street, ready to pounce on the unwary.  One favored method was dropping bricks and masonry onto unsuspecting passersby and looting their bodies.  Food riots became common, beginning around 1500, as Europe’s population again began hitting the Malthusian limit.  Modern Westerners can scarcely imagine the filth and stench of those days.  People would go their entire lives without bathing, except for baptism.  England’s King James I, who commissioned his famous Bible, would not have been allowed in many Western homes.  He may have not washed his hands for his entire adult life, and was notable for his personal filthiness and boorish behavior.  The streets of Europe were open sewers, as were its rivers and lakes.  If Thomas Hobbes’s famous phrase, “nasty, brutish and short” ever applied to the lives of any people, it was to average Europeans during the “Little Ice Age.”

The Iberian Peninsula, during its several century “Reconquest,” was the scene of continual warfare, disease, and famine.  The filthiness among Christians was enforced there on an even more stringent scale than the rest of Europe.  The Queen of Aragon once boasted that she had two baths in her life: when she was born and when she was married.  Bathing was a Moorish practice, and in 1500 bathing attracted the interest of the Spanish Inquisition, as it hunted down crypto-Moors and crypto-Jews, so filthiness was evidence of a Spaniard’s true Christian nature.  When Spaniards encountered Caribbean natives, they used the fact of the natives’ regular bathing as evidence of their “primitive” condition.  When the Spaniards eventually encountered the Aztecs, they remarked on their fanatical devotion to cleanliness, with daily baths and all manner of body and breath deodorant.  Aztecs found the stench of Spaniards so overpowering that they held flowers to their noses when speaking to them, and rulers would have Spaniards bathed in clouds of incense before speaking to them.  Tenochtitlán had an army of street cleaners, and was cleaner than any European city would be until the 20th century.

The filth, violence, starvation, disease, and overall misery of Europe made life a pretty cheap commodity, which is made evident by some telling statistics.  During the 1600s, the life expectancy of a male in Europe’s ruling families was 28 years.[26]  As previously noted, that first Portuguese voyage to India had about a 25% survival rate, and the risk was so high on that voyage that criminals were forced into being crewmembers.  A 75% mortality rate was a bit high, but during the next two centuries, Portugal launched about 15,000 men per year (and a few women) on its trade route.  The average mortality rate for the two-year voyage to Asia and back was about 25%.[27]  A death rate of a third of the passengers and crew was typical.  It is difficult to imagine anybody loading up ships today, to distant lands, with that projected survival rate.  As late as 1762, ten ships of the Dutch East India Company lost more than 1,000 people, about 45% of those aboard, just sailing from the Netherlands to the Cape of Good Hope.  Scurvy was the biggest killer on the high seas, but was far from the only one.  Living on a ship of the day challenged even the European tolerance for squalor.  Not surprisingly, mutiny was a constant risk, and draconian methods were used to keep the crews in line.  In an early English attempt at colonization, at Roanoke, the colony simply disappeared.  The next attempt, at Jamestown, was only sustained by the continual influx of colonists.  During the first generation of the English invasion, nearly a third of the invaders died in the first year.  In 1624, of about 7,000 colonists who arrived in Jamestown since 1607, only 1,200 still survived.

Not surprisingly, the best and brightest that Europe had to offer were rarely aboard those ships.  They were not all impressed criminals and the death rates aboard were not state secrets, although deception was usually used in recruiting efforts.  The turnip truck could not keep showing up for two centuries, so imagine the kinds of people who accepted a 25% risk of death by hiring onto a ship bound for Asia.  People coming from those backgrounds would not make many gentle and enlightened encounters with peoples of distant lands, particularly when they came from Earth's most violent culture, and the Iberian Peninsula was no exception.  The Iberian Peninsula had been the scene of innumerable invasions and forced migrations during the previous millennia, and four centuries of nearly continual warfare, raging across the peninsula, made the Spanish and Portuguese cultures thoroughly militaristic.  The violence that they were about to unleash, on a global scale, had never been witnessed before.

Columbus and his men usually abused the unfailing native hospitality during the first voyage, and he returned to lead a full-scale invasion the next year, with more than 1,000 men.  The gold hunt soon degenerated into sending captured natives to Spain as slaves, which came naturally for a man who slaved in Africa with the Portuguese.  The natives died off quickly when shipped across the Atlantic, and Columbus then resorted to a tribute system in which each native was supposed to give Columbus and his men a thimble’s worth of gold every few months, or his/her hands were chopped off.  Thus began the genocide of the New World’s natives and history’s greatest gold rush.   

The Guanches, who probably migrated from northern Africa more than a millennium earlier, inhabited the Canary Islands.  The Spanish completed their conquest of them in 1496, aided by a European-introduced epidemic, which devastated the virgin population.  By 1600, the Canary Islands had been largely deforested and turned into a big plantation, and the Guanches were essentially an extinct people.

Several dynamics were evident in the early days of European colonialism.  One was the environmental devastation inflicted onto the “discovered” lands.  Deforestation leads to desertification, and a mere 50 years after discovery, Columbus remarked that the Cape Verde Islands seemed misnamed, as there was not a green thing on them.  They were green when the Portuguese "discovered" them.[28]  He also noted that the Canary Islands had become much drier during the years he had been sailing to them, which was only a generation.  What was done to the previously forested Mediterranean region over many centuries was quickly done to those Atlantic islands.  Immediately after discovery, on the Madeiran island of Santo Porto, two rabbits were introduced.  They bred rapidly, as rabbits are prone to do.  Within a year, the entire island had been denuded of its vegetation by those rabbits and their progeny

In the early days of European global hegemony, ideology was a turbulent milieu.  The Catholic Church still held its religious monopoly over Western Europe, and religion was a central issue for the Spaniards who conquered the New World.  Spanish nationalism was also ascendant, and the rule of Isabella and Ferdinand formed the idea of Spain.  Isabella initiated the Spanish Inquisition in 1478, which was mainly concerned with hunting Jews and Moors who had converted under duress to Christianity, but who might have been practicing their erstwhile faith in secret.

After Columbus came to an obscure end, other Spaniards kept the gold quest alive in the New World, as natives died off by the millions.  The mining practices of Egyptians and Romans were revived.  Native Americans became expendable labor in the fevered quest for gold.  Columbus was the first person to realize what the wanton slaughter and ill treatment of the natives would mean for Spain’s burgeoning empire.  Native labor was the source of harvestable wealth on Española, as they did all the work.  His observation was ignored.  Killing off the native population would ultimately cripple Spain’s imperial ambitions.

By 1510, the Caribbean was being dramatically depopulated to keep Española's gold mines and plantations running.  Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Bahamas’ indigenous human populations were soon extinct or virtually so, and slavers were almost certainly visiting the Florida natives.  The Spaniards then struck out and invaded the Caribbean's periphery.  They invaded Florida, Panama, and South America, looking for slaves and gold.  For the first time, the Spaniards encountered armed native resistance, and numerous entradas ended in disaster.  More often, however, the Spaniards easily conquered and enslaved the natives.

Enslaving the natives became the standard Spanish tactic during its first century of plunder.  Ideological justifications were concocted to justify exploiting the “discovered” and enslaved peoples, with racial, religious, and imperial justifications prominent.  They all merely adorned the might-makes-right mentality.  The greater the violation, the more strained the ideology to justify it, usually by making the exploited peoples somehow subhuman.  With their humanity thus removed, their treatment became justified as clearing valuable land of subhumans (English ideology), or putting them to work as beasts of burden or serving as sex toys (Spanish ideology).

The mining frenzy and other horrors exterminated the natives of the Greater Antilles, known today as the Taino.  As with the entire Western Hemisphere, the original Taino population is a matter of enduring controversy, but a 1492 population of at least a million is typical in 2014.  By 1520 they were nearly extinct on Española, and they suffered pretty much the same fate throughout the Greater Antilles.  It is the most complete genocide of a million or more people in world history.

In 1511 however, the Christian conscience peeked through the blackness.  Just before Christmas, Dominican priest Antonio Montesinos delivered a startling sermon on Española.  He quoted from the Bible and noted the vast genocide that turned the pre-Spanish “paradise” on Española into a human desert.  The priest called into question the Spaniards’ very Christianity, asking how they could justify such treatment of their fellow human beings.  The brave priest nearly lost his life at the hands of enraged Spaniards, and they tried getting him sent back to Spain.

In the audience for that audacious sermon was a prosperous, conquering Spaniard, with land and slaves of his own.  He became the first priest ordained in the New World.  Bartolomé de Las Casas did not indignantly receive Montesinos’s sermon, but did not really see anything wrong with keeping slaves, either.  Three years later, Las Casas was preparing for an Easter sermon when the Bible text suddenly made him question the Spanish slave system.  He then gave his slaves away, dedicated the rest of his life to the natives’ welfare, and eventually became appointed the “Protector of the Indians.”[29]

Before Las Casas’s moment of conscience, some Spanish Dominicans made the Spanish court uneasy with their reports from the New World, and in 1512-1513 the Laws of Burgos were passed.  They dealt with native treatment.  Although the laws sounded high-minded for the day, the reality was that they were paternalistic, unenforceable, and laughable when compared to New World reality.  The most famous document from those laws became known as the Requirement, which is partly reproduced at this footnote.[30]  The Requirement epitomized Spanish legalism.  Legalism is a sign of a degenerate system, as form prevails over substance.  Spanish legalism resembled that of the late Western Roman Empire, and foreshadowed today’s USA.  Las Casas wrote that he did not know whether to laugh or cry after reading the Requirement.

The Requirement was usually read to people who did not understand Spanish.  Las Casas, who knew and admired Columbus, recorded that a typical Spanish strategy was to read the Requirement in the night jungle before attacking the villages.  Care was taken so the Requirement would not be read where the natives could hear it, so they would not awaken.[31]  It was sometimes read from ship to the distant shoreline.  For instance, during a 1518 entrada to the Yucatán, the Spaniards went ashore on the island of Cozumel.  The Spaniards’ reputation preceded them, and the local populace fled.  Undeterred, the Spaniards climbed the town pyramid.  They read the Requirement to the sky, and then posted it (unreadable to the natives) to the side of the pyramid.  Duty was fulfilled.[32]

Las Casas’s efforts were inexhaustible regarding the natives’ welfare, and he is seen today as the most radical Spaniard, who came the closest to questioning the entire business of Spain in the New World.  He noted that African slaves seemed hardier than native slaves, and in 1518 his efforts were successful.  The Spanish crown agreed to have African slaves replace native slaves in the mines, and it might have rescued the last natives from extinction, but then the New World’s first smallpox epidemic broke out in the mines, killed off more than half of the remaining natives, and soon swept to the mainland as the Spaniards invaded the Aztec Empire and killed untold millions. 

After observing that African slaves fared little better than natives, Las Casas then sought to ban the use of African slaves, and eventually advocated the position of just having Spanish trading ports in the New World, with priests going forth to try converting the natives.  That proposal was obviously not undertaken. 

Other than the short-lived gold strike on Española, the entire New World business was a disappointment for the Spanish Crown, as not much loot was coming in.  The Spanish invasion finally hit pay dirt when Hernan Cortés stole the entrada sent out by Cuba's governor, Velázquez, in 1519.  Cortés conquered the Aztec Empire with a few hundred men.  One historian accurately stated that it was a grand tale with everything in it but a hero.  Aztecs were vastly more civilized than Spaniards.  The center of their empire, Tenochtitlán, was quite possibly the world's most spectacular city: a sparkling, manmade island, sitting in the middle of a vast lake system, in the midst of a majestic valley ringed with mountains and snow-capped volcanoes.

The Valley of Mexico and surrounding region had the Western Hemisphere's largest population, generally estimated at somewhere between 10 and 25 million people.  There is nothing that Spain did worth cheering about in Mexico, unless rape, plunder, bloodshed, and genocide qualify.  The loot began flowing in from Aztec plunder, Spain got excited, and European freebooters began flooding the New World.  The Spanish Crown continually enacted measures to reduce native abuse, but in practice, the effects were minimal.  The Crown’s primary preoccupation was the flow of loot into its coffers.[33]  The first Crown officials to the New World were treasury officials.

In 1519, the year that Spain began invading the Aztec Empire, Ferdinand Magellan, who was Portuguese, tried finding a way across the Atlantic to the Indies and sailed around South America.  Although he died fighting the natives in today’s Philippines, his crew made it back to Spain in 1522, with enough cloves obtained in the Spice Islands to make a profit on the world’s first circumnavigation, even when four of the five ships were lost and only 18 of the original 250 men completed the journey.

Pánfilo de Narváez, the rapist of Jamaica, led the Cuban governor's army to Mesoamerica to try ending Cortés’s usurpation of the entrada, and Cortés easily won the engagement, bribing most of Narváez’s men with the promise of Aztec gold before the short-lived battle even took place.[34]  Narváez lost an eye in the fracas.  In 1527, seeking an empire for himself, he led an entrada of hundreds of men into Florida, landing in Tampa Bay and outrunning the Spanish reputation in southern Florida.  The entrada was doomed by its brutality and incompetence, and spread disease among the natives.  After eating their horses, some Spaniards resorted to cannibalism.  Only a few members of Narváez's entrada survived the ordeal.[35]

Taking his cue from Cortés's success, the illiterate Pizarro conquered the Incas in South America the same way a decade later.  The main strategy was kidnapping the emperor, which the natives could not conceive of.  After capturing the Incan emperor during a surprise attack that killed thousands of his unarmed retainers, Pizarro's men ransomed the Incan sovereign for tons of gold and silver, and murdered him after the ransom was delivered.  Pizarro’s own men eventually murdered him, as they vied for power.  The initial Incan and Aztec plunderings, although they created great excitement in Europe, were modest when compared to the silver mines discovered at Zacatecas (today’s Mexico) and Potosí (today’s Bolivia).  At Zacatecas, the labor was scarce in the desert, so the natives were treated relatively well.  At Potosí, the "personnel" practices used on Española were evident.  The natives died at rates that rivaled Auschwitz.[36]  The Potosí and other South American mines consumed millions of native lives.  Along the streams and rivers that flowed from the Andes, natives dying under the Spanish lash worked the mines furiously.  In South America, the Spaniards could not lose their way when traveling between New Granada and Popayán (northern South America) because the bones of dead men formed an unmistakable path.[37]  The vultures would circle each time a new mine was dug.  In Mexico, where the natives were treated somewhat better, the natives were still forced into mining and becoming beasts of burden for the Spaniards, and dying in heaps in the mines and along the roads.  The Spanish labor practices, in a macabre continuation of what they did to the Taino in the Caribbean, may have been the greatest contributing factor to the native genocide.[38]

The Egyptian, Roman, and Spanish mining practices were not universal.  Professionals, not slaves, performed gold mining in India.  The natives of the Incan empire saw their mines as sacred places, as the gold for their sun-god religion came from there.  The Incan miners were all married, as the Incan system had a miner’s wife care for him while he mined, and neighboring provinces would work his fields while he mined.  Bachelors could not mine.  No Incan miner ever died from overwork while Incas ran the mines, and they were exceedingly well fed.  Mining for the Incan Empire was not even considered hard work.[39]

Cuzco, the seat of the Incan Empire and the center of Incan sun worship, contained amazing gold treasures.  The Spanish mercenaries came upon an Incan Empire wracked by civil war, caused by an epidemic that carried off vast numbers of people, including the emperor.  When they sacked the capital city, Cuzco, they stripped it of its treasures and melted it all down.  While the Spanish plunderers were busily stripping and melting all Incan art, some were aware enough to lament what was happening, and they wrote of seeing life-sized statues of people and animals, made of gold, and a garden full of plants and a herd of llamas (including their shepherd), all in gold and silver. 

Pedro de Cieza de León wrote what many consider the finest history of the Incan people before they were "discovered."  Cieza de León was a soldier of conquest, but became interested in those he was conquering.  His Incan history and conquest was written with the Spanish Inquisition and royal censors in mind, as his work had to pass their review before publication.  He was a soldier and never questioned the conquest's propriety.  Yet, even he wrote the following:

 

“Thus, in the days of the Incas there was very little arable land in these kingdoms that was not under cultivation, and all as thickly settled, as the first Spaniards who entered this realm can testify.  To be sure, it is a sad thing to reflect that these idol-worshipping Incas should have had such wisdom in knowing how to govern and preserve these far-flung lands, and that we, Christians, have destroyed so many kingdoms.  For wherever the Spaniards have passed, conquering and discovering, it is as though a fire had gone, destroying everything in its path.”[40]

 

For the millions of natives already dead from mining gold and working on plantations, the horrors of Potosí's silver mines may have been greater.  Descending hundreds of feet into the earth for a week at a time, hauling hundred-pound loads up ladders with only a candle to give light, most of the millions who went to the mines died there or along the way.  One observer wrote that a Potosí mineshaft was “a mouth of hell.”  The natives were forced to use mercury in refining the ore, which added to their misery and death rates.[41]

Slightly preceding and concurrent with silver mining in South America, the region’s coca plantations were native death factories.  Life expectancy on the plantations was measured in months.  Aztecs had an alcoholic drink called pulque, made from fermented cactus.  Drinking pulque was generally forbidden in Aztec society before Cortés "discovered" them.  After the conquest, getting drunk became the native pastime as they underwent the profound psychological dislocation of being conquered, enslaved, and their culture actively attacked by the Spanish priests, in an attempt to eradicate their culture and turn them into "good Spaniards."

As Aztecs had restricted alcohol, consumption of the coca leaf was restricted in pre-conquest Peru.  After conquest however, the coca habit swept the natives and chewing it became their pastime, undoubtedly to soften the psychological and physical hardships that the natives endured due to the “unrestrained greed of the Spaniards.”[42] 

Accompanying the natives' genocide were numerous accounts by outraged Spanish observers and attempts by the crown to limit the abuses, but it rarely slowed the carnage.  Estimates of the death toll of Incan natives after a century of Spanish presence range from a “low” of a third of the population to more than 95%.[43]  The natives in the Valley of Mexico were probably more than 90% decimated in the first century after conquest.  In the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, 15, 16, and 18 epidemics respectively swept through the Valley of Mexico.[44]

Cieza de León remarked that Spaniards exaggerated human sacrifice and other unsavory aspects of Incan culture to attempt to justify conquest and exploitation, in a timeless dynamic.  Spaniards constantly inflicted surprise attacks on their “hosts,” from Xaraguá to Cholula to Tenochtitlán to Cajamarca.  Attacking sleeping villages was a Spanish tactic and the most capable and virtuous conquistador practiced it, and it quickly became standard Spanish practice.  Greed was a vice that Aztecs nurtured, but they were about the only people of the pre-Columbian New World who did, which was partly why Spaniards appreciated their culture and incomparable markets.  Among most New World natives, greed was a terrible vice, and among many tribes, greed was not even a concept.  The idea of owning land was as strange to many native tribes as owning the sky would be.

In South America, Central America, or North America, when captured, natives were each loaded with about 75 pounds of loot and marched towards the coast.  They were chained together at the neck, forming long marching lines.  If a native faltered, collapsing under his load (women also met this fate), the Spaniards beheaded him as an easy way to remove him from his collar.  The natives in line had to step past or over the headless body.[45]  In one region where that practice flourished, the native word for “Christian” was the equivalent of “demon.”[46]

Spain had a steeply stratified society; 85% of the population was composed of landless peasants, while a few families owned more than half of Spain's land.  About the only career options for ambitious peasants were becoming priests or soldiers.  The Madonna/whore mentality was deeply ingrained in Spanish men.  The Spanish also picked up some of the Moorish worst traits, such as machismo and the practice of having harems.  Sometimes even priests had them.  In colonial Paraguay, the average Spaniard had nearly 20 native concubines.[47]

The Spanish soldiers who conquered the New World mainly came from the peasant class.  The New World's soldierly leaders were generally hidalgos, which was the lowest form of Spanish nobility and meant that an ancestor did well in battle against Moors.  From the moment they discovered the naked women of the Caribbean, they were like brutal kids in candy stores.  Raping native women was perhaps the favorite pastime of Spanish soldiers, from 1492 until the 1800s, which is where the huge mestizo class of Latin America came from.  Their role models were the grandees of Spain, who were rich landowners that did not take off their hats in the king's presence.  The merchant and skilled classes of Spain were significantly composed of Jews and Moors, but they were run out of the country, which helped set the stage for Spain's decline in comparison to its European rivals.

When Ponce de León “discovered” Florida in 1513, the natives violently resisted the Spanish intrusion, for the first hostile welcome recorded in the New World.[48]  The Spanish then began raiding the coastline.  In 1521, the same year that Ponce de León died battling Florida’s natives as he again invaded, two Spanish ships visited the Bahamas, where Columbus first made landfall in the New World.  The Bahamas had long since been depopulated by the Spanish slave trade.  Not finding anybody to enslave, they then sailed along the coastline and landed in present-day South Carolina.  They outran the Spanish reputation and the natives welcomed them.  The Spanish gave food and other gifts to the natives who greeted them.  The Spaniards invited them onto their boats for further festivities.  The number who came aboard is estimated at between 60 and 130.  When the natives were safely aboard, the Spaniards set sail for Española.  One ship was lost at sea while the other delivered its human cargo to Santo Domingo.  Those natives had to fend for themselves and were reduced to scavenging garbage and eating carrion.  In 1526, only one of those captured natives still lived.[49]

One young captive came under the control of Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón, an Españolan plantation owner who sponsored that slaving expedition and others, bringing several boatloads of hapless North American natives to Española.  Ayllón became quite attached to the boy and practically adopted him.  The boy was named Francisco Chicora.  He quickly learned Spanish, was baptized, and was eventually presented at the Spanish Court.  Chicora spun grand tales of his homeland, and Peter Martyr, who was uncharacteristically taken in by the boy’s fantastic stories (Oviedo was skeptical of the boy’s tales), eagerly wrote them up.  Bedazzled by Chicora’s stories, Ayllón planned to colonize Chicora’s homeland, and an expedition sailed in 1526, with six ships and 500 men (and even some women).  Ayllón planned to establish a peaceful colony.  Even Montesinos was involved.  It was the first attempt at gentle New World settlement by the Spanish.

The Spanish treated Chicora as well as any Native American ever was, but his first act upon coming home was fleeing back to his people and abandoning his benefactors.  As the Jamestown Englishmen later voted with their feet, so did the natives who were treated to the best that Europe had to offer.  As early as Columbus’s second voyage, as he “rescued” natives, they almost always fled from their “benefactors” at the first opportunity.  Ayllón did worse than misjudge Chicora’s motivation; the Spaniards ran their flagship aground as they made landfall and lost the greater part of their food and equipment.  Instead of the fantastic paradise that Chicora had painted, the Spaniards found themselves shipwrecked in swampland and all natives fled inland.  Ayllón sailed southward with the remaining ships and found more suitable lands near present-day Savannah, Georgia.  Ayllón soon died, Spaniards began killing one another, and the colony fell apart.  Some Spaniards strayed into native villages, quickly wore out their welcome, and were killed.  Only about 150 bedraggled Spaniards made their way back to Española.[50]

The failed colony left a lasting impact, however.  Hernando de Soto had perhaps the most improbable career of any Conquistador.  He is the only Spaniard to have been prominently involved in the first plunderings of Central America, South America, and North America.  Born in about 1500, he got an early start in raping Central America as one of Balboa’s men, perhaps as early as 1514.  Balboa was about the most capable and virtuous of all the Conquistadors, but he still wantonly killed natives and fed them to his dogs, had gold fever and played a large part in the complete depopulation of Central America, as millions died.[51]

Balboa was beheaded in a power play by his father-in-law, in another example of how the most dangerous New World enemies of the Spanish were often the Spanish.[52]  After getting rich in Central America, Soto became an investor/participant in the 1532 entrada to the Incan Empire, and his share of that pillage made him fabulously wealthy.[53]  For those in greed’s thrall, there is no such thing as “enough.”  Not satisfied with his vast, bloody fortune, Soto mounted an invasion of North America in 1539, after scouring Cuba for men and supplies.

Although Ayllón tried a gentle colonization, and Coronado would invade what is today the Southwestern USA in 1540 pursing gentle principles (although practice and theory were at odds once again), Soto’s expedition was openly predatory and sought another gold-plated civilization to plunder.  Even when Soto arrived, one region that he visited was almost completely depopulated.  The woman who presided over the remnants of her empire treated Soto’s men to warehouses full of goods (before Soto kidnapped her, in the standard Spanish “exploration” style).  Those lands were upriver from the failed Ayllón colony, which probably unleashed the epidemic that depopulated the region, if it was not from other European intruders.[54]

The Soto expedition’s chroniclers described a densely populated southeastern North America.  Entire civilizations were destroyed by Soto’s entrada, and regions were devastated by its disease-ridden aftermath, perhaps spread by the pigs that he brought along. 

In 1559, the Tristán de Luna entrada marauded through the thickly populated lands that Soto ravaged a generation earlier and expected to prey upon the same natives.  Starvation was the Luna expedition’s constant companion, as they trudged through the ruins of depopulated regions.  When the Frenchman La Salle traveled the Mississippi River about 140 years after Soto, in 1682, he was in for a surprise.  Where 50 settlements existed along the Mississippi when Soto came, there were perhaps ten when La Salle passed through, and some of those were due to recent native immigrants.[55]  La Salle thought there must have been a mistake in the chronicles and maps of Soto’s entrada, because the lands that he visited were wilderness.  In 1828, about 140 years after La Salle passed through, a French biologist could locate only four nations of the 52 that La Salle's expedition recorded in today’s Texas.[56]

In 1542, the year that Soto died on the banks of the Mississippi River, Las Casas's efforts persuaded Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain Charles V to sign laws repealing native slavery, but once more, theory and practice resided an ocean apart.  In 1550-1551, Las Casas engaged in a famous debate regarding the humanity of Native Americans.  Las Casas argued for the essential humanity of Native Americans and all people, while his opponent, another priest, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, refurbished Aristotle’s philosophy and argued that Native Americans were natural slaves, simple beasts of burden.  In practice, Sepúlveda’s argument prevailed, while the Crown gave an ambiguous answer to their arguments a decade later.

In 1552, Las Casas decided to publish his horrifying A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, which he originally presented to the Spanish court in 1542.  He published it without the Inquisition’s permission and it became his best-known work and Europe’s second most popular book, behind the Bible.  Las Casas died in 1566, and his greatest work, his history of the Indies, sat in the Vatican's archives for more than three centuries, to finally be published in 1875.  Pedro de Cieza de León’s history of pre-conquest Incan society met the same fate, not being published for three centuries.  The reason for that treatment was that Las Casas’s Short Account became a runaway bestseller, and the resultant “Black Legend” became used for propaganda purposes by Spain’s imperial rivals, the English in particular.  Burying the work of Las Casas, Cieza de León, and others became a form of damage control for Spain and the Church, which was battling the Protestant Reformation.

Lack of readily plunderable gold and silver spared North America's natives from immediate, violent conquest.  Coronado and Soto invaded North America, looking for the El Dorado, but none was discovered.  Nevertheless, the diseases they brought along devastated North America's natives, destroying many tribes and civilizations before they even saw white men.

Those were the early days of European colonialism, celebrated in the USA with Columbus Day.  Spaniards killed off nearly all the Greater Antilles' natives in one generation, so Caribbean colonialism is not a good example to chart European colonialism's development.  The conquest of the Aztecs and Mesoamerica, however, is the earliest example of European colonialism in the Columbian phase.

The Valley of Mexico was the center of Mesoamerican civilization and the New World's most densely populated region, crowned by its most spectacular city, Tenochtitlán.  The legalistic Spanish enacted many laws that exploited the natives, and laws that supposedly protected them were largely ignored.  The misery seen today in Mexico was partly created by a constellation of such laws and their enforcement.

A series of institutions came and went in colonial Mexico.  First there was encomienda, then repartimiento, and finally there was the hacienda (the rancho was a related institution).  Encomienda and repartimiento commandeered native labor.[57]  As epidemics and Spanish rule decimated the native population, farms and villages were abandoned, so Spaniards took the land.  A spectrum of tactics existed for obtaining the native land "legally."  Often natives "sold" the land, but it was rarely, if ever, a fair deal.  Transactions were usually performed under duress or fraud.[58]  Other times it was given to the petitioning Spanish directly.  They ended up owning the land and recreated the great ranches that dominated Spain.  By 1600, most of the Valley of Mexico's arable land was in the hands of Spaniards.[59]  Lower-class Spanish immigrants became lords in a New World.  The hacienda system evolved from that seized land. 

The hacienda system was the first one without forced labor, but it was not forced because it did not have to be.  By the time the hacienda system appeared, the natives had been reduced to such abject poverty, as the white lords owned everything, that working for a hacienda could provide badly needed food and shelter.  Forced labor institutions still existed, however.  In the most notorious, the obraje system, which was a prison labor camp, workers spent their entire lives locked up, producing textiles and other goods.  One of the most dreaded forced labor systems was work on the aqueduct that was being built and maintained to slowly drain the Valley of Mexico's lakes, known as the Desagüe. 

Gold, silver, mercury, and salt were royal monopolies in Spain's New World territories.  Commercial monopolies, granted by the Crown, greatly inflated the cost of European goods in the New World.  The net profit margin on goods shipped to the New World was 50%, according to one qualified observer.[60]  The moneylenders who financed New World expeditions received interest rates from 50% to 90%, partly because of the great risk of failure by shipwreck or piracy.[61]  Also, the Crown controlled or banned certain industries so that they could not compete with those in Spain.

Gold and silver were by far the must lucrative Spanish exports from the New World.  Also exported were hides, dyes, and sugar, although they aggregated less than 10% of the value of gold and silver during the 1560's.  The traffic of goods had virtually no net beneficial effect for Europe, while natives died off by the millions.  The substantial benefits to Europe and the world from Native Americans were the introduction of native foods such as corn and potatoes, the democratic ideals of the Iroquois and many other benefits, but virtually none of that had happened by 1600.[62]

Corn had been the backbone of the native economy, and it was generally raised in communal plots.  That changed too, and eventually haciendas raised most of the corn (and wheat cultivation began to dominate in some areas).  The natives no longer controlled the food they ate.  Proto-capitalistic practices made their appearance, and hacendados speculated on prices by hoarding, undercutting native producers with bulk transactions, and manipulating the markets with their control of supply.[63]  Those practices led to native hunger.

The Catholic Church was a major player in New Spain's transformation.  Church-owned monasteries, haciendas, obrajes, and other institutions dotted the landscape.  Natives were required to give tribute to the church, and many priests became rich.  For every friar who sincerely believed in his holy mission, others kept concubines, solicited women during confessionals, drank heavily, fed people to their dogs, and so on.  As with monastic wineries in Europe, New Spain's versions often made pulque, although many priests tried stamping out drunkenness.  The Jesuit hacienda of San Xavier was devoted almost exclusively to making pulque (it sold more than six million pounds of it in 1770), and had one of the highest incomes of any hacienda.[64]

Another economic effect of European hegemony was the introduction of guilds.  They were anti-competitive institutions and natives were often excluded from them.  Blacksmiths and veterinarians, with their relationship to elite European horsemanship, made it clear that natives were not allowed in their professions.  All apprentices were to be "Spaniards, pure and without stain, as demonstrated through their baptismal records, for ours is a noble profession."[65]

Laws enacted in colonial Mexico, called New Spain in those days, were explicitly racist and designed to oppress the natives.  Three races – European, African, and Indian – met in the New World.  The Spanish developed 16 categories of interracial distinction in 18th-century New Spain.[66]  Of the 200,000 “Spaniards” in New Spain by 1570, it is estimated that two-thirds were of Jewish or Moorish descent, to cloud the racial picture further.[67]  Conquering Spaniards marauded from town to town and seized the best looking women for their concubines and created Mexico's huge mestizo class. 

Erstwhile Cortés allies Tlaxcala and Huexotzinco found themselves worse off with the Spanish overlords than the hated Mexica, and they were the natives who got the “good deal” from the Spanish.  They would not have believed it, but the days when the Mexica ruled were the “good old days.”  Helping Cortés conquer Tenochtitlán slit their own throats in the end as Mesoamerica's native population collapsed during the century after the Spanish conquest.

By 1560, 40 years after they performed their "heroic" service, the tribute extracted from the Huexotzincos by the Spanish was seven times what the Mexica had obtained from them.  The deal that Cortés made with the Tlaxcalans was that they would never have to pay tribute at all.  Tlaxcalans eventually fared much the same.  Europeans replaced Mesoamerican elites, and all natives were reduced to peasants, with lucky mestizos forming the professional class, although there was more migration into the European class by natives in Mexico, and more adoption of native ways, than the rest of Spanish America.[68]

Europeans honored their agreements when they were convenient or served their interests, but when an agreement obstructed European desires, it was not worth the paper it was printed on.  Europeans would always find a legal rationale, no matter how strained, to justify their behavior.  They backed up their legalistic arguments with deadly violence. 

Occasionally the most abusive Spaniards would find themselves being imprisoned for crimes against the natives, but that treatment was reserved for either the most evil of the lot or those with political enemies.[69]  The crown-sponsored residencias and audiencias investigated the conduct of New World officials such as Cortés.  The tribunals recorded many allegations and evidence of misdeeds, which historians have used ever since.  While such investigations may seem to reflect the Spaniards' “just” nature, and indeed “justice” seemed to be served at times, the residencias were mainly used to trim the power of those posing the greatest threats to Crown authority.[70]

Fraud, corruption, and exploitation were the facts of life in colonial Mexico, and natives always bore the brunt of it.[71]  The legal system was rigged to favor the Spaniards.  One of the few honest lawyers in New Spain suggested a method to reduce the fraud and corruption: keep Spanish lawyers out of the natives’ business.[72] 

European cultural practices could be found in many facets of the colonial experience.  Although Montezuma had a hunting island, the aristocratic "hunts" of Europe made their appearance, which used thousands of natives to flush the animals out to be slaughtered at leisure by Spaniards trying to act like European lords.[73]

Before the middle of the 17th century, the native population in Mexico bottomed out at perhaps less than ten percent of the pre-conquest population.[74]  After that, it began a slow recovery.  After studying what the Spanish did to the Caribbean and periphery, what they did to the Aztecs and Mesoamerica, what they did to the Incas and South America, their “explorations” into North America, what the Portuguese did to Brazil, and after looking at the death rates in the mines, plantations and periphery, I estimate that more than ten million natives died as a direct result of the violence and greed of the Spanish and Portuguese during the 1500s.  Some can argue for as few as ten million (while others argue that there were not ten million natives in the whole hemisphere), and others can argue for as many as 30 million.  European diseases killed off another 50 million natives or so in the 1500s, and the Spanish and Portuguese labor practices probably contributed substantially to those 50 million deaths.  It is within the range of modern estimates to say that the New World’s human population declined by 90% during the first century of the European invasion, or by about 70 million people, and even the low end of the modern estimates have around 30 million natives dying, for "only" a 75% depopulation.  It is an immense tally, with nothing in world history to compare it to.

Spaniards remade the New World's ecological systems.  Imported cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, and donkeys dominated the landscape.  Chickens became a barnyard staple.  Sugar, bananas, and citrus fruits were introduced and flourished.[75]  In many places, the landscape was altered beyond recognition.[76]  Spain was a land of shepherds and cattle ranchers, and many farmers in Spain were put out of business as the rich, herd-owning, land-owning aristocracy obtained the legal rights for their livestock to overrun the land.[77]  Spain's great herds helped make it such an arid land, and the same thing happened to New Spain.[78]  South of the great bison herds of North America, there were no large roaming herds of grazing animals.  Huge tracts of farmland were destroyed throughout the New World by those imported European grazers, and areas previously cultivated or unused were quickly destroyed, leaving a desert-like environment behind.  In Spain, sheep dominated.  In New Spain, cattle dominated.  Deforestation and mass grazing altered the landscape immensely.[79]  In a replication of what happened to the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic islands, Spaniards noted that when they razed the forests for their lifestyles, streams dried up and eventually there was less rainfall.[80]  The desert-like environment of Mexico is not completely natural, but is partly the result of Spanish depredations.[81]  Not only was 75-90% of the human population exterminated, the first century of the Spanish invasion was also the greatest ecological catastrophe for native plants and animals in history, rivaled, and in ways exceeded, by what the English and Americans would later do to North America.

Native Mesoamericans were not always great environmentalists.  The collapse of the Mayan “classic” phase before 1000 CE, the fall of Teotihuacan, and other events in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica were probably related to an overtaxed environment.  Europeans, however, initiated what is called “The Rape of the World.”[82]  Their increasing technological prowess was largely directed at developing more effective methods of exploitation and killing each other.   

There was a major effect of the Spanish gold rush on Europe: the money revolution.[83]  Before Europe’s money revolution, land was the primary basis of wealth.  Money became the primary symbol of wealth during the Spanish gold rush, and Europe’s money supply tripling during the first 50 years of conquest.  By 1800, the money supply in places such as France and Italy increased by about 20-fold.  Because gold and silver were the basis of money in the Old World, it heralded Europe’s ascent relative to its rivals, such as the Ottoman Empire.  The flooding of Europe with New World gold and silver, although it made no European society wealthier, crippled the Ottoman Empire’s monetary system.  Ottoman coins fell to half their value in the first century of the New World’s plunder and the Ottoman Empire never regained its former prominence. 

With the Spanish gold rush, greed became a mainstay of the European mind.  While gold lust inflamed the Spanish mind, England and France were plundering Spanish ships coming back to the New World, laden with gold and silver.  The pirate Francis Drake became England’s richest private citizen and was knighted for his surprise pillage of Spain’s Pacific ports.

Europe’s money revolution resulted from millions of Native American deaths, and brought no real wealth to Europe.  What the Spanish gold rush did, however, was change how Europeans viewed money and wealth.  In his classic study, Tzvetan Todorov illustrated how contemporary Spanish chroniclers attributed the motivation of Spaniards in the New World to sheer greed.  It was a new phenomenon.  Todorov wrote:

 

“Certainly the desire for riches is nothing new, the passion for gold has nothing specifically modern about it.  What is new is the subordination of all values to this one.  The conquistador has not ceased to aspire to aristocratic values, to titles of nobility, to honors, and to esteem; but it has become quite clear to him that everything can be obtained by money, that money is not only the universal equivalent of all material values, but also the possibility of acquiring all spiritual values.  It is certainly advantageous, in Montezuma’s Mexico as in preconquest Spain, to be rich; but one cannot purchase status, or in any case not directly.  This homogenization of values by money is a new phenomenon and it heralds the modern mentality, egalitarian and economic.”[84] 

 

Adam Smith noted in his Wealth of Nations that gold mining was perhaps the most counterproductive economic activity that any nation could engage in.  The only “wealth” that gold and silver had was what people bestowed on it.  It was only valuable because it was scarce and difficult to produce, and so became a form of currency.  Obtaining more of it would not grow one more crop, manufacture one more tool, or make society any wealthier, unless luxury goods such as gold plating and silverware counted.  In fact, such activities made society less wealthy, because so much activity was devoted to such a worthless pursuit.  Expendable natives were the only way that Spain’s 16th century gold rush could take place.  Gold rushes are merely counterfeiting operations and are in essence stealing from one’s neighbor.

In 1557, a mere generation after the huge Incan haul began hitting Spain’s shores, the Spanish Crown went bankrupt.  Although some Spanish scholars cautioned the Crown that simply importing shiploads of gold and silver would not improve Spain’s economy, if nothing were done to develop the real economy, their advice was ignored.  By about 1580, especially with the agriculturalist Moors expelled, Castile no longer raised enough food to feed its people, and by the 1590s, its textile industry was in steep decline.  Price levels rose in Spain by 500% by 1600, the Spanish Armada was destroyed in battle with England in 1588, bubonic plague swept through Spain beginning in 1596, killing off nearly 10% of its population, and Spain was arguably worse off in 1600 than in 1500, for one of history’s greatest ironies.  The 1500s had seen Spain rise to the height of European power, to decline into a backwater, imperial has-been, and its empire was eventually seized by its rivals, or its imperial domains revolted and became independent.  Gold, weapons, and rapaciousness generate no real wealth, and Spain’s experience is instructive.

Among the most famous and best works on the early Spanish experience in the New World is Carl Sauer’s The Early Spanish Main, and the book’s cover summarizes the character of those early days, stating that the book was:

 

“not so much a record of European villainy as of human stupidity.  Columbus’s lack of understanding not merely of where he was but of the possible consequences of his being there established a pattern of conquest and settlement that was repeated all over Spanish America.”  

 

The book’s foreword finishes with a quote from Sauer:

 

“the ‘frontier’ attitude has the recklessness of an optimism that has become habitual, but is residual from the brave days when north-European freebooters overran the world and put it under tribute.  We have not yet learned the difference between yield and loot.”[85]

 

Long ago, Sauer saw the nature of the West’s “progress”:

 

“We have accustomed ourselves to think of ever expanding productive capacity, of ever fresh spaces of the world to be filled with people, of ever new discoveries of kinds and sources of raw materials, of continuous technical progress operating indefinitely to solve problems of supply.  We have lived so long in what we have regarded as an expanding world, that we reject in our contemporary theories of economics and of population the realities that contradict such views.  Yet our modern expansion has been effected in large measure at the cost of an actual and permanent impoverishment of the world.”[86]

 

As David Stannard, Ward Churchill, and others have competently made the case, although Spain’s imperial rivals used the Black Legend for propaganda purposes, it did not make the so-called “legend” less real, and Spain’s European rivals were no better in their attitude toward the natives they encountered, especially the English.[87]  The reason why Spain's depredations achieved the greatest death toll was that they had a “virgin” hemisphere to rape, having it nearly to themselves, for about a century.[88]

Study of the early Spanish experience in the New World identifies several dynamics that have been central to the West’s experience ever since: greed, violence, sexism, nationalism, and proselytizing.  Not that any of them were necessarily new phenomena, but they were all indulged on a level that had largely not been seen before.  On a vast scale, women were raped, men were worked to death, and children were used as dog food.  Spanish nationalism was a new phenomenon, and Christian proselytizing hit the mother lode, just as the Church began losing its power.  Christian ideology eventually gave way to secular religions such as materialism, nationalism, and capitalism.

The economic ideology known as mercantilism prevailed during those early colonial days.  The basic idea was importing cheap raw materials from the subjected colonial peoples and exporting one’s way to prosperity.  The Spanish were the first to practice it, in relatively primitive fashion, as they exploited Mesoamerica.  Spain's plunder of Mexico is a predecessor to the more refined exploitation that the British would later inflict on India.  Spain dominated the first century of Columbian-era colonialism, but they were not alone on stage.

The Portuguese experience was different.  Each European power had distinctly different methods by which it pursued its colonial enterprises, as long as it was recognized that they all used humanity's greatest energy technology to that time to conquer and exploit the world.  While Spain had little trust in its freebooters, as they always tried carving out New World empires for themselves, and endless tribunals were held to try trimming their ambition, the Portuguese Crown did not continually hound its imperial agents, but maybe it should have.  It is estimated that in those early days, only about a quarter of the revenues that should have made it into Portugal’s royal coffers ever got there, and the rest was skimmed off along the way by the corruption in Portugal’s nascent imperial system.  The lavish court and inefficiency of Portugal’s imperial system left the Crown continually strapped for cash.

Lisbon became the heart of Europe’s early imperial efforts.  Portugal’s African slaves became domestic servants in Lisbon.  By 1550, Lisbon had about 100,000 people in it, with nearly 10,000 of them Africans.  The 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas divided the global plunder grounds between Spain and Portugal.  The early Portuguese success was with its trade route to Asia.  The Portuguese originally viewed Africa as an obstacle to getting at Asia, although the slaves and gold from Africa provided unexpected benefits.  After Lisbon was satisfied with its number of African slaves, Portugal began using them on sugar plantations on its Atlantic islands.  The first instance of Portuguese slaving in the New World was when the Corte Real brothers seized more than a hundred Beothuk Indians from the shores of Newfoundland in 1501 and delivered their cargo to Portugal.[89]  Although the king was pleased, those were the only boatloads of slaves that Portugal obtained from that region.

The discovery, conquest, sack, and destruction of the Aztec Empire brought great excitement to Europe.  The Spanish gold rush began in earnest with that event.  Until then, Europeans had largely encountered “primitive” natives in the New World, but the Aztecs were another matter.  Their capital city was arguably the world’s most spectacular and its markets more breathtaking than anything the Spanish invaders had ever seen.  After the Aztec discovery and sack, endless boatloads of European freebooters set sail for the New World, seeking fame, riches, and there was a virtually unlimited supply of native women to rape.  The Treaty of Tordesillas unwittingly gave Portugal a chunk of South America as its domain of conquest, but Portugal was far too busy mining the “Golden Goa” route for the spice trade to devote any resources to the New World.  French ships began landing in Brazil in 1504 and had no respect for Portugal’s theoretical claims to it.  French pirates harried returning Spanish ships as early as 1504, seized a huge Aztec plunder shipment in 1523, and began raiding Spain’s Caribbean ports in the 1530s.  Silver was relatively expensive then, and had been getting more expensive for centuries, as gold was the primary preoccupation of mercenaries and miners.  In China there was a particular desire for silver, and it was better to pay them in silver for their goods than gold, so Portugal began seeking silver.

In 1530, Portugal’s King John III sought to establish a significant presence in Brazil, and sent an expedition to scout it.  By that time, South American coastal natives were well acquainted with European intentions and fought off European settlement attempts.  The 1530 expedition was successful and captured some French ships that traded in brazilwood.  In 1532, Spaniards discovered, conquered, and sacked the Incan Empire, including its capital city of Cuzco, in what may have been history’s most lucrative sack of a capital city.  In 1534, Portugal began granting “captaincies” in Brazil to ambitious minor nobles.  The captaincies were authorizations to invade and conquer Brazil.  The discovery and sack of the Incan Empire was as good as it would get for Europe’s pillagers, but it did not keep them from dreaming of finding more gold-plated empires in the New World’s vastness.  That insatiable lust drove Coronado into Pueblo land and Soto into southeast North America.  Portuguese captains eagerly invaded the Amazon basin but, to their great disappointment, they found no cities gilt in gold and silver.  They also did not find vast settlements of sedentary natives, as the Spanish had done, although, as with the rest of the New World, increasing research keeps revising the estimate upward of pre-Columbian Amazonia’s population.  In 1992, the most prominent scholarly estimate put it at nearly six million, and a range of two-to-ten million prevails as of 2014.[90]

The Portuguese presence, as with all European invaders, meant native genocide, but the Portuguese colonial experience was gentler than Spain’s.  Probably mainly due to Portugal’s past, with its many races and ethnic groups living together, due to its many invasions and forced migrations over the millennia, the Portuguese colonial experience was the least racist in character of Europe's powers.  Consequently, Portugal had a more harmonious racial mixing with those that it conquered and traded with, which is reflected in Brazil’s relative multi-ethnic harmony today.

Untold numbers of Europeans died in the jungles, mountains, and deserts of the New World, seeking El Dorados, Seven Cities of Cibolas, and other mythical lands that dripped with riches.  Portuguese enthusiasm for overrunning their chunk of South America quickly waned, and they tried reproducing the sugar plantation culture of its Atlantic island colonies, and instead of dumping its criminals on the Atlantic island of São Tomé, it began dumping them in Brazil in 1535.  By 1545, Brazilian plantations sent about 50 shiploads of sugar to Europe annually.  In theory and practice, the early Portuguese experience in Brazil was similar to Spain’s in the Greater Antilles.  The rhetoric referred to converting the natives to Christianity, and zealous missionaries (in Portugal’s instance it was the Jesuits, beginning in 1549) did their best to convert the natives, but the outcome was that the natives were enslaved as they were “Christianized” and worked to death.  Native Americans always died off quickly when subject to the rigors of plantation and mine slavery.  The enslavers also introduced epidemic disease that carried off incredible numbers of natives, and the evil triplet of starvation, overwork, and disease quickly eradicated the native population.

Fortunately for Portuguese aspirations, they had already initiated the world’s greatest era of slavery, and bringing in African slaves to replace the rapidly disappearing natives was a natural idea, which began in Brazil around 1550.  In 1559 came royal approval for Portuguese slavers to sell their wares in Brazil.  Portuguese had been officially selling African slaves to the Spanish in the New World since 1510, when Lisbon authorized the sale of 250.  In 1550, there were only about 15,000 African slaves registered in the New World.[91]  As the native population went extinct, Caribbean plantation work became an expensive proposition.  African slaves were far more expensive than Native American slaves, and French pirates began plying Caribbean waters in the 1530s as the plunder of mainland empires and mining activity increased.  Spain stopped supporting the Caribbean plantation economy and the Caribbean became little more than a port of entry to the lucrative mainland.  Piracy of Spain’s shipments to Europe began in earnest, and in 1565 the fort at St. Augustine was built to protect the plunder route, which became the first permanent European settlement in North America.

Because Spain dominated the gold and silver business, Portugal entered the plantation business and grew sugar in Brazil.  In 1570, there were only about 3,000 African slaves in Brazil, and as the sugar economy expanded, so did the imports.  In 1600, there were about 15,000 African slaves in Brazil.  By 1650, another 200,000 were brought there.

 

Imperial Jockeying

While the Spanish and Portuguese were plundering in the New World, Renaissance Europe was in tumult.  Similar to how the Crusades backfired to a degree, the invention and use of the printing press, in about 1439, did not turn out as the Church had hoped.  With the advent of the printed word, the Bible was Europe’s biggest bestseller, and the Church hoped to expand its religious hegemony through literacy.  It also backfired.  By 1500, literacy was growing in England’s nascent middle class, and was becoming more common in Europe.  During the 1400s, student enrollment in German universities quadrupled, and it was representative of Europe as a whole.  Europe was slowly becoming educated.  When Columbus made his way back to Spain in 1493, Europeans began reading of new lands.  While Columbus called himself the “Christ-bearer,” there were about zero conversions to Christianity among the quickly disappearing Caribbean natives.  When Cortés and his mercenaries conquered the Aztecs, however, the Church had its greatest Christian recruitment opportunity ever.  In 1524, twelve Christian missionaries came to Mesoamerica to convert the natives that survived the conquest.  The mass conversion of Mesoamerica began.  The spectacle of baptisms of thousands of natives at a time could be witnessed.  Although the conversions were rather compulsory, and burning Aztec books was part of the Christianizing process, and the Inquisition followed closely behind the converting missionaries, the Catholic Church never before had such immediate and massive success in recruiting the sheep to its flock.  However, just as the Catholic Church was enjoying its greatest recruiting success, its European downfall began.

Ever since the fall of Rome and invasion of Germanic tribes, Europe was the scene of constantly shifting royal alliances and traveling crowns.  In 1513, Niccolò Machiavelli wrote his most famous work, The Prince, and it, perhaps more than any other work, described European political reality for the next five centuries.  Political “realists” of the 20th century saw his work as seminal.   

King Charles of Spain, the grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella, bribed his way into becoming Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Europe’s most powerful man, in 1519.  His reign marked the peak of Hapsburg power.  It also began disintegrating under his rule.  In 1517, Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses, and at the Diet of Worms in 1521, Charles V outlawed him.  The Protestant Reformation thus began.

Charles V and England’s Henry VIII allied against France, and Charles’s armies were victorious against France in 1525, and they battled in Italy.  Charles V’s armies continued marching and captured the Pope in 1527.  Charles V’s brother Ferdinand ruled in Austria, but in 1526 Ottoman armies began invading from the Balkans and in 1529 laid siege to Vienna.  The continual wars, with Charles V’s European neighbors and Turks, led to a fragmenting empire, and suppressing the Reformation proved hopeless.

In 1555, Charles handed the Netherlands to his son Phillip II, who was Spanish by birth.  The next year, Charles handed his Holy Roman Emperor crown to his brother, and in 1557 the Spanish Crown went bankrupt, for the first of several bankruptcies that would chart Spain’s decline as an imperial power.[92]  Charles retired to a monastery in 1558, as his once mighty empire felt the strain, and he died that same year.

Las Casas’s A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, published in 1552, quickly became a runaway bestseller, especially in Protestant Northern Europe.  That began the “Black Legend,” and in 1559 the Church began publishing its infamous Index Librorum Prohibitorum, its list of banned books that lasted until the 1960s. 

The Catholic Inquisition had its roots in the Church’s efforts to exterminate the Cathars in the 1200s, but the Spanish Inquisition was more of a Spanish nationalistic institution than a Roman Catholic one.  King Philip II had little liking for the Netherlands, and his solution to the Protestant Reformation there was to send in the Spanish Inquisition.  When the Spanish Inquisition was only persecuting Moors and Jews, few in Europe really cared, but when Phillip sent his inquisitors to the Netherlands, and the hot tongs began being used on white Christians, that was going too far, and then “The Inquisition” came into being in Protestant polemics.[93]  The Wars of Religion began in France in 1562 and lasted until 1598, and a new era of inter-Christian warfare began in Europe.  In 1568, the Dutch revolted against Spain’s oppressive rule.  The Netherlands declared its independence in 1581 and became Europe’s first republic during its conquest of Earth, but the war with Spain lasted nearly continually for 80 years, until the Thirty Years’ War ended in 1648.

Portugal was largely untouched by the furor that erupted in Europe.  Its own Inquisition kept the populace in line and the Reformation did not touch it.  However, it also overextended itself imperially.  Its tenuous trade route was ironically not the source of its overextension.  Portugal’s big mistake was trying to extend itself in Africa, near home.  In 1557, King Sebastião came to the Portuguese throne at age three.  At age 14, he began running his empire.  He was virtually uneducated and had two passions, in the great European tradition: religion and warfare.  In 1578, with Church assistance, he mounted an expedition to Africa.  He had few plans, other than a glorious invasion against the infidel Moors.  With an army of about 25,000 people, which included several thousand mercenaries and much of Portugal’s nobility, Sebastião sallied forth.  For most of the campaign he amused himself with hunting, and he felt that the Moors would flee at the sight of his army.  In a ferocious battle in which 40,000 Moors fought, the Portuguese army was annihilated.  Sebastião died heirless in Africa, and in 1580, Spain’s King Phillip II simply annexed Portugal.  A Sebastião cult quickly took root in Portugal’s peasantry, which fantasized that Sebastião had not really died in Africa and would return to lead Portugal back to greatness, and the first Sebastião pretender appeared in 1584.  The cult persisted while Portugal was under Spanish rule.

Even though Phillip II was careful to not extend Spain’s rule over Portugal too oppressively, and left Portugal’s imperial concessions alone, Portugal’s lot had now been involuntarily thrown in with Spain’s.  Spain’s enemies were now Portugal’s, including the Dutch, who were suddenly cut off from Lisbon’s trade.  With its fortunes thusly conjoined with Spain, Portugal’s imperial fortunes were doomed when the Spanish Armada was destroyed in 1588.  While there would be more wars fought with the European powers, the 1588 disaster marked the end of Spain’s imperial dominance in Europe and further emphasized the bankruptcies that the Crown experienced during those years, and other factors of Spain’s decline

By 1600, the Netherlands had cleared all Spanish troops from its lands and began sailing to Asia to get spices.  That same year, England established its East India Company, and it also sought Asian trade.  The Dutch formed their East India Company in 1602.  The Dutch and English soon ran the two great mercantile empires.  Their nations were better suited to commerce than Spain and Portugal.  England and the Netherlands had rising middle classes and their merchants had not suffered the devastating blows that Spain and Portugal’s had.  The Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions oppressed Jews and Moors, who had brought great benefits to their economies.  Portugal, and to a greater extent Spain, had more primitive economies than England and the Netherlands.  Throughout the 16th century, Spain exported raw materials such as wool, hides, and the gold and silver it plundered from the New World.  England and the Netherlands had a much stronger craft and proto-industrial base, and were large exporters of manufactured goods.

The Dutch revolt was part of a series of religious conflicts that culminated in the Thirty Years’ War, which began in 1618.  Until the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in the early 1800s, the Thirty Years’ War was Europe’s most devastating.  It killed about four million people and left Germany in ruins, which was where most fighting took place.  While Europeans had long ago abandoned any notion of “honorable” war, and winning was the only thing that mattered, and the more ruthless the better, the Thirty Years’ War took it to a new level, and the concept of “total war” came into being.  As Europeans honed their craft in the Reconquest, Crusades, Hundred Years’ War, and countless other conflicts, they refined the art of violence, which was mainly why Europe conquered the world.  Nobody could match European viciousness and their winning-at-all-costs style of warfare, which the Thirty Years’ War and related conflicts further ingrained.  France had been harrying Spain since the early 1500s, while England was busy subduing its Celtic periphery.  By 1600, the Dutch and English began seizing Spain's and Portugal’s imperial assets.

The new Dutch republic made Spain and Portugal pay for its oppression.  The Dutch made their first attack on Bahia, the capital of Portuguese Brazil, in 1604, as the English had also done in 1587.  In 1609, a truce was signed between Spain and the Netherlands, which gave the Dutch trading rights with peoples outside of Europe.  Most particularly, that meant the Asian trade route, which the Dutch immediately undertook to seize.  Arrogant Portuguese proselytizing had caused great animosity among many of the peoples along its trade route, and the Dutch were mainly interested in commerce, so were more welcome than the Portuguese.

In 1619 the Dutch founded what became Jakarta, which became the new center of the spice trade.  In 1621, the Netherlands incorporated its West India Company, and in 1623 it mounted an expedition that seized Bahia.  By that time, Portugal's spice route had largely been lost to the English and Dutch, so it devoted its effort toward Brazil and reconquered Bahia the next year.  In 1628, the Dutch seized the Spanish silver fleet off Cuba, which was the first time that Spain lost an entire fleet.  In 1630, the Dutch mounted another invasion of Brazil, which would be fought for several years.  During the 1630s, the Dutch, English, and French began growing sugar in the Lesser Antilles, which not only competed with Brazil but also initiated the great age of New World sugar growing, which led to a huge increase in the African-Atlantic-Americas slave trade.

The end of Spanish military dominance was further reinforced by the Dutch defeat of the Spanish fleet in the English Channel in 1639, and the French destruction of the Spanish army at the Battle of Rocroi in 1643.  Those defeats marked the end of Spain’s military might in Europe.  Portugal regained its independence in 1640, and England soon began its civil wars.

The Dutch established a trading post on Manhattan Island in 1624, and in 1626 they “bought” Manhattan Island from the natives for a few trinkets.  In 1638, the Dutch seized the Portuguese outpost of El Mina in western Africa.  The Swedes and Danes even joined the Empire Game briefly, with a short-lived New Sweden in present-day Delaware, established in 1638 but captured by the Dutch in 1654, to be further lost to the English in 1664, when the Dutch lost all of their North American colonies to the English. 

The English also joined the spice trade, and in 1622 an English-Persian expedition seized Ormuz from Portugal, in present day Oman, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.  Dutch imperial supremacy did not last long.  With the devastating Thirty Years’ War ending in 1648, it did not take England and the Netherlands long to begin a new series of wars; the first began in 1652, and the wars lasted until 1684.  The Dutch prevailed but lost to France on the Continent.  In 1664, the New Amsterdam colony in North America was lost to the English, but it had other gains.  The peak of the Dutch East India Company’s supremacy was around 1669.  The Dutch East India Company was a direct forerunner to modern corporations, was a combination of corporation and state, and owning shares of its stock was a lucrative proposition, for a while.  The French East India Company entered the fray in 1675 with its outpost at Bombay. 

During the last half of the 17th century, the Asian trade route was the scene of continual battles between the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and English traders.  Portugal had largely lost out by 1620, and the Dutch by the early 1700s, which left the English and French alone on the field.[94]  The rivals also carved the Caribbean and it periphery into imperial chunks.  By 1770, Spain kept a grip on Cuba, better than half of Española (today’s Dominican Republic), Puerto Rico, New Granada (today’s Colombia), and Venezuela.  The French took Haiti on Española and got Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Lesser Antilles, as well as part of the South American mainland in what became French Guiana.  The Dutch got Dutch Guiana and Surinam on the South American mainland, and the islands of Curacao and Saba.  The English got Jamaica, and in the Lesser Antilles they got the Leeward Islands Barbados and Grenada.  The Danes were able to retain part of the Virgin Islands.

The main Caribbean game was plantation work, although Portugal finally joined the big game with a gold strike, finally, in Minas Gerais in Brazil.  Then the Portuguese had their very own gold rush, which saw about 600,000 Portuguese citizens migrate there by 1760.  The Portuguese Crown tried keeping control and getting its cut, but greedy chaos prevailed regularly, as in all gold rushes.  As with all New World gold rushes to that time, slaves were needed to make it work.  The 18th century was the greatest era of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  Portugal, being the inventors of the African-Atlantic-Americas slave trade, was also its biggest beneficiary.  More than half of the slave voyages to the New World were Portuguese, and of the estimated 11 million Africans who survived to become New World slaves (with probably at least an equal number dying, and perhaps as many as 30 million or more, in the process), more than 4.5 million ended up in Brazil, and the English were in second place with 2.6 million slaves.[95]  A Brazilian slave could be expected to provide about seven years of usefulness before dying.

The Portuguese, Dutch, and Spanish were able retain fragments of their empires, but the English and French dominated the scene after 1700, and the other powers were reduced to gnawing on the bones of their former glory.  The imperial jockeying during the 1600s, with constantly shifting alliances and endless wars, can make a reader dizzy, and this essay's point is charting the American Empire's development, so it will begin focusing on the imperial powers and North America, and especially the USA's parent, England. 

 

The English and Their Rivals in North America

When Spain’s rivals appeared in the New World during the 1600s, they acted similarly to Spain.  Spain was after slaves and gold.  England’s first New World adventures also sought slaves and gold.  In 1576, Martin Frobisher captured a native of Baffin Island while looking for the mythical Northwest Passage.  Frobisher also found what appeared to be gold, and it was assayed as such in England.  The next year Frobisher returned with a mining expedition that devastated the local natives and hauled 200 tons of ore back to England.  The year after that, Frobisher returned to mine 2,000 more tons.  It all turned out to be fool’s gold.[96]  In 1577, the same year that Frobisher hauled his fool’s gold back to England, the slave runner, pirate, and oppressor of the Irish, Francis Drake raided Spain’s Pacific ports and stole their loot, mainly silver.  Drake also sought the Northwest Passage and circumnavigated Earth to complete his mission on behalf of Queen Elizabeth.  When Drake returned with his haul, he was knighted and became England’s richest private citizen. 

Humphrey Gilbert eventually became the English governor in Ireland.  Gilbert had a practice of lining the path to his tent with severed Irish heads, which was designed to induce a psychological effect when Irishmen led to his tent recognized their relatives among the heads.  After an unsuccessful attempt at finding the Northwest Passage in 1578, Gilbert was lost at sea near the Azores in 1583 after a failed attempt at colonizing today’s Newfoundland (some colonists mutinied).  Gilbert’s explorations inspired his half-brother, Walter Raleigh.

In 1585, Raleigh tried establishing a colony at Roanoke.  Although the natives of the North American east coast, particularly the southerly shores, had already suffered from numerous Spanish depredations and European-introduced epidemics,[97] the natives welcomed and fed the Roanoke pirate-colonists, who arrived via the Caribbean, where they plundered and traded with Spanish colonists.  The English pirate-colonists originally hunted for gold, and quickly wore out their native welcome, as they destroyed a town and burned its cornfields when a silver cup went missing.  The colony failed, with the survivors probably adopted into the native tribes.[98]

Raleigh followed up the Roanoke failure with a fruitless quest for El Dorado in South America, in 1595.  He also sought to establish a beachhead to attack and seize Spain’s South American mines.  Raleigh spent 13 years in the Tower of London for alleged treason against James I, and was finally released to seek El Dorado again.  James I forbade Raleigh to harass the Spanish, who were at peace with England at that time, but Raleigh’s expedition attacked a Spanish outpost, his son died in the process, and Raleigh lost his head in 1618 to satisfy the Spanish Crown. 

England's first permanent settlement in the New World was at Jamestown, founded in 1607.  By that time, Europeans had established their murderous intentions in that region, and Jamestown was a military outpost from the beginning, and no women accompanied the first landing.  As usual, the invaders sought gold, and their first task was building a fort in Pamunkey lands before the natives realized what was happening.  Due to European-introduced disease, those lands already had a small fraction of the human population that it possessed a century earlier.  It may have been no exaggeration when an elderly native told the English invaders in 1608 that he was the only surviving member of his family, going down his family tree for three generations.[99] 

Jamestown's relationship between natives and invaders was largely hostile from the beginning.  Powhatan was the Pamunkey chief and his warriors attacked before the fort was finished.  The English strategy was intimidating the natives with their weaponry, which included a cannon.  Largely for self-serving reasons, Powhatan initially fed the starving invaders, and both sides played diplomatic games.  Powhatan’s younger brother, Opechancanough, captured John Smith, the most capable Jamestown leader, when Smith tried forming an alliance with a tribe independent of Powhatan.  Powhatan studied Smith and adopted him.  Powhatan probably thought that he was installing his adopted relative as the chief of his new, dependent, white-skinned tribe.  The English tried reversing the political situation by crowning Powhatan the next year, and make him a subject of King James by doing so.  Neither side probably fully appreciated what the other tried accomplishing with its political gestures. 

The English then tried allying with Powhatan’s enemies, and Powhatan stopped feeding the invaders in 1608.  John Smith then raided neighboring villages and held people for ransom, including an infamous instance when he held a loaded gun against Opechancanough, as Smith extorted food.  In 1609, the English were starving, sick, and began spreading out along the shores in “self-sufficient” settlements.  In one expedition, Smith compelled the natives to “sell” an entire village, with its ripening cornfields, to the invaders.  War broke out, and Powhatan had his warriors encircle and starve out the Jamestown fort.   The Englishmen resorted to cannibalism that winter, and many fled and took up residence with the natives, in the first recorded English instances of “going native” in the New World.

Jamestown was about to be abandoned in 1610 when ships arrived with veterans of the bloody Irish wars.  “Going native” was a capital crime to the English overlords, and in 1610 Jamestown governor Thomas West, known as Lord De La Warr (the state of Delaware is named after him), demanded that Powhatan hand over those English runaways.  When Powhatan refused the demand, the English launched several exterminatory raids that wiped out entire villages, and concluded one particularly savage day by executing the children of the village’s chief.

During the first generation of “settlement,” Jamestown’s population was sustained by the continual influx of thousands of “settlers” to replace those who died of disease and starvation.  In 1612, some of Jamestown’s settlers ran off to live with the Indians, preferring the native way of life.  Governor Thomas Dale had them hunted down and executed.  Hanging, burning, shooting, and being tortured to death were among the treatments dealt out to those deserters.[100]  “Settlers” running off and going native was an epidemic problem for the invading English for generations, and extremely harsh methods were devised to discourage such “abandonment.”

The first Jamestown war ended in 1614, when Powhatan refused to pay the astronomical ransom that the English were demanding for his captured daughter, Pocahontas.  He instead accepted her marriage to an English settler who was experimenting with raising tobacco for export.  Pocahontas’s forced marriage was one of only three recorded Anglo-Pamunkey marriages during the 17th century.  The Smith-Pocahontas love story was originally a fabrication by Smith, and today’s tale is a retread of a probably true story of a native woman sparing a member of the ill-fated Narváez entrada, in Florida, nearly a century earlier.[101] 

Powhatan died in 1618, and his successor Opechancanough was under increasing pressure from the heavily armed and increasingly well provisioned invaders.  The invaders regularly entered into peace treaties that they fully intended to violate, and killing women, children, and the elderly was a standard English tactic.

By 1622, the land-hungry English had seized all the good land around Jamestown, and European disease and warfare further thinned the Pamunkey’s ranks.  Opechancanough demonstrated his misunderstanding of the English mind by planning what he thought would convince the invaders to quit Virginia.  A surprise attack killed 347 of the 1,240 English settlers, including the few women and children that lived there.[102]  Opechancanough, thinking like a native, thought that such a devastating blow would convince the English to leave.  He reckoned incorrectly.  The English retreated to their forts and began mounting attacks on the neighboring villages, which evolved to attacking and securing the fields, which led to hungry Pamunkey people.  As the English destroyed or raided native fields, the natives had to make new ones, which the English then sought.  During those attacks, the English mistakenly killed 30 native allies from the Patawomec tribe, who were helping the English find those new fields.  Killing “friendly” natives was something that the English and Americans did throughout their conquest of North America, and many times killing friendly natives was not all that accidental, with the discovery of their “mistake” accompanied by a wink. 

In 1623, English duplicity took a celebrated turn when they poisoned the wine at a peace conference with the Pamunkey, which killed 200 natives.  The English then engaged in their first reported scalping, of another 50 Pamunkey killed in an ambush.[103]  After Opechancanough’s failed strategy of surprise annihilation, it was open season on the natives.  In 1644, Opechancanough was nearly a hundred years old and he mounted one last attack on the invaders, but by that time the Pamunkey were little more than nuisances to the vastly more numerous and heavily armed English.  In 1646, Opechancanough was captured, chained, and put on display at Jamestown, where an English soldier, who was guarding him and thought too him prideful in his captivity, shot him to death.

With Opechancanough’s death, the Pamunkey were effectively an extinguished people, with most surviving women and children sold into slavery.  In 1672, 17 million pounds of tobacco were exported from Chesapeake Bay, and Virginia’s human population was about 44,000 in 1675.  About 3,500 of them were natives, 2,500 were African slaves, and 38,000 were Europeans.[104]  With their beachhead established, the English “settlers” quickly began invading their neighbors, seizing native lands, and completely eliminating entire tribes.[105]

While the English secured the lands of Virginia and vicinity, religious fanatics conquered New England.  The Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock were Calvinist Christians, and their dour, fearful philosophy contained a catalog of sinful behaviors that boggle today’s minds, such as kissing one’s child on the Sabbath or laughing.  Calvinist fanaticism would lead to one of the West’s last witch trials and executions, in 1692 in Salem.  American mythology has held that Calvinists came to the New World for religious freedom, but the facts do not support that notion.  The Mayflower's Pilgrims came from the Netherlands, where they had already escaped their persecution in England.  They sought economic opportunity, not religious freedom.  They were sailing to the English colony at Virginia in 1620, or perhaps the mouth of the Hudson River, but bad weather and poor navigation landed them in present-day Massachusetts.  They came ashore on land that had already been depopulated by European disease, and the Wampanoag tribe fed them and taught the English city dwellers how to farm and survive in the New World.

There really was an original Thanksgiving, when the Pilgrims and their native benefactors feasted and played games with each other, but the settlers eventually annihilated the tribe that welcomed them.  England's bloody record in New England is probably worse than its record in Virginia.[106]  In 1637, the English slaughtered an entire sleeping village of several hundred people of the Pequot tribe and sold the few survivors into slavery.  One leader of the massacre, John Underhill, later justified the attack by citing King David’s genocidal Old Testament activities.  The complete extermination of the village alarmed the Mohegan and Narragansett allies who accompanied the attack, and Underhill wrote that they complained about the English manner of fighting, because, “it is too furious, and slays too many men.”[107]

A Narragansett sachem, Miantonomi, whose tribe helped the English exterminate the Pequot, may have seen a hint of the future.  In 1642, he allegedly spoke to the Montauk tribe on Long Island and noted that the English arrival was ominous, and that unless the native tribes learned to put aside their differences and unite against the white man’s invasion, before long there would not be any more natives.[108]  The next year, citing rumors of that speech and other activities, the Massachusetts authorities had Miantonomi executed by the Mohegan, which was a rival tribe and Pequot offshoot.  The Mohegan subsequently made themselves useful to the Europeans as warriors and guides, and their utility kept them alive, although repeated visits of epidemics reduced their numbers.  Even after absorbing the remnants of tribes that they helped extinguish, there were less than 1,000 of them in 1680, and only about 200 in 1790.  Their “loyalty” may have kept them alive, but settlers kept acquiring their lands, and the tribe possessed only 2,300 acres in 1790, when their lands were broken up into individual plots.  The 1910 census recorded only 22 of them.  As with many other tribes that were seemingly extinct, the Mohegan made a comeback, being reorganized as a tribe in the 1970s and claiming about 1,000 members today, and the standard casino accompanied their resurgence. 

The Dutch, who colonized present day New York, were no better than the English, and the Manhattan governor offered the first known scalp bounty in 1641.   Because Underhill proved himself so effective at dispatching sleeping villages, in 1643 the Dutch hired him.  The first thing that Underhill’s men did was attack a friendly and tribute-paying local tribe, the Wappingers.  When attacked, the tribe fled to the Dutch governor and asked for protection, not knowing that he had hired their assailants.  The governor instead ordered their annihilation, and the subsequent attack killed about 80 men of fighting age, who were then scalped and skinned.  The remaining women and children were slaughtered, and severed heads were kicked around the streets of Manhattan like soccer balls during the subsequent celebration.  Then Underhill and his men tried exterminating the resisting local tribes, but usually only destroyed empty villages.  In 1644 however, Underhill successfully reproduced his night attack strategy, on a sleeping village of about 500 people.[109]  After Underhill’s men finished butchering them, the church leaders of Manhattan declared the second Thanksgiving.  The white invaders then held Thanksgiving celebrations after mass murders of natives.  That was the real Thanksgiving tradition in colonial America, which my history lessons in school failed to teach me, as I made my construction paper Pilgrim outfit in kindergarten.

Similar to Jamestown's residents who ran off and “went native,” in the earliest days of the Puritan invasion some had high appreciation for the native way of life and their human virtues, which were in far greater abundance among natives than contemporary Europeans.  Thomas Morton arrived in the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1625 and lived at his home at Merry Mount, happily living among the natives.  The New England of those days was a hunter and outdoorsman’s paradise, which was not lost on Morton, who eventually wrote New English Canaan, in which he marveled over the paradise that was New England.  Morton was first arrested by Miles Standish in 1628 and was shipped back to England to stand trial for selling guns and liquor to the Indians.  The charges had slim justification and the case collapsed, and Morton soon returned to his home at Merry Mount.  John Endicott then tried having Morton arrested in 1629 on a frivolous charge.  John Winthrop had Morton arrested the next year.  A kangaroo court ensued and Morton’s house was burned down and he was shipped back to England.  The Puritanical colonial authorities worked to silence Morton’s joyful voice for a generation.[110]  Morton concluded that colonial Puritan leaders were motivated by a joy in inflicting pain, agony, and bloodshed onto others.  As Richard Drinnon noted, Morton saw that the Puritan leaders:

 

“were not coldly righteous monsters, however great their hypocrisy, but men who found their cruelty great bloody fun.”[111]

 

While the symbol of Morton was his happy Maypole, the symbol of Puritans was the whipping post.  The typical English pattern of invasion and genocide was using the slightest imagined affront as justification for exterminating entire tribes and eagerly taking their land afterward.  In the northeastern USA, numerous towns have the word “field” as part of their name, such as the many Springfields that exist, one of which I once lived in.  The “field” came from the fact that the town was established by stealing a native village (often obtained by annihilating its inhabitants), and the “field” was where the natives raised their crops.

Notable Puritan leaders such as Cotton Mather rejoiced in the butchery and genocide.  Mather openly approved of Underhill’s annihilation of that Pequot village, writing that those women and children were “dismissed from a world that was burdened with them.”[112]  Mather wrote of that slaughter, “It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day.”[113]  Mather called the natives who fed and hosted the Puritans “ravenous howling wolves.”  The insatiably greedy Puritans and the other English settlers eventually seized more and more land that was Wampanoag, leading to what is called King Philip’s War in 1675.  Philip was the son of Massasoit, who was the chief that welcomed and fed the original Puritan invaders.  The war ended with the annihilation of the Wampanoag, and Philip’s head was mounted on a pole at Plymouth for 24 years.  Thus ended the tribe that welcomed the Puritans.  As with the Spanish in the New World, the English process of invasion and settlement devastated New England’s environment, which further doomed the natives.[114]

Underhill also remarked on the method by which the “savages” carried out warfare.  Their so-called warfare was highly ritualized, with symbolic gestures, such as firing arrows at the distant enemy and then going home.  Underhill said that Pequot battles seemed more for pastime than conquering and subduing enemies.  Henry Spelman, who lived among the Pamunkey, said that in their wars, “They might fight seven yeares and not kill seven men.”  The tribes of the Eastern Woodlands were largely matrilineal, which are far gentler than patrilineal societies, and in perhaps two-thirds of those tribes, warfare was so small a part of their existence that there were no “war stories or battle legends of any kind.”[115] 

The English practiced headhunting before they began invading the New World, as exemplified by Gilbert’s tactics in Ireland, as a way of instilling terror in the locals as well as confirming just who and how many they killed.[116]  In the New World, the English began paying people to deliver native heads.  Heads were more positive proof of death than scalps, as people could survive scalping, but scalps were easier to haul, as an adult human head weighed about eight pounds.  The English practice was not just for fun; big money was paid for scalps and heads.  During the 1600s, the English in New England offered scalp and head bounties.  In 1704, the Massachusetts authorities raised their bounty to 100 pounds per man’s scalp, 40 pounds per woman’s and “only” 20 pounds for a child’s.  In those days, a good New England farmer earned only about 25 pounds in a year.[117]

Murdering Indians became big business in colonial America, with such lucrative bounties.  Nobody could tell if a scalp came from a “friendly” or “hostile” native, and it was easier to kill “friendlies” than “hostiles,” so there was a great deal of “scalp fraud” among bounty hunters, as they preferred killing friendlies, and the less talented particularly went after women and children.  Even though women and children’s scalps paid less, there was far less risk in obtaining them, and they were more plentiful than braves.  In 1750, “pacifist” Pennsylvania lowered its definition of an adult native male to ten years old, to keep the bounty hunters happy and busy.  The scalp bounty business was an immensely popular undertaking in colonial America.  As an example, in 1757 the Reverend Thomas Smith of today’s Maine was in investor in a bounty-hunter operation.  In return for providing ammunition and provisions, Smith and his fellow investors received one-third of the bounty.[118]  Scalp and head bounties became an American institution wherever natives were to be found along the “American frontier,” clear up until the 1880s, when there were virtually no natives left to be scalped. 

The French had a gentler tenure in the New World, but that had more to do with France’s political-economic-demographic situation than benevolent intent.  While it is true that the French respected Native American culture more than any other European power did, during the 1760s, when France’s commitment to New World colonization was its greatest, it had fewer than 50,000 people in the New World, while the English had nearly a million members of its “surplus population” in the New World.[119]  Hence, France manipulated the native tribes to its ends more effectively than its European rivals did.  In 1536, Jacques Cartier impacted the native political situation by kidnapping leaders deemed obstructive to his aims.  Although Cartier’s men got scurvy and were cured by a native medicine man, an empirical observation that Europe would fail to embrace for the next three centuries, they left behind their calling card.  The natives began falling prey to European disease almost as soon as they met Cartier and his men.  Cartier began wearing out the native welcome early on, and after his last failed attempt at invasion/settlement, the French left the area and did not return for 60 years.

In 1598, 70 French settlers tried establishing a colony on uninhabited Sable Island off of Nova Scotia, in a rich fishing area, and had it to themselves.  They were impressed criminals, beggars, and other losers of French society.  With no interference from either the natives or France’s European rivals, the colony completely failed, with murders and desertions.  In 1603, the 11 survivors were rescued and brought back to France.[120]

When Samuel de Champlain returned to found Quebec in 1608, he found that the entire St. Lawrence Valley was depopulated.  There is speculation as to its cause, but if other European experiences carry any weight, the diseases that Cartier’s men began spreading almost immediately in 1535 were at least partly responsible.[121]  The “help” that Champlain provided the Hurons led to a fairly unique event in 1609.  It is about the only surviving account of what North American warfare was like before Europeans arrived.  Champlain went with a Huron war party to go hunt their rivals, the Mohawks.  Champlain was their secret weapon.  The Huron and Mohawk met on the shores of Lake Champlain.  The Huron sent a delegation to the Mohawks, to confirm their willingness to fight.  The Mohawk then hastily made a barricade.  That night, the two war parties camped within earshot of each other, singing songs and shouting insults.  The next day, the groups approached each other, as three Mohawk chiefs advanced to meet the Huron, still with no arrows being fired or other hostile behavior, Champlain came from his hiding place behind the Huron warriors and shot the chiefs with his arquebus, which immediately killed two of them and mortally wounded the third.  The Huron killed many surprised and overmatched Mohawk warriors that day.[122]  The event gave more evidence of the notion that pre-European Native American warfare, even among such “savage” tribes as the Mohawk, resembled rugby matches more than European-style warfare.

The Huron and Iroquois, as with other tribes, had an unfortunate habit of torturing a captive warrior to death, which horrified Champlain.  The Spanish were horrified at human sacrifice, and the French at torturing captives.  Cannibalism however, was a myth virtually made from whole cloth by Columbus on his first voyage (a favorite European myth, to describe “savage” people) and a self-serving one that did not disappear.  Those were definitely dark sides to Native American cultures, but it all depended on what “atrocity” captured the European fancy.[123]  Burning people to death was a European specialty, which horrified Native Americans.  Being fed to the dogs (a Spanish specialty) was considered the worst way to die for the natives of today’s Latin America, and the Spanish fed native infants to their dogs as a canine delicacy.  The highly warlike Aztecs did not kill women, children, and the elderly, which a warrior knew had no honor in it (although an offering cache of about 40 sacrificed children was discovered during the excavation of Tenochtitlán’s great temple, during the 1970s).  The Europeans preferred killing women, children, and the elderly instead of native warriors, as they were far easier to kill, and that practice would eventually render the tribe extinct, which was the desired result.  Europeans were selective in what horrified them about Native American practices, and would usually greatly exaggerate the darker aspects.  While many tribes that Europeans encountered were relatively gentle and friendly, anthropologists looking for peaceful Golden Ages of the human past generally come away disappointed

That “help” that Champlain gave the Huron tribe was short-lived.  The next year, they marauded across the land with their newfound military advantage and annihilated a Mohawk party that they came upon.  The Mohawk did not raid Huron lands for a generation.  The Mohawk fought a war with the Mahican to gain access to Dutch arms at Fort Orange in 1624.  French Jesuit missionaries had been proselytizing in North America since 1611, and their tenure in North America was the gentlest European effort that those early days of invasion would see.  Although there was sincere, soul-saving effort made by many Jesuits, it was part of a larger pattern of exploitation that France inflicted on the natives.  No matter how seemingly benevolent the Jesuit intent, their presence exterminated the natives.  Priestly zeal was exploited by French elites, similar to how Peace Corps volunteer zeal is manipulated today, or how the CIA exploited Ralph McGehee's zeal.   Wherever the Jesuits showed up, smallpox broke out, beginning as early as 1625.

The Huron did not miss the “coincidence” of priests and smallpox arriving at the same time.  Huron leaders contemplated wiping out all priests, but did not, while smallpox repeatedly swept through their ranks.  Similar to the Spanish experience with the Aztecs, the natives noticed that European intruders seemed immune from the scourge that carried off so many of their people.  While Cortés attained mythic status among the natives because the 1520 Mesoamerican smallpox epidemic failed to decimate the Spanish invaders, the Huron concluded that the Jesuits must have more powerful medicine and gods, because the epidemics left them untouched.  As the Huron died in droves, many decided that the Christian god might be able to save them, and the Jesuits then had great success in converting the natives.

In 1630, there were about 30,000 Huron.  By 1640, waves of smallpox reduced them to about 10,000, and half of the survivors were Christian.  In the culture that existed before the French arrived, the decimated Huron would have come to an accommodation with the Mohawk, who after all were their cousins, as both tribes were Iroquoian.  Fired up with new crusading Christian zeal, however, the Huron began attacking the far more numerous Mohawk, who had long possessed European arms, even though a peace agreement had been negotiated in 1645.  The Mohawk and Seneca responded in kind.  By 1649, when the Mohawk and Seneca destroyed Huron villages and adopted the surviving women and children into their tribes, the complete demise of the Huron tribe had come to pass.[124]  From warfare that resembled rugby matches to the complete extinction of a people in 40 years; that was the typical effect of the European invasion, even at its most benevolent.

Even though the French and Dutch efforts had disastrous effects on natives, the English were by far the most murderous and overtly exterminatory of the European powers in North America, which is partly why they were the most successful.  The story of the English in North America is a continual tale of invasion and genocide, with even deliberate introduction of European disease to the natives, which may have even begun in the Massachusetts colony in 1636.[125]  As the Spanish did, the English hunted the natives with their dogs.[126]  Hunting humans was the ultimate sport for both Spanish and English “settlers.” 

Not very different from the Spanish experience, ambitious Englishmen wanted to carve out empires of their own in the New World, and in 1776 a new kind of empire was born.

 

Fathers of a Different Kind of Empire

The French and English, virtually alone on the world imperial stage during the 1700s, had several full-fledged wars in North America, beginning as early as 1689.  In all those wars and heated rivalries, the big losers were the natives, whether they were in North America, Australia, Asia, or the South Pacific.  Europeans did not arrive to help anybody but themselves.

In 1756 the Seven Years’ War began, and was largely about Great Britain and France competing in the Empire Game.  The war was played out across the globe, which foreshadowed the so-called World Wars of the 20th century.  On Continental Europe, Russia and Austria allied with France, Prussia with Great Britain, and other minor players were in the mix.  The most important impact on the world’s people, however, was the imperial rivalry between Great Britain and France beyond Europe.  In North America, the British/French war was called the French and Indian War, and in India it was called the Third Carnatic War.  In 1763 the British were victorious, and the next year they began raping India, which began in Bengal.  After losing India and much of North America to the British, the French then began searching for new lands to claim, and a period of competition between the French and British ensued, especially in the South Pacific.[127]  The French were losers there too, as James Cook visited Australia in 1768 and New Zealand in 1769, which set the stage for British invasion and colonization.  In 1773, Cook made the first visit to the Antarctic icepack, and in 1778 Cook “discovered” the last great unconquered land: Hawaii, which was probably the closest thing there was to an earthly paradise.

Along with the imperial rivalry was a more salutary trend.  The Renaissance marked the beginning of the end of the Catholic Church’s dominance.  The Protestant Reformation dominated European affairs for a century and culminated in the Thirty Years’ War.  The 17th century saw the rise of science and reason, and Galileo, Newton, Descartes, Bacon, and others made their contributions.  By the early 1700s, science and reason were on the rise and religion was on the wane.  England’s Civil War, also known as the Puritan Revolution, began in 1642 and initiated conflicts that lasted 20 years.  It was the beginning of the end of royal absolutism in England and challenged the Divine Right of Kings that James I believed so fervently in.  James’s son, Charles I, ended up being publicly tried and beheaded in 1649.  The “rabble” was beginning to have a say in their governing, and kings and popes had less influence. 

In 1688, England had its Glorious Revolution, which permanently limited English royalty's power.  In 1689, the English Parliament passed its Bill of Rights and Tolerance Act, which promoted religious tolerance.  Both English legal acts of 1689 directly influenced the USA's Bill of Rights.

The Frenchman Voltaire spent his first stint behind bars in 1717 for his satirical writings, and his work came to epitomize an era known as the Enlightenment, which was well established by 1750.  France was its heart, and philosophers across Western Europe, in Great Britain most particularly, embraced the movement.  Paradoxically, as imperial rivals batted across the globe for supremacy, their Enlightenment theorists argued for the inherent equality of all people.  Today’s scholars legitimately wonder just how influential the European experience in the New World was to its Enlightenment philosophers, where truly egalitarian societies were witnessed, which was far removed from the European experience.[128]

The collision of Great Britain's and France’s rivalry, the Enlightenment, and the ambition of British colonists led to the American Revolution and the birth of a new kind of empire.  The profits of slavery helped fuel British efforts, both the chattel slavery in North America and the Caribbean, as well as the imperial exploitation that Great Britain imposed on India.  The most prominent British colonists in America were often slaveholders.  Founding Fathers such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin (and even “Give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death” Patrick Henry) were affluent slaveholders.  Washington was probably the richest man in America when he became president. 

The Europeans played divide-and-conquer from the very beginnings of their invasions, and natives rarely realized the European game and put aside their differences to form a united front.  Far too often, testosterone overrode the brains and hearts of young men, which thwarted the attempts of elders to maintain peace among the tribes.[129]  The French, partly because they had far fewer colonists in the New World, and partly because they were less arrogant and exterminatory than the English, had friendlier relations with the natives, although the French could also be genocidists.  French attempts to exterminate the Fox tribe alienated their native allies, which ultimately diminished French efforts in the region.[130]  After a generation of warfare, the fiercely independent Fox (who called themselves the Mesquaki) were very weakened by 1730, and living in present-day Wisconsin.  They tried escaping, to go live with the Seneca in present day New York, but their flight was detected.  About three-quarters of the remaining Fox were women, children, and the elderly.  After a siege of a hastily constructed fort in a stand of trees, the Fox asked to surrender, but the French gave no quarter and the tribe was nearly exterminated, with several hundred killed.  The survivors were parceled out to French-allied tribes.[131] 

The Delaware tribe is of Algonquin origin, and they call themselves the Lenape.  When Europeans arrived, they had been living on the North America’s east coast, occupying today’s New Jersey and vicinity, for thousands of years.  They were considered the eldest of the region’s tribes and had great respect.  Their first contact with Europeans was with the Italian explorer Verrazano, working on behalf of France in 1524.[132]  Verrazano tried kidnapping the friendly natives.  Slave raids were about the only times that coastal natives saw white people for the next 80 years of European contact, which understandably made them a bit hostile toward the invaders.  When Europe's invasion began in earnest, warfare and disease quickly decimated the Delaware, and they were forced to relocate about 20 times before ending up in today’s Oklahoma.

A number of the Delaware diaspora became visionaries and prophets and influenced other tribes.  Some were pacifists, others were warlike, and Pontiac became a disciple of one of them.  An Indian only known today as the Delaware Prophet encouraged the natives to give up drunkenness, intertribal war, magic, and other practices, and said that if the natives regenerated their culture, they would be strong again and able to resist the European invasion.  In 1760, when the French left the scene, the natives were on their own with the British, whose arrogant, paternalistic, and exterminatory attitudes and behaviors led to friction.  After three years of dealing with the British, Pontiac had enough.  He was chief of the Ottawa tribe and tried uniting the natives from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico to attack the British encroachments into Indian lands.  In 1763 the attacks began, and they were successful.  The British invasion of the Ohio River Valley was especially targeted.  Virginian land speculators such as George Washington led the invasion.  The French captured Washington and his men in 1754.

As Pontiac’s forces laid siege to forts in Detroit and today’s Pittsburgh (Fort Pitt), Jeffrey Amherst, who commanded the British army in North America, and for whom a town in Massachusetts is named, had a series of exchanges with his commanders, and the strategy of giving the Native Americans smallpox blankets was raised and approved by Amherst, rather offhandedly.  They gave out smallpox blankets, and a smallpox epidemic broke the siege.  The timing of letters, handing out smallpox blankets, and epidemics makes it doubtful whether giving out smallpox blankets led to the epidemic during the siege, but during the following year, smallpox annihilated the Ohio River Valley’s natives, making its conquest by the USA, a generation later, an easier task.  The intention of germ warfare is clear, and surely at least contributed to the resulting epidemic that killed more than 100,000 people.  Amherst was one a long line of British genocidists, and he even wrote that he wished he could use the Spanish “dog” method on the Indians, but lamented the fact that he did not have enough dogs for the job.[133]  Ben Franklin was a staunch advocate of using dogs on the Indians.[134] 

Not long after Amherst mentioned his longing to use dogs on Native Americans, the English nearly replicated the Spanish experience in the Caribbean on the aboriginal inhabitants of Tasmania.  On Tasmania, British invaders used natives for dog food, and three centuries after the Spanish atrocities the British did the same thing when the opportunity presented itself.  The colonization of the South Pacific and Australia was supposedly the “enlightened” colonization.  There were only about 5,000 original Tasmanians, because they were hunter-gatherers and the hunter-gatherer lifestyle cannot support nearly the population densities that agricultural societies can, as the Caribbean islanders were.  By 1843, only 43 Tasmanians were left alive, and the last Tasmanian died in 1905, for a complete genocide that the British were responsible for during the modern age. 

There was a temporary positive effect for the natives due to Pontiac’s war.  King George III made the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that set aside the lands between the Appalachians and Mississippi River to be reserved for native tribes.  The colonists largely ignored the proclamation if they even heard of it.  Daniel Boone was illegally penetrating into today’s Kentucky by 1769.  He had big dreams to build his empire there, but he was not nearly as successful in his empire-building dreams as Washington was.[135]

While tribes were regularly exterminated, some scattered survivors eked out existences here and there, to give rise to tribes/nations making a “comeback” today, and the Taino, Huron, and Wampanoag are examples of this trend.  It can be seen as a healthy trend (although the casino phenomenon is anything but auspicious), there is reason for skepticism toward some claims, but critiques of white people appropriating Native American culture are accurate.[136]  I am nearly an eighth Native American myself (Creek tribe, and perhaps a bit of another), although native blood in the family was something that my ancestors vehemently denied.  The “taint” is obvious in some of my relatives; their bloodlines are supposedly all from Northern Europe, but some could have been convincing extras in Dances with Wolves.  Although I have some native blood, I write this essay as a white American, which I consider myself to be. 

In 1769, James Watt invented the modern steam engine, which was one of the 18th century’s most important events, as it made the Industrial Revolution possible.  In 1776, two events marked the rise of a new kind of empire.  One was American elites signing the Declaration of Independence, and the other was the publication of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.  Similar to how the Catholic Church’s influence began unraveling as it reached new heights of power, just as Great Britain was reaching a truly global dominance, its most successful colonies revolted.  The American Revolution likely would not have succeeded without French assistance, as France did what it could to thwart its rival.  Capitalism already existed when Adam Smith wrote his monumental work, although the term would not be used until the 19th century.  Smith, an Enlightenment philosopher, would have been horrified by today’s corporate capitalism, although he is considered its father today.

Europe’s money supply tripled during the first 50 years of the Spanish invasion, and wealth became seen as money, and money could buy everything, even a ticket to heaven, in Spanish eyes.  Greed became a European mainstay from that time forward.  European ideologists transformed a deadly sin into a virtue, and greed is assumed in today’s capitalistic ideology, with its “law” of supply and demand, and ever-increasing profits (for the idle owners) being the primary reason for a corporation’s existence.  Once ideological principles are assumed, they largely become invisible and are rarely examined afterward. 

The European concept of wealth became abstracted with the money revolution, and it became further abstracted with the rise of capitalism.  Shares of corporate stock are the ultimate symbols of wealth in today’s world and define the fortunes of the world’s richest people, from Bill Gates and the Walton (Wal-Mart) family on downward.  Around the year 2000, Bill Gates possessed more “wealth” than the 100 million poorest Americans combined, to reach surreal levels of wealth concentration.  The rise of the corporation was evident when Great Britain began plundering India, and shares of the English East India Company became coveted as the money rolled in from the rape of Bengal, and the East India Company became India's acting government. 

The USA's government is hailed as the world’s oldest and the best example of the virtues of democracy.  The facts are something different.  More than 400 years ago, and perhaps as many as 800 years ago, the Iroquois Confederation came into being, founded on its “Great Law of Peace.”  It still exists.  American elites created the Constitution by borrowing heavily from the Iroquois Confederation’s system.  The Iroquois had a system that is still more democratic than any political system that the West ever devised.  Women owned the village land, cast their children’s vote in proxy, and elected the chiefs.  The women could replace the chiefs if they did not act as the women liked.  It was a balance of power between the sexes that no Western nation has ever approached.  White men can still be found who deride the influence of the Iroquois system on the Constitution as “apocryphal,” partly because the Iroquois have never put their law to paper.  The Iroquois believe that ideas lose too much of their meaning when committed to a limiting form such as writing (and can more easily fall prey to dogmatism, not to mention legalism), a common understanding among the “primitive” natives. 

The Iroquois government was highly decentralized and democratic, with decisions being made by consensus and little power vested in the hands of any one person.  When the USA used the Iroquois system as a model, those monarchical Europeans invented the executive branch (George Washington was almost named king, and to his credit did not like the idea), which has been the primary method by which the USA's government has been undermined, with almost wholly unaccountable executive branch agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, FBI, CIA, Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and the like, agencies that rely in large measure on secrecy, deception, and violence.  The balance of power between the branches of the USA's government is more theoretical than actual, as the same rich interests largely own all of them, but the presidency is the easiest to manipulate, as there is only one person in that branch, although his retinue is immense.

When English colonists declared their independence in 1776, industrialization was in its early stages, and land was still seen as the greatest source of wealth.  George Washington became America’s richest man by “surveying” and stealing Native American land.[137]  Stealing their land stole their lives. 

American mythologists conjured stories from the thin air about Washington (as they did about Columbus), such as the story of him chopping down a cherry tree and admitting it to his father because he “could not tell a lie.”  Contrary to the fairy tales, Washington was one of American history’s most successful criminals, aptly described as the “father of our country.”  In 1783, as the dust was still settling on America’s successful elite revolt (although the poor were drafted to fight in it), Washington presented a plan to the Continental Congress to defraud Native Americans.  It was a blueprint for theft and genocide.  Washington built his fortune partly by stealing native land, so his plan came to him quite naturally, although his initial, more openly militaristic, plan of theft was modified by General Philip Schuyler’s “low intensity” method of swindling the natives.[138]

Washington's plan was to compel Native Americans to sell their land by treaty.  The USA's agents would promise that their new nation would honor its treaties, but the promises would only be kept until the “settlers” arrived.  Then the treaties were not worth the paper they were printed on and the tribes would be coerced to “sell” their treaty-provided lands and be forced ever westward.  Washington advocated a divide-and-conquer strategy of negotiating with each tribe separately and trying to incite animosity between them by playing one against the other.  The new “settlers” would then exterminate the game and raze the forests, thereby making the land even less desirable to the natives.  Washington specifically recommended that Indian lands be promised to Revolutionary War veterans.  Having those veterans “settle” in Indian lands would form a vanguard of invasion, and those veterans could be used to create a ready-made militia when the inevitable violence broke out as the natives were forced off their land.  That plan was consistent with Washington’s view of the natives.  Washington doubted that the natives were quite human.  He wrote that buying out the natives was preferable to removing them by force, and that their eventual removal would be:

 

“like driving the Wild Beasts of the Forest…when the gradual extension of our Settlements will as certainly cause the Savage as the Wolf to retire; both being beasts of prey tho’ they differ in shape.”[139]

 

The new nation was weak, and Washington’s plan was, in his words, “the cheapest and least distressing way” of eliminating the Indians.  Allan Eckert observed that Washington’s conspiracy was “immoral, unethical and actually criminal,” but it “was so logical and well laid out that it was immediately accepted practically without opposition and at once put into action.”  Eckert concluded, “Without even realizing it occurred, the fate of all Indians in the country was sealed.  They had lost virtually everything.”[140]  I was never told of Washington’s clever plan, during four years of American history studies, including college. 

History has shown how well Washington’s plan worked.  Of more than 370 treaties foisted onto native tribes by the USA during the succeeding century, historians cannot find even one that the USA honored.  When natives were coerced into the “voluntary” ceding of lands, the USA's government paid them between one and two cents per acre, and then turned around and sold it to land companies and “settlers” for between one and two dollars per acre.[141]  Forced sales at 1% of the retail price probably is, in proportional terms and arguably even in absolute terms, history’s greatest swindle.  When Nazi Germany compelled Jews to sell off their properties in the 1930s for bottom dollar in their Aryanization program, the “sellers” received around half of the asking price.[142]  My ancestors profited handsomely from the “cessions” of Native American land.[143]  The issue of dishonest treaty implementation still exists today in most of the USA's dealings with foreign countries.  Washington was the architect of America’s Final Solution to the Indian Problem, and America has a national holiday in his name.

As Zinn observed about Columbus, that little tidbit about Washington’s plan, which cannot be found in the standard biographies, while American children are told outright fairy tales about him, is far from innocent.  It is not merely good-natured story telling, to deceive American children into ranking Washington up there with Santa Claus.  Washington’s land grabs, both imperial and private, were the very essence of his life and career, and to sweep his greatest crime/achievement under the rug, while extolling his honesty with fabricated tales, is a form of reality-inversion.  In 2007, somebody noted that omission in Wikipedia's Washington biography, and cited this essay.  I am not holding my breath waiting for Washington's greatest feat to make it into his biographies. 

The natives, to their credit, saw the likely outcome of a successful revolt by those elite colonists and few supported the revolutionaries.  The Indians generally backed Great Britain or hoped that they would win.  At that time, Great Britain was trying to honor its Royal Proclamation of 1763.  However, land speculators, Franklin and Washington among them, set their sights on the Ohio River Valley. 

About as many colonists were loyal to Great Britain as revolted.  About 500,000 American colonists of the day would be considered “loyalists,” about 20% of the colonist population.[144]  The revolutionaries forced as many as 100,000 British loyalists to flee the colonies.  Both “rebels” and “loyalists” were often more on the order of bloodthirsty, criminal rabble than bona fide soldiers.[145]  Washington as general did not have a high regard for his Yankee soldiers, noting after a review of his troops in 1775, “an unaccountable kind of stupidity in the lower class of these people.”[146]  Washington disdained the militias, while they were probably a deciding factor in the war.  As with all wars, the poor did the bulk of the fighting for the colonies during the American Revolution, and the war may have widened the gap between rich and poor in America.[147]

By the time that Washington became the USA's first president in 1789, the American invasion of westward lands was well underway.  New York, the Ohio River Valley, and Kentucky were early prizes.  After nearly two centuries of ultimately fruitless bloodshed, the Iroquois vacated their lands and went to reservation land in Canada, with hardly a shot being fired.  Ironically, the Seneca, an Iroquois tribe, who had treaty rights to about half of present-day New York State in 1784, were devastated at Washington’s instruction during the Revolutionary War, and Washington was known as “Town Destroyer” among the Seneca.[148]  Seneca leader Red Jacket told Washington in 1792 that the mere mention of his name brought trembling fear to Seneca women and children.[149] 

Washington was the first in a long line of American empire builders who made the USA into the global empire it is today.  John Jay summarized the attitude of the Founding Fathers when he said that those who owned the country should run it.  The hallowed Constitution made it clear just who were true citizens and who were not.  Full-fledged citizens were white, land-owning men.  Women, slaves, natives, and white men who did not “own” stolen native land were specifically excluded.  In Virginia, in those early days of the republic, about 1% of the population could vote; a proportion that approximates the Communist Party in China in the early 21st century.  Just who were the real “patriots” during the American Revolution: the rebels, or those loyal to King George?[150]

The USA has been a plutocracy from its earliest days, and having its richest citizen as its first president was no coincidence.  Interestingly, the slave-owning elites were the very people who often yelled for “liberty” the loudest.[151]  Alexander Hamilton (one of the few Founding Fathers who was not an ardent slave owner), who wanted Washington to become America’s first king, unabashedly sought to give the rich a “permanent share in our government.”[152]  The new American government immediately imposed heavy taxation onto America’s poor, generally without fair representation, the exact thing that the Founding Fathers said they were fighting the British over.  The oppression led to revolts such as Shays’ Rebellion in 1786.  The Whiskey Rebellion in 1794 was waged over Hamilton’s whiskey excise tax, which fell heavily on Pennsylvanian farmers.

Hamilton wanted to make George Washington America’s first king, but Thomas Jefferson believed more strongly in democratic ideals.  Hamilton and Jefferson were both in Washington’s cabinet, and their differences in philosophy led to the non-Constitutional phenomenon of political parties, and the first two were the Federalist and Democrat Republican. 

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were members of a committee of five people that drafted the Declaration of Independence, as was Ben Franklin.  The sacred Declaration of Independence is an interesting document.  In its original draft, Jefferson charged King George III with waging a “cruel war against human nature” for Great Britain’s participation in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  Although Jefferson was casting blame on King George, the southern slave-owning “patriots” would not support anything that cast a harsh light on their hallowed institution, so those words were struck from it.  What all the Founding Fathers heartily agreed upon, however, was the following passage:

 

“He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

 

Interestingly, as the English killed all men, women, and children from the earliest days of their invasion, with the mass slaughters even cheered on by their religious leaders, they remarked that when the natives captured white women, they never raped them, as had been standard operating practice for Europeans for millennia.  So, while the Indians are uncontroversially merciless savages in the Declaration of Independence, the institution of slavery passed in silence and the reader is left with the high-minded rhetoric that stated, “all men are created equal,” and among their inalienable rights were the right of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  The original statement by John Locke was the “pursuit of property,” but was changed to “happiness” by Jefferson to try appealing to the property-less, who comprised the majority of those living in the colonies.  The notions of liberty and property were firmly conjoined in those days of the ascending British Empire.[153]  What to make of such a document?  Today’s defenders of the Founding Fathers make generous allowances for such a remarkable bifurcation of their minds.  Perhaps it is an example of what George Orwell would call “doublethink” in his 1984.  Jefferson would later write that the choices left to the natives were “extermination” or expulsion from their lands. 

Along with Declaration of Independence, Jefferson and Adams drafted the Articles of War for the new nation, and they simply retreaded the British laws when making it a crime for Americans to use “traitorous or disrespectful words” toward Congress or state legislatures.[154]  Adams made that proposed wartime crime a peacetime crime, soon after he came to office.  Two laws were passed in 1798, which reflected Adams’s elitist views.  The laws were the Alien Act and the Sedition Act.  Adams and friends did not want revolutionaries from France, Ireland or, God forbid, Haiti, stirring up trouble, so the Alien Act authorized the summary deportations of “revolutionaries.”  Adams did not use the Alien Act, but the Sedition Act was used effectively.

The Sedition Act made it a crime to criticize American officials.  Even before the Sedition Act was passed, Ben Franklin’s grandson was jailed for criticizing Adams’s administration.[155]  The Sedition Act helped lead to Adams’s political downfall, and the law expired in 1801, but various Sedition Acts were passed during the next two centuries.  The Espionage Act, passed in 1917 to specifically curtail freedom of speech (even presidential candidate Eugene Debs, a staunch pacifist, was jailed by its authority), is in force in 2014. 

Other abridgments of freedom of speech exist today.  Pondering the gauntlet that Ralph McGehee had to run to publish his memoirs, or all of those fired American journalists, can be a sobering experience for those who think that there is true freedom of speech in the USA. 

Jefferson and John Adams both served as emissaries to France, as did Franklin.  Adams and Jefferson were destined to represent two distinct philosophies of American politics.  Jefferson nominally believed in democratic rule and was sympathetic to the French Revolution.  Adams saw what the French mobs did with their guillotines, wanted no part of it, and aligned himself with the royalist Hamilton.  Jefferson and Adams became heated rivals during their political careers, but rekindled their friendship in their retirement, both dying on the same day.

Adams was a Puritan from Massachusetts, believed strongly in religion, and admired English royalty.  Jefferson, although a slave-owner, embodied the Enlightenment in America, and as with Washington and Franklin, Jefferson was a deist, not a Christian.  Jefferson even created the Jefferson Bible, in which he edited out all the “miracles” of Jesus and other parts that a rationalist/materialist had a difficult time swallowing.  Jefferson rightfully thought highly of Jesus’s ethics, but wanted no part of religion’s baggage.  There was no resurrection in the Jefferson Bible, which ended with Jesus’s entombment.

In the 1790s, the new nation was quite weak.  Giving grants of Indian land to soldiers was partly done because the government could not afford to pay them, so the government gave away what they had yet to possess.  Washington waged war against the natives as soon as he became president.  His strategy of fraudulent diplomacy and low-intensity conflict was not always sufficient.  In 1791 the American army, a fighting force more than two thousand strong, led by Major General Arthur St. Clair, invaded the Ohio River Valley and was trounced by a smaller contingent of native warriors in present day Ohio, not far from Dayton.  That defeat saw the greatest proportional casualties that the American army ever suffered.  Washington, sobered by the disaster, was able to commit more than a million dollars, a large sum in those days, to making the American military more formidable.[156]  Within a few years, the American conquest of the upper Ohio River Valley was complete, with the Battle of Fallen Timbers won in 1794 and the Greenville Treaty signed in 1795, which the USA violated in short order, as future president William Henry Harrison led the swindle of the natives.[157]  Harrison’s efforts helped lead to Tecumseh's campaign to unite the native tribes to resist further invasion.  The USA's expansionism, not only against the native tribes, but also against its European rivals, helped lead to the War of 1812, although that aspect of the war’s dynamic is generally minimized or missing from the mainstream histories.  After the War of 1812, the Indians no longer received help from Europe, particularly the UK; they were on their own against the American government and "settlers" who coveted their land.[158] 

Washington, as was the case with most American plantation owners of the day, engaged in the triple evil of raising tobacco on stolen land with slave labor.  It is said that Washington was “troubled” by the institution of slavery.  Maybe so, but not troubled enough to actually free any of his slaves.  He should be given some credit, however; his will called for freeing his slaves after his wife died, although he illegally kept slaves at his Philadelphia residence when president, and when one escaped (two escaped Philadelphia when he was president), Washington attempted recovery by having her kidnapped.  He signed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which made it a crime to assist a freed slave, and thereby created a slave-catching industry.

Washington was a typical Founding Father in significant ways.  Thomas Jefferson shared many of Washington’s sentiments.  Perhaps more than any other Founding Father, Jefferson could pen the most impressive rhetoric, as with the Declaration of Independence.  All too often however, his actions were a different matter.  While writing about unalienable rights, Jefferson owned quite a stable of slaves.  Similar to Washington, while Jefferson was supposedly a father of freedom, he never freed any of his slaves while he was alive.  His hagiographers can always be counted on to stress how well Jefferson treated his slaves, and that he could not afford to free any (and there is a raging debate today regarding Jefferson perhaps fathering the slaves that he freed upon his death).  He sold his personal library, America’s largest private library, which contained more than 6,000 books, for $23,950 to the Library of Congress, a vast sum in those days.  Jefferson’s plantation went deeply into debt, up to $120,000.  The issue of freeing the slaves was purely economic.  Jefferson could not afford to free his slaves, at least if he wanted to continue playing the aristocrat game; such was the logic of an economic system built on turning people into property.

Jefferson exemplified the deeply ingrained racism of America.  In scale, intensity, and duration, the USA is history’s most racist nation.  Jefferson, being a child of the Enlightenment, thus derived scientific rationales for his racism.  In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson tried his hand at anthropology and wrote at length about African slaves.  Jefferson thought they were equal to whites in feats of memory, but inferior in reasoning ability, and he put them well below Native Americans in ability to make art and speak.[159]  That is not to indict Jefferson, but to demonstrate how thoroughly racist early America was, that the embodiment of the Enlightenment in America could speculate on the natural inferiority of Africans.  If people such as him are hoisted into America’s Pantheon, people Americans are supposed to look up to, it is only ethical to examine the saint’s life.  Jefferson later reasoned that the treatment of slaves might have contributed to their condition, which his abolitionist friend Benjamin Rush was fully convinced of.

Other events further demonstrated Jefferson’s humanity.  Near his home was an Indian burial mound, and not a long abandoned one.  Jefferson noted that about 30 years earlier, passing natives went 12 miles out of their way to visit the mound, where they solemnly stayed for “some time.”  The burial mound was about 40 feet in diameter and 12 feet high.  Jefferson made an excavation into the mound, cutting a ditch from end-to-end that he could walk through.  He took bones and examined them, noting that skulls generally fell apart in his hands.  Jefferson played archeologist, and estimated that about 1,000 natives were interred there.[160]  While Jefferson would declare that the “dead have no rights,” the burial mounds were sacred in the Indian view, as cemeteries are respected in white culture.  If Jefferson had played archeologist in a white cemetery, one not long ago visited by solemn descendants, he would have been called a grave robber.[161]

In 1792, Jefferson’s notes recorded a meeting with the British ambassador, George Hammond.  Hammond made the blunt observation that the Indians were the big losers in Europe’s New World, and that the USA's intentions appeared to be to “exterminate the Indians and take their lands.”  Jefferson replied that the USA's system was instead designed to protect the natives (too bad that Hammond could not produce Washington’s plan at that meeting), and that the USA had “no views of even purchasing any more lands from them for a long time.”  Between the meeting with Hammond and Jefferson’s handing over the presidency to James Madison in 1809, the USA had acquired, largely by deception and force, nearly 110 million acres of Indian lands.[162]

In an 1803 letter to then Indiana governor William Henry Harrison, before the Lewis and Clark expedition was launched, Jefferson echoed Washington’s strategy by admitting that:

 

“To promote this disposition to exchange lands, which they have to spare and we want, for necessaries, which we have to spare and they want, we shall push our trading uses, and be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands.”

 

And later in his letter:

 

“As to their fear, we presume that our strength and their weakness is now so visible that they must see we have only to shut our hand to crush them, and that all our liberalities to them proceed from motives of pure humanity only.  Should any tribe be fool-hardy enough to take up the hatchet at any time, the seizing the whole country of that tribe, and driving them across the Mississippi, as the only condition of peace, would be an example to others, and a furtherance of our final consolidation.”

 

Jefferson concluded by telling Harrison that it would be “improper” to reveal the content of his letter to the natives.[163]  The sitting president made his logic plain in 1807, and warned that, “In war, they shall kill some of us; we shall destroy all of them.”  In 1813 during his retirement, Jefferson made his intent clearer.  There were two choices regarding the natives, “extermination, or drive them to new seats beyond our reach.”[164]  Hitler drew inspiration from the way that America pursued its Final Solution, and regarded it as a forerunner of his programs.  Hitler sought to clear Eastern Europe of subhumans, for German “settlers.”[165] 

The Big Three Founding Fathers were Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin.  Ben Franklin was the universal man of the English colonies who put America on the intellectual map.  He originally amassed a fortune in the printing business and is considered the father of America’s free press.  He then retired at a young age and pursued science, civics, and politics.

In 1744, at a conference between Indians and the colonists, an Iroquois leader noted that the colonial system was impossible for the Indians to deal with, with 13 different governments.  If the colonies came together, as the Iroquois did, it would be far easier, administratively.  Franklin took the Iroquois's observation seriously, and in 1754 Franklin introduced his Albany Plan of Union, which is considered the first step toward the creation of the USA's Constitution.[166]  A large delegation of the Iroquois Grand Council was there to advise Franklin and the colonists on forming their confederacy.  Franklin played a crucial role in the American Revolution, being the ambassador to France and parlaying his celebrity into gaining French assistance, without which the American Revolution probably would not have succeeded.  While the Americans rarely had 10,000 soldiers in the field at any time, the French committed more than 30,000 soldiers to the American Revolution.  At the final battle of the Revolutionary War, the siege of Yorktown, there were as many French soldiers and sailors as American soldiers.  Thirty French warships, cutting off the British Army from receiving reinforcements, proved decisive.  Little did the French know it, but their support of the American Revolution would help lead to their own, which began in 1789 but ended with Napoleon’s power grab. 

Franklin is associated with Philadelphia, but he was from Boston and his attitude toward the Indians displayed the Puritans’ genocidal intentions more than Quaker pacifism.  Even though Franklin was an emissary to the Iroquois and gained a deep appreciation of their government, he openly pondered the coming annihilation of the all Native Americans, writing, “…if it be the design of Providence to extirpate these Savages…” then he thought that rum was the preferred means.[167] 

I discovered that although Franklin became the father of American freedom of the press, once more practice and theory were at odds.  While Franklin and his cohorts plotted their rebellion, religious pacifists in Pennsylvania wanted no part of an armed insurrection.  The false dichotomy was directed at them.  If they were not for armed insurrection, then they must have been Loyalists to the Crown.

Europe’s imperial jockeying in the New World led to war after war against the natives and each other, and the pacifistic sects in Pennsylvania were hard-pressed to maintain their ideals.  The religious idealism of William Penn soon degenerated into seizing native land.[168]  Penn’s gang became Pennsylvania’s ruling class, and they eventually abandoned their pacifism and advocated an armed militia to keep the natives in line.  Opposing the increasingly militant English Penn cadre were numerous German immigrants who still held to the Quakers’ pacifist ideals.  Penn recruited religious sects throughout Europe, and the Church of the Brethren was one of many radical European religious groups that eventually came to Pennsylvania, to escape persecution as well as pursue economic opportunity.  The Sauer family became prominent printers, especially Johann Christoph and his son Christopher II, although their story is obscure today.

The Sauers’ tale has been largely neglected in American scholarship, even by America’s radical left.  The Sauers achieved some milestones in printing Bibles in America (first Bible printed on American-made paper and American-made typesetting), and they were printed in German.  Franklin was a notorious anti-German bigot and used his monopoly power in the printing business to try putting the Sauers out of business.  Franklin had considerable control over the paper and ink trade, as well as publishing distribution, and his attempts to wipe out the Sauers led them to manufacture their supplies and create their own distribution network.  The Sauers, just as the “patriot” presses did, wrote criticisms of the Stamp Act and other English colonial measures.  When the “patriots” began advocating armed resistance, Christopher II backed off, due to his pacifism.  He also was an advocate of humane and fair treatment of the Native Americans, their ongoing dispossession and genocide quite obvious.  Christopher II did not align with either side during the American Revolution, but his son became a British Loyalist, as did Ben Franklin’s illegitimate son William. 

While some scholars today debate whether the famous kite-flying experiment ever took place, it may have been William Franklin who built and flew the famous kite in that dangerous thunderstorm, while his father hid in a nearby shelter.  If the experiment took place, William was the witness.  Father and son were both English loyalists before the 1770s.  William became New Jersey's governor and headed the Board of American Loyalists.  Father changed his stripes while the son remained loyal to the Crown.  Ben arranged for his son’s harsh imprisonment during the American Revolution and later compelled him to sign over his properties.  Father and son did not part on good terms.  While nearly disinheriting his son, Franklin’s will stated a little vindictively:

 

“The part he acted against me in the late war, which is of public notoriety, will account for my leaving him no more of an estate he endeavoured to deprive me of.”

 

Christopher Sauer II never advocated violent resistance, nor did he take sides, because any loyalty oath was against his religious convictions, but the “patriots” nevertheless seized and sold off his business and properties to their fellow rebels, cheaply.  They imprisoned and tortured the elderly Sauer, and he died a pauper in 1784.  Franklin apparently profited from the seizure of Christopher Sauer’s printing property.[169]  In the Sauers’ case, Franklin’s “free press” ideals did not comfortably mesh with the reality of his actions.  He acted just like a capitalist, trying to wipe out the competition, and his huge fortune may not have been amassed as honestly as his hagiographers would have people believe.  The original Constitutional Convention was a bona fide conspiracy, and the Founding Fathers far overstepped their authority.  The Pennsylvania Herald was bought out by the Founding Fathers during the Constitutional Convention, because it was reporting the facts from that illegal convention.  With the press thus bought out and silenced, the American people knew nothing about the most important issue of the day.  That censorship also foreshadowed how the American press is censored today, by capitalistic means, not direct government intervention.  The Constitutional Convention was not exactly a democratic undertaking.  In fact, the Founding Fathers generally dreaded democracy.[170]  Franklin headed the first abolitionist society in America, although he was a slave-owner and slave trader himself who partly built his fortune on running ads for recapturing runaway slaves.  His stance on the issues was far less than heroic.[171]

The only non-slave-owning, non-plantation-owning president of the first five was John Adams, who joined his Founding Father brethren in bestowing subhuman appellations upon the natives.  In 1775, he called them “blood Hounds” when they fought alongside the French a decade earlier, but the next year, while calling them “Savages with their cruel, bloody dispositions,” Adams, when considering the early British military successes, thought that the revolutionaries “need not be so delicate as to refuse the assistance of Indians.”[172]  By happenstance, Morton’s Merry Mount was on the Adams’ family lands, and John sought long and hard for Morton’s New English Canaan, and after half a century of searching (because the Puritans’ suppression efforts were so effective), his son John Quincy finally found a copy of it in Europe.  Adams concurred with his Puritan forefathers about the depraved nature of Morton and the degenerate spectacle of Morton and the natives dancing and playing together.  With Morton and the natives long gone, his book was more of a curiosity than a threat, and Adams even found pleasure in Morton’s work and vision, from a safe two centuries later.

Adams allied himself with Alexander Hamilton.  Adams was the vice president under Washington, but in those days, there was not a president/vice president ticket as America has today.  Adams became vice president because he was in second place in receiving Electoral College votes cast for president.  Adams generally sided with Washington’s policies as vice president, and when he became president, he did nothing to ameliorate the dispossession of Native Americans, being the “blood Hounds” that they were.

The lustrous aura surrounding the Founding Fathers dims greatly when the minimized facets of their lives are considered.  They were all-too mortal.  As Howard Zinn wrote, the American Revolution was “A Kind of Revolution.”[173]  Although there was some of the “rabble” effect of the common people, as in the English Civil War, the American Revolution was obviously a revolt of American elites, as shown by the names that signed the Declaration of Independence, with the Constitution giving full citizens’ rights to white, land-owning men, and the fact that the oligarchy tried managing the “rabble” from the beginnings of the American Revolution, and quickly took over the American political system. 

Although Mason Locke Weems began fabricating fairy tales about George Washington immediately after his death, and Weems eventually concocted the cherry tree story from thin air, Boston was indeed a hotbed of radicalism before the Revolution began, there was some true heroism shown by the Founding Fathers, and the common people played a significant role.  The “rabble” was given lip service, a Bill of Rights was passed, much as the English Parliament did exactly 100 years earlier, and some other measures that led to today’s USA are reasons to look upon it with some respect.

However, a critical look at the American Revolution can be sobering.  Studying how America celebrated its holidays in the early days, such as the Fourth of July, punctures a few myths.  Events such as the protest of the Stamp Act, Boston Tea Party, Boston Massacre, and Paul Revere’s Ride look a lot different when the primary documents are considered and the patriotic veneer is stripped away.  Not only was Revere captured during his ride, the vast majority of Americans had never heard of him before Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem about him in 1863.  Revere’s memory was in oblivion during the early 19th century. 

When appraised objectively, the 1773 Tea Party was a deliberately provocative, quasi-military, destructive act, and no American revolutionary could have been too surprised when events led to war.  Why the Tea Party?  The thinking was to protest British taxation.  Fair enough, but the reasoning used by those “patriots” would fall flat today, when the nature of the cargo was contemplated.  The tea shipment was from the English East India Company and was bought with India’s blood.  Today’s radicals might have been impressed if the Tea Party radicals had protested in sympathy with the truly suffering colonized peoples of Asia, and not the self-serving motivation of tax avoidance.  That observation is not an instance of presentism, for some activists of the day held that enlightened understanding of the British tea “trade.”[174]  The American colonies, peopled by whites, were the least oppressed of the British colonies, and those who signed the Declaration of Independence were the colony’s elites, about half of them owned slaves, and they deliberately provoked Great Britain into America’s “War of Independence.” 

The Eastern Oligarchy quickly overcame Bostonian Radicalism, even before the Revolutionary War ended.  Even during the Revolutionary War, “patriots” were drafted and the rich easily got out of service.  American colonists had impressment riots during the 1760s when the British Crown conscripted sailors, yet the American government was doing the same thing by 1779, before the war was won.  In Connecticut, a law was passed that specifically exempted Yale’s students and faculty from conscription, and even then, a drafted man could buy his way out of service for five pounds.[175]  Even then, the USA's government could not afford to pay the soldiers, which was partly why Washington proposed “giving” Native American land to Revolutionary War veterans, and piracy was a popular way to serve one’s nation, getting a cut of the booty if one was lucky.  The practice of government-sanctioned piracy was nearly identical to how the Spanish Crown financed its 16th century New World adventures, and was called “privateering.”  Official English pirates such as Drake became knighted.  Official American pirates became “patriots.”

Washington set the blueprint for what the USA concentrated on during the next century: stealing a continent. 

 

To Steal a Continent – An Empire Begins

The first century of Spain's tenure in the New World was history’s greatest genocide, and honor was not easily found among the mercenaries that conquered and annihilated Native Americans.  When the English showed up, they proved themselves as honorable as the Spanish, and poisoning the wine at a peace conference was an early example of English tactics.  Entering into treaties they had no intention of honoring was part of the English bag of tricks.  Those behaviors led to the native saying, “White man speak with forked tongue.”  Lying was not unknown among the native tribes, but somebody who lied was considered insane, as one who lost touch with reality.[176]  It was more of a sickness than a crime to many native tribes.  Washington’s strategy was a more refined version of what Europeans had been doing to Native Americans for three centuries.  European violence, dishonesty, and greed are not pleasant subjects, but they go a long way toward explaining why I live in Seattle, and are critically important to understand what is happening in today’s world. 

In American history circles, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark are heroic icons.  No imperial taint besmirches their noble expedition of discovery…or does it?  When he sent out the Lewis and Clark expedition to scout the ultimate reach of empire in North America, Jefferson lied so creatively to the Spanish ambassador about the USA's intentions that Eisenhower’s biographer, Stephen Ambrose, wrote that in the midst of his show, Jefferson was “into a third or fourth degree of indirection.”[177]  Lewis, Jefferson’s emissary to the great unknown, had messages to deliver.  On the Missouri River, at present day Council Bluffs, so named after the meeting between the expedition and the Oto tribe, Lewis and his men dressed in their military best and made a show of their military precision as they marched and shot their guns.  Then came the speech.  In essence, it was no different than the Requerimiento that the Spanish invaders read to their victims.[178]  Lewis began his speech by calling the natives “children,” and Jefferson the “Great Father.”  Lewis’s speech to the natives, who would have had limited understanding at best, as it went through a French translator, stated in essence:

 

“You have never seen my kind before, but we are a mighty people, having sanction from the highest authority, and this land you have lived on for time immemorial is now ours.  If you submit to our rule, it will go well for you, but if you resist, we will destroy you, and it will be your fault.”

 

European disease, especially smallpox, had already repeatedly decimated the Plains Indians.  The trigger-happy soldiers almost ended the exploration before it began, threatening to shoot their boat’s cannon at the Sioux, and only the cool head of a native leader saved the day.[179]  Native tribes all along the way hosted and assisted the expedition.  The expedition left a swath of destruction in its wake, wantonly chopping down trees and shooting anything that moved in order to provision themselves.  Western North America was the Northern Hemisphere’s last region that had not been shorn of its fur-bearing animals.  The fur trade would eliminate the fur-bearing animals there too, very quickly, as well as most Indian tribes and the vast bison herds. 

Later in the expedition, on the way back, immediately after notifying some teenage Blackfeet braves that America had just allied with the Blackfeet’s traditional enemies and would arm them, Lewis and his men killed a Blackfeet boy and wounded a young brave while they tried stealing rifles and horses.  Lewis then hung a medal around the dead boy’s neck, to advertise the deed.[180]  Although Lewis and Clark were credited with great courage for mounting the expedition, how courageous was Clark’s slave, who was forced to walk every step with him, served Clark hand and foot, and then was beaten by Clark when they returned, as he became “insolent” when Clark refused to free him or reunite him with his wife?[181] 

America’s most humiliating war was the War of 1812, as the British burned Washington, D.C.  American history textbooks rather lightly cover the War of 1812.  Americans soon saw it as another war of independence, and it was not until after that war ended that Americans began creating the “patriotic” culture that is familiar today.  The British, on the other hand, regarded the War of 1812 as little more than a sideshow.  The British were fighting the Napoleonic Wars, battling their old nemesis, which was Europe’s bloodiest era until World War I.  For the USA, it was another war of expansion, and American “frontiersmen” wanted the USA's government to conquer Canada, seize Spain’s imperial lands in southern North America, and, as always, steal more Native American land. 

The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars had far-reaching influence.  France was the home of the Enlightenment, but it was ruled by the feudalistic ancien régime, and the American Revolution seemed to be an example of what the Enlightenment was capable of producing.  In 1789, the same year that George Washington came to office as the first American president, French citizens stormed the Bastille.  From an auspicious beginning, it did not take long for the French Revolution to go sour.  By 1791, the royal family had become outright prisoners of the revolutionaries, and by 1792, the revolutionary government declared war on Austria and Prussia.  The wars did not go well and the revolutionaries took it out on the monarchy.  Led by Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins, the revolutionaries beheaded Louis XVI with the revolutionaries’ new contraption, the “humanitarian” guillotine. 

By that time, England and Spain were also battling the revolutionary forces and whipping them.  Faced with mounting defeats on the battlefield, the revolutionaries turned on each other, and in 1793 the Jacobins approved a reign of terror on the populace to consolidate the revolutionary government.  A quarter-million people were arrested during the reign of terror and the guillotines were used with vigor.  In 1794, the Jacobins turned on each other and Robespierre and his cohorts all met the business end of their guillotines.  By 1795, France was in full retreat from its revolutionary zeal, and political rights were reserved for the wealthiest Frenchmen.  France was winning battles and the European coalition collapsed, and only Austria and England opposed France militarily by 1796.  In 1799, Napoleon came to power and things calmed down for a little while.  Napoleon eventually crowned himself emperor and handed out crowns to family members.

By 1803, France and the UK (in 1800, Great Britain united with Northern Ireland to become the United Kingdom ("UK")) were at war again.  The English Channel would prove to be one of the UK’s greatest assets, as it helped discourage invasion from France.  Napoleon decided it would be easier to invade Austria than England, and Napoleon quickly conquered Europe.  In 1807, Spain supported Napoleon in a war against Portugal, and for the next several years the Iberian Peninsula became the scene of the Peninsular War.  Napoleon’s continual battles with the British-supported Spanish guerillas weakened France’s military efforts, which helped lead to Napoleon’s downfall.

Napoleon’s biggest mistake, which Hitler also fell prey to a few wars later, was invading Russia.  After capturing a deserted and burned-out Moscow in the autumn of 1812, most of Napoleon’s half-million-man army died during the winter retreat.  While the UK had the English Channel as its greatest defense against invasion, Russia had its fierce winter as its greatest defensive asset.  The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars killed about five million people, and was Europe’s bloodiest period since the Thirty Years’ War, nearly two centuries earlier.  The Seven Years’ War and Napoleon’s reign foreshadowed the so-called World Wars of the 20th century, which were really wars of empire between the Great Powers.  The Napoleonic Wars also marked the beginning of the end of Spain’s empire.  In the Seven Years’ War, Great Britain and France battled across the world, and France was the loser.  In North America, Great Britain got most of France’s imperial lands, and it also got Florida from Spain.  France held onto lands east of the Mississippi River, and Spain and Great Britain got Louisiana. 

In 1800, Napoleon forced Spain to give back Louisiana, which the USA bought in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase.  In 1802, Napoleon launched an invasion of Haiti to try putting down the slave rebellion, which began in 1791.  As was the case with the UK and Russia, geography was Haiti’s greatest defensive asset, and the tropical conditions decimated the French invasion.  Of the 28,000 French troops sent to Haiti, which landed in January 1802, 20,000 were dead by September, due to yellow fever and the fierce resistance of the ex-slaves.[182] 

As with all revolutions, theory and practice were at odds in Haiti.  In events leading up to the original rebellion, mulatto ex-slaves tried becoming a new, intermediary class that rode atop the ones still enslaved.  Encouraged by the French Revolution, which gave mulattoes some rights in 1791, a more popular rebellion took place.  Haiti’s revolution was not as egalitarian as the revolutionaries hoped, although the Haitian constitution wisely forbade foreign land ownership.  A republic of ex-slaves caused fear and loathing throughout the West, especially in the slave-owning USA.  The USA would not recognize Haitian independence until 1862 during its Civil War, for obvious reasons.  As with every other colonial power, a fair amount of “miscegenation” happened in Haiti.  The offspring of French masters and slave women became house slaves, and had higher status than the pure African field slaves.  Even in the 21st century, the more French blood a Haitian mulatto can claim, the better.  Mulattoes became Haiti’s ruling class, while others settled in New Orleans and became part of the Creole culture.  European racism still infects the New World.  There is not a nation in the Western Hemisphere where the rule (officially or unofficially) is not: “The lighter your skin, the better off you are.”

European chaos encouraged Spanish colonies to revolt, beginning in earnest when Napoleon put his brother on the Spanish throne in 1808.  Colonists in Venezuela formed an independent government that refused to recognize Napoleon’s rule, and one of Venezuela’s elite, Simón Bolivar, became the junta’s representative to the UK, to try gaining recognition.  Bolivar’s attempts failed, and in 1811 the junta declared itself an independent nation.  The revolution failed the next year, as the royalists regained power, but the course was set, and Bolivar, a pupil of the Enlightenment, successfully ended Spanish rule in 1819 in what became Colombia.  He became its first president.  During the next several years, he led efforts to end Spain’s rule in what became Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. 

In Southern Spanish America, José de St. Martín led revolutionary efforts in Argentina and Chile, and he was the first to defeat royal forces in Peru, to later allow Bolivar to finish the job, which was not complete until 1825, when the Peruvian highlands were rid of the last royalist resistance.  That upland region became Bolivia.  Bolivar had grand plans to unite South America into a confederation, much as the English colonists had formed the USA, but his plans came to naught, and by 1828 he had become Colombia’s dictator.  In 1829, Venezuela proclaimed its independence from Colombia, and when Bolivar died in 1830, he was largely a pariah and Venezuela would not even allow his body to be buried on its soil. 

Following Venezuela’s lead, Mexico had its Hidalgo Rebellion in 1810, in another attempt to bring Enlightenment ideals to a New World colony, at least for its elites.  After numerous revolts and royalist counterattacks, Mexico gained its independence in 1821.

When Napoleon invaded Portugal in 1807, Portugal's court fled to Brazil and set up operations there.  Despite attempts to suppress it, Enlightenment ideals also infected the Brazilian populace.  Portugal never quite had the fractious relationship with its colonies that Spain had, and Brazil was unique in Latin America by coming to its independence relatively peacefully in 1822.  It had a war of independence, too, but violent deaths were less than 10,000, while Mexico had hundreds of thousands of war deaths.

The only New World holdings that Spain retained were in the Caribbean.  Cuba and Puerto Rico did not join the mainland revolts.  Cuba was a competitor of Haiti in the sugar trade, and the Haitian Revolution created many dead and fled plantation owners, which the rich Spanish overlords did not want to see happen in Cuba, so it stayed quietly in the Spanish fold. 

The post-9/11 patriotism that gripped the USA in late 2001 would have looked strange to the average American of 1810.  In Boston, the hallowed Fourth of July celebration was appropriated by Puritanical Harvard-types, not long after the Revolutionary War was over.  The radical spirit that was sometimes seen in the American Revolution was wallpapered over by safe, conservative celebrations.  Even elite radicals such as John Hancock and Samuel Adams were quickly written out of the histories.  When Samuel Adams died in 1803, his passing was nearly greeted with a yawn, which led John Adams to state in 1809 that Hancock and his cousin were “almost buried in oblivion.”[183]  Washington was the only “hero” that Boston celebrated during the first 50 years after the American Revolution.  In Boston, there was no celebrating the anniversary of the “Tea Party,” protests over the Stamp Act, the “Boston Massacre,” or other revolutionary events.  There were no 50th anniversary celebrations of those events, even in Boston.

It was not until the 1820s that Americans began recovering American Revolution memories, and their revisionism typically had a bias that served the day’s agenda.  The Puritans’ reputation had faded to nothingness by 1820, especially as they made the mistake of supporting the British Crown during the American Revolution.  With rising nationalism, they were rescued from oblivion in the 1820s and eventually became the “Pilgrims,” although little about the popular representations of them is accurate.[184]

In 1825, ascendant nationalism led to a big bash, and Lafayette, the French general whose forces were the deciding factor in the American Revolution (and he also took a prominent role in the French Revolution), came to Boston during his American tour and commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill.  The rising tide of nationalism led to a big celebration in 1826 of the 50th anniversary of the American Revolution.  When Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, adversaries who personified America’s political philosophies, both died on July 4th, 1826, Americans felt that it was a sign of providence. 

George Robert Twelves Hewes was a shoemaker of modest means.  Shoemaking was a poor man’s trade in those days, and Hewes became one because he was too destitute and small (standing five feet, one inch) to pursue the more lucrative ones.  He participated in the “Boston Tea Party,” eventually served in the American Revolution as a privateer (and his captain stole his lucrative share of the plunder), was conscripted into the militia, and once bought his way out of conscription.  He met with General Washington and even repaired John Hancock’s shoes in his younger days, but his participation in the “Tea Party” brought him fame as America recovered its revolutionary memories.  He was about the only living survivor of the “Tea Party” in the 1830s.  The term “Tea Party” was never used to describe that event until the 1830s.[185]  A figure so obscure that most of his life lies beyond the recovery of historians, Hewes bathed in his newfound fame during the 1830s.  When seen in the golden glow of his celebrity and old age, Hewes recalled destroying the tea alongside John Hancock, which was almost certainly false; the elite ringleaders of the tea action conspicuously stayed at the Old South facility when the “Tea Party” was arranged.[186]

Christopher Columbus died in obscurity in 1506, but when mercenaries discovered gold-plated civilizations on the New World’s mainland, Spain recovered Columbus from obscurity and he became a heroic figure, although few, if any, facts support such stature.  Accompanying the rise in American nationalism, Washington Irving, a novelist, published a three-volume epic on the life of Columbus in 1828.  It became a huge bestseller.  Irving made up events from whole cloth, such as the Spanish Court doubting that the world was round and Columbus setting out to prove it.  When the fabrications of Irving, Weems and others were discovered, American ideologists defended them.  The logic was that America needed its own mythology, separate from Europe’s.[187]  With all the fake hagiography being concocted by American mythologists, there was even an effort in the 19th century to make Columbus a saint.  In 1831, a poem set to the tune of a drinking song won a contest, and the Star Spangled Banner became the USA's national anthem. 

James Madison, who drafted the Bill of Rights, was president from 1809-1817, and as with Washington and Jefferson, he was another slave-owning, Virginian tobacco plantation owner, and the international embarrassment that those slave-owning presidents were accumulating began weighing heavily on their images, if not their hearts.  As with the others, Madison tamely advocated slavery eventually becoming an extinct institution (long after he was gone), and was an early advocate of shipping freed slaves back to Africa.  Later in life, he used novel reasoning to support the expansion of slavery to new lands as a way to “dilute” it.  He died in 1836, without freeing any of his slaves.  Europe began abolishing the slave trade before 1800, and most of Europe abolished it before 1820, and the USA appeared increasingly anachronistic, especially with its many slave-owning presidents. 

James Monroe was the USA's fifth president, serving from 1817 to 1825.  Monroe, a protégé of Jefferson and another slave-owning, Virginian tobacco planter, was another paternalistic racist who also favored eventually eliminating American slavery by shipping the slaves back to Africa.  During his presidency, just such a colony was established in 1822, which later became Liberia.  Monroe sized up Indian lands during the 1780s, and his efforts led to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which was designed to legitimate the American invasion, seizure, and settlement of those lands.  Those machinations were part of Washington’s grand plan, even as native tribes were petitioning the USA's government regarding the “illegal treaties” that were already being foisted on them.[188]  The USA's government was planning on becoming solvent by selling off Indian lands that were not theirs to sell.  Monroe also negotiated the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon’s France, which really was the purchase of rights of conquest.  It was the Indians’ land, not France’s, and no negotiations were made with the natives, as Jefferson’s emissary Lewis soon made clear.

Monroe was James Madison’s Secretary of State.  Monroe led a brutal repression of a slave revolt in 1800.  All those slave-owning presidents were highly aware of what had happened in Haiti and wanted no threat that American slaves might actually rise up and free themselves.  As governor of Virginia, Monroe refined the system of keeping the slaves suppressed and less likely to revolt.  Monroe presided over the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which extended slavery to southern North America as the empire expanded westward.  Madison and Jefferson both approved of the measure.  Monroe was a Revolutionary War veteran, and he got back into uniform and led American forces during the War of 1812.  He became Madison’s Secretary of War after the British burned Washington, D.C.  Four of the first five American presidents were land-grabbing, slave-owning empire-builders.

All political systems have always ridden atop economic systems, and all those slave-owning Founding Fathers’ actions further highlighted that fact.  In those pre-industrial days, unless one had slaves, or colonial lands and subjects to exploit, one could not live a life of leisure, to contemplate the affairs of state and other lofty issues.  The ancient Greeks, in “democratic” Athens, had a similar philosophy, and slaves outnumbered citizens.  In that respect, the allusions to ancient Greece in American government are accurate.  The Founding Fathers saw the slavery economy as necessary to their livelihood, and no afflictions of conscience could persuade any of them to free their slaves and actually work for a living.

In 1823, Monroe gave a speech to the U.S. Congress that became the Monroe Doctrine.  While his rhetoric sounded impressive, the reality was that he staked out Latin America as the USA's arena of influence, and no European powers were allowed.  Monroe virtually declared the USA a hemispheric empire in 1823, although there was still plenty of work to be done.  History has borne that notion out.  Between 1798 and 1945, the USA sent its soldiers abroad in 168 separate events.  Of those 168 events, 85 times the troops were sent to what was or is known as Latin America.[189]

Andrew Jackson was America’s first president not from the Eastern Oligarchy, although he was another slave owner.  The son of Scotch-Irish immigrants, Jackson was born after his father died and was raised in today’s Carolinas.  A fighter and brawler from a young age, he fought in the Revolutionary War at age 13 and all of his immediate family members died in the war, which left him on his own at age 14.  Jackson became a lawyer, and in 1796 he became Tennessee’s first U.S. Congressman.  While in office, he aligned with Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party and went on the record, calling Washington’s policy toward Native Americans too lenient.  Jackson left Congress in 1798, became a judge, and retired from that position in 1804.  Still having the fiery temper that he displayed as a boy, Jackson brawled and dueled regularly.  Jackson’s violent, belligerent reputation got him elected to head the Tennessee militia in 1802, and when the War of 1812 broke out, Jackson offered to invade Canada but was instead ordered to defend the imperial outpost of New Orleans.  His men were forced to return when their orders were reversed, and short-provisioned by government inadequacy, Jackson cared for his men on the march back to Tennessee, earning their admiration and the nickname “Old Hickory.”   

By that time, Native Americans were virtually extinct in today’s Northeastern USA.  Washington’s plan was highly successful.  William Henry Harrison, the governor of Indiana Territory, spent the first decade of the 19th century swindling the natives out of their treaty-provided lands, as he had been ordered to do.  The great Shawnee leader Tecumseh tried uniting Native Americans against the white invaders.  Tecumseh was at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, but his resistance was more to not let white men get any more Indian land.  The natives he influenced were following Jefferson’s prescription: settle down and adopt the white man’s ways.[190]  Jefferson’s advice was apparently more on the rhetorical level, seeming impressive, but to be avoided in practice.

Tecumseh did not believe that any tribe should cede lands without the consent of the others.  Tecumseh, returning the Founding Fathers’ racism in kind, adopted a cosmology that saw whites as a form of pond scum.  His brother reformed himself from being a drunken Indian to turning his life around and becoming “The Prophet” to his people.  William Henry Harrison was surprised when the natives following Tecumseh’s teachings refused whiskey.  The natives were acting far too responsibly for Harrison’s liking and were forming a united front.  Uniting the American colonies had won them independence from British rule, and a united native front might thwart the USA's imperial designs.  When faced with dwindling prospects of swindling the natives, and the appearance of an effort that could resist further white invasion, Harrison launched a pre-emptive strike in 1811, while Tecumseh was away on a recruiting mission.  Harrison led an army to Tippecanoe, Tecumseh’s headquarters.  Tecumseh’s brother, in charge while his brother was away, acted rashly and fell into Harrison’s trap.  After a bloody battle that saw more white casualties than native, the whites drove the Indians away and burned Tippecanoe.  Tecumseh returned months later to the ashes of his dreams.

In post-9/11 America, white people might begin developing some comprehension of what North America's natives were facing back then.  History has shown that cultures unravel when subjected to catastrophes that kill off large fractions of the population, such as what the Black Death did to Europe in the 1340s.  Although Osama bin Laden and gang bit the hand that fed them, nobody seriously thinks that waves of Islamic settlers will come across the oceans to invade and exterminate Americans; Native Americans faced just that, except from Christians.  By the American Revolution, the natives of Eastern North America clearly saw the trends; many eastern tribes were already extinct, and an inexorable march westward by the white invaders destroyed everything in its path in the name of “progress.”  Not only were the forests, creatures, and natives disappearing under the boots and axes of the white juggernaut, but also there was active, exterminatory hatred directed at the natives from the very beginning of the white invasion…and it was successful.  Invasion, disease, and environmental devastation were inflicted in never-ending waves upon the natives.  Miantonomi was perhaps the first North American native to begin to understand, but he was far from the last.  The Delaware sages clearly saw the disintegration of Native American culture, and as they were violently dispersed from their homelands they influenced many inland tribes, and Pontiac’s Ottawa tribe among them.  Pontiac’s efforts influenced Tecumseh’s, and the confederacy that the tribes tried creating during the American Revolution. 

Tecumseh died in the War of 1812 a couple of years later.  He was about the Indian equivalent of George Washington, so his corpse was eagerly scalped by American troops, and the frenzy to get pieces of him was heated.   One soldier contented himself with seizing a dime-sized piece of Tecumseh’s flesh, attached to a mere tuft of hair, which he produced in an interview 73 years later.  After being stripped and scalped, one enterprising soldier flayed Tecumseh’s body, cutting his skin into foot-long strips to make razor straps for his pals.[191]

While Tecumseh was pursuing the shards of his shattered dreams in America’s Midwest, Old Hickory was making progress in America’s Southeast.  From the very beginning of the European invasion of the New World, even on Columbus’s first voyage, it really did not matter much if the natives were friendly or hostile; they all eventually died under the European boot.  Sometimes friendliness meant that they were the first to be exterminated (such as scalps of friendly natives being easier to obtain than scalps of hostiles), and sometimes it meant they were the last to fall to their state (such as the Tlaxcalans).  The Cherokee's tale is important.  Not only are they the largest surviving North American tribe, their journey demonstrates how even the most USA-friendly natives were doomed if they lived on land that whites wanted.  The Cherokee were one of the “five civilized tribes,” which included the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole. 

Iroquois lived at the north end of the Appalachians, and Cherokee at the south end.  The higher elevation of their lands probably spared them the worst of the early diseases that Europeans introduced.  While Iroquoian people engaged in the short-lived fur trade (the beaver was extinct in the Hudson River Valley by 1640), the Cherokee traded in deerskins for Europe’s manufactured goods.  In the early 1700s, England, Spain, and France were jockeying for position in the region, and the English settlers did their usual land-grabbing, which led to numerous wars.  The natives were largely battling for survival and allied however they could.  In the early 1700s, the Tuscarora were completely eliminated from their homeland in today’s North Carolina.  The survivors fled north and joined the Iroquois Confederation.  The Shawnee were also losers, first being kicked out of Ohio during the late 1600s by the Iroquois, and most of the scattered tribe moved to today’s Southeast USA.  The wars down there saw many of them flee back to Ohio, and the English invasion of the Ohio River Valley inspired Tecumseh to try uniting his Shawnee with other tribes, to form a united front.  Other tribes simply disappeared in the mayhem.

In pre-Columbian times, the Cherokee probably controlled at least 100,000 square miles of territory, and may have had more than a half million people.  America’s Southeast was the most densely populated part of North America, and warfare and empire building were not unknown.  The Cherokee lived in palisaded towns in their heartland.  Soto was the last European to see those lands in close to their 1492 condition.  Mississippian cultures built large mounds, as palaces, cemeteries, and temples.  Those types of structures have only been built in densely populated regions.  By the time Soto saw those lands, the populations had probably already been reduced by European disease.  After Soto visited that desolate former empire, his entrada wandered through territory that was partly the Cherokee’s, as well as other tribes.  After Soto, a few more smallpox epidemics made their way through the area before the English began invading the region.

The Cherokee have an Iroquoian language and probably migrated from the Great Lakes region, as did the Tuscarora, at least several centuries before Soto arrived.  Iroquoian civilizations were matrilineal.  The high status of women is generally the sign of a healthy and vibrant society.  The other “civilized” tribes are from the Muskogean language family, and they also had matrilineal societies.[192] 

By 1700, Florida’s original inhabitants neared extinction.  The largely hunter-gatherer Calusan and Timucuan peoples became extinct in Florida before 1800.  The Apalachee people lived in northern Florida and were largely farmers, and did not become quite as extinct as the Timucuan and Calusan peoples.  During the destructions of numerous tribes of America’s Southeast, survivors joined with others, and the Seminole people are an amalgamation of tribal fragments of largely Muskogean peoples.  Even former African slaves joined the Seminole.  The word “Seminole” may be derived from the Spanish word for “runaway.”

South Carolina was England’s early Slave Coast in the New World.  Just as European slavers had done in Africa, the English armed coastal natives and turned them into pawns of the slave trade, encouraging them to use the English’s superior weaponry to invade inland and capture neighboring tribes.  Slave trains from inland were making their way to Charleston as early as the 1670s, to be sold into Caribbean slavery.[193]  The English slave trade quickly decimated the natives, and fragments of tribes came together to make new “tribes,” such as the Westos, who made a brief living enslaving other intact tribes.  When their utility expired, the Westos also became extinct.[194]  The English enslaved the Cherokee as early as 1681, and in 1693 the Cherokee sent a delegation to South Carolina’s Royal Governor to ask for protection from the native slave raiders.  The year before, the Shawnee, whom the Cherokee welcomed (to become a buffer tribe - it was not a completely humanitarian act) to their lands, destroyed a Cherokee village while the men were away hunting and sold the women and children into slavery.  It was an act of treachery that the Cherokee never forgot, and the Shawnee were eventually expelled back to the northern lands, and the Cherokee were happy to see them go.

Because of South Carolina’s continued pursuit of the flesh trade, the tribes united and began a war against South Carolina in 1715.  The Cherokee began fighting as English allies as early as 1689, in England’s imperial struggles with France.  After the war of 1715 briefly interrupted their relationship, the Cherokee signed their first treaty in 1721, which ceded land to British colonists. 

Similar to the Iroquois, the Cherokee were a democratic people.  In 1730, less than 50,000 Cherokee remained, and the English at Charleston tried making one of them an “emperor.”  Some young braves visited King George II in England, and supposedly gave fealty to the King, but those boys did not run the Cherokee people, although one of them subsequently became prominent.  In 1738, a slave ship to Charleston brought smallpox and killed off at least a quarter of the remaining Cherokee while also sweeping through other local tribes, such as the Catawba.  By 1730, the Cherokee were as low as ten percent of their numbers of two centuries earlier, and another large fraction was taken away in one swoop in 1738.  Another devastating plague swept through in 1753, bringing the Cherokee population to perhaps 25,000 (estimates vary, going as low as 10,000 in 1780), where it would largely remain until they were forcibly removed during the 19th century.

Largely because of epidemics, widowed lands were easier to relinquish than occupied ones, such as the Wampanoag welcome to the Puritans.  The wars, epidemics, and continually encroaching settlers created massive displacements among native tribes.  Tribes were forced away from the eastern coastline and intruded upon neighboring tribes.  Sometimes inland tribes would allow the coastal tribes to settle with them, and other times they might resist or otherwise give less than a friendly welcome.  Surviving tribes would be crowded together, and formerly friendly relations would degenerate into hard feelings and warfare, as each tribe tried surviving.  The Creek and Cherokee shared hunting grounds in today’s northern Georgia, but settler pressures led to them fighting a war that began in 1752.

The British were arrogant, with a predilection for murder, and few natives liked them much, but they made the best trade goods that were also cheaper than what the French offered, as England was the first nation to industrialize.  The French had greater regard for the natives and did not try imposing their notions of what people should be like, at least not nearly to the degree that the British did.  The Cherokee were the region’s dominant tribe, and the British worked hard to maintain a good relationship with them.

The British were soon allying with the Creek to fight against Spanish settlements, and eventually laid siege to St. Augustine.  The French were also in the picture, trying to form alliances with tribes, to fight the British.  The French generally allied with Algonquin tribes of the north, and they were able to ally with the less-warlike Choctaw in the south (the Choctaw-French alliance also split the tribe).  The Chickasaw were bitter enemies of the French, as the French tried dominating the Mississippi River for trade purposes, and tried exterminating the Chickasaw during the early 1700s.  The French never successfully penetrated the Cherokee region, largely because of Chickasaw resistance, which helped bring an end to France’s imperial designs in North America.[195] 

When the Cherokee-Creek war ended in 1755, with the Cherokee victorious, the Cherokee then supported the British in the French and Indian Wars, at least for a time.  The Cherokee fought alongside the British during the wars, but there was continual uneasiness as the colonists always coveted Indian land.  The British built forts in Cherokee lands to protect the colonists, supposedly from the French and their allies, but the British always suspected the Cherokee of having French sympathies.  There were sporadic conflicts with the Cherokee and white settlers, although the British tried hard to maintain the peace, at least while the Cherokee were useful. 

In 1758, a Cherokee war party was traveling with British forces through Virginia when the Cherokee lost their provisions while crossing a river.  Their “allies” abandoned them, leaving them to get home on their own.  Some angry braves then helped themselves to local provisions, such as Virginian horses.  Skirmishes broke out, and Virginians killed Cherokee warriors and sold their scalps for the Virginia bounty.  An Indian scalp brought 50 pounds in Virginia, the equivalent of a year’s income for a Virginian farm, and bounty hunters sold the scalps of “friendlies” as “hostiles” regularly.  Attacks and counterattacks occurred along the Cherokee frontier, and angry braves prevailed over chiefs who sought peace.  The British were beating the French by that time, had less use for their native “allies,” and a war broke out between the Cherokee and British in 1759.  British soldiers, who had been drunkenly raping local natives, kidnapped a Cherokee peace delegation then murdered them when Cherokee braves attacked the fort where they were held and killed one of the rapists.  Those events inflamed matters.  The killing escalated, with the Cherokee laying siege to Fort Loudon, and Amherst sending a huge expedition to the region in 1760.  The Cherokee chiefs were dismayed that their English allies were making war against them.  The Cherokee made several attempts to gain native allies against the English, but were unable to.  After massacres on each side and an English expedition that destroyed many Cherokee villages, a “peace” was negotiated in 1761 in which the Cherokee ceded huge chunks of land along the Carolina frontier.  Thousands more Cherokee died in the war.[196] 

Watching the British turn on their allies made a deep impression on natives along the northern frontiers and helped lead to Pontiac's "rebellion.”  The British inflicted genocide on the Abenaki people at the same time, which made their intentions clear.  Even so, the Cherokee became British allies again, even as greedy colonists ignored the Royal Proclamation.  Daniel Boone’s penetration of Cherokee hunting grounds led the Cherokee elders to give in to the inevitable, “selling” the lands in Kentucky and Tennessee to the speculators in 1775.  The Cherokee chief Attakullakulla, who was the “emperor” that visited King George II in 1730, and who was raised in the Cherokee village that Tennessee is named after, acquiesced to the inevitable.  He saw the teeming hordes of England and the writing on the wall.  His son, however, did not.  A young warrior who survived smallpox epidemics, with his skin heavily scarred, he defied the treaty and made the following prophetic speech before leaving.

 

“Where now are our grandfathers, the Delawares?  We had hoped that the white men would not be willing to travel beyond the mountains.  Now that hope is gone.  They have passed the mountains, and have settled upon Cherokee land.  They wished to have that usurpation sanctioned by treaty.  When that land is gained, the same encroaching spirit will lead them upon other land of the Cherokees.  New cessions will be asked.  Finally the whole country, which the Cherokees and their fathers have so long occupied, will be demanded, and the remnant of Ani-Yunwiya, “The Real People,” once so great and formidable, will be compelled to seek refuge in some distant wilderness.  There they will be permitted to stay only a short while, until they again behold the advancing banners of the same greedy host.  Not being able to point out any further retreat for the miserable Cherokees, the extinction of the whole race will be proclaimed.  Should we not therefore run all risks, and incur all consequences, rather than submit to further laceration of our country?  Such treaties may be all right for men who are too old to hunt or fight.  As for me, I have my young warriors about me.  We will have our lands.”[197]

 

Attakullakulla’s son waged a guerilla war against the white invaders, in today’s Tennessee, for the next generation.  When the American Revolution began, the Iroquois Confederacy and other hostile tribes such as the Shawnee saw where events were headed.  If the colonists succeeded in breaking away from their mother country, the Indians would be more certainly doomed.  A delegation was sent to the Cherokee in 1776 as part of an effort to unite all tribes from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico against the colonists. 

By that time, the British colonies had taken on characteristics that could be discerned during the next century, which can be easily seen in the USA today.  From the earliest days of the Spanish invasions, the losers of European society came to the New World.  Europe’s upper classes rarely made trips to the New World or other imperial lands, unless they were royal representatives.  European sovereigns did not go abroad to survey their realms.  Lower class invaders turned themselves into local elites, and Europe’s rulers continually tried undermining colonial aspirations, and made grand pronouncements in Europe about respecting native lives.  The colonists mostly ignored or laughed at the proclamations and laws, which was particularly evident in the Spanish and English colonial experience.  English subjects even sold themselves into slavery, called indentured servitude, to gain passage to the New World.

Even though early Jamestown “settlers” ran off and lived with the natives, and Morton had high appreciation for the native way of life, and the spectacle of the “Unredeemed Captive” played itself out in the early 18th century[198], by the time of the American Revolution, the new elites had carved out estates in the settled east and were the forerunners of today’s Eastern Establishment.  The opportunities for free land and dreams of estates lay on the frontiers of English/British encroachment, and were pursued by the losers of colonial life.  Trappers, traders, and soldiers were the early English vanguard, followed by settlers.  While frontiersmen might wear buckskins and take native wives, they rarely thought like Indians, and native behavior toward nature was in stark contrast to how frontiersmen behaved.  Eastern North America was completely deforested by those frontier settlers, which wiped out both native humans and animals.  White invaders would rarely make enlightened contact with the natives, and the genocidal aspirations in Amherst's letters to his men (a sentiment that was missing in his writings about his French adversaries) were more literate versions of the scalp-hunting attitudes of frontier settlers. 

Attakullakulla’s son waged warfare against the intruders, but his was the minority opinion among the Cherokee.  Attakullakulla’s niece married a white trader and distinguished herself in battle against the Creek.  She sought peace with the whites and even warned them about the plans of Attakullakulla’s son.  In the big picture, guerilla warfare by tribal minorities provided justification of slaughter and dispossession of entire tribes.  When the northern delegation came in 1776, Attakullakulla’s son gladly accepted the war belts, while the Cherokee elders held a sad silence.  By 1777, rebel colonists had overrun the Cherokee once more and launched extermination raids against Cherokee villages, mostly neutral ones.  The elders then sued for peace, and signed a treaty at gunpoint that gave up nearly all of their lands in the Carolinas.  Another treaty in 1781 took more land.  Most Native American tribes sided with the British, or more properly, against the rebel colonists.  Not the Cherokee.

Although Washington’s secret plan of 1783 made the USA's goals evident, the first tribe that the USA made a post-revolution treaty with was the Cherokee.  The 1785 Hopewell Treaty was about the only one that did not make land cessions a part of it.  High-minded happenings in Washington translated poorly to the frontier.  White invaders had zero respect for the Hopewell Treaty, and the breakaway “state” of Franklin ran the Cherokee off their lands, and in 1788 murdered several elderly chiefs under a truce flag.  Although natives could perform atrocities, it was nearly always provoked, and a disinterested frontier observer remarked that settlers were “in the wrong four times out of five.”[199] 

Another of Attakullakulla’s sons participated in the 1791 annihilation of the American Army in the Ohio River Valley, but in 1794, all Cherokee factions signed another treaty with the USA.  In 1792, the USA allocated funding to begin turning Native Americans into European peasants, and the Cherokee were the logical tribe to begin the experiment on.  The USA began providing plows, spinning wheels, and other European technology.  It was not exactly an altruistic move.  Sedentary farmers and craftsmen needed far less land than hunter-gatherers, and the Cherokee adopted the white man’s ways in order to survive.  That transformation caused upheaval within the Cherokee people, as many of the white man’s ways were disgusting to native sensibilities.  Nevertheless, the Cherokee adopted European methods to such an extent that the name “civilized” was applied to their tribe and others who adopted similar practices.  The Cherokee became cotton growers and cloth weavers instead of deer hunters and skinners.  Apparently, George Washington genuinely tried the assimilation policy on the Cherokee, especially after the 1791 disaster

The Cherokee kept ceding lands in “treaties,” in 1798, 1804, 1805, and 1806.  Some pro-French Cherokee migrated to today’s Arkansas in 1763, after the French lost the war against the British and the Spanish granted them land.  Pro-British Cherokee also began migrating there in 1782.  After the USA “bought” the land by the Louisiana Purchase, in an 1817 treaty it officially recognized the Western Cherokee.  Under pressure from white settlers, the Western Cherokee were induced to move to Oklahoma in 1828.

The Eastern Cherokee kept assimilating white ways and relinquishing their lands.  With white influence came tribal corruption, and lying and greed made their appearance among the warriors and chiefs, which was something new to the Cherokee.  The more traditional Cherokee (usually the full-bloods) migrated to the western reservation, and the Eastern Cherokee adopted white ways.  In the 1806 treaty, the Cherokee ceded ten million acres, which is an area half as large as today’s South Carolina.  The chief who negotiated the treaty, and got rich in the process of selling out his people, was assassinated by a faction of young men, led by a brave named Ridge.  The chief was so hated that even his relatives did not mind his murder.[200]

Ridge became a prominent Cherokee leader and led the effort to assimilate white culture.  The assimilation brought on problems that no society could easily manage.  The entire fabric of Cherokee existence was under siege.  Women were to stop tending plants in the fields and become textile makers, while men performed plow agriculture.  Native concepts of reciprocity and the concept of sufficiency did not mesh with the “greed-as-a-virtue” attitudes of whites, who grabbed whatever they could and always wanted more.  Try imagining a female American president that dismantles the military, declares holidays to bake bread, Christianity is discarded as a male aberration, and she declares a Goddess-based, nature-worshipping religion as the national religion.  The culture shock that the Cherokee underwent was greater, but they underwent it, and it presented them with a chance to survive. 

By 1811, more than one thousand traditional Cherokee had migrated west, and Ridge and others who favored adopting the white man’s ways dominated the Eastern Cherokee.  Great rifts rent the “civilized” tribes.  During 1811, Tecumseh toured Eastern North America and tried to unite all tribes against the white invasion.  Tecumseh gave symbolic red sticks to the tribes that he spoke to.  The sticks were prepared by his brother, the Prophet, and were to help tribes mark time until their uprising as each stick represented a moon cycle.  Although his brother was known as The Prophet, prophetic ability was apparently a family talent, and Tecumseh had apparently prophesied for several years that a great earthquake would mark the time when the tribes should make their move to present a united front to the whites.  Tecumseh was born on the night of a “shooting star,” and also prophesied that a shooting star would also be a sign that the Great Spirit supported his efforts.

At a huge meeting at the Creek capital, in present-day Alabama, attended by five thousand natives from numerous tribes, Tecumseh spoke of his plan, and the red stick bundles were only three moons large.  At that meeting, Ridge threatened to kill Tecumseh if he came to speak to the Cherokee.  A Creek chief challenged Tecumseh, who replied that the chief's blood was white and that when he went home to Tippecanoe, he would stomp on the ground and shake the land, to let the tribes know the truth.  On November 7, 1811, the battle of Tippecanoe was fought, which was Harrison’s pre-emptive strike against Tecumseh’s efforts.  On November 16th, a great meteor was seen in the sky, which supposedly informed the natives that Tecumseh’s efforts had the Great Spirit’s approval, but Tippecanoe's ashes said otherwise.  A month later, while traveling back to Tippecanoe, at a camp near New Madrid, Missouri, Tecumseh received word of the disaster of Tippecanoe.  That same night, December 16, 1811, the first New Madrid quake hit, which was a series of quakes that are the strongest in the USA's history, measuring more than eight on the Richter scale and caused church bells to ring in Boston.  It stands today as a most curious testament to Tecumseh’s alleged ability.  Because of Tippecanoe, Tecumseh (some say it was his brother) also allegedly cast a curse on the USA, so that every president elected in a year ending in zero would die in office.  Harrison was the first to fall to this alleged curse, being elected in 1840 and dying soon after coming to office.[201] 

With the destruction of Tippecanoe, The Prophet lost standing among the natives, Tecumseh’s plans were ruined, and he died in battle against Americans a couple of years later.  Many Creeks took his message to heart, dyed their war clubs red, and became known as the Red Sticks.  The last New Madrid quake was the most devastating and occurred on February 13, 1812.  In June the War of 1812 began and Tecumseh’s alliance was in ruins.  The Red Stick faction, acting on its own, initiated a civil war among the Creeks, warring against Creek villages that had adopted the white man’s ways.  The Spanish armed the Red Sticks, and in 1813, a group of American soldiers stopped and looted a Red Stick pack train, which ignited war with Red Sticks.   Red Sticks then laid siege to Fort Mims in Alabama, and about 250 settlers were killed, which made huge news that swept the USA.

Cherokee elders advocated neutrality in the latest white man’s war and wanted no part of the Creek civil war.  Ridge however, was violently opposed to Tecumseh’s movement and gathered hundreds of men to join Andrew Jackson’s motley crew.  While “Old Hickory” gained the respect of his men during the march back from the aborted trip to New Orleans, as time wore on, with his men weary and under-provisioned, they lost their morale and wanted to go home.  Old Hickory then became draconian and executed a teenage soldier who became unruly, making an example of him.  He took on Ridge’s braves, about five hundred strong, and made Ridge a major in the Tennessee Militia, and Ridge called himself Major Ridge for the rest of his life.  The Cherokee were much better fighters than white soldiers, which Jackson readily admitted.  Friendly Creeks also were part of the fighting force.  Jackson did not trust his Cherokee fighters, but used them as high-grade cannon fodder. 

In March 1814, a force of 2,000 whites and 500 Cherokee and Creek cornered the Red Stick army at what is today called Horseshoe Bend, on the Tallapoosa River in Alabama.  Jackson had never led a battle before and his strategy amounted to firing cannons at their fortifications.  The action would have probably ended in failure if not for Cherokee braves who swam the river and attacked the Red Sticks from the rear.  Their efforts divided the Creek defense, and the whites then laid siege to the fortifications.  In that fierce battle, eight hundred of the thousand Red Sticks died.  The aftermath was as brutal as they come.  The whites were not content with mere scalps.  They skinned Red Stick bodies to make bridle reins, belts, and other fashionable items.  Jackson ordered cutting off the noses of dead Red Sticks to get an accurate body count.  He later ensured that body parts were distributed to the “ladies of Tennessee” as souvenirs.[202]  Davy Crockett, who fought at Horseshoe Bend, as did Sam Houston, wrote that the troops ate potatoes that had been basted in the fat of Red Stick warriors in another battle during the same campaign.  Those battles made Jackson an American hero.  Part of the Cherokee logic was that if they adopted the white man’s ways and fought with him, they might be able to survive without being eliminated from their lands, as most other tribes had already suffered.  On the way home, Tennessee volunteers passed through Cherokee lands and ravaged them.  When the Cherokee complained, Jackson was furious with them for making the scandal a public matter.[203]

Although the Creek saw the Red Stick War as a civil war among the Creek and not against the USA, Jackson got himself appointed the treaty commissioner, and forced the Creek to cede the largest single cession the natives of the South ever made: 23 million acres, which was an area substantially larger than South Carolina.  Even land of white-friendly Creeks, who had fought with Jackson, was taken from them.  Part of the “ceded” land the Creek and Cherokee had shared.  Jackson and his friends bought up the choice lands that he forced the Creek and Cherokee to cede.  It was an early example of Jackson’s theory of government, in which the winner gets the “spoils.”  Jackson should not be treated too harshly here; George Washington did virtually the same thing, speculating in lands that his troops violently wrested from natives.  The Cherokee protested Jackson’s claim on the land that they shared with the Creek, and Jackson acted typically: he bribed most Cherokee chiefs into acquiescence.[204]  Whereas Washington’s plan called for negotiating with tribes individually, to play divide-and-conquer, Jackson introduced a new tactic, breaking up tribal lands into individual plots, then bribing and coercing individual landowners, cutting out the tribes altogether.[205]  Bribery and threat of attack were Jackson’s two primary methods of dealing with the Indians, especially when stealing their land, which Jackson openly admitted, saying that treaties were secured by playing to the Indians’ “avarice or fear.”

Jackson’s tactics were openly fraudulent and characterized the legal treatment that the USA imposed on the natives.  During the century that the USA entered into treaties with native tribes, a common tactic was getting the chiefs roaring drunk, and when they had sobered up, they realized that somebody got them to “sign” a treaty that ceded their lands.  Treaties entered into at gunpoint, outright forgery of a chief’s signature onto treaties (not a difficult task, when a chief did not know how to read or write), straight bribes to a “chief” who was not empowered to negotiate for his tribe - those were typical American tactics.  When Major Ridge and another prominent chief discovered what the chiefs had “negotiated” with Jackson, the head chief was stripped of his powers.  They protested, but the U.S. Senate ratified the fraudulent treaty.  Jackson only got one million of the two million acres that he and his cronies set their sights on.  Jackson was not happy.[206]  Even back then, Jackson’s goal was the removal of all Indians.  He did not believe that any Indian could ever become “civilized,” so removal or extermination was his goal.  In that instance, Major Ridge and John Ross successfully lobbied the USA's government and got the treaty rescinded, for the first time ever.

Jackson became a war hero again when his defense of New Orleans trounced the British a couple of weeks after the War of 1812 had ended.  After beating Napoleon, the British came in a little too arrogant, and the militia-types slaughtered them as they marched across an open field, thinking that the “rabble” would scatter when seeing lines of marching soldiers coming at them. 

The fragments of destroyed Muskogean tribes fled to Florida, amalgamating with the Apalachee remnants, and became the Seminole.  On his own initiative, Jackson attacked and took the British fort at Pensacola on the way to New Orleans.  He wanted Florida, and was dismayed that he did not get it after the Battle of New Orleans.  Not to be thwarted, Jackson invaded Florida in 1818, which was a Spanish possession at the time.  John Quincy Adams was James Monroe’s Secretary of State when Jackson invaded Florida.  Jackson had no authority to invade Florida as he had.  Jackson had committed an unprovoked act of war against Spain, which he prosecuted with exceptional brutality.  Jackson, like Underhill and others before him, cited Old Testament stories to justify his actions, imagining that he was some kind of avenger for Jehovah.[207]  After his stint as president ended, Jackson echoed Washington in comparing Indians to wolves, and in the great tradition of American presidents, he advocated the complete extermination of the Indians, especially the women and children, writing that to fail to do so was the equivalent of hunting a "wolf in the hamocks without knowing first where her den and whelps were."[208]

Jackson’s invasion appeared less than godly, and more like a land-grabbing, bloody invasion of conquest, with the invasion’s leader getting rich from the stolen lands.  John Quincy Adams stood alone in the Monroe administration in defending Jackson’s invasion, and casted blame on the Spanish.  Adams performed a remarkable Orwellian somersault, calling Jackson’s invasion, “defensive acts of hostility.”[209]  All of the surviving ex-presidents approved of Adams’s gymnastics.  Adams became the sixth American president, followed by Jackson.  Adams was the primary architect of the Monroe Doctrine, and he became president in 1825.  Jackson handpicked his successor, Martin Van Buren, who was his Secretary of State and campaign advisor.

Jackson might have died at Horseshoe Bend if not for the daring efforts of his Cherokee warriors, and Jackson led the swindle of the Cherokee.  Today, many Cherokees refuse to use $20 bills because Jackson’s face is on them.  From Washington’s original subsidy of civilizing them, to the 1830s when Jackson was president, the Cherokee engaged in what may be history’s most astonishing feat of cultural change.

The Cherokee were liberal in adopting people into their tribe, which is partly why they are the largest surviving tribe today.  John Ross was only one-eighth Cherokee.  There were blond haired and blue-eyed Cherokee.  A Western Cherokee, the reclusive Sequoyah, performed one of the greatest intellectual feats of all time by creating a Cherokee alphabet.  It was easy to learn and most of the tribe became literate by 1825, with a literacy rate higher than most of the world, even the USA.  The Cherokee created a true nation, with a constitution, and elected John Ross as its “Principal Chief.”  By 1828, they had a national weekly newspaper, published in Cherokee and English.  The Cherokee were out-whiting the whites.  The Cherokee were more prosperous than the neighboring whites and their groomed lands and society became the envy of the region.  They even had African slaves (the Cherokee’s slaves were largely treated better than African slaves of whites, but they were still slaves).  Subsequent events betrayed the racist foundation of the white invasions and exterminations of Native Americans.  Gold was found in northern Georgia in 1828 and 1829, which created a gold rush on Cherokee lands as the white miners flooded in.  History has rarely recorded a baser breed of people than gold rush miners, as greed and desperation are their most salient characteristics, whether it was 16th century Spain or 19th century America.  The Georgia gold rush foreshadowed the gold rushes that propelled the invasion and “settlement” of whites west of the Mississippi River.  With a new lure of greed, the Georgia government then began plotting the Cherokee expulsion in earnest. 

Andrew Jackson was the first president to bring the frontier mentality into the White House.  His Indian-killing reputation got him elected.  While all the previous presidents were dishonest land-grabbers, they at least adopted a “civilized” veneer to their murderous criminality.  Jackson often dispensed with even that.  Jackson openly bribed people and adopted the “spoils” system of governance, in which party loyalists were appointed to government posts.  His reputation was so well known that people stayed at his inauguration until the wee hours, hoping that if they hung around long enough that they might be appointed to government positions.  Jackson’s tenure marked the rise of machine politics in America.

When he ascended to the presidency, Jackson soon pressed his “Indian Removal” dreams.  After he was elected but before he took office, Jackson wrote to a Georgia Congressman about the Cherokee, “Build a fire under them.  When it gets hot enough, they’ll move.”[210]  Indian removal was the biggest issue of his presidency.  In seven of his eight annual addresses to Congress, he talked about the “Indian Problem.”  Jackson pushed through his Indian Removal Act in 1830, which was called at the time the greatest issue ever to come before Congress, except for matters of war.  Although Jackson was its architect, he was a master of political doubletalk, and feigned powerlessness when Cherokee delegations called on their “great friend” to aid their plight.  A fraudulent subterfuge played out.  Native American tribes were always forced to deal with the USA's government, even though the USA never kept up its end of the deal.  Jackson then played the “states’ rights” card, telling the Cherokee that the USA's government was powerless in the face of the claims made by Georgia.  Jackson pushed through his Indian Removal Act, but when meeting the Cherokee delegates, he wrung his hands in impotence when faced with Georgia’s might.  It was a genocidal shell game and helped lead to the American Civil War. 

The Cherokee kept playing in the rigged system, and even won in the U.S. Supreme Court, as Chief Justice Marshall issued his famous 1832 ruling on Worcester v. Georgia, in which he ruled that the federal government had jurisdiction over native lands, not the states, but the ruling was mostly for show and was not enforced by the federal government.  A few years later, the federal government instead robbed the Cherokee of their last lands.  Beginning in 1831, the civilized tribes were removed from their homes at gunpoint, interned in concentration camps and force-marched several hundred miles (in the winter) to their new “homes” west of the Mississippi, in a dynamic that would foreshadow how the Nazis treated the Jews during the 1940s.  That forced removal is known as the Trail of Tears.  Jackson left office, in 1837, and his successor, Martin Van Buren, presided over the removal of the Cherokee.  White historians and scholars can be counted on to continually underestimate or ignore the body counts caused by their kind.  The death toll of the Trail of Tears (including internment, transport and resettlement) used to be estimated at only 15% to 25% of the removed populations, but the most recent and thorough study of the Cherokee removal estimates a 55% mortality rate, which roughly applies to the other tribes that were force-marched.[211]  The “first lady” of the Cherokee, John Ross’s wife, died on the march. 

Major Ridge, who could not be bought when younger, and said that he would kill anybody who sold off Cherokee lands, signed the fraudulent “treaty” that led to the Cherokee’s forced removal.  The case can be made that Ridge, similar to other Cherokee elders over the generations, was simply succumbing to the inevitable, but when he signed it, he said that he was signing his own death warrant.  He was right.  His cadre relocated with the Western Cherokee before the Trail of Tears, but when Trail of Tears's survivors were finally delivered to the Western Cherokee, Ridge died by his own code, assassinated along with others who signed away Eastern Cherokee land.  The Seminole fought removal, beginning in 1835, and the USA waged a war of attrition against them for several years, and the Seminole finally surrendered in 1842. 

As with Las Casas and other Spaniards of conscience, some American observers' humanity would not allow them to keep silent.  John Burnett was an American soldier who participated in the Trail of Tears, and later wrote:

 

“School children today do not know that we are living on lands that were taken from a helpless race at the bayonet point to satisfy the white man’s greed…

“I fought through the Civil War and have seen men shot to pieces and slaughtered by thousands, but the Cherokee removal was the cruelest work I ever knew."[212]

 

Land grabbing and dispossessing the natives was how America was built, and was the essence of Jackson’s career, but future CIA-asset Arthur Schlesinger won a Pulitzer Prize for his Age of Jackson, published in 1945, and in it there is no mention of Jackson the land grabber, no mention of the Trail of Tears, no mention of his slave ownership, no mention of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, which made him famous and won him the presidency.[213]  That is how a great deal of American “history” has been fabricated, by simply whitewashing over the greatest feats of the early robber-baron presidents, acting as if they never happened, and winning awards for doing so.  Schlesinger was also the most prominent person to fabricate the Camelot image of the Kennedy presidency.  The cultural awakening of the 1960s has helped ameliorate such nationalistic revisionism.

While Jackson and friends were securing the South, the Northwest boundary was being expanded.  The Fox were nearly exterminated by a French-led alliance in 1730.  They barely survived and lived with the Sac tribe in today’s Illinois and Wisconsin.  A century later, after Tecumseh died and settlers began flooding into today’s Midwest, the Sac and Fox chiefs were made drunk and “signed” a “treaty” that ceded their lands east of the Mississippi.  They acquiesced to the fraud and tried eking out a life in present-day Iowa, but many starved to death in the winter of 1831-1832, and the Sac chief Black Hawk led about two thousand of his people back to northern Illinois in early 1832 to plant crops, and whites quickly began organizing a militia against them.  When faced with the mounting military effort, Black Hawk tried surrendering, but the militia fired on his people and the “Black Hawk War” thus began.  Sac and Fox peoples then went on a fruitless quest to avoid the white troops, and braves raided frontier farms and villages as they fled.  The Sac and Fox tried to go settle with other tribes that had already been forced west of the Mississippi, but the white army caught them trying to cross the Mississippi in 1833.  Even though the natives tried surrendering, the whites engaged in an outright extermination of the Sac and Fox peoples and nearly completed what the French did not accomplish.  Two future presidents took part in the Black Hawk War, Zachary Taylor as an officer, and Abraham Lincoln as a foot soldier.[214]  Black Hawk was captured and then sent around the USA as an exhibit of a “humbled savage.”  After Black Hawk died, his remains were disinterred and put on display as trophies in an Iowa museum, which later burned down.  Tiny remnants of the Sac and Fox got a postage-stamp-sized reservation in Iowa, in return for officially “ceding” their last six million acres of land.

The Spanish government allowed Americans to settle in Texas beginning in 1820, and the Mexican government foolishly allowed the practice to continue the next year.  The deal was for only American Catholics to settle Texas, but American whites only pretended to be Catholic.  As the fake Catholics flooded in, they quickly wore out their welcome, especially as they brought African slaves with them, and Mexico opposed slavery.  Whites began trying to take Texas from Mexico as early as 1826, with their Fredonian Rebellion.  The rebellion caused the Mexican government to forbid more white settlement in Texas.  Afraid that Mexico would abolish slavery in Texas, the white settlers revolted and stole Texas from Mexico in 1836.

By 1840, except for tiny Iroquois reservations in New York and the few Seminoles holding out in Florida, the Native American was virtually extinct east of the Mississippi.  The vast tract of land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, which the British set aside for native tribes in 1763, was now completely in the hands of white Americans.  Tiny remnants of the Eastern Woodlands’ tribes were living largely in today’s Arkansas and Oklahoma, although the trend was forcing all of them into Oklahoma, which was about the most inhospitable land then known and available.  Every single American president to 1840 was an unabashed, land-grabbing empire-builder.  As the “frontier” kept being pushed back, killing Indians was the American way to fame and fortune.  During the 19th century, being known as an Indian fighter was the quickest way to garner votes, and that trend continued after 1840. 

In 1840, there were about 17 million Americans, as compared to less than four million in 1790, when the first American census was taken.  The 1840s saw the USA in the midst of trends that define its character today.  Between Napoleon and World War I, European soil was largely free of warfare.  That was partly because the USA acted as a safety valve for poorer Europeans.  British subjects and Germans were the most common immigrants, and the Africans who came against their will as slaves.  Early industrialization in Europe was a hellish experience, and the UK led the way.  British factories were known as “satanic mills” and dismal British urban life of the late 18th and early 19th century is epitomized by the work of Charles Dickens.  His Christmas Carol was published in 1843.

The USA began a rapid industrial development, overtaking the UK by the late 19th century.  In 1830, the USA's industrial output per capita was higher than that of any other nation in Europe, except for the UK, which was nearly twice as high, and was more than three times higher in 1860.[215]  The era of the corporation was on the rise.  Cornelius Vanderbilt began making his fortune as a war profiteer during the War of 1812, getting the government contract to supply the forts guarding New York Harbor.  He quickly built a shipping empire, then began building a railroad empire, and he was worth $20 million when the Civil War broke out, when robber barons really began their ascent in America.  The du Pont commercial empire was begun in 1802, by one of Lavoisier's pupils.  The du Pont company provided gunpowder during the War of 1812.  Warfare and monopolies became the American way to build fortunes, which led to the Gilded Age in the late 19th century.

The Great Potato Famine of the 1840s caused millions of hungry Irish to leave for the New World, and millions of Germans and British also came during those years.  Large families and greater life expectancy also contributed greatly to America’s population increase.  Slave populations, unless they are worked to death as Native Americans were, tend to have life expectancies not far removed from the master population, which led to a phenomenon unique to the USA: the ability to breed slaves.  By the Civil War, about six million Africans lived in the USA, but only about a half million slaves were brought to what became the USA.

By 1870, the USA's population tripled from its 1830 population, to 39 million.  American xenophobia also began during that time.[216]  The natives had been exterminated or removed, African slaves largely accepted their lot, and Anglos dominated, especially in the Eastern Establishment.  Immigrants did not get the red carpet treatment, although their horrid living conditions were better than what they left in Europe.  American life expectancy was greater than Europe’s early on, as whites plundered such a rich continent.  The USA became a relief valve for Europe’s huddled masses.  By 1900, the USA had 76 million people in it, nearly all of whom were of European extraction, except for nine million Africans.

Native Americans were virtually extinct by 1900, as were many of their fellow creatures.  The period from 1700 to 1900, when the English/American Empire expanded across North America, is arguably the most single-minded and sustained effort of environmental destruction that any species has ever inflicted upon this planet.  John Adams wrote that his family cut down more trees than any other family in America.  As one author wrote, the ax was the appropriate symbol of the early American attitude toward nature.[217]  North America likely had Earth’s greatest store of environmental wealth, and the English and Americans ruthlessly plundered it.  Eastern North America had the world’s largest temperate forest, and the old saying that a squirrel could have run from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, without ever touching ground, was not very fanciful.  Eastern North America was almost completely deforested by those “pioneers.”  The passenger pigeon, which may have flown in the greatest flocks that Earth has seen, was on the brink of being driven to extinction in 1840, in capitalistic fashion.  Expanding railroads in the 1850s allowed for a short-lived industry of killing pigeons in the Midwest and transporting them to East Coast markets.  Passenger pigeons numbered in the billions, and migrating flocks turned day into night, but by the 1880s their populations had collapsed and the last passenger pigeon died in captivity in 1914.  The woodland bison, which roamed today’s Eastern USA, was rendered extinct by the early 19th century.  

Next to the industrialization of farming, the greatest cause of the explosion of world human population, which began growing with increasing rapidity during the last half of the 1700s, was likely the introduction of New World crops to the rest of humanity.  For providing human-digestible calories, New World crops were superior in significant ways.  Maize is Earth’s hardiest seed crop, and Native Americans developed more than three thousand varieties of it, so it could thrive from northern forest to arid desert, from mountaintop to seashore.  Northern China came to subsist on the sweet potato.  Ireland, Russia, and other harsh climates came to rely on the potato, which provided nearly double the calories of a wheat crop in half the time for less work at cultivation.  It was a healthier food than wheat (people can subsist solely on the potato) and was not as subject to the vagaries of weather.  The cassava root and maize became Africa's staple, which led to its population increase that began during the 19th century.  When New World crops were introduced to Old World agriculture, famines decreased and populations exploded, in Malthusian fashion.  With the introduction of the potato, Ireland grew from 3.2 million in 1754 to 8.2 million in 1845, while an additional 1.75 million migrated to the New World.  Today, more than half of the world’s crops are of New World origin.[218] 

Native Americans developed more than three thousand varieties of potato, and the white man made fatal errors in adopting New World crops.  The Irish came to depend solely on one variety of potato, which made the Irish subsistence crop vulnerable, and in 1845 a blight ripped through not only the Irish mono-crop, but also Europe’s, leading to a famine.  However, the Irish famine was partly induced by the UK, as Ireland was forced to export its cash crop foods to the UK, similar to the British-induced famines in India.  The Great Potato Blight and subsequent famine reduced Ireland’s population by more than a million, and initiated another great wave of migration to the New World.

 

To Steal a Continent – Finishing the Job

The 1840s saw the ascendance of two cultural phenomena.  One was xenophobia directed toward non-Anglo whites, and the other was a concept known as Manifest Destiny.  An American diplomat, when making the case for annexing Texas, first used the term in 1845.  It borrowed from the Jewish idea of a land promised to them by God and then killing the inhabitants to get it.  Manifest Destiny provided a similar rationale for the USA, and even retroactively sanctified its vast murders.  The Indians of eastern North America were gone, so American racism needed a new target, and the immigrants, even though their skin was white, served that purpose.  On the frontiers however, there were still natives to eradicate, and the hatred could still be focused on dark-skinned subhumans.

Manifest Destiny may have been an attempt to reduce “cognitive dissonance,” which is a psychological condition in which beliefs conflict with experience, leading to “dissonance.”  The healthy response is to question or modify one’s beliefs.  The pathological response takes two forms.  One is to increase the “positive cognitions,” which means to stress information that supports the belief being challenged by experience.  The other is to decrease the “negative cognitions,” which means to ignore, suppress, and forget the experiences that contradict the belief in question.

It took extreme effort to paint early American nation building in a positive light.  American nationalism began growing in the 1820s, and the events that could lead to negative cognitions were abundantly clear.  Accordingly, they were largely minimized, such as “historians” omitting history’s greatest complete genocide from Columbus’s story, or Washington’s fraudulent strategy.  A creative bag of tricks was used to decrease the negative cognitions, including making the Indians subhuman.  Then Weems, Irving and many others created fictional positive cognitions.  Manifest Destiny was another case of fabricating positive cognitions, by invoking the Creator’s sanction.  The basic tenet of Manifest Destiny was that Americans were “destined” to rule from sea to shining sea, and anybody in the way was in God’s way.

Why deal with anybody fairly if superior violence will prevail?  The thief just takes what he wants and lets violence decide the issue.  Might makes right has been the rationale for every empire, but it has never been prudent to come right out and say it, so Machiavelli’s professional descendants have concocted a wide range of cover stories over the centuries.  Early on, because the Bill of Rights and other factors limited the coercion that the USA could inflict on its citizens, those who ran the USA began refining the art of deluding the masses to unprecedented levels.  Anti-sedition laws were too crude a means of control.  The art of creating mass delusions became a science during the 20th century, with the rise of the public relations industry, among others. 

In 1840, William Henry Harrison was elected president, and his campaign’s slogan was “Tippecanoe and Tyler too.”  As with Jackson, Harrison’s claim to fame consisted of killing Indians.  The Harrison campaign was nearly apolitical and simply cashed in on Harrison’s Indian-killing celebrity.  Harrison was the early example of a Ronald Reagan-type front man, and Harrison was 67 when elected, similar to Reagan’s 69 - America’s two oldest elected presidents.  Harrison’s campaign avoided dealing with any substantive issues.  He died quickly while in office and Tyler usurped power.  Harrison was the first president to die in office, and the Constitution was unclear about what should happen.  The general thinking was that the vice president should become acting president and call for a new election.  Tyler decided to grab the office for himself, which was bitterly denounced in his day, but his move became the precedent that the USA has used ever since.

Tyler was another slave-owning Virginian plantation owner who believed that the landed aristocracy should run the nation.  As a congressman, Tyler was against the Missouri Compromise, not wanting any restrictions on slave ownership.  Another slave-owning president was an embarrassing anachronism in the West during the 1840s.  The abolition movement was strong by that time.  The British Empire passed laws to free all of its slaves in 1833, and by 1838 ended the “apprenticeship” program for “ex-slaves” that permitted flogging.  France was forced to by the European revolutions of 1848, leaving Latin American sugar plantations and the USA virtually alone on the world stage.  About the sole feat of Tyler’s administration was bringing Texas into the national fold in 1845, which he did in cahoots with the next president, Polk, who was yet another slave-owning aristocrat.  A treaty to annex Texas was defeated in the Senate in 1844 due to the slavery issue, then Tyler and Polk fabricated a legal end maneuver around the abolitionists so that only a majority vote was needed, instead of the two-thirds majority that the Constitution required for treaty-ratification.  Tyler pushed through his strategy and signed the measure a few days before he left office. 

James K. Polk took office in 1845 and immediately began planning a vigorous American expansion, to make America’s Manifest Destiny come to fruition.  There were even discussions at Polk’s inaugural about buying California from Mexico.  Mexico considered Texas a renegade territory, and when the USA absorbed Texas, Mexico broke off diplomatic relations with the USA and Polk’s cronies began immediately plotting to seize western lands from Mexico. 

For hundreds of years, all references to New Spain’s province of “Tejas” delineated its western boundary as the Nueces River, which Mexican maps confirmed.  The Texas land grabbers, however, claimed that Texas extended another 150 miles westward, to the Rio Grande River, in violation of the region’s history.  Mexico was understandably upset with Texas's claims, not only becoming part of the USA, but also arbitrarily extending its boundaries another 150 miles into Mexico.

General Zachary Taylor, whose claim to fame was, as usual, killing Indians, did not even like the idea of annexing Texas, but was ordered to lead an army to the Rio Grande and start something.  The U.S. Army purposely created a “border” incident to justify launching an invasion.  Hitler did a similar thing to Poland, to start World War II.  Before word even got back to Polk of Taylor’s successful baiting of Mexico into the trap, Polk was campaigning to his cabinet to declare war on Mexico.  When news came of the expected incident, Polk immediately declared war.  U.S. Congressman Abraham Lincoln, among others, heatedly contested the war declaration, calling it nothing more than a naked land grab.  A young officer serving under Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, helped lead the American army into Mexico, where the army marauded at will.  Grant later wrote in his memoirs that he regarded the Mexican-American war as “one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.”  Disinterested historians have generally agreed with Grant’s assessment. 

Mexico made the mistake of allowing Anglo settlers to come to California.  With the bad experience of allowing American “Catholics” to settle in Texas, Mexico made it a requirement that all white settlers to California become Mexican citizens.  They did, but it proved a worthless tactic.  Whites in California revolted even before news of the USA's war declaration reached them.  Similar to whites that seized Texas, whites in California established a new nation, called the Bear Flag Republic.  That new nation lasted less than a month and ended when the U.S. Navy arrived.  The Mexican-American war was an easy one for the USA.  Although about 12,000 Americans died in the war, less than 1,800 were battle deaths, and the rest were disease and the related miseries of invading tropical Mexico and laying siege to Mexico City, as Cortés had done more than three centuries earlier.  The USA stole half of Mexico in that war and Taylor became a “war hero.”  Although Taylor never voted in his life, the Whig party used his celebrity to sweep him into the presidency in 1848, as another war hero front man.  Taylor used Jackson’s “spoils system” and soon died in office.  Although American establishment scholars downplay the evidence, with questionable logic, substantial evidence shows that Taylor’s death may have been due to intentional poisoning, and he was hard to kill, so his assassins had to poison him more than once.[219]  Although Taylor was a slave-owner himself, he opposed sanctioning slavery in the newly-conquered American territories, which earned animosity from his fellow slaveholders. 

Cuban plantation owners realized the precariousness of their situation, and Polk’s Secretary of State, the pro-slavery James Buchanan, tried buying Cuba.  Polk even tried taking all of Oregon Country, nearly all the way to today’s Alaska, willing to risk war with the UK (at that time, still the world’s greatest power) to do so.  Arbitration set the line at 49 degrees north latitude, where the USA's boundary with Canada is today.  Polk’s tremendous land grabs helped make him one of history’s “best” presidents in the eyes of historians.

The “treaty” between Mexico and the USA, legitimating the USA's seizure, was signed in early 1848, and before the U.S. Senate even ratified the treaty, gold was found on John Sutter’s land, in today’s Sacramento.  The USA's biggest gold rush was then underway, and the usual rabble got to California any way they could.  Sailing around South America was one way, and going overland to California was another, which was by far the most common method for the more than 200,000 gold seekers that made it to California by 1852.  The quickest and easiest way, however, was to sail to Colombia and go overland across the Isthmus of Panama.  The USA signed a treaty with Colombia in 1846, as its empire began straddling North America, for rights to pass through the Isthmus and build a railroad across it, which was completed in 1857.  The trip from New York to San Francisco was thereby shortened to about two weeks. 

Before Polk, Indian removal ideology held that natives could be always pushed westward as the empire expanded, but Polk’s rapid successes leapfrogged the continent.  The natives could not be pushed further westward…or could they?  The Indians of the California coastline, from San Francisco to the tip of Baja California, had suffered almost complete genocide at the hands of Spanish priests and soldiers by 1846.  All of Southern California’s coastal tribes were extinct long ago; the only coastal natives that survived California’s mission era were those that fled inland.  When the 49-ers arrived, there were only about 150,000 surviving California natives, from a pre-Columbian population of at least 300,000 and perhaps double that.  The man who initiated the genocide of California’s natives is up for sainthood today, and I went to a school named after him, and that most important part of his legacy was never told me as a child.  Indian removal westward was not practical in California, so the first governor of California, which joined the Union in 1850, called for an open season on California’s natives.  There was a lucrative head bounty on the natives of California, and in the 1850s and 1860s the slaughter of the remaining California natives may have been the most intense genocidal effort of the entire history of the white man in North America, which also escaped my California history textbooks.  When the 49-ers slaughtered entire villages every weekend for fun and profit, and surviving children were often sold into slavery in Sacramento and San Francisco.  Indian girls brought twice the price of Indian boys, because they also served as concubines for the “settlers.”  Similar dynamics took place in Oregon Country.

Even though the genocide of Northern California’s natives proceeded, celebrated and unabated, there was still talk in the 1860s to “resettle” the natives even further westward, on unnamed islands in the Pacific Ocean.[220]  By 1900, the Native American population in California was 15,000, for a greater than 95% extermination rate since 1769, the typical rate that all Native American tribes experienced at the white man’s hands, if they survived outright extinction. 

The USA began thinking on a global basis fairly early.  In 1853, Commodore Perry mounted his diplomatic invasion of Japan, forcing an insular, feudal people into the developing world economy.  Japan quickly began playing catch-up with the West, which led to their participation in World War II.

With eastern North American bereft of its native population, and the genocide of the West Coast’s natives well underway, there was only one region still “unsettled” by the white man: the mountainous, desert-like interior of the American West and the Great Plains north of Oklahoma.  The beaver pelt trade collapsed in the 1830s as the fur trade finally encircled the world.  Gold was discovered in the Rocky Mountains in 1858, and Denver was established in 1860.  Black Kettle’s Cheyenne tribe welcomed the white men, but no matter how warm the welcome, the “pioneers” were bent on collecting scalps, which led to the outrageous Sand Creek Massacre in 1864.  The “pioneer” press went delirious with joy at each new massacre.  The “frontier” Americans cheered the slaughters the loudest.  The “noble pioneer” archetype of the American settlers is a fabricationFew seem to want to remember the truth, however, at least in white America.

The American Civil War is probably best seen as a crisis of empire.  Abraham Lincoln even openly admitted it, saying that keeping the Union whole was the point of the Civil War, and that keeping blacks in slavery was acceptable to him if it kept the Union together.  Most empires, from the earliest days of civilization, through Rome, Spain, the UK, and others, have largely collapsed from within, from internal corruption and imperial lands breaking away, seeking independence (to create their own empires).  No empire has ever given up its lands easily, and the USA is no exception, and it had been grabbing land as virtually no earthly empire had ever done before.  Such unprecedented growth was bound to lead to internal friction, as imperial subjects broke away and vied for power, just as the USA originally broke away from the British Empire, soon after its greatest moment of triumph.

Corporations originally had limited lives, being temporary vehicles for conducting business.  During the Civil War, war profiteering became an American science, and corporation became the real power in America, and laws were rewritten to give corporations the rights of people and even unlimited life.  Graft and corruption were on the rise.

The USA still bears the Civil War's scars.  The Civil War was one of the world’s first industrial wars, and submarines and railroads saw use, and other technologies.  The North’s strategy, as represented by Grant’s philosophy, was to simply use the North’s greater industrial capacity to grind down the South through a war of attrition.  That also became the strategy for how future wars would be won, notably World War II.  Early cameras recorded the Civil War’s carnage and brought it into people’s homes, which considerably dimmed the glorious luster that is always falsely attributed to the organized murder known as warfare.

Slavery and abolition played its role in the Civil War, but Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation did not free one slave, as it was more of a politician’s gambit.  Until Lincoln’s proclamation, the Civil War was explicitly one to hold the Union together.  His proclamation gave the veneer of righteousness to the affair and helped sway European opinion, as the northern half of the empire was now waging war against a barbaric anachronism.  The USA, with its industrialized and "free" North, and the agrarian and slave-holding South, is the starkest example that I know of to highlight the difference between industrial and agrarian economies.  Tapping the energy of fossil fuels and using machines made unskilled human labor obsolete, and that was why slavery ended, not a bout of conscience.  Humanity's conscience has always been predicated in its economic reality, and when unskilled human labor was no longer valuable, slavery ended.

European powers were toying with intervention as the American empire threatened to fragment.  The UK sent troops to Canada and France sent troops to Mexico, and both supported the South.  The Czar of Russia sent his navy to the USA, anchored at New York and San Francisco, in a show of support for the North.  Russia, the UK, and France were jockeying in those days for supremacy, and the Crimean War ended a few years earlier, and with the USA's instability, the New World became a theater for European power jockeying, for a historical moment.  Secretary of State Seward deftly handled the situation and avoided open war with Europe, especially in 1861 when a northern ship stopped and boarded the Trent, a British ship, and seized two Southern diplomats bound for England.  Seward, like his predecessors, grabbed what land he could, but failed with his plans to acquire Caribbean islands and Hawaii.  His only success was “Seward’s Folly,” “buying” Alaska from the Czar of Russia.

When Ulysses Grant toured the South after the Civil War, he saw no problem with blacks becoming even more enslaved than before, working for the same masters they had before the Civil War, except with no guarantee of food or shelter, which was part of the slavery “deal.”  Grant even called the freedmen’s refusal to submit to a new form of slavery lazy on their part.[221]

The slaughter and dispossession of the Indians continued unabated during the Civil War.  Ironically, the demographic group to suffer the greatest was the Cherokee Nation.  After the Trail of Tears, and also being violently ejected from Texas by white settlers, they made the best of their lives in Oklahoma.  When the Civil War broke out, they wanted no part of another white man’s war.  Oklahoma, however, was strategically placed between North and South, and the Cherokee were forced to choose between the lesser of two great evils.  They generally aligned with the South, and the resultant carnage killed off probably more than a third of the Cherokee.  White America lost less than 2% of its population in the Civil War.

The Bozeman Trail to gold fields in Montana went right through Sioux hunting grounds, and whites wreaked their usual devastation as they passed through.  In 1866, the Sioux, led by Red Cloud, fought off the white invasion.  In 1868 the USA relented and agreed to close its forts along the trail, for the only war that Native Americans ever won against the USA.  However, the 1868 treaty was deceptive, in the USA's tradition, as it called for the Sioux to move to reservations in today’s South Dakota.  Fittingly, that deceptive treaty with Red Cloud was the last treaty that the USA would sign with a Native American tribe.  Washington’s subterfuge worked brilliantly.  More than 370 treaties were forced by the USA onto Native Americans and the USA did not honor even one of them.  After 1868, the stratagem was not needed any longer, as there were virtually no more natives left to swindle.  The last remaining land to steal was in the northern plains, and the industrial giant would not need much more effort to subdue the last remaining natives…or so they thought.

In 1868, another famous “Indian fighter” made his mark, when George Custer attacked the sleeping, friendly camp of Black Kettle’s.  Black Kettle survived the Sand Creek Massacre and amazingly kept advocating peace, to only die in Custer’s dawn attack on the Washita River.  Custer became a national hero because of Washita.  He was also an accomplished liar.  His first account of the Washita massacre stated that he killed many warriors instead of sleeping women and children.  He led a gold-hunting expedition into the Black Hills in 1874, in violation of the treaty.  The Black Hills were sacred, spirit land to the Sioux, and they would never cede them.  Custer lied about the gold that was found there on his illegal expedition, and a gold rush then descended on the Black Hills, when gold really was found.  After more fraudulent diplomacy, the USA declared war on the Sioux in 1875.

Custer turned 35 during the winter of 1875-1876, which is the minimum age for presidential eligibility.  He hobnobbed with New York’s elite that winter, and a conspiracy apparently hatched.  The Grant administration was possibly America’s most corrupt ever, and the centennial celebration was coming up that summer, and American nationalism reached a deafening crescendo.  The plan, later admitted by his Indian scouts, was for Custer to kill more sleeping Indians that summer, and the resultant fervor would sweep him to the presidency that autumn.  The Sioux were proving to be rather tough customers for the American military, as Red Cloud’s war demonstrated.  In the spring of 1876, marauding armies were hunting for Indians to kill, and an army attacked a large bison-hunting party in early June.  Led by Crazy Horse, those natives crippled the USA's forces.  A couple of weeks later, the army with Custer in it was in the vicinity, also hunting for natives, and happened upon the same Indians. 

Custer deserted his post earlier in his career, but his Civil War reputation got him lenient treatment, and he was merely suspended from duty for a year.  Custer nearly did not make it to the Great Plains that summer to mount his presidential campaign.  Grant knew of Custer’s ambition and tried clipping his wings, but Custer did some maneuvering, pulled some strings, and got into position to kill Indians that summer.

Custer was not leading the army, and when they caught sign of a large group of natives, Custer was assigned to reconnoiter them, not attack them.  His ambition was well known among the army brass, and when he went to scout the “enemy,” his commander reminded him to follow orders, which Custer replied to jokingly as he rode off.  Custer knew that he needed to place the heroic mantle on his shoulders alone, in order to be swept into the White House.  He disobeyed orders so that he could monopolize the killing.  The Washita Massacre showed him to be a sloppy commander who did not properly evaluate the situation before attacking.  At the Little Big Horn his “Custer’s luck” ran out, as he led a charge of less than three hundred men into a camp of four thousand armed natives.  The surprised natives made short work of Custer and his men.

The news of “Custer’s Last Stand” made it to Washington during the midst of the centennial celebration.  Instead of Custer being hoisted onto the nation’s shoulders as the greatest Indian-killer of all, America had a sobering moment.  I have a special interest in the genocide of the Plains Indians, which is discussed at this footnote.[222]

During those days, robber barons were busily building their capitalistic empires, and most of them got their start in Civil War profiteering.  Today’s empires in energy and medicine had their beginnings during the Gilded Age, empires that largely hold Americans (and even humanity) hostage today.  The defrauding of Native Americans out of their lands and lives would have been bad enough if it had stopped there, but it continued.  In 1775, the revolutionaries formed a Committee of Indian Affairs ("BIA"), headed by Ben Franklin.  Today’s BIA was formed in 1824.  The treaties that the Indians signed often provided for government assistance, because the natives had the land taken away that sustained them.  Similar to how the USA honored its treaties, the graft and corruption in the BIA was probably worse than in any other government agency, a notable feat.  One of the quickest ways to riches in the mid-19th century was becoming an Indian agent at the BIA.  A favorite Indian agent method was pocketing the money appropriated for Indian food and supplies and devoting a tiny fraction of the purloined funds toward largely worthless “supplies.”  The corruption was so bad that the Grant administration tried the strategy of hiring church members as agents.[223]  Grant’s “Quaker Policy” was not very successful. 

In the USA's history, one of the greatest vehicles for mischief has proven to be “philanthropy.”  Some has been disastrous, such as the “philanthropy” of Rockefeller and Carnegie, which helped create today’s medical racket.  It is challenging to put a humanitarian spin on the machinations of some of American history’s greediest men.  Their right hand would machine-gun striking employees, while their left hand “gave” money to “worthy causes.”  Wink, nudge.  Perhaps some “philanthropists” were well intended, but their actions were often based on arrogant paternalism, thinking that they knew what was best for the victims of the very system that garnered the philanthropists their wealth.

When the Civil War ended, the Cherokee clawed back from the edge of the abyss once more, and more of their land was taken, while railroads and other land-grabbing enterprises moved in.  The Cherokee, as with all North American tribes, did not have the concept of individual land ownership.  Tribal members owned their homes and other possessions, but the tribe owned the land.  On the East Coast, “philanthropists” huddled together to decide how to “help” the dispossessed.  American “philanthropy” was a cousin to the “White Man’s Burden,” which was rooted in some sense of responsibility, at least superficially.  Seemingly more often than not, the “help” given in the name of philanthropy and the White Man’s Burden made the situation worse.

A most curious instance of American “philanthropy” was the “reform” that Massachusetts Senator Henry Dawes rammed through during the 1880s.  In 1883, at a meeting of Eastern philanthropists, Dawes, an Indian “expert,” spoke of his recent visit to Indian Territory.  Almost certainly speaking of the Cherokee, Dawes painted a portrait that even the most Indian-friendly observer would have blushed at.  What Dawes said was true, about how there were no Cherokee homeless, how the Cherokee Nation had no debt, how high literacy was and the like.  For what the Cherokee had endured, what they accomplished was truly astounding, although they still had their problems, as every society does.  Dawes then came to the nub of the issue as he saw it:

 

“Yet the defect of their system was apparent.  They got as far as they can go, because they own their land in common.  It is Henry George’s system, and under that there is no enterprise to make your home any better than that of your neighbors.  There is no selfishness, which is at the bottom of civilization.  Till this people will consent to give up their lands, and divide them among their citizens so that each can own the land he cultivates, they will not make much more progress.”[224]

 

Seldom has there been a more frank admission about what really drives Western civilization.  The Cherokee surely had a “civilization,” something arguably more civilized than anything the whites ever had, but it was not selfish enough.  Dawes tried remedying that defect.  Congress passed the Dawes Severalty Act in 1887.  It broke up tribal lands into individual plots, at 160 acres for a head of household, down to 40 acres for a child.  Such arithmetic stole 10,000 square miles of land that had been designated for the Cherokee tribe, and that land was used in the famous Oklahoma homesteader rush of 1893, complete with a starting line and gun to start the race.  What Jackson could not do by outright fraud, Dawes accomplished under the rubric of “philanthropy.”  The Cherokee heatedly contested such “philanthropy,” and the USA's government responded with the 1898 Curtis Act, which abolished the Civilized Tribes' governments.  The names, faces, and tactics changed, but the game remained the same.

While the Oklahoma Indians did their best to put the shattered pieces back together, the last free natives of the northern plains were under siege.  What happened on the plains was an industrial genocide.  Early on, Americans used killing off the bison as a method of starving the Plains Indians out, which was related to Washington’s strategy.  Railroads were built into Indian Country, and there were even “railroad hunts,” in which “hunters” would shoot out the windows of the trains, slaughtering the bison in awesome numbers.  The railroad builders even murdered their laborers, as it was cheaper than paying them.  Great heaps of bison bones lined those early railways along the prairie.  The USA's government handed out free ammunition to “buffalo hunters.”  Shooting bison was about the least sportsmanlike activity that an “outdoorsman” could engage in.  Bison would stand in a herd, and shooting a “stand” of bison was the ideal.  If done properly, the bison would fall one-by-one, as the marksman dropped each one, until they were all down.  The record for a single man, shooting at a bison stand, was more than one hundred.  From a pre-Columbian population of about 60 million animals, the bison were reduced to 23 wild ones, and less than a thousand of them in all, at about the same time that the Plains Indians were finally conquered and brought to the brink of extinction. 

The Sioux may have prevailed momentarily during 1868 and the summer of 1876, but their triumphs were short-lived.  The American juggernaut merely threw more resources at the problem, and the standard murderous duplicity was brought to bear.  Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse met violent ends at the hands of white men, which was the usual fate for those who led the resistance, especially if it was successful.  By the late 1880s, the Sioux joined their North American brethren in being ground under the white man’s boot.  American vengeance inflicted on the Sioux lasts to this day.  The Pine Ridge reservation sits in the USA's poorest county.  Life expectancy there has been among the worst on Earth, as it is on all Indian reservations.  In 1980, the life expectancy of a Native American reservation man was 44.6 years, nearly 30 years less than their white American counterparts.[225]  Reservation women lived less than three years longer, and the situation is about the same in 2014.

During the late 1880s, the forlorn remnants of the Plains Indians engaged in something that Native Americans had done since at least the Aztec conquest: mourning the passing of their societies and a desperate hope that if they beseeched the spirit world properly, that the whites would disappear and the lands and peoples would be restored.[226]  Local whites feared the Ghost Dance.  They probably did not understand its purpose, but would have undoubtedly been more hostile if they had.  The USA mobilized against the Ghost Dance “threat,” to prevent the natives from dancing.  In late 1890, American troops killed Sitting Bull and a dozen other Ghost Dancers, and the survivors fled to Wounded Knee.  A few days after Sitting Bull died, Frank Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz, called for the complete extermination of all remaining Native Americans.  A few days later, American troops put an end to the Ghost Dancers by opening their guns on them at Wounded Knee and killing a few hundred men, women, and children.  The troops were so eager that they killed quite a few of their own with “friendly fire.”  Native survivors of the massacre were tracked down and murdered.  When he heard of Wounded Knee, Baum recorded his approval and urged his readers to “wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth.”[227]  With the massacre at Wounded Knee, Manifest Destiny succeeded in securing the continent.  From Morton's Puritan persecutors to Wounded Knee, dancing Indians were only good for killing.[228]  In the words of David Stannard, “There was, at last, almost no one left to kill.”[229]

 

The Empire Goes Global

In 1890, the American “frontier” was declared officially extinct.  American settlement spanned the entire continent, from sea to shining sea.  The 1900 census counted about 76 million people, and 250,000 Native Americans.  The frontier was not the only thing extinct.  The Eastern Woodlands were almost completely leveled, in history’s most spectacular deforestation.  The passenger pigeon was nearing extinction, and the bison was close behind it.  The European/American whaling industry virtually wiped out several species of whales, and whaling was becoming industrialized, which eventually brought what is probably another sentient animal to the verge of extinction.  Native Americans in the USA were reduced from their pre-Columbian population by probably more than 90%, and maybe as high as 98%.  American cultural managers appeared to try reducing the cognitive dissonance of the nation’s people, because American nationalism was about to achieve orgiastic dimensions. 

America in 1890 was turbulent, although the subsequent decade is known as the “Gay Nineties.”  The robber baron empires had largely been built by that time.  Monopolies were the rage, and their excesses became so overt that the era of “trust-busting” began early in the early 20th century, with limited effectiveness.  Modern medicine was well on its way to becoming the racket that it is today.  By the 1890s, surgery vaulted from barbaric obscurity to becoming a racket.  In the South, the Ku Klux Klan, which was originally formed by Southern elites to harass the Reconstruction government, quickly degenerated into poor, uneducated whites lynching blacks, who were their primary economic competitors.  American lynchings peaked during the early 1890s, and were highly popular, as people were murdered in a carnival atmosphere, and the lynchers made postcards from the scenes, posing next to the burning or hanging (or both) corpse.  The North was not noted for its enlightened racial attitudes, either.

The 1880s saw a huge influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe, and Slavic peoples arrived by the millions, as well as Jews, Italians, Chinese, and others who differed markedly from the Germanic, Anglo, and Celtic immigrants of earlier generations.  The USA was well on its way to becoming an anti-Semitic society, and American xenophobia was on the rise.[230]  Every non-Anglo American group had an unflattering epithet bestowed onto them, including nigger, chink, greaser, kike, spic, dago, and so on.[231]  The cognitive dissonance dynamic surely contributed, but also some sought to unify widely disparate groups.

Post-9/11 Americans might be surprised to know that today’s American flag worship had its roots in the modern era, not the American Revolution.  England was the first Great Power to permanently undermine the power of royalty with its revolutions during the 1600s, but the phenomenon of worshipping British royalty is regarded as a strange, pre-modern relic, found nowhere else in Europe.  Sober scholars see American flag worship as even more bizarre.[232]   

The American flag was originally the British Union Jack with white stripes added.  The American flag was created solely because ships needed to carry a flag.  Adopting a flag was a trifling formality for the Founding Fathers.  No flags flew in the early days of the American republic, and even the Founding Fathers were not sure what it looked like.  A year after the American flag was adopted, a letter to the king of Naples, signed by Ben Franklin and John Adams, informed the king that the American flag "consists of thirteen stripes, alternately red, white and blue."  In 1794, a bill was introduced to add two stars to the flag, because Vermont and Kentucky were admitted to the union.  Congressmen objected that their important time was being wasted by such a trivial matter, and the bill was quickly adopted “as the quickest way of terminating” discussion of it.[233]  The Betsy Ross “stitching-the-flag” story is a fabrication, concocted by her grandson.  There are no contemporary depictions of the American flag in any American Revolution artwork.  Francis Scott Key, who wrote the poem that was wedded to a drinking song to become the national anthem, thought that the USA had begun the War of 1812 and deserved to lose it.

American nationalism began its ascent during the 1820s and reached a fevered pitch with Manifest Destiny, as the USA began looking more like a proper empire.  As the continental theft was completed, and “surplus” Europeans flooded in, there was a conscious attempt to create a new form of religion: state worship.  Fittingly, a Marxist minister created the American pledge of allegiance in 1892, in a conscious attempt to create a new object of worship.  The original pledge was not performed in the hand-over-heart way that we see today.  The “Bellamy Salute” was originally given with an outstretched arm pointing to the flag, palm down.  It stayed that way until 1942, when the fascist salutes of Hitler and Mussolini looked exactly like the American pledge of allegiance, and Americans took their arms down and placed them over their hearts.  The connection with Nazi Germany is more than a coincidence.  In the 20th century, only three states had a pledge of allegiance: the USA, Nazi Germany, and the USA's vassal state, the Philippines.

People I consider enlightened Christian Americans refuse to say the pledge of allegiance and salute the flag, because it is the worship of an inanimate object, which is idolatry and something that the Second Commandment forbids.  They consider saluting the American flag to be the equivalent of Moses’s followers worshipping the golden calf.  Interestingly, as I drafted this essay in July 2002, a federal judge declared that the pledge of allegiance unconstitutional, because of the words “under God” (added to the pledge in 1954, during the McCarthy witch hunts) in it.  American politicians called the ruling ridiculous, but both the politicians and judge completely missed the real issue, which is that the entire pledge of allegiance amounts to an act of religion that American children are forced to undergo.  Few Americans seem to think that flag and state worship are not acts of religion, even when laws pertaining to flag treatment use overtly religious terms such as “desecration.”

The pledge of allegiance was given to American schoolchildren as a warmup to the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s “discovery” of the New World.  The Columbian Exposition was held in 1893, because the affair was so colossal and took a while to stage.  It had the highest event attendance in world history to that time.  The American continent was secured and the empire then began going global.  In early 1893, white settlers overthrew the Hawaiian government (with the help of the U.S. Marines), bringing the Pacific plum into the American hand.  Some Congressmen decried the move as naked imperialism, and even the new president, Grover Cleveland, tried putting Hawaii’s queen back in power.  The whites in Hawaii, as with whites in California and Texas, created a short-lived republic, and Sanford Dole became Hawaii’s president.  Hawaii stayed a white republic until the openly imperial William McKinley came into office in 1897, and the USA soon annexed it.  Dole, as in Dole Pineapple, became the Hawaiian territory’s first governor.  Land grabbing was still the road to riches in the pre-industrialized world.

European powers did not idly sit by while the USA conquered a continent and began its global expansion.  After losing the best parts of North America to its ambitious colonies, the UK busily conquered and colonized Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada, while devastating the peoples of those lands.  The UK ruthlessly pillaged India and China.  France also did not sit and watch.  It secured some of the South Pacific, and during the 1860s it began conquering Indochina and inflicted its brutal reign.  In the 1870s the Scramble for Africa was witnessed, as Europe began to carve up Africa and turn it into a big plantation and mine, with railroads installed to ship the loot to Europe.  Russians and Germans were late in coming to the imperial table and they were largely landlocked.  Russia and Prussia had to content themselves with more local conquests, and the Hapsburg Empire (named the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1867), headquartered in Austria, was also hemmed in.  Belgium was the first nation on the European mainland to industrialize.  Belgium’s King Leopold II wanted an empire, but it was difficult finding lands and people not already living under the European lash.  After years of searching, Leopold finally engaged in “philanthropic” empire building in the Congo.  The subsequent rubber boom became the source of Leopold’s wealth, and one of history’s greatest and most neglected genocides is what Belgium did to Congolese Africans during Leopold’s rubber grab and afterward.  During its first generation of conquest and exploitation, Belgium’s efforts killed off about ten million Africans.[234]

The UK played the Great Game with Russia in Central Asia, and Afghanistan was an imperial battleground.  While the Great Powers were securing the planet, there were also imperial losers.  The Ottoman Empire began declining during the 1500s.  Ironically, Europe had more ancient and lasting animosity with Islamic peoples than any other non-European culture, but they were about the planet’s last peoples to have the European boot laid across their necks.

By 1800, about the only thing keeping the Ottoman Empire alive was the Great Powers preventing any one of them from seizing it.  The issue of the Ottoman Empire’s fate became known as the Eastern Question.  European powers nibbled away at it, however.  Greece was carved away from it in the 1820s, Russia kept southward pressure on Ottoman lands and sought influence in the Balkans, and a series of events eventually led to the Crimean War, which began in 1853, as France, the UK, and the Ottoman armies fought against the Russians, in the world's first industrial war.  The war blunted Russia’s ambition for Black Sea hegemony, and about 700,000 people, most of them civilians, died.

The era from about 1870 to World War I is generally seen as a cultural golden age in imperial Europe, known as La Belle Époque.  The Impressionist and post-Impressionist period was one Europe’s more fecund artistic eras.  Life expectancy in England began rising dramatically during the late 19th century, from about 40 years for a man in 1860, to more than 50 in 1910.  Life insurance companies began taking note of obesity and mortality, as obesity was no longer the sole province of the rich.  While Europe was having fun, the peoples in its imperial domains were devastated.  King Leopold was just one of the gang.  The imperial, capitalistic conquests of the UK in Asia dealt severe blows to the economic, political, and cultural systems in India, and China also suffered.  El Niño events in the late 1870s and late 1890s, combined with the effects of European imperialism, created two catastrophes that killed off between 40 and 60 million people in India and China, while boxcars of food with armed guards were shipped to Europe.  Between 1750 and 1900, Europe’s population rose from 17 to 21% of world population, while South Asia’s declined from 23 to 20%.[235]  It partly had to do with a resource transfer.  The same resource-transfer situation prevails today, with more than a billion overweight people and more than a billion underweight people; the fat ones are in the imperial world and the skinny ones in the colonial world.

The USA enjoyed its Gilded Age at the same time.  Life for the white man was good, sitting atop the world.  By 1900, the world’s only place of significance not under white domination was Japan, and they were feverishly playing catch-up with the West.  Taking their lead from the USA, Japan created a Manifest Destiny-type ideology that focused on China and made their Chinese cousins into subhuman dogs, which was evident in the Rape of Nanking.[236]  The year after adding Hawaii to its larder, the USA waged a war against Spain, as Manifest Destiny cheerleader William Randolph Hearst gave an infamous message to his employee Frederick Remington, who was covering the non-events in Cuba, “You furnish the pictures.  I’ll furnish the war.”  Hearst’s yellow journalism won the day, and the USA stole Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines from Spain, as a former New World colony seized about the last shreds of Spain’s imperial lands.  Not far removed from how Spanish mercenaries treated the Incan emperor, President McKinley made demands of Spain as he rattled his saber, and even after Spain capitulated, meeting all American demands, McKinley still declared war on them.  The peoples of those lands that the USA seized became anything but free.  They merely had new imperial overlords. 

The Philippines’ case was particularly egregious.  The USA had designs on Caribbean islands for many years, and as they were in the USA's backyard, Americans could concoct some mildly plausible case for their conquest.  The Philippines, however, lay across the world’s largest ocean.  “Discovered” by Magellan in 1521, who died while fighting the natives there, the Philippines were conquered by Spain during the 1560s and Manila was established.  The Philippines peoples did not have the imperial culture of the Aztecs or Incas and there were no gold-plated civilizations to plunder.  Also, the Philippines were conquered later in the imperial game than the New World was.  The Spanish experience in the Philippines was kind of a cross between the mass conversions of Mexico and its hacienda economy, imposed on peoples more like Caribbean natives than Aztecs.  Priests, ranchers, and plantation owners dominated the Philippines during the colonial era, and the church was the Philippines’ largest landowner.  The Spanish never had a gentle colonial tenure anywhere, but at least the Philippine experience was not the vast genocide that marked their New World efforts.

Cuba and the Philippines had independence revolts, and the Spanish brutally put them down.  That became the USA's excuse for invading: freeing the subjected peoples.  Cortés mouthed some of the same rhetoric as he laid siege to Tenochtitlán.  As the USA took the global stage with its invasion of the Philippines, the UK’s imperial bard, Rudyard Kipling, penned a poem titled “The White Man’s Burden.”  Kipling was articulating British racism and framing the imperial venture as bringing “civilization” to the world’s dark-skinned peoples, and his poem was specifically an exhortation to the Philippines to submit to America’s benevolent rule.  Kipling was welcoming the USA to the intercontinental smorgasbord.  U.S. Senator Albert Beveridge was a leading light of the day and eventually joined Teddy Roosevelt’s third party when he ran for president in 1912.  In January of 1900, Beveridge gave a famous speech in which he called the Filipino people “children,” totally incapable of “self-government.”  It was a direct echo of Kipling’s sentiments.  McKinley told a group of Methodist ministers:

 

“The truth is I did not want the Philippines and when they came to us as a gift from the gods, I did not know what to do with them.”[237]

 

The invasion’s benevolence quickly became evident.  The Filipino people could not be kept from childish notions of self-government, and the USA quickly waged a war against them, in much the same way they prosecuted the exterminations of Native Americans, even using the same rhetoric at times.  In the Philippines, while many thousands of “militant” natives were killed, the USA murdered between 200,000 and 600,000 civilians, using starvation and other tactics, including torture.  The Americans called the Filipinos “goo-goos,” and waged scorched-earth campaigns.  It was a preview of what the USA did to Southeast Asia during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.  “Goo-goo” was a direct predecessor to “gook” and the same kinds of “kill-all-the-civilians” tactics were used in both wars, to “help” those people.  Tacitus remarked on the Roman style of warfare and subjugation: “They make a desert and they call it peace.” 

One American officer in the Philippines justified the exercise with:

 

“There is no use mincing words…If we decided to stay, we must bury all qualms and scruples about Weylerian cruelty, the consent of the governed, etc., and stay.  We exterminated the American Indian, and I guess most of us are proud of it, or at least believe the end justified the means; and we must have no scruples about exterminating this other race standing in the way of progress and enlightenment, if it is necessary.”[238] 

 

There was little domestic dissent to that American adventure.[239]  When atrocity stories began trickling into the USA, Philippine hearings were held, but they were rigged by Henry Cabot Lodge, and Beveridge assisted in the whitewash, which has been a standard outcome in virtually every governmental investigation into its own conduct, and is a pattern that holds to this day. 

Not everybody in America cheered the Philippine invasion.  There was a vigorous Anti-Imperialist League, and Mark Twain was its leading spokesperson.  Twain likely considered the last years of his life his most important, as he led campaigns against American and European imperialism.  Mark Twain wrote about King Leopold’s genocidal efforts, but because American corporations were investors in the rape of Africa, the publication of Twain’s King Leopold’s Soliloquy was almost completely suppressed in the USA and remains one of his least known works.

When Las Casas published his tract on the Spanish experience in the New World, it became a huge bestseller, although the Vatican suppressed his greatest work for three centuries.  At least Las Casas’s work is readily available today.  The suppression of Mark Twain’s anti-imperial writings is one of the most impressive instances of how Western censorship works.  Western censorship is not accomplished by government or church interests, but by corporate interests, reflecting who is really in charge.  For nearly a century, it was virtually impossible to even know that Twain had ever written any anti-imperialist essays, as virtually all of his biographers silently passed over his life’s most important work.  His anti-imperialist essays were never included in anthologies of his work.  Finally, in 1992 there was a publication regarding his work, in a small-volume printing titled Mark Twain's Weapons of Satire: Anti-Imperialist Writings on the Philippines.  The book quickly went out of print and is nearly impossible to find today.  I tried to locate the book several times over the years and finally located a copy for about $200, and it is not even really a collection of Twain's anti-imperialist writings, but about the story around them.  That kind of suppression and censorship, done by the “free market,” exceeded anything that the Stalinist Soviet Union or Maoist China accomplished.  George Orwell, writing the forward to perhaps the 20th century’s most read political book, Animal Farm, remarked on how the West’s “free press” performs its censorship.  His publishers, as if to prove him right, censored that preface, and it has never been restored to its rightful place, and still is virtually unknown. 

Here is a sample of Twain’s neglected work, which has poignant application to today’s post 9/11 world: 

 

“A Patriot is merely a rebel at the start.

“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. The soul and substance of what customarily ranks as patriotism is moral cowardice and always has been.

“In any civic crisis of a great and dangerous sort the common herd is not privately anxious about the rights and wrongs of the matter, it is only anxious to be on the winning side.

“In the North, before the war, the man who opposed slavery was despised and ostracised, and insulted.  By the "patriots." Then, by and by, the "patriots" went over to his side, and thenceforth his attitude became patriotism.

“There are two kinds of patriotism -- monarchical patriotism and republican patriotism. In the one case the government and the king may rightfully furnish you their notions of patriotism; in the other, neither the government nor the entire nation is privileged to dictate to any individual what the form of his patriotism shall be. The gospel of the monarchical patriotism is: "The King can do no wrong." We have adopted it with all its servility, with an unimportant change in the wording: "Our country, right or wrong!" We have thrown away the most valuable asset we had:-- the individual's right to oppose both flag and country when he (just he, by himself) believed them to be in the wrong. We have thrown it away; and with it all that was really respectable about that grotesque and laughable word, Patriotism.”

 

The kind of “free market” censorship that Twain and Orwell were subjected to demonstrated new dynamics in the arena of power, control, and wealth accumulation.  If two of the West’s most famous authors could have their critical political observations about the West censored so completely, most people would not even know about them, much less read them, keeping the negative cognitions at bay once again.  It happened even more completely with lesser-known authors.  With the revolutions in Europe, probably beginning with England’s civil wars, Western states had limited ability to use violence on dissenting citizens, and so the cultural managers had to control what people thought.  Therefore, British and American cultural managers have long been the world’s most sophisticated practitioners of mind control, and its effects are easily seen in American flag worship, British royalty worship, and other cultural phenomena.  Such behaviors are religious acts, but the participants seem to pretend that they are not.

The European colonial experience was different for each imperial player.  The Portuguese experience was more purely mercantile than the Spanish one.  Spain’s imperial exploitation of Mesoamerica was relatively primitive.  Raw materials were exported to Spain, but it was mainly gold and silver, which had no productive uses but allowed Spain’s elites to enjoy European manufactures while the mines lasted, which initiated a vast inflationary spiral.  Spain’s primitive imperial dynamic largely destroyed it as an imperial power by 1600.  Spain’s early imperial projects were little more than rich Spaniards financing rape-and-plunder operations, and the Crown getting its cut.  The Netherlands, which was Europe’s first republic, had a more refined strategy, and its East India Company was a combination of corporation and state, and was a direct forerunner to modern corporations.  The English had a similar strategy, and its East India Company became the official ruler of IndiaFrance played the game also, but never quite attained the Dutch and English levels of capitalistic/mercantilist thrust.

The USA came to the empire game much later, and by the time it took the global stage, the corporate order was firmly entrenched.  Robber barons virtually ran the nation, and many politicians and government officials were in their hip pockets.  The European powers had national and colonial subjects.  The American Empire had employees, customers, and voters.  Employees were supposed to follow orders, living as subjects in economic dictatorships.  In the American system, freedom was reserved for the owners, customers, and voters.  At least, that was the carefully crafted fiction of how the American system functions.  Customers supposedly had freedom of choice, but American capitalism was notable for how monopolies dominated the scene.  When there is only one brand of product, there is little choice, especially regarding life’s necessities.  In America, all industries and professions quickly became rackets, as their owners and members attended to their mutual self-interest.  Wiping out competitors was how the monopolies were largely established and maintained, which even Adam Smith remarked upon.

John Taylor Gatto was one of America’s finest schoolteachers and openly admitted that American school system in the 20th century was designed by industrialists a century ago, and that “dumbing us down” has been the goal of the American school system ever since.  The corporate goal is creating docile, childish customers who are easily manipulated.  That is no “conspiracy theory,” but simply social engineering, consciously designed by people working for the Rockefellers and others.  After Rockefeller's strikebreakers turned machine guns on striking coal miners, Rockefeller hired J.P. Morgan’s publicist, and the rise of public relations began, which was all about “image management.”  Rockefeller created institutions such as the University of Chicago, which dominates mainstream economic theory today and frames the issues in capitalistic terms.  Today’s mind-control system is history’s most sophisticated and subtle.  Average Americans think they are getting the news, education, and entertainment, not brainwashing.  The most effective propaganda systems are supposed to appear as something different than what they are.  If cultural managers can get the masses to worship flags, movie stars, sports heroes, and other largely meaningless symbols, then they can be easily manipulated.  America’s imperial system is merely tactically different and more sophisticated than the European one; the goals of power, control, and wealth accumulation at the expense of others remain the same.  Regarding how it has deluded the masses, the American system was a triumph of form over substance. 

Hawaii, Cuba, Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico became outright American colonies, no different than how European powers operated.  In 1900, American troops participated in putting down the Boxer “Rebellion,” to help keep China under the white man’s boot.  The USA also began playing a slightly different version of the imperial game, and the earliest and perhaps greatest instance of its novel colonialism was how it invented Panama.[240]  Neocolonialism is colonialism in everything but the name, and accordingly, the American Empire is an empire in everything but the name.  The main difference is that the subject peoples get to fly their own flags as symbols of their illusionary independence.  The oppression and exploitation is simply carried out by different institutions than the traditional colonial ones.

Europeans used the Isthmus of Panama since the 1500s to cross between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  Spain had plans to build a canal across the Isthmus in the 1500s.  Panama was independent for a moment in 1821, before Colombia annexed it.  Americans began using the Isthmus in earnest during the 1840s, and an American railroad was completed during the 1850s.  The Isthmus was an important and strategic transportation lane. 

The Frenchman who initiated the Suez Canal's construction formed a company to build a Panamanian canal.  The Panama Canal was the largest human construction ever attempted, and the French seriously underestimated the issues that plagued the canal effort.  The excavation was abandoned only one-fifth complete in 1889, after hundreds of millions of dollars had been spent and 20 thousand workers had died.  It was a financial and prestige disaster for France.  Gustave Eiffel, designer of his famous tower and the Statue of Liberty, went to prison for fraud for misappropriating the project’s funds, which ruined his career, although he was eventually cleared of wrongdoing. 

Panama had an uneasy relationship with Colombia for generations, with a number of revolts, but was relatively independent in 1900.  Throughout the 1800s, the USA never supported Panamanian notions of independence from Colombia.  The USA had a treaty with Colombia that it would put down any Panamanian revolts to keep the region around its rail line stable.  Because of Isthmus traffic, the Panamanian region was relatively prosperous and something of a Colombian cash cow.  When Grant was president, he had Central America surveyed several times to investigate canal possibilities.  With the collapse of the French effort, American interest began anew.  It quickly came down to two possible routes: through Panama or Nicaragua.  Lake Nicaragua was planned for part of the Nicaraguan route.

The milieu surrounding building the Panama Canal was complex, with several competing factions, but it could be seen as similar to the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs: it was a grand tale with everything in it but a hero.  Columbian authorities were willing to part with land to build the canal, for the right price.  American railroad interests saw the canal as a potential threat and opposed it.  The French were willing to sign over the canal rights, for the right price.  Similar to Cortés’s rise from obscurity as he stumbled into opportunity in Mesoamerica, Philippe Bunau-Varilla was an obscure, puffed-up Frenchman who launched a personal campaign to have the canal built through Panama.  

The corruption of Washington, D.C. in those days was fairly open.  Mark “Dollar” Hanna, one of John Rockefeller's friends from his youth, was Washington’s most powerful man before Teddy Roosevelt took the throne.  Teddy Roosevelt said that acquiring the Canal Zone and building the canal was his greatest achievement, and that he “took” it.[241]  The dirty reality was that the effort of acquiring the Canal Zone was largely led by Wall Street lawyer William Nelson Cromwell, acting as front man for a syndicate primarily funded by J.P. Morgan.  Colombia, facing the inevitable, was trying to get the best price it could for Panama, but its representatives were naïve to the real game being played.  The Panamanian “revolutionaries” were largely following the orders of their American backers.  Panama’s first president was an employee of the American rail line in Panama, and his “leading” the 1903 revolution was mostly confined to doing as he was told.  Cromwell and his cronies funded and orchestrated the Panamanian “revolution,” bribing the Colombian general in Panama, Manuel Amador Guerrero, to do America’s bidding, not Colombia’s.  It is a contender for the most fake “revolution” in world history.  After bribing and manipulating the Panamanian revolution into being, Bunau-Varilla quickly bilked Panama out of its sovereignty by pulling off a diplomatic swindle and ceding Panama’s lands, much as American “treaties” defrauded the Native Americans.[242]  

Not long after Panama achieved its “independence,” Joseph Pulitzer’s media empire began publishing allegations that Roosevelt worked with the Cromwell-Morgan syndicate to perform a huge stock swindle regarding the USA's $40 million payment to France for the canal rights.  Although Roosevelt sued Pulitzer for libel, Pulitzer was apparently right.  The Cromwell-Morgan syndicate had surreptitiously bought up the worthless French canal company stock and received about $24 million on an “investment” of about ten percent as much.  The Cromwell-Morgan syndicate’s maneuvers were brilliant and secretive, and the full story is unknown to this day, with offshore shenanigans, complete record destruction, and other machinations.[243]  J.P Morgan became the first treasurer of the Panamanian “republic.”

The cover-up was so good that Roosevelt’s relationship to the Cromwell-Morgan syndicate is still obscure.  However, it was discovered that Roosevelt’s Secretary of War and future U.S. President and Supreme Court Chief Justice, William H. Taft, had an interest in the Cromwell-Morgan syndicate and used his wife to front for him.  It is highly doubtful that Roosevelt had “clean” hands.  What has been established, however, was that the Cromwell-Morgan syndicate got the lion’s share of the money paid for Panama, and healthy bribes also passed to the Panamanian “revolutionaries.”  It was neocolonialism at its starkest.  Those were the days of Teddy Roosevelt's Big Stick Diplomacy.  The Monroe Doctrine became appended in American politics with the Roosevelt Corollary, which stated that the USA was appointing itself the selfless task of sometimes exercising "international police power" on its Latin American neighbors, for their own good, of course.  The crude neocolonialism of how Panama gained its “independence” eventually gave way to more refined methods. 

The USA immediately sent its military to the Canal Zone and occupied it from 1903 to 1914, largely to put down those pesky Panamanians who harbored childish notions of independence.  Panamanians, as with Cubans, Filipinos and other neocolonial vassals, discovered that they merely had new overlords, but Panama got to fly its own flag.  Robber barons made out like bandits in their Panama Canal swindle and the American taxpayer was left holding the bag.  Cromwell initiated an era of the USA's manipulation of Central America, as Wall Street called the shots.  Cromwell masterminded America’s Panamanian adventure, although he preferred staying in the background.  Cromwell eventually handed over his empire to his handpicked successor, John Foster Dulles, who capably continued in his footsteps.  Dulles became Dwight Eisenhower’s Secretary of State while his brother Allen ran the CIA, and they jointly engineered the overthrow of the democratic Guatemalan government in 1954 on behalf of United Fruit, which the Dulles brothers had a huge financial stake in.  To put it mildly, the Dulles brothers had a conflict of interest, and the corruption coming into the open over the years has been breathtaking, and the public certainly has only seen the tip of the iceberg.  John Foster’s private records during some of his most active years of running Cromwell’s empire have been destroyed or remain confidential.[244]  After the Dulles brothers helped overthrow the Iranian government in 1953 on behalf of Western oil companies, and Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., Teddy's grandson, led the coup, covert action has been increasingly privatized, so that there is no government paper trail to the conspirators.

While America secured its increasingly far-flung empire, Europe reached a crisis stage.  It is probably wishful thinking to see either of the 20th century’s World Wars as little other than imperial conflicts, as latecomers to the game wanted their share of the global spoils, but the more established players kept the plunder for themselves.  Instead of merely raping the world’s non-industrialized peoples, it was white armies and navies fighting each other, while the colonial lands were milked for soldiers and supplies.  Germans trounced French armies in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871, which saw France humiliated with the capture of Napoleon III, the siege of Paris, an occupying German army, and a heavy war indemnity levied on France, which France paid.  From then until 1914, there was peace in Europe.  It was not a restful peace.  During the 1880s and 1890s, the French, English, and Russians formed the Triple Entente, and Germany, Austria, and Italy formed the Triple Alliance.  Those would be the major players of World War I, which began with conflict in the Balkans.  World War I would be the bloodiest war the world had ever seen, at least until the next one.  Far more than 20 million people died in World War I, and about half of them were civilians.

The Triple Alliance was composed of powers that did not have vast colonial lands to exploit, and the Germans, British, and French clashed frequently over African looting grounds.  Germany supported Moroccan independence from France in 1911, which was part of the milieu that led to World War I.  None of the imperial powers believed in imperialism…for their rivals.  World War I saw the spectacle of each imperial power trying to incite uprisings amongst their rivals’ subjects.  Lawrence of Arabia tried doing just that during World War I.  He was a British agent who tried getting the Arabs to rise up against the Ottoman Empire.  Russia wanted to carve the Ottoman Empire into nation-states, for self-serving reasons, while the UK and Austria wanted to keep it a weak empire, easily controlled.  With the rise of industrialization during the late 19th century, oil suddenly became the great new energy source.  The Ottoman Empire was sitting on most of it and it leaned toward Germany.  Accordingly, the Triple Entente made secret agreements to carve up the Ottoman Empire for themselves after World War II, known today as the Sykes-Picot Agreement

World War I had unintended consequences, one of which was the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.  As with all revolutions, early idealism soon gave way to “realism” and bloody power grabs.  Initially, however, Russia pulled out of World War I and the imperial game, which is about the only reason that Turkey exists today.  Lenin advocated the opposite of the Empire Game, and a Marxist government ended up inspiring many colonial peoples to try the same thing, which made imperial powers uneasy.  The USA landed troops at Vladivostok and Archangel in 1918, to try putting down the Russian Revolution and had 500 casualties at Archangel.  Astute observers call that the real beginning of the Cold War.  Capitalism, born of colonialism, waged war against communism for the next 70 years.

Warring empires have shaped the fortunes of the Middle East’s people for the past five millennia.  There were centuries of relative peace, punctuated by violent upheavals and invasions abroad, or being invaded at home.[245]  The Ottoman Empire, which began its rise in the 14th century, by the 16th century ruled over most Arab peoples, and then began its long decline.  The Ottoman Empire's heart was the Anatolian Peninsula, which composes most of today’s Turkey.  It was devastated far worse than any European belligerents during the World War I era, as it lost about 20% of its population.[246]  The Great Powers, mainly the UK and France, carved the Ottoman Empire into easily controlled nation-states, in their first major experiments with neocolonialism.  Imposing national identities onto lands of tribes has proven a disastrous strategy.  The Great Powers carved Africa into colonial holdings in the late 19th century, and those arbitrarily drawn borders are national borders today.  Those machinations greatly contributed to the strife that Africa and the Middle East have endured ever since.

The UK preferred the constitutional monarchy model and imposed it on what became Iraq.  Iraq’s first post-colonial ruler, King Feisal, was widely regarded as a British puppet.  He was originally the “king” of Syria before the French kicked him out.  The British then used him to be Iraq’s first “king.”  Kuwait was a puppet nation, almost invented out of whole cloth by the British, as a way to further their regional aims, particularly as related to Iraq.  Carving Kuwait from Iraq nearly completely landlocked Iraq.  Iraq has only 36 miles of coastline, and its main port is upstream on the Shatt al Arab (the waterway formed by the joining of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers) at Al Basrah, known as Basra to westerners.  The oil-rich Mosul region in northern Iraq was forcefully separated from Turkey by the UK in 1918.  Winston Churchill was instrumental in leading the region’s exploitation before and after World War I.  Churchill has the distinction of being the first to advocate chemical warfare in that part of the world, using it on Iraqis and proudly justifying it, although it was "only" tear gas in that instance.[247]  Churchill advocated genocidal measures during World War II, including anthrax bombs.  In addition, the UK wanted the Iraq region as a safe plunder route from its vast colonial holdings in India, and planned to build a railroad through there.[248]

In a moment of candor, Churchill let slip what the British game was all about, in a 1914 letter to his colleagues in the Cabinet:

 

“we are not a young people with an innocent record and a scanty inheritance.  We have engrossed to ourselves…an altogether disproportionate share of the wealth and traffic of the world.  We have got all we want in territory, and our claim to be left in the unmolested enjoyment of vast and splendid possessions, mainly acquired by violence, largely maintained by force, often seems less reasonable to others than to us.”[249]

 

During the 1920s, Churchill had his letter published in The World Crisis, but with the italicized words deleted, so that the masses would not be burdened with digesting too much undiluted truth.

John D. Rockefeller was legendary for his use of front men and the surreptitious purchase of companies and people, to hide his hand.  Accordingly, it is difficult to know exactly when the Rockefeller Empire began wrapping its tentacles around the Middle East, but scholars who have investigated those matters say that the world’s first global oil cartel was formed in 1920, between Standard Oil, Royal Dutch Shell (today Shell Oil), and Anglo-Iranian (today British Petroleum).[250]  Whatever the case may be, oil politics guided the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire and the UK largely took over Iran, and its Anglo-Iranian oil company eventual had a monopoly. 

France got its revenge on Germany for the humiliation of the Franco-Prussian War, and heavy reparations were laid on Germany, a forced admission of guilt, as well as disarmament.  That situation led directly to World War II.  The USA took center stage during World War II.  Woodrow Wilson ran for re-election in 1916 on the platform of not getting the USA involved in World War I.  He quickly reneged on the deal and the American government’s first big PR campaign in American history was manipulating Americans to support involvement in Europe’s war.[251]  The Espionage Act was passed, along with a related sedition amendment, which made it a crime to speak out against the war.  Hundreds of Americans were imprisoned under those laws, including presidential candidate Eugene Debs, who was a socialist and noted pacifist.  He even ran from prison in 1920 and received nearly a million votes.  Silencing internal dissent was an imperial necessity.  Wilson was a noted racist.  He segregated the federal government and brought back Jim Crow.[252]  The economic progress that blacks had made since the Civil War was curtailed and even reversed under Wilson’s openly racist administration.  In 1940, black families had a proportionally lower income compared to white families than they had in 1900, at about 30%.[253] 

Under Wilson, the USA invaded Latin American nations nearly at will.  Franklin Roosevelt worked in the Department of the Navy under Wilson, and after the USA invaded Haiti in 1915, Roosevelt was the author of Haiti’s new constitution, and Roosevelt bragged that he worked in a major change in the Haitian constitution.  Ever since they freed themselves, the Haitian constitution forbade foreign land ownership, to prevent the white-owned plantation culture from reappearing there.  Roosevelt abolished it, which paved the way for Haiti to become a neocolonial asset of the USA.  Thousands of Haitians died resisting the American invasion.  Wilson’s racism and imperialism are minimized in the standard American histories, while Americans are told about Wilson the great diplomat who founded the League of Nations.

The American people were brainwashed into supporting the global ambitions of America’s ruling class, and my grandfather was crippled in World War I.  The 1920s were notable for Prohibition, the rise of traditional organized crime, and unbridled capitalism.  Instead of monopoly trusts dominating, a speculative frenzy seized the stock market, and companies were formed and sold stock, with virtually nothing underlying it at all (known as “Blue Sky” companies, because that was about what they sold).  The market frenzy was guided by the “greater fool theory,” which is the notion that the stock I buy might not really be worth anything, but somebody might buy it from me for more, with them being an even greater fool than me.  The 1929 stock market collapse led to the Great Depression, and laws were passed to supposedly prevent that from ever happening again, although the laws were largely unenforceable, which was by conscious design by the corporate order, and the dot.com collapse and Enron-initiated accounting scandals of 2002 seem like 1929 all over again, which was only a prelude to something bigger, and as I write this in 2014, an even larger collapse looms.

Smedley Butler figured out the game after he retired from the military.  Butler helped run the U.S. Marines for a generation.  In 1935, in Common Sense magazine, he assessed his career:

 

"There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to.  It has its 'finger men' to point out enemies, its 'muscle men' to destroy enemies, its 'brain guys' to plan war preparations, and a 'Big Boss,' Supra-nationalistic Capitalism. 

"It may seem odd for me a military man, to adopt such a comparison.  Truthfulness compels me to do so.  I spent thirty-five years and four months in active service as a member of our country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps.  I served in all commissioned ranks, from second lieutenant to Major General.  During that period I spent most of my life being a high class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers.  In short I was a racketeer - a gangster for Capitalism.

"I suspected I was just part of the racket at the time.  Now I am sure of it.  Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the Service.  My mental faculties remained in suspended animation, while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups.  This is typical with everyone in the military. 

"Thus I helped to make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914.  I helped to make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue.  I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.  The record of racketeering is long.  I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1909 to 1912.  I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916.  In China in 1927 I helped Standard Oil. 

"During those years I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket.  I was rewarded with honors, medals, and promotion.  Looking back on it, I feel that I might have given Al Capone a few hints.  The best he could do was operate in three city districts.  I operated on three continents."

 

In 1935, Butler also wrote War is a Racket, and its major point was that in all future wars, the first thing that should be conscripted is capital, and he campaigned on that theme for the rest of his life.  The Great Depression of the 1930s was a global phenomenon, and it brought Hitler and others to power. 

Life for the remnants of Native American tribes did not improve much after their conquest, dispossession, and genocide was completed during the late 19th century.  During the 20th century, the USA continued genocidal policies against Native Americans, including forced sterilization, forcible removal of children from their parents, to be raised in the white culture, more active undermining of tribal governance, and still more theft of their lands.  Canada also did the same things.  It was not until America’s Civil Rights era that Native Americans began making a comeback.[254]

 

Sitting on Top of the World

It is doubtful that any power in world history ever militarily “helped” others primarily from benevolent intent.  Violence is not a humanitarian undertaking, as it always violates somebody.  Regarding “benevolent” wars, history has shown that it was always a ruling class machination that the common people were blind to, as they cheered the warfare, to “help” other people.  Those common people also served as cannon fodder for the ruling class’s ambition.  Much later, after it did not matter anymore, the truth came out.  Covering up ulterior motivation is primarily why “national security” secrecy exists, to cover-up crimes in high places and foster and maintain deceptions, not to attend to “national security.” 

World War II was humanity’s most devastating war…so far, with up to 100 million deaths.[255]  In the USA, it is known as America’s greatest war, often called the “good war.”  World War II was obviously born of imperialism and the fact that the imperialist latecomers, Germany and Japan in particular, needed easy access to cheap foreign resources and labor in order to become imperial powers, but the other Great Powers already owned the world.  Hitler took a page from America’s handbook and saw Eastern Europe in the same way that America’s Founding Fathers saw the American continent: possessed by inferior races whose dispossession and extermination (if necessary) would clear the way for “living space” for the chosen race’s settlement.  Hitler’s “crime” was targeting white people as inferior races (although far from unprecedented in Europe).  Japan developed a similar Manifest Destiny ideology toward China.  While Germany and Japan were making imperial moves, the USA's government and industrial leaders held Germany in warm regard, and even when Japan intentionally sank an American ship as it attacked China, Franklin Roosevelt actively covered for them and minimized the incident in the American media. 

When Germany and Japan began stepping on imperial toes, the situation became strained, although the USA declared war on Germany after Germany declared war on them, after the Pearl Harbor attack, which was no great surprise to the American military.  When it came time to put down the imperial upstarts, communists received a quick makeover, and one of history’s bloodiest tyrants, Joseph Stalin, became Uncle Joe in the USA, at least while there were Nazis to defeat.  The Pacific Theater was largely an American race war against Japan, to wipe out their nascent empire.  As World War II ended, America quickly hired all the useful Nazis, even those who performed human experiments in the death camps.  The CIA epitomized American foreign policy, as it was headed by Wall Street lawyers and executives, and hired the Nazi intelligence network virtually intact, to wage covert war against Uncle Joe.  There were even plans to nuke the Soviet Union out of existence, with Nazi help.  The reign of Joe McCarthy in those post-war years was no anomaly, but neatly aligned with the USA's neocolonialism and fabricating the communist threat, which was really the threat that the colonized world might free itself from the West’s shackles. 

Few will baldly state what their true ambition is, especially when it is driven by greed and a lust for power.  However, declassified documents from the war and early post-war years clearly spelled out the American government's intentions.  American planners saw the colonized world in virtually the same way that Europe had, but their internal documents phrased things more clinically.  Before World War II had even ended, the USA's planners saw nearly the entire globe as its “Grand Area,” and the USA's destroyed imperial rivals were going to follow the “great workshops” example of Japan and Germany during the war and become producers of goods that the USA would find useful.  Traditional colonial lands were to be a source of cheap labor, food, and natural resources, and a captive market for manufactures, in mercantile fashion.  Colonial domains, Africa in particular, were to be exploited to help rebuild Europe and Japan.[256]  The USA's plans were a blueprint for a truly global empire.  Only the Soviet Union stood in its way (and later, China), and that was what the Cold War was all about, which the USA instigated and escalated at every opportunity. 

One of America’s leading diplomats, George Kennan, who was a Soviet Union expert and considered the USA's leading foreign policy dove, authored Policy Planning Study 23 for the U.S. State Department in 1948.  In it, Kennan made infamous observations.  It was a top-secret document long ago and Kennan was writing to his own people.  He stated that in the wake of World War II, America had only 6% of the world’s population, but half of its wealth, and such a situation would invite “envy and resentment” from the rest of the world.  Kennan advised that the USA's foreign policy goal should be to “maintain this position of disparity.”  In order to keep that “disparity,” Kennan recommended that we “dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated on our immediate national objectives.”  Kennan recommended that talk about “unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization” stop, because the “day is not far off when we are going to have to deal with straight power concepts.  The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”

In other words, Kennan expected the “envy” of the world’s citizens, and thought that America should deal in “straight power concepts” to maintain the “disparity” that might cause the envy.  Kennan was a dove.  Paul Nitze, a hawk of the day, authored the 1950 National Security Council Memorandum 68 for the then Secretary of State, Paul Acheson.  Whereas Kennan “gently” called for the use of “straight power concepts,” Nitze called for a subtle assault on the Soviet Union, to sow the “seeds of destruction,” and a militarization of the USA's economy.  Social services would be slashed in order to build the military machine that would be needed to maintain America’s position of “disparity.”  In order to do that, the USA needed to silence opposition to the plan and stop its “excess of tolerance” toward dissent in the USA.[257]  Joe McCarthy appears to have taken a page straight from Nitze’s work (or vice versa).  Kennan and Nitze urged the USA to meet “envy” with violence.  Nitze was still around, influencing American policy, during the Reagan administration.  Lyndon Johnson once mouthed some of Kennan’s wealth-hoarding rhetoric, nearly verbatim, during the Vietnam era, talking about how America controlled the lion’s share of the world’s wealth, other nations wanted some, and they were not going to get any.  When the Pentagon Papers were leaked, the government’s internal documents revealed that the main theme of the war planners was not freedom, democratic rule, or any of those lofty ideas, but tin, rubber, and oil.  As with all those slave-owning Founding Fathers, when the political rhetoric is stripped away, the economic motivation behind the institutions and actions is clear. 

The USA has never exported democracy and freedom to the world’s people, and neither has anybody else.  The White Man’s Burden is a racist canard.  By hiring Nazis and other foreign policy machinations, the USA simply refined the methods of oppression, with rigged elections, coups that America armed and financed, and other tactics to have it appear (at least to the American people, who ultimately authorize and finance such activities) that the USA was not behind setting up draconian “governments” whose sole purpose was serving American business interests, as in the rise and reign of Indonesia’s Suharto.  He was the world’s greatest butcher during the last half of the 20th century, performing most of his evil not only with the USA's approval, but also with its weapons and subsidy.  When all else failed, the USA would invade, as the wars along Eastern Asia during the 1950s and 1960s demonstrated.[258]

The wars in Southeast Asia during the 1960s and 1970s were obviously American attempts to recolonize that region.  The USA pledged to France that it would help them recover their colonial lands after World War II was finished.  Regarding the UK and France, the “help” that the USA gave them was more on the order of elbowing them out of the way to grab the plunder for themselves, as the UK experienced when the USA helped them keep Iran in their fold, but took over Iran’s oil industry in the process.  Ho Chi Minh was an American ally during World War II who helped battle the Japanese.  As the colonial era witnessed numerous times, the new whites on the scene spouted impressive rhetoric about helping the local people become or stay free; in reality, they came to be the new overlords, and it was no different with Vietnam.  When World War II was finished, Vietnam declared itself independent, free from two millennia of foreign domination.  It did not last long, however, and the Allies even used Japanese troops immediately after the war ended to try recolonizing Vietnam.  By 1954, the Vietnamese defeated a weak French recolonizing effort (even with American help), and were on the brink of independence, but the USA then manipulated the situation and put a puppet, Ngo Dinh Diem, in charge in Vietnam and cut it in half and sabotaged efforts for Vietnamese independence and unification.  The CIA assassinated Diem in late 1963, to John Kennedy’s surprise, and he followed Diem to the grave a few weeks later (they were quite possibly related assassinations), and Lyndon Johnson’s administration immediately began manipulating the Vietnam War into existence.  Even Dwight Eisenhower admitted that there would have been only one Vietnam during the 1950s if the USA had not actively scuttled the Vietnamese election called for by the United Nations.[259]

I know somebody from the USA's military whose technical innovations were used to fabricate one of the Gulf of Tonkin Incidents, which comprised the USA's rationale to begin the Southeast Asian wars.  In intent and effect, the Gulf of Tonkin Incidents were no different than what Zachary Taylor did to instigate the Mexican American War, or the border incident that the Nazis concocted in order to invade Poland, which set off World War II.  The sinking of the Maine (by a boiler accident on board) in Havana’s harbor was a convenient excuse to wage the Spanish-American War, for another huge land grab.  To the credit of millions of Americans, they were not fooled for long by the obvious fraud used to instigate the Vietnam War, and displayed a collective conscience that is rarely found in imperial societies (it was also part of a general cultural awakening – thank you, John Lennon).  American protests were related to the USA eventually withdrawing, although the USA's government took vengeance on Vietnam in any way it could for the next generation.  The CIA’s Ralph McGehee finally figured out the American game in Saigon in 1968.  The greatest international destruction of human life during the last half of the 20th century is what the USA did to Southeast Asia.  There are no close contenders, except what America did up the coast in Korea.  The “goo-goos” of the Philippines became the “gooks” of Southeast Asia, in another intensely racist and genocidal war that America waged against Asia’s people, with atom bombs dropped on the “Japs” between the goo-goo and gook wars, as well as millions of Korean and Chinese dead during the 1950s.

I know Americans who were soldiers in Vietnam and other places, and although they usually are prevented from publicly talking about their experiences because of national security secrecy laws, I have heard many first- and second-hand accounts. 

A friend of mine was involved in Special Forces activities and told me how he was trained to sneak up on people at night and break their necks with his bare hands.  He estimated that he killed about 70 people during one Special Forces mission, in a nation that the USA was "secretly" at war with.  I have also heard of far worse acts performed by our lads in Vietnam, and when I talk to veterans around me age, it is not unusual to discuss the atrocities that the USA committed in Southeast Asia.  In 2013, Kill Anything That Moves was published, which was the result of a quick-thinking-and-acting college student and his professor, who obtained military documents that were briefly declassified, which demonstrated the American military's approach to the Vietnam War.  The troops had murder quotas to keep those body counts on the evening news high.  Bombing and napalming villages thus became an American pastime.  Murder quotas comprise a style of warfare that logically arose from the USA's industrialized ways.

So-called international “aid” agencies such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization are purely neocolonial institutions, either owned outright or dominated by Western interests, usually American.  The Third World gets little say about the kind of “help” that those organizations provide.  Even supposedly idealistic organizations such as the Peace Corps are largely neocolonial tools that often cause more harm than good to the foreign peoples that they “help.”  Although the names, faces, and techniques may change, the dynamic is still that the world’s poorest nations, with large portions of their populations hungry or starving, export food to the USA instead of growing food to feed that nation’s hungry.  The last time I looked in the late 20th century, of the world’s poorest 40 nations, 36 exported food to the USA. 

Those dynamics are part of what astute commentators from both the political right and left call the Third World War, or the War Against the Poor.[260]  The USA has dominated the neocolonial war against the world’s poor ever since World War II, keeping the boot on their neck, supplanting its European rivals as the global slave master.[261]  Some in that system have openly come out and admitted the game being played.

When the unsavory neocolonial activities become so obvious they can be denied no longer, American cultural managers and spin doctors labor to frame the exercise as attempts to do good that went bad and not what they really were: exploitation and violence designed to serve the dominant class’s interests, not the people who were “helped” and slaughtered.[262]  Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky summarized the American media's retrospective treatment of the Vietnam War:

 

"The war was a 'tragic error,' but not 'fundamentally wrong or immoral' (as the overwhelming majority of the American people continue to believe), and surely not criminal aggression - the judgment that would be reached at once on similar evidence if the responsible agent were not the USA, or an ally or client.

"Our point is not that the retrospectives fail to draw what seem to us, as to much of the population, the obvious conclusions; the more significant and instructive point is that principled objection to the war as 'fundamentally wrong and immoral,' or as an outright criminal aggression - a war crime - is inexpressible.  It is not part of the spectrum of discussion.  The background for such a principled critique cannot be developed in the media, and the conclusions cannot be drawn.  It is not present even to be refuted. Rather, the idea is unthinkable.

"All of this reveals with great clarity how foreign to the mobilized media is a conception of the media as a free system of information and discussion, independent of state authority and elite interests."[263] 

 

Since the Vietnam War ended, American cultural managers worked diligently to retroactively demonize American war protestors, the victims of the USA's aggression, and anybody else who resisted its greatest and most disastrous neocolonial venture.  It was a largely successful attempt to reconstruct imperial ideology.  The Vietnam War protests were virtually unique in their scale, as far as appearing in imperial societies, which meant that the imperial ideology failed to mobilize all the masses to unthinkingly support the war; therefore, it needed to be reinvigorated.[264]  Opposing the Vietnam War probably cost Martin Luther King, Jr. his life, and probably Bobby Kennedy.  The FBI helped murder Malcolm X after he became less militant in pursuing social change.[265] 

The toll from the Third World War has been immense, in human death and suffering, not to mention the environmental devastation that keeps escalating.  More than 10 million dead (and as many as 20 million) and hundreds of millions of people made miserable are well within the range of estimates for the Third World War, and the footnote at the end of this sentence shows one way those numbers are developed.[266]  

The strategy that Nitze outlined in 1950 worked.  While the West plundered its colonial and neocolonial domains, the Soviet Union actively subsidized its realm, with money and resources flowing outward from the homeland (such as the big subsidies for Cuba).  That, combined with the arms race that the USA instigated, along with the relatively primitive level of industrialization that the Soviet Union had, the Chernobyl disaster and being led into Brzezinski's “Afghan trap,” all contributed to its collapse.  It was about the only peaceful collapse of an empire that humanity has seen, as the people of the Eastern Bloc took Gandhi's and Martin Luther King Jr.’s lessons to heart.  With the peaceful end of the Soviet Union, the USA was then left alone on the world stage as 1989 drew to a close, with unchallenged global hegemony.  America’s first act after the Berlin Wall fell demonstrated just how hollow its Cold War rhetoric was.

 

The New Era Looked a Lot Like the Old Era

When the Berlin Wall was falling and the world was cheering, I wondered what George Bush the First would have to say about it.  Instead of an impassioned speech about freedom and the historic nature of the peaceful collapse of an empire, Bush seemed shocked and afraid by what happened, and mumbled about needing to keep things under control.  Two weeks later, the USA invaded Panama.

Anybody who thinks that America’s 1989 Panamanian invasion had anything to do with "restoring democracy" or stopping the drug traffic is invited to watch The Panama Deception, which won the 1993 Academy Award for best documentary.  Any war's first casualty is the truth, and the Pentagon got practice in manipulating/muzzling the Western press in Panama that came in handy the next year in Iraq.  Not until The Panama Deception came out did many Americans find out what was hidden about America’s blatant, illegal, and murderous invasion of Panama.  That movie later became the historical document that Panamanians used to agitate to end the USA's presence in Panama.  Napoleon once said that if the truth can be kept quiet long enough so the masses do the elite’s bidding, then the truth coming out later does not really matter.

The intent and effect of America’s invasion of Panama was the opposite of restoring democracy, and the drug trade probably doubled through Panama after the USA invaded and installed a puppet government.[267]  As with Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega was no saint.  He came up through the military's ranks, as most Latin American dictators did.  Noriega’s services were valuable to the USA, and he was well paid by the CIA, apparently more than $100,000 per year.  Surely, Noriega had his hand in drug running, but almost as certainly did George Bush, Dan Quayle, Bill Clinton, and many others of high stature.[268]  Noriega succeeded Omar Torrijos as Panama's leader.  Torrijos was not a typical banana-republic dictator.  He was the closest thing to a democratic leader that Panama ever had, and was beloved by the Panamanian masses because he enacted many policies that benefited the average person, and he was decidedly wary of the USA's imperial influence.  Torrijos died in a plane crash in 1981, an accident that many think was not accidental but sabotage and murder by Noriega, with CIA help.  If that is true, it was merely a day at the office for the CIA.[269]  Economic Hit Man John Perkins was friends with Torrijos, and knew that his death was a CIA assassination.

Lending more credence to the assassination angle on Torrijos's death, during Panama’s invasion the Torrijos Museum was specifically targeted and bombed by America, and four months after the invasion, Torrijos's tomb was attacked, opened, and his remains stolen by white men.  Torrijos was a thorn in America’s side, negotiating the return of the Panama Canal, which was why Wall Street invented Panama in the first place.  The informed speculation is that the Skull and Bones Society, Yale’s eastern establishment secret society that robs graves to steal the remains of those who were obstacles to the American Empire, performed the theft.  As of 2014, George Bush the First belongs to the club, as did his father Preston, whose contribution to the club was apparently robbing Geronimo’s grave.[270]  George Bush the Second also belongs to the club. 

The CIA is about the world’s premier drug runner, and George Bush the First once ran it.  With the Soviet Empire collapsing, the USA could put aside any pretense it adopted with the 1980s wars that it mounted against Central America, where it used proxies.  It was still having problems stuffing Nicaragua back into the neocolonial corral, and elections were coming up in February of 1990.  The USA's invasion of Panama may have been an instructive lesson to Nicaragua of what happened to nations that displeased the USA, especially now that the USA's main political-economic rival, however weak it was, had collapsed.[271]  The Sandinistas lost that 1990 election, as the Nicaraguan people surrendered to the USA's war against them, as Ronald Reagan openly wished for.

The American invasion of Panama was a classroom for honing methods of overthrowing a government, installing a dictatorship, wiping out the political opposition, and keeping the American people in the dark.  From the moment that the USA invaded Panama, they engaged in extraordinary measures to keep the news from Americans about what was happening.  The American military's cover-up effort during the invasion's first three days was so successful that there exists virtually no independent video footage.  The American media was tightly controlled, with their correspondents not being allowed to independently witness or record anything.  They sat under the military's watchful eye for the entire invasion and not allowed to go anywhere important.  Media personnel from other countries were detained, jailed, and in the case of Spanish news photographer Juantxu Rodriguez, summarily executed by American soldiers for the crime of taking pictures.

During the early stage of the American invasion of Panama, Juantxu Rodriguez recorded the below photograph of Panamanians lined up in a makeshift morgue.

morgue.jpg (78414 bytes)Click on image to enlarge

American soldiers actively detained journalists and confiscated video cameras and film, and an American soldier summarily executed Rodriquez for the crime of taking pictures. 

rodriguez.jpg (72602 bytes)Click on image to enlarge 

The camera is still wrapped around Rodriguez's neck, as he lied where he was shot.  Those kinds of activities kept the American people ignorant of what kind of invasion really happened in Panama.  Those images are from The Panama Deception.

The USA's soldiers raided, ransacked, shut down, and arrested the personnel of every organization in Panama critical of the USA's invasion.  The USA's military immediately took over the television stations in Panama and began broadcasting their own programming.  The puppet government leaders that the USA installed upon invading drew up lists of people and groups who truly advocated democracy in Panama and who might be politically opposed to the puppet regime.  The American military rounded up thousands of people on those lists and threw them into prison, sometimes for years, with no charges ever filed.  The people who received that treatment were college professors, newspaper editors, union leaders, human rights activists, etc.  In essence, all the truly democratic leaders in Panama were imprisoned.  George Bush the First had audacity to say his invasion "restored democracy" in Panama.  As Bush uttered those words, our politicians in Washington gave him a standing ovation.

A major reason why the USA muzzled the media was so that the invasion's true devastation of Panama would go unreported.  The Pentagon said that only 250 Panamanian civilians died in the invasion.  The reality was that thousands died, as many as 4,000 people, perhaps more, and 15,000 were left homeless in the El Chorrillo district alone.  The USA's military invaded and burned the El Chorrillo district of Panama City, in a display of callous disregard for civilian casualties.  By detaining or executing journalists, the military kept that news quiet.  They wanted other things kept quiet.  For instance, they may have tried out new weapons systems during the invasion.  There were reports of people literally melting and vehicles cut in two by what appeared to be a laser-type weapon.  Panama's invasion would have been the ideal opportunity to try out such experimental weaponry, as acknowledged by astute observers.

The USA's military tried covering up its mass murders as best it could.  In echoes of the crematoria at Auschwitz, the military apparently bulldozed bodies into piles on the beaches and had bonfires, trying to destroy the bodies and then dump the remnants into the ocean.  They took over the hospitals and morgues and seized their records and detained doctors and the hospital staff.  There were ten doctors on duty at Santo Tomás Hospital on December 20, 1989.  Nine of them were fired, arrested, or driven into hiding.  The Red Cross was denied access to El Chorrillo for several days.  America’s military heroes were not able to destroy all evidence of their mass murders.  Months after the invasion, while the Pentagon was still saying with a straight face that only 250 civilians had died, mass graves were unearthed in Panama.  Fifteen mass graves were discovered, and one more Big Lie of the USA's government was exposed.  As the mass graves were exhumed, the victims in them gave mute testimony to what kind of invasion really happened in Panama.  There were victims with bullet holes in the backs of their skulls, victims with their wrists tied together, victims in their 70s, teenagers, victims wearing casts on their arms and legs, etc.[272]

The American people cheered the invasion, Manual Noriega was transformed into public enemy number one, and America wanted him brought to "justice."  Invading a nation to apprehend their head of state, for crimes that he supposedly committed, is an act nearly without precedence in world history.  It was a flagrant violation of all international law, condemned by the United Nations and throughout the world.  The American people easily swallowed the rationale of invading Panama to apprehend Noriega.  In exasperation, the scholar José de Jesús Martínez said that it was hard to believe "how Americans can be so stupid" as to believe the rationale that they were fed regarding Panama's invasion.  The USA had ample opportunities to apprehend its employee before the invasion. 

Why did the USA invade Panama?  The proximate reason appears to be the same one why America attacked Iraq.  The dictator became a little too independent.  Jimmy Carter considered himself the "human rights" president.  Compared to other presidents of his generation, he was.  That is relative, however.  The people of East Timor, El Salvador, South Korea, and elsewhere may have a different opinion of Carter, but his administration was gentle compared to the Reagan-Bush or Johnson-Nixon-Ford years.  Carter signed an agreement in 1977 with Torrijos to give the Canal Zone's control back to Panama in 1999.  My militaristic father bewailed in sorrow when Carter signed the agreement, as did many right wingers around America.  Ronald Reagan campaigned for president on the issue that we paid for the Panama Canal and it was ours.

It appears that the Reagan-Bush gang felt they would live with Carter's agreement if they could control Panama.  They almost certainly had a hand in Torrijos's 1981 death, and Noriega was their kind of thug.  They thought that he would be obedient as long as he got his cut.  Noriega began acting increasingly like a disobedient dictator (such as failing to enthusiastically support America’s Contra proxy-war against Nicaragua), and the USA did not want him in power when the Canal went back to Panama.  So America invaded Panama, installed its puppets, had them abolish Panama's army, and the USA turned Panama into an obedient client state again.[273]  Apparently, a primary reason that the USA acted so quickly in sending its troops to the Persian Gulf after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was that Bush feared Hussein would duplicate his Panamanian success by invading and quickly withdrawing, and leaving behind a puppet government.[274] 

The exercise of controlling the press during the Panamanian invasion was a mere warmup for the Gulf War.  The USA controlled the information regarding the invasion so well that it brings to mind Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany. 

           

Attacking Iraq

During 1990, I moved to Ohio and experienced the first official war that our nation waged since I became an adult.  Bombing Libya and invading Grenada and Panama were unpleasant for me, but what happened in Iraq was on a vastly larger scale.  In 1990, I was also recovering from my experiences with Dennis Lee.  I went from having idealistic free-energy dreams to the harsh realization that the energy industry was essentially run by criminals.  The energy industry probably does not deserve to exist, but by suppressing all viable alternatives it keeps raking in the money.  It also is a valuable lever for manipulating the world economy, as the "oil crises" during the 1970s demonstrated.  The USA "needs" Middle East oil only because the energy industry has ruthlessly eliminated alternatives to oil.[275]

I eventually realized that my indoctrination by school, the media, and other authority sources presented a worldview starkly different than what I saw during my days with Dennis.  I was beginning to read alternative media publications such as Lies of Our Times, Covert Action Information Bulletin, and joining the Christic Institute

At that time, I knew a little about the region's history, how Europe had been exploiting the region for many years, and when the UK officially pulled out in the 1920s, their actions nearly guaranteed the strife that we see there today.  Iraq was a nation created by the British drawing lines on a map.[276]  When the British carved up the Middle East into nations, obviously the interests being served were not those of the Middle East’s inhabitants, but the UK’s.  Kuwait was a district of Iraq during the Ottoman Empire days, until the British moved in.  An oil rich region was landlocked by the UK's power politics.

I also knew that Iraq had legitimate grievances with Kuwait.  The UK drew up their national borders, and Iraq always maintained that Kuwait was part of Iraq, and was held back by the UK from simply invading and annexing Kuwait.  The British High Commissioner in Baghdad in 1930 even “suggested to the government of the day that the UK should encourage the gradual absorption of Kuwait into Iraq,” and that, ”Kuwait was a small and expendable state which could be sacrificed without too much concern if the power struggles of the period demanded it.”[277]  The Kuwait/Iraq border was long disputed, particularly around the rich Rumaila oilfield.  Kuwait may have drilled into Iraqi oil fields while Iraq fought Iran.  A factor that led to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was Kuwait's refusal to lease two uninhabited islands to Iraq so that Iraq could have a Persian Gulf port.[278]

I also caught the whiff of possible propaganda being purveyed to justify the subsequent devastation of Iraq.  For instance, a friend angrily called me up one day in October of 1990 and told me the story of Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators in Kuwait and letting them die so that Iraqi babies could have the incubators.  I also heard George Bush the First telling the world about Iraq's imminent threat to Saudi Arabia, and the American media swallowed it whole. 

The incubator story sounded exactly like the wartime propaganda that nations have always used to dehumanize the enemy.  The incubator story was eerily similar to Cortes's story about the Aztecs eating roasted babies, English tales during World War I that told of German soldiers killing babies, or Christian stories of Jews killing babies, or Roman/pagan stories of Christians killing babies.  Baby killing/eating is a classic wartime propaganda ploy, but the American media repeated the story endlessly.  I remember the bomb-disguised-as-a-toy story concocted about the Soviet Union during the 1980s, as they supposedly used them in Afghanistan.  Such stories are always suspicious, particularly when a nation beats the war drums as hard as the USA was.

Seven U.S. Senators cited that incubator "incident" as part of their justification for voting for war.  The incubator story was a prominent media story for months, as the Bush administration garnered support for the military action against Iraq.  I had been exposed to enough wartime propaganda to doubt what I was hearing, and it later turned out that the incubator story, the Iraqi threat to Saudi Arabia, and other influential stories (such as how the Iraqi army had the USA's forces in a risky position) were fabrications.  While the incubator story received widespread and repeated airing, the American media barely reported Iraq's willingness to negotiate a withdrawal.  Several withdrawal proposals were tendered, and the Bush administration immediately rejected all of them.[279]  Bush proudly said that he did not negotiate with people such as Hussein, whom he compared to Hitler.  Bush even had the gall to call Hussein's invasion of Kuwait a "naked aggression."  That came from a man who ordered the invasion of Panama, which was a far more unjustified, murderous, and "naked" aggression than Kuwait's invasion was.  Instead of laughing at Bush's hypocrisy, the media applauded his high principles.[280]

The tale of Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators and leaving them to die was given in heart-wrenching testimony at the Congressional Human Rights Caucus by a young woman named Nayirah, who said she witnessed it.  That "atrocity" was later exposed as a fabrication.  It was discovered that Nayirah was the Kuwait ambassador's daughter, and an American public relations firm, Hill and Knowlton, coached her performance. Nayirah's performance was a recitation of a script that Hill and Knowlton wrote for her.  Kuwait hired Hill and Knowlton to "manage" the perception of Kuwait's situation.[281]  She was not even in Kuwait when the fabricated atrocities supposedly happened, and the Kuwaiti hospital personnel on duty when it supposedly happened later denied that it happened.  The incubator story may have been the deciding factor for the Senate's narrow approval for Bush's declaration of war on Iraq.  George Bush's speech about the Iraq army massing in Kuwait in preparation for an invasion of Saudi Arabia also turned out to be a lie.

I lived in Dayton and worked at a bank's headquarters in a small town named Wilmington.  Nearly 100 people worked at the headquarters.  When the bombs finally started dropping in January of 1991, the office virtually erupted in cheering.  The USA had fabricated its "coalition" by bribing and threatening nearly all nations involved; forgiving billions of dollars of debt for nations that joined the coalition (for instance, Egypt, $7 billion, the former Soviet Union, $4 billion), and threatening aid cutoff and vengeance to those who did not.[282] 

The region where Iraq resides has one of the world's richest histories.  Iraq is in the region known as the Fertile Crescent, where a series of events led to what is called civilization.  Sumer is the earliest known civilization, established about six thousand years ago, sitting largely between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.  Succeeding the Sumerian civilization was the Babylonian civilization, which in its turn rose and fell.  The region has seen civilizations and empires rise and fall for the past six millennia, as the lands and people passed from empire to empire, and names such as Assyria and Mesopotamia described the region at times.  The rise of Islam during the seventh century CE eventually brought the region under theocratic control, with the mixed blessings that theocracies have always conferred.

The USA (with the UK helping, as usual) essentially carved the Mosul region from Iraq with unilaterally imposed and illegal “no-fly zones.”  The Mosul region is the same one that the UK carved from Turkey after World War I.  America also coveted the Middle East's oil wealth and eventually wrested control of Middle Eastern oil from its European rivals.  When the USA overthrew Iran’s government in 1953 and installed one of the 20th century's bloodier regimes, it also dominated the British monopoly that controlled Iran's oil production (Anglo-Iranian Oil Company).  The event that sparked the American-led coup was Iranian politicians nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.  The war-crippled UK asked the USA to help keep its grip on Iranian oil, and the USA obliged, but there was a price: the British went from 100% control to 40%, and the USA took over and American oil companies controlled 40%.[283] 

Iran's neighbor Iraq, however, successfully nationalized its oil industry between 1972 and 1975.  Iraq, partly due to the artificiality that created it, has been a fractious nation, with numerous coups and political crises.  It became fervently nationalistic however, and remained largely non-aligned in the global power game.  Saddam Hussein began making his rise to power during the 1960s and helped to wipe out Iraq’s left-leaning parties, and was once on the CIA's payroll.[284]  America has never minded anybody wiping out leftists, especially during its war on communism.  During the 1970s, America manipulated Iraq’s Kurdish minority as cynically as Machiavelli might have recommended.  After the Kurdish leadership was fed to the wolves, Henry Kissinger remarked on the betrayal: “Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.”[285]

Iraq was prominent in the Arab effort against Israel, eagerly fielding troops and aiding Palestinian victims of Jewish aggression.  Iraq was the radical Arab nation, with strong secular roots, and partly because of that radicalism had the Middle East’s highest standard of living.  For all of Saddam Hussein’s crimes and failures, Iraq was an anomaly in the Middle East, as a substantial share of Iraq’s oil revenues were devoted to improving the standard of living of Iraq’s citizenry.  That attitude of benefiting the domestic population was the direct opposite of how the USA's puppet states have always operated.  Iraq was the most socially advanced Arab nation in 1990.  Iraq has one of the world's largest oil deposits, which has attracted the interest of the world's powers for the past century.

Saddam Hussein was no hero.  He was a despot who used chemical weapons on Iraq's Kurdish population (with the USA's help and approval[286]), initiated a bloody war against Iran (with the USA's support), and invaded Kuwait (with tacit American approval).  The USA's ally Turkey was comparably vicious on the Kurdish population within its borders, but those atrocities went largely unreported in the American media, and Saddam's atrocities were minimized…until he became an official enemy on August 2, 1990.  The atrocities themselves have never been the issue in America’s media.  The standard procedure is exaggerating/fabricating the crimes of our enemies while ignoring our own or those of our friends, just as Jesus observed two millennia ago, when he spoke of looking for the splinters in a neighbor's eye while ignoring the logs in one's own.[287]

My office in Wilmington had a sound system that played mellow music at low volume during the day.  It was a pleasant background to work to.  The men who ran the bank were fervent military boosters, and their office walls were adorned with photos of friends and relatives in uniform.  The day after the bombs began dropping, the music was replaced with a news/talk show played at high volume.  The night before, as we began bombing them, ex-generals and other hawks dominated the USA's media as they rhapsodized over the bombing.  I heard one ex-general on the radio exulting over the air show over Iraq, calling it “a great day to be a soldier."  The next day at the office I was treated to the loud blast of war coverage.  During that day, the radio announced that America had destroyed Iraq's air force, so there was no air resistance from Iraq, and one of the bank's owners came running out of his office, listening raptly to the announcement, nearly thrusting his fist into the air.  It was a struggle to maintain my composure and difficult to get any work done.

Then a talk show interrupted the war coverage.  The host sounded like Rush Limbaugh’s protégé.  There was one war protest in our corner of Ohio, at least that our media presented.  About 20 students protested at the University of Cincinnati.  Ohio has more than ten million people, and 20 people amounted to less than .001% of the region’s population around Cincinnati.  The talk-show host made those few protesting students the subject of his show.  He asked his listening audience if those students were "stupid or evil."  His callers were unanimous in condemning anybody who dared to protest our bombing of Iraq.  One caller cleverly said that the students were "stevil." 

A week later, the first letter to the editor that I ever wrote was on its way to the Dayton Daily News.  They published it on February 5, 1991.  Here it is:

 

As the United States subdues another enemy in freedom's name, or so it is said, the blood of our children will again be spilled for the noble cause.  It could be very profitable at this time to consider an ancient strategy.  Many years ago, a radical genius offered a means to absolutely destroy one's enemies.  The succeeding years have proven the tactic too outrageous and incomprehensible to even attempt.  History tells us that practically nobody has ever gathered the courage to see the strategy through. 

The ancient extremist theorized that his maneuver would not only win the day, but could be used over and over to annihilate any and all enemies.  The bizarre theory involved the obscure and very, very rarely used strategy of loving the enemy. 

This country was not officially founded in that radical's name, nor are his theories officially recognized here, but the person's work and life supposedly has many adherents in this country.  You could fool me. 

His ideas were far ahead of his time back then, and they seem equally far ahead of the present time.  When ever will the example of the life of Jesus actually be taken seriously?  I hope soon, for the sake of us all, including those awful Iraqis. 

 

It was my first experience in writing to a newspaper, it was the first thing that I had published, and it was my first experience with editing.  The newspaper edited out "or so it is said" from that first sentence.  That changed the letter’s tenor letter a little, particularly my intended irony in using the word "awful" to describe the Iraqis.  I was glad that they published what they did, and maybe it caused a few people to reconsider their lusty cheers.  Next to my letter was printed the wit and wisdom of Hughie Sprinkle, whose sentiments better reflected the public attitude.  Hughie wrote, "The only sensible way to win the war and save American lives is to nuke (Iraq), using neutron bombs.  Kill them all - man, woman and child.  Kill 'em quick and kill 'em good.  Then bulldoze the area over, and begin again."

Mr. Sprinkle's opinion might seem from the lunatic fringe, but it was not.  At about the same time as my letter and Mr. Sprinkle's were published, the Dayton Daily News ran its weekly Cal Thomas column.  Thomas was a nationally syndicated columnist who called himself a Christian from the conservative tradition.  In Thomas's column, he also called for dropping nuclear weapons on Iraq, and he was not alone on the national stage with his opinion.  Thomas wrote that nuking Iraq would "save lives."  He obviously did not mean the lives of Iraqi citizens.

What made the sentiments of Thomas and Sprinkle surreal was that the events in Iraq and Kuwait were obviously not a "war" in any meaningful sense.  In the words of American soldiers, what happened in Iraq was a "turkey shoot."  Iraq was virtually defenseless to America’s record bombing campaign.  It was history’s most intense bombing campaign to that time.  Nobody will ever know exactly how many Iraqi soldiers died in that "war."  Credible estimates range from 100,000 to 200,000 soldiers dying, and even higher.  Iraq's elite Republican Guard was not decimated.  The dead were mainly Iraqi conscripts.  The vast majority never even saw an American soldier before they died.  They usually died in their shelters and trenches, huddling from the awesome devastation raining from the air.

The USA tried out many new weapons in Iraq.  Americans generally only heard about the Patriot Missile system that was used to shoot at Iraqi Scuds.  Barely reported was the Iraqi population's suffering, or the neat weapons used on Iraq.  Those realities were hidden from the American people.  Pentagon censors screened virtually every American news report that came from Iraq.  The American people were treated to daily propaganda exercises led by Norman Schwarzkopf, who is now in America's pantheon of heroes.  Once in a great while, some truth made it to the public, and it was usually by the Los Angeles Times and CNN, two non-members of the Eastern Oligarchy. 

In the Los Angeles Times on February 24, 1991 John Balzar brought a little reality to his readers with his front page article titled "Apache Copters: Deadly Havoc in the Dark of Night."  Balzar was able to watch night vision gunsight footage from the briefing room.  He reported what he saw:

 

"They looked like ghostly sheep flushed from a pen - Iraqi infantrymen bewildered and terrified, jarred from sleep and fleeing their bunkers under a hellish fire.  One by one, they were cut down by attackers they could not see or understand.  Some were blown to bits by bursts of 30-millimeter exploding cannon shells.  One man dropped, writhed on the ground, then struggled to his feet; another burst of fire tore him apart…Even hardened soldiers hold their breath as the Iraqi soldiers, as big as football players on the television screen, run with nowhere to hide.  These are not bridges exploding or airplane hangers.  These are men."[288]

 

The weapons used in the Gulf War were nightmarish.  Bombs that explode at waist level were not the kinds of smart bombs that our newscasters oohed and aahed over.  By the Pentagon's own numbers, 93% of the bomb tonnage used by America in the Gulf War was not "smart."  Missiles that turned around buildings in pursuit of their targets were evening news fare, but the vast majority of what America dropped onto Iraq was the dumb kind, and about 70% of it missed its target.  If Americans had seen what was really happening in Iraq, they might not have cheered so loudly.

During the Gulf War, some weapons systems deployed were the most powerful weapons short of a nuclear bomb.  One was a fuel-air bomb.  The bomb works thusly: there are two detonations; the first spreads a fine mist of fuel into the air, turning the area into an explosive mix of vast proportion; then a second detonation ignites the mixture, which causes an awesome explosion.  The explosion is about the most powerful "conventional" explosion known.  At a pressure shock of up to 200 pounds per square inch ("PSI"), people in its detonation zone are often killed by the sheer compression of the air around them.  Human beings can typically withstand up to about a 40-PSI shock.  The bomb sucks oxygen out of the air, and can apparently even suck the lungs out through the mouths of people unfortunate enough to be in the detonation zone.  Our military used it on helpless people.  The USA also dropped a bomb called "Big Blue," with a specialized high-tech explosive mixture that can produce up to a 1,000-PSI shock wave, a magnitude only exceeded by nuclear weapons.[289]  That kind of shock wave turns a body into hamburger, even if no shrapnel hits it.

Some of the other weapons systems deployed were called "bouncing" bombs.  "Adam" was one of those bombs used in the Gulf War.  It is euphemistically called an "antipersonnel" bomb.  The bomb bounces up to about waist high after hitting the ground, so when it explodes it has a better chance of eviscerating the "personnel" unfortunate enough to be near it.  Another novel weapon deployed in the Gulf War was "The Beehive."  The Beehive was a bomb that spins at high velocity, spitting out 8,800 pieces of razor-edged shrapnel in all directions, producing a "Swiss-cheese" effect on anybody near it.  In concept, those weapons were not exactly new, but were high-tech, refined versions of earlier ideas and weapons, nearly making death-dealing into a macabre art form.  As the Los Angeles Times reporter who wrote about those weapons in 1991 observed:

 

"The mechanics of death and destruction are a grim affair.  The military's scientific approach and its philosophies - for example, its preference for wounding vital organs over blowing off limbs - can be deeply disquieting to anybody who imagines such matters are left to chance.  Many people would rather not know about the gruesome details."[290] 

 

Norman Schwarzkopf never regaled the press with footage showing the results of those weapons.

While the bombing was happening, America leapt into a frenzy of jingoistic support.  Yellow Ribbon campaigns blanketed the nation.  The bank where I worked had a Red, White, and Blue Day at the office, and everybody was supposed to wear those colors and pose for a company group picture.  I was working as a temporary employee at the time, and decided to not toe the line, perhaps risking my job.  I wore black and green that day and found a way to disappear when the group photo was taken, amidst the chest-beating cheers. Concurrently, there was an office campaign to send valentines to American Persian Gulf soldiers.  It was not an optional program.  Over the sound system, each department was summoned to a room to sign those valentines.  There was an irony: sending valentines to soldiers annihilating a helpless enemy, an enemy that was their ally a few months earlier.  I also left the building when my department signed the valentines.

On Valentine’s Day, the "news" blaring from the office speakers was the USA's media spinning an event from February 13th, when the USA's military bombed one of Baghdad's bomb shelters.  The USA said that their intelligence told them that the bomb shelter housed military headquarters, and they sent a sophisticated bomb that penetrated the shelter and incinerated its interior.  As had been happening throughout the bombing of Baghdad, and was well known by American surveillance, on that night the shelter was filled with women and children huddling from the nightly bombings.  Several hundred women and children died.  On Valentine’s Day, "expert" opinions filled America's airwaves, trying to spin that disaster into a propaganda ploy by Saddam Hussein.  One rationale was that since Baghdad had few bomb shelters, only a small percent of the population could hide there.  Therefore, the women and children were not really hiding from the bombs, but were part of some clever propaganda maneuver by Hussein.  According to such logic, their deaths were the Iraq's responsibility, not America's.

CNN's Peter Arnett in Baghdad did things that made him hated by the USA's government: he made reports that the Pentagon could not censor.  He visited the bomb shelter and witnessed the fact that there was no evidence of a military installation.  Arnett did a similar thing when he witnessed a milk factory that we bombed while claiming that it was a chemical-weapon facility.  Arnett toured the bombed ruins and found that it was indeed a milk factory.  He toured the factory the summer before, as it produced milk.[291]

Those incidents were similar to America’s 1986 bombing of Libya, as Ronald Reagan told the world that he had "irrefutable" proof that Libya was behind the bombing of a nightclub in Germany that killed some American soldiers.  That nightclub bombing was Reagan's rationale for bombing Libya, which killed up to 100 people, including children.  It turned out that Reagan was lying when he said that, for he had no "irrefutable" proof.  The "proof" was allegedly NSA-intercepted communications between Libya and its embassy in East Berlin.  Not even the Germans, who helped decode the messages, believed the "proof."[292]  The complete "intercepted" communications have never been made public, and the USA promised the "irrefutable" proof to the UK and France because we wanted them to assist the bombing raid (it was launched from the UK, but France refused to let us use their air space, and we “accidentally” bombed their embassy during the raid on Libya).  Our allies let us bomb first and provide proof later.  When it came time to provide the proof, the USA admitted that it did not have any, which was a betrayal reported throughout the world…except in the USA's mainstream media.

The same situation happened when America bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical lab in the summer of 1998, in retaliation for "terrorist" bombings in Africa.  Our government said that there was incontrovertible evidence that the lab was being used for producing substances that could be used in chemical weapons.  Again, America lied to the world, and that ironclad evidence simply vanished when subjected to scrutiny.  Sudan has been the stage for famine and other health disasters in recent years.  That pharmaceutical lab produced half of Sudan's pharmaceuticals.  How many children died because of that action?  The American media never speculated about it.  It went straight into the Memory Hole, so that Americans could cheer the next time that we bomb somebody on a whim.

Those days in 1991 were among my life’s most alienating.  I was never more ashamed of being an American.  While the bombing continued, I was writing a letter that became a book.  Writing it was a form of therapy, trying to make sense of and recover from my experiences with Dennis Lee.  I was putting my wife through graduate school for her doctorate in psychology.  Consequently, she believed in the process and began insisting that I see a psychologist.  She found one who specialized in treating post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD").  His office was down the road from Wright Patterson Air Force Base, which is the world's premier Air Force base.  He specialized in treating soldiers with PTSD.  I was definitely a candidate for his therapy.  I had a few months of it and it helped.  I finished my letter/book as part of my therapy.  He assured me that I was quite sane, but living in an insane world.

As I talked about my traumas in that spring of 1991, outside my therapist's window I could see American flags flying from every light pole and sign.  The flags fluttered, the yellow ribbons abounded, and the parades marched through American cities.  George Bush rocketed to a public-approval rating of 82% as our "turkey shoot" in Iraq progressed.  It had fallen to 56% the previous autumn, from its high of 80%, after the USA's troops invaded Panama to arrest Bush's former employee Noriega (they tried to murder him, but Noriega outwitted them by strolling into the Vatican embassy).  The public was nearly delirious in its approval of our performance in Iraq, with about 90% of Americans thinking that we had performed a righteous and noble deed.

My therapist abandoned his professional role with me at times and confided that the events sickened him.  He told me that one of his clients was a young Navy SEAL, and one of the first Americans into Iraq for the short-lived "ground war."  The SEAL saw America's handiwork up close.  He saw many bodies of women and children, euphemistically termed "collateral damage" by the Pentagon and our national press.  The young man was having difficulty dealing with his experiences, and found nothing honorable about what we did there.  People like that never appear on Nightline, describing their experiences.  "National security" makes sure that cannot happen.  Instead, Henry Kissinger lies to the public in his tuxedo.

Many of America’s Gulf War actions qualified as war crimes.  One was the infamous bombing of the retreating Iraq army, on the highway leading from Mutlaa, Kuwait to Basra.  It was a mass exodus from the city, which included the Iraq military that was withdrawing to Iraq on Hussein's orders, and also civilians and prisoners.  What the USA's military did on that highway stands as one of the greatest and most defenseless mass murders of the modern era.  The USA disabled the front and rear vehicles on that highway, which trapped two thousand vehicles and their occupants into a seven-mile-long parking lot.  Then the planes flew mission after mission on the helpless vehicles and their occupants, and annihilated and incinerated many thousands of people, perhaps tens of thousands.  That highway became known as the "Highway of Death." 

One pilot who flew the "Highway of Death" mission described it as "shooting fish in a barrel," and the pilots rushed back and forth from the aircraft carriers supplying them with bombs.  According to the Washington Post, "Their preferred weapon, the Rockeye cluster bomb, was passed over for others because elevators were too slow getting them up to the flight deck in time for the next launch."[293]  It was a quick trip to the parking lot to drop their payloads, and then back to the aircraft carrier to get more bombs.  Those activities were in direct violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949's common article 3, which outlaws killing soldiers who are "out of combat."  In addition, cluster bombs are only effective at killing people, not destroying military targets.  That was not the only highway treated that way.  A 60-mile stretch of highway further east was treated similarly.  The general in charge of one of the mass slaughters during those days, Barry McCaffrey, headed Bill Clinton's "War on Drugs" and headed the effort to "fight drugs" in Colombia.

In May 2000, an article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker stirred a small tempest regarding McCaffrey’s bombing of the retreating Iraqi army.  Predictably, the USA's government moved to discredit Hersh's story.  Those actions were part of the 19 war crimes that ex-Attorney General Ramsey Clark got George Bush and friends (Dan Quayle, Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf, James Baker, Richard Cheney, etc.) prosecuted for.  The International War Crimes Tribunal found them guilty, not that the USA's citizens heard much about it over the cheers.[294]  Winners never worry about minor things such as war crimes trials; only losers do.

Another innovative act by our armed forces was a new version of trench warfare.  During the ground war, the USA deployed vehicles that were essentially tanks with bulldozer blades.  The ground war, as with the air war, was not a war in any meaningful sense.  It was another "turkey shoot," and entire armored divisions of Iraq's army were decimated without returning even one effective shot.  The surviving Iraqi soldiers were generally fleeing, hiding in their bunkers, or rushing to surrender.  Many thousands of Iraqi soldiers were huddled in trenches and bunkers, and some attempted to mount a pitiful defense to the juggernaut bearing down on them.  The tank-bulldozers performed an unprecedented act: they approached the trenches and bunkers and filled them with earth, burying thousands of Iraqi soldiers alive.  It qualified as another war crime.  Not one American was killed in the live entombment of thousands of Iraqi soldiers.[295]

Again, what happened in the Gulf War was not "war."  It was slaughter.  War is what World War II was like, in which both sides were fairly evenly matched, and both sides endured similar levels of casualties.  What Nazis did to Jews was not "war."  In the "Gulf War," the casualty ratio was about 1,000-to-1.  America likely killed more than 100,000 Iraqi soldiers (other reasonable estimates go as high as 200,000 and higher), while fewer than 200 Americans died, and about half of those were by "friendly fire" by our own troops.  As with Panama, the USA's government had great motivation to keep the facts from the public that cheers and finances the bloodshed.  America’s armed forces actively prevented any accurate "enemy" body count in Panama or Iraq.

It would be a mistake to think that those American soldiers were all innocent lambs and had no idea what was happening, just following orders.  To a degree that is true, as nations always send out young men with no idea of their mortality or why they are fighting, but make able killers (one of my friends punned in 1991, "Support our dupes").  For a peek into our boys' mentality during the Gulf War, the U.S. Air Force's 77th Tactical Fighter Squadron published a songbook before the bombing began, which described their plans for Iraq.  The only part that can be reproduced in polite company was this little ditty:

 

Phantom fliers in the sky,

Persian-pukes prepare to die,

Rolling in with snake and nape,

Allah creates but we cremate.

 

The rest of the songbook is, in the words of David Stannard, a "melange of sadism and obscenity, most of them employing personifications of entire Arabic and Islamic peoples as racially inferior, maggot-infested women whose mass destruction by the Americans is equated with brutal, violent sex."  One honor that America’s soldiers got, which is a time-honored ritual, was writing messages on the bombs.  The bombs had messages such as "Mrs. Saddam's sex toy" and a "suppository for Saddam" on them as they dropped, and again, those are the messages I can print in public.[296]  One post-war study found that more than half of the American women in the Gulf War felt that they were sexually harassed verbally by their fellow male soldiers, and eight percent reported attempted or completed sexual assaults by American soldiers (about 3,000 instances).[297]

Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf publicly admitted his disappointment that he was unable to finish his job in Iraq.  Schwarzkopf said, 

 

"We could have completely closed the door and made it a battle of annihilation…(it was) literally about to become the battle of Cannae, a battle of annihilation."[298]

 

The American media was extremely complicit with the warmongering.  Project Censored has been tracking the censorship in America’s "free press" since the 1980s.  For 1991, their top censored story was CBS and NBC refusing to air footage from Iraq that was initially commissioned by NBC and shot by Emmy-award-winning producers.  The footage showed civilian devastation of Iraq that contradicted the propaganda purveyed by the government and media, which gave the impression of the Gulf War being a "clean" one with minimal "collateral damage."  NBC Nightly News Executive Producer Steven Friedman and anchor Tom Brokaw were enthusiastic about the film and wanted it aired.  NBC President Michael Gartner killed the story.  The producers then took the video to CBS.  CBS Evening News Executive Director Tom Bettag told one of the producers that he would appear with Dan Rather the next evening.  That same evening, Bettag was fired, the story was killed, and the cheering continued.

Project Censored's number-two story for 1991 was the heavy censorship that attended Gulf War reporting, as stories about Iraqi civilian casualties, fuel-air bombs, Highway of Death footage, and the like were all suppressed, and the USA's battlefield casualties were disguised as training accidents.  The media served as the government’s propaganda organ, which contradicted any notion of a "free press" in the USA.

Project Censored's number-six story for 1991 exposed one of the many lies and inventions George Bush told as he prepared the public for war.  On September 11, 1990, Bush surprisingly announced that the main reason that America had troops in the Gulf was because Iraq threatened to invade Saudi Arabia, and the Pentagon said Iraq had 250,000 troops and 1,500 tanks in Kuwait, based on satellite images.  The public never saw those images, but Russian satellite images showed that no such military buildup existed.[299] 

Project Censored's number-one story of 1990 was how the USA's press eagerly believed the government's propaganda regarding Iraq while it whipped up support for the Gulf War, when hindsight regarding Vietnam, Panama, and Grenada revealed how shamelessly the government lied to the press and public.  It was as if the press would be lied to 99 times in a row, and eventually realize they were being lied to, but would fervently believe the 100th lie they were told.  How "knowing" was that kind of stupidity?

The purpose of our bombing campaign was officially stated as driving Iraq from Kuwait.  America was "liberating" Kuwait.  When the imperial powers pulled out of the Middle East in the 1920s, the governments left behind were dictatorships that could be controlled and would control the public in those nations.  Kuwait was and is a bloody and brutal dictatorship, although relatively “free” as far as the Middle East goes.  Saudi Arabia, the other nation that America theoretically defended, in 2014 still has one of Earth’s most brutal and oppressive regimes.  The Saudis are notorious for executing political prisoners, keeping their women in virtual slavery, flogging children, kangaroo courts, etc.  Saudi Arabia's method of public execution is using a sword to decapitate their prisoners, which sometimes requires a few whacks to get the job done.

America immediately reinstalled a dictatorship in Kuwait.  In Kuwait and Iraq were many activists for democratic reform, representing various oppressed groups.  The USA never considered giving them any voice or influence.  The dictatorship reinstalled in Kuwait immediately threw people into prison, tortured prisoners to death, and ruthlessly stomped out any notion that the populace might have harbored regarding freedom.[300] 

The American government said that it was driving Iraq from Kuwait.  In a logical war, that would mean doing just that: invading Kuwait to beat the Iraqi army back into Iraq.  That did not happen.  Instead, America unleashed the most intense bombing campaign in history onto Iraq.  The USA specifically targeted Iraq's infrastructure, including its transportation, electric, sewer, and water-supply systems, and blocked attempts to rebuild them.  It was a form of biological warfare, akin to starving out the enemy.  Among other issues, targeting the civilian infrastructure is by definition a war crime. 

Going back to the end of World War II (when America dropped nuclear weapons on Japan, in a move that respected historians now conclude had little to do with saving American lives, and had plenty to do with a demonstration of power to the world, and to impress the Soviet Union in particular), the USA has excelled at fighting the coward's war.  America’s high-tech wars, in which devastating weaponry is dropped on helpless populations, the attacking soldiers never see the "enemy" face-to-face, and using the powers of state to ensure that the cheering people at home never know the truth, guarantees that such evil continues.

Something happened after Vietnam.  The war planners realized that the American people would no longer stand to have their young men killed in foreign wars of dubious benefit.  A new strategy was crafted, which events since the 1970s have made obvious.  The new strategy is this: we will only wage war against weak enemies.  The strategy is to pick on enemies that cannot fight back, have our propaganda machine (the "free press" and government, working hand-in-hand) turn them into malevolent demons of tremendous stature, and then we resoundingly defeat them in mere weeks while enduring few or no casualties amongst our armed forces.  The public will then be delighted that we overcame such an invincible adversary so easily, at little cost to ourselves.

The Gulf War was a textbook example of that strategy.  The rhetoric of Norman Schwarzkopf, George Bush, and the American media during the buildup to the Gulf War, as Saddam Hussein was compared to Hitler, and Schwarzkopf talking about how outnumbered America’s forces were by Iraq, made the strategy clear.  The new "Hitler" was America’s ally until the day he invaded Kuwait, and he even told American ambassador April Glaspie that he was planning to invade Kuwait a week before his troops did, and she said the USA had "no position" on Arab border disputes.[301]  Two days before Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, assistant Defense Secretary John Kelly said in the House Middle East subcommittee's hearings, in direct response to the voiced possibility that Iraq might invade Kuwait, that the USA had no treaty obligations to defend any nations in the Middle East, which was globally broadcast.[302]  At best, Iraq was given mixed signals; at worst, America may have lured Iraq into invading Kuwait.  Even the King of Saudi Arabia, King Fahd, apparently felt that the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was largely because of Kuwait’s intransigence in negotiations, and Fahd was initially quite reluctant to allow the USA to “come to the rescue” of Kuwait, or even “defend” Saudi Arabia, which had no quarrel with Iraq.  George Bush and company eventually wore him down.[303]

Below are some samples of images that the average American never saw during those glory days in early 1991.

iraq.jpg (184210 bytes)Click on image to enlarge.              

The Iraq and Panama devastations may both be instances where George Bush the First was double-crossing his business partners.  Noriega was a drug runner and overall thug, but Bush ran the CIA, which specialized in drug running as a way to fund covert operations.  That is well known.  More explosive than the betrayal of his ex-employee was Bush's alleged relationship with Hussein.  In The Immaculate Deception, by Russell Bowen, a retired brigadier general who did some of Bush's covert-action dirty work, the author related documents that surfaced in a lawsuit in Illinois against the Federal Reserve System that documented a kickback system in which Hussein and Bush jointly laundered $250 billion in oil revenues.[304]  It was related to the BCCI scandal.  People who investigated the BCCI and related scandals often ended up dead, as Danny Casolaro and Paul Wilcher did.[305]  While the story sat there in black and white, the American media would not touch it.  It may be that bludgeoning Iraq was a lot more than just killing more than a million people, but Bush cutting out his partner in crime in history’s biggest money-laundering operation. 

 

The Continuing War and the Body Count

As the dust and shrapnel was settling in Iraq, the major suffering was just beginning.  A public-health team from Harvard went into Iraq soon after the bombs stopped dropping.  They issued a report based on their findings.  They estimated that more than 46,000 children under the age of five had already died by August 1991 due to the destruction of Iraq's infrastructure by the USA's bombing, and the holocaust was only beginning.[306]  That news was barely reported in the USA's mainstream media in 1991.  About the only national mainstream American journalist who mentioned the tremendous death toll that Iraq's children were about to endure was Mike Royko.  Other than his voice in the mainstream American media wilderness, the American people were blissfully insulated from the looming children's holocaust that they were largely responsible for, while they congratulated themselves and had parades for returning soldiers.  To add murderous insult to injury, America led an economic embargo of Iraq, which bought 70% of its food from abroad.  That embargo was standard American foreign policy, which we did to Vietnam, Cuba, and Nicaragua - what we do to any militarily weak nation that stands up to us.  The difference was that the Iraq embargo was unprecedented in its severity and scale.

The Iraqi children's death toll mounted through the years.  In 1995, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report on the Iraqi food supply and health.  Iraq's health minister stated that more than 500,000 children had died (in excess of normal rates before the Gulf War) during the previous four years due to starvation and disease.  The report said they could not confirm that number, but it also did not seem unreasonable.  The report discussed the current children's death rate in Iraq (several thousand a month), and their observation of starvation conditions among the children, such as marasmus and kwashiorkor, which was previously rare in Iraq.

Several thousand children and elderly died each month needlessly.  In March 2000, 70 members of U.S. Congress moved to end the sanctions' genocidal aspects.  The coordinator of the so-called "oil-for-food" program, the Irishman Denis Halliday, resigned in September 1998 and was highly vocal about the genocidal aspect of the economic sanctions.  The man who filled his position, Hans von Sponeck, similarly resigned his position in February 2000 and repeated Halliday's observations.  The USA's government tried to discredit those men who failed to act as obedient bureaucrats, while many thousands of children and others died.

The issue of the magnitude of the American-led sanctions’ impact on Iraq was not too controversial.  Madeleine Albright was interviewed on 60 Minutes in 1996, and was asked if the sanctions were justified in light of the half million estimated deaths of Iraqi children.  Albright replied, "We think the price is worth it.”  Worth it for whom?  The death toll was not even denied, and it was “worth it.”  Ever since the USA's government has acknowledged the gruesome death toll among the children of Iraq, our government went out of its way to blame Saddam Hussein for it.  Bill Clinton was interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! on Election Day 2000, the day that Jeb Bush and friends helped steal the American presidency for his brother.  Clinton called the radio station to help get out the vote for Al Gore, to target the crowd who might be leaning for Ralph Nader.  Clinton was asked about the death toll of the Iraqi children, and he presented some astounding misrepresentations regarding Iraq's situation.  According to Clinton, Iraq had more money in the bank than ever and that the starving Iraqi children were all Hussein’s fault.

While nobody connected with Iraq's situation disputed that a vast human tragedy happened, the numbers themselves are subject to a wide range of interpretation.  Putting numbers on the dead is a macabre task, but it needs to be done, especially deaths that we were primarily responsible for.  In early 2000, the Iraq Health Department released a report that stated that since 1990 about 1.3 million children and elderly had died because of the USA-led actions against Iraq.  In 1998, UNICEF estimated 1.5 million deaths.  Add about two hundred thousand soldier and civilian war deaths to that total, and the tally is between 1.5 and 1.7 million deaths, courtesy of the USA.  Iraq's Minister of Health announced in January of 1999 that the Gulf War and sanctions caused nearly 1.9 million Iraqi deaths.  Regarding Iraqi's children, in 1999, Richard Garfield of Columbia University conservatively estimated more than 100,000 excess children’s deaths, with a more likely estimate of about 227,000, and that is even highly conservative.[307]  Partly because the USA had a vested interest in not obtaining an accurate body count, as it did regarding our invasion of Panama, and partly because nations at war have reasons to overstate or understate the body count (for instance, the USA recently admitted that it had greatly inflated the American body count regarding the Korean War of the 1950s), neither Iraq's nor America's governments could be wholly trusted on that matter.

There is a wide range of estimates on the body count of soldiers and civilians during the Gulf War, on the children's body count since the war was over, and the body count of other Iraqi citizens, such as the elderly and the ill.  There is an easy analysis to perform to gain an idea of this tragedy’s magnitude.  In the 1990 World Almanac and Book of Facts, the 1989 estimate of Iraq's population was 17.6 million people, with an annual growth rate of 3.6%, which was one of the world's largest.[308]  The nearly 20 years since the oil price increases of 1973 saw a great increase in Iraq’s standard of living, and infant mortality plummeted, literacy rose, and with Iraq attained the Middle East’s highest standard of living.  The CIA estimated a 1989 Iraq population of 18.1 million.  The CIA estimated a 2000 Iraq population of 22.7 million.  The Population Reference Bureau estimated a 2000 Iraq population of 23.1 million.  Those estimates are close to those given by UNICEF and Middle East Review.  Using the more conservative 17.6 million 1989 population and the 3.6% growth rate, an estimated 2000 Iraq population of about 26.0 million is derived, for three million missing Iraqis.

Using 2002 estimates of 24 million and a more conservative 2.8% growth rate, and assuming that growth rate since 1994, a projected 2002 population of 26 million is calculated.  Using conservative numbers, two million Iraqi citizens are missing.  In number, that qualifies as a genocide, and also in American intent.[309]  How many lost lives were due to premature death, how many were due to children not being born because of the hardships that the potential parents suffered, and how many were due to dead soldiers who could have fathered children, is a matter of conjecture.  If the missing people were Iraqi children who were never born, instead of children, ill and elderly who died before their time, it is obviously not a population control program that the Iraqi people freely chose.

To analyze the numbers a little differently, in neighboring Iran, which had recently concluded a bloody war with Iraq, the 1989 population was estimated at 51.0 million, and a 3.1% growth rate.  Iran’s Islamic leadership then engaged in an active program of reducing Iran’s population growth, as they saw where unchecked growth was headed.  Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei issued edicts that allowed contraception and sterilization for both men and women, which reduced the population growth of Iran to around 1.0 % by 2000, and a birth rate about half of Iraq’s, in one of history’s most successful voluntary programs to reduce population growth.[310]  Even with their aggressive program to reduce population growth, Iran’s population grew from 51.0 million in 1989 to an estimated 67.4 million in 2000, for an increase of 32%.[311]  Iran’s 2000 population was about four million less than its 1989 growth rate projected to.  Iraq, on the other hand, had no program for reducing the population growth, its citizens merely tried to survive, and its estimated growth rate in 2000 was 2.9%.  Iraq’s population grew from 17.6 to 23.0 million, for an increase of 31%.  Indeed, millions of otherwise alive Iraqi citizens appear to be missing.

The economic sanctions that the USA inflicted on Iraq comprised the most effective weapon of mass destruction on Earth of its time.  Ironically, America continued to kill Iraqi children because there was a faint possibility that Iraq could rebuild its non-conventional weapons arsenal, even though America helped them build their first one, we have the world’s largest, we are the world’s only nation to drop nuclear weapons on another, and we turn a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear arsenal.  Situations like that sparked Edward Herman to write Beyond Hypocrisy.  It is genocidal hypocrisy.  Even the people carrying out these murderous policies will sometimes admit it.  British Prime Minister Tony Blair had a Personal Assistant for Foreign Affairs named Robert Cooper, who was an ex-diplomat himself.  Cooper wrote in his The Post-Modern State and the World Order, “We need to get used to the idea of double standards,” which is another way of saying, “Get over it, we are hypocrites (but powerful ones).”  Cooper openly admitted the roots of America’s Iraq policy: “the reasons for fighting the Gulf War were not that Iraq had violated the norms of international behaviour…”  Cooper wrote that it was all about keeping control over “vital oil supplies,” which is obvious to everybody on Earth, except those who believe American propaganda.

As of 2000, the death rate of Iraqi children more than doubled since 1991, and even Richard Garfield's conservative study concluded that the great increase in childhood mortality in Iraq was nearly unique in modern health literature.

The USA did something novel to Iraq.  A nation and its people were systematically destroyed.  Those dead children might be the lucky ones.  Children in Iraq in 2000 were generally hungry, underweight, and had developmental deficiencies.  They suffered from all manner of deprivation and psychic distress.  Most Iraqi women (70%) were anemic.  Iraq’s economy had an 80% collapse after the Gulf War, easily the world’s worst.  Not even the disaster of Russia in the 1990s came close.  Iraqi adult literacy collapsed, as did life expectancy.  Iraqi lives became nasty, brutish, and short.  Previously rare social dysfunctions such as openly displayed greed became increasingly common.  Even under history’s most brutal economic sanctions, the Iraqi people clawed back from the abyss’s edge.

Nations defied the USA-imposed sanctions, as also increasingly happened regarding Cuba.  In 2000, for the first time since the Gulf War, commercial airlines flew to Iraq.  Michael Parenti was part of an international delegation that flew to Iraq in November 2000 on Olympic Airways, a Greek airline.  Others on the flight were former Greek first lady Margarita Papandreou and members of Greek’s parliament.  Parenti observed that starving children were no longer as prevalent in Iraq hospitals as in earlier years.  Unfortunately, the hospital occupants were increasingly Iraqi children who suffered from diseases such as leukemia.[312]  The radioactive weapons that the USA used on Iraq in 1991 were likely the major contributor to Iraq having the world's highest rate of childhood leukemia.  Because of the embargo of medicines and other supplies to Iraq, no Iraqi children survived childhood leukemia, whereas in the USA the survival rate is about 70%.  Also being born in Iraq were severely deformed children, obviously deformed by the radioactive debris and other poisons introduced by the USA.

Because of Parenti and others, there was a growing awareness in the USA of the horrendous toll that the USA's actions took.  Even the New York Times suggested that the USA might consider easing the sanctions a little.  George Bush the Second, upon attaining office, acted as the Reagan administration did upon seizing the White House (both administrations came to power due to well-known fraud, with the October Surprise operation for Reagan and the widespread vote fraud in Florida for Bush the Second, although the official investigations, as usual, can never seem to find any foul play).  Bush began by nominating the most socially regressive cabinet members in recent history, such as John Ashcroft for Attorney General.  His first day in office was marked with an attack on abortion options regarding American foreign aid.  Before his first month in office was finished, America bombed Iraq again, and Bush the Second said that the bombing was “routine.”  Unfortunately, he was right.  Even the USA's pawn Turkey expressed its dismay at the American bombings of February 2001.  Obviously, the USA was going to play hardball with Iraq again, trying to goad the world back into line with our program of punishing Iraq, especially its children.  It is a routine feature of American foreign policy.  If there was ever an American president safely in the oil companies’ back pocket, it was George the Second

There were some dire footnotes to Iraq's situation.  The "oil-for-food" program largely swindled Iraq.  The USA manipulated the program so baldly that it would be hilarious if did not cost so many lives.  Iraq was forced to sell its oil for food and other life-saving supplies, and tried its best to not sell any of it to the hated USA.  All the same, nearly 40% of Iraq's oil exports (sold at cut-rate prices) made it into the USA via middlemen, and the USA as of April 2000 was blocking more than a billion dollars of relief from getting to Iraq.  The oil companies raked it in through cut-rate prices paid for Iraqi oil, Iraq became one of the USA's biggest oil suppliers (from zero imports in 1996 to the USA's fifth biggest supplier in 2000), the USA blocked dearly bought food and supplies from getting to Iraq, and the deaths continued to mount.[313]  It was among the world's deadliest rackets.

Back in late 1997, the USA began beating the war drums again over the "weapons of mass destruction" that Saddam Hussein supposedly still harbored.  The USA's government clearly mobilized the American masses again to cheer another bombing of Iraq.  In November of 1997, I was moved for a second time to write a letter to the editor, that time to The Seattle Times, as I was back home in Washington.  They ran my letter on November 30th, 1997.  Here it is:

 

I have been watching Seattle's mainstream media while all the saber rattling has been going on over Iraq lately.  The Seattle Times article of November 14 is the first time I have seen a substantive reference to the harm USA has inflicted on the Iraqi people over the past seven years ("Iraqi Sanctions Split U.S.-Arab Coalition"). 

It is not surprising that the first reference I have seen is not due to some "bleeding heart" American mainstream journalist digging up the facts, but was in response to our "Arab allies" refusing to fall into line and get behind a U.S. military action against Iraq.

The article, authored by Barbara Demick of Knight Ridder Newspapers, at least said that there is apparently a lot of suffering going on an Iraq.  But her characterization of those "more virulent commentators" and the comparison to the atomic bomb attacks on Japan was highly misleading.  So far, the USA's economic attack on Iraq has killed far more people than our atomic attacks on Japan.  Two of the most prominent commentators have been former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization investigators. 

Two years ago, it was estimated that the death toll in Iraq, because of the UN embargo, was approaching one million people, including over a half-million children.  Today the death toll is more than one million people, five percent of their population. 

The children's death toll because of the embargo is about 700,000 as of today, and starvation conditions like kwashiorkor and marasmus are now common.  That the American mainstream media fail to mention the horrendous human toll our economic attack has extracted from Iraq is a crime.

Oh yes, we can say the United Nations is doing this, but we are the ones making the sanctions happen, just like we fabricated the "coalition" in 1990.  The mainstream media in America are accomplices in this great crime against humanity, and there is a lot of blood on their hands.  Making letters like mine public would help turn things around.  The choice is yours.

 

A few months later, the war drums and propaganda again reached a fevered pitch.  America was on the brink of bombing Iraq, and I was again compelled to write a letter to The Seattle Times.  That one was a little more forceful.  For that letter, The Seattle Times called me at home before running it.  It was written on February 2, 1998 and run in the February 8th edition of The Seattle Times.  Here it is:

 

Once again in America the drum beat has begun.  It looks like we are going to unleash more death and destruction onto the people of Iraq.  Once again, the pertinent questions are not being asked.  One pertinent question would be, "What has Iraq ever done to us?”  The answer is, “Nothing, except resist our attacks.” 

It is indeed ironic that the only nation to ever unleash weapons of mass destruction on another is the United States.  It is also very illuminating to see that there are but two nations getting ready to bomb Iraq: the former and current masters of the world.  

In another irony, during the seven-year saga between the United States and Iraq (allies until the day Iraq invaded Kuwait), the only mass destruction that has taken place has been to the nation and people of Iraq.  The United States, through economic warfare following on the heels of an unprecedented bombardment, has killed over one million Iraqi citizens, most of them children under the age of five (800,000 and counting).  That situation, which should assail the conscience of every American, still is barely being mentioned in the nation's media, amidst all the saber-rattling.

One of the greatest ironies of all is that back in April of 1990, when Saddam Hussein was still our ally, he made an offer to the United States that he would destroy his chemical and non-conventional weapons if Israel would also destroy theirs.  And in another surreal twist, much if not most of the material that Iraq has for making "weapons of mass destruction" were purchased from the United States and Europe.  Hussein's offer and the USA's response was reported in the Boston Globe on April 14, 1990 and by other publications around the world.[314]  The reaction of the United States government was interesting.  We said that we would not be willing to enter into negotiations on that issue.  Our politicians cleverly avoided mentioning Israel's nuclear arsenal as they rejected Hussein's offer.  The Israeli arsenal (hundreds of nuclear bombs) is not that controversial an issue, as far as its existence goes, as Israel kidnapped and imprisoned one of their citizens for divulging its existence (the celebrated Vanunu case, and he is still in prison after a decade).  But the United States cannot officially acknowledge Israel's nuclear arsenal, because to acknowledge that Israel has secretly built a nuclear arsenal would make all of our aid to Israel (billions of dollars a year) illegal, according to our own Foreign Aid Act.

The hypocrisy of the situation is evident to anybody who knows what is going on.  The United States will go to the lengths of killing millions of people to prevent an ex-ally from being able to use what we sold him.  But, if a nation finds itself in the fortunate position of being one of our allies, we will go out of our way to ignore their weapons of mass destruction.

Amazingly, the American people are generally ignorant of the points I have made in this letter.  People who live outside of this country are not so disinformed.  What this country has done to the children of Iraq over the past seven years is terrifying and hard to forgive.  The current global Imperial menace is engendering a lot of fear and hatred, particularly in the Arab countries.  The ex-Soviet Union apparently cannot account for about 100 suitcase nuclear bombs.  If one of those goes off one sunny day in Washington D.C., for instance, it will be no great surprise.

What Bill Clinton may have done with a woman who worked in the White House is an incredibly minor situation.  But, unfortunately, the American media and people find what Bill Clinton may have done in a closet far more fascinating than the blood which is on the hands of all Americans today, the blood of children whose crime it was to be born in Iraq.

 

I was three-for-three in having my letters published.  I was shocked that they ran that one, if for no other reason than at more than 600 words, it was more than twice as long as their recommended 300-word limit.  The paper called me the day after they ran it, and gave me the phone number of a man who wanted to talk to me.  I called him.  He was nearly 80 years old and called to say that he was "flabbergasted" that the paper would run a letter like mine, and that he had written letters for many years to the paper, and never had one published.  During the 1980s, I doubt that any mainstream American paper would have published that letter.  I sent that letter to ex-CIA operative Ralph McGehee.  Ralph said that he was "amazed" that any American mainstream newspaper would run a letter like that.  He said that that letter would never see print in the New York Times or Washington Post.

In February 1998, the federal government staged a "town meeting" at Ohio State University to air their rationale for their proposed bombing of Iraq.  The public was invited, although the meeting was more for show, to fabricate a fig leaf of public consent for the bombing.  Our government reckoned incorrectly.  Students protested noisily, and even the "mature and responsible" citizens who were allowed to approach the microphone were anything but enthusiastic about bombing Iraq again.  Their questions, even more then the rabble-rousers' protests, took the politicians by surprise.  Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was practically stuttering in the face of the tough questions that her team received.  The staged meeting became a public relations disaster for the American government.  At the 11th hour, America backed down from bombing Iraq. 

I was cautiously optimistic, but doubted that our government officials would behave themselves.  Iraqi children were still dying by the thousands, our government would look for another opportunity to bomb Iraq, and they had learned their lesson.  The next time they moved to bomb Iraq, even the appearance of a democratic consensus being achieved with the public would not be risked.  Our government would likely stage no more "town meetings" before they bomb somebody.  The December 1998 bombing of Iraq validated my suspicion.  That one had no warning or propaganda buildup.  It happened on the day that Clinton was impeached.  Similarly, the summer before, America bombed Sudan and Afghanistan when the Lewinsky scandal was headline news.  With China Syndrome and Grand Canyon timing, the movie Wag the Dog came out soon before we bombed Sudan and Afghanistan.[315]  Did life imitate art again?  In the autumn of 1998, the propaganda machine revved up again.  The subsequent bombing of Yugoslavia was the same, with no selling of the war to the American people before it began.

My motivation for writing letters to the editor was not necessarily being published, but helping to let the newspaper know how many people out there felt like me, and perhaps they might run one letter like mine.  If the people truly stand up, they will be counted, but the system is increasingly rigged against people participating in it.  Noam Chomsky has written about how the system works for many years in many books.  In nearly every society there are an elite few at the hierarchy's top, and they often view those below them as beings to be used for their own selfish ends.  The West immediately attacks any nation that attempts to form an egalitarian society, as we think that we own the world, and have for five centuries.  Ralph McGehee stated it clearly while concluding Deadly Deceits.  Egalitarianism is incompatible with elitism, and USA has long led the field in destroying egalitarian movements worldwide.

The coverage of the bombing attacks of 1998 was a much different affair than it was in 1991, or the saber rattling during the winter of 1997-1998.  What happened in December 1998 literally made me sick.  They impeached Clinton for the wrong crime.  That time nearly the entire world was against America.  Clinton, with a straight face, told America that the bombs we were dropping in Iraq as he spoke were dropped to protect Iraq's neighbors.  Not one of Iraq's "threatened" neighbors voiced approval of the bombing.  They all said to stop bombing Iraq.  Even nations that supposedly hated Saddam Hussein, such as Syria and Iran, protested what the USA and the UK were doing.  They knew that a devastated nation of starving people posed little threat to them, and the writing on the wall was obvious: if they displeased the USA, they could end up just like Iraq.  America could not even get Israel to support its December 1998 bombing of Iraq.

The USA's hypocrisy regarding the UN was laid bare.  If America could manipulate the UN into voting our way, we present their vote as authorizing our actions, speaking fair words about the need to obey international law and the UN's voice.  When the UN does not vote the way we like, we give them the finger, doing as we please.  The fact that we outraged two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia, while France looked for a place to hide, spoke volumes about the USA's actions.  The entire world saw that our actions in Iraq benefited nobody but us.  Peace activists began saying that dropping a nuclear bomb once a year on Iraq would be more humane than the slow starvation and strangulation of its population.

The night of America’s surprise bombing of Iraq on December 16th was not a happy one for me.  I decided against writing another letter to the editor, and wrote a several page essay.  I was up until about 3:00 AM writing it.  I titled it "In the Service of Empire."[316]  I had not had a web page up for a couple of years, and had not planned to go public until a book was published.  My writings were being published around the Internet in various places, and I was getting more requests for my work.  I decided to start another website, putting my latest writings under one roof, which led to this website.  The Iraq portion of this essay was the first part of that project.

 

Subsequent Events

Since our attack on Iraq in December of 1998, there was a continuous series of air battles and skirmishes between the USA and Iraq.  The best analysis of events takes into consideration the USA's global political-economic aims and those of its junior partner, the UK.  The reason the Bush administration did not negotiate a withdrawal from Kuwait with Iraq is that bullies never negotiate.  George Bush the First said that the Persian Gulf War demonstrated that, "What we say, goes."  If one possesses the superior means of violence, there is no need to negotiate.  Negotiation is even avoided, because the very nature of negotiation means giving up something.  If one has the monopoly on violent means, the ultimatum is delivered: do it our way, or we destroy you. 

 

"It would be some time before I fully realised that the United States sees little need for diplomacy.  Power is enough.  Only the weak rely on diplomacy... The Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy.  Nor does the United States.  Diplomacy is perceived by an imperial power as a waste of time and prestige and a sign of weakness. '' - United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali[317]

 

In January 1999, American officials admitted what really happened during those so-called UN ("UNSCOM") weapons inspections.  American officials admitted that spying on Iraq was an important part of the weapons inspection program.  America had "inspectors" install spying devices while they performed their inspections in Iraq for "weapons of mass destruction," partly to gather information to locate and assassinate Saddam Hussein and key Iraqi government officials in America’s 1998 bombing campaign.  It was admitted that the bombing campaign did just that and killed important people in Hussein's administration, although it failed to get Hussein himself.

In the March 2, 1999 Washington Post, American officials, understandably speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed what Iraq had been saying for years: the USA was using UNSCOM for spying operations.  American agents infiltrated the inspectors and installed spying devices unrelated to the supposed disarmament mission of UNSCOM.[318]  American officials tried spinning the revelations as minor, and that the world should have expected it.  The next "Hitler" accused the USA of murderous dishonesty for years, and our own officials confirmed that he was right.

Brian Becker of the International Action Center ("AIC") visited Iraq a week before the December 1998 bombing, along with the AIC team.  Saleh Al-Mukhtar, the chairman of the Iraqi Solidarity and Friendship Organization, told the AIC that the USA would bomb Iraq "within a week."  He made that prediction a week before America bombed them.  Mukhtar predicted that Bill Clinton's visit to Israel immediately before the bombing was calculated to appear to offer concessions to the Arab people, so that when the bombs dropped, Arabs could be bribed to stand by and watch Iraq get bombed once more.[319] 

In an interview published in the New York Times on January 22nd, 1999, Bill Clinton spoke of the likelihood of a biological attack on America by "rogue states" and "terrorist groups."  Clinton's "Fortress America" idea had a deceptive feeling to it.  The USA has the power to label its enemies.  Calling a nation we have bludgeoned a "rogue state" has a nice defensive sound to it, but there is another way of looking at it.

A bully makes sure that his victims cannot fight back.  Bullies never seek a fair fight, but pick on those smaller than themselves.  The hatred that the USA has engendered throughout the world as it has bludgeoned nation after nation will haunt us.  Until the World Trade Center attacks of 2001, the USA never had its national boundaries threatened, except when Russian nuclear missiles were aimed at it; and that was never the active threat and real suffering that the Iraqi people endured, or Nicaraguans or Cubans, etc.  When the USA sent the world's biggest killing machine to Iraq and Panama, those nations could not strike back at us, not by challenging our military aggression directly.

Sneaking a biological, chemical, or nuclear weapon into Washington D.C. would be a form of retaliation that they could do.  We see the "terror," they see it as the only way that they can fight back.  The Gulf War and the aftermath the USA is responsible for killed perhaps two million Iraqi people, nearly half of them children.  Iraq only had about 24 million people in it, for a death toll of nearly ten percent of the population.  If a series of non-conventional weapon sneak attacks wiped out New York City, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles, it would kill somewhere around 30 million people, or about ten percent of our population.  See what happened when the World Trade Center attacks killed one ten-thousandth that many.  To an Iraqi, that might be considered "getting even."  Imagine if somebody attacked America and killed 30 million people, and ten million of them were children.  In relative terms, that is America did to Iraq before the 2003 invasion.  Killing Hope clearly shows why many nations have good reason to hate America.

Instead of admitting the truth and working to lessen the hatred toward us, Clinton talked about "rogue states" and "terrorist groups."  The "terrorist" legislation Clinton tried to push through for years would have given a fairly free hand in defining what a "terrorist" is.  Many Americans were afraid that such legislation would make a "terrorist" of anybody who dared criticize our government.  If one followed the asset seizure laws enacted by the Reagan administration, for things such as suspected "drug dealing," as 85% of those whose assets were seized were not even charged with anything, but had their assets seized because "they were there," the fears were not outlandish.  Asset seizure like that is alive and well in 2014 in the USA.  If Clinton got his Fortress America wish (something George Bush the Second pushed for early on, with his outrageous Star Wars missile system, announced before he even took office), America moved one step closer to a police state and a future I would rather not ponder.  As of September 11, 2001, those nightmares began coming to pass.

The Seattle Times on February 1, 1999 had a front-page story about how the CIA believed that Iraq used humans to test its weapons.  Did Iraq have chemical and biological weapons salted way?  In 2014, we know the answer was no, but in 2000, there were some mildly plausible arguments that they might have some.  Did they use human beings for some of their testing?  That would not be surprising, but if one compares the human experiments allegedly done by Iraq to the human experiments done by the USA, the Iraqis are obviously amateurs.  There are so many instances of the American government’s callous disregard for human life that it can become numbing.  For every instance of human experiments that were undeniable (fallout tests on South Pacific natives, planned nuclear releases in America on unwitting populations, Nagasaki, the Tuskegee syphilis experiments on black men, the CIA's LSD experiments on unwitting people, the University of Rochester plutonium experiments, the entire artificial fluoridation issue), there is rumor of human experimentation that makes my skin crawl, such the Montauk Project and the Montauk Boys, the Philadelphia Experiment, the CIA's MKUltra program, Jonestown, various military tests on soldiers, some told to me by the soldiers themselves, things done to involuntary prisoners, etc.

Involuntary human experimentation (and even "voluntary," as on prisoners) is evil, and Iraq may have done it.  Yet, the article was intended to portray Iraq as monsters, to set the stage to further justify America’s attacks.  America is one of the last nations that can point the human-experiment finger at Iraq, but it was in keeping with USA's hypocrisy throughout the entire Iraq affair.  The article admitted that it was a string of wild rumors and wishful thinking.  They presented as much evidence for human experiments as existed for the Iraqi incubator story, or that Iraq planned to invade Saudi Arabia, which was none.  It had little relationship to actual news reporting, but looked more like wartime propaganda. 

A great irony of that human experiment speculation was a contemporaneous story that was a far more responsible speculation.  A February 2, 1999 e-mail from the International Action Center stated that hoof and mouth disease broke out in Iraq when the December bombing happened.  The disease threatened the nation's entire livestock population.  It crippled over a million animals by that time.  For a nation already starving, it was a terrible blow.  The International Action Center openly wondered if the CIA intentionally introduced it into Iraq.  If so, it would be no surprise.  The CIA probably performed acts of biological warfare against Cuba, including introducing Newcastle disease to Cuba's turkey population, swine fever to its pigs, Dengue Fever to human Cubans, and even inducing killer storms through weather control.[320]

In Africa, there is compelling evidence that when Zimbabwe was vying for independence, when it was still called Rhodesia, the white minority engaged in biological warfare by giving the "rebel" regions anthrax, which not only killed people but decimated their livestock populations.[321]  Biological warfare by white people against non-whites is far from unknown

Scott Ritter was the leading American weapons inspector in Iraq and went public with information that the USA's government would have rather kept quiet.  In the June 2000 issue of Arms Control Today, Ritter wrote:

 

"…from 1994 to 1998 Iraq was subjected to a strenuous program of ongoing monitoring of industrial and research facilities that could be used to reconstitute proscribed activities. This monitoring provided weapons inspectors with detailed insight into the capabilities, both present and future, of Iraq’s industrial infrastructure.  It allowed UNSCOM to ascertain, with a high level of confidence, that Iraq was not rebuilding its prohibited weapons programs and that it lacked the means to do so without an infusion of advanced technology and a significant investment of time and money.

"Given the comprehensive nature of the monitoring regime put in place by UNSCOM, which included a strict export-import control regime, it was possible as early as 1997 to determine that, from a qualitative standpoint, Iraq had been disarmed.  Iraq no longer possessed any meaningful quantities of chemical or biological agent, if it possessed any at all, and the industrial means to produce these agents had either been eliminated or were subject to stringent monitoring. The same was true of Iraq’s nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.

"…By the end of 1998, Iraq had, in fact, been disarmed to a level unprecedented in modern history, but UNSCOM and the Security Council were unable - and in some instances unwilling - to acknowledge this accomplishment."

 

During the summer of 2000, the USA's government stepped up propaganda efforts against Iraq and used mouthpieces such as the New York Times as its platform.  In light of Ritter's revelations, the USA engaged in naked genocide in Iraq, with its stated rationale in tatters.

There were other media items worthy of comment.  On February 18th, 1999 I passed by a USA Today street dispenser that looks like a television (not by accident).  The front-page headline said "Price of cheap gas: Laid off oil workers."  That is the price of cheap gas, according to the mainstream media.  The price was not dead Iraqi children, not a devastated environment, genocide in East Timor, the ruination of Nigeria, etc.  The price was workers losing their jobs.  As usual, they did not mention the "p" word, and talk about the impact on oil company profits.  Layoffs raise profits, and the dead are invisible.

There is a much broader framework to view these events from, voiced by Noam Chomsky and many others.  With the Soviet Empire's collapse, there was little obstacle to the USA establishing a de facto Global Empire, and China was only serious obstruction to that goal.  William Blum ended Killing Hope with "Noam Chomsky has noted that the end of the Cold War has enabled the USA's government to achieve its ultimate goal - 'to set the terms of discussion' for virtually any international issue, and thus become the ultimate empire."[322]  When viewed through that lens, so much becomes clear that our propaganda systems obscure.  The ethnic strife that we saw in Yugoslavia and the Indian subcontinent were partly due to conscious strategies implemented by the colonial powers to divide and conquer the people, in an ancient strategy.

Events in Iraq were more of the same.  In the opinion of Chomsky, Becker, Mukhtar, and others, America’s strangulation of Iraq is destroying a regional power so that no Middle East nation dares oppose America’s hegemony.  What America did to Southeast Asia was similar.  The goal is eliminating regional power structures across the globe, recolonizing the planet, and turning it into our Global Plantation.  As America eliminates regional powers such as Yugoslavia and Iraq, we eliminate any chance that those regions can resist our domination.  Our genocidal policies towards Iraq are part of a long-term strategy by the USA and the UK to dismember Iraq, Yugoslavia, and any other nation posing an obstacle to our global empire.  The "dissident" analyses of Chomsky and others are not easily dismissed, but that kind of discussion is never in our American mainstream media.  Cold War propaganda constantly focused on the evil "communist conspiracy" that would take over the world.  Insert "capitalist" for "communist," and it described the real situation more accurately. 

America’s Global Empire efforts are unlikely to succeed.  One need not study biblical prophecy to see where events are probably headed, particularly in light of the World Trade Center attacks.  No tyranny lasts forever, and as the USA has led the global proliferation of weaponry, it is becoming harder to monopolize the means of violence.  The people that run the USA acted as if nobody could fight back against our murderous bullying.  When a bully backs somebody into a corner and keeps on beating, what recourse does the victim have?  In order to survive, the victim may run home, get a gun, and change the terms of engagement.  Lieutenant Colonel Tom Bearden publicly in the late 1990s that people with the means and motive to crop-dust Washington, D.C. with anthrax were already in place, and the question was not if it will happen, but when.[323]  William Blum downplayed the notion of such a “terrorist” attack, but the notion is not farfetched, particularly now.

The scenario could unfold in other ways.  Living at the empire's heart makes for comfortable lives.  Hundreds of thousands of citizens in ancient Rome received free food as it flowed from the imperial hinterlands.  In 2014, bananas that should be feeding Central American children instead are sold in American supermarkets.  Land that should be growing food for African people instead grows food and other products for export to the industrialized world, in order to service African debt to western banks (at an unfair exchange rate), for money that went into a dictator's Swiss bank account.  Those living in the imperial heartland (the USA) are generally oblivious to those situations.  Similar to the slaughterhouse kept at a respectful distance from town, or the forest clear cuts hidden by a strip of trees left standing, the suffering of those unwillingly supporting the empire are carefully hidden from view, and the imperial class prefers it that way.  It makes it easier to live with a "clean" conscience. 

As Adam Smith made clear in his Wealth of Nations, nationalism is a handy tool to manipulate populations into marching off to war and other exploitations of average people, benefiting the elite at the top.[324]  The people running the American Empire have no particular allegiance to the American people.  American stupidity has been cynically cultivated and used to get Americans to cheer bombings, wave flags, march off to war, and other acts of nationalistic fervor.  Every militaristic nation tells itself that it is the force of light and virtue, even when it kills off children.

The people heading America's food chain rake it in from the carnage.  That is not to say that Americans do not enjoy cheap gasoline and bananas (that is part of the bribe), but capitalists have no particular allegiance to the USA.  They will go wherever the profits are.  Those cheap commodities come with being at the empire's heart.  We are seeing the long-term effects of global profit-seeking, with American jobs being shipped off to places such as Indonesia, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Asia, where $20-per-hour American jobs became $2.00-per-hour Mexican jobs and $2.00-per-day Indonesian jobs, while executive compensation (almost exclusively white men) skyrocketed, in a class war between the capitalists and the global working class.  White, educated, American men are the most privileged demographic group in world history and will probably be so for some time.  Women, the uneducated, and people of color do not cheer too loudly for America's state of affairs, with a large and growing homeless population, the world's largest prison population, and many other social indicators that nobody can cheer about.[325]

Capitalists know what they are doing.  The international treaties that they rammed through, such as GATT and NAFTA, were designed to make the world safe for profits, having the owners' interests "peculiarly attended to."  Real wages in America significantly declined since 1973, with a slight increase in the 1990s "boom times," but the 1929-like Wall Street Scandals, which began with the 2000 dot.com collapse and reached new heights in 2002 with Enron and many other accounting scandals, were only preludes to the economic collapse of 2007-2009.  Average Americans are slowly joining the global oppressed class.  The goal of global capitalism is turning the entire planet into the Global Plantation, where plutocratic pockets of cognac-sippers exist throughout the world, and the slave-driver class (corporate managers, academics, professionals, the military, and CIA, etc., which are about 20% of the USA's population) keeps the vast majority of humanity in the yoke.  Under that scenario, which has been unfolding for many years, it will always be preferable to be Joe Six-Pack in America than toiling on a Guatemalan banana plantation, but the differences are slowly disappearing. 

 

Yugoslavia and East Timor

In the spring of 1999, the USA was destroying two nations at once: Iraq and Yugoslavia.  I had strange conversations with people who thought that those situations were unrelated, who thought that in the midst of the genocide of Iraq's children over controlling Middle East oil, the very same politicians and diplomats had suddenly grown big hearts as they bombed Serbia to “free” Kosovo.

As with Iraq and many nations, Yugoslavia was an artificial entity created by drawing lines on a map.  In Yugoslavia’s situation, however, the nation’s creation had more to do with the local population banding together to prevent further imperial intervention than it did imperial powers drawing those map lines. 

The Balkan region has one of Earth's most culturally and historically diverse populations.  It is where the Western Roman Empire met the Eastern Roman Empire, where the Ottoman Empire met the Austro-Hungarian Empire, were Eastern Orthodox Christianity met Roman Catholicism, and where both met Islam.  More than a dozen distinct ethnic groups inhabit what was recently known as Yugoslavia, and Serbs, Croats, and Muslims were the most populous, but also with significant populations of Slovenes, Albanians, Macedonians, and others.[326]  The region has seen numerous marauding armies, including Christian Crusaders, Mongol (their mountainous terrain saved them) and Islamic armies, and Nazi Germany and its minions.  During the two World Wars of the 20th century, the region’s people suffered greatly, especially Serbs, who lost perhaps one million people in those wars, and hundreds of thousands of those deaths occurred in concentration camps.  Post-war Yugoslavia feared attack from the Soviet Union for a long time, as it was a disobedient communist nation, but was invaded by the USA and its European underlings.

Scholars who study the Balkans are wont to say, in jest, that it has “too much history.”[327]  With such a long and tumultuous history of bloodshed and invading armies, mass migrations, population displacements, religious and ethnic friction and the like, it is guaranteed that very few Americans have even a passing understanding of what the issues, tensions, and conflicts are there, yet we allowed our government to mount an immensely destructive invasion.  To repair the war damage and recreate the Balkan stability that existed in 1980 earlier would likely cost about $100 billion in 2000 dollars[328], which was greater than the annual Gross Domestic Product of the former Yugoslavia.[329]  Immediately after the bombing stopped, Clinton informed the world that the USA's role in the region was bombing it to smithereens, not to help rebuild it. 

In short, the nation was destroyed environmentally and economically, as well as politically.[330]  Even if left alone, it would take the region generations to recover from the USA-led destruction, and it is guaranteed that it will not be left alone.  Scholars have argued at length regarding the “real” reasons behind Yugoslavia’s disintegration, and they can have sharply divergent theses, but this essay focuses on what my nation did to abet the situation.  The USA was possibly the largest influence, and virtually none of the mainstream scholarship that I read even addressed the USA's role, even though its bombs devastated the region.  I could not even find a discussion of the USA's role at my local library, and again had to resort to reading “radical” American scholarship, the kind that the mainstream media immediately dismisses, if it is even aware of it.  Michael Parenti and Noam Chomsky, two of America’s leading dissident scholars, authored the only books I saw that analyzed the USA's role at length.[331]  As usual, they were subjected to a hail of criticism and vilification in America because of their work. 

Yugoslavia was an anomaly in post-war Europe.  It was a communist nation not under Soviet domination.  I spent a week there in 1974 and traveled its length by bus, from Greece to Austria.  It was the only communist nation over there that welcomed people from the "free world."  In ways it was a hauntingly beautiful nation, and in others it was not.  I was in Dubrovnik when Nixon resigned, and the hotel manager gave his condolences to our tour group.  He was genuinely sympathetic, and told us that he had once visited the USA and liked it.  Dubrovnik was heavily shelled in the 1990s wars, which killed many people.  As in many regions, there was ethnic and cultural diversity and friction in Yugoslavia, but it stayed a relatively neutral nation in a difficult region, wedged between the great powers.

The USA's government and mainstream media endlessly justified the bombing of Yugoslavia as a "humanitarian intervention."  Even so-called "left" media sources stated the same thing.[332]  America’s bombs somehow saved Albanians, even as they killed Albanians.  NATO's bombs directly killed about 300 Albanians, whom they were supposedly saving.  In only three previous instances in the 20th century had a large power invaded another nation for "humanitarian" reasons, and America and Bill Clinton made the fourth.  The other three were Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia, Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia, and Japan's invasion of Manchuria.[333]  In those three earlier instances, the invading imperial powers invoked lofty rationales for their invasions, and their rhetoric accurately cited problems and abuses in the regions they invaded.  Such rationales could be concocted for any place on Earth.  The Big Lie regarding each rationale was that their motivation was helping the nations they invaded.  In each case, they invaded for murderously self-serving reasons. 

One thing is certain: the application of violence, if justified (which I have not found a clear instance of yet, and doubt I ever will), should be the result of lengthy deliberations by those who authorize such actions.  As with all of our violent interventions, the American public (who ultimately authorized the violence) knew virtually nothing about what was happening as they cheered the violence.  Not one in ten Americans could pick out Yugoslavia on a geophysical map (one with no national boundaries or names) of the world.  In a 2002 global geographic literacy survey by National Geographic, more than ten percent of American adults between the ages of 18 and 24 could not even identify the USA, and 87% could not identify Iraq.  Thirty percent could not even identify the Pacific Ocean.  Americans cheer the bombs without really knowing where they fall. 

 

America’s Humanitarian Record

With all the self-congratulation about what a humanitarian nation America is, and how we saved the Albanians, a little investigation into our humanitarian record is warranted.

The genocide in Iraq, ongoing and concurrent with the bombing of Yugoslavia, should have made any thinking person at least question our motives regarding Yugoslavia.  William Blum, in his Rogue State, sampled the USA's UN voting record on various humanitarian issues.  He selected votes from the Reagan years, but noted, as we will see, that the voting trend during the Reagan years is nearly the same in the 21st century. 

Our justification for the Iraqi genocide (harboring chemical/biological weapons, whose ingredients were largely purchased from the USA and its allies) looks a little odd when compared to our voting record on chemical and biological weapon proliferation, and other weapons of mass destruction. 

Here are UN resolutions to ban testing and development of chemical and biological weapons. 

Resolution #

Date

Nation Vote

36/96B

December 9, 1981

109-1

37/98A

December 13, 1982

  95-1

38/187A

December 20, 1983

  98-1

39/65B

December 12, 1984

  84-1

Here are resolutions on prohibiting the testing and development of nuclear weapons. 

Resolution #

Date

Nation Vote

37/73

December 9, 1982

111-1

37/78A

December 9, 1982

  95-1

38/183M

December 20, 1983

133-1

39/148N

December 17, 1984

123-1

To demonstrate that those votes are not from a distant, errant past, in 1999 the U.S. Senate stood on the world stage and refused to ratify a nuclear-test-ban treaty, and as of 2014, the USA has still not ratified it.[334]  The USA has been alone on the world stage numerous times, either refusing to limit nuclear weapons, or asserting its right to use them "preemptively," which means to use them for offensive purposes.

Here are resolutions on prohibiting the testing and development of new systems of "weapons of mass destruction."

Resolution #

Date

Nation Vote

38/182

December 20, 1983

116-1

38/70

December 12, 1984

125-1

Here are resolutions calling for education, health care, nourishment, and national development to be considered standard human rights. 

Resolution #

Date

Nation Vote

36/133

December 14, 1981

135-1

37/199

December 18, 1982

131-1

38/124

December 16, 1983

132-1

Here are resolutions to affirm the right of every nation to control its own economic and social destiny, free of outside intervention.

Resolution #

Date

Nation Vote

36/19

November 9, 1981

126-1

38/25

November 22, 1983[335]

131-1

Here is the resolution calling for a convention on the rights of children.

Resolution #

Date

Nation Vote

42/101

December 7, 1987

150-0-1

The USA abstained voting on the resolution regarding the rights of children, the world's only nation to do so.  In all of the above UN vote tallies, the USA was the lone "no" vote.[336]  The American media rarely informs the American public of those votes.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was held, and one of its resolutions banned the death penalty for people who commit crimes as juveniles, and banning child soldiers.  Only two nations did not ratify the treaty.  Somalia did not, because it did not have a functioning government.  The other was the USA, which is still the case in 2014.  How could Bill Clinton keep a straight face while talking about "rogue states"?  In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled to forbid the execution of juveniles, for the last industrialized nation to do so.

That litany of lone "no" votes can keep going, such as regarding resolutions condemning Israel's horrendous human-rights violations of the Palestinians, or the apartheid government of South Africa's treatment of the blacks there.  The USA has a lengthy record of installing and/or propping up some of the most brutal regimes on Earth, such as Suharto's Indonesia, Pinochet's Chile, the Shah's Iran, the death-squad regimes of El Salvador and Guatemala, its support for Pol Pot's Cambodia and so on.  The USA regularly stands alone on the world stage and rejects principles of decency and humanity that the rest of the world has embraced.  In that light, the sudden professed humanitarian concern for the Albanians should be viewed with a skeptical eye. 

Indeed, try as one might, there is probably not one “humanitarian” military intervention to be found in world history.[337]  Violence is not, has never been, and never will be, a humanitarian undertaking.  Somebody is always violated, and invading armies have never inflicted violence out of humanitarian intent.  It has always been self-serving on the part of those who created the armies and the situations they are used in, and they will always concoct a reasonable and seemingly noble rationale for their violence, and it is never the real reason.  If America’s activities happen to benefit Albanians or Kuwaitis or Iraqi Kurds, it is incidental, and our leaders will always look for a good cover story to sell to the masses, so minor population elements benefiting from America’s interventions become the story of the day, not the majority’s suffering.  If Albanians or Kuwaitis get in the way or become expendable, they will share the same fate as Iraq's children. 

Whenever people begin to analyze whether Serbs are worse than Croats, or if Albanians deserve to be “free” in Kosovo, or how murderously the Muslims were treated, they usually have already made assumptions that should be rejected, which is that the USA's government really cares about any of those people, and that we have a God-given right to intervene.  The only right being exercised is the right of might, which America exercises regularly, accompanied each time with lies to justify it, just as Hitler and Mussolini did when they invaded Czechoslovakia and Ethiopia. 

 

The Kurdish Plight

The Kurdish people comprise the world's largest ethnic group without a home state.  There were more than 16 million Kurds alive in 2000, and about half of them lived in Turkey.  Turkey is another artificial entity that imposed a national identity on a land of tribes, as the Ottoman Empire's remnant after the Great Powers carved it up after World War I.[338]  At World War I’s conclusion, the Kurdish people vied to establish a nation for themselves as the Ottoman Empire ended.  Woodrow Wilson even remarked that the three ethnic groups that should have their own nation as the Ottoman Empire was carved up were Armenians, Kurds, and Arabs.  Unfortunately for Kurds, Kurdistan was sitting on large oil deposits, and the UK's power politics (other colonial powers were also involved, including France and America) divided Kurdistan between the new artificial nations Turkey and Iraq (Kurdistan also was carved up into portions of Iran, Syria, and the Soviet Union).  Kurds are neither Turks nor Arabs and have their own distinct identity, linguistically and culturally.[339] 

The plight of Kurdish people over the past century has been grim, with periodic revolt and repression throughout Kurdistan.  The 1980s were a particularly difficult time for Kurds.  Although Kurds were instrumental in deposing Iran's Shah, Khomeini's regime denied them autonomy, and Kurds were partly used as pawns by Iran during the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s, with Iraq's Kurds being armed and encouraged to fight against Iraq.  In light of how America sold them out earlier, Kurds must have been desperate indeed to rise up again, with American encouragement.  As Iraq gained the upper hand militarily (enthusiastically armed by the West, America in particular[340], and the USA also helped arm Iran, as the Iran/Contra scandal made clear), in 1987 it began a military campaign against Kurdish rebels, and that was when Saddam Hussein's troops used chemical weapons on Kurds.  In 1987 and 1988, when Hussein was using chemical weapons on Kurds, he was the USA's ally against Iran, so those atrocities went largely unreported in the mainstream American press.  While chemical weapons were being used on Iraq's Kurds, Turkey engaged in its own bloody repression of Kurds.  Beginning in 1984, the military effort of Turkey killed about 40,000 Kurds and made refugees of two million others.  In Censored 2000, the number-five story of the year was the fact that Turkey had destroyed thousands of Kurdish villages with American weapons.

To this day in 2014, the Turkish government's atrocities against its Kurdish population go largely unreported in the USA's media.  The USA instigated another Kurdish rebellion that happened in Iraq as the Gulf War ended, then literally flew air cover for Iraq's Republican Guard, even denying Kurds captured Iraqi weapons to fight back with.[341]  America did it in the name of "stability."  The hypocrisy was awe-inspiring. 

Kurds were unfortunate pawns again.  As they fled Iraq for Turkey and Iran, the USA engaged in operation Provide Comfort, which was supposed to succor Kurds who fled.  More than seven times as much aid was spent on a Kurdish refugee in Turkey as one in Iran.  Kurds essentially were put into concentration camps along the Iraq-Turkey border, and then the Western press decided that their plight was newsworthy (as it was partly caused by our new official enemy, Iraq) for a few moments.  A notable aspect of those events was that Turkey was repressing Kurds arguably worse, but the media made that relationship largely invisible to the American public.  The USA unilaterally created a "no-fly zone" in northern Iraq, so Iraq could not exert much military influence in its Kurdish region.  The "no fly zone" applied to Iraqi's planes, but Turkey's, as the Turkish military, using American equipment, flew into Iraq to bomb Kurds there, which our media generally did not report.[342]

In 2000, about 75% of Turkey's arms were of American manufacture.  Analyzing the USA's media's performance regarding Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Kurds is a good lesson in the "good victim/bad victim" paradigm that the USA's press has adopted.  Kurds being killed by Iraq, while Iraq was an American ally (largely because they were at war with Iran) was largely unreported by the USA's press…until Hussein became an official enemy on August 2, 1990. 

Amnesty International stated:

 

"One of the clearest examples of the USA's changing attitude to human rights violations in different circumstances is that of Iraq.  During the 1980s Iraqi forces committed gross and widespread abuses…Amnesty International repeatedly appealed for action, yet neither the US authorities nor the UN responded…after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990…The USA repeatedly cited the Iraqi government's appalling human rights record to gather support for UN military intervention in the Gulf."[343]

 

Talk of Kurdish independence has been rare in the USA's mainstream press.  Turkey's government treated those Kurdish refugees as stateless persons with no rights.  The American people were treated to a mind-boggling inversion of reality regarding the Kurdish plight.[344]  To be fair, Kurds in Turkey have likely not aided their plight by massacring Turks, led by the Marxist guerilla group known as the Kurdistan Workers Party, and succumbing to Turkey's divide-and-conquer tactics that have fragmented their efforts.  When thinking about those Albanians (who have a home state) that America so nobly helped, pondering the Kurdish situation might be fruitful.

 

Helping Kosovo

To find out what the American people were not told about events in Yugoslavia and the region, Project Censored provided more rich reading.  The number-six story in Censored 2000 was one that the alternative media reported widely on: the attack on Yugoslavia "coincidentally" served numerous private interests.[345]

That issue became one of contention in left circles.  Kosovo has large deposits of lead, zinc, silver, gold, and other lucrative ores.  The Yugoslavian government's mining company owned the mines.  The capitalists did not have their hands on it yet.  Ripping Kosovo from Serbia nearly guaranteed that capitalists will own it.  That part of the "freedom" deal for Kosovo's Albanians received little notice in the American press.  Those mines, however, are tiny compared to another goal of the capitalists.  There was an estimated five trillion dollars of oil sitting underneath the Caspian Sea region, and the USA was busy negotiating rights to that oil while cutting out local powers such as Russia and Iran.  Yugoslavia sits on a favored route for the projected pipeline from the region, and is one more reason that capitalists want to control the Balkans.  Breaking Yugoslavia into pieces is a good way to do it.  It is another divide-and-conquer tactic.  Noam Chomsky downplayed the strictly economic aspect of the Kosovo intervention,[346] likening our intervention to that of a Mafia Don: he may terrorize the shopkeeper for protection money, but the terror is more important than the money for any targeted shopkeeper, as it helps keep all shopkeepers in line with the program.  What did Al Capone want more of, money or power?  To those he abused, it did not really matter.

The number-ten Project Censored story of 1999 was that the entire Kosovo intervention was a set up from the beginning.  The negotiations with Milosevic's Serbia were a sham.  The USA-produced Rambouillet "agreement" and Milosevic's refusal to sign it was the official reason that NATO bombed Yugoslavia.  The USA did not negotiate in good faith.  The Rambouillet proposal was one that no sovereign nation would agree to.  The agreement gave NATO personnel unlimited power in the region and complete immunity from any crimes that they might commit.  Appendix B of the proposal gave NATO personnel "free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), including associated airspace and territorial waters."  Clauses 11 and 15 granted NATO "the use of airports, roads, rails, and ports without payment (and) the right to use all the electromagnetic spectrum."  The proposal granted NATO arbitrary arrest and detention powers.  In short, the Rambouillet proposal turned all of Yugoslavia (not just Kosovo) into occupied territory, a new colonial holding of the USA and friends.  That “fine print” was not reported in the USA's media, as Milosevic and Serbs were vilified.  As Yugoslavia rejected the Rambouillet proposal, it stated that it would work toward Kosovo's self-management.  That also went unreported in the mainstream media, and the day after Yugoslavia refused to ratify the Rambouillet proposal, while proposing its own counteroffer (Yugoslavia had already made their own proposals, some quite generous, which were immediately dismissed by the USA and not reported by our media, just like we treated Iraq), NATO began bombing them.

Dan Goure, of the Center of Strategic and International studies stated:

 

"The administration went to Rambouillet basically to arrange a trap for Milosevic.  It was a no-win situation for him and frankly, Albright was trying to find a pretext for bombing.  They told the Kosovar Albanians that if they signed and Milosevic didn't, they'd bomb Serbia.  Rambouillet was not a negotiation, it was a setup, a lynch party."[347]

 

An American diplomat frankly admitted after the bombs began dropping that NATO deliberately "raised the bar" high enough at Rambouillet so Milosevic would not sign, because Serbia "needed to be bombed."[348]  Those with the best weapons need not truly negotiate: simply deliver your ultimatum, then attack.

A senior official of the French foreign ministry told Eric Rouleau, the former French ambassador to Turkey, that the Rambouillet document was unacceptable.  Even Henry Kissinger stated that "Rambouillet…was…an excuse to start bombing."[349]

Although the USA's media endlessly played up the "genocide" that precipitated the bombing of Yugoslavia, there was no credible evidence of such a "genocide."  Project Censored's number-twelve story of 1999 was the lack of credible evidence of genocide before, during, or after the bombing.  While USA's officials and press were throwing around numbers such as 100,000 (U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen) and 500,000 (U.S. State Department) dead or missing, in the aftermath of the USA's bombing, with forensic teams (such as an eager FBI team, among others) looking for all those mass graves, the final tally was about two thousand people killed, with most being buried individually.[350]  The NATO bombing killed about two thousand civilians.  Ironically, the USA-led bombing may have killed more people than the "genocidal" Serbs did.  Just who was being "saved?"

In 1984, Ronald Reagan authored U.S. National Security Decision Directive 133, which was eventually declassified and released.  It stated, among other sobering revelations, that the USA would strive to “promote a trend toward an effective, market-oriented Yugoslav economic structure.”  That may sound innocent enough, but coupled with the now admitted (even bragged about by Reagan and others) secret plan to destabilize and overthrow the Soviet Empire with a “quiet revolution,” bringing Eastern Europe back to the “world market,” it boded ill for Yugoslavia’s future.  The USA had targeted the Yugoslavian economic system for destruction, to replace it with capitalism.[351] 

The 1970s and 1980s saw a series of economic events that caught many nations in its maw.  In the late 1960s, communist nations began borrowing from Western banks to finance their industrial expansion.  By itself, it was no great error, but then came the oil price shocks of the 1970s, when oil prices were raised by OPEC in 1973, and escalated again in 1979, which set off a huge spiral of inflation, which ended the post-war boom and led to many economic disasters, including the USA's Savings and Loan Scandal.  The West went into a recession, imports from communist and developing nations were squeezed off with protectionism, oil prices kept skyrocketing and nations such as Yugoslavia found themselves deeper in debt all the time.  Ironically, the new “petrodollar” deposits of the OPEC nations largely funded the bank loans.  Many conspiracy theories surround that situation, and more than a few of them might be true.

The debt burden became crushing for many nations.  Then the International Monetary Fund ("IMF") rode to the “rescue.”  The IMF is infamous for imposing “Structural Adjustment Programs” ("SAPs").  The IMF imposed SAPs on dozens of nations, so that they can repay their loans.

In Third World nations, the deal was much worse than communist nations received.  In communist nations, the loans generally went to productive activity that benefited the domestic population.  In Third World nations, the loans all too often went to luxury items for the elite, public works projects that did not benefit the average citizen (but benefited Western capitalists), or the money went straight into the dictator’s Swiss bank account.  When it came time to repay the loans, the dictators did not empty their Swiss bank accounts, and the elite did not sell their Mercedes luxury sedans bought with the loans. 

SAPs are notorious for how they restructured the national economies of the subject nations.  Instead of growing food for domestic consumption, they had to grow food for export to the USA, to earn “foreign exchange.”  SAPs played a major role in that situation.  Under SAPs, social spending is slashed for education, medical care, housing, affordable food, and so on.  For instance, around 2000, the African nations of Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Niger, and Tanzania spent more than twice as much money servicing their foreign debt as they spent for primary medical care, in nations where children were starving, illiterate, etc.  To the people in those devastated nations, what is happening is merely colonialism with new rhetoric.  They still do not eat the food they grow.  Their nation’s resources, whether they are crops, mining products, timber, or their labor, still end up going to the imperial powers, while the common people starve and live in destitution.  About the only difference is that they get to fly their own flag.  Flags are not edible, unfortunately.

The IMF and World Bank are officially UN institutions, but as with the UN itself, the rich and powerful dominate them.  Western banks, particularly American, control the IMF and World Bank.  One can find many people in the IMF, World Bank, and other neocolonial institutions such as the CIA, Peace Corps, USAID, etc., who think they are truly helping those subject to their policies.  A Ralph McGehee waking up to what really happens is rare in such institutions, and of course, there are those who know exactly what their institutions really do, but it is unacceptable to publicly admit the real game, but John Perkins broke ranks and did in 2004.

Pre-breakup Yugoslavia surely had plenty of ethnic tension but, if people are not on the brink of survival, different ethnic, religious, racial, and cultural groups can generally live together in peace and even harmony.  It is when they are pitted against one another, each trying to survive, that it gets ugly.  World War II was born of the Great Depression, when anti-Semitism not only reached genocidal proportions in Germany, but also reached its all-time high in the rest of Europe and America, to even increase in America during the Jewish Holocaust.  When times are difficult in America, strident anti-immigration rhetoric is heard.  Economic strain is a common factor in American divorce.  The Berga concentration camp showed how quickly American soldiers could come to look and act like concentration camp inmates. 

In much milder circumstances, during my days with Dennis I saw more than my fair share of people acting dishonorably and criminally when they felt that their jobs were in jeopardy.  With the pressure on, otherwise valuable employees stole anything that was not nailed down, broke into our facilities to steal, and even stole and held items for ransom.  Losing a job that one held for a few months was tame compared to what Yugoslavia's people endured under the IMF’s ministrations, as the USA covertly attempted to bring Yugoslavia into the “world market.”  For a further illustration of converting the communists to capitalism, see the “success” story of the Western capitalists and Russia from 1990 to 2000, when the life expectancy of a Russian man declined by ten years, which is an awesome statistic only seen before during war, plague, or famine.

World Bank and IMF activities devastated Yugoslavia’s economy, which helped lead to its breakup.  Inflation skyrocketed, industrial production declined, unemployment climbed, and many companies went bankrupt.   Project Censored's number-twenty story for 1999 was how the media covered up that situation.  That kind of USA-imposed economic stress is a standard neocolonial tale.  What America did to Chile, as Nixon ordered his henchmen to make the Chilean economy “scream,” as a prelude to overthrowing their government, is another example.  The most knowledgeable observers in Yugoslavia all admitted that economics was the biggest problem that Yugoslavia faced before it disintegrated.[352] 

Rounding out Project Censored's Balkan-related stories for 1999, story twenty-two was about how the USA and Germany armed and trained the Kosovo Liberation Army ("KLA"), who were portrayed as the freedom fighters of Kosovo.  Very interestingly, in 1998 U.S. Special Envoy to Yugoslavia Robert Gelbard said that without a doubt the KLA was a “terrorist group.”[353]  He was not the only American official to state that opinion.  When the KLA became useful for American interests, they received a quick image change and became “freedom fighters.”  Very ironically, the very “terrorists” in Afghanistan that we bombed in 1998 and 2001 were the “freedom fighters” that we armed and incited to take on the Soviet military.  Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski admitted in a 1998 interview with a French magazine that the Afghanistan “freedom fighters” were actually armed and incited by the USA before the Soviet Union intervened in Afghanistan.  Brzezinski called it the Soviet Union’s “Vietnam,” and gleefully said that it led to the Soviet Union’s breakup.[354]  Freedom fighters one day, terrorists the next, or vice versa; it can be confusing to be an American propagandist.

As with mercenary groups everywhere, the KLA's worst enemies were often its own members.  In May 2000, more than 20 KLA leaders were assassinated by other KLA members, and most murders were probably initiated by KLA chief Hashim Thaci, who was a friend of NATO general Wesley Clark.[355]  It was like an internecine Mafia gang war.  The KLA was partly composed of a highly unsavory mix of soldiers of fortune and other criminals; some prominent members were not even Albanian.  Some of the KLA’s favorite murder targets were Kosovar Albanians trying to peacefully negotiate with Serbia.[356]  Those “freedom fighters” in Kosovo appeared to be more like mercenaries that the USA and its allies trained and armed.  As with the Contras, the mountain fighters of Cambodia, and others (and many "Arab Spring" organizations of the second decade of the 21st century), the KLA appeared to be another pawn of American ambition, in another standard CIA ploy.  The American public was not treated to that possibility by the mainstream media.

The evidence is overwhelming that the USA's media misrepresented and demonized Milosevic and the Serbs before and during the NATO bombing, which is a typical American propaganda tactic.[357]  During the 1999 bombing, I was buying groceries one day and Newsweek magazine was at the checkout stand.  On its cover was a picture of Milosevic, and the headline announced, "The Face of Evil," which was tabloid-worthy. 

The disintegration of Yugoslavia was a bloody affair, and all sides (Serbs, Croats, Muslims, Albanians, etc.) committed heinous atrocities.  To single out the Serbs as the bad guys was a convenience for American propagandists.  While Milosevic was no angel, Croatian president, Franjo Tudjman, was openly fascist.  He wrote a 1989 book that justified Hitler’s Holocaust of the Jews (in his words, Europe needed to be “rid of the Jews”), and he was friendly with some of the worst Nazi-aligned Croatian war criminals of World War II.  He once told a crowd that he thanked god that his wife was not a Serb or a Jew.  He originally was a seemingly responsible historical revisionist regarding how many people died at the hands of the Nazi-aligned Croatian government during World War II, but his scholarship eventually degenerated into outright Holocaust denial and Holocaust apologetics.  He eventually took the position that less than a million Jews died during the Final Solution.  Muslims suffered greatly during Yugoslavia’s breakup, perhaps more than any other single group, but they were also no angels who apparently bombed their own people and tried to blame it on Serbs, as even admitted by UN investigators.[358]  When Serbs overran Muslim positions during fighting, they found that Muslim soldiers were collecting heads of fallen Serbian soldiers.[359]  Those headhunting soldiers were often the same ones that the USA trained in Afghanistan to create the “trap” for the Soviet Union.

The murderous hypocrisy of the USA regarding Yugoslavia was breathtaking.  Not only was everything about the NATO intervention illegal (NATO was the fig leaf the USA used when it was obvious that the UN would never approve of the USA's bombing of Yugoslavia), the rationale fed the American people does not survive the barest scrutiny.  The issue was supposedly Kosovo gaining its freedom.  The bloodiest war in the USA's history was fought over the right of states to secede from the Union.  The USA supported the extremely bloody Russian campaign to keep Chechnya from seceding.  Puerto Rico has a much more legitimate reason to secede from the USA than Kosovo had for seceding from Serbia, yet the CIA and other organizations devoted a great deal of effort toward derailing Puerto Rican movements for freedom from the USA, and remember the Turkish Kurds.

In the final analysis, the conclusion is clear: the USA systematically destroyed Yugoslavia, although America does not deserve all the credit.  Germany and the UK were also instrumental.  Undoubtedly, the people of Yugoslavia all played their part, being divided and conquered.  I respect the perspective of American “radicals” more than any other commentators I have read.  Few other commentators even discuss the USA's motivation.  Michael Parenti's To Kill a Nation is the best work I have seen regarding the USA's role in the breakup of Yugoslavia.  Brief, tightly argued, and impeccably documented - Parenti’s book is devastating.

In reviewing the serious scholarship regarding Yugoslavia, I either found them agreeing with Parenti’s thesis (but not devoting much detail to the issue), or ignoring the issue altogether, as Allcock did in his Explaining Yugoslavia.  Christopher Bennett’s Yugoslavia’s Bloody Collapse laid a great deal of Yugoslavia’s woes at Milosevic’s feet, yet admitted that the Western policy toward Yugoslavia “has been determined in advance, and is based on the domestic political considerations of the great powers, not an analysis of Yugoslav affairs.”[360]  Misha Glenny, who did not see things the way Parenti does, and operates from various Western establishment assumptions (which nearly all mainstream journalists do), and whose work is light on dealing with the economic aspects of what has happened to Yugoslavia, fully admitted that the region’s economic problems are directly related to the Great Powers’ past militarily interventions.  Glenny wrote that the military interventions led to the ethnic conflicts, and that NATO’s military adventure will probably be no different in effect, if not intent, than other Great Power interventions.[361]  Parenti’s focus was not on who the bad guys in the Balkans were, but what the USA's role was and its motivation for intervening.  Every attack that I saw on Parenti’s work, most notably from the right wing, failed to comprehend that distinction.  That same “misunderstanding” has been directed toward Noam Chomsky’s work countless times.  How much do they truly misunderstand that distinction, and how much of their criticism is a knowing misrepresentation of Parenti’s work, which is also the straw man logical fallacy?  History is on Parenti’s side.

Studying the history of the Catholic Church, European colonialism for the past several centuries, the American medical establishment, the energy industry, and so on, self-interest is always the primary motivation, and the means used are remarkably similar.  Whether it is the Catholic Church and its Inquisitions, the Albigensian Crusade, and other Holy Wars, or the American medical inquisitions, imprisonments, and outright murders of doctors who present alternatives to the cut/burn/poison cancer treatment paradigm, or the energy industry wiping out all the alternative energy technologies, the pattern is quite clear.  It is all about wealth and power, and the powerful always conjure noble-sounding rhetoric about how selfless their oppressive actions are.  People who believe the rhetoric are either ignorant, deeply deluded, or they get something out of the deal, usually economically, which often abets their ignorance and delusions. 

The Catholic Church was the self-proclaimed custodian of Jesus’s message, which was obviously all about love.  As it sought wealth and power, the Catholic Church became the antithesis of Jesus’s message.  The American medical establishment is the self-proclaimed custodian of America's health.  As it has sought wealth and power, it now delivers the exact opposite of health, as its treatments harm and kill its patients instead of heal them.  The USA is the world’s self-proclaimed leader, and its rhetoric states that it exports freedom and democracy to the world.  As it has sought wealth and power, it has come to export the exact opposite.  Oppression and poverty are its two principal exports.

Authors who write about how “confused” American foreign policy can be have usually fallen for the false assumption that America’s leaders are trying to help the people beyond its shores (the self-serving myth of our “blundering efforts at doing good”), or those writers may be propagandists themselves.  If one understands the true goals of American foreign policy, the picture no longer appears confusing.  In brief, the goals are:

 

 

Our politicians even tacitly admit such goals.  In their second presidential debate in 2000, George Bush the Second and Al Gore fielded the question of American foreign policy.  They laid out their mentality clearly, and I never heard a word of dissent in the media toward their stance.  Both made it clear that in American foreign policy, the most important question is always, "What is in the best interests of America?"  That is always the salient question.  The interests of those who America "intervenes with" or bombs are not in the equation; the clearly stated attitude is, "What's in it for us?"  It is the epitome of the self-serving mentality, and America apparently agreed with them, as I did not hear a word of dissent.  What Gore and Bush did not say is that "America" really means their constituency, and it is not the American people, but those they are beholden to, such as all those corporations that bankrolled their campaigns.  What a breath of fresh air it would have been for one of them to say, "Justice for us and those we deal with is my goal."  Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate for president, would have talked about justice, but he was forcibly removed from even being on the premises for the debates, even as a spectator, although he was invited by the media to attend.

With the true goals being completely self-serving, the “underdeveloped” nations and those nations that escaped capitalism's clutches during the Cold War have received a predictable and systematic treatment by the IMF, World Bank, CIA, U.S. Marines, and so forth.  For Third World nations, keeping them where they are, enslaved to industrialized nations, is the program.  For those nations that strayed from the fold during the Cold War, they are being turned into exploitable domains in a process that Michael Parenti called “Third Worldization.”[363]

The contours of Third Worldization are:

 

 

Third Worldization is a process of turning the entire planet into a readily exploitable pool of cheap labor, cheap resources, cheap imports, and obscene profits for the capital class.  If somebody is one of that system’s few winners, life is relatively good.  So far, the winners in this system comprise less than 10 percent of the industrialized world’s population (about one percent of the world's population), and the biggest winners are literally less than one thousand human beings, who possess more wealth than the poorest half of humanity, for a wealth ratio of millions-to-one.  People who live in the imperial heartland, in a situation similar to what ancient Rome’s citizens enjoyed, also derive benefits in the form of cheap commodities, brought in from imperial hinterlands.  That bribe keeps them from challenging the system too strongly.  Therefore, Americans enjoy cheap oil, bananas, coffee, tin, shoes, clothes, toys, wood, food, and the like.  This dynamic is quickly leading to Earth's uninhabitability, as such rapacity devastates the environment as well as human beings.  Naturally, the reaction of the capitalist class (and its servile academics) is to lie about the devastation or cover it up, push it onto the subject peoples and lands as much as possible, and maintain a “strong” military to keep the subject peoples in submission, and call it “defense,” in the best tradition of Orwell. 

For instance, in the USA the environmental movement slowed down the chain saws and oil drilling.  The reaction by American industry has been to import more oil and chop down the forests in Chile and New Zealand, as they literally ship their logs to mills in Oregon for processing, and oil imports doubled since 1973, to reach more than half of American consumption.  The shale oil and fracking booms as of 2014 will be very short-lived mining the dregs of Earth's hydrocarbons.

In 1991, chief economist for the World Bank, Lawrence Summers, signed an internal memo that encouraged the bank to promote the migration of the “dirty industries” to the less developed nations.  Summers’s rationale was that since the workers in those nations earned far less than workers in the developed nations, the health problems and deaths they would endure from those “dirty industries“ would be less costly than the misery and death that would be inflicted on the industrialized world’s workers.  The memo stated: “the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.”[364]  The memo was eventually leaked, to widespread public condemnation.  What kind of public disgrace and career scuttling did Summers endure?  In 1999, Bill Clinton promoted him to be the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

Edward Herman, whose work stacks up against anyone’s regarding American foreign policy and its context in world events, deeply studied the breakup of Yugoslavia, the kangaroo court that Milosevic found himself in during the summer of 2001 (he and Noriega were the only two heads of state behind bars at the time, and Milosevic and Hussein met the standard fate of the USA's demonized targets), and other aspects of recent American interventions.  Herman noted that the serious scholarship regarding Yugoslavia’s breakup also weighed important factors that the American propaganda machine has not touched, namely:

 

  1. A strong central government was needed to hold the nation together in the face of Yugoslavia’s deep regional and ethnic fragmentation;

  2. The roots of Yugoslavia’s economic crisis of the 1990s were easily traceable the 1982 deflationary economic policies that the World Bank and IMF imposed;

  3. The collapse of the Soviet Union removed the motivation of the West to keep supporting the central Yugoslavian state;

  4. Germany and Austria encouraged Slovenia to secede from Yugoslavia, without any democratic vote or provision for the welfare of Slovenia’s large Serbian minority;

  5. The West and Western Badinter Commission would not allow threatened ethnic minorities to withdraw from the new secession states;

  6. The USA and the West encouraged Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Muslim population to try establishing a state under its control, while the local Serbian and Croatian residents were opposed to it and fearful; 

  7. The USA and NATO supported Croatia and its massive ethnic cleansing of Serbs in Krajina;

  8. Milosevic supported many diplomatic initiatives that were foiled, largely because of American meddling (such as encouraging Muslim inflexibility), such as the Owen-Vance and Owen-Stoltenberg plans.[365]

 

I recently read that the term most applicable to the USA's campaign of murder and terror waged across the planet for the past fifty years is “politicide,” which means killing people because they have a different political persuasion.  It richly applies to the Korean and Vietnam wars, America’s devastation of Central America, America’s support for Suharto and other butchers, and so on.  I would like to introduce a new term.  What the USA has done to Yugoslavia (and also the Cold War efforts against many nations) can be called “econocide,” which means destroying any economic system that is not global, corporate capitalism.  We are even doing it to our own economy, with the drive to privatize everything from prisons to Social Security.  The evidence for econocide regarding Yugoslavia is impressive.  The Confederation of Trade Unions of Serbia published a list of 164 factories destroyed by the NATO bombings.  Every single one was state-owned.[366]  Not one foreign-owned facility was targeted for bombing.  Buildings that displayed such corporate logos as McDonald's and Coca-Cola received zero damage.  When Michael Parenti visited Yugoslavia after the bombings, he was truly impressed when he saw that the NATO bombings badly damaged the state-run Hotel Yugoslavia and made it uninhabitable, while the Hyatt Hotel, with a bomb-inviting all-glass facade, did not receive a scratch.  It does not get much clearer than that, regarding what the real goals of the NATO bombing were.  Destroy all the state-owned institutions and spare the corporate-owned ones.  Then neoliberals can crow about how socialism “does not work.”

Montenegro is notable for being the only region that really tried holding Yugoslavia together with Serbia.  The capitalists quickly began digesting Montenegro, with institutions such as USAID at the effort’s forefront.  Montenegro underwent intensive Third Worldization, virtually handing over its sovereignty to American-based transnational corporations.[367]   Montenegro is currently about the poorest place in Europe (in 2010, it was near the bottom, at a GNP per capita less than a quarter of Slovenia's), except, of course, for the plutocratic elite.

Panamanian scholar José de Jesús Martínez expressed his amazement that Americans could be so "stupid" as to believe the media propaganda about why America invaded Panama.  I was rendered nearly speechless by the mindlessness of some I knew regarding events in Yugoslavia.  A 25-year friendship ended when my patience ran out with a friend who called me one morning to cheer the violence, thinking that the USA was "saving" Kosovo with its bombs.  When he called me, he voiced the rationale made by butchers throughout history: those people they are about to bludgeon "only understand violence."[368]  He was the same person who called me in a rage about the Iraqi incubator story.  His life has been a continual quest to find examples of justified violence.  He thought he finally found it in our bombing of Yugoslavia.  Although he realized that the media lied to him many times in the past on matters of war, he thought that Yugoslavia was an exception.  He ended the friendship and stated that I did not respect his opinion on the "helpful" violence that we were inflicting on Yugoslavia.  He was right. 

World opinion was united that the USA was committing a great crime against the people of Yugoslavia with its attack.  It violated Yugoslavia's sovereignty as well as international law.  That globally held understanding was not to be found in America's mainstream media.

Nearly every day during the Yugoslavian bombings, NATO admitted that it bombed refugees fleeing the area, towns of the civilians they were "saving," or other innocents.  In a powerfully reported story on October 17, 1999, the London Observer, in conjunction with the Danish Politiken, cited several highly placed NATO sources who stated that the "accidental" American bombing of the Chinese embassy during the Yugoslavia bombing was intentional.  The Chinese apparently used their embassy as a radio relay station for the Serbs after America had destroyed Serbia's communication system.  The bomb that the USA used on the embassy was satellite-guided and could hit you as you read this.  It apparently was not a case of mistaken identity.  Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting took the USA's media to task for not reporting that story to the American people, and the New York Times and USA Today provided the media's standard lame and hypocritical responses.  When the story covers American malfeasance, the USA's newspapers will not give the story one line of ink if they cannot prove it in a court of law, beyond any shred of doubt (and even then, they usually will not, like those UN votes).  If the story is about the crimes of Saddam Hussein or Milosevic, however, any rumor will do, or even fabricated “news.” 

As in Iraq, the USA used radioactive weapons on Yugoslavia.  Depleted Uranium ("DU") is nuclear waste.  When U-235 is refined from uranium[369], U-238 is left over.  It is not radioactive enough to make good reactor fuel or nuclear explosives, but works great as a penetrating missile, as DU is 1.6 times as dense as lead.  DU is effective at penetrating tanks and other targets, but it is also radioactive for billions of years.  DU is one suspected culprit in Gulf War Syndrome and escalating Iraqi birth defects, as many thousands of people have been exposed to the radioactive debris of those weapons.  In one sense, they get creativity points.  Why spend billions to bury nuclear waste when America can make bombs from it and drop it on nations that it destroys?  Not long after the NATO bombings, America’s European allies expressed surprise and alarm that their soldiers who participated in the NATO bombings were exposed to DU debris.  Why were they surprised?

With acts such as bombing Libya and Sudan, invading Grenada and Panama, and especially what America did to Iraq and Yugoslavia, a significant question has been raised.  By the definition of the word, what America has done to those nations amounts to torture.  To inflict violence on those nations, while giving them no recourse except to do as they are told, amounts to what torturers do.

Particularly disturbing has been watching the world’s most prominent human rights organizations sell themselves out to money and power.  Human Rights Watch long ago largely adopted the USA's interventionist paradigm (i.e., if the USA intervenes internationally, it must be for a good cause).  That left Amnesty International as the premier mainstream human rights organization.  I contributed to them for years.  The tribunal at The Hague was set up for prosecuting war crimes.  The USA funded it and controlled it nearly completely.  It was a kangaroo court, particularly used for political ends as the USA attacked Yugoslavia.  Most aspects of impartial courts were dispensed with at that tribunal, with breathtaking hypocrisy.[370]  When the tribunal indicted Milosevic when the USA began bombing Yugoslavia (a nearly unprecedented judicial outrage), it was evident how the court would operate, and the succeeding years confirmed my suspicions.  It was with a heavy heart that I began reading Amnesty International’s mailings to me, which campaigned to have Milosevic arrested and tried at that tribunal.  Even as the kangaroo court aspect of the court is clear to all impartial observers, Amnesty International kept sending me funding pleas that make clear its unwavering support for that court.  Violating Milosevic’s human rights, to pursue human rights, is something right out of Orwell, and is always doomed to failure, if justice is its goal.  With what happened at that tribunal, virtually anybody could be tried for “war crimes.”  If Milosevic is actually guilty of war crimes, and I would not be surprised, then Clinton and Blair deserved to be sitting alongside Milosevic behind bars, a hundred times over.  The tribunal is a winners’ court, however, and winners never face war crimes trials.  Amnesty International’s stance was so shocking that I snooped around in the human rights community, asking those whose opinion I respected, and my sentiments were confirmed.  I was told that Amnesty International began adopting the USA's interventionist paradigm during the Gulf War.  While they still do some good work, I did not renew my membership.

America’s "humanitarian intervention" helped wreck the Balkans.  Economically, they have been set back generations, with damage to their infrastructure estimated at many billions of dollars, and Bill Clinton told the world that the USA would assume little part in rebuilding the nation that it destroyed.  With unexploded cluster bombs everywhere, with DU dust everywhere, with toxic spills due to factories being bombed, the bombing of Yugoslavia was a great environmental disaster.  The psychological devastation of being bombed and becoming refugees is something that no economist can put a price tag on.  John Pilger wrote regarding the Yugoslavian situation, the actions of our leaders, and how the media presented it, "George Orwell could not better it."[371]

 

Helping East Timor

The 1999 events in East Timor put America’s "humanitarian" intervention in Yugoslavia in an even clearer light.  The USA decisively supported the Indonesian invasion of East Timor and resultant genocide in the 1970s, while most Americans had never heard of the place.  During 1999, Indonesia and East Timor were in tumult.  First, looting Indonesia by Suharto and his cronies, with the virtual enslavement of Indonesia by Western corporations such as oil companies, shoe manufacturers and the like, led to a "debt crisis" whereby the IMF and the USA had to "ride to the rescue," which hurt the Indonesian people even worse.  The austerity programs imposed by the IMF led to the revolt of the Indonesian people, which toppled the world's greatest butcher of the late-20th century.

Reading and watching the American media's accounts of Suharto's fall was illuminating.  The media virtually never mentioned Suharto's bloody record, which was built with American assistance in money, arms, and CIA help.  Suharto was continually called the "president" in media accounts.  America’s media handled him gently.  It was like covering Hitler’s fall, calling him "Chancellor Hitler," and not mentioning what he did to Jews or how he came to power.

In 1999, East Timor held an election regarding its independence from Indonesia.  The citizens overwhelmingly voted for independence, which led to an immediate escalation of military violence in East Timor, often engaged under the facade of vigilantes.  It was little different than the paramilitary El Salvadoran death squads that the USA turned a blind eye to during the 1980s.  That time, because of the tireless activism of Noam Chomsky and others during the previous 20 years, the slaughter in East Timor did not pass in silence as before.  The "vigilantes" killed about ten thousand East Timorese people.  They terrorized and slaughtered them for several months, while the USA quietly stood by and watched.  Those events in East Timor made what Milosevic did to Albanians in Kosovo before the USA-led bombings look like a picnic. 

While the USA's government could hardly wait to bomb Yugoslavia, they stood by as East Timor was bludgeoned once more, publicly wringing their hands, but privately supporting it.[372]  The surreal aspect of the East Timor situation was that all the USA needed to do was stop selling arms to the Indonesian military, or even threaten to stop selling them arms, and they would likely have backed down.  At the time, the USA had more than $20 billion in undelivered aid that they promised to Indonesia.  Bill Clinton needed only to whisper that what Indonesia was doing to East Timor might jeopardize those American funds, and they would have quickly stopped the slaughter.  The analyses of Chomsky, Herman, and other radicals were vindicated, and I have never seen an honest and competent attempt to refute their work.[373] 

In watching the American media's treatment of the East Timor situation, I did not see one news account disclose to the public the USA's emphatic support of the East Timorese genocide during the 1970s.  That history was invisible in the media accounts.  In the Seattle media, for the first time I saw a hint about the conflict in America over the USA's ties to the Indonesian military.[374]  The article was a whitewash of the USA's involvement.  The article quoted one Senate dissident Senate, Tom Harkin of Iowa.  Regarding American support for the Indonesian special forces, who were training and arming those "vigilantes," Harkin was quoted as saying, "I can't see any benefit to it…what good did it do us?"  As with nearly every foreign policy decision the USA has ever made, the question is framed as, "What's in it for us?"  Harkin, one of the few American politicians with some backbone, was candid enough to admit it.  The question is never really framed as to how it is helping the people in those nations that we "helped," not behind closed doors.  That is not the game and never has been.  When the USA reinstalled Aristide in Haiti, they gutted his initial reforms and kept the Haitian people in the yoke.[375]

With Suharto out of power, Bill Clinton became the world's leading war criminal.  More blood was on his hands than anyone else’s, at least for those who were still adding to their tally, and he was racking up the deaths at a much faster rate than Suharto did.[376]  Clinton bombed Baghdad in 1993 as bizarre retribution for an alleged plot to kill George Bush when he was president.  With that debut in international violence, Clinton was an able successor to George Bush the First's criminal ways.

The USA bombs other nations at will because it is the world’s most powerful nation, and anybody who thinks there is another reason will have to make some compelling and well-founded arguments.  The embargo of Cuba (nearly as old as I am), the genocidal sanctions against Iraq, the bludgeoning of Yugoslavia, Clinton's complacent acquiescence to mass killing in East Timor and Rwanda, and so on, made him the bloodiest tyrant since Stalin, Hitler, and the Chinese purges.[377]  Clinton did it because it was his job.  Bush and Reagan would probably have been worse.  Killing millions of innocent people comes with the job of being the American president.

 

Helping Colombia

As the title of William Blum's latest book evinces[378], the USA has been playing the Godzilla of global politics ever since the Soviet Union collapsed.  Former CIA agent Ralph McGehee was busy during the spring of 2000, posting several articles about events in Colombia on his CIABASE web site and disseminating them over the Internet.  He was called the CIA's number one critic by an intelligence publication.  Soon after his Colombia warnings, the CIA and friends stepped up their harassment of him, which led to bodily injury (by spiking his food) and his CIABASE went off-line, and will never go back into business.

What Ralph saw in Colombia was eerily similar to the series of events that led to the Vietnam experience.  Ralph was far from alone.[379]  It was the most excited that I had seen Ralph write.  The CIA simply makes up their intelligence estimates as they go, such as regarding the acreage under coca cultivation in Colombia, or how much of America's illegal drugs begin their journey in Colombia.  Few CIA intelligence estimates can be trusted, as they are often fabricated to conform to policy already decided upon.  The CIA acts as a propaganda organ, and lying to the American public is one of its chief functions, as Ralph made clear.  The American media, the Washington Post in particular, usually used the CIA as a primary source of information regarding the situation in Colombia.

Political Killings: A Regional Perspective

Nation

Years under military dictatorship    

Political Killings

Uruguay

16

220

Argentina

8

9,000

Brazil

15

125

Bolivia

17

243

Chile

17

2,666

 

Years under Colombian "Democracy"

 

President Barco (1986-1990)

5

13,635

President Gaviria (1990-1994)

4

14,856

Total

 

28,332

Source: Data Bank in the Comision Inter-Congregacional de Justicia y Paz[380]

The above table compares well with other sources of information, and most notably, Amnesty International's tally.[381]  For instance, while Amnesty International's Colombian political murder tally is close to the above table's,[382] the Comision Inter-Congregacional de Justicia y Paz documents more than 67,000 violent politically related deaths from 1988 to 1995.  Of that count, "only" 6,177 were explicitly political, another 10,566 were presumed to be political, with other "disappearances," "social cleansing" and "obscure assassinations" that likely had a political motive, but cannot be proven.[383]  What such a tally cannot put a number to are the millions affected by such a reign of terror, and what it does to a society’s fabric.  Colombia is by far South America’s most violent nation, and has been the world's most violent nation in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, with murder rates that dwarfed all other nations.

The political killings in Colombia in the early 21st century rolled along at about the same clip as in those years documented in the table above, with about 3,000 people a year dying at the hand of the government-sponsored death squads.  Most Americans associate Colombia with drugs today, and the lawless drug cartels and the coca production in Colombia is the rationale for the USA's proposed $1.6 billion military aid package to the Colombian government.  During 1989 and 1990, when the most spectacular drug-related violence was taking place, murders that were widely covered in the American media, a careful count of the violent deaths in Colombia yielded the fact that drug-related murder accounted for 0.18% of the violent deaths, and less than 10% of the level of violence committed by the state against its citizens.[384] 

The conflict and unrest in Colombia has been a constant feature of that nation for the past two centuries, and has been particularly bad recently.  When the Soviet Union existed, the attacks on the peasant "guerillas" were characterized as killing pawns of international communism.  After the Soviet menace faded away, the same groups of people were being killed to allegedly stem the drug trade.  In the early 21st century, they were being called terrorists.  It is impolite to discuss that the "guerillas" are fighting in order to end their exploitation at the hands of the plutocratic elite, which is the standard situation throughout Latin America.  Standard also has been America's response: heavily arm and train the governments that keep those peasants oppressed.  In Colombia, the practice initiated with the Spanish conquest of the New World is still in place, as 3% of the Colombian population owns 70% of the arable land, and 57% of the poorest farmers try subsisting on 3% of the arable land. 

From 1984 to 1992, more than six thousand Colombian soldiers were trained in the USA, and the School of the Americas was the chief place where they honed their "counterinsurgency" skills.  As is typical with that kind of American "training," the soldiers return to their home nations to begin torturing their victims with chainsaws and other techniques that make the death camp Nazis appear as amateurs.[385]  Javier Giraldo, one of the many courageous priests in Latin America who have risked (and often lost) their lives in their efforts for justice, wrote a booklet that became Colombia, The Genocidal Democracy.  It makes for harrowing reading as Giraldo describes the unspeakable acts of the military and paramilitary soldiers of Colombia's government.  Hacking "rebels" into little pieces, one piece at a time, until they finally died, was one sport of the psychopaths that populate the Colombian military.  Often the "rebels" were women or children not yet old enough to walk.  Giraldo takes it easy on his readers, refusing to describe the events engaged in by the chain saw torturers, witnessed by the man who carried off the decapitated fruits of their labors and dumped them into a nearby river.[386]  After years of Giraldo's courageous documenting of the human rights situation in Colombia, the government-sponsored death squads drove him into exile with death threats, as of 2014, he lives in Colombia amidst constant death threats, as death squads still reign in Colombia.

Colombia's government resembles a democracy about as much as Hitler's Germany did.  The government may gird itself with the trappings of democracy, but the trappings are about all it can lay claim to.  The official political landscape of Colombia is divided into two spheres.  The first is a state bureaucracy that is as corrupt as they come.  The other is the military that keeps the populace in line.  Kangaroo court is a salient feature of state justice against its opponents, with secret judges, secret witnesses, and secret evidence, paid witnesses, and arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, among other practices that make the notion of "democracy" ludicrous on its face.  The loser in such a system is the vast majority of the populace.  In the standard Latin American model, a plutocratic elite at the top largely does the USA's bidding.  A vanishingly small middle class largely performs a service function to the elite, and the other 80% or 90% of the population does all the work and suffers greatly, although American consumers receive cheap coffee, bananas, cocaine, etc., and the elite, both American and Latin American, rake it in. 

The Colombian body count presented above probably severely underestimates the carnage.  The atmosphere of state-sponsored violence is so pervasive in Colombia that in some areas 80% to 90% of the killings go unreported for fear of retribution by state-employed killers.

One thing is certain: funding the Colombian government to fight drug trafficking is like asking the wolf to take good care of the sheep.  The paramilitary death squads of Colombia have openly declared that their funding often comes from the drug trade.[387]  The drug war, like so many other "wars" declared by America, is a fraud.  Just as Ronald Reagan called the death squad regime of El Salvador a "fledgling democracy" in the 1980s, as billions of dollars in American military aid flooded into that nation, the Clinton administration described the Colombian president Gaviria as "…forward looking in building democratic institutions..."[388]

Violence always begets more violence.  The only path to a non-violent world is non-violence, and there will never be a war to end all wars.  The means become the ends, something that the vast majority of humanity has yet to learn.  The gentle will inherit the Earth.  That realization is beyond intellectual, materialistic understanding, and is incomprehensible to the victim mentality.  Jesus knew what he was talking about, but "love the enemy" is as incomprehensible today as it was in his time.

As my fellow Americans unendingly cheer our violence, I have been beset by a painful question: do Americans have a collective conscience?  Our collective conscience is directly related to our consciences as individuals.  It is up to each of us how we will fare as a species. 

Since World Way II, no nation has inflicted more death, destruction, and exploitation onto the peoples beyond its borders than USA has.  Indeed, no other nation comes close.  Contrary to Ronald Reagan's cue-card rhetoric, if there was an evil empire during the last half of the 20th century, it was the USA.  Our fate rests in our hands.  If we keep cheering each time our military bombs a defenseless nation, readily believing the lies told to rationalize it, our day of reckoning will be much darker than the World Trade Center attacks.

The Pied Pipers of today's march to doom are accomplished students of the dark spiritual path, and have found that a humanity seeking comfort above all else is easy to manipulate, and the American citizenry is putty in their hands.  We need to develop a collective conscience. 

 

A World Trade Center Postscript

“What we say, goes.”  - George Bush the First, speaking of the lesson that Iraq and the world should have learned from the Gulf War, on NBCE Nightly News, Feb. 2, 1991. 

“We think the price is worth it.”  Madeleine Albright, on 60 Minutes in 1996, when asked if killing a half million Iraqi children, as a consequence of America’s economic war against Iraq, was a justifiable side effect.

"The only way to make sense of why this happened is that we are a country that stands up for freedom, democracy and human rights." - Madeleine Albright, when asked to make sense of the World Trade Center attacks, Oprah Magazine, December 2001.

“Americans are asking, ‘Why do they hate us?’ They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government.  Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.” – the unelected, court appointed George Bush the Second, September 20, 2001, in a national address at a joint session of Congress.

“…the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty.  To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact which becomes inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality all the while to take into account the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary.  Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. – George Orwell, 1984.[389] 

"Why of course the people don't want war.  Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece?  Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany.  That is understood.  But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship…Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.  That is easy.  All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.  It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering, at the Nuremberg Trials, as told to Gustave Gilbert, in his Nuremberg Diary

“Nationalism is an infantile disease.  It is the measles of mankind." - Albert Einstein, in Fred Jerome’s The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret War

 

The United States of America is a democratic republic in name only, where form prevails over substance, with the USA's Constitution rendered little more than a faded relic, where elections have largely become meaningless rituals, with most Americans no longer even going through the motions.  The USA has the lowest voter turnout in the “free” world.  America’s government is more properly called a plutocracy.  Simply observing how Ralph Nader was treated at the year 2000 presidential debates, as two scions of political dynasties squared off in their stage-managed “debates,” is sufficient to remove any doubts.

The USA has always been a plutocracy, ever since the new nation’s richest man became president, followed by a string of slave-owning, land-grabbing aristocrats parading through the White House.  The first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (John Jay) baldly stated that those who own the country should run it.  More importantly, the USA is an empire.  Rome was also a republic originally, at least officially.  Rome degenerated into becoming an empire, in its quest for wealth and power.  It is impolite to declare that America is an empire (although Karl Rove bragged about the USA's imperial status in the wake of invading Iraq), because the favored fantasy is that America is different from other nations, possessed of unique virtue.  Also, it is impolite to call American colonialism what it is; so it is colonialism in everything but the name, with subject peoples flying meaningless flags, providing the illusion of independence.  If the pattern of other empires holds, American global hegemony is probably nearing its end, and the financial collapse of 2007-2009 was a mere prelude.

American election campaigns are nearly indistinguishable from marketing campaigns, complete with the equivalent of taste testing.  Political ads appropriately appear alongside ads for hamburgers and automobiles, and hamburger ads are more appealing and informative.  Ballots look like menus, and politicians nearly come shrink-wrapped anymore.  The power sold to Americans is the power to consume, and consequently Americans are history’s fattest people and are threatening to consume the entire planet

Beginning with the assassination of JFK, who obviously was not killed by “lone nut” Lee Harvey Oswald, the American government has been on a steep slide into corruption that has gradually disillusioned most Americans, although the national security state keeps the worst corruption out of the public eye.  The corruption was even more open during the 19th century, as Enlightenment ideals faded quickly as the American Empire began its ascent with its huge land grabs.  Just as the American government began sliding headlong into open corruption, as epitomized by Andrew Jackson's “spoils system,” Americans focused on the nation’s trappings, adopted a national anthem, began to revere the flag, and engaged in other acts of nationalistic fervor.  It was a textbook case of cognitive dissonance

Power corrupts, and as the USA became the world’s most powerful nation during the 20th century, and World War II was an unprecedented watershed event, its corruption grew along with its wealth and power.  The interests who had JFK murdered are probably the same ones that have been covertly manipulating the American government ever since, and murder seemed to have been a standard political tactic for a generation.

America’s dirtiest political family of the late 20th and early 21st century, at least for those in national office, may be the Bush family.  From their early days of carrying the Eastern Oligarchy’s bags, through their ardent support for Nazi Germany, through their Skull and Bones affiliations, through their CIA and spook ties to the coup d’état “election” to vault the semi-literate George Bush the Second into the presidency, the record is long and sordid.  The “covert action” suspicions are not easily dismissed regarding the Florida election, as the CIA is full of election-rigging specialists, which it has long done around the world.  George Bush the First was heavily involved in the Savings and Loan Scandal, which bilked the American taxpayer out of about $150 billion.  The Enron scandal was simply more of the same, and the Bush family was the common denominator.  With George Bush the Second in the White House, the Constitution was torn into confetti on several fronts, not the least of which were the antics of the neo-McCarthy-ish Attorney General, John Ashcroft.  The new TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System) program would have been right at home in Nazi Germany, and is even beginning to alarm America’s white middle class.[390]

Jefferson was America’s first grave-robbing president, but not its last.  George Bush the First quite possibly had his Skull and Bones pals acquire Torrijos’s skull, and the onus may have been on George Bush the Second to collect some bones.  The theft of Noriega’s remains would not take much daring, as he already sat in an American prison.  I wonder if Osama bin Laden’s or Saddam Hussein’s skulls are in the Skull and Bones collection in 2014.  As with Noriega and Hussein, Osama bin Laden was largely a creation of American foreign policy.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the USA poured several billion dollars worth of weapons, training, and supplies, in the CIA’s largest covert action so far, into Afghanistan, largely through Pakistan.[391]  Wherever the CIA has focused its effort, whether it has been Southeast Asia, Central America or Afghanistan, the drug trade increased geometrically, as it is a financing mechanism for American covert action.  The CIA has always been run by corporate America, and it helped build an Islamic fundamentalist jihad against the “evil” communists.  Arab rich boy Osama bin Laden was just the thing that the USA was looking for: a ruling class Arab to become the jihad’s figurehead.  As with nearly every other CIA covert action, the principle result was wrecking the nation it intervened in.  Afghanistan, due to its geographic location, with the Khyber Pass long being a gateway from Central Asia into the Indian subcontinent, has seen marauding armies pass through, and battles waged there, for millennia.  Afghanistan became a European battleground during the Great Game days of the 19th century.

Zbigniew Brzezinski was the Henry Kissinger of Jimmy Carter’s administration, engineering American foreign policy during the late 1970s.  According to Brzezinski, in an interview with a French magazine in 1998, he helped create the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.  According to the official story until Brzezinski’s interview, the USA pumped billions of dollars in arms and training into the Afghanistan rebels as a reaction to the Soviet Union’s invasion.  Brzezinski set the record straight.  He was behind arming and inciting the Afghanistan rebels six months before the Soviet Union invaded.  In light of the devastation of Afghanistan (half its population either dead, disabled, or refugees) and the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban in charge, Brzezinski was asked if he regretted his decision to bait the Soviet Union into invading Afghanistan.  Brzezinski replied:

 

“Regret what?  That secret operation was an excellent idea.  It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?  The day the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: ‘We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War.’  Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.”[392] 

 

As Brzezinski saw things, sacrificing Afghanistan in the USA's global chess game with communism was an acceptable price to pay.  Brzezinski asked what was worse, the menace of the Soviet Union or the Taliban ruling in Afghanistan. 

In interviews over the years, particularly those with Robert Fisk, Osama bin Laden made clear the source of his ire toward the USA:

 

  1. The USA established a military presence in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, and Arabia contains Islam’s holiest sites;

  2. The USA-inflicted genocide of the Iraqi people since the Gulf War;

  3. The USA's unfailing support for Israel, as it has brutally dispossessed the Palestinian people. 

 

Using Osama bin Laden and friends as Cold War pawns came back to haunt the USA.  The World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks of September 11, 2001 are seen around the world as the global Godzilla finally getting a bloody nose.  I was far from alone in publicly predicting something like it.  The shock and horror of the attacks were only a few hours old when talk of revenge began appearing.  Osama bin Laden and friends were named almost immediately, and George Bush the Second’s finger pointed straight at Afghanistan.  The day after the 9/11 attacks, Bush said:

 

“We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”

 

Bush called for Afghanistan to hand over Osama bin Laden.  Early on, Bush’s rhetoric and actions failed to mesh.  The Taliban offered to serve up bin Laden to a neutral nation for trial, but just as his father did, George Bush refused to engage in any negotiations, as the war drums pounded once again.  If justice was Bush’s goal, he picked a strange way to show it, as he pointedly ignored any attempts that the Taliban made to respond to his demands, or even try to use international justice systems (which the USA has consistently undermined) to respond to the immense crimes of September 11, 2001.[393]  Bush took the bully’s route, as nearly all American presidents have done. 

America’s economic inducements to attack Afghanistan were underplayed to the point of being nearly invisible in America’s media.  The world’s last great region of unexploited oil and gas reserves is Central Asia.  Trillions of dollars of oil and gas sit beneath that region, and American oil companies had been trying for years to exploit it, which it could not do while the Soviet Union existed.  As with the Gulf War, the World Trade Center attacks made for a convenient excuse to move in a military presence, in neocolonial fashion.

The swirl of conspiracy theories that quickly grew up around the World Trade Center attacks was understandable.  I am skeptical of the several of the conspiracy theories.[394]  But I do not trust the USA's government to perform credible investigations of those allegations.

While a TV movie soon portrayed Bush as the hero of 9/11, his wife had to coax him out of his hiding place and “lead” the American people in its time of crisis, and the White House even concocted a tale that the terrorists were trying to shoot down Air Force One (that was later exposed as a fabrication, apparently created to try justifying Bush’s disappearing act).  Bill Clinton was out of the country, and he made it to Washington, D.C. before Bush did.

The connections of the Bush family and friends to the WTC attacks are unsettling.  A flurry of short-selling activity was traced to Deutschebank/Alex Brown, which has deep CIA connections.  Just as Noriega was George Bush the First’s employee, and the invasion of Panama may have been at least partly a double-cross of a fellow drug dealer and money launderer, and Saddam Hussein may have been another business partner that George Bush the First double-crossed, the connections between bin Laden’s family and Bush’s predated 9/11 by 20 years, publicly known through the relationship between bin Laden’s family and the Carlyle Group, one of America’s biggest defense contractors, of which George Bush the First was an important member.  The Carlyle Group had a long-standing relationship with bin Laden’s oil-rich family.  Not surprisingly, neither the mainstream media, nor anybody on Capitol Hill, brought up that startling issue, which at least pointed to a conflict of interest with George Bush the Second.  It is as if Roosevelt and Hitler owned stock in armaments companies in 1939 (and even the same ones), and nobody cared to examine their potential conflict of interest.  As I wrote this essay in mid-August 2002, there still had been no indictments of any Enron personnel, while their auditor, Arthur Andersen, was out of the auditing business.  It was a case where the cop was executed, while the crooks he failed to catch still ran around free.  Even in 2014, pretty conventional Americans around me wondered if Kenny Boy Lay is living under an assumed identity since his sudden and timely "death."

Just as plenty was covered up about the American government’s mass murder at Waco, and the Oklahoma City bombing, to even casual observers a lot is not adding up about the WTC attacks and the subsequent “War on Terror.”  The American childishness that the corporate order had been carefully cultivating for more than a century came into full view.  Flags were draped everywhere (and still were, a year later), while vengeance was on everybody’s lips.  Any attempts to understand the motivation behind those who attacked the WTC and Pentagon were equated with justifying them, in another vivid instance of the false dichotomy logical fallacy.  Anybody who attempted to comprehend why it happened (so such events could be prevented in the future) was called a traitor, largely because attempts to understand it would bring to light very good reasons why America is hated in the Islamic world, instead of Bush’s “they hate our goodness” explanation.

In the days immediately after the WTC attacks, I received an avalanche of emails from friends, family and cyberpals that reproduced a fatuous speech that a Canadian politician gave a generation ago about what a great nation and friendly neighbor America is.  No Latin American politician would have given such a speech, unless he was an American puppet.  The Americans waving flags often wore a dazed expression.  The post WTC orgy of “patriotism” made the jingoism of 1991 pale by comparison.  Those activities were a painful display of people trying to overwhelm the negative cognitions associated with the WTC attacks with bogus positive ones.  I was not untouched by the sickness, as Americans began attacking me through vicious emails and threats

Responses by American media pundits were breathtaking in their bloodthirstiness.  Ann Coulter wrote:

 

"The nation has been invaded by a fanatical, murderous cult.  And we welcome them.  We are so good and so pure we would never engage in discriminatory racial or "religious" profiling...“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.  We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."

 

In less strident days, Thomas Friedman candidly admitted, while writing about the wonders of global capitalism:

 

“The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”[395]

 

As of 2014, Friedman is still one of the New York Times’s leading columnists, holding forth with great confidence about events in Israel and elsewhere, and has been a leading pundit on the “War on Terror.” 

Bill O’Reilly, a right wing commentator on the Fox TV station, stated:

 

"The US should bomb the Afghan infrastructure to rubble - the airport, the power plants, their water facilities, the roads. The Afghans are responsible for the Taliban. We should not target civilians, but if they don't rise up against this criminal government, they starve, period."

 

Michael Kelly of the Washington Post, echoing Hermann Goering, wrote:

 

"American pacifists are on the side of future mass murders of Americans,"

 

Kelly called pacifists "objectively pro-terrorist," "evil" and "liars."[396]  The pacifism = terrorism equation played loud and long in America immediately after the WTC attacks.  It was becoming like World War I all over again.  Kelly died while invading Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11. 

George Bush the Second led America’s descent into mental illness.  He parlayed his own false dichotomy by calling the vengeance that America was about to wreak on whoever was behind the WTC attacks a case of “good against evil,” and saying that the attacks were because those crazed Arabs hated American goodness.  Bush stood on the global stage and told the world that either they were “with us, or against us,” while his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stated that the USA would eliminate the nationhood of countries that got in the way, and his hit list was a few dozen nations long.

Bush then cooked up some comic-book rhetoric and called Iran, Iraq, and North Korea the “axis of evil” not long after the USA was unable to find and kill bin Laden and friends.  Those nations had nothing to do with the WTC attacks and have no relationship with each other (except for Iran and Iraq hating each other…strange “axis”…their main commonality was having oil deposits that the USA did not control).  My friends and associates in Europe and elsewhere could scarcely believe that Bush was alone on the world stage, mouthing such rhetoric.  Some called it the most embarrassing imperial spectacle since Caligula’s horse. 

For all the hypocrisy and corruption in America’s Founding Fathers, at least they could be literate and thoughtful.  Ronald Reagan ably read his cue cards during his presidency, even though he was nearly a vegetable.  Bush could barely string a sentence together.  He was rather proud of his ignorance, and him not even being elected added insult to injury.  Bush tried taking the high moral ground, yet was convicted of drunk driving, sort of took the fifth amendment on whether he used cocaine, and belongs to a secret society that robs graves.  He rather gleefully presided over more executions than any other modern governor, and a fair number were probably innocent.  When one death row convictee’s court-appointed lawyer fell asleep in court, the higher courts ruled it to be a “fair trial,” noting that there was nothing in the Constitution that said the defendant’s lawyer had to be “conscious.”

The dictionary definition of “terrorism” is “a mode of governing, or of opposing government, by intimidation.”[397]  As Edward Herman clearly demonstrated in his The Real Terror Network, the American propaganda system excised that italicized first part of the above definition and thereby defined out of existence the terrorism waged by governments.  In the best tradition of Orwell, the powerful defined terrorism to only mean terrorism by the powerless.  Governing by intimidation is by far the greatest instance of terrorism and always has been.  Terrorism as state policy was refined by the USA a generation ago, particularly by what it did to Southeast Asia during the 1960s and 1970s, and what it did to Latin America, and its terror wars peaked during the 1980s.  Torture was a historical relic until the USA began training the security forces of its Latin American puppets, especially at its School of the Americas at Fort Benning in Georgia.  Latin America security forces were trained in torture and other “counterinsurgency” methods.  American torturers also went abroad to teach their craft.  When returning to their Latin American home nations, the traditional homecoming was to use their new skills to perform heinous atrocities on the local citizenry

Those activities even came into general American awareness with the Iran-Contra Scandal.  Elliott Abrams was a Reagan administration front man, lying to Congress and anybody else who would listen about what happened in Central America during the 1980s.  According to Abrams, the El Salvadoran death squads were free-lance terrorists, not connected to anybody.  All knowledgeable observers knew that those death squad members were El Salvadoran soldiers who simply took off their uniforms when performing death squad duties.  Abrams called America’s El Salvadoran policy a “fabulous achievement.”  Abrams’s record of lying and obfuscation was long and ugly, and it finally caught up with him during the Iran Contra scandal.  As a front man for genocidists, Abrams would have swung from a Nuremberg noose if his services had been rendered for Nazi Germany, but he instead swung a plea bargain, admitted to only some of his less onerous behaviors, received a lesser sentence, and even then, George Bush the First pardoned him soon before leaving office.  The moral fiber of George Bush the Second’s administration quickly became evident when it placed Abrams on its National Security Council, as a human rights advisor.  The School of the Americas has long been known throughout the world as terror central.  Not only that, America has long harbored the world’s deadliest terrorists, such as Cuban exile terrorists, and Orlando Bosch most notoriously.[398]  Not only were such terrorists living in America, the USA's government funded them and even actively protected them from international prosecution, similar to how it protected death camp Nazis after World War II.  If Bush was taken at his word on September 12, 2001, the American military should have been launching missiles at Miami and the White House.  American propagandists have had a challenging job naming terrorists, as the same people were called terrorists one day and freedom fighters the next, depending on which way the political wind blew. 

By the dictionary definition, the WTC and Pentagon attacks were terrorism, no doubt about it.  They were heinous atrocities.  However, America’s response to the attacks was also terrorism, and on a much vaster scale. 

After Afghanistan served its usefulness as the “trap” for the Soviet Union, America left it to “rot.”[399]  Afghanistan was littered with about ten million land mines.  During the 1990s, thousands of Afghani people died each year from stepping on mines.  The USA did not provide any effort to help rebuild its discarded pawn, so the sudden professed humanitarian concern for the Afghani people after the WTC attacks was ludicrous on its face.  During the years before the WTC attacks, Afghanistan suffered through a horrendous drought and was the world’s most devastated nation.  Even calling it a nation was a misnomer.  Afghanistan was more a collection of villages, warlords, and fundamentalist preachers, with a civil war raging.

George Bush’s threats immediately after the WTC attacks amounted to terrorism.  Winter was coming and the world knew what America was about to do to Afghanistan: the same thing it did to Iraq and Yugoslavia, except probably worse.  Afghani people began fleeing into the mountains, where many thousands of people starved and froze to death that winter.  The world’s independent aid agencies begged the USA's government and world community to forestall an American attack on Afghanistan, as a war that lasted into the winter would put about seven million people in danger of not surviving until spring.

When America was good and ready, the bombs began dropping onto Afghanistan.  It was a terrorist bombing that far exceeded the WTC attacks.  Few knowledgeable observers thought the Taliban and friends would successfully fight off the USA, as the world’s biggest killing machine was aimed at the world’s most devastated people.  The goal for a long time has been risking as few American troops as possible, and the terror bombing of Afghanistan was a keyboard war, as missiles were launched from vast distances.  As the American military safely sat behind their keyboards, launching missiles at Afghanistan, the Afghani people were subject to unending aerial bombardment.  As with bombing the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia and the French embassy in Libya, it appears that the two bombings of Red Cross warehouses in Kabul were intentional.  

About three thousand people were killed in the WTC and Pentagon attacks.  In December 2001, professor Marc Herold of the University of New Hampshire released a summary of reporting on the USA's bombing of Afghanistan.[400]  Using only stories that made the media, Herold tallied 3,767 civilian deaths directly attributable to American bombardment.  It was the most conservative number attainable, and exceeded the toll of the WTC and Pentagon attacks.  Afghani civilians, who were as innocent as those who died in the WTC attacks, died at the USA's hands.   Similar to how Iraq’s civilian casualties were a non-story in America, there was virtually no American media coverage of Herold’s tally, in another proof of the worthy/unworthy victim thesis of Herman and Chomsky.  Many thousands of Afghanis also did not survive the winter, and Afghanistan is still occupied by the USA in 2014, and the death toll by 2014 due to the USA's actions is several million people.

In the wake of the aid agencies’ pleas, the USA engaged in one of history’s most grotesque public relations stunts, as it dropped food-bombs onto Afghanistan.  It dropped food rations with the cluster bombs, and they looked alike (they were both in yellow plastic packaging, and about the same size).   All knowledgeable observers admitted that the food-bombs were useless in bringing aid to Afghanistan, and people were even blown up as they walked across minefields to recover those food-bombs, generally to sell them on the black market.  For all the “toy-bomb” propaganda that the USA spun about the Soviet Union, the USA exceeded its own propaganda and dropped food-bombs on the same people.  Robert Fisk visited Afghanistan and wrote in August 2002 that many children had been killed by previously unexploded cluster bombs during the past year.[401]  Children mistook them for both food packages and toys.  In addition, American troops had been marauding through Afghanistan during 2002, performing death squad activities, with summary executions and disappearances attending their surprise attacks on villages.  As with Panama, Iraq, and so forth, the American people heard nothing about it through the mainstream media. 

After the first draft of this essay was written, in what will surely be only one of numerous incidents of war crimes in Afghanistan, Newsweek reported that a U.N. investigation unearthed evidence that the USA's ally warlord Abdul Rashid’s troops Dostum murdered hundreds, if not thousands, of Taliban POWs, and the USA stonewalled an investigation ever since it happened several months earlier.[402]  If even Newsweek reported it, enough evidence may be rescued from oblivion to give Americans some pause about its War on Terror.  There were about 5,000 missing Taliban prisoners of war, and mass graves were located.  Edward Herman also wrote about the mass graves being investigated and the USA's media not touching it.[403]  In 2014, that event is long gone into oblivion.  

What the USA inflicted on Afghanistan far exceeded the terror of 9/11, and would have been immensely worse if the bombing effort had not surprisingly routed the Taliban before winter set in.  The USA's effort destabilized the region, and two nuclear powers, Pakistan and India, rattled sabers during 2002.  The “War on Terror” will not turn out well for the region’s people, and the USA has moved quickly to establish a military presence among those nations north of Afghanistan that were part of the Soviet Union.  It appears that establishing military control over the world’s most lucrative oil and gas reserves has been coming along nicely under the rubric of the “War on Terror.”

A useful book to understand today events is an old one.  George Orwell's 1984 makes for eerie reading.  Published in 1949, Orwell wrote about a future that was far from utopian.  Orwell partly got it wrong about how Big Brother kept control over information.  The reality turned out more like Huxley’s Brave New World on that score, as people simply did not care to read anymore, or even think much; the information was there, but nobody bothered to read it.[404]  As with America’s Founding Fathers, Orwell did not envision that a power greater than the state would take over everything: the corporate state.  With that misprediction acknowledged, Orwell foretold other dynamics with startling accuracy.  The Edward Snowden revelations have shown that the surveillance state that the USA erected dwarfs what Orwell envisioned in 1984.

In 1984, the masses had zero sense of history, and information quickly disappeared down the “memory hole,” to be retrieved if needed for doublethink.  The ruling party manipulated the masses to cheer any war.  Allies one day, enemies the next, it did not matter.  There was always a war to cheer on, accompanied by spectacular displays of flag-waving patriotism.  The world’s three power blocks were Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia.  Oceania, where Winston Smith, 1984’s protagonist, lived, changed from being at war with Eastasia to being at war with Eurasia without missing a beat, and the public never caught on that enemies and allies had simply changed places (nearly exactly how the Soviet Union transformed overnight from ally to enemy, which happened by the time that 1984 was published).  One man inspired terror in the citizenry’s minds and hearts, a Jew named Emmanuel Goldstein.  His face appeared on TV regularly, and the masses reacted with fear and hatred, especially during their “Two Minutes Hate” (about the length of today’s average nightly news story).  Goldstein, like bin Laden, was the state’s greatest enemy, although they could never seem to find him.

There was also “Hate Week.”  Winston saw through the game being played, but could not afford to appear a disobedient member of the herd, so Winston “voluntarily” contributed to the Hate Week fund.  The planner of Hate Week in Winston’s neighborhood planned to drape the local “Victory Mansion” in huge flags for Hate Week.[405]  “Terrorist” bombs went off regularly, killing many, but the mess would be cleaned up and spark further flag-waving furor, and Goldstein was burned in effigy.[406]  Anybody who did not wave their flag as fervently as possible became suspected of being a subversive and could be treated with the utmost harshness.  Just as Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld announced that the War on Terror could take generations, the strategy of Oceania’s ruling party was having a continual, never-ending war.  One closet “skeptic” of the ruling party propaganda thought that the "terrorist" bombs were really launched by the ruling party, “just to keep people frightened.”[407]  Inflicting the most heinous atrocities onto the enemy was heroic, but evil when done by the enemy to “our side.”[408]  Orwell called orthodox “thinking” a form of unconsciousness. 

Oceania’s big, exciting cultural event was the lottery, which was the only time that the masses demonstrated much intelligence, as they prayed for their numbers to come up and performed amazing feats of memory and mental skill.  For the working class, they were so dumbed down that sophisticated mind control techniques were not needed for them.  They just shuffled along and did their jobs while pumping out babies.  The story always told was that everything was better than ever, and nearly everybody accepted it as fact.  Sophisticated mind control was used to control the minds of the educated class. 

Just as Ronald Reagan called a nuclear missile the “Peacekeeper,” a slogan of Oceania’s ruling party was: "War is peace.”  The mental state the people were to be kept in was “controlled insanity,” as most words were completely inverted in meaning, so that the Ministry of Truth disseminated lies, the Ministry of Peace was really the war department (just as the U.S. War Department was renamed the Defense Department), and so on.[409]  In the USA, it was a little different, as the Pentagon announced the creation of a new disinformation department after the WTC attacks.  That was a little too blatant, so the department was scrapped, and George Bush the Second promised the people that the American government does not condone lying.[410]

When the year 1984 arrived, I saw wide discussion of why Orwell’s dark prophecy did not come true.  Americans largely live in Orwell’s world, while boasting that they do not, as their society is “free.” 

Fascists run America; fascists also run Israel.  Jewish ideology has been racist for millennia, which was partly how they kept their blood as “pure” as they have during their long journeys.  Bona fide terrorists were among Israel’s Founding Fathers, and the leader of a terrorist group that openly supported Hitler became the Israeli prime minister (Yitzhak Shamir; and another terrorist and future prime minister, Menachem Begin of Irgun, had a hotel blown up, killing nearly 100 people).  Manifest Destiny was a modern version of the Jews’ Promised Land concept, and those lands were secured by similar means.  Israel was established largely because European hatred of Jews did not even abate after the Jewish Holocaust was over.  The early years of Israel were rocky ones, and using gangsters such as Mick Cohen to provide weaponry was part of the era’s very dirty realpolitik.

It was not until Israel proved itself a murderously capable land grabber in 1967 that the era of massive and virtually unconditional support for Israel came from the USA.  Until that time, few Americans cared much about the Jewish Holocaust or Israel.  When Israel became America’s kind of fascists and a useful imperial outpost in the oil-rich Middle East, then came the close relationship, and the USA turned a blind eye to Israel's nuclear arsenal.  Since then, an industry has grown around the Jewish Holocaust.  The so-called Occupied Territories in Palestine were secured by Israel similarly to how George Washington proposed stealing Native American land: send the military and armed “settlers” into the native lands, and if the armed “settlers” can keep it from the natives, it is theirs.

In the USA, arguably the least reliable mainstream source of information on Israel and the Arab world is the New York Times, which regarding Israel leans probably further to the right than the John Birch Society and the militias do in matters involving America.  Yet, reporting on Israel in the West Coast’s mainstream media is often written by NYT staffers such as Thomas Friedman, William Safire, and others like them.

There are no people on Earth more misinformed about Israel’s situation than Americans, and media lies and obfuscations about Israel and Palestinians have reached unprecedented levels.  The radical left, including Z Magazine, FAIR and Counterpunch, with many Jews in their ranks, including Noam Chomsky (who was about the first American intellectual to publicly support Israel, long before it became fashionable.[411]), has taken on that highly distorted treatment of Israel in America’s media for many years.

One myth long promoted by Israel is portraying Palestinians as terrorists.  The Israeli state used terror as a method of dispossessing and oppressing the Palestinian people from the very beginning.  Another Israeli prime minister, Moshe Sharett, even admitted in his diary that Israel fabricated a “long chain of fake incidents and hostilities” to harm neighboring Arab states and create an atmosphere of fear and violence.  Sharett even called it “Israel’s sacred terrorism.”  From Israel’s 1948 inception to 1990, the Israeli state’s terrorist acts took more than 20 times as many lives as Palestinian acts of terrorism, but Israeli terrorism was never called that (called “retaliation” and other misleading terms), while Palestinian terrorism was played up endlessly in the American media.[412]  The Israeli state engaged in acts of large-scale terrorism that make the blood curdle, but with the American media’s double standard, Israel’s terrorism has never been called terrorism, while America’s image of a terrorist is a bearded Arab wearing an Islamic headdress.  In mind-boggling irony, the very term “terrorism” was originally coined by the British when describing the violent acts of Stern Gang and Irgun.

A year before the WTC attacks, another fascist Israeli leader, Ariel Sharon, instigated a new era of brutal Israeli oppression against the Palestinian people.  It became so bad that Palestinians became even more desperate, and suicide bombings became common, and even women suicide bombers made their appearance.  Immediately after the WTC attacks, Benyamin Netanyahu, another fascist Israeli prime minister, was asked what the WTC attacks meant for USA-Israeli relations.  Netanyahu responded with an ominous, “It's very good.”  In the wake of the WTC attacks, Israel took the gloves off, feeling that they had carte blanche to inflict violence with impunity onto the Palestinian people as part of the War on Terror.  Israel’s motto is to fight terrorism with terrorism on a far greater scale.  Israeli tanks rolled into Palestinian towns and rolled through Palestinian living rooms.

America’s War on Terror has been a windfall for fascists across the globe, as they have been killing dissidents and others with gusto, while calling it the War on Terror.  In the USA, Attorney General Ashcroft (who called himself simply “General” at the Justice Department) and friends have waged an assault on civil rights that was America’s most ominous since the McCarthy era, with sweeping police powers being granted, military courts, arbitrary detentions, the White House announcing that people need to watch what they say, and so on.  In ways, it became even worse under Obama.

During the bloody campaign that Israel waged against Palestinians during 2002, George Bush the Second took the stage and proposed a step toward a solution: demanding that Yasser Arafat step down from his position as the leader of the Palestinian people.  Arafat was not a Vichy Palestinian, although as with all national leaders, he may have been in it more for himself than the people he represents, but at least Arafat was an elected leader, unlike Bush.  Although the USA's media did not report much about it, that “diplomatic” attempt by Bush was met throughout the world with shock.  Even Tony Blair was forced into backing away, leaving Bush alone on the world stage, demonstrating that his grasp of political reality was as deep and thorough as a child’s.

One nation that everybody agreed had no relationship to the WTC attacks was Iraq.  Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein hated each other.  There were some clumsy attempts by American propagandists to fabricate the link early on, but it was quickly abandoned.  Even so, as soon as the Taliban fell and Osama bin Laden escaped, a new demon had to be brought onto center stage, and Saddam Hussein was quickly presented as the next bad guy who had to go.[413]  Nobody outside the USA believed that America’s beating of the war drums against Iraq had anything to do with caring about the Iraqi people or any other Arabs.[414]

As always in that part of the world, it is all about oil, and the Bush administration was dominated by oil interests, from Bush and Cheney on downward.  Knowledgeable observers all knew that however “evil” Saddam Hussein may have been, he was not stupid, and the last thing he would do is provoke the USA into invading Iraq.  After Hussein was captured, it came out that he really did not think that the USA would invade. 

Scarcely a hint of irony could be seen or heard as American officials and the media consider it America’s God-given right to do whatever it can get away with regarding Iraq.  Such arrogance on the world stage may be unprecedented.  There was some dissent in Washington, D.C. before the invasion, but with a few notable exceptions, it was largely the hawk-versus-hawk style of debating, as toppling Saddam Hussein was a foregone conclusion, but the debate was mostly over how to do it.

Regarding scientific issues, ultimate and proximate causes are considered in explaining events.  For instance, the ultimate cause of the Icehouse Earth that has existed for the past 35 million years and the ice age that Earth has been in for the past 2.5 million years has been declining atmospheric carbon dioxide related to a reduction in volcanism, which is in turn dependent on tectonic plate movements, which are in turn dependent on internal Earth processes, which are dependent on energy production from radioactive decay.  No scientist will deny that atmospheric carbon dioxide traps radiation from Earth and warms the atmosphere.  Proximate causes for our Icehouse Earth and ice age have been oceanic currents shaped by land masses (and configurations at the poles and equator are important for this ice age) and Milankovitch cycles.  Today's so-called Global Warming debate is largely a fraudulent charade concocted by the hydrocarbon lobby, and the industrial age's pollution is impacting the ultimate cause of this ice age and Icehouse Earth, not a proximate cause.  Arguments made by hydrocarbon lobby "scientists" seem to purposefully confuse ultimate and proximate causes.

Similarly, in July 2014, as I updated this essay, I read many explanations proffered by all manner of observer for why the USA invaded Iraq, as the official rationales were obviously fraudulent.  Those analyses could have benefitted from understanding the distinction between ultimate and proximate causes.  The ultimate cause for invading Iraq was its oil, which is history's greatest material prize.  Any analysis that ignores the ultimate cause and begins debating proximate causes has failed to see the forest for the trees, but virtually every analysis that I saw ignored oil.  Were they assuming it away so that they could discuss proximate causes?  If so, that silence crippled the validity of their analyses, just as the Bush administration was silent about the oil, although Bush, Cheney, and Rice were all oil industry executives.  Whom did they think they were fooling?

America is the new Roman Empire, with an empire that spans the globe.  Is Armageddon just around the corner?  Will humanity survive America’s reign?  It does not have to be this way, and we can change it.

 

Invading and Occupying Iraq – A Postscript

I originally finished my site in September 2002.  For somebody who wrote about Iraq since 1991, the drumbeating for Iraq's invasion was a nightmare in itself.  I wrote a letter to a friend in November 2002, which was posted to the Internet.  All of my public pre-invasion concerns were validated by post-invasion reality.  That the Bush administration invaded Iraq while serving up a string of continually-shifting rationales, that have all proven to be lies, while never admitting that it was all about oil and empire, was no surprise to informed observers.  The Iraqi oilfields comprise the world’s biggest treasure chest, and USA will be in the vicinity for as long as it can, managing the situation for its benefit.  There are no plans to leave the region anytime soon, no matter how much blood is spilled.  The charade of giving Iraq “democracy” is an obscene joke.  Economic Hit Man John Perkins knew well what the invasion of Iraq was about.  The below photo collage sums up the noble nature of our Iraq adventure.

invasion.jpg (366151 bytes)Click on image to enlarge

The invasion/occupation of Iraq section of this essay could easily be one hundred pages long, but I do not have the time or stomach for it.  The invasion/occupation was one of history’s great, evil deeds, with nearly three million excess Iraqi deaths on top of more than a million deaths from the first Gulf War and ensuing economic warfare.[415]  The death toll in Afghanistan is likely even higherHowever, the invasion has perhaps done some good.  For one thing, the Empire is being derailed, in a classic instance of “imperial overreach,” and had difficulty digesting what it seized.  In America, it used to be relatively easy to shuffle along with the masses and not stand out too much.  Not anymore.  Those emblazoning their car bumpers with jingoistic slogans such as “The Power of Pride” have openly cast their lot with the imperialists, and staying silent in the face of recent events is like being a “Good German” in the 1930s and 1940s.  In general, informed Americans did not support the invasion or Bush’s policies, but if people were poorly informed or misinformed (as in those who get their “news” from Fox News), they supported Bush policies.[416]  The decline and fall of the American Empire will likely take some time (but empires collapse far faster now than in previous millennia), but it is time to put an end to nations, warfare, and politicians, and I will be devoting the rest of my lifetime's public efforts to helping that come to pass

 

Footnotes

[1] See Clive Ponting’s A Green History of the World.

[2] The early 21st century anthropologists’ view of the pre-Columbian New World is presented in Charles C. Mann’s 1491, published in 2005; on the battles over the early inhabitation date, see 1491, pp. 137-173.

[3] See, for instance, Michael Moseley’s The Incas and their Ancestors; The Archeology of Peru.    

[4] See, for instance, Michael Berliner of the Ayn Rand Institute defending the European invasion.  His essays are easily found the Internet, speak for themselves, and echoed Ayn Rand's rapacious sentiments.  Another scholar, Dinesh D’Souza, from the right-wing think tank Hoover Institution, also defended Columbus’s efforts in the New World and all that came behind it, with a command of the facts and interpretation similar to Berliner’s.  His work is also easily found on the Internet.

[5] See Jack Weatherford’s Indian Givers, pp. 59-115.  See also the diffusion the other way in Alfred Crosby’s The Columbian Exchange, pp. 64-121.

[6] On the Anasazi collapse, see Jared Diamond’s Collapse, 136-156.  On the Mayan collapse, see Diamond’s Collapse, pp. 157-177, and Charles C. Mann’s 1491, pp. 243-279.  On the Cahokian collapse, see Mann’s 1491, pp. 259-267.

[7] See Charles C. Mann’s 1491, pp. 196-201 on milpa agriculture, and pp. 299-300 on the adoption of swidden agriculture only after European contact.

[8] See Charles C. Mann’s 1491, pp. 251-252.

[9] See Charles C. Mann’s 1491, pp. 6-15, 280-311.

[10] See Carl Sauer’s Sixteenth Century North America, pp. 302-304.

[11] See Bernal Díaz del Castillo’s The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico, translated by A.P. Maudslay, and Hernan Cortés’s Letters from Mexico, translated by Anthony Pagden.   

[12] See Hugh Thomas’s Conquest, pp. 227-250, 587.

[13] See Antonio Pigafetta’s diary of the voyage.  See Urs Bitterli’s Cultures in Conflict, pp. 22-23.  That offensive bloodshed inflicted on peaceful natives was not an unusual “exploration” style then.  “First contacts” in which the native reception was hostile is evidence that previous “explorers” had probably already preyed upon the natives.  See Laurence Bergreen’s Over the Edge of the World for a recent account of Magellan’s feat.  That voyage of discovery was an exceedingly violent affair.  The first violence was inflicted on each other, with a mutiny when they were in South America, and murders, executions, torture, and maroonings were among the events.  Magellan did not inform his crew where they were going, as they would have certainly mutinied if they knew what Magellan attempted.  Events went downhill from the first mutiny (another occurred not long afterward), and bloodshed, kidnappings, and other horrors accompanied most of the voyage’s encounters with natives.  Magellan practiced coerced conversion to Christianity and came to an ignominious end when he attacked an island where he had previously burned down a village after its chief refused to convert.  The natives fought back that time and killed him while his men largely looked on, most either happy that the megalomaniac was being killed or stupefied at the senselessness of Magellan’s attack on natives who refused to convert (see pp. 284-285).  Later in the voyage, slaughtering several natives whose boat just happened to be sailing by when the crew wanted to ask directions barely merited mention, as the crew was so inured to the violence that they inflicted (see p. 337).  Spain quickly launched other expeditions to wrest the spice trade from Portugal, but they were unmitigated disasters (see pp. 410-412).  About 30 people died of scurvy on Magellan’s Pacific crossing, and an equal number were debilitated.  As early as 1498, European “explorers” became acquainted with scurvy and its cure, when Arab traders cured Vasco da Gama’s crew of scurvy by feeding them oranges, because the Arabs were more experienced with long voyages (see pp. 215-216).  It was first of many encounters with natives who cured the Europeans of scurvy, but over the next three centuries about two million Europeans died of scurvy on the high seas, as Europeans ignored or derided the obvious cures

[14] See Urs Bitterli’s Cultures in Conflict, pp. 155-156.  After the invasion by the “explorer” Alvaro de Mandaña in 1568, the natives of the Solomon Islands were spared for two more centuries, until they were “rediscovered.”  

[15] See Carl Sauer’s Sixteenth Century North America, pp. 299-300.

[16] Written by the essayist Montaigne, in his 1595 “On the Cannibals” in The Essays of Michel de Montaigne.  See Charles C. Mann’s 1491, p. 335.

[17] See Charles C. Mann’s 1491, p. 335.  See Hugh Thomas’s Conquest, p. 349.

[18] See David Duncan’s Hernando de Soto, pp. 134-136.

[19] See John Hemming’s The Conquest of the Incas, pp. 118-136.  See Michael Moseley’s The Incas and Their Ancestors, pp. 7-9.  See David Duncan’s Hernando de Soto, pp. 183-186.

[20] After the invading Spaniards seized the houses, food and clothing of the Tiguex, and raped their women, the Tiguex resisted, which led to a Spanish attack that burned 50 people at the stake who had surrendered.  Coronado’s men then laid siege to the Moho Pueblo, and after a months-long siege, they slaughtered 200 fleeing warriors.  See Sauer’s Sixteenth Century North America, pp. 130-151, 301, 304.  See Richard Flint's No Settlement, No Conquest, pp. 144-153.

[21] See John R. Johnson's "Ethnohistoric Descriptions of Chumash Warfare", in North American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence, edited by Richard Chacon and Rubén G. Mendoza, especially pp. 96-97, which reports that in more than 30 years of post-contact documented violence recorded one event with 13 deaths, but no other that resulted in more than a handful of deaths, with a fatal event about once every five years. 

[22] See Jacques Gernet’s A History of Chinese Civilization, pp. 398-405.

[23] Robin Blackburn’s The Making of New World Slavery analyzes that issue.  

[24] See Carl Sauer’s Northern Mists, pp. 22-29.

[25] See Lyle McAlister’s Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700, p. 252.

[26] For some reading on those times, see Johan Huizinga’s The Waning of the Middle Ages, esp. pp. 1-21, Clive Ponting’s A Green History of the World, chapter 6, David Stannard’s American Holocaust, pp. 57-62.

[27] See Urs Bitterli's Cultures in Conflict, p. 64.

[28] See Kirkpatrick Sale's The Conquest of Paradise, p. 165.

[29] One might notice that Las Casas did not free his slaves, but gave them to somebody else.  The humanitarian impulse of Las Casas, which was possibly the most pronounced one in Spain, still had its limits.  Las Casas admired Columbus, and probably could not conceive of freeing his slaves, and it probably was not practical anyway, since there were no "free Indians" living near the white man in those days.

[30] Formal proclamations of taking land in the name of kings and empires was a Spanish tradition, and after 1513, at every new beach and every village or town the Spaniards encountered, the welcoming natives were treated to a reading of the Requirement, or Requerimiento.  An example is when Pizarro made his first excursion to the Incan Empire in 1527.  The first Incan noble that he met was told the following:

 

"I, Francisco Pizarro, servant of the high and mighty kings of Castile and Léon, conquerors of barbarian peoples, and being their messenger and Captain, hereby notify and inform you...that God Our Lord, One and Eternal, created Heaven and Earth and a man and a woman from whom you and I and all the people of the world are descended...Because of the great multitude begotten from these over the past 5000 and some years since the world was made...God placed one called Saint Peter in charge over all these peoples...

"And so I request and require you... to recognize the Church as your mistress and as Governess of the World and Universe, and the High Priest, called the Pope, in Her name, and his Majesty (king of Spain) in Her place, as Ruler and Lord King...

"And if you do not do this...with the help of God I shall come mightily against you, and I shall make a war on you everywhere and in every way that I can, and I shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and His Majesty, and I shall seize your women and children, and I shall make them slaves, to sell and dispose of as his Majesty commands, and I shall do all the evil and damage to you that I am able.  And I insist that the deaths and destruction that result from this will be your fault."  See Ronald Wright’s Stolen Continents, pp. 65-66.  Also see discussion of the development and use of the document in Lyle McAlister’s Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700, p. 90.  See Tzvetan Todorov’s The Conquest of America, pp. 146-149.

 

[31] See Bartolomé de Las Casas's A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, p. 33. 

[32] See Hugh Thomas's Conquest, p. 103. 

[33] By 1557, the flow of New World wealth into the Spanish court’s coffers amounted to 11% of crown revenues.  See Lyle McAlister’s Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700, p.186-187. 

[34] See Hugh Thomas’s Conquest, pp. 358-382.

[35] See Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s Castaways, translated by Frances M. López-Morillas.  Abbreviated accounts can be seen in David Duncan’s Hernando de Soto and Ian Steele’s Warpaths.    

[36] The death rates of the native slaves at the gold mines on Española were about 50% per year, per Las Casas.  See Carl Sauer’s The Early Spanish Main, p. 148.  Stated another way, the life expectancy of a native in an Españolan gold mine was about a year, maybe less.  After the conquest of the Incas, the life expectancy of a native in the South American silver mines was about four months.  The life expectancy of a Jew in the Auschwitz rubber factory during World War II was about four months.  See David Stannard's American Holocaust, p. 89.  There was a difference in attitude, however.  The Spanish genocide of the New World natives had greed as virtually its sole motivation.  As Carl Sauer stated, the Spanish “operation was maintained by treating the natives as expendable.” (The Early Spanish Main, p. 155)  The Nazis' primary motivation was racism, with greed less obvious.  On one hand, German corporations clamored for the cheap (nearly free, the modest fees went to the Nazis) Jewish labor for its factories.  On the other, the Nazis were only too willing to provide them cheap labor, and the fewer workers who returned to the concentration camp at the end of the day, the better.  There were always more subhumans (Untermenschen) being rounded up to fill the camps.  Christopher Simpson explored the relationship between the Nazis and the German corporations in The Splendid Blond Beast

[37] See Alonso de Zorita’s The Brief and Summary Relation of the Lords of New Spain, translated by Benjamin Keen, p. 210.

[38] See Alonso de Zorita’s The Brief and Summary Relation of the Lords of New Spain, translated by Benjamin Keen, 1994 edition, pp. 206-218, and 6-10.  On p. 66, Keen noted that although epidemics have generally received most of the credit for the collapsing native population over the recent decades, recent scholarship is showing that the labor policies might have been the greatest contributing factor in the native genocide.  It paralleled what the Spanish did to the Taino in the Caribbean.  As an example, in his El Dorado in the Marshes, which was about the Spanish gold rush in the region between the Andes and Amazon, Massimo Livi Bacci concluded the book with: "In demographic terms, the Llanos suffered more from attacks by humans that from attacks by microbes."

[39] See Pedro de Cieza de León’s The Incas, translated by Harriet de Onis, p. 163.  See Adam Wasserman’s Two Sides of the Coin: A History of Gold, pp. 43-55.

[40] See Pedro de Cieza de León’s The Incas, p.62.

[41] See John Hemming's The Conquest of the Incas, pp. 368-373.  See also Weatherford, Indian Givers, pp. 1-20.

[42] See John Hemming's The Conquest of the Incas, pp. 367-369.  See also David Stannard's American Holocaust, pp. 90-92.

[43] See William Denevan's The Native Population of the Americas in 1492, xxiv - xxv, 151-180, and David Stannard's American Holocaust, p. 91.

[44] Those epidemics are summarized in Charles Gibson's The Aztecs under Spanish Rule, pp. 448-451.

[45] See Bartolomé de Las Casas's A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, p 38, 99, 103.  See Alonso de Zorita’s The Brief and Summary Relation of the Lords of New Spain, translated by Benjamin Keen, 1994 edition, p. 210.  See also David Radell’s account of the depopulation of Nicaragua by the slave trade after the Mexican conquest in William Denevan’s The Native Population of the Americas in 1492, pp. 67-76.  Decapitating collapsed porters became a standard practice by the Spanish in the New World.  In Venezuela, the load of the decapitated porter was distributed to the other natives in the chain.

[46] According to Friar Juan Fernández de Ángulo, cited in Bartolomé de Las Casas's A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, p 82.

[47] See Lyle McAlister's Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700, pp. 126-127.

[48] See Urs Bitterli’s Cultures in Conflict, p. 22.

[49] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, p. 101.  See Carl Sauer’s Sixteenth Century North America, pp. 69-76. 

[50] See Carl Sauer’s Sixteenth Century North America, pp. 69-76, and see also pp. 299-300.

[51] See Carl Sauer’s The Early Spanish Main, pp. 218-277.  See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, p. 83, 218.  

[52] Pizarro arrested Balboa, and Pizarro was murdered by his own men.

[53] See David Duncan’s Hernando de Soto, A Savage Quest in the Americas, pp. xxix-xxx.  Soto’s haul from the Incan plunder could have purchased more than 100 caravels of the day, which were Spain’s best sailing vessels.  In today’s value put on gold and silver, his haul would have been worth about ten million dollars, but in purchasing strength, it would have been far greater.  Building the equivalent of 100 caravels today would be immensely costly, far more than $10 million.

[54] See Sauer’s Sixteenth Century North America, p. 167, 302.  One of the best accounts of Soto’s adventures is considered to be David Ewing Duncan’s Hernando de Soto, A Savage Quest in the Americas.  See his account of the Soto expedition and those depopulated lands on pp. 327-351.

[55] See Herbert Priestley’s Tristán de Luna, p. 112, for instance, and pp. 117-159.  See Charles Mann’s 1491, p. 98.

[56] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, p. 129.

[57] As Lyle McAlister made the point in his Spain and Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700, pp. 163-165, encomienda was a type of repartimiento.  There were variations of the institutions, but more benign repartimientos succeeded the encomienda.  See Charles Gibson's The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule, chapter 9.

[58] See Charles Gibson's The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule, p. 274 and chapter 10 in particular for what happened to the native lands in the Valley of Mexico. 

[59] See Charles Gibson's The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule, p. 277.

[60] See Lyle McAlister's Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700, p. 245. 

[61] See Lyle McAlister's Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700, p. 240.

[62] See Jack Weatherford's Indian Givers for an overview of Native American contributions to today's world. 

[63] See Charles Gibson's The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule, chapter 11.

[64] See Charles Gibson's The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule, pp. 329-330.  See also Ramón Eduardo Ruiz's Triumphs and Tragedy, pp. 107-112.

[65] See Charles Gibson's The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule, p. 401.  See also p. 399.

[66] See a reproduction of that list in Ward Churchill's A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 107-108.

[67] See Ward Churchill's A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 107.  They were immigrants escaping The Inquisition and the hostile social/political/economic environment of the Iberian Peninsula.  It was one of the few opportunities to create a new life.  See also Lyle McAlister’s Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700, pp. 115-116.

[68] See Ronald Wright's Stolen Continents, pp. 156-157 for a reproduction of the plea the Huexotzincos made to the Emperor.  See Hugh Thomas's Conquest, p. 428, for the deal that the Tlaxcalans negotiated with Cortés in return for their support during the conquest of Tenochtitlán.

[69] For instance, Nuño de Guzman, a lawyer who brutally conquered what is today northwestern Mexico, was notorious for his murderous cruelty.  He was eventually tried and spent his last years as a prisoner in Spain.  Perhaps his most notorious act was hanging six chieftains who failed to sweep the path where he was going to walk.  See Ramón Eduardo Ruiz's Triumphs and Tragedy, p. 57.

[70] See Lyle McAlister's Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700, p. 186-194.

[71] See Charles Gibson's The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule, pp. 220-256.

[72] See Alonso de Zorita’s The Brief and Summary Relation of the Lords of New Spain, translated by Benjamin Keen, 1994 edition, pp. 118-129.

[73] See Charles Gibson's The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule, p. 344.

[74] See Elinor G. K. Melville’s A Plague of Sheep, pp. 39-44.

[75] See Alfred Crosby’s The Columbian Exchange, pp. 64-121.  See Lyle McAlister's Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700, pp. 214-223.

[76] See Alonso de Zorita’s The Brief and Summary Relation of the Lords of New Spain, translated by Benjamin Keen, 1994 edition, pp. 6-10.

[77] See Lyle McAlister's Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700, pp. 20-24.

[78] See Clive Ponting’s A Green History of the World, p. 78.

[79] See a brief discussion of some of mass grazing’s impact in Andrew Goudie’s The Human Impact, pp. 49-52, and see Alfred Crosby’s The Columbian Exchange, pp. 111-113.

[80] See Charles Gibson’s The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule, p. 303.

[81] See, for instance, Elinor G. K. Melville’s A Plague of Sheep, which was the result of research into the Spanish impact in early New Spain, particularly the valley north of the Valley of Mexico known today as the Valle del Mezquital, which is a semi-arid valley that today benefits from Mexico City's sewage.  The Valle de Mezquital was fertile farmland interspersed with large forested tracts when the Spaniards came conquering, and the steep decline in the native population combined with deforestation and the introduction of sheep on that farmland turned the Valle into semi-desert in less than a century.  Her study is generally considered the best in existence as of the early 21st century.  That phenomenon occurred throughout New Spain during the first century of conquest.  Melville demonstrated that the same general trend accompanied the European invaders of Australia during the 19th century, as they introduced sheep and deforested the land.

[82] See Clive Ponting’s A Green History of the World, pp. 161-193.

[83] See discussion in Jack Weatherford’s Indian Givers, pp. 1-20.  See Lyle McAlister’s Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700, p.462-468 for a discussion.  The inflation and money issue is contentious in ways, as far as what caused what (population pressures may have contributed the most), but the flooding of Europe with New World silver and gold had a major impact. 

[84] See Tzvetan Todorov's The Conquest of America, pp. 142-143.  Todorov showed, however, that greed did not explain all of the Spanish motivation.  In the next paragraph, he showed that a lust for power, of life and death over the conquered natives, also fueled the Spanish drive. 

[85] See Carl Sauer's The Early Spanish Main, p. x.

[86] See Carl Sauer's “Destructive exploitation in modern colonial expansion”, International Geographical Congress, Amsterdam, 1938, volume 3, section IIIC, 494-9, quoted in Andrew Goudie's The Human Impact, pp. 7-8.

[87] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust and Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide

[88] Among the sources for this narrative regarding the Spanish gold rush of the 1500s are: Carl Sauer’s The Early Spanish Main and Sixteenth Century North America; Hernan Cortés’s Letters from Mexico, translated by Anthony Pagden; Bernal Díaz del Castillo’s The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico, translated by A.P. Maudslay; Hugh Thomas’s Conquest: Montezuma, Cortés, and the Fall of Old Mexico; David Ewing Duncan’s Hernando De Soto: A Savage Quest in the Americas; John Hemming’s The Conquest of the Incas; Pedro de Cieza de León’s The Incas, translated by Harriet de Onis; Life and Labor in Ancient Mexico: The Brief and Summary Relation of the Lords of New Spain, by Alonzo de Zorita, translated by Benjamin Keen; David Stannard’s American Holocaust; Lyle McAlister’s Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700.  See also the sources for this site’s Columbus essay. 

[89] See Carl Sauer’s Northern Mists, pp. 46-53.

[90] See William Denevan’s The Native Population of the Americas in 1492, Second Edition, p. xxviii. 

[91] See Robin Blackburn’s The Making of New World Slavery, p. 135.

[92] The other bankruptcies happened in 1575, 1596, 1607, 1627, 1647 and 1653.  See Lyle McAlister’s Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700, p. 298.

[93] See, for instance, Edward Peters’s Inquisition.  The book’s biases are made evident in its first sentence, as it characterizes one of the most brutal chapters in the history of religion as the Catholic Church’s defense from the “attacks of heretics.”  Try Edward Burman’s The Inquisition for a concise account of the evolution of the phenomenon.  Burman finishes his book with a poignant question: “was Christianity worth preserving?”  Henry Charles Lea’s three-volume history of the Inquisition is the classic in its field, although it is a bit dated, being written in the 19th century. 

[94] Among the sources used for the Portuguese and Dutch imperial efforts are: Boris Fausto’s A Concise History of Brazil; James Anderson’s The History of Portugal; Lyle McAlister’s Spain & Portugal in the New World, 1492-1700; Robin Blackburn’s The Making of New World Slavery; Bitterli’s Cultures in Conflict; Meltzer’s Slavery, A World History; Stannard’s American Holocaust; Encarta Encyclopedia.

[95] See Hugh Thomas’s The Slave Trade, p. 804.

[96] See Carl Sauer’s Sixteenth Century North America, pp. 237-242, and David Stannard’s American Holocaust, pp. 99-100.

[97] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, pp. 101-103.

[98] See Carl Sauer’s Sixteenth Century North America, pp. 250-265.

[99] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, p. 103.

[100] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, p. 105.

[101] See David Duncan’s Hernando de Soto, pp. 259-261.  See Richard Shenkman’s Legends, Lies and Cherished Myths of American History, pp. 110-111.

[102] See Ian Steele’s, Warpaths, pp. 45-47.

[103] See Ian Steele’s, Warpaths, pp. 46-47.

[104] See Ian Steele’s, Warpaths, p. 49.

[105] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 167-168.

[106] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 169-177.

[107] See Alfred Cave’s The Pequot War, p. 152. 

[108] See Ian Steele’s Warpaths, pp. 94-95.  See Alfred Cave’s The Pequot War, pp. 164-167.  Cave related contemporary doubts about Miantonomi’s intentions and alleged speech. 

[109] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 197-198.

[110] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, The Metaphysics of Indian Hating and Empire Building, esp. pp. 3-20.

[111] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, pp. 25-26.

[112] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, p. 114.

[113] See Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, p. 15.  See an analysis of the English/Puritanical worldview as it collided with New England reality in Alfred Cave’s The Pequot War, esp. pp. 13-48.

[114] See William Cronon’s Changes in the Land, which documents the devastation of the aboriginal environment by the English invasion. 

[115] See Kirkpatrick Sale's The Conquest of Paradise, pp. 317-319.

[116] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, pp. 98-99, 223-225. 

[117] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, p. 181.

[118] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, p. 182.

[119] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 190-196.  For a more sympathetic treatment, see Urs Bitterli’s Cultures in Conflict, pp. 87-108.

[120] See Ian Steele’s Warpaths, p. 61.

[121] See Carl Sauer’s Sixteenth Century North America, p. 302. See Ian Steele’s Warpaths, p. 63.  There is also speculation that the valley became a no man’s land due to battling tribes.

[122] See Ian Steele’s Warpaths, p. 63-65.

[123] An early instance of Spanish cultural justification for bloodshed was Balboa’s quest for the Pacific Ocean.  Balboa was about the most capable and virtuous conquistador.  On his 1513 Pacific Ocean expedition, which was designed to claim it (history’s largest claiming), he also sought gold constantly.  Torturing chiefs to death to reveal where their (non-existent) mines were and feeding them to his dogs were among Balboa’s activities (and then taking the surviving women as concubines).  During one famous night, Balboa attacked a sleeping village and put several hundred people to death, and his favorite dog tore the chief’s head off (a difficult feat), much to the delight of Balboa’s entourage.  About 40 native men were dressed in what seemed feminine garb, and Balboa gave them special treatment: killing them and feeding them to his dogs.  Balboa’s justification was their “nefarious” practice of “sodomy.”  Balboa knew nearly nothing about what the seeming feminine garb may have signified.  I nearly attended Balboa Junior High School.  See John Grier Varner and Jeanette Johnson Varner's Dogs of Conquest, pp. 36-39.  See Carl Sauer's The Early Spanish Main, pp. 231-237.  See David Duncan's Hernando de Soto, pp. 31-32.

[124] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 190-196.  See Urs Bitterli’s Cultures in Conflict, pp. 87-108.  See Ian Steele’s Warpaths, pp. 59-79.  See Carl Sauer’s Seventeenth Century North America, pp. 77-125

[125] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 151-157.

[126] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, p. 241.

[127] See Urs Bitterli’s Cultures in Conflict, pp. 155-177.

[128] That speculation is seen in Bruce Johansen’s Forgotten Founders, p.120.  While researching his book, Johansen encountered significant evidence that the Enlightenment was indeed influenced, perhaps even initiated, by Europe’s encounters with Native American cultures.  It was out of his book’s scope, but he suggested that somebody could delve further into that issue.  To my knowledge, that issue has not been explored in a scholarly manner. 

[129] As an example, see R. David Edmunds and Joseph L. Peyser’s The Fox Wars, esp. pp. 129-130.

[130] See R. David Edmunds and Joseph L. Peyser’s The Fox Wars, esp. pp. 119-201, 219-220.

[131] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 194-196.

[132] See Carl Sauer’s Sixteenth Century North America, pp. 52-61.

[133] Amherst’s letters were between him and Colonel Henry Bouquet and Captain Simeon Ecuyer.  William Trent, who worked for Ecuyer at Fort Pitt, wrote of his successful efforts, “Out of our regard to them we gave them two Blankets and a handkerchief out of the smallpox hospital.  I hope it will have the desired effect.”  See also Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, p. 154.  Some of these letters have been reproduced on the Internet, where the originals can be viewed. 

[134] See Richard Shenkman’s Legends, Lies and Cherished Myths of American History, p. 113.

[135] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, esp. pp. 119-164.

[136] See, for instance, Ward Churchill’s Indians Are Us?

[137] Estimates of Washington’s fortune, nearly all in land holdings, range up to $500 million in 2005 dollars.

[138] See Reginald Horsman’s Expansion and American Indian Policy, 1783-1812, pp. 3-15.  As noted by Allen Eckert in his That Dark and Bloody River, pp. 439-440, Washington had been stealing American Indian lands since 1748 with his Ohio Land Company.  Using his influence to remove the Indians, so that he could profit from land speculation on those dishonestly-acquired lands, came naturally to Washington.  That corrupt and blatant conflict of interest did not trouble Washington at all.  Those kinds of activities were how Washington became America’s richest citizen by 1783, and his prodigious land grabs only increased. 

[139] See George Washington’s letter to James Duane, September 7, 1783.  See Reginald Horsman’s Expansion and American Indian Policy, 1783-1812, p. 9.  Duane was the chairman of the Continental Congress’s four-man committee that formed its Indian policy.  See Reginald Horsman’s Expansion and American Indian Policy, 1783-1812, p.175, note 6.  The report, which that committee issued the next month and the Continental Congress immediately adopted as official policy, quoted Washington’s letter nearly verbatim in places.  See Reginald Horsman’s Expansion and American Indian Policy, 1783-1812, p. 11. 

[140] See Allan Eckert’s That Dark and Bloody River, pp. 439-442.  See also the discussion of Washington’s plan in Wiley Sword’s President Washington’s Indian War, p. 27.  See also Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 209-211. 

[141] See Reginald Horsman’s Expansion and American Indian Policy, 1783-1812, pp. 131, 150-153.  For some particularly large, early sales, such as land in the acquired-by-conquest Ohio River Valley, the land companies sometimes paid only eight cents per acre for recently “ceded” Indian lands, as the USA's government began using the land sales as a major source of federal revenue (see p. 42).

[142] See Christopher Simpson’s The Splendid Blond Beast, pp. 59-74.  The Aryanized businesses also were forced to put the proceeds into bank accounts with limited withdrawal capacity, so in the end, Germany's Jews did only slightly "better" than Indians did under Washington's plan. 

[143] My father’s side of my family has a genealogy that traces the family name to Scotland, when my direct ancestor migrated to Pennsylvania in the 1730s.  My father’s ancestors then migrated to North Carolina and, although Quakers, they moved to Ohio in 1811, Indiana in 1816, and Kansas in 1879.  My ancestors essentially followed in the wake of fraudulent treaties and the U.S. Army as Native Americans were dispossessed.

[144] See John Shy’s A People Numerous and Armed, pp. 177-178.

[145] According to the only detailed study done of a community during the Revolutionary War, the Hackensack Valley, a great deal of rebel and Loyalist militia fighting was of the “score settling” variety, as the rubric of revolution was used to attack rival ethnic groups, churches, and neighbors.  See John Shy’s A People Numerous and Armed, p. 206.  See a discussion of the fractious nature of the revolution in Chomsky and Herman’s After the Cataclysm, pp. 40-46.  In Alfred Young, Terry Fife’s and Mary Janzen’s We the People, the authors began the book by noting that John Adams was writing as early as 1809 that American history was already “getting full of falsehoods.”  The authors noted that “The history of this period [the American Revolution – Ed.] is obscured by hero worship and sacred symbols” and it was difficult to “separate myth from reality, or to challenge the sacred.” (see p. viii). 

[146] See John Shy’s A People Numerous and Armed, p. 146.

[147] See John Shy’s A People Numerous and Armed, pp. 173, 197-198.

[148] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, pp. 329-332.  See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, p. 149.

[149] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, p. 276, n. 430.

[150] Even a children’s book, Robert Young’s The Real Patriots of the American Revolution, poses that question. 

[151] Samuel Johnson made that observation.  See Chomsky and Herman’s After the Cataclysm, pp. 316-317, n. 46-51.

[152] See Howard Zinn’s Declarations of Independence, p. 152.

[153] See David Waldstreicher’s Runaway America, p. 22.

[154] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, pp. 72-73.

[155] Howard Zinn’s Declarations of Independence, p. 185.

[156] See Wiley Sword’s President Washington’s Indian War; The Struggle for the Old Northwest, 1790-1795, pp. 145-207.

[157] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 213-215.

[158] For discussions on how the mainstream history texts fail to deal with those dynamics of the War of 1812, see James Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me, pp. 99-136, and see Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, pp. 125-126.

[159] See Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XIV

[160] See Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XI

[161] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, esp. pp. 92-93.

[162] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, esp. pp. 81-82.

[163] See Thomas Jefferson's letter of February 27, 1803.  My source is Jefferson Writings, published by The Library of America, pp. 1117-1120. A link to it is here

[164] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, p. 98.

[165] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, p. 153.

[166] See Bruce Johansen’s Forgotten Founders, pp. 56-76.

[167] See Richard Slotkin’s Regeneration Through Violence, pp. 205-213.

[168] See Urs Bitterli’s Cultures in Conflict, pp. 109-132.

[169] See Donald Durnbaugh’s Fruit of the Vine, A History of the Brethren, 1708-1995.  The Sauers’ tale is very obscure, and while I have found some sources, I plan to look into those events more fully one day. 

[170] See Richard Shenkman’s Legends, Lies and Cherished Myths of American History, pp. 21-22.

[171] See David Waldstreicher's Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery, and The American Revolution.

[172] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, p. 70.

[173] See chapter 5 of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States

[174] Benjamin Lay was arguably the first abolitionist, and a friend of Ben Franklin.  Lay made public demonstrations against the brutal effects of the British tea trade.  See David Waldstreicher’s Runaway America, pp. 80-83.

[175] See John Shy’s A People Numerous and Armed, p. 218.  See Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, p. 78.

[176] See Thomas Cooper’s A Time Before Deception, p. 3

[177] See Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage, p. 77.  Ambrose was Eisenhower’s biographer and was nearly the epitome of an establishment historian. 

[178] See Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage, pp. 155-158. 

[179] See Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage, pp. 165-175. 

[180] See Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage, pp. 389-392.

[181] See Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage, pp. 457-458.

[182] See Paul Farmer’s The Uses of Haiti, p. 70.

[183] See Alfred Young’s The Shoemaker and the Tea Party, p. 116.

[184] See Richard Shenkman’s “I Love Paul Revere, Whether He Rode or Not”, pp. 16-33.

[185] See Alfred Young’s The Shoemaker and the Tea Party, pp. 155-165.

[186] See Alfred Young’s The Shoemaker and the Tea Party, pp. 56-57.

[187] Two mainstream books that deal with the American mythmakers and the reality they have misrepresented are Richard Shenkman’s Legends, Lies and Cherished Myths of American History and “I Love Paul Revere Whether he Rode or Not”

[188] See Wiley Sword’s President Washington’s Indian War, pp. 45-68.

[189] See a summary of those events in William Blum's Killing Hope, pp. 444-452.

[190] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, p. 90-92.

[191] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 185-186.

[192] The labels and names that Europeans have bestowed upon the Native Americans were rarely terms of appreciation.  There is debate over whether Native American polities should be called tribes, nations, bands, etc.  During the years of the study and writing of this essay and its updates as of 2014, the trend has been away from calling them American Indians to Native Americans, although many of them use the terms interchangeably.  Peoples who are commonly called by names such as the “Creek,” often do not appreciate the appellations.  There were about 100 tribes known by the name “Creek.”  Although I have “Creek” blood myself, I can appreciate that writing as a white man, not all Native Americans will agree with my terminology, nor all of the ideas I am using here.  For whatever inaccuracies I may be promulgating in my work about Native Americans, they have my apologies.  I am trying to write about “my people,” which are white Americans, and that is the main focus of my work, always, although I believe that all of humanity is one, with all of us descendants from a founder population about 60,000 years ago.

[193] See Alan Galway’s The Indian Slave Trade for a history of early colonial South Carolina and the English slave trade in the region. 

[194] See Alan Galway’s The Indian Slave Trade, pp. 40-69.  See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, p. 200.  See Ian Steele’s Warpaths, pp. 51-52.

[195] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 195-196. 

[196] On the Cherokee and these early days with the British, among my sources are Ian Steele’s Warpaths, Ronald Wright’s Stolen Continents, Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, and there are some good Internet sources, especially Lee Sultzman’s work. 

[197] See Ronald Wright’s Stolen Continents, p. 113.

[198] See John Demos’s book of that name. 

[199] See Ronald Wright’s Stolen Continents, p. 206.

[200] See John Ehle’s Trail of Tears, p. 75. 

[201] These can be dismissed as simple Indian legends, but serious scholars consider them.  See Eckert’s A Sorrow in Our Heart, pp. 672-675.  See Ehle’s Trail of Tears, pp. 102-103.  On the zero year curse, Ronald Reagan apparently broke the curse by surviving an assassination attempt, and George Bush the Second survived his tenure.

[202] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, p. 252.

[203] See John Ehle’s Trail of Tears, p. 122.

[204] See John Ehle’s Trail of Tears, p. 131.

[205] See Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, p. 127.

[206] See John Ehle’s Trail of Tears, p. 132.

[207] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, p. 108. 

[208] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, pp. 121-122.

[209] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, pp. 104-111. 

[210] See John Ehle’s Trail of Tears, p. 220.

[211] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 144-145

[212] See Ronald Wright’s Stolen Continents, p. 292.  The second quote comes from the same writings that the first are taken from.

[213] See Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, pp. 128-129.

[214] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 217-218.

[215] See Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, p. 149.

[216] Leonard Dinnerstein’s Anti-Semitism in America deals with the rise of anti-Semitism in America, which began in the 1840s.  It also applied to the other non-Anglo immigrants, such as the Irish and Eastern Europeans, but Jews suffered from the discrimination the worst. 

[217] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, pp. 73-74.

[218] See Jack Weatherford’s Indian Givers, pp. 59-78.

[219] See Michael Parenti's History as Mystery, pp. 209-240.

[220] See James Rawls’s Indians of California, The Changing Image, pp. 168-169.

[221] See Ulysses Grant’s letter to President Andrew Johnson of December 18, 1865. 

[222] My father’s father was born in Plainville Kansas in 1907.  His early years were spent living in a sod hut.  He largely grew up in Wallace, in western Kansas, where the fort that Custer deserted was.  The Great Depression and Dust Bowl drove my grandfather, his young wife, and their oldest daughter out of Kansas, along with numerous other family members.  They moved around the nation, Grapes-of-Wrath-style, until coming to Washington State in 1935, while my grandmother was malnourished and pregnant with my father, who was born with rickets and nearly died.  I lived with my grandparents in Seattle for several months in the 1980s and became close to my grandfather.  In early 1994 my grandmother died, and in May I flew from Ohio and met my grandfather and aunt in Denver, and we drove to Plainville, which was his last trip to Kansas.  Kansas is surely its most beautiful in May, and the rolling plains in springtime were dazzling.  The old homestead and sod hut was gone and became part of somebody’s farm, although we visited the homestead of my grandfather’s uncle, where he played as a child.  It was still there, occupied by uneducated rural whites.  They lived in a dilapidated trailer home surrounded by rusting cars, with chickens and dogs running around, on a dirt road a long way from civilization.  We also visited the cemeteries of my ancestors, some of whom were among the region’s first homesteaders who died in the late 1800s.

The Great Plains farms have undergone drastic changes during the era of corporatized, mechanized agriculture.  Family farms are nearly gone, and most farmers live in town, and even the towns are disappearing, as children move away to the big cities.  I visited communities that were already nearly ghost towns.  In one country cemetery, several of my ancestors were buried, including my great, great grandfather, whose life came to a miserable end in 1939, as the Great Depression and Dust Bowl made his last years miserable.  My grandfather was sick on that trip and died a couple of years later, but one day I took the rental car and went back to that cemetery in the middle of nowhere.  Much of the vicinity’s land was not even farmed anymore.  I sat on my great, great grandfather’s gravestone, looking across the green plains, then closed my eyes and meditated and tried to imagine what his life had been like.  I also imagined what the land was like before Europeans arrived.  It must have been glorious.  I was both joyful and saddened to think about those days of long ago, about what was and what had been lost.  I took my aunt there again in 2011, for her final visit.

On the way to Kansas, my grandfather had us turn off the highway, and I drove down dirt roads for many miles.  There were no signs and the land was sparsely populated, and a farmhouse appeared now and then.  We made turns here and there, as my grandfather probed his memory, not quite sure if he was remembering the way accurately.  I had no idea where we were going, other than someplace he once knew.  He found what he was looking for as we arrived at the Arickaree battleground.  In 1868, a few months before Custer’s triumph at the Washita, Civil War hero General Sherman was dispossessing the Plains Indians and moving them onto reservations.  Short of troops, he had General Sheridan recruit “frontiersmen” to hunt Indians, and 50 men went hunting Indians that summer, and like Custer did in 1876, they found more than they bargained for.  They came upon a party of several hundred traveling Indians.  The Indians then attacked their pursuers and the “battle” was on.  Surprisingly, I had already read about that battle during my research, in Ralph Andrist’s The Long Death, which is still considered one of the best histories of the genocide of the Plains Indians, although it was written in the early 1960s, before America’s cultural awakening.

My grandfather obviously regarded that battleground with reverence, and he talked animatedly about how the “battle” happened.  It was only about 60 miles from Wallace, and it must have been a hallowed spot when he was growing up.  Andrist’s book was iconoclastic when it was published in 1964, as it was one of the first works to see the events more from the Indians’ perspective, not the Hollywood cowboy perspective.  The “frontiersmen” quickly formed a defensive perimeter when the Indians attacked, and a few whites were killed.  It then became a siege, and some men ran back to Fort Wallace to get reinforcements.  Andrist’s account described the battle, and the Indians soon left the scene, leaving the whites in their hasty fortifications where they used dead horses as breastworks. There was no Indian honor in starving out an enemy.  At the battleground are monuments for the five whites that died there.  Andrist barely mentioned Indian casualties in his book, but the narrative at the battleground told a different story.  As many as 80 Indians died in that battle, and on the hill above the battleground came the mournful cries of the native women as their husbands, fathers, and sons died fighting the white men.  Other scholars have estimated the Indian dead at “only” 30 and as low as nine, but the iconoclastic work by Andrist did not even mention the Indian body count.  White men get monuments, and the Indian dead are barely mentioned, even in the iconoclastic works.

My grandfather evidently relived childhood memories at that battlefield, and I could see his excitement, but he also gradually discarded his homesteader perspective as he aged and admitted in his later years the horrible crime that white America committed against the Indians, particularly that last group to be subdued: the Plains Indians.  My grandfather served in World War II in the South Pacific, in the Solomon Islands and elsewhere.  He rarely talked about those days, although he stayed in contact with his war buddies for the rest of his life, and I visited some when I lived in Texas.  My grandfather exemplified something that I have now seen many times.  Men who survive warfare seldom discuss their experiences.  Men who really did not see much “action” are usually those telling war stories.  My grandfather was “only” a Seabee, but for a time he was bombed by the Japanese every night and was lucky to be alive.  One morning he awoke to find a bomb that buried itself in a log next to him.  It was a dud that miraculously did not explode.  Another time a bomb landed in the opening of his foxhole, but was another dud (those were the smaller, “anti-personnel” bombs).

When my grandfather talked to me about his wartime experiences, it was briefly and obviously something that he did not like dwelling on.  He said that comrades adorned their quarters with Japanese skulls, and black American soldiers were treated like the lowest caste, something that he was pained to see even then.  My grandfather was a poet of international reputation, but he did not have much nice to say about his World War II experiences and it left deep scars on his psyche.  I am the first man in my family, going up my family tree for a hundred years, who did not serve in the American military, and my relatives’ military experiences damaged them all, to one degree or another.  My other grandfather was crippled in World War I and my father was in the Korean War, and they received deep emotional wounds.

Sometimes my grandfather would talk to me about his days growing up.  Similar to Terrell’s observation about those “noble” pioneers, my grandfather said that he grew up in ignorant and unenlightened times.  He grew up with a rifle in his hand, and he and his friends “shot at anything that moved.”  That was a couple generations after the local natives had been exterminated, so imagine how trigger-happy they were in 1870 versus 1915.  If somebody was mentally retarded or a little on the unintelligent side, the entire community would mercilessly make that person the butt of all jokes and pranks, and everybody laughed mean-spiritedly at their affliction.  My grandfather also enjoyed telling stories about funny or heartwarming events from those days, but he did not have a very large repertoire of such tales, and I heard the same stories repeatedly.  When my grandfather would talk about those days and concluded with one of his more trenchant observations, I would say, “Ah, Grandpa, those good old days!” and he once responded with, “I don’t know what was good about them.”  I was saddened with his passing in 1996.  He was my last living grandparent, and I was blessed to have known him.

[223] See Ralph Andrist’s The Long Death, pp. 167-169.  The corruption and fraud in the BIA is not controversial.  One cannot read about the dispossession of Native Americans during the 19th century without encountering numerous accounts of BIA malfeasance.  See Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and Angie Debo’s And Still the Waters Run

[224] See Angie Debo’s And Still the Waters Run, pp. 21-22.

[225] See Ward Churchill’s Since Predator Came, p. 34.

[226] See Ronald Wright’s Stolen Continents, pp. 153-154.

[227] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, p. 146.  See also his narrative of the Wounded Knee Massacre on pp., 126-127, and the book’s photo section.  See Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

[228] There were some notable exceptions to the “exterminate the dancers” attitudes of whites.  George Catlin was a prototype of the character that Kevin Costner played in Dances with Wolves, studying and painting the Plains Indians during the 1830s.  Catlin appreciated the natives he saw, and understood some of the mystical significance of their dancing.  See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West.  Although there were some whites of the times that demonstrated respect and even some enlightenment in their dealings with the natives, there were very few of them. 

[229] See David Stannard’s American Holocaust, p. 146.

[230] See Dinnerstein’s Anti-Semitism in America.  American anti-Semitism never quite reached Europe’s genocidal levels, however. 

[231] Most of those were in my vocabulary while growing up, and were rather casually applied to those groups.  They were also on the lips of all my friends, and often their parents, also including beaner, coon, gook, Jap, Nip, wop, slant, slope, Polack and Kraut.  And also, the epithets were not simply restricted to the color of somebody’s skin or the ethnic group they came from.  There are other terms worth mentioning: queer, faggot, dyke, and other terms to describe people who are not heterosexuals, including colorful language to describe all aspects of the sexual experience, anatomy, and body functions.  Those terms were also a standard part of conversation, and can be found today in certain circles, but there is a “counter PC” offensive taking place, seemingly trying to rehabilitate the attitudes, if not quite the terms, of the good old days.

[232] See, for instance, Ellen Meiskins Wood’s The Pristine Culture of Capitalism, pp. 31-34.

[233] See Richard Shenkman’s “I Love Paul Revere, Whether He Rode or Not", p. 2.

[234] Because they were “mere Africans” who died under the Belgian lash, the first Western work that studies that holocaust is Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost, published in 1998.

[235] See Mike Davis’s Late Victorian Holocausts, pp. 306-307.

[236] See Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking.

[237] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, p. 279.

[238] See Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, p. 314

[239] See a discussion of those events in Drinnon’s Facing West

[240] See Ovidio Diaz Espino’s How Wall Street Created a Nation; J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Panama Canal.

[241] See Ovidio Diaz Espino’s How Wall Street Created a Nation, p. 190.

[242] See Ovidio Diaz Espino’s How Wall Street Created a Nation, pp. 133-149.

[243] See Ovidio Diaz Espino’s How Wall Street Created a Nation, pp. 151-196.

[244] See Christopher Simpson’s The Splendid Blond Beast, pp. 48-49.

[245] For a brief summary of Iraq’s rich history, see Geoff Simons’s Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam, pp. 79-146.  Among other sources I used to gain a glimpse of the region’s deep history are Albert Hourani's A History of the Arab Peoples; Robert Payne's The History of Islam; and Carl Roebuck's The World of Ancient Times.

[246] See a brief summary in Erik Zürcher’s Turkey: A Modern History, pp. 170-172.  The devastation of the Anatolian peninsula was due to ten years of fighting, forced migrations, genocide, famine, disease, and the like.  World War I was the centerpiece of the suffering, but not the only component.  For instance, the Turks “won” at Gallipoli, even though they suffered greater casualties than the French and British invaders did. 

[247] Winston Churchill wrote, "I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas…I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes…(Chemical weapons are only) the application of Western science to modern warfare."  See Geoff Simons’s Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam, pp. 179-183.  See also Noam Chomsky's Deterring Democracy, p. 182. 

[248] See for instance, Geoff Simons’s Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam, pp. 148-150. 

[249] See Noam Chomsky's Powers and Prospects, p. 83.

[250] See Ralph Epperson’s The Unseen Hand, pp. 73-74.

[251] See Stuart Ewen’s PR!, The Social History of Spin, pp. 102-127.

[252] See James Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me, pp. 22-36.

[253] See Julian Simon’s The State of Humanity, p. 183.

[254] See Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide and Since Predator Came for accounts of those 20th century policies. 

[255] See James Dunnigan and Albert Nofi’s Dirty Little Secrets of World War II, pp. 48-50.

[256] See a discussion of those plans in Noam Chomsky’s Deterring Democracy, esp. pp. 45-64.  An easily readable summary of it is in Noam Chomsky’s What Uncle Sam Really Wants

[257] See a discussion of those documents in Noam Chomsky’s What Uncle Sam Really Wants, and a broader discussion in Chomsky’s Deterring Democracy

[258] The best single-volume lesson on those post-war U.S. neocolonial efforts is William Blum’s Killing Hope

[259] In his Mandate for Change: The White House Years, 1953-1956, p. 372, Dwight Eisenhower wrote, “I have never talked or corresponded with a person knowledgeable in Indochinese affairs who did not agree that had elections been held at the time of the fighting, possibly 80% of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh.”  An elected communist leader was unacceptable, just as an elected communist was unacceptable in Chile, so the United States overthrew and murdered Chile’s president in 1973, which set the stage for the bloody Pinochet rule.  See also Richard Drinnon’s Facing West, esp. pp. 402-442.

[260] Bo Gritz from the far right (see his Called to Serve), and John Stockwell from the left (Ex-CIA) use the term “Third World War” term in their work, and mean the same thing: the neocolonial bludgeoning of the Third World.  See Jack Neslon-Pallmeyer’s War Against the Poor

[261] For instance, see Views from the South, edited by Sarah Anderson.  See also The Struggle for Accountability, edited by Jonathan Fox and David Brown. 

[262] That phenomenon is well known and remarked on often.  See, for instance, Bruce Franklin’s Vietnam and Other Fantasies, pp. 1-4, although Franklin allowed that the “bungling do-gooders” may even believe their rhetoric. 

[263] See Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent, p. 252.

[264] See Bruce Franklin’s Vietnam and Other Fantasies, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, and Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s After the Cataclysm

[265] The FBI took credit for Malcolm X’s murder in an internal document dated in 1969.  See Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall’s The COINTELRPO Papers, p. 102.

[266] The USA largely initiated both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.  Even during the post-Cold-War 1990s, South Korean schoolchildren were six times as fearful of the USA as they were of North Korea (see William Blum’s Rogue State, p. 17).  Arguably, nearly all the Korean War and Vietnam War deaths were mainly the USA's responsibility, although this estimate will not put all of those deaths on the USA's scorecard.  In all wars, accurate body counts have never been accomplished.  For example, in the year 2000, the USA admitted that it inflated the Korean War American body count by about 50% by calling training accidents and deaths of American forces around the world all due to the Korean War.

There is a wide range of estimates of war deaths and who is responsible for them.  Between a half million and a million South Koreans died in the Korean War.  The Chinese and North Korean dead were more than a million.  Numerous estimates of Korean War deaths reach three million.  In Vietnam, most American firepower was directed at the people of South Vietnam, who were the people supposedly being saved.  Assassination programs such as the Phoenix Program were enacted by the USA during those years (see, for instance, Ralph McGehee’s Deadly Deceits, pp. 125-159).  The estimates are: about 250,000 (to 500,000) for the South Vietnamese military, 500,000 to 1,000,000 for the North Vietnamese military, 300,000 to 2,000,000 for South Vietnamese civilians (the higher end is more likely).  About 65,000 North Vietnamese civilians also died.  The estimates for Vietnam are often about 3 million people altogether, which were all unnecessary if the USA would have allowed a free vote in Vietnam.  While the USA was destroying Vietnam, it also “secretly” carpet-bombed Laos and Cambodia.  The death toll from those bombings was about 500,000 Cambodians (the CIA estimated 600,000) and about 250,000 to 350,000 Laotians.

The USA also bears a huge burden of responsibility for the aftermath in Cambodia.  The USA's bombing is what largely brought Pol Pot to power, just as the USA's proxy-war in Afghanistan largely brought the Taliban to power.  Those are easily foreseeable consequences of waging war.  Incredibly, the USA supported Pol Pot during his reign of terror because he was an enemy of Vietnam (see William Blum’s Rogue State, pp. 86-90).  The aftermath of America’s “secret” bombing of Cambodia resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths from disease and starvation, but the American propaganda machine spun it into the responsibility of Pol Pot, even while the USA supported him.  Pol Pot’s reign presided over the deaths of probably more than a million Cambodians.

Regarding Iraq, I have written at length about the body count there.  As of 2014, about four million Iraqi citizens died as a direct result of USA's involvement, and the death toll in Afghanistan is likely even higher, and I will assign a conservative four million to the death toll there.  From those events, I will put numbers of 2 million Koreans and Chinese, 2 million Vietnamese, 1 million Cambodians and Laotians and more than 6 million Iraqis and Afghanis.  Those numbers are obviously debatable.  It is arguable that all of those war deaths can be put on the USA's tally sheet, because none of those wars would have likely happened without the USA's involvement, as it pursued its agenda.  If that is the case, and the high-end estimates are used, it totals 3 million for Korea, 3 million for Vietnam, 2 million (some will argue for 3 million) for Cambodia and Laos, 4 million for Iraq, and 5 million for Afghanistan, for 17 million.  The real number is probably far more than 10 million, and could be 10 million for Iraq and Afghanistan alone.

Other military actions by our proxies should also be put on that list.  The USA helped bring Suharto to power in Indonesia in 1965 and then helped him slaughter the political opposition.  Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Indonesians (perhaps more), largely ethnic Chinese who made up the communist movement there were slaughtered outright by Suharto’s regime.  The CIA even drew up kill lists for Suharto.  Then the Indonesian military rounded up all the political activists on the CIA’s lists and killed them.  Indonesia then became a major recipient of American military aid, as American corporations flocked to invest in Indonesia, such as oil companies, and shoe companies and other American-based firms moved their factories there, as the Indonesians made pennies per hour while making American shoes and clothing in slave-like conditions.  Nike called in the Indonesian military to put down a strike by workers there, as they protested their horrific working conditions.  In the 1970s, Indonesia invaded East Timor while using American weapons, and it enjoyed major diplomatic assistance from the USA.  About 200,000 East Timorese (perhaps more) died in one of the 20th century’s greatest proportional genocides.  Suharto also mounted another genocidal effort in West Papua, New Guinea, which wiped out indigenous people in favor of Indonesian “settlers.”  Add in the USA-backed slaughters in Guatemala and El Salvador for 300,000 more, and there is another one-to-two million deaths that the USA was directly responsible for.

Arguably more than 20 million, largely violent, deaths have happened since World War II, and the blood is mainly on the USA’s hands.  Others can argue for smaller numbers (John Stockwell estimated about six million, before the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions, while acknowledging how uncertain the numbers are), and America establishment defenders can be counted on to spin the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq invasions into tales in which the USA was trying to protect the freedom of the world’s people.  The facts offer little support for such spin, but it is nevertheless performed.  During the 1960s and 1970s, the USA overthrew about ten elected Latin American governments, and installed death squad regimes in places such as Chile (see William Blum’s Killing Hope).  With its neocolonial empire, the USA has kept hundreds of millions of people in bondage.  Most Latin Americans live miserable lives as a direct result of the USA's interventions.  The same can be said for Indonesia, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa (such as Angola).  In some cases, the USA bears almost sole responsibility, such as in Southeast Asia, while in others, such as Angola, it was just one imperial player, although arguably the most meddlesome.  Hundreds of millions of people live under the boot of the USA today, or are still trying to recover from being violated, as they are in Southeast Asia.  The 1980s conflict in Afghanistan, as Zbigniew Brzezinski bragged about, killed more than one million Afghanis and directly led to the dire situation there in 2014, and the World Trade Center attacks are a classic instance of “blowback,” as our foreign policy shenanigans came back to haunt us.  “Hundreds of millions” may even understate the number that lives in misery as a direct result of the USA's actions since World War II.

[267] The United States General Accounting Office issued a report titled "The War on Drugs: Narcotics Control Efforts in Panama" which estimated drug traffic through Panama may have doubled during the two years following the USA's invasion of Panama.  The puppet government the USA installed in Panama was undoubtedly heavily involved in that drug trade, as do key elements in every government that has illegal drugs flowing through its nation. 

[268] Studying the dark netherworld of the USA's covert operations quickly brings the realization that the CIA has long been involved in drug running.  They did it in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War era.  They did it during the USA-sponsored wars in Central America in the 1980s, and are undoubtedly doing it in the 21st century.  George Bush the First was involved in covert operations probably since he was a child.  To get an idea of George Bush's pedigree, read the Immaculate Deception: The Bush Crime Family Exposed, by Russell Bowen.  Bush ran the CIA in the 1970s, and Noriega was on his payroll at that time.  The Carter administration kicked Noriega off its payroll, but the Reagan-Bush administration not only put him back on the payroll but gave him a raise.  Drug running is an effective way to raise money for covert operations and not have the funding subject to public scrutiny.  Back when George Bush was running for president in 1988, Brett Kimberlin, a federal prison inmate in Oklahoma, claimed that Dan Quayle was a regular marijuana customer of his in the early 1970s.  As Kimberlin was preparing for a press conference a few days before the election, prison officials suddenly canceled the press conference and threw Kimberlin into solitary confinement, in an obvious and illegal move to kill the story (see Martin Lee and Norman Solomon’s Unreliable Sources, pp. 162-167). 

The Iran-Contra scandal brought to light many dark acts.  One revelation that came out, which the USA's government tried stifling, was that while America was running arms to our mercenary Contras in Central America, the pilots were flying drugs back to the USA.  An important airstrip those planes came back to was in Mena Arkansas, in the backyard of then governor Bill Clinton, who was possibly taking his cut, which is standard practice throughout America.  CIA contract agent John Hull had a ranch in Costa Rica where many of those shipments came through, going both ways.  Hull was deeply involved in the events that produced the Iran-Contra scandal, and he eventually made Interpol's most wanted list due to his criminal activity engaged in on behalf of the USA (the USA refused to honor attempts to extradite him to face trial in Costa Rica).  CIA deep cover agent Gunther Russbacher said that Quayle was a regular visitor to Hull's ranch while the arms/drug transshipments took place, and was deeply involved in the operation.  Russbacher said, "Quayle was one of our bag boys." (see Rodney Stich’s Defrauding America, p. 307)  George Bush the First had the gall to say that he was "out of the loop." 

The war on drugs has always been a fraud, and the biggest players have been the CIA, law enforcement, politicians, etc.  The British Opium Wars with China is a classic case of opening a new drug market by waging war against the nation trying to stop the drug from coming in.  In the 21st century, the world's largest official drug pusher was the USA.  During the Reagan-Bush years the USA's government used the threat of trade sanctions and other vengeance to the Asian nations of Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea to get them to open their nations to American tobacco companies, and they particularly targeted women and children.  Since the USA's muscle forced open those markets to American tobacco companies, the smoking rates in those countries, especially among teenagers, skyrocketed (see INFACT's Global Aggression, pp. 24-25).  As of 2014, for the past generation, I have seen innumerable smoking tourists in Seattle from those nations, who were victims of that campaign.

[269] The CIA has been involved in dozens of foreign assassination plots (see William Blum's Killing Hope, p. 453).  There were American plans to assassinate Torrijos in the 1970s. 

[270] See Mark Fried's "The Preppy Pirate", Lies of Our Times, December 1990, p. 10.

[271] See William Blum’s Killing Hope, p. 304.

[272] You can see the graves being exhumed in The Panama Deception.  For an analysis of the disgraceful way the New York Times handled the issue of civilian Panamanian casualties, see Gary Grass's "Panama: Laundering Casualty Figures", Lies of Our Times, December 1990, pp. 9-11.

[273] See John Perkins’s Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, pp, 173-181.

[274] Colin Powell even openly admitted it, saying that Hussein would put “his puppet in [and] everyone in the Arab world will be happy.”  See also Noam Chomsky's World Orders Old and New, pp. 13-14.

[275] If one seeks support for that bold claim, reading my web site might be in order.

[276] See David Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace, particularly pp. 449-454.  On pp. 450-451, an American missionary cautioned Gertrude Bell, assistant to the commissioner of British India, "You are flying in the face of four millenniums of history if you try to draw a line around Iraq and call it a political entity!"  See also Geoff Simons’s Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam, especially pp. 148-189.  British High Commissioner Percy Cox drew the borders of Iraq and Kuwait in 1922, and he did so rather capriciously.  See also William Blum's Killing Hope, p. 321.

[277] See Geoff Simons’s Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam, pp. 176-177. 

[278] See Noam Chomsky's World Orders Old and New, pp. 13-14.  See also William Blum's Killing Hope, p. 321.

[279] See, for instance, the chronology in Geoff Simons’s Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam, pp. 328-330, regarding the escalation of the crisis and the many peace overtures and withdrawal offers that George Bush rejected.  The day after the Kuwait invasion, on August 3, 1990, Iraq declared that it would withdraw from Kuwait if nobody threatened them militarily.  On August 6, Saddam met with Joseph Wilson, an American diplomat, and gave him his assurances regarding Kuwait; Wilson then praised Iraq’s “professional standards.”  Saddam offered his first peace plan on August 12, which Bush immediately rejected.  On August 15, Iraq foreign minister Tariq Aziz offered to begin talks, and Bush again rejected the offer.  On August 28, King Hussein of Jordan proposed a peace plan.  Iraq accepted it; Bush rejected it.  On September 1, Libya proposed a peace plan, including the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait; Bush rejected it.  September 19, King Hassan of Morocco proposed a peace plan; Bush rejected it.  On September 24, France proposed a peace plan.  Iraq responded positively; Bush rejected it.  On October 1, Bush said the U.S. wanted “a peaceful outcome.”  : - )  On October 28, a Soviet envoy visited Saddam, and Gorbachev reported that Saddam was willing to negotiate.  On November 13, King Hassan’s peace initiative failed.  On November 30, Bush proposed talks with Iraq, Iraq accepted the next day, and Saddam released all remaining “hostages” (called “human shields” by Iraq), and on December 9, the USA rejected Iraq’s proposed date for talks, then on December 15 the USA canceled the talks.  On December 30, the Yugoslavian foreign minister took an Iraqi proposal to Washington and a State Department spokesman called it a “serious pre-negotiating position.”  Bush rejected it.  On January 3, 1991, Bush agreed to Aziz-Baker (U.S. Secretary of State) talks in Geneva; Iraq agreed the next day, and the talks on January 9th failed.  The bombs began falling on January 16.  On February 7, Iraq proposed a peace plan; there was no response from West.  On February 15th, Iraq said it was willing to withdraw from Kuwait, the Soviet foreign minister welcomed the offer; Bush called it a “cruel hoax.”  On February 18, Gorbachev proposed a peace plan; Bush rejected it on February 22.  On February 25, the Soviet Union proposed a peace plan, and Saddam ordered the withdrawal from Kuwait; Bush rejected the Soviet peace plan.  On February 28, Bush ordered a cease-fire, whose terms Iraq immediately accepted.  President Bush was an impressive negotiator.

[280] See Seeing Through the Media: Persian Gulf War, edited by Susan Jeffords and Lauren Rabinovitz.  It dissects the media's performance during the Gulf War quite well.  See also Noam Chomsky's Deterring Democracy. pp. 179-214.

[281] See John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton's Toxic Sludge is Good for You!, pp. 172-174.  See also Susan Jeffords and Lauren Rabinovitz, eds., Seeing Through the Media, pp. 12-13.  See also The National Insecurity Council, It's a Conspiracy!, pp. 115-116.

[282] For a good summary of how the USA bribed and blackmailed its way to forming the coalition, see Phyllis Bennis's "Bush's Tool and Victim", Covert Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, pp. 26-30.  Bennis aptly described what America fabricated as the "Cash Register Coalition."  See Geoff Simons’s Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam, pp. 319-325.  Yemen and Cuba were the only two nations that could not be bribed or blackmailed into supporting (or abstaining from voting against) the UN Resolution 678, which supposedly authorized the USA to use force.  After Yemen voted against the resolution, an American diplomat told the Yemen ambassador, “That was the most expensive ‘no’ vote you ever cast.”  The subsequent American vengeance on Yemen, one of the world’s poorest nations, cost Yemen about $1 billion.  When an American warship was bombed off the Yemen coast in late 2000, I never saw one American media account that even suggested a connection between the American vengeance on Yemen and the “terrorist” attack on an American warship off Yemen’s coast.  Osama bin Laden was Yemeni. 

[283] Unfortunately, the standard (American and British) histories of those events are covered less than adequately, such as Encyclopedia Britannica's version of that history.  Nowhere is mentioned the cloak and dagger skullduggery by the CIA and British Intelligence that boosted the Shah into his position.  Without their assistance, the Shah's coup would not have happened.  Microsoft Encarta (1996 edition) did not mention that connection either.  The accounts mention the anti-American fervor that led to the 1979 "hostage crisis," but were largely silent on why they might have felt that way.  Even a thoroughly establishment account of those events such as Daniel Yergin's The Prize (see pages 450-478) mentioned the CIA and British Intelligence involvement, but downplayed their importance.  Yergin gave the "Soviet menace" fable plenty of ink as a rationale for what the USA did to Iran.  For an antidote to those histories, try William Blum's Killing Hope, pp. 64-72, or try Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Kwitny's Endless Enemies, pp. 152-178.  See also Phil Agee's On the Run, pp. 313-318.  The recent All the Shah’s Men by Stephen Kinzer, who also co-authored Bitter Fruit, about the 1954 overthrow of Guatemala’s government, is a major contribution regarding what the USA did to Iran. 

[284] See William Blum’s Killing Hope, pp. 242-244.

[285] See William Blum’s Killing Hope, p. 244.

[286] On August 17, 2002, just after the first the first draft of this essay was complete, an article appeared in America’s media that proved what Chomsky and others had been saying for 15 years: as Saddam Hussein’s forces warred against Iraq’s Kurds and used chemical weapons on them, the USA supported Iraq with intelligence to fight Iran, and Iraq’s use of chemical weapons was a trifling issue to the Reagan administration; ironically, George Bush the First was heavily involved in that operation, being the ex-CIA director that he was.  As long as they were fighting the hated Iran, there was nothing that Iraq could do to raise the USA's eyebrows too much.  It made the “chemical weapons” rhetoric of the Clinton and Bush the Second administrations, as they justified the economic war against Iraq, ring rather hollow.  See the Seattle Times, August 18, 2002, “Officers say U.S. ignored Iraq’s use of gas against Iran”, by Patrick Tyler of the New York Times.  That was a welcome admission by members of the USA's government, but 15 years too late. 

[287] A great deal of scholarly attention is given to that notion in Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent, pp. 37-86.

[288] Quoted in Ellen Ray's "The Killing Deserts", Lies of Our Times, April 1991, p. 3.  See also Paul Rogers's "The Myth of the Clean War", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, pp. 26-30.

[289] See Paul Rogers's "The Myth of the Clean War", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, pp. 26-30.

[290] See Ralph Vartabedian's "Ordnance: High Tech's Gory Side." Los Angeles Times, February 24, 1991.  Quoted in Ellen Ray's "The Killing Deserts", Lies of Our Times, April 1991, p. 4. 

[291] The bomb shelter, milk factory and similar incidents are covered in Lies of Our Times, March 1991, pp. 3-7.

[292] See William Blum's Killing Hope, pp. 281-282.  See also Martin Lee and Normal Solomon's Unreliable Sources, pp. 128-130.

[293] Washington Post, February 27, 1991.  Quoted in Ellen Ray's "The Killing Deserts", Lies of Our Times, April 1991, p. 3.  See also Paul Rogers's "The Myth of the Clean War", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, pp. 26-30.  The Rockeye was an antipersonnel bomb that could carpet an acre with about 500,000 high-velocity shrapnel fragments.

[294] The charges by Ramsey Clark, the tribunal judgment and the ongoing effort by his organization to stop what he called "genocide" in Iraq is readily available on the Internet.

[295] See Nancy Rosenfeld's "Buried Alive", Lies of Our Times, October 1991, pp. 12-13.

[296] For the songbook quote, Stannard's words and those clever messages, see David Stannard's  American Holocaust, p. 253.  For a tame message to the Iraqis, the cover of Lies of Our Times in the November 1990 issue features an American soldier on an M-1 tank, and the tank's gun barrel is adorned with the professional looking label "Baghdad Express", with a smiling soldier sitting on the barrel penning more artwork onto it.

[297] William Blum's Killing Hope, p. 337.

[298] See David Stannard's American Holocaust, pp. 253-254.

[299] Those Project Censored stories can be obtained today in 20 Years of Project Censored News, by Carl Jensen and Project Censored.  For a summary of Bush's constantly changing rationale for the Gulf War that he was about to wage and the Gulf War in general, see William Blum's Killing Hope, pp. 320-338.

[300] Those situations are amply documented by Amnesty International reports, readily available on the Internet.  Their main report regarding Kuwait after "liberation" is titled "Five Years of Impunity: Human Rights Concerns Since the Withdrawal of Iraqi Forces."  See also Geoff Simons’s Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam, pp. 19-24.   In Arabia, the women were only executed with the firing squad, and spared decapitation.

[301] That meeting with Glaspie is well known.  Iraq produced the transcript of that meeting.  It is arguable that the United States knowingly lured Iraq into invading Kuwait.  The text of that meeting, whose authenticity has never been effectively disputed by the USA's government, can be found in The Gulf War Reader (Micah Sifry and Christopher Cerf, eds.), pp. 122-133.  See discussion of the possible conspiracy by America in William Blum's Killing Hope, pp. 322-325.  See also Geoff Simons’ Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam, pp. 305-317. 

[302] See Geoff Simons’s Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam, pp. 316-317. 

[303] See Geoff Simons’s Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam, p 320. 

[304] See Russell Bowen's The Immaculate Deception, pp. 157-168.

[305] On Casolaro and Wilcher, there are many sources.  For instance, see Rodney Stich’s Defrauding America and Jonathan Vankin and John Whelan’s 50 Greatest Conspiracies of all Time.  I have a copy of the 101-page letter that Wilcher wrote to Attorney General Janet Reno a month before he died.  According to the official investigations, both he and Casolaro “committed suicide.”  That conclusion is far less convincing than the Warren Commission’s “lone nut” conclusion about Oswald and JFK.  The deaths of Wilcher and Casolaro begin ranging into very dark conspiracy theories that are beyond the scope of this essay, but those two books are a good introduction.

[306] See A. Ascherio, R. Chase, et al.'s "Effect of the Gulf War on Infant and Child Mortality in Iraq." New England Journal of Medicine 327, number. 13 (1992), pp. 931-36.  Whatever the real numbers were, they were virtually unreported in America, as the emphasis was on parades for returning American soldiers.  Some critics might take my terminology to task and say it was an "allied" bombing.  The UK, whose neocolonial interests were well served by the Gulf War, was the other "big" bomber with the USA.  By one count, the British dropped about 3,000 tons of bombs in the Gulf War, while the USA dropped 88,500 tons.  See Paul Rogers's "The Myth of the Clean War", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1991, p. 28.  By any tally, the USA was responsible for the vast majority of the bombing.  Calling it the "USA's bombing" is not misstating the facts by much, and in spirit is correct.  It was not much of a coalition.  It was led by the current and former masters of the world (as it was in our 1998 bombing of Iraq and our 2003 invasion, when we acted alone against world opinion), as various bribed and blackmailed parties gave token support to the effort, like mercenaries.

[307] See Richard Garfield's Morbidity and Mortality Among Iraqi Children from 1990 Through 1998: Assessing the Impact of the Gulf War and Economic Sanctions, Internet version dated July 1999.

[308] See the 1990 World Almanac and Book of Facts, p. 721.

[309] According to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article II, genocide means, among other things, deliberately inflicting on a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, “serious bodily or mental harm…(and) inflicting…conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”  The United States is notable in being the world’s only “civilized” nation to not ratify the Genocide resolution when the others did, and to this day, the United States has not properly ratified the resolution.  See Ward Churchill's A Little Matter of Genocide, pp. 363-398.

[310] See Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorial, October 20, 1999. 

[311] Population Reference Bureau estimate for mid-2000.

[312] See Michael Parenti's “Defying the Sanctions”, Z Magazine, February 2001, pp. 31-34.

[313] See Lee Siu Hin's "US Using U.N. Program to Steal Iraq's Oil", Covert Action Quarterly, Spring/Summer 2000, pp. 32-33.

[314] The offer was concurrent with a visit by five U.S. Senators with Hussein in Iraq.  See the friendly chat that people like Senator Bob Dole had with Hussein on April 12, 1990 in Micah Sifry and Christopher Cerf, eds., The Gulf War Reader, pp. 119-121.

[315] For those too young or who missed those movies, during the 1970s the movie China Syndrome was released, which depicted an American nuclear accident at a power plant, partly caused by corporate corruption.  When the movie was released, establishment critics said things like, “Nice movie, but that can’t happen in America.”  While the movie was still in the theaters, America had the Three Mile Island accident, which has had plenty of covering-up of its effects, as usual.  During the early ‘90s, the movie Grand Canyon was released.  It depicted life in Los Angeles, and in one scene in particular, a driver took a wrong turn after attending a Lakers game at the Inglewood Forum and ended up in a neighborhood where he was nearly preyed upon by criminals.  Critics said, “Nice movie, but it misrepresented the streets of Los Angeles.”  When I lived in Los Angeles, I had a similar experience to that scene in Grand Canyon, so I knew that it was not far-fetched.  Soon after Grand Canyon was released, the outrageous Rodney King beating verdict was handed down, followed by the LA Riots, and martial law eventually prevailed.  The movie Wag the Dog was about manufacturing media events to distract the public from what was really happening.  Although Noam Chomsky downplayed the notion, it seemed as if Bill Clinton was reading the script of Wag the Dog when he bombed Sudan and Afghanistan.

[316] That essay is too long to reproduce here, and is simply a condensed version of what became this American Empire essay.  It was reproduced in a few places on the Internet. 

[317] See Boutros Boutros-Ghali's Unvanquished: A U.S. - U.N. Saga, p. 198.

[318] Numerous articles appeared in the USA's media in January 1999 regarding the spying of the "weapons inspectors" (Washington Post, January 6th, 8th and 9th; New York Times, January 8th; Reuters, January 8th; The Washington Post January 6th article by Barton Gellman was the most informative and shocking of them all).

[319] That analysis was published on the International Action Center web site, titled "After the Bombing, What is Next."

[320] See William Blum's Killing Hope, pp. 188-189.  Jonathan Kwitny discounted the notion that the Cuban outbreak of dengue fever was the work of the USA (Endless Enemies, pp. 266-267), but summarized many other dirty tricks that the USA played against Cuba (Endless Enemies, pp. 238-269.)  In William Blum's Rogue State, pp. 108-111, in a chapter in which he described numerous instances of USA's biological warfare and other "unconventional" activity, lent more evidence that the Dengue Fever outbreak in Cuba was due to the USA's biological warfare.  The strain that hit Cuba was from Southeast Asia, and it was the first major Dengue Fever epidemic ever experienced in the Americas, effecting more than 300,000 Cubans and killing 158, mostly children.  Long before the Dengue Fever outbreak, the USA had experimented with breeding the mosquitoes that carried that strain of Dengue Fever.  It is quite possible that the USA indeed spread Dengue Fever in Cuba.

[321] See Meryl Nass's "Zimbabwe's Anthrax Epizootic", Covert Action Quarterly, Winter 1992-1993, pp. 12-18.

[322] See William Blum's Killing Hope, p. 383.

[323] I heard Bearden make that statement at a conference hosted by Richard Hoagland in Seattle in September 1998.

[324] Smith wrote regarding imperial powers willingly giving up any part of their domains:

 

"No nation ever voluntarily gave up the dominion of any province, how troublesome soever it might be to govern it, and how small soever the revenue which it afforded might be in proportion to the expence which it occasioned.  Such sacrifices, though they might frequently be agreeable to the interest, are always mortifying to the pride of every nation, and what is perhaps of still greater consequence, they are always contrary to the private interest of the governing part of it, who would thereby be deprived of the disposal of many places of trust and profit, of many opportunities of acquiring wealth and distinction, which the possession of the most turbulent, and, to the great body of the people, the most unprofitable province seldom fails to afford."  See Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book IV, Ch. VII, Pt. III, p. 131-133. 

 

About the mercantile system that existed in Smith's day, he wrote:

 

"It cannot be very difficult to determine who have been the contrivers of this whole mercantile system; not the consumers, we may believe, whose interest has been entirely neglected; but the producers, whose interest has been so carefully attended to; among this latter class our merchants and manufacturers have been by far the principal architects…In the mercantile regulations…the interest of our manufacturers has been most peculiarly attended to; and the interest, not so much of the consumers, as that of some other sets of producers, has been sacrificed to it."  See Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book IV, Ch. VIII, pp. 180-181, University of Chicago Press edition, 1976. 

 

That pretty much sums up the Dennis Lee's bizarre journey, but in the capitalist world that Smith promoted, in which Dennis was "some other set of producer" who was sacrificed to the powerful producers.  In the end, however, the consumers have suffered greatly, although somewhat unknowingly, and such a sacrifice of better ways to the interest of power and profit may doom the human race.

[325] For harrowing reviews of that state of affairs, see David McGowan’s Derailing Democracy or William Blum’s Rogue State

[326] See the census results in the 20th century for Yugoslavia in Tim Judah’s Serbs, History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, pp. 311-317.

[327] See, for instance, John Allcock’s Explaining Yugoslavia, p. 19.

[328] As estimated by the Vienna Institute for Economics, which was an admittedly early estimate.

[329] In 1990, the Gross Domestic Product of Yugoslavia was about $73 billion, according to The World Bank Atlas 1991.

[330] Among the works I used to familiarize myself with the situation regarding what was known as Yugoslavia were: John Allcock's Explaining Yugoslavia; Tim Judah's Serbs, History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, Christopher Bennett's Yugoslavia’s Bloody Collapse, Misha Glenny's The Balkans, Julie Mertus's Kosovo, How Myths and Truths Started a War; and Marcus Tanner's Croatia: A Nation Forged in War.  Those are all fairly mainstream texts.

[331] See Michael Parenti’s To Kill a Nation and Noam Chomsky’s The New Military Humanism.

[332] For instance, The Washington Spectator stated in its May 15, 1999 issue that the NATO bombing was the "Just War."  The Washington Spectator is a "liberal" publication, but its enthusiasm for the Kosovo bombing caused many of its readers to cancel their subscriptions, including me.

[333] See Sean Murphy’s Humanitarian Intervention, pp. 33-64.

[334] On October 13, 1999, the U.S. Senate voted 51-48 to not ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.  Although the United States was not alone on the world stage regarding the non-ratification of the treaty, it was by far the most notable, undermining the notion of other nations ratifying it.  As of April 2000, 55 nations had ratified the treaty, and Russia ratified it in May 2000.

[335] On the 20th anniversary of the assassination of JFK, ironically.

[336] The UN vote tallies are taken from William Blum’s Rogue State, pp. 184-199.  Also see David McGowan's Derailing Democracy, pp. 22-24. 

[337] See Sean Murphy’s Humanitarian Intervention.  See Chomsky, The New Military Humanism, pp. 38-80.

[338] For a brief history of Turkey in the recent centuries, try reading Erik Zürcher’s Turkey, A Modern His