American Terrorism: From Its Inception, ‘War on Terrorism’ is a Fraud 

The ‘war on terrorism’ is a fraud.  From its inception, America’s latest war was designed to replace the ‘war on communism’ as a pretext for global interventionism.  Furthermore, the ‘war on terrorism’ is a ‘war of terrorism’ being fought to dismember nation states and create ethnically, tribally, or religiously fragmented countries incapable of mounting sustained national resistance to imperialism.

In order to conduct a ‘war on terrorism’ the United States needs to deploy various terrorists.  The terror brigades consist of both proxy forces and direct military deployments.  In fact, the use of proxy forces justifies the intervention of conventional military troops.

To advance its hegemonic agenda, the United States has consistently resorted to terror operations against enemy states.  Two prominent examples are in order.  In 1979 the CIA launched  ‘Operation Cyclone’ to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan creating Al Qaeda as part of its proxy force.

In 2012 the CIA implemented  ‘Operation Timber Sycamore’ by using an offshoot of Al Qaeda to attack the Assad government in Syria.  That group of killers evolved from an organization known as Al Qaeda in Iraq to eventually become the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

To combat Al Qaeda and its step-child ISIS, the United States deployed its military forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria to fight the very terrorists it had created.

To add to the deception, the United States has played a double game of attacking the terrorists in some places (Mosul, Iraq) while supporting them in other places (Idlib, Syria), all the while conveniently setting up permanent military bases in the Middle East and Central Asia to protect its empire, its access to oil and the apartheid State of Israel.

A relevant political axiom can be deduced from even a cursory study of this history, namely, that wherever there is oppression there will be resistance.

As a consequence of U.S. invasions of various countries, wars of resistance quickly developed that had to be neutralized by counter-insurgency programs.

Counter-insurgency operations are a form of covert warfare that involve the use of death squads, unlawful detentions, extraordinary renditions, torture, black sites, targeted assassinations and drone warfare.  Counter-insurgency operations are conducted by U.S. special forces under the direction of the United States Special Operations Command and the CIA.

These operations produce atrocities that, when revealed, create controversy by blatantly contradicting those principles of freedom, democracy and the rule of law that constitute the foundation of human rights.

The most recent controversy involves Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher who commanded a group of Navy Seals in Iraq. In 2018, Gallagher stood accused by his own troops of committing war crimes.  In a New York Times documentary report  seven Navy Seals under Gallagher’s command described him as a “psychotic”, “freaking evil”, “toxic” and “perfectly capable of killing anybody who was moving.”

He was formally accused by the Navy of fatally stabbing a captive prisoner and then posing with fellow Seals for a photograph with the dead teenager as a trophy.  Additional accusations were leveled against Gallagher that documented his involvement in the shooting of Iraqi civilians including a young girl, an elderly man and four women.

He was tried by a military court and exonerated of all charges involving the killings of Iraqi civilians and of killing the detainee but convicted and sentenced to four months of detention for posing in a photograph with the dead prisoner.

Not without precedent, Donald Trump acting as commander-and-chief, ordered the military to remove Gallagher from a Navy prison and place him in a less restrictive house detention at a Marine corps base.  Richard Nixon issued a similar order for Army lieutenant William Calley of My Lia massacre fame in 1971.

Gallagher was also stripped of his Trident Pin, a Navy Seal of Honor as an additional punishment only to have the honor re-instated by President Trump who hosted Gallagher and his wife at his Mar-a-Lago estate on December 23, 2019.

Furthermore, Secretary of Defense and former lobbyist for the defense contractor Raytheon, Mark Esper, demanded the resignation of Navy Secretary Richard Spence in November 2019 because the latter had the temerity to protest Trump’s intervention and reversal of the punishment, such that it was, meted out to Gallagher for his violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The logic is clear.  The United States exonerates its war criminals but punishes those who reveal war crimes, like Chelsea Manning.

It protects torturers but imprisons those who oppose torture, like CIA case officer John Kiriakou. It promotes the lies of empire but persecutes those who expose those lies, like Julian Assange.  The logic reinforces a cult of military heroism.  The cult of the military hero is, in actuality, the cult of the American terrorist.

The cult is celebrated throughout American culture as evidenced by the Clint Eastwood movie ‘American Sniper’ that depicted Navy Seal Chris Kyle as a patriotic warrior who was supposedly distressed because of having killed an ‘enemy combatant’ who was a woman with a child.  The combatants were indistinguishable from Iraqi civilians.

Hence the moral dilemma.  Eastwood took dramatic license by promoting the myth of moral anguish as the real life sniper never admitted any guilt or regret for what he had done.  The 2014 film was wildly successful in the USA because it depicted the anguish of an American warrior placed in impossible circumstances confronting a nameless, faceless enemy.

The suffering of the Iraqi people who were subjected to horrific levels of violence including bombings, invasion, occupation, sectarian strife and a horrendous destruction of their country that reduced conditions of life to a pre-industrial age as the result of two sequential wars is of no consequence in the imperial heartland.

The film ignores the genuine moral and legal dilemmas created by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and their neoconservative minions who engaged in deliberate deception to justify the invasion, occupation and destruction of Iraq thereby provoking a popular resistance or peoples war that could only be defeated by making war on the people, namely, by waging genocidal war as the United States had done in Vietnam.  Hence the deployment of snipers, torturers and death squads to murder insurgents and civilians alike in the ‘free fire zones’ that existed in both conflicts.

Violent repression always creates conditions that generate atrocities and the war planners in the Pentagon know this from their experience in Vietnam.  For the war planners, a peoples guerrilla war is a pernicious form of popular resistance that must be met by counter-insurgency.

Counter-insurgency is a sanitized term for genocidal war as exemplified by the CIA’s ‘Phoenix Program’.  If the combatants cannot be distinguished from an occupied people, or worse, if the combatants have the support of the people, then both must die.  And die they did when the United States unleased a vicious sectarian war in Iraq by implementation of the ‘Salvador Option’.

William Calley, Chris Kyle, Edward Gallagher and countless other frontline troops who fought beside them and killed with impunity for imperialism are mere cogs in the American war machine.  They follow the orders of generals who run the wars.

This fact does not relieve them of responsibility for their actions as articulated in the Nuremberg Principles. It extends responsibility up the chain of command.  Earle Wheeler, William Westmoreland, Creighton Abrams, Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell, David Petraeus, Tommy Franks and James Mattis, to name but a few who directed wars in Vietnam and Iraq, are all celebrated as heroes in the American military pantheon but they are war criminals nonetheless because they conducted preemptive wars of aggression.

And it should never be forgotten that it was Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, George Herbert Walker Bush, George W. Bush and their Secretaries of Defense including Robert McNamara, Melvin Laird, Richard Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld who gave the ultimate orders to fight in Vietnam and Iraq thereby bearing the ultimate responsibility for these wars.

All did so by deception.  Johnson and McNamara lied about the ‘Gulf of Tonkin’ incident to open the floodgates of the Vietnam war; Nixon promised to ‘bring peace with honor in Vietnam’ but acted to expand the war to Laos and Cambodia; Bush Sr. gave Saddam Hussein a green light to invade Kuwait only to concoct the fiction that Iraq intended to invade Saudi Arabia and, with the help of the Hill and Knowlton advertising agency, that Iraqi troops were ripping babies out of incubators in Kuwait, to bring the United States into Gulf War I; and Bush Jr., Cheney and Rumsfeld fabricated lies about Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda to launch ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ and the 2003 Iraq war.

Presidents Clinton, Obama and Trump continued the prosecution of America’s wars using equally false pretexts in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and beyond.

These deceptions should be kept firmly in mind as Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo blame Iran for instigating protests at the heavily fortified U.S. embassy in Baghdad, dispatch additional troops to the Middle East and order the drone assassination of Iranian General Qassim Suleimani in Iraq thereby bringing the United States to the brink of a potentially catastrophic war with Iran.

The historical pattern is painfully evident for all who wish to see.  Permanent war continues to be waged by the American warfare state on behalf of the American plutocracy.

This is the face of American imperialism, American militarism and American war criminality.  It is the undisguised face of American terrorism wrapped within the flag of American patriotism, a flag that was tweeted without comment by Trump when he ordered the drone assassination of General Suleimani.  A picture, as is said, is worth a thousand words, and in this case, the words are obscene.

Here, it is instructive to remember the old adage that ‘patriotism is the first refuge of a fool and the last refuge of a scoundrel’ when challenging this country’s second most potent secular religion, the worship of mammon being its first.

It was, after all, Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain who craftly wrote that “we can just have our usual flag, with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and crossbones” to place upon the soil of the Philippines after the U.S. invasion in 1899, thereby identifying American piracy with a proper insignia.

Until, and unless, the cult of the American war hero and its militaristic ideology are confronted by an uncompromising anti-imperialist, anti-war movement , the American warfare state will continue to fight ‘wars of terror’ whose ultimate logic will be the destruction of the human species.

Donald Monaco is a political analyst who lives in Brooklyn, New York.  He received his Master’s Degree in Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1979 and was radicalized by the Vietnam War.  He writes from an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist perspective.  His recent book is titled, The Politics ofTerrorism, and is available at

The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Donald Monaco, Global Research, 2020


The 21st Century

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