The CIA and the Gulf War by John Stockwell
A speech delivered on 1991-02-20 at the Louden Nelson Community Center, Santa Cruz, California
John Stockwell is a 13-year veteran of the CIA and a former U.S. Marine Corps major. He was hired by the CIA in 1964, spent six years working for the CIA in Africa, and was later transferred to Vietnam. In 1973 he received the CIA's Medal of Merit, the Agency's second-highest award. In 1975, Stockwell was promoted to the CIA's Chief of Station and National Security Council coordinator, managing covert activities during the first years of Angola's bloody civil war. After two years he resigned, determined to reveal the truth about the agency's role in the Third World. Since that time, he has worked tirelessly to expose the criminal activities of the CIA. He is the author of In Search of Enemies, an exposé of the CIA's covert action in Angola.
Stockwell is a founding member of Peaceways and ARDIS (the Association for Responsible Dissent), an organization of former CIA and Government officials who are openly critical of the CIA's activities. His latest book is entitled The Praetorian Guard: The U.S. Role in the New World Order.
JOHN STOCKWELL: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for inviting me back. This is one of my favorite places in the nation. My growth, as I have come out of the CIA quite a few years ago now and learned to speak, and learned confidence — some of my early appearances were right here, in fact. And the response that I got, and the support that I got helped me to grow as I continued to travel and lecture and debate and read and read and read, and write things, some of them successfully published.
We've got a book coming out right now called The Praetorian Guard: The U.S. Role in the New World Order. And it's in the trucks across the nation right now. It'll be in the bookstores, they say, in about three weeks. That's apparently how long it takes.
I want to commend you for your energy and your interest in the world. And I apologize for having my back to you. I'm just glad you could get in. We just turned away about 500 people. And that's a tragedy, when communication is so important on such important issues. And so, of course, I went out to tell them that if anyone wants to organize it, and if the energy is still there, I'll come back in three days or two weeks, or whatever is viable.
What's so important about your being here, and this kind of interest is the basic principle that I realized a long time ago and that many of you realized long before I did, is that we are, in fact, programmable creatures. We can be taught from childhood. And we are taught, in this country, in such a way that we're conditioned — that we'll respond when someone else reaches inside our breast to poke buttons and make us march off to war and kill people, or cheer when others go off to kill people. And the only way to defend yourself and your loved ones against that is to program yourself. And you do that by reading books and by sharing conversations with serious people and by lectures and events like this one, and all the other ones that you've been doing. And certainly, this great engine of information and energy [in this audience] is just awesome.
Now what we're going to talk about here tonight is what I call "The Good War Number Two." I'm sure you remember Studs Terkel's book, THE GOOD WAR, about World War II, where the rationales were so solid that the nation was pretty well behind it and even the Communist party (and [though] Karl Marx had challenged to boycott, and the people had challenged to boycott the big capitalist war) .... even the Communist party got behind it, as well. Everybody got behind it, just about, except for a very few hard-core pacifists. And [back then too it was called] "the New World Order." This [now] is being fought in the name of "the New World Order", George Bush being the chief thereof.
First, before I get into this .... and I'm going to have to move pretty fast tonight because the subject is dense: what we want to cover. I will plow through it, and then we'll get into questions. And again, feel free — if you're shy or something — to write down the question. But it's more fun if we have the energy of people standing up and making short statements so that others can speak, as well: questioning, challenging. We'll have the energy going back and forth between us.
But first, how many people have read ..... The last time I was here, I asked you to ..... How many people actually read Howard Zinn's bookA People's History of the United States? ..... That's better! Everybody else: Tomorrow, call in sick. Don't go to class. Read this book! Quite simply, you will never understand the U.S. System as completely until you read it. And once you read it, you will be able to understand what's happening, broadly, for the rest of your life. It's extremely well-written, extremely well- documented, tremendously moving, with quotes on every page: every phase of our history, as viewed, not from the interests of the country and big business — as our high school textbooks are and as our college textbooks are — but from the viewpoint of the people who died in the wars, who fought in the wars, who paid for the wars, and who profited from the wars, of course.
This war we're going to talk about tonight is called the "Persian Gulf War" — the "SuperBowl War" — the "Made-for-Television War" — the "Pentagon-Edited War" — the "Women-Have-a-Right-to-Kill,-Die- and-Be-Captured-Too War" — "the Censored War" — the "Saddam Hussein-is-So-Evil-We-Have-to-Do-It War" — and the "I've-Got-to-Support-Our-Troops-Right-or-Wrong War".
Now this thing was thoroughly prepared for six months, overtly, by the United States Government, the Pentagon, and the Media — CNN [Cable News Network] getting into it many weeks ago with heavy coverage. We covered it so thoroughly that on January 14th ..... and I've been writing screenplays and things, trying to make a living, with CNN on ..... On the 14th, waiting for the kick-off, they had an Emory University professor on who gave us advice on how to play Wall Street to profit from the war before it happened. His advice is very simple — in case you're sitting on a bundle of money and you don't want to give it to the Christic Institute or to me — He said: "Jump now." That was on the 14th. He said: "Don't wait a few days because then, other people will be jumping. Go in right now!" And then, he said: "The U.S. dollar will go up temporarily, so buy Japanese yen. Wait `til it goes up, then buy Japanese yen because by the end of the year the dollar will be back down and the yen will have doubled in value again and you can make a bundle on that.
Every obscene coverage that we could possibly do!
And then the whole world waited, on the 15th and 16th, for the kickoff of this great modern war. Now, some people waited, or had been waiting, longer than others. I found myself in the position (albeit a country boy from Texas who grew up in Africa; but you know) reading books and having seen a little bit of this stuff from the National Security Council level, I had been able to predict, nine months ahead of time, that the U.S. would invade Panama. And this was not a shot in the dark. This was an analysis of the United States and George Bush — for whom I worked, at the end of the "Angola Secret War", where I was the task force commander for a subcommittee of the National Security Council, and he was the CIA Director responsible for fending off the Congress.
Let me hasten to say that this is a very nice man to be around. He's considerate. He's personable. He has high positive energy. If your child gets sick, even if you're way down on his staff, you'll get a postcard in the mail very promptly, saying:
"Very sorry about Johnny ..."
shaking hands with people and remembering their names; a considerate, decent person at the human level. And then, of course, he has rationales for what he does, and we're going to be talking about these things. But I gave speeches at American University in November, and then at the House of Commons in England in early December. Again, C-SPAN managed to get a film of this, a video, and they played it on national television eight times when the invasion occurred, because in those speeches, I had predicted the invasion and analyzed why. Then, about a year ago, I predicted this war. And again, this was not a shot in the dark. This was a cold, sober, careful analysis of the United States: where it was, and why it would need a war; and of George Bush: and why he would take the nation into war.
Now that's what I want to go through tonight, if I possibly can, is to give you all the essential elements and understanding of how I was able to make those predictions, so that you will be able to predict the next war. Because there certainly will be another one after this one, unless we can intervene and break the cycles, and make a profound change in the United States System. My point is that we know how these things work. It isn't magic. It isn't classified. It isn't secret. Since the Vietnam War, the Establishment — the Military Establishment, as I call it — Eisenhower called it the Military-Industrial Complex — the Military Establishment, which is the very powerful central engine in our society, in our permanent War Complex, has been working to erase the stigma of the Vietnam War and has been telling us that it was doing that.
President Reagan came into office saying that he would teach the nation how to fight war again, to make us stand tall — and then, of course, pouring huge resources into the Military, and glamorizing the Military, bombing Libya, invading Grenada, and [waging] low-intensity warfare against Nicaragua, but rehearsing for the invasion of Nicaragua. Interestingly enough, they were prohibited by the Military, by the Pentagon, by the Defense Department, from invading Nicaragua, actually, because the [American] People were solidly against it. And so, the Secretary of Defense, in public speeches, said: "No, not with my Defense Department, unless you can persuade the People to support it." They couldn't make their sale, and we were spared the horror of our doing this thing on Nicaragua.
Now at the same time, through these years, people like Harry Summers, a colonel, teaching at the War College, writing his book on strategy, analyzing the Vietnam War for the failures of the Vietnam War, not apologetic, not that it was a wrong war. Not at all! He was saying that what we'd done wrong was we had failed to orchestrate the war and to organize and motivate the American People to support it; and that it went on too long, and we didn't win, and we didn't go in decisively enough with a major military strike. The Military has always maintained that if they could have gone in, all out, they would have won in Vietnam very efficiently, and that they were hamstrung by the politicians, and were prevented from fighting a good war. Dean Rusk, when he came out of office and retired, he said that the next war cannot be fought in the eye of the television camera with the Public second-guessing the generals as they're making decisions on the battlefields.
Now, you'll notice the interesting thing about that is, One: that he was wrong. He didn't understand that they could so captivate the nation that they could fight the war in the eye of the television camera. But it was a censored television camera, with the media playing along in the censorship. But perhaps the most significant thing about his statement was the fact that he was absolutely, blithely confident that there would BE another war.
Most of us were presuming that, because of the trauma of the Vietnam War, we had learned that these things are not cool, that they don't work, that we should never do them again. They maintained — the Military — that if the United States had gone in massively in Vietnam, with nukes, if they had to, and won in a few months time, the American People would have supported it, and there would have been no trauma. General Gavlett[sp], in the South Command in Panama, when they were trying to invade Nicaragua, he was saying: "The American People love a good bash, but you've got to get it over with in about six weeks time or it'll go sour on you. You can't afford to have the war still going on while the body bags start coming home."
Now since then, as part of this preparation for this war, this enormously successful preparation for this war — leading the nation into war and restoring the Military Complex — they've been preparing for greater control of our society. Now this is where it gets a little creepy:
They've been laying down a series of laws. I don't have time in the lecture to go through them, but as a matter of fact, I do list all of them that I was aware of in one chapter of this book that's coming out now [The Praetorian Guard: The U.S. Role in the New World Order.] — the National Security laws, which work to give them control of the Press, control of passports; they can stop Jane Fondas and Seymour Hershes from traveling and reporting from places like Hanoi, or My Lai scandals, and such.
You've got to understand that the United States is and has always been a war-loving nation, a warring nation. But one with a smile. We've learned how to put a twist on it so we can feel good about doing what other nations have done that we consider to be evil.
This is part of my analysis. And the CIA, in our training ..... when we were novices, people from the analytical side came to talk to us and they said:
"If you're trying to figure out what a nation is going to do, you don't take the circumstances on the table in front of you and say, the logical thing is that they'll do this. What you do is you look at the history of the country, its cycles of war or whatever. If it's a country that's gone to war frequently in its past, you expect it to go to war again. If it's a country that never goes to war, you expect it to find a peaceful solution."
And with that analysis, about ten years ago (although most of my growth, intellectually, has been since then) I began to just sit down and doodle how many wars the United States has been into. And I noticed there are a whole bunch of them. We've done a lot of this thing. A very warring nation! [War is] very deep in our history. Fifteen wars, as I count them. And this gets semantical. They didn't call Korea a war. They tried not to call Vietnam a war. But [the United States'] major military actions: I count about fifteen, give or take two, if you want to call them minor, but nevertheless, let's say fifteen wars. We've spent fifty years or so at war. We've had two hundred-plus military actions, about once a year, in which we put our troops into other countries to force them to our will. The longest period between wars was between World War I and World War II. The second longest period was between the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War.
Now, during the first period, the longest period, we put 12,000 troops with an Allied Force to invade Russia and we put our Marines repeatedly into Latin and Central American countries, again, to force them to our will. And then, of course, we've had low-intensity conflicts, almost uncountable — hundreds and hundreds of them, in between, for example, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War.
As you begin to read these things (and Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is extremely good on following this kind of detail to really give you the punch lines of how the leadership orchestrated the nation into other wars) in each war there was a trigger. If you look at page 290 of that book, [Pres.] Harry Truman wrote a friend, quote:
"In strict confidence, I should welcome almost any war, for I think the country needs one."
You have the Battleship Maine ....
[JD: If the USS Maine was sunk on the orders of powerful people in the U.S. Government, it's not as glaring as the fact that they used the sinking as their excuse for the war that they desired.]
You have the battleship Maine, sunk under mysterious conditions in the Spanish-Cuban-American War. And the Press got into it [creating war hysteria], and we roared down there — Teddy Roosevelt and all that.
The Lusitania in World War I ....
[JD: The passenger ship Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat. But why was it sent into hostile waters? Because men of money and power dearly desired to embroil the United States in a most profitable war by using that very effective tool: emotion, provoking outrage that impels commonfolk of decency to go into combat against "the huns" who drowned seven hundred terrified men, women and children.]
In 1915, Kate Richards O'Hara ... Remember, she said:
"The women of the United States are nothing but brood sows, producing sons to be put into the Army, to be turned into fertilizer."
And she was sentenced to five years in jail for anti-war talk. And then there was Pearl Harbor, which set off "the Good War," with the rationale so strong. And NOW, we have the absolute historical proof that our leadership DID know where the Japanese fleet was, where it was headed, and what its plans were — that it was going to sink our fleet in Pearl Harbor. And they did not warn the admiral to get the ships out to sea. They let the ships be sunk and [made] two thousand three hundred soldiers and sailors die so that it would galvanize the nation into the war that they wanted to go into.
And then you have, of course, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in [the instigation of] the Vietnam War.
[JD: President Lyndon Johnson lied to the Congress, and he admitted privately that he lied in his declaration that North Vietnamese gunboats had fired upon the USS Maddox in the Tonkin Gulf. Johnson's bosses were trying to provoke an attack that would be the justification for goading the Congress into granting the president the authorization to initiate this protracted and highly lucrative war with North Vietnam. But the North Vietnamese wouldn't bite. So Johnson invented the attack. In point-of-fact, the USS Maddox was never fired upon at all.]
In the Mexican War (we relate to that in Texas, and I'm sure you do here because it's very much a part of your heritage), they offered two dollars-a-head to every soldier who would enlist. They didn't get enough takers, so they offered a hundred acres of land to anyone who would be a veteran of that war. They still didn't get enough takers, so [future President] Zachary Taylor was sent down to parade up and down the border — the disputed border — until the Mexicans fired on him. And the headlines read:
~~~~~ "MEXICANS KILLING OUR BOYS IN TEXAS" ~~~~~
And the nation rose up, and we fought the war, and we took away from Mexico: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California and part of Colorado.
And then, of course, you have the Persian Gulf War: Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. This bald aggression, this very evil thing, this very evil man, who is the incarnation of Hitler himself, gave George Bush the vehicle he needed for this war that I had predicted that he was shopping around for.
We'll get into that in more detail in just a minute, but first you have to proceed to understand our system and how the conditioning works in a little bit more detail.
The conditioning to war in this country begins at the age of two, when we put our children in front of the one-eyed baby-sitter, and we turn it on and we go wash dishes or sweep the floor or clean the car — and we teach them. Actually, little kids (I don't know if you've done this recently), they're bored with TV at first. You have to get them hooked on it. We teach them, actually, to watch television. And very quickly they learn. And then they get to where they're watching 10 to 15 to 20 shows a day, all of them the same show, the same story with different characters. I call it the "American Syndrome." I'm talking about ..... We're raising a little boy who's 12 now. And he's heard my lectures. And I have to sit down and watch some of his TV with him so I can understand. You know, he says, "Daddy, c'mere." So, we've watched, over recent years: HE-MAN, SHEENA, THE THUNDERCATS, SCOOBY-DOO, and now it's the NINJA TURTLES, and THE RAIDERS — I forget. Always the same plot: Nice little people — attractive, usually light-skinned or light- complected, who are put upon by ugly, dark, evil forces like Skeletor. And they always say: "Please be nice. We don't want trouble." And the evil forces always insist. And at the last minute they leap around and miraculously defeat the evil forces. Cut! Commercial! And we plunge back into the same story with other characters. The "American Syndrome" of the nice people who loathe war, who wouldn't go to war, ever, except it's drummed into Americans from the age of two, that we're a nice, peace-loving nation, the good guys of the World who very reluctantly go to war when evil forces force it upon us.
Then you get into the stuff that we've treated ourselves to in the eighties during this cycle of war-mongering: RAMBO, COMMANDO, RED DAWN, ROCKY series, UNDER SIEGE, DELTA FORCE, AMERIKA, MISSING IN ACTION, TOP GUN, HEARTBREAK RIDGE, DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR, PLATOON, HAMBURGER HILL, TOUR OF DUTY, CHINA BEACH, and the list is going on and on and on with the violent war movies.
Now once again, to analyze one of these, to give you ..... How many people saw the movie, RED DAWN? Now this is fun. How many people, when you saw it, knew that this was intended to be a war propaganda movie? The producer went around the nation, going on television, saying: "I wanted to make a movie that would make people feel positive about war." So this is an up-front, propaganda commercial, propaganda movie. So, we can analyze it to see: How do they motivate us to war when they want to make such a movie. And so, you take the plot. It's science fiction. They have a scenario set up — which you buy into in the first minute — that's impossible, unreal. There's a force of Russians, Cubans and Nicaraguans that has invaded the United States and gotten all the way to the Rocky Mountains, and blown off our nuclear weapons. Our Army doesn't exist. They're just there. And the people are struggling against them. AMERIKA, of course, had the same plot, a little bit. Now, so you've asked: "Why did they pick Russia, Cuba, and Nicaragua?" It had to be Russia, of course, but a better plot would have been Russia, Canada and Mexico, or at least Russia, Canada and Cuba, because you know they could be coming across this vast border with Canada and pinning us up against Cuba and you could, you know, almost get into that as science fiction. So why Nicaragua? They [the U.S. Government] had decided to fight a [real] war in Nicaragua. So, it was essential that they begin to condition people to see Nicaragua as an enemy who would invade us if they could. This is science fiction. Nicaragua has never indicated any desire whatsoever to invade or hurt the United States. So this force gets all the way to the Rocky Mountains where they're eventually stopped by the high school football team, with the cheerleaders helping out, drinking deer's blood in the mountains.
Now see. This is off base. The eighties was the decade of the middle-aged woman. You know: DALLAS, DYNASTY, THE GOLDEN GIRLS, MURDER, SHE WROTE — Lynda Evans working out. Joan Collins is older than me, and she's a sex symbol, and this is wonderful. So, they should have made a movie, a modern war movie, where they get to the Rocky Mountains and they're stopped by high school football teachers. But they didn't do that. And so you ask: Why? And the answer is obvious. Because, one: They're not going to get US, the 50-year-olds, to fight any of their wars. Because we've seen wars of the past, and the cynicism. And with some exceptions, there are too many of us who are aware of the cynicism and wouldn't do it.
In addition to which, societies have always reached out and grabbed the 18-year-olds. In some societies, it's the 15-year-olds whose minds are empty, their bodies are healthy and they have a high level of testosterone and adventure and excitement and romanticism about war, which they have been taught to feel. And so, they're ripe and ready, programmed to be sent into war. And this movie, in fact, was shown to National Guard units as they were going down to Honduras to rehearse the invasion of Nicaragua. And it was shown at the Air Force Academy. It's a basic military movie that they're showing in boot camp to get people motivated into war.
Then you get into the TV ads that we've been saturated with over the last ten to fifteen years: "Join the Army. Be all that you can be." And you have these tanks jumping ditches and these helicopters that go 150 miles an hour, and people playing with computers, and lasers, and night vision, and television-radar-guided missiles. And I watch these things — as an old soldier who's really turned off by war. And I'm sitting up and saying: "Wow! That would be fun, you know, to get in one of those tanks." I mean, the tanks we had back then would jump a very small ditch and crash and break down. And now, they jump bigger ditches at 60 miles an hour — and crash and break down.
But the point is that these things are tremendously motivating, as they're intended to be. But how many people remember seeing the ad on television in which they showed the young men and women soldiers with their legs blown off at their knees, and their intestines wrapped around their necks? How many people saw that one? Didn't exist, did it? See, that's what war is really all about!
We have a whole generation of people over there now — a lot of them didn't want to go to war. They wanted to enjoy all the perks and fun, and join the Army and "be all they can be." And they weren't shown what war was really about. And now (gulp, swallow), they're over there right now, tonight, getting ready to kill people. And they'll carry the karma of the dead people with them for the rest of their lives — or be killed. And that's pretty heavy stuff.
Now, there's another fascinating ad, by the way. Did anyone see the ad that was massively on television that said: "War is bad. Work for peace. Resist the war incentives and the war instincts and the war motives?" How many people saw that one? Played on television six times a day for ten straight years — [paid] with U.S. tax dollars. Nobody? Has anybody EVER seen an ad run by our Government, with our tax dollars, advocating peace? Hasn't happened! And yet, HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of DOLLARS spent on these ads, with our tax dollars, to motivate us to war.
Then there's the one about the young man who's coming home on leave on the train. I don't know who rides trains anymore, but, you know. And he is met by his younger brother, and he says: "You know, Dad never did understand why I had to join the Army." How many people have seen this one? And then they're in the car, and he is saying: "Do you think Dad will ever forgive me?" And then they go into the house, and Dad is standing there smoking a pipe, and he turns and he melts and he hugs his son, and all is forgiven. Now they played that thing for ten straight years, SuperBowl, prime time, all the sports events, [knowing] that the men, especially young men, would be watching. Why would they spend hundreds of millions of dollars altogether on that particular ad with that theme? You see, the problem is that because of the Korean War and its cynicism, and the Vietnam War and its cynicism, there were too many dads who were telling their sons: "Don't join the Army!" And so, they had to float the message out to the society that in this society it's okay to defy your father's wisdom and join the Army. And if you do, he'll forgive you, and hug you, and embrace you, and respect you, and love you afterwards, anyway.
Now, since the "Good War One," World War II, we've had the CIA's Secret Wars. We've had two serious wars: Korea and Vietnam. But we've had the CIA running its low-intensity conflicts, its secret wars around the Globe. A lot of them. I'll mention that, kind of in passing, tonight because we have so much ground to cover. We've been destabilizing target governments in every corner of the Globe. We set up a system of governing by oligarchies — proxy government working through oligarchies in these countries who are permitted to become fabulously rich. This is the case in the Persian Gulf, the oil emirates who have 0.5 percent of their population of billionaires and millionaires, and the rest of the people share less or none at all of the country's wealth.
In Latin America, Central America, this same system is working. If the people don't like it, you organize the police into death squads, as we've done in many countries, including, conspicuously, El Salvador, and you kill enough of them that they are emasculated. They can't do anything about it. They are crippled. They are repressed, suppressed and oppressed, and you can get by with this system of milking the countries to your will and to your way.
The [Sen. Frank] Church Committee of 1975 ..... Again this is not a lecture about the Secret Wars of the CIA. That's a separate lecture. I could give it again, but it takes a full hour in its own right. But you must know how the CIA weaves into this war complex — this war machinery of ours. The Church Committee of 1975 investigated CIA "actions" and found that we had run — if you extrapolate the figures — about thirteen thousand-plus [covert operations] since we've had the CIA — since World War II. Now, a lot of these are fairly benign, and some of them fairly trivial. But a lot of them are VERY violent, and some of them lead into wars. A long destabilization/propaganda campaign led us into the Korean War, and another one led us into the Vietnam War. Now, scholars, including myself, reading these things — and we have so many of them in the public record that it's obviously very difficult to know exactly how many people died in Vietnam or in Korea or in Nicaragua or in the Congo — but still, working with conservative figures we come up with a minimum figure of SIX MILLION PEOPLE killed in the Secret Wars of the CIA through its destabilizations over these past forty years:
One million people killed in the Korean War;
Two million people killed in Vietnam;
One to two million people killed in Cambodia;
Eight hundred thousand people killed in Indonesia;
Fifty thousand people killed in Angola.
Now that began with the war that I organized as Commander of the Angola Task Force, working for a subcommittee of the National Security Council in Washington in 1975 and 1976. Fifty thousand is the number that the Sandinistas and The New York Times pretty much agreed on were killed and wounded in Nicaragua in the ONE BILLION DOLLAR Contra destabilization in that country that we effected in the 1980s.
Now, these six million [people killed from] CIA activities, are all part of the Cold War in which probably about TWENTY MILLION PEOPLE were killed. And that makes it the second or third bloodiest war in all of human history, which is saying a lot. I call it also the Third World War. You could call it the Forty Years War of the twentieth century.
I call it the "Third World" War because when you analyze these things and read through them in the public record, which, again, is massively documented .... And by the way, the last third of this book [The Praetorian Guard] is a bibliography of the best 120 books on the subject, organized to make it easy for you to access each one with a mini-review, so you can decide which book will be most interesting and useful to you, and what this theme is all about. [When you analyze these crimes] you find that we do not do these massive bloody things against the Soviet Union. Torture and death squads we do not run in England or Canada or Belgium or Sweden or Switzerland. They are, virtually all of them, done against countries of the Third World where the governments of those countries are not strong enough to prohibit us, to prevent us from brutalizing their people. The six million people killed are people of the Third World: people of the Mitumba Mountains of the Congo, and the jungles of Southeast Asia, and the hills of Nicaragua. And now, of course, the Middle Eastern deserts, in a new wrinkle on this system.
The casualties in Nicaragua — fifty thousand people — they were not Russians. They were not Cubans. They were not even mostly Sandinistas. They were mostly rag-poor peasants, including a high percentage of women and children. Communists? They were mostly ROMAN CATHOLICS! Enemies of the United States? Nah. We had thousands of Witnesses [for Peace] who went down to live with them — to see. And they invariably came back and told us that the Nicaraguan People are the warmest people on the face of the Earth. They couldn't understand [why], but the Nicaraguans love the United States — the people from the United States; and that these people had trouble understanding why our Government would want to hire an army to send down there to brutalize them: to haul them out of their homes, and rape them, and slash off their breasts, and cut off their testicles while their children were forced to watch, which is what the Contra program did. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of documented cases.
This is where I came up, then, in writing about the Angola War, with my thesis, the title of my first book: In Search of Enemies. We were taking this war in Angola to people who did not want to be our enemies — as we did in Vietnam — as we did in Cuba and other places. The point of the CIA's activities is they .....ten thousand, thirteen thousand operations — three thousand major, gory, bloody operations, killing six million people .... they [the CIA] have made the world unstable. The six million people each leave behind an average of perhaps five loved ones who are traumatically conditioned to violence, who will go on continuing violence and keeping the world unstable and violent for the rest of their lives. And in an unstable world that's brimming and teeming with violence, you can spend trillions of dollars on the arms that you could not spend if the world were, in fact, peaceful.
Now again, I'm moving pretty fast. In other lectures I go into that in considerable detail. But getting into the 1980s, we had a constant conditioning, militarizing, and destabilizing under the Reagan Revolution. We spent TWO-AND-A-HALF TRILLION DOLLARS, according to our Government, on the largest military buildup in any peacetime period in history; perhaps, arguably, the largest military buildup in all of history.
Meanwhile, Ronald Reagan, the great orator, was selling this program to the American People by focusing our paranoid attention on Nicaragua. He spent more time talking about his Contra progam in Nicaragua than any other aspect of his presidency. He told us that America is feeling great again. He railed at the "Evil Empire" [the Soviet Union]. He said there's a Russian base in Nicaragua — in our own back yard. He said the Soviets are flying airplanes in this hemisphere for the first time in all of history. Of course, that wasn't true. Aeroflot has been flying out since World War II. But this is rhetoric! He hammered away. And the truth had nothing whatsoever to do with it. He said it was a two-day drive from Managua, Nicaragua to Arlington, Texas. He said it was closer from Managua to Houston than it was from Houston to Maine. He said it was a two-hour flight from Managua to San Diego. You could almost see the fighter-bombers sizzling up there to bomb San Diego. He said there will be a million communists coming up across our borders from the south. [Presidential aide] Ollie North volunteered, according to Pat Buchanan, to be put in command of the forces that would fight off the million communists as they came up from Central America through Mexico to invade this country.
Meanwhile, in 1988, President Bush, George Bush, my old boss, inherited the presidency. He won the election. He also inherited big political problems and economic problems because he had been vice-president under Ronald Reagan. And he inherited a four-and-a- half trillion dollar debt. Now, in the 1970s, we had been the richest country in the world — a creditor nation. In the middle of the `80s, under this policy of big spending on credit, we crossed the line and became a debtor nation for the first time since World War One. The debt was run up to four-and-a-half trillion dollars, the largest debt in the history of the world. And it is double-compounding, effectively, with the interest and with the continuing deficit. So you can look for it to jump to ten trillion and twenty trillion dollars, and NOBODY has the faintest idea of what, in fact, will happen to this thing, or what can be done with this thing.
What I'm saying is very simply this: President Reagan — great irony — President Reagan and Vice-President George Bush, and then President George Bush, SOLD OUT the United States in the production of arms. They rendered this country into a condition where other people control our economic future. And again, the irony is that they sold it through patriotism and making us feel great again.
George Bush inherited a situation in which the People were waking up. They were realizing the debt and feeling this ominous burden that we're going to have, which we'll pass on to our children. They were also realizing (even TIME Magazine published discussions on the decade of greed of the `80s, under Reagan and Bush) that the People's pockets had been picked. There has been a MASSIVE shift of wealth from the poor and middle-classes to the ultra-rich, in this period of time. The ultra-rich, for example, their taxes were cut from seventy percent to thirty-two percent. And President Reagan called it a tax cut. But for the poor — the bottom half of the society — it was a tax increase of five percent.
This is the key to understanding the Savings & Loan Crisis. The bankers encouraged irresponsibility. And remember, TWO HUNDRED officials in the Reagan Administration were forced to resign under the threat of trial — criminal proceedings for their corruption. And some of them were prosecuted and, in fact, jailed. And this irresponsibility trickled down into the savings and loan industry, which the Central Intelligence Agency was using to launder its money into Central America and to launder drug money into its programs. And the result, of course, is that they were BLOWING our money. We invested our money, and they would blow it, steal it, declare bankruptcy, open up another S&L bank.
And this became the norm until eventually they collapsed the industry. The bankers, the CIA, the Mafia and Neil Bush, George Bush's son: all involved in this great scandal, this massive bilking of the American People.
And now they're telling us that this is what George Bush inherited, and that what we need to do is .... They are NOT (the bankers, and George Bush and his cohorts) they are NOT going to pay that money back! But they say WE can't afford to lose the Public trust in the banking industry, so WE have to recondition the industry with five hundred billion to ONE TRILLION DOLLARS! And they're going to make the PEOPLE pay for it. And it was the PEOPLE whose money was stolen by these thieves to begin with! And they are NOT putting them in jail!
You know, when I see this thing, I say: "Where is the scream?" You know? "Huh?" How will it restore MY confidence in the banking industry to take MY money to replace what the thieves stole to begin with while they're proceeding to do it some more.
Meanwhile, because we couldn't afford everything, they made a religion out of cutting every social service that they could. Ronald Reagan bragged that he had cut a thousand social services. George Bush's first statement, when he took the Presidency, is that he would cut a thousand more.
How many people saw the movie LEAN ON ME ? Joe Clark, the principal, you know, with the baseball bat, holding children off the third story of the school building, locking the fire doors, intimidating people, berating people. It closes with the woman on welfare, and the students are cheering him, the hero, for breaking the law and brutalizing them. And they're calling the woman on welfare, who's been organizing to try to get a sane principle ... they call her "the witch," the "welfare witch." And she's laughed at and scorned, and she sneaks off.
The real Joe Clark was had to dinner at the White House. And this movie was shown in the White House. And Reagan advocates it because the message that it's floating out to the society is:
"Do it for yourself. Don't depend on the Government because the Government won't give you the money. Be independent. Be Proud. Don't ask the Government to build schools and give you good principals, and stuff like that."
They're gutting our Social Security! We can't afford to take care of the sick, the old, the poor, the handicapped, the farmers, or to really help students get through school or to build up our school system so that it's truly competitive. In this period of time, the United States' standard of living has dropped to tenth and twentieth in the world. Twenty-five percent of the people in this country are functionally illiterate. We're ranked sixth in the percentage of children in school. We're tenth in the quality of education. We're seventeenth in life expectancy. We're twentieth in infant mortality. The poor island communist country of Cuba has a better infant mortality rate than our own nation's capital.
I submit to you that the United States only looks rich to ourselves because we compare ourselves with refugees from Central America. If you go to Europe — and I challenge you to do so .... Before, I was saying: "Go to Nicaragua and see for yourself." Now I say to people: "Go to Germany and see for yourself." This is not a communist country. It is not a socialist country. It is one of the two most successful capitalist countries in the world today.
◦They have guaranteed sick leave.
◦They have guaranteed maternity leave.
◦They have one month's vacation guaranteed each year.
◦They have guaranteed medical care and hospitalization.
◦They have higher salaries.
◦They have better social services, and
◦they spend a lot more money on building up the infrastructure of their society.
These are all things that President George Bush has been stubbornly, consistently vetoing — bill after bill after bill — depriving us of these things, telling us that we are communists if we want these kinds of services from our society.
Meanwhile, the destruction of the environment continues, full-speed ahead. FIFTY YEARS of nuclear pollution! Just to give you one example (and you've all read into this, I'm sure), in Pantex, Texas, near Amarillo, I've ridden bicycles up there, protesting. One year, on a recumbent bicycle that was built, by the way, right down the road in Freedom, California, near here, that was loaned to me for that purpose .... protesting in Pantex, they had this problem with liquid [nuclear] wastes. They didn't want to go to the Congress and ask for billions of dollars to figure out how to store it or get rid of it because that would draw attention to the problem. So, brilliant, cheap solution: they took bulldozers and scooped what we call tanks in the prairie up there, and poured the liquid into it, so that it could evaporate up; so that it could blow into neighboring fields, so that it could drip down into the Oglala aquifer.
Meanwhile, we're responsible, too. We all have to have automobiles. Very few of us are willing to walk or ride bicycles. A great gluttony of consumption in this country, as we all have to buy more and more and more. And partially feeding that is the felling of the rain forests throughout the world, cutting off the world's supply of oxygen. We're not just chopping down forests at the rate of an area the size of the state of Maine each year. We're burning them. So that puts carbon up into the air, which again is blocking out the sun and changing substantially the environment.
You all know that we still have sixty thousand thermonuclear weapons boobytrapping this planet, just as we did in the mid-eighties, when we worried about it. Now, how many of you have marched, protested, or done anything about the nuclear arms race in the last six months? That's good! Most people have just forgotten. I wrote a book about it, and people have been racing on, and people have been supporting it. I won't name them, but some very prominent people have been encouraging it for three years. And they said: "Well, it's not really an issue now." And I said, "Huh?" It hasn't gone away. They've just SUCCESSFULLY DISTRACTED the world from this problem!
We've had six [nuclear] submarines sink into the bottom of the ocean. We've had seven nuclear weapons dropped by accident! The I.P.S. [Institute for Policy Studies] published, about a year ago, that there were fifty-two — I believe it was — parts of nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors now scattered across the bottom of the ocean, leaking this terrible polluting, radioactive material into the bottom of the ocean right now. No way on the face of the Earth to recover it! And it will be poisoning and polluting the bottoms of the oceans FIFTY THOUSAND YEARS from now, presuming we haven't managed to do in the whole planet in that period of time.
Meanwhile — great victory over war and conflict. The Cold War was over. And we all celebrated. And we were all happy. Actually, not quite all of us because I studied this thing out, and I said, "Ehh." And some prominent peaceniks beat me on the head and shoulders and said, "C'mon. Give peace a chance!" But my assessment of it was that there was one cynicism. And [that is], because we had solved nothing, the seeds of continuing conflict and instability [remained].
But the point is, in terms of my analysis of the Persian Gulf War, my prediction of it is that communism had capitulated and the Soviet Union's economy was broken. And the United States Military Complex was desperate for new rationales. How could we justify continuing to spend a huge segment of our budget on a continuing military buildup if the enemy was gone, and communism no longer existed? So we had the United States War Complex facing severe cuts. They were put in a position of having nothing to lose. They had resisted the invasion of Nicaragua because the spigots were wide open, and the money was flowing, and they knew that if the body bags began to come back, people would get angry and they would shut off the spigots. And they would lose this great access to the flow of OUR money: this welfare program we have for the Military-Industrial Complex and the so-called "defense" corporations. Once the Cold War was over and we began to cut the budget, they had nothing to lose. And they had tons of new equipment to test. And they needed to inspire the nation and recapture our imagination and our love for war.
Meanwhile, President George Bush, this nice man, came into the presidency haunted by this image of being a wimp, which is a little bit of a red herring. This has never been a weak man! He's been intensely ambitious. There's a certain gawkiness about him, which he's outgrowing, as a matter of fact. But we saw it in the CIA. There were a lot of jokes. But, in fact, he was a brilliant man — a brilliant director. He would take our Angola program, where we had broken the law and we had lied to cover it up, and he would go to the Congress and say: "Those nice people I'm meeting out there — I just can't believe they would do that." And he could sell this to the Congress. And he got us off the hook. He did not investigate. He did not punish any of us for breaking the laws. Instead, he was building friendships and relationships that continue today. When he became president, he appointed CIA officers to assistant secretarial posts and to ambassadorial posts throughout the Government.
Meanwhile, this man, who was stung by the wimp image, had inherited all the problems and all the responsibility for the wrecking of the U.S. economy that he and President Reagan had done. Meanwhile, at the same time, he is a confirmed internationalist. He was desperate to get the nation distracted from the internal problems. But also, his solution to any problem: he's going to be happy working with all these hundreds and hundreds of contacts that he's built up internationally, overseas, telephoning chiefs-of-state all over the world, and saying: "Hi Joe. Hi Ahmad. How are things going? What can we do about this problem or that one?" He's proud of his heritage in the British Nobility, Yale's "Skull and Bones Society," the Council on Foreign Relations, the Knights of Malta. World War II: he was in the Pacific. He was ambassador to China, ambassador to the United Nations, CIA director, and a successful Texas and international oilman, never having really slaved and focused on social problems or domestic problems in the United States.
And there ARE NO solutions to these problems which they've created: the debt and the deficit.
How internationalist is he? I would say totally — ninety percent. He's NOT concerned about the people of the United States. SIXTY MINUTES did a segment on him, during the 1988 election campaign, in which they revealed that eighteen members of his campaign staff had collected six- and seven-figure honoraria from foreign countries and foreign companies in the eighteen months before that election. He had surrounded himself with internationalists who were plugged into the international financial and business community.
Meanwhile, since he's been president, he's been consistently vetoing bills — more bills than any other president in history. Every bill that, in any way, grants a reprieve to the people of this country: he vetoes it! And any bill that in any way tries to curtail the greed of the upper one percent: he vetoes it!
Hence, adding all of these things together — the U.S. cycle and its nightmare of an economic situation that we have, the sliding into recession, the Savings & Loan crisis, in which his own family was involved, the malaise that was setting in, the recession again, and his own problem with his own masculinity — it was safe to predict that he would look for an overseas solution: a war! It's been done time and time again, as you'll see if you read Howard Zinn's book, A People's History of the United States.
Bush was able to say that we were fighting for cheaper gasoline. I don't know if you know this, but immediately, in the first week of August, my gasoline prices shot up by 30 percent. And there was no shortage of oil in the World. And the Arab emirs were not getting that extra 30 percent tax on gasoline. This was the middleman, the oilman, of whom George Bush and his family are members, as a matter of fact. And magically, in order to make us feel good about this war, guess what happened when we went to war in mid-January? The prices were dropped down. So everybody is saying: Hey, we're at war and the gasoline prices have gone down.
So they feel a little good about it, obviously without understanding.
Once again, if I may repeat Senator Hiram Johnson's book of 1917:
"WHEN WAR COMES, THE FIRST CASUALTY IS THE TRUTH."
What we're dealing with here is the power of the football pep rally, as matched against the power of a seminar on political science, if you will, or this meeting, or the intellectual grappling with the issues. Very intelligent people can forget their intelligence when they go to a football pep rally and they begin to cheer:
"Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!"
And they get into it. And they get excited. And this is the war spirit that Lyndon Johnson wouldn't tap, refused to tap, in the Vietnam War, that George Bush has successfully tapped in this war.
I submit to you that this is not, in fact, "a good war." There's nothing good about it, as far as I can see. The oil, for example, that we're supposedly fighting for, is not our oil. It belongs to the oligarchies of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. And they sell it to Japan and Germany. We get seven percent of our oil from that region altogether, and we have alternatives, even there. Japan, which depends on that oil, didn't want this war because the war would interrupt the flow of oil and endanger the sources and installations. And they can buy the oil from Saddam Hussein just as well as they can buy it from the Saudis or the Kuwaitis. The United States insisted on proceeding into this war for our own reasons. And there was a great rift in our society because even the Commandant of the Marine Corps and General Schwartzkopf himself, were against the war. They were saying: "Let sanctions work. This is a dangerous thing — an unnecessary thing. We shouldn't do it." We were orchestrated into it because George Bush, the politician, and the people that he would rally to him, needed it and wanted it.
"We are fighting for democracy and freedom in the Middle East."
Come again? This is what they said, of course, lying, in Nicaragua and in Panama: "We were fighting to restore democracy." But certainly, there isn't even a pretense of democracy in the Middle East. Our allies over there in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait ..... Forgive me if this sounds chauvinistic. It's not. I've lived seventeen years overseas and laid my life on the line for people of the Third World. But the leaders of Saudi Arabia, for example, are not, by my humanist standards, nice people. They stone women to death for adultery. How many people saw the docudrama, THE DEATH OF A PRINCESS? This is a true story. A granddaddy billionaire there ordered his 19-year-old granddaughter shot in a village square because she had sex with her lover. These are the people that we're fighting and dying for, to restore their oil and their source of billions of dollars to them. I can't see it. I wouldn't spend five dollars for one American life to defend their oil interests. But nevertheless, of course, they're saying that we're fighting for peace — that we'll restore peace into the Middle East.
Now, given the reaction among the Arab Peoples, we are thinking: How could George Bush have miscalculated the response of the Arab People, of the Moslems around the World, to this war? And I submit to you that one thing is obvious: We have controlled so much of the World through oligarchies until this date — and we've done it successfully over there using brutal death squads when we had to — that they could easily think: "We'll just go on doing it. If people don't like it, we'll slap them down." But I submit to you that there may be a deeper point. They may have predicted and expected this reaction, in fact. Because what is now guaranteed in the Middle East is that there will be another war in five years or ten years, and another one, and another one. There are thousands of babies being born named Saddam Hussein right now, today. And the anguish and the horror and the empathy for the ones who are dying in it will go on in [the form of] conditioned violence. So we have absolutely laid it out on the line: the rationales for our new arms race, if you will, or for continuing the military dominance over our society.
We have the new rationale — set up now against the Arab World and against countries of the Third World — to actually build a more expensive army than the one that we had in Europe, as a matter of fact, which had confronted the Soviet Union. THEN, by the summer of 1990, the military budget was facing massive cuts. We were talking about a peace dividend, and the columnists, because of these problems, were calling George Bush "a one-term president". And then, in September, we had the budget fiasco, for which he has NO solution, and it frustrated him enormously. He changed his mind eight times in one day on one of the key issues. The newspapers were reporting, or observing, that if we had a parliamentary system, he would be out that soon after coming into office because he had no solution. He didn't have the votes to stay in office, if we had had the system of England, for example.
Now, we have the war going, and seven months later, this one-term president is so strong that two days ago in the L.A. Times they had a prominent article saying that there was no point in the Democrats running a candidate in 1992. There's no one who could run who would have any chance of winning against George Bush. And the Military's budget was being slashed largely back then, with talks about bigger cuts. And now it's back up to an all-time, all-nation, all-history high, in our next budget. We'll talk about that again in just a minute.
The popularity of George Bush, the Military and CNN is sordid! The media pageant that we're seeing right now has been carefully rehearsed during these years of preparation for our next war. After Grenada (Remember? the island?) the Press couldn't get in to cover it, so, with frustration, they published clippings given to them by the sidebar of the Army. And afterwards, they had a meeting with General Seidel, the Seidel Commission, in which they agreed that in the next war there would be a press pool that would cover the war with a task force, reporting what that task force approved for them to report. And we're getting just that, exactly, in the coverage of the Middle Eastern war in the Persian Gulf right now, today: a censored, Pentagon-edited view of what's happening.
The commentators' love affair with the Military now .... Of course, they've gotten into it, after some debate and doubt at first, because the Establishment was divided on this war. Once the war was joined, of course, their word, their party line is that we have to support the nation and the troops once we're at war, even if we didn't want it. And so, they've closed ranks, and the media is faithfully trumpeting what the Pentagon tells them to say.
Now I ask you: What is the degree of distortion of the truth about what's happening in the desert over there right now in this air war today? We've not been shown one single miss of this new equipment in any of the raids that they've shown us endlessly on television. And so, are they really 100 percent infallible? I'll give you an example that will give you a measure of these eighty-three thousand (actually, it's over eighty-five thousand) air strikes that they've launched so far. The Pentagon made a mistake. They made one slip-up that gave us a reading on this. They announced, about two weeks ago in a briefing, that, in preparing for the ground war, they had to knock out thirty-six strategic bridges that would cut the supply lines into Kuwait. They said that they had flown seven hundred and ninety surgical strikes against those bridges, and that they had knocked out thirty-two bridges. Now that's twenty-four strikes per bridge, with a kill factor of eight percent and a miss factor of ninety-two percent. And these are the surgical weapons that are supposed to be so precise that you could put them through the window of a Fiat. Now, the other weapons that they're dropping over there — the bombs and things — can be five miles, and even fifty miles off-target.
Peeling back the layers of untruth in the rationales of this war, how many people have seen Ralph Schoenman's article, unfortunately published in an obscure paper in Berkeley [California] called The Socialist Action? This is a renowned intellectual who worked with Bertrand Russell at one time. And [there is] Charlie Reese, reporting in the Houston Post down there. And now we have the studies coming out with excellent documentation: how the United States and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia LURED Saddam Hussein and Iraq into this war.
First, we encouraged them to engage Iran in the Iran-Iraq War, beginning in 1980, for eight years. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia financed that war, encouraging Iraq in that war. They ran up an eighty- billion-dollar debt. After the war, the country [Iraq] [ was] in [a] very precarious economic condition. They [Kuwait] began calling in the money and they began driving down the oil prices so that Iraq had lost sixteen billion dollars in revenues, and they were faced with bankruptcy. There's also the factor that Saddam Hussein, with his massive testosterone problem, was building up his army again, instead of building up the infrastructure of the country.
Nevertheless, during that war, Kuwait had actually expanded its floating desert border by nine hundred square miles to reach over the Rumaila oil fields that belonged to Iraq, and they bought the Santa Fe Drilling Company of California, for 2.3 billion dollars, that specializes in slant oil drilling. And Saddam Hussein was protesting this formally to every public body: to Kuwait, to Saudi Arabia, saying: "This is economic warfare." And I submit to you: How long do you think it would take us to respond with the U.S. Marines if Mexico or Canada captured, took, nine hundred square miles of our land and began slant oil drilling into our oil fields? Like about twenty-four hours for them to get the tanks and the planes down there, bombing and strafing! We would be at war in a minute! This was a clear provocation to war!
So this past summer, Saddam Hussein called in the U.S. Ambassador, April Glaspie, and asked her what the U.S. position was on Kuwait — on the defense of Kuwait. She did not know that she was being tape-recorded, and she told him ten times in this conversation that we had no defense agreement with Kuwait. At one point, she said that the Secretary of State [James Baker] had ordered her to emphasize this instruction. She said she had conferred with the President about it. Congressman Lee Hamilton concluded, from hearings on this, that we had DELIBERATELY given Saddam Hussein the green light to invade Kuwait. Again, that's not my observation. That was the congressman who was running the committee to investigate this thing: "We gave him, Saddam Hussein, the green light to invade Kuwait."
Meanwhile, the Assistant Secretary of State was saying publicly, in hearings at the same time, that we had no defense agreement with Kuwait. So Hussein thought he was being permitted to go in and take Kuwait. And he did it. And he thought that we would not react.
And, of course, if he had bothered to ask me, I would have said: "You're walking under the Great Mallet, and they're going to drop it on you." Because I knew they were shopping for a war! And you've seen him. He is not a stupid man at all. But you've seen him floundering around throughout this process because he doesn't understand, even today apparently, that the United States wants a war — at least our leadership does. They want the full orgy and pageantry of a bloody war. Once he went in there, they would not LET him off the hook!
Now we're in the position .... they [U.S. leaders] are frustrated that Gorbachev has come up with a peace plan that might, in fact, let this thing be solved peacefully without the slaughter of troops on the ground. And the White House is admitting, they're discussing openly, that this is a big PROBLEM for the United States because peace might, in fact, happen. They are determined to go in on the ground, but they're under enormous pressure from the Coalition, from the Allies, from people in the United Nations who gave us the green light to go to war against him, to accept this peace overture and to find a peaceful solution. And it's a big frustration to George Bush. My estimate is that they would probably be engaged in the war right now, but a massive storm has set in in the desert. The annual rains were happening when Dan Rather was on the News, just a couple of hours ago tonight. That storm will blow over about Friday. And unless there's some miracle, which there could be, in the form of peace negotiations, they will probably launch this thing about Friday or thereabouts.
The score today, in this war, in the Superbowl War: the Military is backed with an all-time-high annual budget. We have the new rationale for a long-term continuation of the Military Machine. [And that rationale is] now The Third World, especially the Arab Third World and the Moslem Third World. The United States is now once again, finally, after the Vietnam War, back to being a lean, mean, fighting machine.
This Third World rationale thing: just understand now, how long, how carefully do they plan these things? Do they stumble into them? Let me point out that George Kennan, in the late 1940s after World War II, said that eventually conflict in the World would evolve to conflict between the haves of the Northern Hemisphere and the have-nots. And this, of course, is what has happened.
The Rapid Deployment Force that we exercised to get our forces over there: Was it brought together by Ronald Reagan? No, by Jimmy Carter. And the first rehearsal of this technique was under Jimmy Carter in joint exercises with Egypt, as a matter of fact. That's how far back they were preparing our Military for this type of conflict, and for the new rationales, as communism subsided.
Meanwhile, because of some aspects of this war, the Peace Community is paralyzed. There is simply none of the anger that was in the Peace Community towards the end of the Vietnam War protest. Jane Fonda, of course, is very quiet on this one. But, you see, you learned about Jane Fonda in 1981 when Israel put its troops into Lebanon. She and Tom Hayden went to Israel and spoke out publicly in support of what Israel was doing. So she wasn't against war, she was just against the Vietnam War. Or maybe it's because she was young and what she was doing was fun. But she's clearly not against war. Meanwhile, she's engaged to — guess who? Ted Turner, of CNN, who is profiting HUGELY from this thing. And the magic of this "Good War" is such .... Now Ted Turner's a fine man, and Jane Fonda is, in fact (although we're on different sides in this one), a fine person. But Ted Turner is and has been, a champion of Glasnost, working before Glasnost, to get better relations between the [two] countries and to deter the arms race. And he is a personal friend of Fidel Castro. And yet, on this one, because of the rationales and the glamor and what-not — he's turned CNN into the major cheerleader for the Pentagon in this war.
The Peace Community, of course, is wearing yellow ribbons in support of the troops over there. Now this is a very complicated issue. There's no one, at least not me, who can look at the troops over there without feeling some sympathy for them, especially the ones who were so naive that they allowed themselves to watch those ads on TV and get sucked into the Military without ever thinking that the purpose of the Military is to fight. And once you go into the Military, for whatever reason — to go to college or whatever reason — if the nation goes to war, you can no longer claim to be a conscientious objector.
But let me just suggest to you .... and I don't mean to be hard- nosed about this, but I'll give you two ideas to think about. When you are living history, it's hard to read history books and compare. Germany did evil things in 1920 and 1930, but that was somehow different because we're nice people. Let me just point out to you that,
ONE: Germany was a Christian country;
TWO: Germany was a democracy that allowed a segment to take over and direct it into a war mode.
A lot of the German People did not like the leadership, did not like the Nazi party, and had doubts about the war. But once the nation joined in the war, they buckled down and sacrificed to support their country and their troops, as they proceeded to get THIRTY MILLION PEOPLE KILLED!
Now the soldiers that we have over there today are volunteers. In Vietnam, a lot of them were draftees. This is a significant difference, although I would certainly agree that they were seduced into this thing, as I was at a comparable age. But I also note, when I start saying: "Okay, I support the soldiers," (you know) "but not the war," — but then I say: "But what about the Iraqi soldiers, and what about the Iraqi People and the Kuwaiti People, and all the others?" And then I also look back in my own history, when I was a determined member, an energetic member, of the "White male killer establishment," as Helen Caldicott calls it. And I would come home and my friends would embrace me and love me and support me. They would say:
"We don't know what you're doing. We're not sure about it over there. But we support you."
And I would go back, feeling supported, as we got drunk, as we got raunchy, as we organized the killing of people.
Now, I've analyzed carefully and even written a book about what made me change. And there were four people whom I can remember, who significantly altered my thinking. And they were people who punched me in the intellectual belly. They were close friends who said:
"What you're doing with your life is dead wrong! You are participating in EVIL! And you DO have a choice, and you CAN redirect your life."
And I raged. I hurt. I was upset. I had insomnia. It was painful. But they had made me think, and the thinking led me to break away. It's called "tough love."
I AM NOT GOING TO WEAR A YELLOW RIBBON!
[applause and cheers]
In a lecture in L.A. last week, Ron Kovic [paraplegic Vietnam War veteran, whose life is the subject of the movie, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY] was there, and a couple of people took me on. Richard Macer stood up and said: "I want to feel GOOD about this war." And I said: "You know — I don't feel good about anything about this war." But you know, so I'm a hard-ass. So, Ron Kovic — afterwards, I asked him, I said, "Am I off-base?" He said:
"No! You're ABSOLUTELY right! We have to stick these people who are over there. They DO have a choice, and they have to be reminded that what they're doing is WRONG! Don't embrace them with war and love. They're going to come back ten feet tall, with all the the drums beating, and the media and the bands playing. And what is that going to do to the ten-year-olds who see this happening? They're going to want to join the Army, and they're going to be begging for a war so they can have fun like their uncles did."
The losers today, in this score card: The Kuwaiti people, for sure. The Iraqi people, for sure. The Israelis, who are living under the Scud missiles and the fear, and having to teach their kids about gas masks. The Palestinians, who are having to live under a 24-hour curfew. What if your baby gets sick and you can't get out, and you don't have the money and you can't go out to buy penicillin? And they are facing possible expulsion from where they're living, right now. King Hussein of Jordan, a long-time ally of the United States, is facing possible overthrow. Arab leaders, long-term allies, are facing a period of severe instability. And our Administration is now recognizing this and talking about the fact that we're going to have a massive problem keeping the peace in the Middle East, and we'll probably have to leave a massive force there for an indeterminate period of time to enforce a Pax Americana. And think about how that dynamic is going to build and make the people there love us.
The environment: Remember, they [Iraq] did have a nuclear weapons development plant. And it's been bombed massively. And plutonium doesn't disintegrate when you bomb it. All of those little plutonium molecules are flipping through the environment and floating in the air right now. And they will be toxic ten thousand years from now — fifty thousand years from now. The Persian Gulf: massively polluted. The oil fields that are burning in Kuwait — they estimate that it will take a year to put them out, once we can get to them, and we can't get to them anytime soon. And they are dumping millions of tons of soot into the air, which is the darkest substance in the world, which is going up into the atmosphere, blocking the sun's rays again.
And other losers are the United States People. I mean the below-the-50-percent-line. WE are funding this war! The ultra-rich are NOT paying their share of the support of this society, and they're NOT paying their share of this war itself! And we have gone back under the [mass media propaganda] line of our devotion to the Military and the military budget, which is restored to an all-time high. Now you notice George Bush, in his 1984 newspeak, he announced the budget for the next year last week, and he said it amounted to a three-and-a-half percent cut of the military budget. And he said that we would address infant mortality under this program. If you just read down a little bit in his speech on the subject, it becomes clear that they're handling this war under a separate allocation, so that it [the war budget] is not part of the military [budget]. And it also becomes clear that the Rapid Deployment [Force] ships and airplanes that they have to build to fight more wars in the Third World in the Middle East are being handled under a supplementary budget. So the budget is a cut, he says? In fact, it is an ALL-TIME HIGH [military] budget — an all-nation, all-history forever [all-time high military budget]. Just a flat, bald manipulation of the truth is what he's done in this thing!
Now, I submit to you that both the United States and the U.S.S.R. (again) lost the Cold War. What you have to understand is that in the United States, the corporations who spent the TWO-AND-A-HALF TRILLION DOLLARS building all of these missiles in a forty-one percent increase of our nuclear capability — our so-called "defense" corporations — ARE NOT, IN FACT, U.S. corporations. The U.S. has not profited from these things. We've had a massive welfare program in which we gave money to these corporations for a military buildup in which they made 20 to 24 percent profit, which is twice what is the norm in this society. But the key to understanding this system is that these ARE NOT U.S. corporations. Not anymore! They are multinational corporations, on a welfare dole from the U.S. taxpayers, producing MX missiles which are put in holes in the ground, which can never be used, and producing Tomahawk missiles and everything that we're pouring into the desert at a million dollars a shot, now which are not being sold, and cannot be sold to other countries of the world.
Meanwhile, once again, Ronald Reagan ... when he was building this thing up and hyping it, talking endlessly about Nicaragua, a country with two elevators .... meanwhile, in that same period of time, we were building these MX missiles, and Japan was building Toyotas and Sonys, passing us by, in terms of trade balances and trade goods, so that our money was going overseas, so that we plunged into the status of massive debt as a massive debtor nation.
These corporations that are taking our capital and leaking it out of the country are happy to do this to the United States because they are TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS. The tradition of this goes back into history. In World War II .... Remember? Read the book: Trading with the Enemy, by Charles Higham[sp], Dell Press, 1982 (based on documents gotten out of the Government under the Freedom of Information Act), about how the major corporations in the United States were trading with Hitler's Germany throughout the war; how Standard Oil [of New Jersey] supplied him with more oil at a better price than they sold it [at] to the United States, for example. So you have these multinational corporations SUCKING UP CAPITAL from the United States to build these things that are poured into the desert or put in holes in the ground, while, in fact, they are investing in the production of cars and trade goods in countries overseas, as part of the World Financial Order.
The FOUR-AND-A-HALF TRILLION DOLLAR DEBT that is double-compounding. I'm sure you've wondered why is it that our Government is not more upset and concerned, viscerally, with such a staggering debt which probably can never be repaid? And talking to Admiral Carroll at the Center for Defense Information — he and I came up with a key to understanding this thing. [It's] their contempt for the American People, and for America itself, [by] the people who essentially spent this money.
The multinational corporations are part of the same World Order, the World Financial Order that holds the paper on this loan, which means that the interest that's being paid is exactly like taxes to them, if you will, or at least, [this interest is like] enforced debts and loans where it's guaranteed by law that they will be paid at the interest rates that are fixed. And that's why they're not afraid of this debt. Because they're making money off of it, from US! The second or third line item on the budget now is the interest that we're paying to them on this debt for building up this military thing for their own profit and policing of the World.
Now, what we have is the United States rendered into a position, because of these policies — because of the Cold War and the arms race and Reagan and Bush's policies — into a position where we're no longer in control of our economic future. However, we still are the World's military superpower. And even the Soviet Union, in its state of semi-collapse, is the World's second military superpower. But we're still going strong while they're imploding and lapsing into chaos. The World Financial Order can't move us too far, or at least, it can't move without us because we're still a major player. But also we have the might. It's a symbiotic relationship of money and might.
And so then, you come up with an understanding of what we're doing in the Persian Gulf. The United States has now become the Praetorian Guard of what George Bush calls "THE NEW WORLD ORDER", policing the World for the people who own the World, effectively, [the world] of today and tomorrow.
Now, in closing, let me point out that this New World Order will clearly NOT be more peaceful. That would not suit them economically for it to be peaceful. It will NOT bring greater freedoms. To the contrary. It will bring continuing repression and forfeiture of our basic freedoms that we've enjoyed for so long. It will certainly NOT bring a greater equity in the distribution of wealth. To the contrary. The wealth will continue to flow from the poor and the middle class to the ultra-rich. And it certainly will NOT bring greater social services in this country because the New World Order is letting us go to the Persian Gulf to fight this war for them, and they are letting us bear the lion's share of financing this thing, as we fight the war in their interests over there right now.
Now to close .... and I won't go on for long. But just on a note of motivation and hope — and I hope some of the questions will get into what we can do .... I want to remind you of what I said the last time I was here. Admiral LaRocque, when I went to ask him: "Admiral, what can I tell people to do about these problems." And he said: "This is a wonderful question. Tell them that you know what you're capable of, what your skills are, what you can do." He said: "I tell people, if they can write, to write letters. Write articles. Write books. Write telegrams. If they can travel, go to Nicaragua. Go to Germany. See for yourself. Understand the World so that you can witness and discuss this intelligently."
He said he tells people: "If you feel comfortable lying down in front of trucks with bombs on them, do it." But he said: "YOU'VE GOT TO DO WHAT YOU CAN DO EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE, BEGINNING TODAY, BECAUSE" (He didn't say this, but this is what he was concerned about.) the course that we are on will definitely lead, eventually, to rendering this planet UNINHABITABLE. Now, it won't happen in five years or ten years. But eventually, unless we profoundly change what we are doing, there will BE NO MORE warm-blooded life on this planet. Sooner or later, we MUST change or we will destroy ourselves.
So you have to GET ENGAGED. And Helen Caldicott, that wonderful, wonderful speaker who tells us so beautifully, she says: "Get involved. You'll feel better than sitting back in frustration." Get out and work on this problem — what she calls "the public health problem of this planet." And she points out that "if you WILL get involved, you'll feel better, and you can — if the thing, or when the thing, finally blows apart — if there's a few minutes before the bombs land on your town, you can turn to your loved ones and hug them and say: `Honey, at least we tried.'"
Now we'll discuss some specifics in the question and answer period which is coming up right now. But for openers, I urge people — because of the frustration and the anger and the fear and the anxiety that we're subjected to — I urge people to remember to hug someone every day of your life. And hug some animal every day of your life, because they share this dilemma with us. Now, I've noticed, at the end of rallies and lectures, in some confusion, a lot of people like to hold up the "V" for victory. And I reject that because I don't think there will every be a victory over evil, or a victory of peace, at which time the World will be okay — in addition to which, I don't like the concept of victory because I don't think that would be a peaceful solution in and of itself.
I give you the open hand of peace, and thank you very much for hearing me out. Thank you.
Just. Copy taste.
The CIA and the Gulf War