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War Making 101-- A User's Manual

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I've lived through seven decades and can remember the late 1930s before WW II began. In fact, I began my formal education in kindergarten within days of when Hitler sent his Wehrmacht across the Polish border in an act of illegal aggression and began that near six year horror. I was too young to understand it then, and I can barely remember that fateful "first Pearl Harbor" on December 7, 1941. Franklin Roosevelt wanted in on that fight and did all he could to goad the Japanese to attack us. He knew with enough prodding they would, and when it came, we knew about when and where it would happen. We were ready to mobilize and join the battle, we did it, and nothing's been the same since.

FDR at least took the country to war as the Constitution says we must. On December 11,1941 he asked the Congress to make that declaration against Japan and also Nazi Germany in response to Hitler's declaring it against us. It was the last time a US Congress would ever use the constitutional authority it alone is allowed in Article I, Section 8 of that sacred document. The Founding Fathers thought that authority so important they codified it. They believed that on what is the single most important issue a nation ever faces, that awesome power should never placed in the hands of a single person. They wanted only the Legislative Branch to have it and only exercise it after careful, deliberative debate. That Branch still has it if it so wishes, but for the last 65 years it decided in its infinite indifference to abrogate it's authority and allow the President to usurp it and use it at his pleasure and choice. We've seen the result - a mess without end. We've had war after war after endless war (including the ones fought by others we encouraged and financed plus all the CIA covert mischief and abuse) with no end in sight and in every instance since WW II against designated "enemies" that never threatened or attacked us or had any intention to. Doing that by direct intervention based on no provocation, as we have, is called illegal aggression, which is exactly the crime the Nazis were tried for at Nuremburg. In the words of the Tribunal: "To initiate a war of not only an international crime, it is the supreme crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." The worst of those found guilty in that Tribunal were hanged. Think any of our leaders will ever meet the same fate as they should, of course? Fat chance, even though the worst of ours are as guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity as were the worst Nazis.


Here's one definition of a dictator or at least one practicing to become one. It's a head of state able to decide alone with unchallengeable authority whether or not to take a nation to war for any reason. Here's an add-on to that definition. If a leader does it for any reason other than to respond to an attack by another nation or clear evidence an attack is coming, that leader is also a war criminal. Noam Chomsky believes every US president since WW II was and is a war criminal. Ditto, so do I.

This essay will concentrate on the current "war criminal in charge." With some background for the historically uneducated, I'll then fast forward to the present and take you into the heart of the beast we better get to know well and quickly before it eats us alive. I'll lay out what I call a war maker's manual, step by step or rule by rule, from when we were new at this ugly business and still learning to the present. Ready? Here we go.

I can't match the famous Chinese general Sun Tzu who wrote his masterful Art of War 2400 years ago and won't even try. But I've seen the modern day script played out enough times and think I've gotten the hang of it now. First, some basic rules:

A. Get the language right. It's not enough to say Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or Venezuela are threats to our national security. We have to say or imply it's the new Hitler Saddam, the "crazed Arabs and mullahs" running Iran (sorry - they're Persians, not Arabs, and only changed the country's name to Iran in can call them "crazed Arabs" though, who'll know the difference besides the Iranians), the demonic Taliban who beat up on defenseless women, or the "demagogue" Hugo Chavez "awash in oil money and trying to destroy democracy and destabilize the region"........he happens to have the most vibrant democracy in the Western Hemisphere and is selling the country's oil at a discount to poor nations and poor US communities in need. Think Exxon-Mobil would do that?Now you're getting it.

B. Always pick on a much weaker target country, the weaker the better, preferably defenseless and unable to fight back. It's then best to soften them up in advance by stealth bombing or sabotaging their strategic infrastructure. It's also best to pick on a weak nation of color (we almost always do - Yugoslavia was a rare exception), and best of all is to pick on a Muslim nation of color. Arab nations (and Persia/Iran) qualify as they're not quite white enough, not at least the "crazed Arab ones."

C. When you "pull the trigger", strike the target with overwhelming force. You know the new "Militaryspeak" language - "shock and awe." Who dreams up this stuff? You can bet it's a big PR firm, ad agency or something out of a Hollywood bad dream factory. The target country may be defenseless, and likely is, but you gotta hit 'em like a using a howitzer to kill a gnat even though a strong wind will do the trick. The reason for the "blitzkrieg" approach is it not only grinds your enemy to dust and fast, it also scares hell out of all other nations worried they may be next or in the queue and moving up.

D. There's one other element peculiar to today in the US that's not a rule but a resurrection of sorts from the First Crusade 900 years ago. Back then Pope Urban II, who no doubt believed he got his marching orders from the Almighty, launched his assault against Islam and Muslims in his holy Crusade to regain control of the sacred city of Jerusalem. When his forces finally got into the city they weren't very nice to the Muslims, Jews and even Eastern Christians living there.

It's timely for this essay to note that the Vatican has begun to rehabilitate the Crusaders by sponsoring a late March conference that portrays those holy wars as having been fought with the "noble aim" of regaining the Holy Land for Christianity. I'm sure all Muslims around the world will understand, forgive and forget.

Students of Western Civilization might also recall that Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798 for "glory" (that's French for empire) and to restore Islam to its genuine teachings (I guess meaning to bring those misguided souls back to their Christian roots). The Little Corporal didn't fare much better there than he did at Waterloo or that a latter day Napoleon wannabe is now doing in Iraq. It's a shame he's not still around to explain that to our current "head dreamer of empire." But I doubt it would do much good as below I explain the only authority our warrior president listens to.

The point from my brief history lesson is to connect it to our own present situation. For the first time ever, we now have a president, at least the first one admitting it publicly, who also believes the Almighty speaks to him, tells him what to, and he's just following orders from that higher authority. I don't think he's kidding when he says God told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. I wonder if that same God told him to steal from the poor and give to the rich. I also wonder what God he's referring to. It's not the one I was brought up to believe in and the principles I was taught to think are pretty sacred in the Ten Commandments, especially the core "golden rule" one.


Rule No. 1- Develop a tradition of militarism over time. It takes many years of practice to hone skills and perfect them. The US has followed this practice and incredibly has been at war (real war with mass slaughter) internally and/or abroad every year without exception with one or more adversaries since its inception.

No other nation today is more addicted to war than the US. It seems like it's always been that way, and it has. Of course, you'd never know it from the sanitized history we're taught up to the highest levels in all our schools - even the best of them like the two esteemed universities I was lucky enough to attend. I later understood their mission was to program my mind, teach me acceptable doctrine to "make me a good citizen." It's part of the package called "The American Way." Fill their heads with mush and make 'em believe the sun is out when it's really dark and pouring rain. They did teach me how to learn though, and I've tried to use that skill ever since to discover and understand what they should have taught me but never did.

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