Friday, August 30, 2013

CIA wars aren't fought to defend US workers interests.

by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

The Washington Post has published the secret US Intelligence budget that the paper received as part of a package of information from Edward Snowden.  The $52 billion of taxpayer funds it appears often fails to protect “national security” the Post argues.

Naturally, representatives of the bankers and other coupon clippers that we bailed out after the crash  are already saying the Post has published material that could cause, “Significant damage “ to national security (former CIA officials Paul Pillar, now at the Brookings Institution). The Post has admitted it held back publishing some of the material for fear it would harm national security. The CIA’s $14 billion a year is aimed at knocking out competitor's computers and stealing secrets as well as spying on US citizens.

But the question we have to ask ourselves is: what constitutes national security?   The interests of Halliburton, CitiBank and the cronies that run these institutions are not the same interests as the workers and middle class that allow the US economy and society to function.  In fact, the increased attacks on US workers, our wages, benefits and general living standards, is a direct result of policies designed not to protect us but policies aimed at protecting the interests of US capitalism abroad.

It was not in the interests of US workers, or a good use of our tax money, to overthrow the government of Guatemala in 1954 or the democratically elected secular government of Iran in 1953.  The US installed the vicious regime of the Shah of Iran after that escapade so if we want to allocate blame for the presence of the Mullahs blame the Pentagon and their British colleagues.

It was not in US workers interests to invade Vietnam, slaughter 3 million people,  and support a government that couldn’t get elected by its own people.  The US also used chemical weapons on them as it did on the Iraqi people. It wasn’t in our interests to support Bin Laden against the Soviets and the religious fanatics against the government of Mohammad Najibullah.  The US supported the Taliban against Najibullah and when the Soviets could no longer offer assistance the Taliban killed him, castrated him then dragged his body through the streets.  The US had its way, the Islamic fanatics won.  That they were misogynistic 7th century religious nuts didn’t matter as long as an oil and gas pipeline to the Arabian sea was possible and capital not restrained it was OK, violence against women be damned. US workers and the labor movement should have given critical support to Najibullah against the Taliban and their Pentagon partners.  Remember, up until 1999, every Taliban official was on the payroll of the US government.

It wasn’t in our interests when our government involved itself in the murder of Patrice Lumumba and installing Mobutu who killed some two million people. The assassination of Allende and overthrow of that democratically elected government was US orchestrated.  The list of such actions taken to supposedly protect our national interests is a long one. What these activities amount to are not defensive actions but offensive ones aimed at making the world safe for US corporations and the 1% in their rapacious profit making ventures.  Who is going to invade the US?

We are told we are all Americans; that we have to unite.  But all Americans don’t have the same interests. It’s not in the interest of US workers to have fire stations closed, post offices shut down, education savaged, our national parks falling apart through lack of funds etc. It is not in our interest to have two million people in prison and millions of people without decent shelter, food or health care.

The assault on Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden by the representatives of Wall Street in Congress and the Pentagon has nothing to do with the safety and welfare of the American workers and middle class. We can't travel to half of the countries in the world due to US foreign policy mapped out behind closed doors.  What embarrassed them about the Wikileaks and Snowden releases it that they reveal their diplomacy for what it is, the diplomacy of thieves and robbers.   Their counterparts are the same of course, but as workers we have to reach out to our own class internationally.  Millions of workers just like us are suffering horrendous hardships and never ending war in the struggle for control of the world’s diminishing resources. The instability of the so-called free market is everywhere.  More bubbles are developing as the same old activities return. The countries that have been in the limelight as the example of the vibrancy of the market are slipping deeper in to the quagmire, I am talking about the emerging markets particularly the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China). China has whole towns sitting empty or unfinished including a huge replica of the Eiffel Tower, there is an explosion waiting to happen there and the same can be said about the US.  Welcome to the free market folks.

International solidarity and independent activity on the part of working people is made more difficult because organizations we have built over time, trade unions and in most other advanced capitalist economies, political parties are led by bureaucrats whose world view is the same as the bosses, the same as the bankers and Wall Street crowd. Even those claiming to be socialist support their capitalist governments. The workers of France for example, their unions and parties should take direct/industrial action against that government’s threat to bomb Syria, its former colony. Appeals and assistance from the workers of the industrial world to the workers of Syria and the Arab Spring would provide a real alternative to the Assad regime and those in opposition who want rid of it. It would undermine the Islamic fanatics and offer a real alternative to Assad or al Qaeda.

Most people have read the quote below and there is no doubt Butler had weaknesses, a sort of protectionist isolationist ideal, but his description of his role as a Major General in the United States Marine Corp is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it in the 1930’s.

Excerpt from a speech given by Major General Smedley Butler in 1933

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

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 men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time 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 a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

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