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http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html

The following is a partial list of U.S. military interventions from 1890 to 2011.

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Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 09:48:04 AM by Bhārata

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A BRIEFING ON THE HISTORY

OF U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTIONS

Since the September 11 attacks on the United States, most people in the world agree that the perpetrators need to be brought to justice, without killing many thousands of civilians in the process. But unfortunately, the U.S. military has always accepted massive civilian deaths as part of the cost of war. The military is now poised to kill thousands of foreign civilians, in order to prove that killing U.S. civilians is wrong.

The media has told us repeatedly that some Middle Easterners hate the U.S. only because of our "freedom" and "prosperity." Missing from this explanation is the historical context of the U.S. role in the Middle East, and for that matter in the rest of the world. This basic primer is an attempt to brief readers who have not closely followed the history of U.S. foreign or military affairs, and are perhaps unaware of the background of U.S. military interventions abroad, but are concerned about the direction of our country toward a new war in the name of "freedom" and "protecting civilians."

The United States military has been intervening in other countries for a long time. In 1898, it seized the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico from Spain, and in 1917-18 became embroiled in World War I in Europe. In the first half of the 20th century it repeatedly sent Marines to "protectorates" such as Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. All these interventions directly served corporate interests, and many resulted in massive losses of civilians, rebels, and soldiers. Many of the uses of U.S. combat forces are documented in A History of U.S. Military Interventions since 1890: http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html

U.S. involvement in World War II (1941-45) was sparked by the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and fear of an Axis invasion of North America. Allied bombers attacked fascist military targets, but also fire-bombed German and Japanese cities such as Dresden and Tokyo, party under the assumption that destroying civilian neighborhoods would weaken the resolve of the survivors and turn them against their regimes. Many historians agree that fire- bombing's effect was precisely the opposite--increasing Axis civilian support for homeland defense, and discouraging potential coup attempts. The atomic bombing of Japan at the end of the war was carried out without any kind of advance demonstration or warning that may have prevented the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

The war in Korea (1950-53) was marked by widespread atrocities, both by North Korean/Chinese forces, and South Korean/U.S. forces. U.S. troops fired on civilian refugees headed into South Korea, apparently fearing they were northern infiltrators. Bombers attacked North Korean cities, and the U.S. twice threatened to use nuclear weapons. North Korea is under the same Communist government today as when the war began.

During the Middle East crisis of 1958, Marines were deployed to quell a rebellion in Lebanon, and Iraq was threatened with nuclear attack if it invaded Kuwait. This little-known crisis helped set U.S. foreign policy on a collision course with Arab nationalists, often in support of the region's monarchies.

In the early 1960s, the U.S. returned to its pre-World War II interventionary role in the Caribbean, directing the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs exile invasion of Cuba, and the 1965 bombing and Marine invasion of the Dominican Republic during an election campaign. The CIA trained and harbored Cuban exile groups in Miami, which launched terrorist attacks on Cuba, including the 1976 downing of a Cuban civilian jetliner near Barbados. During the Cold War, the CIA would also help to support or install pro-U.S. dictatorships in Iran, Chile, Guatemala, Indonesia, and many other countries around the world.

The U.S. war in Indochina (1960-75) pit U.S. forces against North Vietnam, and Communist rebels fighting to overthrow pro-U.S. dictatorships in South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. U.S. war planners made little or no distinction between attacking civilians and guerrillas in rebel-held zones, and U.S. "carpet-bombing" of the countryside and cities swelled the ranks of the ultimately victorious revolutionaries. Over two million people were killed in the war, including 55,000 U.S. troops. Less than a dozen U.S. citizens were killed on U.S. soil, in National Guard shootings or antiwar bombings. In Cambodia, the bombings drove the Khmer Rouge rebels toward fanatical leaders, who launched a murderous rampage when they took power in 1975.

Echoes of Vietnam reverberated in Central America during the 1980s, when the Reagan administration strongly backed the pro-U.S. regime in El Salvador, and right-wing exile forces fighting the new leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Rightist death squads slaughtered Salvadoran civilians who questioned the concentration of power and wealth in a few hands. CIA-trained Nicaraguan Contra rebels launched terrorist attacks against civilian clinics and schools run by the Sandinista government, and mined Nicaraguan harbors. U.S. troops also invaded the island nation of Grenada in 1983, to oust a new military regime, attacking Cuban civilian workers (even though Cuba had backed the leftist government deposed in the coup), and accidentally bombing a hospital.

The U.S. returned in force to the Middle East in 1980, after the Shi'ite Muslim revolution in Iran against Shah Pahlevi's pro-U.S. dictatorship. A troop and bombing raid to free U.S. Embassy hostages held in downtown Tehran had to be aborted in the Iranian desert. After the 1982 Israeli occupation of Lebanon, U.S. Marines were deployed in a neutral "peacekeeping" operation. They instead took the side of Lebanon's pro-Israel Christian government against Muslim rebels, and U.S. Navy ships rained enormous shells on Muslim civilian villages. Embittered Shi'ite Muslim rebels responded with a suicide bomb attack on Marine barracks, and for years seized U.S. hostages in the country. In retaliation, the CIA set off car bombs to assassinate Shi'ite Muslim leaders. Syria and the Muslim rebels emerged victorious in Lebanon.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, the U.S. launched a 1986 bombing raid on Libya, which it accused of sponsoring a terrorist bombing later tied to Syria. The bombing raid killed civilians, and may have led to the later revenge bombing of a U.S. jet over Scotland. Libya's Arab nationalist leader Muammar Qaddafi remained in power. The U.S. Navy also intervened against Iran during its war against Iraq in 1987-88, sinking Iranian ships and "accidentally" shooting down an Iranian civilian jetliner.

U.S. forces invaded Panama in 1989 to oust the nationalist regime of Manuel Noriega. The U.S. accused its former ally of allowing drug-running in the country, though the drug trade actually increased after his capture. U.S. bombing raids on Panama City ignited a conflagration in a civilian neighborhood, fed by stove gas tanks. Over 2,000 Panamanians were killed in the invasion to capture one leader.

The following year, the U.S. deployed forces in the Persian Gulf after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, which turned Washington against its former Iraqi ally Saddam Hussein. U.S. supported the Kuwaiti monarchy and the Muslim fundamentalist monarchy in neighboring Saudi Arabia against the secular nationalist Iraq regime. In January 1991, the U.S..and its allies unleashed a massive bombing assault against Iraqi government and military targets, in an intensity beyond the raids of World War II and Vietnam. Up to 200,000 Iraqis were killed in the war and its imemdiate aftermath of rebellion and disease, including many civilians who died in their villages, neighborhoods, and bomb shelters. The U.S. continued economic sanctions that denied health and energy to Iraqi civilians, who died by the hundreds of thousands, according to United Nations agencies. The U.S. also instituted "no-fly zones" and virtually continuous bombing raids, yet Saddam was politically bolstered as he was militarily weakened.

In the 1990s, the U.S. military led a series of what it termed "humanitarian interventions" it claimed would safeguard civilians. Foremost among them was the 1992 deployment in the African nation of Somalia, torn by famine and a civil war between clan warlords. Instead of remaining neutral, U.S. forces took the side of one faction against another faction, and bombed a Mogadishu neighborhood. Enraged crowds, backed by foreign Arab mercenaries, killed 18 U.S. soldiers, forcing a withdrawal from the country.

Other so-called "humanitarian interventions" were centered in the Balkan region of Europe, after the 1992 breakup of the multiethnic federation of Yugoslavia. The U.S. watched for three years as Serb forces killed Muslim civilians in Bosnia, before its launched decisive bombing raids in 1995. Even then, it never intervened to stop atrocities by Croatian forces against Muslim and Serb civilians, because those forces were aided by the U.S. In 1999, the U.S. bombed Serbia to force President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw forces from the ethnic Albanian province of Kosovo, which was torn a brutal ethnic war. The bombing intensified Serbian expulsions and killings of Albanian civilians from Kosovo, and caused the deaths of thousands of Serbian civilians, even in cities that had voted strongly against Milosevic. When a NATO occupation force enabled Albanians to move back, U.S. forces did little or nothing to prevent similar atrocities against Serb and other non-Albanian civilians. The U.S. was viewed as a biased player, even by the Serbian democratic opposition that overthrew Milosevic the following year.

Even when the U.S. military had apparently defensive motives, it ended up attacking the wrong targets. After the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa, the U.S. "retaliated" not only against Osama Bin Laden's training camps in Afghanistan, but a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that was mistakenly said to be a chemical warfare installation. Bin Laden retaliated by attacking a U.S. Navy ship docked in Yemen in 2000. After the 2001 terror attacks on the United States, the U.S. military is poised to again bomb Afghanistan, and possibly move against other states it accuses of promoting anti-U.S. "terrorism," such as Iraq and Sudan. Such a campaign will certainly ratchet up the cycle of violence, in an escalating series of retaliations that is the hallmark of Middle East conflicts. Afghanistan, like Yugoslavia, is a multiethnic state that could easily break apart in a new catastrophic regional war. Almost certainly more civilians would lose their lives in this tit-for-tat war on "terrorism" than the 3,000 civilians who died on September 11.

COMMON THEMES

Some common themes can be seen in many of these U.S. military interventions.

First, they were explained to the U.S. public as defending the lives and rights of civilian populations. Yet the military tactics employed often left behind massive civilian "collateral damage." War planners made little distinction between rebels and the civilians who lived in rebel zones of control, or between military assets and civilian infrastructure, such as train lines, water plants, agricultural factories, medicine supplies, etc. The U.S. public always believe that in the next war, new military technologies will avoid civilian casualties on the other side. Yet when the inevitable civilian deaths occur, they are always explained away as "accidental" or "unavoidable."

Second, although nearly all the post-World War II interventions were carried out in the name of "freedom" and "democracy," nearly all of them in fact defended dictatorships controlled by pro-U.S. elites. Whether in Vietnam, Central America, or the Persian Gulf, the U.S. was not defending "freedom" but an ideological agenda (such as defending capitalism) or an economic agenda (such as protecting oil company investments). In the few cases when U.S. military forces toppled a dictatorship--such as in Grenada or Panama--they did so in a way that prevented the country's people from overthrowing their own dictator first, and installing a new democratic government more to their liking.

Third, the U.S. always attacked violence by its opponents as "terrorism," "atrocities against civilians," or "ethnic cleansing," but minimized or defended the same actions by the U.S. or its allies. If a country has the right to "end" a state that trains or harbors terrorists, would Cuba or Nicaragua have had the right to launch defensive bombing raids on U.S. targets to take out exile terrorists? Washington's double standard maintains that an U.S. ally's action by definition "defensive," but that an enemy's retaliation is by definition "offensive."

Fourth, the U.S. often portrays itself as a neutral peacekeeper, with nothing but the purest humanitarian motives. After deploying forces in a country, however, it quickly divides the country or region into "friends" and "foes," and takes one side against another. This strategy tends to enflame rather than dampen a war or civil conflict, as shown in the cases of Somalia and Bosnia, and deepens resentment of the U.S. role.

Fifth, U.S. military intervention is often counterproductive even if one accepts U.S. goals and rationales. Rather than solving the root political or economic roots of the conflict, it tends to polarize factions and further destabilize the country. The same countries tend to reappear again and again on the list of 20th century interventions.

Sixth, U.S. demonization of an enemy leader, or military action against him, tends to strengthen rather than weaken his hold on power. Take the list of current regimes most singled out for U.S. attack, and put it alongside of the list of regimes that have had the longest hold on power, and you will find they have the same names. Qaddafi, Castro, Saddam, Kim, and others may have faced greater internal criticism if they could not portray themselves as Davids standing up to the American Goliath, and (accurately) blaming many of their countries' internal problems on U.S. economic sanctions.

One of the most dangerous ideas of the 20th century was that "people like us" could not commit atrocities against civilians.

 - German and Japanese citizens believed it, but their militaries slaughtered millions of people.
 - British and French citizens believed it, but their militaries fought brutal colonial wars in Africa and Asia.
 - Russian citizens believed it, but their armies murdered civilians in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and elsewhere.
 - Israeli citizens believed it, but their army mowed down Palestinians and Lebanese.
 - Arabs believed it, but suicide bombers and hijackers targeted U.S. and Israeli civilians.
 - U.S. citizens believed it, but their military killed hundreds of thousands in Vietnam, Iraq, and elsewhere.

Every country, every ethnicity, every religion, contains within it the capability for extreme violence. Every group contains a faction that is intolerant of other groups, and actively seeks to exclude or even kill them. War fever tends to encourage the intolerant faction, but the faction only succeeds in its goals if the rest of the group acquiesces or remains silent. The attacks of September 11 were not only a test for U.S. citizens attitudes' toward minority ethnic/racial groups in their own country, but a test for our relationship with the rest of the world. We must begin not by lashing out at civilians in Muslim countries, but by taking responsibility for our own history and our own actions, and how they have fed the cycle of violence.

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Hey, that's Zoltan Grossman, he's a professor at my college, I know people who've taken classes with him, and apparently he's a real interesting guy.

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That's interesting, Ayyash. How is Evergreen?

That being said, it may be nitpicking, but Dr. Grossman lists the use of troops internally and those aren't, by definition, "interventions." Interesting list. I looked at the Dr's other works, he does seem interesting.

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That's interesting, Ayyash. How is Evergreen?
Well, that webpage is pretty representative of the intellectual environment here; on average the community tends to be pretty far-left and is wary of U.S power/nationalism. There's a pretty significant anarchist, anti-capitalist/globalist bloc as well. If you remember the huge 1999 WTO protests/riots in Seattle, much of the initial planning was done here at Evergreen. We've also gained some notoriety when one of our students was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza strip back in 2003.


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Well, that webpage is pretty representative of the intellectual environment here; on average the community tends to be pretty far-left and is wary of U.S power/nationalism. There's a pretty significant anarchist, anti-capitalist/globalist bloc as well. If you remember the huge 1999 WTO protests/riots in Seattle, much of the initial planning was done here at Evergreen. We've also gained some notoriety when one of our students was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza strip back in 2003.



Far left?  What are you talking about? IMF's far RIGHT.

Mamdali
(Note:  I hope I'm being redundant by saying that given the state of misinformation and factless and unsupported content that is rife on the 'internet' today, naturally, I cannot endorse, believe, support, or accept any of links posted by me or others.  I personally find them interesting, however, as they open new perspectives for me.  I leave it to the reader to glean what they can or want from them).
Last Edit: June 11, 2012, 03:57:14 PM by mamdali

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Far left?  What are you talking about? IMF's far RIGHT.

Mamdali
EPLO was asking me about the college that I currently attend, which, incidentally enough, was the source of the article he posted.

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EPLO was asking me about the college that I currently attend, which, incidentally enough, was the source of the article he posted.

Check. I stand corrected.

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The USA overthrew Iran's democracy in 1953 and replaced it with a dictatorship, making the whole country of Iran a hostage of the USA until 1979. But the USA's news media had the unmitigated gall to try to make Iran look like the wrong doer by taking out of context Iran's seizure of the USA's embassy, thus leading to wide spread physical and verbal attacks against Iranians living in the USA even though the Republican party had approached the Iranians and asked them to hold the hostages longer so that Jimmy Carter would lose the elections.

There was the USA's promise to the Cherokee of not being moved if submitting to certain demands and then upon finding tantalizing natural resources on their land, forcibly evacuating them through the "trail of tears" under instruction of Jackson's Indian Removal Program, or of such historical events such as promising the Arapaho and (Cheyenne?) that if they surrendered their weapons and moved to the Colorado river that they would be left in peace, and then slaughtering them in the infamous incident of the Sand-Creek massacre, and then upon being offered forgiveness from chief Black-Kettle and again promising peace, then sending then colonel George Custer (later general Custer) to massacre the remnants.
I may have erred in some details above because it has been a long time since I studied it, but the point is still valid.

These incidents continue (among others in the historical list not mentioned for the sake of some brevity) in examples such as the gun boat diplomacy of Roosevelt's big-stick policies and Woodrow Wilson's military occupation and bombing of Veracruz until president Huerta resigned.
 
There was CIA director Allen Dulles' overthrow of the Guatemalan democratically elected Arbenz government and the following genocide of Mayan natives on behalf of the United Fruit company. That coup occurred around the time that operation Ajax was occurring in Iran.
A few decades earlier, the same United Fruit company had gotten president Coolidge to pressure Guatemala to oust Herrera.
In the 1960's, US Green Beret special forces trained and armed Guatemalan death squads who went on to kill thousands of Guatemalan civilians. The US film industry later depicted the Green Beret's as heroes and champions in a movie starring John Wayne.

There was the overthrow of Hawaii's queen because sugar companies did not want to pay export duties.

International Corporations such as Anaconda Copper and ITT approached Nixon and had him assist in the overthrow of the democratically elected Allende government of Chile and the subsequent installation of the brutal Pinochet dictatorship in its place.

There was the CIA assistance to the Ba'ath party in Iraq to overthrow the popular Qasem government in the 1960's which opened the door for Saddam Hussein to enter into power.

In Nicaragua there was the ouster of president Zeleya because he wouldn't submit to US lumber and mining demands such as not paying taxes. Later in Nicaragua there was US support for the Contra terrorists against president Noriega. There was also Ronald Reagan's mining of the Nicaraguan harbors (which the world court judged a terrorist act if I recall correctly).
In the mid-1800's there had been a US takeover of Nicaragua to impose slavery for economic benefits. Later, a few years before the US entered into world war 1, the US occupied Nicaragua again to support the very unpopular Diaz government.
In the mid-1930's, the US supported Somoza's assassination of Nicaraguan president Sandino.

Under president Polk, the USA invaded Mexico and occupied Mexico City and forced the Mexican government to hand over vast tracts of its northern lands.

In the late 1800's, the US falsely accused Spain of exploding the USS Maine which led to the US invading Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Just in the Philippines alone the US military slaughtered some 300,000 people under president McKinley.

Shortly after the mass murders in the Philippines, the US backed a rebellion in Panama so that the US could acquire land for the Panama Canal.

The Eisenhower regime tried to overthrow the Castro government of Cuba through covert CIA actions such as burning down Cuban sugar cane fields, exploding Cuban ships docked in Cuban harbors, and sabotaging Cuban industrial equipment, thus worsening the economy and lives of the Cuban people.

In 1964, the USA covertly created a coup to usurp Brazil's president Goulart because Goulart wanted to nationalize oil (as Mossadegh had wanted to do in Iran) and Goulart wanted to reform Brazil's agricultural policies to benefit his people instead of foreign corporations.

In 1972, the USA uses its military to halt democratic elections in El Salvador because Duarte was about to win.
Around 1980, the USA assisted El Salvadorian death squads in murdering tens of thousands of people including a famous priest named Romero.
In the mid 1980's the USA spend millions of dollars to manipulate and corrupt elections in El Salvador. That was around the time that Ronald Reagan was mining Nicaraguan harbors, which I mentioned earlier.
The year after ending elections in El Salvador in 1972, the USA helps Uruguay's military takeover and subsequent political repression.

When Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against civilians, the United Nations wanted to have a vote about condemning Saddam. The US voted in favor of Saddam and continued to supply him with weapons of mass destruction.
Later, the USA falsely claimed that Saddam continued to possess weapons of mass destruction as an excuse to invade Iraq.

In 1991, the USA bombed Iraq's water treatment facilities leading to wide spread water-borne diseases such as cholera. The USA then sanctioned Iraq from purchasing chlorine to clean the water no matter how much Iraq was willing to pay for it which led to a continuation of the various diseases. The United Nations calculated that between 1991 to 1995, the USA's actions led to the deaths of some 500,000 Iraqi children.
When journalist Leslie Stahl asked then secretary of state Madeline Albright if it was worth it, Albright said, yes, it was worth it.
In addition, the USA's use of depleted uranium in Iraq led to wide spread birth defects and increased cases of various cancers, especially leukemia. I can prove the connection if you request.

In 1988, the US navy shot down an Iranian civilian airliner and falsely claimed that it was an accident (I can prove that it was intentional if you require).

The USA also tried to overthrow Venezuela's democratically elected Hugo Chavez government.

In the USA itself, the CIA instigated operation Mockingbird in which it send journalists into major US media sources to manipulate the news, and there was operation COINTELPRO where the FBI attacked independent news sources that opposed the Vietnam war.

Oh yeah, and the Vietnam war: Operation Phoenix, agent orange, carpet bombing Hanoi, arc-light bombing Cambodia and killing some 500.000 Cambodians, cancelling the early 1960's elections because of fear that the pro-North Vietnamese groups would win. The My Lai massacre, etc, etc, etc.
Read the Pentagon papers?

The USA has openly invested hundreds of millions of dollars towards overthrowing Iran's government including supporting MKO terrorists and that terror organization which has a name that starts with the letter 'J' which I don't remember.
The USA has openly called for the overthrow of the Iranian government and more recently, Newt Gingrich has called for bombing Iran's oil refineries and using covert assassinations of Iranian scientists.
Senator McCain was singing "bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran."

That just barely scratches the surface and doesn't include the USA's aid to Israel's many atrocities.

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Well, that webpage is pretty representative of the intellectual environment here; on average the community tends to be pretty far-left and is wary of U.S power/nationalism. There's a pretty significant anarchist, anti-capitalist/globalist bloc as well. If you remember the huge 1999 WTO protests/riots in Seattle, much of the initial planning was done here at Evergreen. We've also gained some notoriety when one of our students was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza strip back in 2003.


Rachel corry.... God rest her soul....  brave woman!
Im Sunni by mind, Shia by Heart, and Muslim by soul! La Ellaha Ela Allah!

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