In the history of the U.S., going back to the 19th century, there have been a number of instances of false flag or possible false flag events that have taken the nation into a foreign war. There have also been a number of instances, also going back to the 19th century, in which the U.S. has used chemical/biological weapons. This column briefly examines some of these instances.
In 1846, following the annexation of Texas in 1845, President James K. Polk, a Democrat, took the United States to War with Mexico, claiming that the Mexican Army had "spilled American blood" on U.S. soil . Late in 1847, a young first-term Whig Congressman from Illinois introduced into the House what came to be known as the "Spot Resolutions" . In it he requested that the exact spot where the supposed Mexican attack on US troops took place be determined.
There were in fact at the time grave doubts, especially among Whigs who were opposed to further southwestward expansion of the US and abolitionists who were opposed to further expansion of the territories anywhere in which slavery would be legal, that Polk's claim was accurate. The Resolutions were never acted upon in the House, the Mexican War was won by the US which resulted in a very significant expansion of the nation, and the Congressman lost at the next elections, in part because of his sponsorship of the Spot Resolutions. Interestingly enough, in his career Abraham Lincoln won only one other election at the national level.
by The Library of Congress
In 1898, following a long period of revolt in Cuba against their Spanish imperial overlords, the US entered into what came to be known as the Spanish-American War . The signal event was the sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana harbor. Strongly pro-war forces in the U.S. claimed that the Spanish had sunk the ship and that claim was taken for fact in the United States. The Spanish claimed that there had been an internal explosion. The actual cause of the sinking is still in dispute, but Cuba became a U.S. colony in all but name until the Revolution of 1959. Following the defeat of the Spanish in the Philippines, the U.S. fought a four-year war against Filipino independence forces. The Islands then became a U.S. colony until the end of World War II.
In 1967, the "Tonkin Gulf" incident , led to the significant expansion of the U.S. War on Viet Nam, later expanded to Cambodia and Laos. The Johnson Administration used the incident (actually two separate incidents, the first of which was never reported by the Administration), claiming that Vietnamese motor torpedo boats had fired on a US destroyer, to justify the very significant escalation of the conflict it subsequently undertook. In fact, it was subsequently determined that in the first the US vessel fired three rounds, the Vietnamese none and in the second, no Vietnamese vessels were even present on the scene.
In 2001 of course came "9/11," the true story of which is matter of major ongoing dispute (although one would never know that for the dispute receives no attention in anything approaching the "mainstream media"). But certainly all of the claims of the Bush Administration that Saddam Hussein had "weapons of mass destruction" and was possibly (or surely, according to some war-hawks like British Prime Minister [otherwise known as "Bush's poodle] Tony "They're ready to attack with WMD in 45 minutes" Blair) organizing to use them came to naught. One of the two most embarrassing moments in the career of former General and Secretary of State Colin Powell came at the famous UN Security Council "biological weapons" moment. It proved to be entirely false. (The other, much less well-known, was that as a young officer in Viet Nam, Powell was part of the command structure that at first attempted to cover up what came to be known as the My Lai Massacre [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Lai_Massacre]. Whether he was actually aware of what he was doing has never been made clear.) And of course during the whole run-up to the invasion the Chief UN Weapons Inspector, Hans Blix, was reporting that he could find no WMDs .
And so, US military history is filled with false flags and possible false flags (and these aren't the only ones). As for the moral high ground claimed in the Syria situation, the U.S. does have its own long history in chemical/biological warfare. Just to name a few examples, during the Indian Wars of the 1870s, the U.S. Army purposely sent smallpox infected blankets onto Indian Reservations. The devastating results on humans of the use of the defoliant Agent Orange in Viet Nam are still being felt by both Viet Nam and surviving U.S. Servicemen. (It happens that last November 22 [!] a good friend of mine, ex-Marine Jack Dalton, one of the last surviving Viet Nam vets poisoned by Agent Orange, died of complications of that poisoning.) The effects of the use of depleted uranium artillery ordnance will likely be felt in Iraq for decades. The US was at least knowledgeable of if not complicit in the use of chemical weapons by Hussein in the Iraq-Iran War . And of course the US is the only nation ever to have used THE weapon of mass destruction. As for Syria, doubts have been raised, apparently even by US intelligence about just who used the current batch of chemical weapons. There is condemnation of possible U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war from abroad, by parties not directly connected to the conflict in any way . The independence of Doctors Without Borders, which has given credence to the charge that the weapons were used by the Syrian military, has been challenged .
And so, is this another in the history of U.S. false flag attacks (in this case organized by whom --- BIG mystery) produced to justify going to war, sometimes to expand territory, sometimes to prevent the peaceful expansion of socialism, and sometimes to create, revive, and further Permanent War ? Sen. John McCain, one of the most permanent of the Permanent Warriors (remember "50 years in Iraq"?) is beating the Syrian War Drums most loudly. But if President Obama thinks that he would be getting any credit from the Republicans if does go ahead with any kind of attack, he should take a look at what former Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld had to say about his approach .
In its history the U.S. has been roped into war by false flag attacks or possible false flag attacks on a number of occasions (and the list above is not a complete one in any way). We can only hope that this time around, President Obama, who seems always to, like Bill Clinton, just crave Republican approval, even though deep down he must know that he will never get it, will not do what many (but not all) of them (and many military-industrial complex captive Democrats too) want him to do, and that is just continue the Permanent War, for no good reason , other than just continuing it.
Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS, is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the School of Medicine, Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books on health policy, health and wellness, and sports and regular exercise. In addition to being a Trusted Author for OpEdNews, Dr. Jonas is a columnist for BuzzFlash.com/Truthout.org, Managing Editor and a Contributing Author for The Political Junkies for Progressive Democracy (http://thepoliticaljunkies.org/); a Senior Editor, Politics, for The Greanville Post; a Contributor to The Planetary Movement; a Contributor to Dandelion Salad (http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com), and a Contributor to TheHarderStuff newsletter. He is also a triathlete (30 seasons, 220-plus multi-sport races) and a skier (as well as a PSIA-Level Certified Instructor [retired]).