Posted 11 months ago on Jan. 10, 2014, 6:31 p.m. EST by flip
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“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world : My own Government, I can not be Silent.”
― Martin Luther King “Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”
- US President Barack Obama, .Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009 
According to a global survey of 66,000 people conducted across 68 countries by the Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research (WINMR) and Gallup International at the end of 2013, Earth’s people see the United States as the most significant threat to peace on the planet. The US was voted top threat by a wide margin, receiving 24% of the vote. Pakistan was a very distant second with 8%, followed by China (6%). Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and North Korea tied for fourth place at 4%.
“A Black Check in Their ‘McWorld’”
An International Business Times headline on the WINMR-Gallup poll seemed to question the validity and/or rationality of the finding. “In Gallup Poll,” the headline read, “Leading Threat to World Peace is….America?” In reality, however, the United States’ status as by and far away the leading threat to peace in the world’s eyes should be anything but surprising to any serious observer of US foreign policy and the international scene. The US, after all, accounts for nearly half the world’s military spending. It maintains more than 1000 military installations across more than 100 “sovereign” nations spread across every continent. The Obama administration deploys Special Operations forces in 75 to 100 countries (up from 60 at the end of the George W. Bush administration) and conducts regular lethal drone attacks against officially designated terrorists (and a much larger number of innocent civilians) in the Middle East, Southwest Asia and Africa. It maintains a massive global surveillance program dedicated to the de facto elimination of privacy on Earth – a program that has spied even on the personal cell phones of European heads of state, including Germany’s Angela Merkel. As Der Speigel, Germany’s leading newspaper noted in 1997: “Never before in modern history as a country dominated the earth as totally as the United States does today….America is now the Schwarzenegger of international politics: showing off muscles, obtrusive, intimidating….The Americans, in the absence of limits put to them by anybody or anything, act as if they own a kind of blank check in their ‘McWorld.”
This Schwarzenegger has gone off on a bit of a one-sided rampage in the current Millennium. The US since September 11, 2001 has killed, maimed, and displaced millions across the Muslim World as part of its Global War on [of] Terror (GWOT). The violence is always conducted in the names of peace, freedom, democracy, and security. An illustrative incident in the US war on/of terror occurred in the first week of May 2009. That’s when US air-strikes killed more 140 civilians in Bola Boluk, a village western Afghanistan’s Farah Province. Ninety-three of the dead villagers torn apart by US explosives were children. Just 22 were males 18 years or older. As the New York Times reported:
“In a phone call played on a loudspeaker on Wednesday to…the Afghan Parliament, the governor of Farah Province, Rohul Amin, said that as many as 130 civilians had been killed, according to a legislator, Mohammad Naim Farahi…’The governor said that the villagers have brought two tractor trailers full of pieces of human bodies to his office to prove the casualties that had occurred…Everyone was crying…watching that shocking scene.’ Mr. Farahi said he had talked to someone he knew personally who had counted 113 bodies being buried, including…many women and children.”
The initial response of the Obama Pentagon to this horrific incident – one among many mass US aerial civilian killings in Afghanistan and Pakistan beginning in the fall of 2001 – was to blame the deaths on “Taliban grenades.” Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed “regret” about loss of innocent life, but the administration refused to issue an apology or to acknowledge US responsibility. By contrast, Obama had just offered a full apology and fired a White House official for scaring New Yorkers with an ill-advised Air Force One photo-shoot flyover of Manhattan that reminded people there of 9/11.
The disparity was extraordinary: frightening New Yorkers led to a full presidential apology and the discharge of a White House staffer. Killing more than 100 Afghan civilians did not require any apology. Nobody had to be fired. And the Pentagon was permitted to advance preposterous claims about how the civilians perished – stories that taken seriously by "mainstream" (corporate-imperial war and entertainment) media. The US subsequently conducted a dubious “investigation” of the Bola Boluk slaughter that slashed the civilian body count and blamed the Taliban for putting civilians in the way of US bombs.
“A world once divided into two armed camps now recognizes one sole and pre-eminent power, the United States of America. And they regard this with no dread. For the world trusts us with power, and the world is right. They trust us to be fair, and restrained. They trust us to be on side of decency. They trust us to do what’s right.”
- US President George H.W. Bush, 1992 
“ The willingness to serve and sacrifice for the greater good is the ultimate tribute to your character and your efforts…The values you learned here….will be able to be spread …throughout the world and give other people the opportunity to live as you have lived, to fulfill your God-given capacities.”
- US President Bill Clinton, speaking to West Point graduates, 1993 
“When I came into office, I was determined that our country would go into the 21st century still the world’s greatest force for peace and freedom. For democracy, and security, and prosperity.”
- US President Bill Clinton, 1996 
“The United States is good. We try to do our best everywhere.”
- US Secretary of State Madeline Albright, 1999 
“America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world… Today, our nation saw evil…Our military is powerful, and it's prepared….. we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.”
President George W. Bush, September 11, 2001 
“We lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good….America is the last, best hope of Earth…. America’s larger purpose in the world is to promote the spread of freedom. The American moment has not passed…we will seize that moment, and begin the world anew. “
- US presidential candidate Barack Obama, April 23, 2007