Archive for the Historical myths of the US Category

D-Day anniversary: Commemorating the Second World War and preparing the Third [World Socialist Website]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Anti-communism, Black propaganda, China, Encirclement of China, Fascism, France, Genocide, Germany, Historical myths of the US, Iraq, Obama, Pentagon, Psychological warfare, Russia, Ukraine, US - Nazi connection, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR on June 15, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

7 June 2014

Few will remain unmoved by the appearance Friday on the beaches of Normandy of 90-year-old veterans marking — in many cases for the last time — the slaughter of D-Day in which nearly 20,000 troops — both Allied and German — lost their lives. Those present for the 70th anniversary commemoration were among the lucky who survived that day in 1944, but surely they have remained haunted by the memory of those who did not and marked for their entire lives by this terrible experience of their youth.

The presence of this dwindling band of survivors of World War II — the greatest exercise in mass killing in the history of the planet — only underscored the boundless hypocrisy of the official ceremonies in which President Barack Obama played the leading role.

Historic ironies abounded at Normandy’s 70th anniversary. In the run-up to a ceremony ostensibly marking a decisive defeat for fascism, the US president toured Europe to drum up support for a Ukrainian regime that came to power in a US-backed coup spearheaded by neo-Nazis. These same ultra-right forces are now being employed with Washington’s support to carry out war crimes against the people of eastern Ukraine.

The principal foes of the US and its allies in World War II — Germany and Japan—are today being prodded by Washington to re-militarize for the purpose of assisting US imperialism in the encirclement of Russia and China. In both Germany and Japan, historians are reworking the portrayal of World War II to justify the crimes carried out by German and Japanese imperialism.

Obama’s speech at Omaha beach was typical for the US president, filled with empty rhetoric, historical references stripped of any real content, and personal anecdotes that managed to be both exploitative and insincere.

Obama had next to nothing to say about the cause for which the sacrifices of 70 years ago were made, outside of a brief reference to “Nazi guns” and “Hitler’s wall.” He demonstratively excluded from his potted history any reference to the Soviet Union, which by the time of the Normandy invasion had already inflicted a strategic defeat on the Wehrmacht at Stalingrad. The Red Army was responsible for 80 percent of the casualties inflicted on German forces, and the Soviet people suffered 26 million dead in the war.

Perhaps the most bizarre part of Obama’s speech was his attempt to equate the war fought by the aged veterans brought together in Normandy with the “post-9/11” US military and its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He predicted that someday “future generations… will gather at places like this to honor them — and to say that these were generations of men and women who proved once again that the United States of America is and will remain the greatest force for freedom the world has ever known.”

What “freedom” did the US bring in wars that killed over a million Iraqis and Afghans? And at what places will future generations gather to mark these wars — Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, Bagram prison or the scenes of countless drone strikes, bombings and night raids against civilian populations?

Even as Obama was speaking, his European tour was overshadowed by a right-wing furor in the US media over the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who apparently walked away from the war in Afghanistan after writing that he was “sorry for everything here” and describing the US military as “an army of liars, backstabbers, fools, and bullies.”

In World War II, the American ruling class was largely able to conceal its own militarism and global appetites behind a broader democratic appeal, thanks to the intense hostility of working people in the US and internationally to Hitlerite fascism. Today, it cannot credibly make any such appeal. The American establishment confronts a population that is largely in sync with the sentiments of Sergeant Bergdahl and hostile to foreign military interventions.

World War II, nonetheless, was no more a war for democracy or crusade against fascism than World War I was the “war to end all wars,” or, for that matter, the invasion of Iraq was a struggle against terrorism. In the period leading up to the war, major capitalist interests in Western Europe and the US lauded both Hitler and Mussolini, seeing their fascist dictatorships as bulwarks against socialist revolution…

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/06/07/pers-j07.html
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Also see related article: “The Lies Grow More Audacious” by Paul Craig Roberts [on D-day and Normandy landing] – http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/06/06/lies-grow-audacious-paul-craig-roberts/

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“We used chemical weapons in Vietnam”: Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick explain how telling the untold history can change the world for the better [The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Afghanistan, Bill Clinton, El Salvador, Genocide, Hiroshima, Historical myths of the US, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Nagasaki, Obama, Okinawa, Pentagon, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Vietnam, World War II on May 22, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Sep. 29, 2013

Joint Interview by The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus and Shukan Kinyobi, Tokyo, August 11, 2013

Satoko Oka Norimatsu and Narusawa Muneo

The Japanese weekly Shukan Kinyobi and The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus jointly interviewed Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, co-authors of The Untold History of the United States, a 10-episode documentary series (broadcast on Showtime Network, 2012-13) and a companion book of the same name (Simon and Schuster, 2012), on August 11 in Tokyo. It was the 8th day of the duo’s 12-day tour of Japan, right after they visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki to participate in the 68th memorial of the atomic-bombing on August 6 and 9 respectively, and before they visited Okinawa, to witness the realities of the continuing US military base occupation and resistance to it. Stone and Kuznick, relaxed with a few late-afternoon drinks between two large public events in Hibiya, Tokyo, talked about the importance of learning and teaching history, the “thread of civilization” as a people’s “weapon of truth,” to defend against the power of the American empire, whose image has been molded on the continuing distortion of history and glorification of past wars. This applies to Japan and its government’s denial of aggression in its past wars, too. The interview ranges widely over their five years of collaboration on the Untold History.

Q. At the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War in 2012, Obama reflected on the war “with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor,” and initiated a 13-year program to “pay tribute to the men and women who answered the call of duty with courage and valor.”[1] Why are the experiences of the Vietnam War being glorified now? Did the war not bring about disastrous outcomes, as you argue in your book?

Stone: There has certainly been a strong drift to the right both in the United States and now in Japan. The drift to the right started with Reagan, though some people would argue that it started with Nixon, and Johnson, after Kennedy was killed – you can argue that. The drift to the right accelerated under Reagan, and it was Reagan who was most aggressive in redefining the Vietnam War as, not a disgrace, but something to be proud of. He termed negativity toward the war as the “Vietnam syndrome,” which was quite strong, considering that only ten years before we had withdrawn from Vietnam and we were really lost. I think Reagan believed that he could revamp American society by giving it economic strength and historical purpose, as Abe is trying in Japan. You redefine the history, and you redefine the economy. Reagan starts it, and George H.W. Bush does it better. He is the one who suffered from the “wimp factor,” but after the Kuwait invasion in 1991 he announces that the “specter of Vietnam has been buried forever under the desert sands of the Arabian Peninsula,”[2] and then this is backed by Clinton. So this is the tradition now. Obama recently made a statement on the 60th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War that “the war was no tie. Korea was a victory.”[3] He was praising the US military extravagantly.

So, this is a different kind of syndrome in the United States. No matter what history says, the military is worshipped. If you look at Obama’s statement on the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, he does not really talk about the war when he says, “we reflect with solemn reverence, upon the valor of a generation that served with honor.” You can never question your soldiers’ valor. Many of the veterans who go to war want to feel that they served with honor, even if it was a losing cause or a bad cause. On the other hand, behind that is a revising of history where he is basically saying that the war in Vietnam was a noble cause. I think it was a lost cause; a bad cause. The battlefield of the future is the history. History, memory of history, and the correct memory of history is the slender thread of our civilization.

I know this in my heart, because if you think about it, in our own lives, previous lives, my life, your life, what do we have? Where are we right now? Every one of us has a history. We have loves, hates, affairs – we have gone through life and every single one of us has a say about history. Those people who remember history and have an awareness of themselves do better in life, generally speaking. They are able to evaluate themselves as they mature, they can change as I did, to evolve, if evolution comes from knowing who you are. So the very concept of denying your own past is lying at the greatest level. It goes to the heart of every individual and to the heart of a nation.

Kuznick: The Vietnam syndrome is very important. The attack on the Vietnam syndrome began as soon as the war ended. Gerald Ford during his presidency said, “We have to stop looking to the past; we have to look to the future.”[4] This was one week before the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, the end of the Vietnam War. The process began from that point, to forget Vietnam, to wipe it from history – the causes of Vietnam, and the consequences of Vietnam. In 1980, Commentary, a leading neocon magazine, edited by Norman Podhoretz, devoted an issue to the Vietnam syndrome. Conservatives understood at that point that unless they could change the perception of the American people about the Vietnam War, they could not intervene capriciously in other countries and expand what had become an American empire. So they made a deliberate effort to change the narrative about the Vietnam War, because Vietnam had become for most Americans by that point a nightmare. Some people saw it as a mistake, as an aberration, but many of us understood it as an extremely ugly example of an interventionist American policy that had been playing out around the world for decades. So the right-wing made a systemic effort to cleanse history, because they knew that was essential to build the kind of empire that they wanted to attain, and, as Oliver says, Reagan pursued it most aggressively. But we saw it also with Carter. Carter starts his administration progressively, but by the end he had moved to the right and was talking about the nobility of the struggle in Vietnam. Reagan embraced it directly, as did Clinton who, in his student days, had actively opposed the war. If you look at what he says, it is the same as Ford, Reagan and everybody else: the nobility of the cause – the American troops were great, just because they fought and died, and you have to wave the flag for the American troops.

This was also essential for neocon proponents of “the new American century.” People behind George W. Bush again rewrote the history of Vietnam. Conservative obfuscation has been deliberate and systematic. Even in the naming. We refer to it in America as “the war in Vietnam.” We talk about “the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,” but we do not talk about the “American ‘invasion’ of Vietnam.” But that was what it was — a bloody invasion that began slowly and built up over the years, in which the United States used every kind of lethal power, except for the atomic bomb. We had free fire zones in which we were able to shoot and kill anything that moved. It was a war of atrocities. People say that the My Lai Massacre was an atrocity, but dismiss it as an aberration. But if you study the actual history, read Nick Turse’s recent book,[5] or look at Oliver’s movies, you see that Vietnam was a series of atrocities on a smaller scale. That is why the Vietnamese are surprised by the American focus on My Lai. They know that My Lais, though on a smaller scale, were occurring throughout the country with shocking regularity.

The Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC is powerful and moving. It has the names of all the 58,286 Americans who died in the war. The message is that the tragedy of Vietnam was the fact that 58,286 Americans died. That is indeed tragic. Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defense 1961-68) came into my class and said he accepted the fact that 3.8 million Vietnamese died. The memorial does not have the names of 3.8 million Vietnamese or the hundreds of thousands of Laotians, Cambodians and others. The Okinawa war memorial tells a different story. It has the names of all the Okinawans, Japanese, Americans, and all the others who died in the Battle of Okinawa, and that makes a real statement about the horrors of war. The Vietnam memorial does not. If the 250 foot long Vietnam memorial wall contained all the names of the Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians, do you know how long it would be? Over four miles! What a statement that would make. But right now, there is a campaign to forget, and Obama participated in it when he welcomed the troops home from Iraq. Obama is the voice of the empire, and empire requires forgetting, cleansing, and wiping out the past about Vietnam, Iraq, Kuwait, Salvador, and even WWII. None of these stories have been told honestly and truthfully in the United States and that is why it is so important to fight over the correct interpretation of history; otherwise U.S. leaders are going to repeat the crimes and atrocities in much the same way that they got away with them in the past…

Excerpted; full article link: http://japanfocus.org/events/view/197

Anti-Empire Report #127: “Barack Obama – Indoctrinating a new generation with Washington’s lies” [Williamblum.org]

Posted in DU Depleted Uranium weapons, Genocide, George W. Bush, Historical myths of the US, Iraq, Kosovo, NATO, Nelson Mandela, Obama, Pentagon, Psychological warfare, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, State Department, Ukraine, UNSC, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Yugoslavia - former FRY on April 21, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

‘Indoctrinating a new generation’

by William Blum

April 7, 2014

Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George W. Bush had made some of these statements, Obama supporters would not hesitate to shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk. Here’s a sample:

– “In defending its actions, Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent – an example they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country, just as they’re doing now. But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.”

Most people who follow such things are convinced that the 1999 US/NATO bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo took place only after the Serbian-forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of Serbia’s extreme anger and powerlessness over the bombing. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, 1999, and the few days following. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:

… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation. [emphasis added]

On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that nature.

But the propaganda version is already set in marble.

– “And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized, not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. one of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”

None of that even came close to happening in Kosovo either. The story is false. The referendum the president speaks of never happened. Did the mainstream media pick up on this or on the previous example? If any reader comes across such I’d appreciate being informed.

Crimea, by the way, did have a referendum. A real one.

– “Workers and engineers gave life to the Marshall Plan … As the Iron Curtain fell here in Europe, the iron fist of apartheid was unclenched, and Nelson Mandela emerged upright, proud, from prison to lead a multiracial democracy. Latin American nations rejected dictatorship and built new democracies … “

The president might have mentioned that the main beneficiary of the Marshall Plan was US corporations 1, that the United States played an indispensable role in Mandela being caught and imprisoned, and that virtually all the Latin American dictatorships owed their very existence to Washington. Instead, the European youth were fed the same party line that their parents were fed, as were all Americans.

– “Yes, we believe in democracy – with elections that are free and fair.”

In this talk, the main purpose of which was to lambaste the Russians for their actions concerning Ukraine, there was no mention that the government overthrown in that country with the clear support of the United States had been democratically elected.

– “Moreover, Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. … But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future.”

The US did not get UN Security Council approval for its invasion, the only approval that could legitimize the action. It occupied Iraq from one end of the country to the other for 8 years, forcing the government to privatize the oil industry and accept multinational – largely U.S.-based, oil companies’ – ownership. This endeavor was less than successful because of the violence unleashed by the invasion. The US military finally was forced to leave because the Iraqi government refused to give immunity to American soldiers for their many crimes.

Here is a brief summary of what Barack Obama is attempting to present as America’s moral superiority to the Russians:

The modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a quasi failed state … the Americans, beginning in 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one dubious excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly … the people of that unhappy land lost everything – their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile … The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lying in wait for children to pick them up … a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again. … “It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post. (May 5, 2007)

How can all these mistakes, such arrogance, hypocrisy and absurdity find their way into a single international speech by the president of the United States? Is the White House budget not sufficient to hire a decent fact checker? Someone with an intellect and a social conscience? Or does the desire to score propaganda points trump everything else? Is this another symptom of the Banana-Republicization of America?..

Full text of Anti-Empire Report #127, with notes: http://williamblum.org/aer/read/127

Jimmy Carter And Human Rights: Behind The Media Myth [FAIR / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Corporate Media Critique, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Genocide, Guatemala, Haiti, Historical myths of the US, Indonesia, Iran, Media cover-up, Nicaragua, Philippines, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on March 29, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Sep. 21 1994

By Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon

…During his presidency, Carter proclaimed human rights to be “the soul of our foreign policy.” Although many journalists promoted that image, the reality was quite different.

Inaugurated 13 months after Indonesia’s December 1975 invasion of East Timor, Carter stepped up U.S. military aid to the Jakarta regime as it continued to murder Timorese civilians. By the time Carter left office, about 200,000 people had been slaughtered.

Elsewhere, despotic allies — from Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines to the Shah of Iran — received support from President Carter.

In El Salvador, the Carter administration provided key military aid to a brutal regime. In Nicaragua, contrary to myth, Carter backed dictator Anastasio Somoza almost until the end of his reign. In Guatemala — again contrary to enduring myth — major U.S. military shipments to bloody tyrants never ended.

After moving out of the White House in early 1981, Carter developed a reputation as an ex-president with a conscience. He set about building homes for the poor. And when he traveled to hot spots abroad, news media often depicted Carter as a skillful negotiator on behalf of human rights.

But a decade after Carter left the Oval Office, scholar James Petras assessed the ex-president’s actions overseas — and found that Carter’s image as “a peace mediator, impartial electoral observer and promoter of democratic values…clashes with the experiences of several democratic Third World leaders struggling against dictatorships and pro-U.S. clients.”

From Latin America to East Africa, Petras wrote, Carter functioned as “a hard-nosed defender of repressive state apparatuses, a willing consort to electoral frauds, an accomplice to U.S. Embassy efforts to abort popular democratic outcomes and a one-sided mediator.”

Observing the 1990 election in the Dominican Republic, Carter ignored fraud that resulted in the paper-thin victory margin of incumbent president Joaquin Balaguer. Announcing that Balaguer’s bogus win was valid, Carter used his prestige to give international legitimacy to the stolen election — and set the stage for a rerun this past spring, when Balaguer again used fraud to win re-election.

In December 1990, Carter traveled to Haiti, where he labored to undercut Jean-Bertrand Aristide during the final days of the presidential race. According to a top Aristide aide, Carter predicted that Aristide would lose, and urged him to concede defeat. (He ended up winning 67 percent of the vote…)

…Petras described Carter as routinely engaging in “a double discourse. One discourse is for the public, which is his moral politics, and the other is the second track that he operates on, which is a very cynical realpolitik that plays ball with very right-wing politicians and economic forces…”

Excerpted; full article link: http://fair.org/media-beat-column/jimmy-carter-and-human-rights-behind-the-media-myth/

Hawks Want Obama to Be More Like Jimmy Carter [FAIR]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Corporate Media Critique, Historical myths of the US, Obama, Pentagon, Russia, State Department, Ukraine, US "War on Terror", US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on March 29, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

There’s been no shortage of right-wing criticism of Barack Obama’s policy towards Russia. But some are advising he be more like…. Jimmy Carter?

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer (3/13/14) explained:

Obama is not the first president to conduct a weak foreign policy. Jimmy Carter was similarly inclined–until Russia invaded Afghanistan, at which point the scales fell from Carter’s eyes.

From that moment on, he writes, Carter “responded boldly,” winding up with

the massive military aid we began sending the mujaheddin, whose insurgency so bled the Russians over the next decade that they not only lost Afghanistan but were fatally weakened as a global imperial [sic] power.

Invasion woke Carter from his illusions. Will it wake Obama?

Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson (3/17/14) seemed to crib from Krauthammer’s analysis a few days later, explaining that “in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,” Carter “began aid to Afghan insurgents.” Gerson closed with this:

This is now the state of Obama’s foreign policy: He must rise to Carter-era levels of resolve.

There are at least two points that deserve clarification. Carter’s support for the anti-Soviet mujaheddin did not actually begin after the 1980 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In 1998, Carter national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski gave a revealing interview to the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur (cited in CounterPunch, 1/15/98), where he explained what really happened:

Brzezinski: According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 December 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

He added: “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 interview became more prominent after the September 11 attacks, which drew considerable media attention to this history, since Al-Qaeda’s origin is linked to Osama bin Laden’s experience in Afghanistan. As the Nation’s Eric Alterman (11/12/01) noted: “The truth is that the United States began a program of covert aid to the Afghan guerrillas six months before the Soviets invaded.”

So it’s inaccurate to describe Carter’s support for Afghan insurgents as a consequence of the Soviet invasion; to hear Brzezinski tell it, the reality was more the other way around.

But a more fundamental question might be: Do Krauthammer and Gerson really believe that what transpired in Afghanistan in the 1980s is something to be emulated now?..

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.fair.org/blog/2014/03/21/hawks-want-obama-to-be-more-like-jimmy-carter

“‘Good’ and ‘bad’ war – and the struggle of memory against forgetting” – Korean War truth suppression enables war on China [JohnPilger.com]

Posted in Anti-communism, Black propaganda, China, DPR Korea, Encirclement of China, Genocide, Historical myths of the US, Japan, Kim Il Sung, Korean War, Shanghai, south Korea, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, World War II on February 18, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

12 February 2014

by John Pilger

12 February 2014

…In ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, George Orwell wrote: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

The people of Korea understand this well. The slaughter on their peninsula following the second world war is known as the “forgotten war”, whose significance for all humanity has long been suppressed in military histories of cold war good versus evil.

I have just read ‘The Korean War: A History by Bruce Cumings’ (2010), professor of history at the University of Chicago. I first saw Cumings interviewed in Regis Tremblay’s extraordinary film, ‘The Ghosts of Jeju’, which documents the uprising of the people of the southern Korean island of Jeju in 1948 and the campaign of the present-day islanders to stop the building of a base with American missiles aimed provocatively at China.

Like most Koreans, the farmers and fishing families protested the senseless division of their nation between north and south in 1945 – a line drawn along the 38th Parallel by an American official, Dean Rusk, who had “consulted a map around midnight on the day after we obliterated Nagasaki with an atomic bomb,” wrote Cumings. The myth of a “good” Korea (the south) and a “bad” Korea (the north) was invented.

In fact, Korea, north and south, has a remarkable people’s history of resistance to feudalism and foreign occupation, notably Japan’s in the 20th century. When the Americans defeated Japan in 1945, they occupied Korea and often branded those who had resisted the Japanese as “commies”. On Jeju island, as many as 60,000 people were massacred by militias supported, directed and, in some cases, commanded by American officers.

This and other unreported atrocities were a “forgotten” prelude to the Korean War (1950-53) in which more people were killed than Japanese died during all of world war two. Cumings’ gives an astonishing tally of the degree of destruction of the cities of the north is astonishing: Pyongyang 75 per cent, Sariwon 95 per cent, Sinanju 100 per cent. Great dams in the north were bombed in order to unleash internal tsunamis. “Anti-personnel” weapons, such as Napalm, were tested on civilians…

“The unhindered machinery of incendiary bombing was visited on the North for three years,” he wrote, “yielding a wasteland and a surviving mole people who had learned to love the shelter of caves, mountains, tunnels and redoubts, a subterranean world that became the basis for reconstructing a country…

The guerrilla leader Kim Il Sung had begun fighting the Japanese militarists in 1932. Every characteristic attached to the regime he founded – “communist, rogue state, evil enemy” – derives from a ruthless, brutal, heroic resistance: first to Japan, then the United States, which threatened to nuke the rubble its bombers had left. Cumings exposes as propaganda the notion that Kim Il Sung, leader of the “bad” Korea, was a stooge of Moscow. In contrast, the regime that Washington invented in the south, the “good” Korea, was run largely by those who had collaborated with Japan and America.

The Korean War has an unrecognised distinction. It was in the smouldering ruins of the peninsula that the US turned itself into what Cumings calls “an archipelago of empire”. When the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, it was as if the whole planet was declared American – or else.

But there is China now. The base currently being built on Cheju island will face the Chinese metropolis of Shanghai, less than 300 miles away, and the industrial heartland of the only country whose economic power is likely to surpass that of the US. “China,” says President Obama in a leaked briefing paper, “is our fast emerging strategic threat.” By 2020, almost two thirds of all US naval forces in the world will be transferred to the Asia-Pacific region. In an arc extending from Australia to Japan and beyond, China will be ringed by US missiles and nuclear-weapons armed aircraft. Will this threat to all of us be “forgotten”, too?

Excerpted; full article link: http://johnpilger.com/articles/good-and-bad-war-and-the-struggle-of-memory-against-forgetting

‘Rwanda And the Scramble for Africa’, book review by Edward S. Herman – “Rwandan genocide is 100% US’ responsibility” [Z Magazine]

Posted in Africa, Bill Clinton, Black propaganda, Canada, Corporate Media Critique, France, Genocide, Historical myths of the US, Psychological warfare, Rwanda, State Department, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Yugoslavia - former FRY on February 11, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

January 2014

Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa:
From Tragedy to Useful Imperial Fiction

By Robin Philpot

Baraka Books (Montreal, Canada), 273 pp.

Review by Edward S. Herman

Robin Philpot’s important new book Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa is an eye-opener and essential reading for anybody who wants to understand the recent history of Rwanda, ongoing U.S. and Western policy in Africa, and how efficiently the Western propaganda system works.

As in the case of the wars dismantling Yugoslavia, there is a “standard model” of what happened in Rwanda both in 1994 and in the preceding and later years, a model that puts the victorious Tutsi expatriate and Ugandan official Paul Kagame, his Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), and his Western supporters in a favorable light and the government of Rwanda, led by the Hutu Juvenal Habyarimana, in a negative light. Philpot challenges this model in all of its aspects and shows convincingly that, in a virtual miracle of systematic distortion, this version of history stands the truth on its head.

One important feature of the standard model is its portrayal of the West as a regrettably late intervener in the Rwanda struggle, with oft-cited ex-post apologies from Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright during their visits to Rwanda in 1997 and 1998 for U.S. and allied failure to intervene to prevent the massive killings in 1994.

Demolishing this distortion of history, Philpot shows that U.S. and Western intervention in Rwanda was crucial both in preparing the ground for the 1994 bloodbath and in the failure to stop it after it was well underway. The United States and Britain saw to it that UN peacekeeping forces were smaller in 1994 than had been agreed to in the 1993 Arusha Peace Accords and that they were cut sharply in February and then in April 1994 when killings were raging. The Rwanda government called repeatedly for a ceasefire, but the United States was supporting Kagame’s and the RPF’s conquest of Rwanda and, with a Kagame victory in sight, the U.S. intervention at that point was to protect the RPF killing machine from any outside interference. Philpot quotes former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros- Ghali’s repeated assertion that, “The genocide in Rwanda was one hundred percent the responsibility of the Americans…”

Excerpted, full article link: http://www.zcommunications.org/rwanda-and-the-scramble-for-africa-by-edward-s-herman.html