I knew that I could never again raise my voice... without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. ...for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe?
Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman, or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed or "disappeared", at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame.
The US stands today as both the world's - and history's - largest empire. Thus, to understand empire, we can study the attributes of the US.
- Has more foreign military bases than any country in world history - the number is estimated to be approximately 1,000 to 1,100, though the US doesn't take kindly to even satirical requests for other countries to put bases or foreign soldiers on US soil; see here. No other country has a remotely comparable amount of foreign bases. Russia has 12. China has 0 (and see here). The organization that had the second highest number of foreign bases in human history was the British Empire, which, at its height, had 40.
- Came into existence and achieved its economic power through slavery and genocide, and has been waging war for nearly 100% of the time since.
- Spends more on violence and means of violence (such as weapons and foreign military bases) than the rest of the world combined. "One year of the United States military budget is equal to more than 30,000 dollars per hour for every hour since the birth of Jesus Christ." (Blum) In 2014, the USA spent approximately 1.2 million dollars per minute on violence and means of violence. (China is second highest, at less than one sixth of that in 2012.) As every violent group in history has said, the US frames its violence and terror as being for "stability". Stability, in this usage, means conditions that benefit the conqueror (see here). These are conditions that, to be reached, require mass, violent destabilization, which produces widespread carnage, as in the US attacks on Korea (millions of deaths; South Koreans finally overthrew the US-backed dictator in 1987), Vietnam (untold millions of deaths), Iran (millions of deaths), Iraq (millions of deaths), Afghanistan (millions of deaths), and many others.
- Stockpiles more Weapons of Mass Destruction than all other nations combined, and, in defiance of the rest of the world, plans to weaponize and nuclearize outer space to increase its "full spectrum dominance", regardless of the catastrophes that will almost inevitably result. (The space around our planet is filled with satellites and debris. Any explosion in that region will cause this debris to hurtle out of control, rendering the region useless for helpful technologies on which we rely.) (Here)
- Since WW2, has used more Weapons of Mass Destruction than all other nations combined. Many of these weapons are indiscriminate, which can mean that simply to use them is to commit terrorism. (Here)
- Has up to 10,000 nuclear weapons, the most of the nuclear countries. Obama is currently illegally spending 1 to 1.5 trillion on nuclear weapons, more than any other president by far. International law requires immediate nuclear disarmament. While spending these illegal trillions, Obama is also allowing for water to illegally be shut off to poor residents of Detroit. (Here)
- Is the world's biggest violator of international nuclear law. (Here)
- Sells 70% of the total weapons sold on the worldwide weapons-dealing market. Current biggest recipients of US tax money and/or weapons are Israel, which has up to 400 illegal nuclear weapons, regularly attacks other countries, and is carrying out an ethnic cleansing and colonization campaign in Palestine, and Saudi Arabia, which is the most "significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide," including Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, and the Taliban, and apparently helped sponsor the 9/11/01 attacks against the US. The US sold arms or military services to well over 100 nations in 2008, and during the two Bush terms the majority of US arms sales to the third world went to countries that the US State Department defined as undemocratic regimes and/or major human rights abusers.
- Currently under Obama, the top ten recipients of US aid are all torture regimes, because torture is one of the many anti-democratic methods of enforcing empire, and is necessary to terrorize and repress democracy since, to quote war criminal and Obama mentor Zbigniew Brzezinski, "democracy is inimical to empire".
- Has overthrown or attempted to overthrow about 62 countries, the majority of them democracies, since it became a global power after WW2. Recent US-backed overthrows of democracies include Honduras in 2009 (Obama/Clinton) and Paraguay in 2012 (Obama/Clinton). Recent US-backed crushing of democratic uprisings include the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings in Bahrain, where the US-backed family dictatorship is, according to Amnesty International, systematically torturing children as part of its repression and terrorism against the population. More on why the USA supports terrorism and war in one country, such as Syria, but simultaneously crushes an Arab Spring uprising in another country, such as Bahrain, here and here. More on the USA's history of terrorism/imperialism against Syria, here. (Imperialism is what empires do - it means the strong using an unequal relationship, i.e. superior weapons, force, wealth, propaganda, and the like, to coerce or forcefully influence the weak for the benefit of the strong.)
- Since 1776, has invaded some 80 foreign nations.
- Regularly wages war of aggression, which is the supreme international crime (meaning it includes and is worse than terrorism, ethnic cleansing, torture, etc.), and which includes all evils that follow as a result, meaning fighting due to instability, displacement of persons, etc. ""The greatest crime since World War II has been U.S. foreign policy." - Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark
- Has tortured virtually non-stop since colonizers tortured the Native Americans. This continues up to today, under Bush and now Obama, who protects, supports, and mandates torture (see here).
- Kills and mercilessly mutates (with various chemical, radioactive, and other weapons) millions of people around the world.
- Kills indiscriminately, which is terrorism. Uses weapons (such as WMD) that are by their nature indiscriminate, which can be terrorism. "Reaper" drone "Hellfire" missiles, for example, have a kill or injury radius of 60 feet, making their use potentially indiscriminate, depending on where they are used. Their use very often results in the murder of civilians and unknown people, meaning they are used indiscriminately, which is terrorism - not to mention that bombing other countries is illegal. The USA's disgraceful chemical warfare in Vietnam indiscriminately targeted and killed or harmed millions of Vietnamese people. (Imagine if China sprayed 20,000,000 gallons of toxic chemicals, including some of the most toxic known in science, and dumped 373,000 tons of napalm over the USA, and refused to acknowledge or pay compensation for the resulting murders, birth defects and health problems that resulted: see here.)
- Intentionally targets civilians for murder or collective punishment as a way of influencing them or their government, which is terrorism. For example, the USA's terrorist sanctions against the people of Cuba are, as is stated in internal US government dialogue, intended to hurt Cuban civilians and induce them to overthrow their government. US siege and criminal bombings against Iraq in the 1990s, continuing through the 2000s, knowingly and, evidence strongly indicates, intentionally targeted civilians and murdered from 500,000 to 1,000,000 (or more) Iraqis, mainly children under the age of five. In the USA's Operation Phoenix in Vietnam, the US intentionally hunted and murdered 70,000 civilians, while overall torturing or disappearing 80,000 in this single operation (see here).
- Constantly makes threats of force against countries like Iran and Syria. Threats of force are strictly and patently illegal under international law, including the UN charter, article 2(4) (see here), which is supreme law of the US. Threats of violence are acts of terrorism. Terrorism means using violence or the threat of violence to influence people or governments. Threats of violence also constitute use of dictatorial force.
- Installs and/or supports military dictators (from Pinchet in Chile to Ceaușescu in Romania to Suharto in Indonesia, and dozens of others) who comply with the US material and political agenda of preventing democracy (rule of the people) and keeping authoritarian control in the hands of ruling elites that allow the US to control and exploit populations and natural resources, to maximize profit margins for US international companies. This forceful maintenance of control is called hegemony. With the USA as the world's dominant hegemonic power, global poverty has risen faster than population, and the top zero point one percent of the world's population has 81% of the world's financial wealth. The richest 85 individuals possess more wealth than the poorest 50 percent of the world’s population—3.5 billion people. "Th[e] need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the... action of American forces..." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Assassinates people and political leaders around the world. Since WWII the U.S. has been involved in the assassination or intended assassination of over 50 prominent foreign individuals in various nations. See here.
- Censors the media to prevent it from showing the realities of US wars of aggression, including images of dead US soldiers and coffins containing dead soldiers.
- Vetoes, by far, more UN resolutions than any other country. Included are numerous US vetoes, essentially in opposition to the entire world, against resolutions calling for conventions on women's rights, ending South African Apartheid, ending the illegal US embargo of Cuba, and ending Israel's illegal presence in and blockades of Palestinian territories.
- Donates less of the required percentage to the UN than any other country in the world. When the first Secretary General of the UN condemned the West (US, UK, France, and Belgium) for trying to maintain colonial dictate over the Congo, the Secretary General was murdered. Just before he died, he said "It is better for the United Nations to lose the support of the United States because it [the UN] is faithful to law and principles, than to survive as an agent whose activities are geared to political purposes." When Secretary General Kofi Annan declared the 2003 US invasion of Iraq to be illegal, there was a concerted effort to label him a "crook" and discredit him. He was vindicated of all smears by an independent commission. (here)
- Is isolationist (by the actual definition): The USA stands virtually alone in almost all of its positions at the UN, such as continuing its illegal sanctions against Cuba and blocking the international consensus for a resolution to Israel's colonization of Palestine (see here). It stands alone in its brutal war-making: support for the US invasion of Iraq barely reached above 11% anywhere in the world. Numbers were similar for the US invasion of Afghanistan. The handful of countries that supported the US in those invasions did so as dictatorships - in complete defiance of nearly their entire populations (see here).
- Claims to wage wars on various things such as drugs and terrorism, while being a leading drug state (see here, here, here, here) and a (if not the - see here) leading terrorist state (see here, here, here, here, and here). Examples of the hypocrisy include: 1) At the same time as invading places like Panama (an invasion that killed the per capita equivalent of what would be over 500,000 people in the US) and massacring civilians for claimed "war on drug" pretexts, the USA threatens places like Thailand with sanctions if it puts barriers on US cigarette imports; tobacco is the world's most lethal drug, expected to kill a billion people in the 21st century. 2) In terms of terrorism, the USA has been complicit in the deaths of millions of people, in the Middle East alone, just since 1979 - incomparably more than any other group, and arguably constituting genocide, particularly against Iraq (see here) and Iran (see here).
- Loots and harms the areas under its control: "...the US lost most of its influence in Latin America over the past 15 years, and the region has done quite well, with a sharp reduction in poverty for the first time in decades. The Washington-based International Monetary Fund has also lost most of its influence over the middle-income countries of the world, and these have also done remarkably better in the 2000s."
- Internally, the USA has by far the world's highest rate of imprisonment, but not the world's highest crime rates. USA has 5% of the world's population, but 25% of the world's prison population.
- Has a for-profit prison slave/labor system, and lobbyists that work to maintain and add obscure laws to keep their prisons full and profits flowing. Dozens of corporations taking advantage of prison labor include Starbucks, McDonalds, Boeing, and Victoria's secret. More here.
- Minority defendants are charged with and convicted of violent crimes requiring a mandatory minimum prison sentence far more often than non-minorities.
- Is the only country in the world that refuses to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The only other previous holdouts, Somalia and South Sudan, have now ratified it.
- Is the only country in the world to veto a UN resolution proclaiming that all humans have a right to food.
- Is the only country in the world to veto UN resolutions calling on all states to follow international law. The resolutions were in reference to the USA being convicted, by the World Court and confirmed at the UN, twice, of waging illegal war of aggression against Nicaragua. The World Court (ICJ) demanded that the US cease its aggression and pay Nicaragua massive reparations, on the order of 18 billion dollars. The US responded by saying no, and escalating its war of aggression against Nicaragua.
- Is the only country in the world where courts give life sentences to people who are found guilty of crimes committed before they turn 18. The USA only made illegal the execution of juveniles in 2002, and the giving of life without possibility of parole to juveniles in 2012.
- Executes more citizens than almost any country on Earth. The USA ranks sometimes as high as number 3, behind only Saudi Arabia (a huge US ally/client) and Iran, (and almost certainly China, though numbers are unknown) for the number of executions it performs on its own citizens. 90% of countries do not perform state executions.
- Has the worst income inequality in the industrialized world. The top 1% has almost 40% of the financial wealth, while the bottom 80% have less than 13%. Much of this is due to corporate welfare, meaning massive transfers of wealth from the poor to elite criminals, such as those running big banks, who are treated as an aristocracy above law. Big US banks make no profit - all of their profits, usually around 83 billion a year total, come from money taken from taxpayers and transferred directly to these bankers. See Bloomberg News, here. These banks have been prosecuted for financial crimes unprecedented in scope and the harm they cause, yet they go virtually unpunished, and on the contrary are rewarded for their crimes (see here and here) and allowed to continue their massive heist of taxpayer money. No top bankers whose crimes bring about the destruction of the economy are jailed.
- Has the highest first day infant mortality rate in the industrialized world.
- Ranks in the bottom four of the 29 industrialized countries for child poverty, education, and overall well-being, despite the USA having roughly as many people with fortunes greater than 50 million dollars as the rest of the world combined (approx. 46,000 people in the US).
- Is not a democracy (country ruled by the people). The bottom 70% of US citizens have essentially no influence on government policy. The people making the above choices (such as for prison labor and virtually non-stop aggressive war) are principally the top "tenth of one percent... [these] people essentially get what they want, i.e. they determine [US government] policy. So the proper term for that is not democracy; it's plutocracy."
- And much more... For details and further info, resources, and updates, check out the posts (see here, for example) and follow this blog, and share the information with as many people as you can (hit the +1 button and see other sharing tools to right) so we can improve on the above and, as US citizens, stop participating (through taxation and other means) in rampant immorality, brutality, and unmatched global criminality. Step one is knowing what's going on.
- Two informative reviews:
- "Rogue State", by William Blum
- "The Crimes of Empire", by Carl Boggs
"Most icons of contemporary liberal Democrats are exemplars of armed empire: Presidents Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Obama, for example. Martin Luther King Jr. is one exception to the rule but his inspirational civil rights speeches are celebrated, not his foreign policy views." - Jeff Taylor is professor of political science at Dordt College.
“The United States Foreign Policy Establishment consists of liberal imperialists, reactionary imperialists, and middle-of-the-road imperialists. But they all share in common a firm belief in America’s “Manifest Destiny” to rule the world.” – Dr. Francis Boyle, JD, PhD
“My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that: namely, I can do something about it. So even if the US was responsible for 2% of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2% I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.” – Noam Chomsky
"Those of us who belong to former colonies think of imperialism as rape." - Arundhati Roy
We must all be "dedicated to the destruction of empire and the dismantling of American militarism". - Chris Hedges