SEPTEMBER 8, 2012
OMNI CENTER FOR PEACE, JUSTICE, AND ECOLOGY
CONTACT: DICK BENNETT, 442-4600
SUBJECT: BOOK FORUM ON US EMPIRE, MILITARISM, AND WAR ON TERROR
When: Friday, September 21, 2012 (United Nations International Day of Peace)
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Where: OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology
3274 Lee Ave., behind FedEx, north of Office Depot, extra parking in front of Liquor World.
So long as the fear-mongering myths continue of enemies who hate us for our freedoms and US invasions and bombings are perpetrated to protect those freedoms, US imperial interventions will continue, innocent people will be killed, our troops will futilely die, and our treasury wasted. People around the world hate our imperial practices. But you and I are not helpless; we are not powerless. We can contribute to an end of US wars of conquest or repression (McCarthyism abroad and at home) by refuting lies and fears and by advocating nonviolence, empathy, knowledge, reason, evidence, and diplomacy. Let us therefore be informed and not be silent.
This Forum reports on a few of the hundreds of books which our good scholars and publishers provide for our understanding of US imperialism and the so-called “War on Terror.” Chalmers Johnson’s “Blowback” tetralogy critically examines hundreds of aspects of the development of the US empire. Nicholas Davies’ Blood on our Hands identifies many of the specific violations of Geneva Conventions and Nuremberg laws committed in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. But the consequences of empire are not limited to its foreign wars. Empire also results in war against its own people—McCarthyism abroad, McCarthyism at home. Susan Herman in Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy examines cases after case of unconstitutional violations of domestic liberties. Other books will be cited. For a list of 46 books on these topics, contact Dick Bennett at email@example.com
BOOK FORUM ON US EMPIRE, NATIONAL SECURITY STATE, MILITARISM, WAR ON TERROR, PERMANENT WAR, HOMELAND SECURITY, CIA
By Dick Bennett
Myths of US Innocence and Freedom
In its editorial of March 23, 2011, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette repeated the old imperial lie: “But of course America doesn’t have to do anything—right, wrong, or in-between—to be the target of protest. Our very existence is a standing provocation to the tyrannies of the world. It’s been that way since we first proclaimed that all men are created equal. . . .So no one should be surprised to hear any protesters-for-hire in the Mid-east start chanting ‘Death to America!’. . . .Maybe chanting ‘Death to America!’ is just an old habit. By now it may be custom—a tradition!—when any two or three gather together in an Islamic country.”
Little of this is true. And its sweeping anti-Islamic message is a call to kill. Who cried “Death to America!” in the nineteenth century? Not the Muslims or anybody except the British in 1812 and the Filipinos at the end of the century. Our Statue of Liberty welcomed the oppressed of the world, and they came, and still wish to come, including Muslims. Not our “very existence” has inspired enemies, but our many invasions and interventions, the hundreds of thousands of innocent people we have killed.. Before us the cry was “Death to the Romans.” And then “Death to the British!” “Death to all the imperial tyrannies.” So “Death to the USA” from Hawaiians, Iranians, Guatemalans, El Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, Vietnamese, Afghans, Iraqis and all the many victims of US aggression.
Neither is the second myth true. Our youth continue to join the military and die in combat, our leaders continue to foment wars, and our wars continue hardly without cessation for a hundred years partly because our troops are said to be defending our freedom. That’s a cruel falsehood to the dead and wounded soldiers and their grieving families, since the freedoms have been diminishing in direct correlation to the increase and continuation of our wars. You remember the Cold War and McCarthyism, including the 1950 Internal Security Act, the 1951 Supreme Court Dennis decision, the 1964 Communist Control Act. But you might have forgotten President Reagan’s assaults on our freedoms—McCarthyism’s extension: the gag rule for public officials, Executive Order 12356 increasing the secrecy classification, increased use of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and the McCarran-Walter Act, to mention only the most infamous. Nor perhaps do you recall President Clinton’s 1996 Counterterrorism Bill: a special court for secret evidence to deport noncitizens accused of association with groups listed as “terrorist”; Executive Branch power to criminalize fundraising for lawful activities conducted by organizations labeled “terrorist”; repealing the Edwards amendment, which prohibited the FBI from opening investigations based on First Amendment activities; resurrecting the discredited ideological visa denial provisions of the McCarran-Walter Act to bar aliens based on their associations rather than their acts; and especially: creating a new federal crime of terrorism, carving further exceptions in the time-honored posse comitatus law barring the U.S. military from civilian law enforcement, expanding use of pre-trial detention, and loosening the rules governing federal wiretaps.
I assume you do remember the Patriot Act and other intensifications of all of these past restrictions on our freedom that occurred under Bush II’s administration post-9/11 and continue under Obama.
So long as the myths continue of enemies who hate us for our freedom, democracy, and affluence (‘our very existence”), US imperial interventions will continue, our troops will futilely die, and our treasury wasted. But we are not helpless; we are not powerless. We can contribute to an end of US wars of conquest or repression (McCarthyism abroad and at home) by refuting these myths. Knowledge, reason, evidence can produce changes for the better. Let us therefore not be silent.
Here is a brief list of some of the scholarship exposing the lies. Call or write to me if you will be a panelist to report on one of these books. firstname.lastname@example.org, 442-4600 in a panel sometime this fall.
US HISTORY OF IMPERIAL CONQUEST
--- Kinzer, Stephen. Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. Times Books, 2006. Equally excellent: Tom Engelhardt, The American Way of War. Haymarket, 2010. The history since 9-11: “Washington is a war capital…the norm for us is to be at war.” Engelhardt, The United States of Fear. Haymarket, 2011. F. William Engdahl . Full Spectrum World Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order. US geopolitical attempts at
world domination through military and foreign policies. A People's History of American Empire:American Empire Project by Howard Zinn; Paul Buhle; Mike Konopacki, Metropolitan Books
Adapted from the bestselling grassroots history of the United States, the story of America in the world, told in comics form. William Blum, Killing Hope and Rogue State (both on post-WWII interventions and invasions and killing civilians. These books are the foundation for understanding the US empire. Blum’s Freeing the World to Death adds misc. essay on empire and consequences abroad and at home). (John Gray). (9 books)
CORPORATE IMPERATIVES , THE CORPORATE-IMPERIAL STATE
--Michael Parenti.. The Face of Imperialism. Paradigm, 2011. Corporate power generating the imperial reach. Gregory Elich. Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem, and the Pursuit of Profit. Elich focuses on the U.S. heavy-handed foreign policies and open aggressions deployed in Zimbabwe, Yugoslavia, and North Korea. One western economic principle is practiced – the free market system. Noam Chomsky. World Orders Old and New. Columbia UP, 1994. (3 books)
DELUSIONAL NATIONAL MYTHS LEADING TO IMPERIAL DREAMS
One of Andrew Bacevich’s books. The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War. Oxford, 2005. The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. Metropolitan, 2008. Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War. Metropolitan, 2010. Paul Buchheit, ed. American Wars: Illusions and Realities. Clarity, 2008. David Swanson. War Is a Lie. 2010. Richard Rubenstein. Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War. Bloomsbury, 2010. Chris Hedges. The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress. Chomsky, Noam. Humanitarian Imperialism: The New Doctrine of Imperial Right. Monthly Review, 2012. Elizabeth Martinez, et al. eds. We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America. War Resisters League and PM Press. 2012. Intersection of white supremacy and the war machine. (9 books)
Lawlessness of US Empire
--Davies, Nicholas. Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq. Nimble, 2010). Systematic US violations of Nuremberg Principles and Geneva Conventions. ( John Rule). Related: --Tirman, John. The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars. Oxford, 2011. Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian, Collateral Damage: America’s War Against Iraqi Civilians. Nation Books, 2008. Seymour Hersh, Chain of Command: The Road from 9-11 to Abu Ghraib. HarperCollins, 2004. Johnson, Chalmers. Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope. Metropolitan, 2010. His last book, following his “Blowback” Trilogy: Blowback, Sorrows of Empire, Nemesis. William Blum’s and Engelhardt’s books. (8 plus books)
Rise of Imperial Presidency
--Swanson, David. Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union. Seven Stories P, 2009. Related: A. O. Schwarz Jr. and Aziz Huq, Unchecked and Unbalanced: Presidential Power in a Time of Terror. New Press, 2007. Garry Wills, Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State. Penguin, 2010. Rachel Maddow. Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power. Crown, 2012. Joe Hanania,. Where the USA Went Wrong: A Study of the United States Empire. Limited Autoedition. Reviews each presidential administration as the imperial misadventures unfold from the conquest of the continent to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (5 books)
Domestic Harms (vs. Democracy and Liberty) of US National Security State, Homeland Security, War on Terrorism, Surveillance, Secrecy
--Herman, Susan. Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy. Oxford UP, 2011. Related: Jane Mayer. The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals. Doubleday, 2008. Cole, David and James Dempsey. Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security. New Press, 2002. FBI and 1996 and 2001 Anti-Terrorism Acts. Priest, Dana and William Arkin. Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State. Little, Brown, 2011. Immense trillion-dollars increase of top, top secret agencies post-9/11. (4 books)
--Swanson, David, ed. The Military Industrial Complex at 50. Charlottesville, 2011. Related: Nick Turse, The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives. Metropolitan, 2008. Henry Giroux, The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex. Paradigm, 2007. (3 books)
US Empire, Mainstream Media, Public Acquiescence
--DiMaggio, Anthony. When Media Go to War: Hegemonic Discourse, Public Opinion, and the Limits of Dissent. Monthly Review, 2009. Related: Norman Solomon, War Made Easy: How Presidents and the Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. Wiley, 2005. Dudziak, Mary. War-Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences. Oxford, 2012. Why US public accepts permanent war. (3 books)
Richard Seymour. American Insurgents: A Brief History of American Anti-Imperialism. Haymarket Books, 2012. The history of US anti-imperialism as a force for democracy around the world. --Ginger, Ann Fagan, ed. Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11. Prometheus, 2005. (2 books)
46 books 9-3-12