by Rick Staggenborg, MD. Originally posted at OpEdNews, Sept. 2, 2020
In this article, the new President of the Linus Pauling chapter makes the case that to make the public understand what really causes war, we have to challenge the propaganda that is used to manufacture consent for it. When Americans realize how extensively they are being lied to about what is being done in their names, they may just get angry enough to demand an end to the forever wars.
The problem of manufacturing consent for war.
Respect for national sovereignty has been the basis of international law designed to prevent preemptive warfare since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 ended the 30 Years War. The idea was to prevent wars by agreeing that empires and international alliances would not interfere with the internal affairs of any nation. The idea was rejected by later Empire builders, leading to two world wars. This practice of the US ignoring international law has become increasingly blatant ever since. It now poses a risk to peace and national sovereignty everywhere.
Americans are taught that Hitler’s attempt at creating a fascist New World Order was the result of his insane personal ambition alone. Raised to believe that America is champion of freedom and democracy, most of us do not see that since the end of WWII the US has been working to create its own empire, one that is fast coming to resemble Hitler’s. The major difference is that it is not run by a dictator but by an oligarchy who exert much of their influence through our privately financed system of elections and their control of an increasingly interlocked network of powerful corporations controlled by a relative few.
American exceptionalism: The American Empire is no longer a secret
Despite the obvious signs of a police state being created in the US with the passage of the Patriot Act, the 2012 NDAA authorizing Presidents to arrest and indefinitely imprison without charge Americans he or she deem enemies of the state and the NSA program of unlimited domestic surveillance, most Americans refused to see this trend until Trump made it obvious with his authoritarian behavior. Many think that everything will go back to normal if Biden defeats him in November. However, other than taking on a more sophisticated tone, the bellicose nationalism that so alarmed Democrats when Bush was in office continued largely unchanged during the Obama-Biden years. It seems that American exceptionalism is not a partisan issue. It’s a fundamental principle in US foreign policy and whoever the Current Occupant of the White House is, they challenge it at their peril.
The Bush Doctrine of preemptive war has been replaced by the Obama Doctrine of “responsibility to protect,” first implemented in Kosovo by Bill Clinton. Obama used the same rationale to justify intervention in Libya and Syria. In all three cases, the results have been disastrous. “Humanitarian intervention” differs in name only from the neocon practice of making war against (or at least destabilizing) any country that stands in the way of US geostrategic goals. The targets are the same. The legal principle of humanitarian intervention exists nowhere in international law. There is a good reason for that. It is a direct violation of the UN charter and of the earlier Kellogg-Briand treaty that made war illegal except in self-defense.
The origins of the post-WWII government propaganda apparatus
If we are ever going to see the end of war, it is imperative to understand the systematic way in which generations of Americans have been indoctrinated to accept the idea that it is inevitable. The explanation is not complicated. The problem is that so few people are working to educate Americans about their real history since WWII, leaving them to allow their leaders to repeat the same mistakes that lead to the downfall of all empires.
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Rick Staggenborg is the current president of Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter, Corvallis-Albany, Oregon. Rick is a former Army and VA psychiatrist who ran for the US Senate in 2010 on a campaign based on a pledge to introduce a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood and regulate campaign finance.