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U.S. Foreign Policy: Blinded by Self-Righteousness, Greed & Arrogance; Held Together with Stupidity

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[IMG1]

USAF Photo, FairchildB52Crash.jpeg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FairchildB52Crash.jpg

Full sequence of events leading to the crash available at YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJb08ZzejAA

On June 24, 1994, at Fairchild Air Force Base located near Spokane, Washington, an Air Force B-52 bomber crashed at the end of its air show. The aerial demonstration was awesome and chilling to watch. Reckless though it was, it appeared that the commander was in complete control of his craft, confidently demonstrating the might of his nation as represented by aerobatic maneuvers that he executed in his aging nuclear-strike bomber. Spectators on the tarmac watched, frozen with anticipation of what would happen next. Indeed, the crew aboard that multi-million dollar jet probably wondered what was going to happen as well. Given the aircraft commander's history, every man on that airplane knew before they ever climbed aboard that they would be operating at the extreme edge of their performance envelope, the coffin-corner, as it's called in the aviation world. When operating beyond this lofty point where pilot ability and design limits are exceeded the integrity of the aircraft is in jeopardy as well as the safety of the crew. While watching the sequence of events that preceded the tragic shattering crash and explosion, one could compare it to the equally reckless design and execution of our foreign policies.

Since 1897, when Theodore Roosevelt gave his speech at the Naval War College about war and his glorified ideas on the subject, the United States has pursued an aggressive foreign policy which has led to military and agency involvement in many countries. [1] Regime changes, vast amounts of foreign aid and various forms of covert actions have all been on the menu at different times and the potential for another firestorm always looms close by. Words like "insurgents" or "terrorists" will trip the switch on the propaganda and patriotism machines and the stage is set for another small elite group to take the nation into the fiery pits of hell. The designers of our foreign policy and the field marshals of war place the chess pieces of death and terror on the gaming tables and young recruits do the deed.

Never bashful about using the whip, since 1801, the United States has clashed 163 times in various ways with other countries, groups or governments. [2] Indeed, one only needs to look back at our own savage encounters with the indigenous people occupying "our" land of opportunity, "our" land and "our" opportunities. The land wasn't fenced was it? Being on the winning side usually provides impunity from any war-crimes proceedings, however, the credibility of the great white father and his treaties still remain in question.

After the Spanish-American War in 1898, we really got into the swing of things and developed an enormous appetite for warfare and all the things that go with a militaristic state. The Philippine War in 1899 was followed by numerous military excursions and expeditions over the years. With the advent of WWI we were ostensibly ready to fight for freedom and democracy once again. Buried under the mass of propaganda and hype was the fact that Wall Street bankers had provided over two billion of dollars of loans to Britain for its war efforts. [3] Is it any wonder that we had to protect American interests? It was enough for Henry Ford to say some choice words about the cause of war as our leaders pressed hard to get involved; "It is capitalism, greed, the dirty hunger for dollars. Take away the capitalist and you will sweep war from the earth". [4]

In Europe, during 1914, a relatively small group of men at the head of Central Powers of Germany, Austria, and Hungary, had taken steps to ignite the flames of war. Allied Powers responded with all they could muster and the eruption of battle began on July 28, 1914. Unbeknownst to the general public, under the cover of secrecy, plans for America's involvement had been underway for some years. [5] At the end of hostilities, about 20 million people had died. Approximately 8,500,000 military personnel lost their lives and civilian losses range from 8 to 13 million. By all accounts, it was an accurate portrayal of hell. The bodies of those combatants and victims, laid head-to-toe, would encircle the approximate circumference of the globe, stretching eastward from New York City, all the way around to Los Angeles, California.

Arms races, secret covert operations like the Gleiwitz incident in Germany and the Tonkin Gulf Incident in Vietnam, scare tactics, overt aggressive acts, hatred, propaganda, lies and preemptive strikes are some the building blocks essential to make war. Imperialism seems to be in a class by itself. Most nations that go to war seem to use a number of these tactics or excuses to stoke up the smoldering embers. Once the decision to make war has become the mindset of the ring-leaders then selling the idea becomes the highest priority and the show begins. Mob mentality takes the place of rational thought and patriotism can be a useful tool to stir emotions. Patriotism in itself is simply a love for one's country but it can also be used as a warm blanket to cover the dark festering moral collapse of a nation. Selling a war is big business. Aftermath is for the next generation. Before we leave the area of propaganda and "omissions of truth", the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, authorized 50 commercial merchant ships to be built for use in wartime. The number was increased to 100 ships a year in 1939 and increased to 200 ships a year in 1940. So much for the "surprise" Japanese attack on Hawaii in 1941.

The loading docks where our nation's war dead are brought home are now off-limits to photo journalists but countless stories are shown on television about brave young soldiers in rehab centers trying to adjust to life without limbs or sight. One has to question, is the television production showing their struggle more for the young veteran or is it for us, to ease our conscience for allowing them to be sacrificed for the war machine? One rarely sees photographs or film clips of the aging maimed veterans of Vietnam who are still in the VA hospitals thanks to the Whiz Kids and their Desoto Patrol. Forgotten also, except on Veterans Day, are the veterans of WWII and Korea. That's aftermath, largely forgotten except for the individuals, their families and the people who work with them. Forgotten too, are the landmines and the toxic waste materials of war that contaminate the soil and rivers on and around the battlefields. They were the enemies though, right? Parabellum design defect disclaimer eliminates or reduces liability.

Precise body counts of modern war (Vietnam War, 58,178) have become an integral part of media reporting because of the changing nature of battle, i.e., smaller encounters but for longer periods of time. If there were a return of vast armies doing battle over large geographic areas, or possibly in the use of nuclear devices where whole cities perish, there might again be thousands of unaccounted-for losses. Regardless, estimates for enemy deaths always explode in numbers but are generally rounded-off. American deaths numbers are always exact; does that mean that not one more American than necessary was sacrificed to do the job? How thoughtful of our fearless leaders. With due respect here at home, other nation's great leaders have shown similar examples of gross indifference.

An example of the callousness of war of some of its highest leaders can best be shown by their comments. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916, when 19,240 British soldiers died, General Haig observed; "this cannot be considered severe in view of the numbers engaged and the length of the front attacked". [6] Indeed, for General Haig, the situation was not severe, for he lived until 1928 with a title of 1st Earl Haig and received the thanks and gratitude of Parliament with a grant of 100,000. A corps commander under Haig echoed his feelings with an explanation for the failure; "the men are much too keen on saving their own skins".they need to be taught that they are here to do a job". [7] In times of great national distress patriotism and propaganda can be linked together to insure victory for a greater cause and ease the pain of sacrifice. Late in WWII, General Curtis LeMay was responsible for the decision to fire-bomb Tokyo. More than 100,000 people, mostly women, children and the old, died in those raids. LeMay himself said that if the other side had won he would have been tried as a war criminal. [8] General Douglas MacArthur described it as one of the most ruthless and barbaric killings of non-combatants in all history. At the time the propaganda machine bathed the news in patriotism and thusly justified the killings as saving American lives. And we have outlawed game fowl-fighting in the United States because it is an inhumane act?

Dresden, Germany, was another target of firebombing; chosen more for psychological impact rather than strategic reasons. RAF and U.S. bombers dropped 3,900 tons of high explosives and incendiary devices destroying about 13 square miles of the city. Death estimates range from 25,000 to 40,000 for the actions on 13-15 Feb 1945. Never mind that the city was largely a cultural center with little military importance.

Truman used the advice of a very small select committee to make the decision to drop the atom bombs on Japan even though it is generally acknowledged that the war was over. Most likely, the true purpose was psychological; to threaten Russia with our military might; using war to prevent war.

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Charles Foerster is a former Naval Aviator and professional pilot.

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You have to watch the full YouTube video of the B-... by William John Cox on Thursday, Nov 26, 2009 at 10:59:14 AM
This article will make me rethink my impression of... by Archie on Saturday, Nov 28, 2009 at 12:36:55 AM