I was watching the History channel for lack of something better to do yesterday, and the program airing was Gangland. I don’t usually watch this show as it seems to glorify gang warfare and the interviews with gang members always make me recoil with horror at what passes for acceptable behavior inside the gangs themselves. However, the show yesterday made me think of the world in a newer light.
In an interview with a gang member, the interviewer was told that the gang would always retaliate if it were “dissed” by another gang. That, in this case, meant that the “dissed” gang would go into the offending gang’s territory and generally kick ass and take names. When asked about the situation, a law enforcement officer told the interviewer that this kind of behavior by gangs would not be tolerated and that law enforcement was obliged to try to stop this violence by any means possible.
It then occurred to me that many of the young people that are active in these gangs are probably following the example that is presented to them every day. In this case I’m talking about the example that the United States government presents on the worlds stage. At this point one may ask oneself if the behavior of the United States doesn’t present the same type of modus operandi that gangs display.
The hope that my father’s generation left us with after World War II was that we would be able to keep peace in the world with no one nation acting aggressively against other nations. I believe that the United Nations, like the League of Nations that was set up after WWI before it, would keep the peace by confronting aggression throughout the world. Of course, we all realize that that concept was mistaken, especially after the Vietnam debacle. The following in an excerpt from http://www.vietnam-war.info/casualties/:
The lowest casualty estimates, based on the now-renounced North Vietnamese statements, are around 1.5 million Vietnamese killed. Vietnam released figures on April 3, 1995 that a total of one million Vietnamese combatants and four million civilians were killed in the war. The accuracy of these figures has generally not been challenged. 58,226 American soldiers also died in the war or are missing in action. Australia lost almost 500 of the 47,000 troops they had deployed to Vietnam and New Zealand lost 38 soldiers.
These figures are mind-boggling when you consider that the United Nations did nothing to stop the killing. It was the American people that stopped that war, something that appears will not happen again in the foreseeable future.
Why do I say this? Let’s look at the “interventions” that the U.S. has participated in since Vietnam:
1970 – Cambodia Campaign. US troops were ordered into Cambodia to clean out Communist sanctuaries from which Viet Cong and North Vietnamese attacked US and South Vietnamese forces in Vietnam. The object of this attack, which lasted from April 30 to June 30, was to ensure the continuing safe withdrawal of American forces from South Vietnam and to assist the program of Vietnamization.[RL30172]
1975 – Evacuation from Vietnam. On April 3, 1975, President Ford reported US naval vessels, helicopters, and Marines had been sent to assist in evacuation of refugees and US nationals from Vietnam.[RL30172]
1975 – Evacuation from Cambodia. On April 12, 1975, President Ford reported that he had ordered US military forces to proceed with the planned evacuation of US citizens from Cambodia.[RL30172]
1975 – South Vietnam. On April 30, 1975, President Ford reported that a force of 70 evacuation helicopters and 865 Marines had evacuated about 1,400 US citizens and 5,500 third country nationals and South Vietnamese from landing zones near the US Embassy in Saigon and the Tan Son Nhut Airfield.[RL30172]
1975 – Cambodia. Mayagüez Incident. On May 15, 1975, President Ford reported he had ordered military forces to retake the SS Mayagüez, a merchant vessel which was seized from Cambodian naval patrol boats in international waters and forced to proceed to a nearby island.[RL30172]
1976 – Lebanon. On July 22 and 23, 1974, helicopters from five US naval vessels evacuated approximately 250 Americans and Europeans from Lebanon during fighting between Lebanese factions after an overland convoy evacuation had been blocked by hostilities.[RL30172]
1976 – Korea. Additional forces were sent to Korea after two American soldiers were killed by North Korean soldiers in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea while cutting down a tree.[RL30172]
1978 – Zaire (Congo). From May 19 through June 1978, the United States utilized military transport aircraft to provide logistical support to Belgian and French rescue operations in Zaire.[RL30172]
1980 – Iran. Operation Eagle Claw On April 26, 1980, President Carter reported the use of six US transport planes and eight helicopters in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue American hostages being held in Iran.[RL30172]
1981 – El Salvador. After a guerrilla offensive against the government of El Salvador, additional US military advisers were sent to El Salvador, bringing the total to approximately 55, to assist in training government forces in counterinsurgency.[RL30172]
1981 – Libya. First Gulf of Sidra Incident On August 19, 1981, US planes based on the carrier USS Nimitz shot down two Libyan jets over the Gulf of Sidra after one of the Libyan jets had fired a heat-seeking missile. The United States periodically held freedom of navigation exercises in the Gulf of Sidra, claimed by Libya as territorial waters but considered international waters by the United States.[RL30172]
1982 – Sinai. On March 19, 1982, President Reagan reported the deployment of military personnel and equipment to participate in the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai. Participation had been authorized by the Multinational Force and Observers Resolution, Public Law 97-132.[RL30172]
1982 – Lebanon. Multinational Force in Lebanon. On August 21, 1982, President Reagan reported the dispatch of 80 Marines to serve in the multinational force to assist in the withdrawal of members of the Palestine Liberation force from Beirut. The Marines left September 20, 1982.[RL30172]
1982-1983 – Lebanon. On September 29, 1982, President Reagan reported the deployment of 1200 marines to serve in a temporary multinational force to facilitate the restoration of Lebanese government sovereignty. On September 29, 1983, Congress passed the Multinational Force in Lebanon Resolution (P.L. 98-119) authorizing the continued participation for eighteen months.[RL30172]
1983 – Egypt. After a Libyan plane bombed a city in Sudan on March 18, 1983, and Sudan and Egypt appealed for assistance, the United States dispatched an AWACS electronic surveillance plane to Egypt.[RL30172]
1983 – Grenada. Citing the increased threat of Soviet and Cuban influence and noting the development of an international airport following a bloodless Grenada coup d’état and alignment with the Soviets and Cuba, the U.S. launches Operation Urgent Fury to invade the sovereign island nation of Grenada.[RL30172]
1983-89 – Honduras. In July 1983 the United States undertook a series of exercises in Honduras that some believed might lead to conflict with Nicaragua. On March 25, 1986, unarmed US military helicopters and crewmen ferried Honduran troops to the Nicaraguan border to repel Nicaraguan troops.[RL30172]
1983 – Chad. On August 8, 1983, President Reagan reported the deployment of two AWACS electronic surveillance planes and eight F-15 fighter planes and ground logistical support forces to assist Chad against Libyan and rebel forces.[RL30172]
1984 – Persian Gulf. On June 5, 1984, Saudi Arabian jet fighter planes, aided by intelligence from a US AWACS electronic surveillance aircraft and fueled by a U.S. KC-10 tanker, shot down two Iranian fighter planes over an area of the Persian Gulf proclaimed as a protected zone for shipping.[RL30172]
1985 – Italy. On October 10, 1985, US Navy pilots intercepted an Egyptian airliner and forced it to land in Sicily. The airliner was carrying the hijackers of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro who had killed an American citizen during the hijacking.[RL30172]
1986 – Libya. Action in the Gulf of Sidra (1986) On March 26, 1986, President Reagan reported on March 24 and 25, US forces, while engaged in freedom of navigation exercises around the Gulf of Sidra, had been attacked by Libyan missiles and the United States had responded with missiles.[RL30172]
1986 – Libya. Operation El Dorado Canyon On April 16, 1986, President Reagan reported that U.S. air and naval forces had conducted bombing strikes on terrorist facilities and military installations in the Libyan capitol of Tripoli, claiming that Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi was responsible for a bomb attack at a German disco that killed two U.S. soldiers.[RL30172]
1986 – Bolivia. U.S. Army personnel and aircraft assisted Bolivia in anti-drug operations.[RL30172]
1987 – Persian Gulf. USS Stark was struck on May 17 by two Exocet antiship missiles fired from an Iraqi F-1 Mirage during the Iran-Iraq War killing 37 US Navy sailors.
1987 –October 19, Operation Nimble Archer – attack on two Iranian oil platforms in the Persian Gulf by United States Navy forces. The attack was a response to Iran’s October 16, 1987 attack on the MV Sea Isle City, a reflagged Kuwaiti oil tanker at anchor off Kuwait, with a Silkworm missile.
1987-88 – Persian Gulf. After the Iran-Iraq War resulted in several military incidents in the Persian Gulf, the United States increased US joint military forces operations in the Persian Gulf and adopted a policy of reflagging and escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Persian Gulf, called Operation Earnest Will. President Reagan reported that US ships had been fired upon or struck mines or taken other military action on September 21 (Iran Ajr), October 8, and October 19, 1987 and April 18 (Operation Praying Mantis), July 3, and July 14, 1988. The United States gradually reduced its forces after a cease-fire between Iran and Iraq on August 20, 1988.[RL30172] It was the largest naval convoy operation since World War II.
1987-88 – Operation Earnest Will was the U.S. military protection of Kuwaiti oil tankers from Iraqi and Iranian attacks in 1987 and 1988 during the Tanker War phase of the Iran-Iraq War. It was the largest naval convoy operation since World War II.
1987-88 – Operation Prime Chance was a United States Special Operations Command operation intended to protect U.S. -flagged oil tankers from Iranian attack during the Iran-Iraq War. The operation took place roughly at the same time as Operation Earnest Will.
1988 – Operation Praying Mantis was the April 18, 1988 action waged by U.S. naval forces in retaliation for the Iranian mining of the Persian Gulf and the subsequent damage to an American warship.
1988 – Operation Golden Pheasant was an emergency deployment of U.S. troops to Honduras in 1988, as a result of threatening actions by the forces of the (then socialist) Nicaraguans.
1988 – Panama. In mid-March and April 1988, during a period of instability in Panama and as the United States increased pressure on Panamanian head of state General Manuel Noriega to resign, the United States sent 1,000 troops to Panama, to “further safeguard the canal, US lives, property and interests in the area.” The forces supplemented 10,000 US military personnel already in the Panama Canal Zone.[RL30172]
1989 – Libya. Second Gulf of Sidra Incident On January 4, 1989, two US Navy F-14 aircraft based on the USS John F. Kennedy shot down two Libyan jet fighters over the Mediterranean Sea about 70 miles north of Libya. The US pilots said the Libyan planes had demonstrated hostile intentions.[RL30172]
1989 – Panama. On May 11, 1989, in response to General Noriega’s disregard of the results of the Panamanian election, President Bush ordered a brigade-sized force of approximately 1,900 troops to augment the estimated 11,000 U.S. forces already in the area.[RL30172]
1989 – Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. Andean Initiative in War on Drugs. On September 15, 1989, President Bush announced that military and law enforcement assistance would be sent to help the Andean nations of Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru combat illicit drug producers and traffickers. By mid-September there were 50-100 US military advisers in Colombia in connection with transport and training in the use of military equipment, plus seven Special Forces teams of 2-12 persons to train troops in the three countries.[RL30172]
1989 – Philippines. 1989 Philippine coup attempt. On December 2, 1989, President Bush reported that on December 1 US fighter planes from Clark Air Base in the Philippines had assisted the Aquino government to repel a coup attempt. In addition, 100 marines were sent from the US Navy base at Subic Bay to protect the US Embassy in Manila.[RL30172]
1989-90 – Panama. Operation Just Cause On December 21, 1989, President Bush reported that he had ordered US military forces to Panama to protect the lives of American citizens and bring General Noriega to justice. By February 13, 1990, all the invasion forces had been withdrawn.[RL30172] Around 200 Panamanian civilians were reported killed. The Panamanian head of state, General Manuel Noriega, was captured and brought to the U.S.
1990 – Liberia. On August 6, 1990, President Bush reported that a reinforced rifle company had been sent to provide additional security to the US Embassy in Monrovia, and that helicopter teams had evacuated US citizens from Liberia.[RL30172]
1990 – Saudi Arabia. On August 9, 1990, President Bush reported that he had ordered the forward deployment of substantial elements of the US armed forces into the Persian Gulf region to help defend Saudi Arabia after the August 2 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. On November 16, 1990, he reported the continued buildup of the forces to ensure an adequate offensive military option.[RL30172]
1991 – Iraq. Persian Gulf War On January 16 America attacked Iraqi forces and military targets in Iraq and Kuwait, in conjunction with a coalition of allies and UN Security Council resolutions. Combat operations ended on February 28, 1991.[RL30172] (See Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm)
1991 – Iraq. On May 17, 1991, President Bush stated that the Iraqi repression of the Kurdish people had necessitated a limited introduction of US forces into northern Iraq for emergency relief purposes.[RL30172]
1991 – Zaire. On September 25-27, 1991, after widespread looting and rioting broke out in Kinshasa, US Air Force C-141s transported 100 Belgian troops and equipment into Kinshasa. US planes also carried 300 French troops into the Central African Republic and hauled evacuated American citizens.[RL30172]
1991-96 – Operation Provide Comfort. Delivery of humanitarian relief and military protection for Kurds fleeing their homes in northern Iraq, by a small Allied ground force based in Turkey.
1992 – Sierra Leone. On May 3, 1992, US military planes evacuated Americans from Sierra Leone, where military leaders had overthrown the government.[RL30172]
1992-1996 – Operation Provide Promise was a humanitarian relief operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Yugoslav Wars, from July 2, 1992, to January 9, 1996, which made it the longest running humanitarian airlift in history.
1992 – Kuwait. On August 3, 1992, the United States began a series of military exercises in Kuwait, following Iraqi refusal to recognize a new border drawn up by the United Nations and refusal to cooperate with UN inspection teams.[RL30172]
1992-2003 – Iraq. Iraqi No-Fly Zones The U.S. together with the United Kingdom declares and enforces “no fly zones” over the majority of sovereign Iraqi airspace, prohibiting Iraqi flights in zones in southern Iraq and northern Iraq, and conducting aerial reconnaissance and bombings. (See also Operation Southern Watch) [RL30172]
1992-95 – Somalia. “Operation Restore Hope” Somali Civil War On December 10, 1992, President Bush reported that he had deployed US armed forces to Somalia in response to a humanitarian crisis and a UN Security Council Resolution. The operation came to an end on May 4, 1993. US forces continued to participate in the successor United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II). (See also Battle of Mogadishu)[RL30172]
1993-Present – Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1993 – Macedonia. On July 9, 1993, President Clinton reported the deployment of 350 US soldiers to the Republic of Macedonia to participate in the UN Protection Force to help maintain stability in the area of former Yugoslavia.[RL30172]
1994 – Macedonia. On April 19, 1994, President Clinton reported that the US contingent in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia had been increased by a reinforced company of 200 personnel.[RL30172]
1996 – Liberia. On April 11, 1996, President Clinton reported that on April 9, 1996 due to the “deterioration of the security situation and the resulting threat to American citizens” in Liberia he had ordered US military forces to evacuate from that country “private US citizens and certain third-country nationals who had taken refuge in the US Embassy compound….”[RL30172]
1996 – Central African Republic. On May 23, 1996, President Clinton reported the deployment of US military personnel to Bangui, Central African Republic, to conduct the evacuation from that country of “private US citizens and certain U.S. Government employees”, and to provide “enhanced security for the American Embassy in Bangui.”[RL30172]
1997 – Congo and Gabon. On March 27, 1997, President Clinton reported on March 25, 1997, a standby evacuation force of US military personnel had been deployed to Congo and Gabon to provide enhanced security and to be available for any necessary evacuation operation.[RL30172]
1997 – Sierra Leone. On May 29 and May 30, 1997, US military personnel were deployed to Freetown, Sierra Leone, to prepare for and undertake the evacuation of certain US government employees and private US citizens.[RL30172]
1997 – Cambodia. On July 11, 1997, In an effort to ensure the security of American citizens in Cambodia during a period of domestic conflict there, a Task Force of about 550 US military personnel were deployed at Utapao Air Base in Thailand for possible evacuations. [RL30172]
1998 – Guinea-Bissau. On June 10, 1998, in response to an army mutiny in Guinea-Bissau endangering the US Embassy, President Clinton deployed a standby evacuation force of US military personnel to Dakar, Senegal, to evacuate from the city of Bissau.[RL30172]
1998 – 1999 Kenya and Tanzania. US military personnel were deployed to Nairobi, Kenya, to coordinate the medical and disaster assistance related to the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. [RL30172]
1998 – Afghanistan and Sudan. Operation Infinite Reach On August 20, air strikes were used against two suspected terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical factory in Sudan.[RL30172]
1998 – Liberia. On September 27, 1998 America deployed a stand-by response and evacuation force of 30 US military personnel to increase the security force at the US Embassy in Monrovia.[RL30172]
2000 – Sierra Leone. On May 12, 2000 a US Navy patrol craft deployed to Sierra Leone to support evacuation operations from that country if needed.[RL30172]
2000 – East Timor. On February 25, 2000, a small number of U.S. military personnel were deployed to support of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). [RL30172]
2001 – Afghanistan. War in Afghanistan. The War on Terrorism begins with Operation Enduring Freedom. On October 7, 2001, US Armed Forces invade Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks and “begin combat action in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda terrorists and their Taliban supporters.”[RL30172]
2002 – Yemen. On November 3, 2002, an American MQ-1 Predator fired a Hellfire missile at a car in Yemen killing Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, an al-Qaeda leader thought to be responsible for the USS Cole bombing.[RL30172]
2002 – Philippines. OEF-Philippines. January 2002 U.S. “combat-equipped and combat support forces” have been deployed to the Philippines to train with, assist and advise the Philippines’ Armed Forces in enhancing their “counterterrorist capabilities.”[RL30172]
2002 – Côte d’Ivoire. On September 25, 2002, in response to a rebellion in Côte d’Ivoire, US military personnel went into Côte d’Ivoire to assist in the evacuation of American citizens from Bouake. [RL30172]
2003 – 2003 invasion of Iraq leading to the War in Iraq. March 20, 2003. The United States leads a coalition that includes Britain, Australia and Spain to invade Iraq with the stated goal of eliminating Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and undermining Saddam Hussein.[RL30172]
2003 – Liberia. Second Liberian Civil War On June 9, 2003, President Bush reported that on June 8 he had sent about 35 combat-equipped US military personnel into Monrovia, Liberia, to help secure the US Embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and to aid in any necessary evacuation from either Liberia or Mauritania.[RL30172]
2003 – Georgia and Djibouti “US combat equipped and support forces” had been deployed to Georgia and Djibouti to help in enhancing their “counterterrorist capabilities.”
2004 – 2004 Haïti rebellion occurs. The US sent first sent 55 combat equipped military personnel to augment the US Embassy security forces there and to protect American citizens and property in light. Later 200 additional US combat-equipped, military personnel were sent to prepare the way for a UN Multinational Interim Force, MINUSTAH.[RL30172]
2004 – War on Terrorism: US anti-terror related activities were underway in Georgia, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen, and Eritrea.
2006 – Pakistan. 17 people including known Al Qaeda bomb maker and chemical weapons expert Midhat Mursi, were killed in an American MQ-1 Predator airstrike on Damadola (Pakistan), near the Afghan border.
2006 – Lebanon. US Marine Detachment, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, begins evacuation of US citizens willing to the leave the country in the face of a likely ground invasion by Israel and continued fighting between Hezbollah and the Israeli military.
2007 – Somalia. Battle of Ras Kamboni. On January 8, 2007, while the conflict between the Islamic Courts Union and the Transitional Federal Government continues, an AC-130 gunship conducts an aerial strike on a suspected Al-Qaeda operative, along with other Islamist fighters, on Badmadow Island near Ras Kamboni in southern Somalia.
2008 – South Ossetia, Georgia. Helped Georgia humanitarian aid, helped to transport Georgian forces from Iraq during the conflict. In the past, the US has provided training and weapons to Georgia.
2009 – Pakistan, In relation to efforts in Afghanistan, U.S. Forces struck an insurgent encampment in the Northern Mountains, killing 24, with missiles fired from an unmanned aerial assault vehicle. (Source Wikipedia, US Military Operations)
Does this raise an eyebrow? Just consider the civilian deaths in the latest Iraq War furnished by Lancet:
The Lancet, one of the oldest scientific medical journals in the world, published two peer-reviewed studies on the effect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation on the Iraqi mortality rate. The first was published in 2004; the second (by many of the same authors) in 2006. The studies estimate the number of excess deaths caused by the occupation, both direct (combatants plus non-combatants) and indirect (due to increased lawlessness, degraded infrastructure, poor healthcare, etc.).
The first survey published on 29 October 2004, estimated 98,000 excess Iraqi deaths (with a range of 8,000 to 194,000, using a 95% confidence interval (CI)) from the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq to that time, or about 50% higher than the death rate prior to the invasion. The authors described this as a conservative estimate, because it excluded the extreme statistical outlier data from Falluja. If the Falluja cluster were included, the mortality estimate would increase to 150% over pre-invasion rates (95% CI: 1.6 to 4.2).
The second survey published on 11 October 2006, estimated 654,965 excess deaths related to the war, or 2.5% of the population, through the end of June 2006. The new study applied similar methods and involved surveys between May 20 and July 10, 2006. More households were surveyed, allowing for a 95% confidence interval of 392,979 to 942,636 excess Iraqi deaths. 601,027 deaths (range of 426,369 to 793,663 using a 95% confidence interval) were due to violence. 31% of those were attributed to the Coalition, 24% to others, and 46% unknown. The causes of violent deaths were gunshot (56%), car bomb (13%), other explosion/ordnance (14%), air strike (13%), accident (2%), and unknown (2%).
The Lancet surveys are controversial due to their methodology and because their mortality figures are higher than most other reports that used different methodologies, including those of the Iraq Body Count project, the Iraqi Health Ministry and the United Nations, as well as other household surveys such as the Iraq Living Conditions Survey and the Iraq Family Health Survey. On the other hand the ORB survey of Iraq War casualties estimated more deaths than the Lancet survey. Out of all the Iraqi casualty surveys so far, only the Lancet surveys and the Iraq Family Health Survey were peer-reviewed. The Lancet surveys have triggered criticism and disbelief from some journalists, governments, the Iraq Body Count project, some epidemiologists and statisticians and others, but have also been supported by some journalists, governments, epidemiologists and statisticians.(Source Wikipedia)
I don’t wish to spoil your new year, but maybe we should think about the massive interventions and the deaths that these military interventions have caused. Is it any wonder that many young people that join gangs don’t consider the use of force unacceptable? Why should they when their own government uses force whenever the opportunity presents itself?
Frankly, I’m tired of all the killing done by my government. I’m tired of the interventions in other nation’s affairs without being sanctioned by the United Nations. We are waging war for resources, not for humanitarian purposes. We are fighting for the petroleum pipeline in Afghanistan to counter Russia’s dominance in fossil fuels in relation to Europe. We are entering into a war in Yemen for oil. http://www.oilsearch.com/Our-Activities/Yemen.html Every decision this country makes is tied to securing America’s supply of oil. There is no other reason. The seven military bases that America has secured in Columbia are the direct result of our bad relations with the socialist government of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. We are diametrically opposed to anyone that says no the American Empire. It matters not that the Venezuelan government has done more for its people than the U.S. has done for their own people. It just remains a principle of U.S. foreign policy that you don’t say no to the Empire.
I guess that I’ve gone the gamut here. I can only hope that a few Americans will read what I’ve put out here. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that their government is lying to them every time they state American goals. There is only one goal, to secure the resources that will enable the U.S. to continue to enjoy the standard of living that has practically bankrupted the planet. It’s no wonder that American young people join gangs and take what they want. They see the American government as a role model.
Read Tim Gatto’s new book Complicity to Contempt.
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