U.S.A.: Force for Good in the World? Or Neck-Deep in Blood?
August 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Do you know what your government is doing right now in the countries stretching from North Africa through the Middle East to Central Asia? Pull out a map and pick a spot:
The video above shows the bloodshed and horror in the immediate aftermath of U.S.-backed Saudi bombing of a school in northern Yemen on August 13, 2016.
Yemen. Take Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world. Just this week, Saudi Arabia resumed its savage bombing campaign against the Houthi population—destroying a potato chip factory in the capital Saana and killing 14 people. Human rights organizations report that over the last 18 months, the Saudis have deliberately bombed factories, schools, markets, homes, even hospitals, and are responsible for the majority of the 7,000 men, women, and children killed in the war they launched 18 months ago.
On August 13, Saudi bombs hit the home of a school principal in Northern Yemen killing his wife and four of their children. Then, as is standard Saudi operating procedure, a second airstrike killed more of the principal’s relatives, while rescuers were trying to free them. At the same time, the Saudis bombed a school, killing ten children and injuring 28 more. When rescuers brought survivors to a Doctors Without Borders sponsored hospital, they were asked to leave because the Saudis systematically target hospitals for bombing.
People inspect the rubble of houses destroyed by a U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian airstrike in Sana'a, Yemen. Sept. 8, 2015. Photo: AP
How has Obama reacted? By selling Saudi Arabia another $1.15 billion in arms on top of the $20 billion provided since the war began. By working to prevent Saudi war crimes from even being investigated at the United Nations. And by quietly deploying in May “a very small number” of troops to Yemen.
This reactionary war has shattered Yemen and left 12 million people—half the population—on the brink of starvation and another nine million in urgent need of humanitarian aid.
Libya. The U.S.-NATO bombing in 2011, carried out by Obama and Hillary Clinton in the name of saving lives, made life a nightmare for millions of Libyans. Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's ruler, was overthrown and Libya has been turned into an anarchic battlefield between gangster militias and a haven for jihadists, including ISIS. Thousands have been killed, 400,000 internally displaced, and perhaps 600,000 to a million have fled to neighboring Tunisia. No one knows how many have been among the thousands who’ve drowned in the last several years fleeing across the Mediterranean. Now, the U.S. has started bombing again and may have secretly deployed troops.
Syria. Five years into the Syrian civil war, the U.S. continues to insist that it’s an innocent bystander. They claim that the slaughter of 470,000 and the terror that’s caused 11 million to flee their homes is entirely the fault of the reactionary Assad regime, the Russians, and forces like ISIS. Yet on August 7, the New York Times reported that the C.I.A. has been supplying anti-Assad “resistance” forces with TOW anti-tank weapons – knowing some will end up in the hands of the reactionary jihadist Nusra Front, linked to Al Qaeda. This has been part of a U.S. policy of cynically letting its enemies—Assad, Russia, Iran, and the jihadists—bleed each other while working to prevent any from winning decisively. This has included directly or indirectly backing ISIS and other jihadists via allies like Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which the U.S. backs and often operates through.
Now it’s escalating: In the last two years, the U.S. has launched more than 10,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, mainly against ISIS, but killing a minimum of 1,568 civilians, according to Airwars. More than 100 were massacred in two bombings in Syria alone in recent weeks. And the U.S. is adding to its 4,000-some troops in Iraq and sending ground forces into Syria.
Egypt and Bahrain. Obama has claimed the U.S. supports Arab uprisings against tyranny. In fact, it provides billions in arms to these tyrannies, who’ve unleashed their U.S.-trained militaries against mass uprisings. In Egypt, there were mass killings of protesters after the 2013 military coup—900 on August 14 alone—17,000 more were wounded and 41,000 detained, charged, or sentenced over the next year alone.
And this small sample doesn’t even touch the U.S. drone wars being carried out across the region, the U.S. trail of carnage and betrayal in Afghanistan, or its vicious support of the illegal settler state of Israel and its wars against, and occupation of, the Palestinians!
WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS?
Why are the U.S. rulers waging wars without end, as they claim to love peace? In a nutshell, to preserve the world as it is, a world as Raymond Lotta puts it,
of enormous inequalities: the rich countries have 20 percent of the world’s people but 80 percent of its gross domestic product (or income), while the 20 percent living in the poorest countries have 3 percent of world income. This is a world that is stalked by disease, malnutrition, and life-destroying poverty: some 2.6 billion people, about 40 percent of the world’s population, live on less than $2 a day, and 850 million suffer from hunger and malnutrition. This is a world in which thousands of lives can be mangled by a single computer keystroke taken in electronic trading rooms, as globe-straddling investors shift capital from one profit-opportunity to another. ("A Jagged, Unjust, and Obsolete World," Revolution, September 10, 2006)
These vast and unconscionable inequalities are created and driven forward by the workings of global capitalism. This is a system in which every capitalist or bloc of capital is driven to maximize its profits in cutthroat competition with other capitals—or else face ruin. This compulsion finds concentrated expression in the rivalries—and wars—between states for control of markets, resources, trade routes, and whole countries and regions, and preventing rivals from doing likewise. Why is the U.S. still waging wars for oil in the Middle East when it’s more and more “energy independent”? Because if they don’t control the world’s “energy storehouse,” someone else will. And they can’t tolerate that!
And doing all that takes vast armies, vast arsenals, vast spy networks, and a ghoulish willingness to rain death and destruction whenever, wherever it’s deemed necessary to maintain the empire. This is why the U.S. spends more than $600 billion a year on its military—nearly as much as the rest of the world combined. Why it has some 800 military bases around the world. And why right now, U.S. “special forces”—who are “special” only in the sense they’ve been trained to be versatile, heartless killers who ask no questions—are operating in 135 of the world’s 196 countries.
What is the real situation here? As Bob Avakian (BA) has put it:
It is not uncommon to hear these days, from government officials and others, that only 1 percent of the population is in the U.S. military but that this 1 percent is fighting for the freedom of the other 99 percent. The truth, however, is this: That 1 percent, in the military, is in reality fighting for the other 1 percent: the big capitalist-imperialists who run this country—who control the economy, the political system, the military, the media, and the other key institutions—and who dominate large parts of the world, wreaking havoc and causing great suffering for literally billions of people. It is the “freedom” of these capitalist-imperialists—their freedom to exploit, oppress, and plunder—that this 1 percent in the military is actually killing and sometimes dying for. (BAsics 1:5)
WHAT MUST WE DO?
People living in the U.S. have a special moral responsibility to oppose these criminal wars. If you don’t, then how are you different from what used to be known as the “good Germans”—those in Nazi Germany who claimed not to know about the extermination of the Jewish people?
But such resistance, while urgently needed, does not settle one’s moral obligation. Pursue your convictions and dig into why the outrages that move you keep happening, and what it’s really going to take to end them. Dig into the answers brought forward by Bob Avakian on the character of the problem and the solution to that problem: revolution. Get into the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America that he wrote, which shows how humanity could actually establish a system moving to eliminate the domination of entire nations and regions of the world, and capitalism-imperialism itself.
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