A Culture of Violence (peace)

Native peoples were its earlier victim. Puritans saw them as “brutes, devils” and “devil-worshippers” in a godless, howling wilderness filled with evil spirits and “dangerous wild beasts.” They were targeted for removal as settlers moved west. They cleansed the land through violence, bloodletting and 40 Native Indian wars from 1622 – 1900 to win the West, North and South. Wars became our national pastime, and we’ve waged them like sport ever since in an endless unbroken cycle.
We fought four imperial ones as well from 1689 to 1763 with England, France, Spain and Holland. Throughout the period, numerous settler outbreaks and insurrections arose that were also put down along with dozens of riots. Then there were the major wars we know by name. First was the American War of Independence (or Revolutionary War) from 1775 – 83. A minority of colonists supported it, little changed, and the outcome repackaged Crown rule under new management.
The so-called War of 1812 (to early 1815) was more about American expansionism than Brits impressing our seamen. “Manifest Destiny” then became a catch phrase when Jacksonian Democrats proclaimed it in 1845 as the nation’s “destiny” for all the land “from sea to shining sea.” It was packaged as a noble mission, propagated as ruling orthodoxy, and used to justify other acquisitions.
We then headed south of the border from 1846 – 1848 in what Mexicans called “la invasion estadounidense” that easily self-translates as the US invasion. It was our Mexican War that began after the annexation of Texas and ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. It forced Mexico to cede half its country to avoid losing it all in what’s now Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and parts of Wyoming and Utah. The country is still cursed the way former Mexican dictator, Porfirio Diaz, meant when he said: “Poor Mexico, so far from God, and so close to the United States.” Today that holds for all nations with a rogue superpower on the march and liberty and justice nowhere in sight.
Nor was it earlier when wars had similar aims as now with one exception. The Civil War from 1861 – 1865 was sort of a family squabble. Some squabble. Before it ended, it was our bloodiest ever. Three million were in it and over 600,000 died at a time the total population was 31 million, including 4 million slaves. That was double the battle deaths from WW II when 12 million fought from a population of 132 million, and if the same proportionate number had perished it would have been around 2.5 million.
Next came the Spanish-American War against Spain. In 1897, Theodore Roosevelt (as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and later 1906 Nobel Peace Prize laureate) wrote a friend….”I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one,” and the next year it began. We won, they lost and America had its coming out party on a world stage. A half century later, we control much of it, want the rest, and plan, as a birthright, to take it as disdainfully as our forefathers.
The war with Spain was quick and little more than a skirmish for three and a half months. It was our first offshore imperial foray netting us control of Cuba as a de facto colony for starters. Following the war, Congress passed the Platt Amendment in 1901. It granted us jurisdictional right to intervene freely in Cuban affairs and ceded Guantanamo Bay (as a coaling or naval station only) to the US in perpetuity (provided annual rent is paid) unless later terminated by mutual consent of both countries. It was just the beginning.
We also took the Philippines (slaughtering 200,000 of its people), Hawaii, Haiti, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Samoa, assorted other territories later and the Canal Zone from Colombia to fulfill Theodore Roosevelt’s dream to link the Atlantic and Pacific with a canal across its isthmus.
Woodrow Wilson was reelected in 1916 on a campaign promise: “He Kept Us Out of War.” He lied. He wanted war and established the Committee on Public Information under George Creel in 1917 to get it. It turned a pacifist nation into raging German-haters, America declared war in April, 1917 and was in it until it ended in November, 1918. This writer’s dad fought in France and returned unharmed. The US empire was on a roll.
Today, mainstream historians perceive Wilson as a liberal Democrat. He was quite opposite, and his imperial record alone proves it. He occupied Haiti in 1915 beginning 20 hellish years for its people until Franklin Roosevelt withdraw US forces in 1934. He sent US troops to Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and in 1914 invaded Mexico, occupying its main seaport city of Veracruz. It was a dress rehearsal for WW I and might have become a full-scale war had Wilson not pulled US forces out ahead of the greater conflict he aimed for in Europe.
The defining event of the 20th century was WW II from which the US emerged the only dominant nation left standing. We became the world’s unchallengeable superpower as though we planned it that way, which we did. From it emerged our “imperial grand strategy” under the Truman Doctrine as well as a plan for US global military and economic dominance. The Cold War began with “containment” the policy. The US empire was on a roll and would never look back.
US Imperialism Post-WW II
When the Cold War ended in 1991, George HW Bush’s Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz were tasked to shape a new strategy that emerged in 1992 as the Defense Planning Guidance or Wolfowitz Doctrine. It was so extreme, it was kept under wraps, but not for long. It was leaked to the New York Times causing uproar enough for the elder Bush to shelve it until the neoconservative think tank Project for a New American Century (PNAC) revived it in a document called “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century.” It was an imperial plan for global dominance for well into the future to be enforced with unchallengeable military power. It became the blueprint for the “war on terror” and all the hot ones planned to wage it.
WW II was more a beginning than an end to war. The US kept Korea and Vietnam divided and targeted independent-minded leaders. It was part of our imperial designs on East Asia that included containing Soviet Russia as well as China. It led us to incite civil wars in Korea and Vietnam expecting both times to prevail but were stalemated in one and lost the other.
North Korea’s Fatherland Liberation War began June 25, 1950 when the DPRK retaliated in force following months of US influenced Republic of Korean (ROK) provocations. It ended in an uneasy cease-fire July 27, 1953 and is still unresolved to this day. The North and South are technically at war, the US refuses to negotiate an honorable peace, and 57 years later 37,000 American forces are in the South with no intention to leave.
Korea taught us nothing. Vietnam was next, and now we’re embroiled in Iraq and Afghanistan with a potentially disastrous war looming against Iran. It proves Ben Franklin right that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.” Adventurism in Vietnam began under Truman and Eisenhower supporting France. It expanded full-blown under Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon before ending in a humiliating final pullout from the US Saigon Embassy rooftop April 30, 1975.
The 1980s brought more conflict with Ronald Reagan’s war against “international terrorism.” He invaded tiny Grenada in 1983 against a left-leaning regime for a pro-western one we installed. Scorched earth proxy wars then upped the stakes in Central America, Afghanistan, Africa and the Middle East. We tread lightly nowhere, and these conflicts left hundreds of thousands dead and immiserated in the name of democracy, humanitarian intervention, and the benefits of western civilization by our method of choice – gun barrels blazing.
GHW Bush then followed with Panama his prey. He deposed its leader, then targeted Saddam for the only crime that mattered – disobeying the lord and master of the universe and its rules of imperial management, especially Rule No. 1: We’re boss, and what we say goes.

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