Is America Headed Towards Fascism?

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Fascism Is Not Just About Flag Waving and Making the Trains Run on Time

No, America is not “headed towards fascism.” It has been an essentially fascist country since August 6, 1945, when it dropped the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. According to the Wikipedia, between Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which was nuked three days later, the death toll in the two cities totaled at least 127,000 people. Historians are in agreement that the war in the Pacific was already won when the atomic bombs were unleashed and that the real purpose for the attacks was to stun the Soviet Union into halting their advance on China and Japan and to lay the cornerstone in the edifice of American world domination.

Dictionary.com says “fascism” is:

…a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.

This definition falls short for me, as it doesn’t mention the quintessential elements of violence, cruelty and racism, which have been at the center of all 20th-century fascism. As for “a dictator having complete power,” that wasn’t necessary for the United States at the time, as the country was already militarized, mentalized and mobilized thanks to the previous four years of World War II, during which Franklin D. Roosevelt had greatly extended the arbitrary powers of the President for making war. If he had known who was to follow him in the presidency and how they would misappropriate the powers he legitimized he might have been more prudent.

Roosevelt’s Death Was Providential

After Roosevelt died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage at his Warm Springs, Georgia, retreat on April 12, 1945, a weak and inexperienced vice president–a failed haberdasher–became President of the United States, responsible for the endgame of the Second World War. Harry S. Truman had been an underling in the Boss Tom Pendergast Democratic-party machine in Kansas City, Missouri, and in Washington was known as “the senator from Pendergast.” Confused and ineffectual, Truman had been vice president for just 82 days when Roosevelt died. According to the White House’s own website (whitehouse.gov):

During his few weeks as Vice President, Harry S. Truman scarcely saw President Roosevelt, and received no briefing on the development of the atomic bomb or the unfolding difficulties with Soviet Russia. Suddenly these and a host of other wartime problems became Truman’s to solve when, on April 12, 1945, he became President. He told reporters, “I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me.”

When Truman became President he sought more experienced counsel. As luck would have it his principal advisor was his colleague and mentor from the Senate, James F. Byrnes, who was less expert than Truman supposed. Considered a relative lightweight by Washington insiders he was also a diehard anti-Soviet, this after Roosevelt had established a robust respect-based relationship with Stalin with prospects for postwar cooperation between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Byrnes was directly responsible for the firing of Henry Wallace, Roosevelt’s progressive Secretary of State and his earnest hope for the future of the United States.

With the new President firmly in the hands of hardline reactionaries like Byrnes and Averell Harriman, Ambassador to the Soviet Union since 1943, the collaborative postwar future foreseen by Roosevelt and Wallace, was quickly scrapped. Truman fired Wallace and dropped the bombs. Why two? Because war department wanted to see the effects of both models on densely-populated cities, the 16-kiloton, uranium-235-based “Little Boy” and the 21-kiloton plutonium device they called the “Fat Man.”

Immediately after the Second World War the Americans and the British turned their backs on their Soviet allies who had contributed massively more to winning the war than the US and UK combined. The comparative casualty figures are eloquent. According to the WW2 Museum, the total number of military and civilian dead, by country, were the following:

  • The United Kingdom–450,700
  • The United States–418,500
  • The Soviet Union–24,000,000

The level of betrayal was monumental. At the end of the war the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, actually goaded Truman and the president of the French provisional government, Charles DeGaulle, to turn their guns on the Soviet Union and get the Communists out of the way once and for all. That initiative didn’t prosper but other schemes to block and boycott the Soviet Union did. Truman, advised by the officers who created and ran Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the U.S. wartime intelligence service, oversaw the creation of the National Security Council and the CIA in 1947 and NATO in 1949. The stage was set for the Cold War, which was–and is–a classic, ongoing fascist response to any and all threats to American dominance worldwide.

The first steps in this fascist march on the future of the 20th century were taken by the British MI6 intelligence service even before World War II ended, with their creation of “stay behind” groups in almost all European countries. These were clandestine military units designed to offer resistance to possible Soviet invasions and were innocently accepted as such by their European “hosts.” Little did these welcoming countries suspect that the stay-behind units would soon morph into terrorist cells run by the CIA and MI6 and specialized in senseless, seemingly random false-flag attacks to instill fear of “communism” throughout Europe. The organization, commonly known as “Operation Gladio,” began operation in Italy near the end of the war and exercised a cruel and unusual influence there for decades. Gladio, partly financed by Marshall Plan funds, included right-wing elements and Nazi collaborators in most of the countries where it operated.  I have recently discussed Operation Gladio at some length in a four-part article that you can access here.

Italian Fascism as Role Model

New Yorker writer Robin Wright has this to say in a review of Madeleine Albright’s recent book, Fascism: A Warning, written with Bill Woodward, about the rise of Mussolini, the quintessential fascist, in the Italy of the 20s, 30s and 40s, until he was executed by a firing squad of Italian partisans on April 28, 1945 in the village of Giulino di Mezzegra in northern Italy.

Mussolini called on his followers to believe in an Italy that would be “prosperous because it was self-sufficient and respected because it was feared,” Albright writes. “This was how twentieth-century fascism began: with a magnetic leader exploiting widespread dissatisfaction by promising all things.” Il Duce, who was Italy’s Prime Minister from 1922 until 1943, said that his mission was “to break the bones of the democrats and the sooner the better.” He used the term “drenare la palude,” or “drain the swamp.” He had a talent for theatre, Albright notes, and was a poor listener who disliked hearing other people talk. He discouraged cabinet members from “proposing any idea that might cause him to doubt his instincts,” which, he insisted, were always right. He also promoted the idea of national self-sufficiency “without ever grasping how unrealistic that ambition had become.”

If this sounds eerily familiar it’s because it is almost too accurate to be true. Wright makes it crystal clear: “The elephant rampaging through these pages is, of course, Donald Trump.”

Let’s Look at Some Clear Examples of Current American Fascism

The best and most recent case is that of illegal immigrant children, including babies,  being forcibly separated from their parents at the US borders. Need I point out that this practice cries out to heaven? It’s still not clear what the future holds for these innocent young people. One European news medium summed it up: “The United States is the only country in the world with concentration camps for children.”

These heinous detention practices are not limited to immigrant children. They extend to both juvenile and adult prisoners all over the country. The Bradley (Chelsea) Manning case is the most high-profile example. He was submitted to almost seven years of a prison regime that amounted to torture. Just as horrific as the treatment of Manning was the Kids for Cash scandal in Pennsylvania, which saw kids “sold” by juvenile judges to private for-profit prisons. This case affected many more young people, most of whom will not go back to school nor be otherwise rehabilitated.

Is it not fascistic to punish the populations of whole countries over long periods for perceived affronts or egalitarian political leanings before the all-powerful USA, whether by means of embargoes, election tampering, assassination, regime change or outright invasion as in the cases of Cuba,  Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Greece, Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Libya… Those peoples emphatically did not deserve the imposition of these gratuitous priorities of property rights over human rights. We’re not talking about idle ideology here; we’re talking about countless thousands–nay millions–of deaths of innocent people.

What Spawns a Fascist?

What spawns a fascist? What are the causes of this fascist degeneration of American society?  There can be many causes starting with good-old-fashioned greed and will to power. But we can’t discount individual personality disorders, limited intelligence, inherited wealth and privilege, mob psychology, indoctrination of false notions of exceptionalism, imperfect adaptation to school and society, or the atmosphere in which the young fascist is reared. The Spanish would sum this all up neatly in two words: mala leche. “Mala leche” is the “bad milk” that one suckles from his mother, nourishment that also transmits low character and ignoble inclinations. It’s a metaphor for a person’s whole biological, cultural and social heritage. Mala leche is perhaps the most serious insult in the Spanish language, not one to be taken lightly.  The operative question at this point is: what do you do when approximately half the country is afflicted with it.

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Playing the U.S. American Game of Rogue States/Regime Change–2/2

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Sowing Chaos for Fun and Profit

It doesn’t take a lot of resources or imagination to wreak massive social and political chaos in someone else’s country. Washington operatives just have to pay off a few crooked local politicians—there’s no shortage of those–and call upon the CIA to put its coup techniques to work. After more than half a century of running these operations the CIA has got it down to a sinister routine. Just organize and finance a right-wing “opposition,” put pressure on the media, and encourage (organize and finance) anti-government demonstrations. Bingo! Another impertinent little country (with a democratically elected government or not; that’s irrelevant) privatizes its sovereign wealth and joins NATO.

“Privatize?” That means selling off their mines and oil fields, farms and forests, industries and even housing to US American banks and vulture funds at market prices. You can imagine how the “market” looks after a couple of decades of CIA black ops. The first stages of this process are currently underway in Venezuela and Iran. If all goes well they will soon join the long list of U.S. “client states.”

They Don’t Always Win

It’s only fair to point out that these US American regime-change programs don’t always work out as planned. When they fail it’s usually thanks to the sheer bloody-mindedness of local populations that resent being invaded and—above all—humiliated by invaders from “advanced countries.” The history of these failed regime-change attempts goes back at least to the Russian revolution. According to William Blum, “By the summer of 1918 some 13,000 American troops could be found active in the newly-born Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Two years and thousands of casualties later, the American troops left, having failed in their mission to ‘strangle at its birth’ the Bolshevik state, as Winston Churchill put it. Aside from the strangler’s fantasies, was the British-American invasion of Russia in any way justifiable? Not really.

Flash forward to 1954. Iran was another egregious example of US American regime-change treachery, one that has left a bitter legacy and wounds that are still not closed. Iran’s democratically-elected president, Mohammed Mossadegh, came under siege in part because of his nationalization of British oil interests. The British-engineered international boycott of Iran failed and in 1952 they turned to the Americans for help. Using a possible but highly-improbable “Soviet threat” as a pretext, President Truman encouraged Iran’s former monarch, Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, to issue decrees dismissing Mossadegh and replacing him with a general who had been imprisoned by the British during World War II for his collaboration with the Nazis.

It was a simple matter for the American ambassador, Henderson, the CIA, and the American military mission in Iran to cobble together an anti-Mossadegh mob marching in the streets of Tehran, while at the same time a Long-Live-the-Shah demonstration was pouring out of the city’s ancient bazaar. The clash between the two precipitated a nine-hour street battle that caused some 300 dead and many more wounded before Mossadegh’s defenders were finally defeated. The coup d’etat was a fait accompli. Was there any objective reason for the American overthrow of Mossadegh? We’re talking about toppling the elected government of a sovereign nation with which the United States was not at war. Of course, there wasn’t, beyond high-handed US American delusions of grandeur.

The Iranian Dragon’s Egg Hatches

It was only 25 years later, in 1979, when a group of Iranian students, who had apparently not forgotten the U.S. role in overthrowing Mossadegh nor its longstanding support of the (recently ousted) Shah, took 52 American hostages in the American embassy and held them for 444 days. The incident was complicated by a botched rescue attempt, known as Operation Eagle Claw, which resulted in the accidental deaths of eight American servicemen and one Iranian civilian, as well as the destruction of two helicopters.

Given these antecedents, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to understand the profoundly resentful and belligerent attitude of the United States today vis a vis Iran, the outcome of which remains to be seen.

To whom do you turn when your backward little banana republic comes under bombardment from CIA planes? Guatemala tried everybody—the U.N., the Organization of American States, neighboring countries, the world press…” but no help was forthcoming. Dwight Eisenhower, John Foster Dulles, and Alan Dulles had decided that Jacobo Arbenz, the only democratically-elected president of Central America, was “communist” and had to be neutralized. He was ousted in June of 1954. What does it take to brand a country’s leader “communist.” Nothing much, really, just stick a label on him.

Do You Remember Vietnam?

Then there’s Vietnam, whose victory after 14 years of war against the most powerful military machine in the world, should have been a once-and-for-all lesson for ambitious US American policymakers but, unfortunately, they never learned. I can still see the television images of sailors tipping Huey helicopters off the deck of an aircraft carrier to make room for the choppers evacuating American personnel and Vietnamese collaborators from Saigon in 1975.

Here’s Newsweek reminiscing about the event 40 years later:

Just over 40 years ago, on April 23, 1975, President Gerald Ford announced the Vietnam War was “finished as far as America is concerned.” Military involvement had come to an end, but the U.S. still faced a crucial task: the safe evacuation of Americans who remained in Saigon, including the then-U.S. ambassador, Graham Martin.

After Tan Son Nhut Airport was bombed heavily on April 29, and the last two Americans were killed in action, the evacuation had to continue with helicopters. “It was an absolute mess,” Colin Broussard, a marine assigned to Martin’s personal security detail, told the Chicago Tribune in 2005. “We knew immediately when we saw the airfield that the fixed-wing operation was done.”

Over the course of April 29 and into the following morning, Operation Frequent Wind transported more than 1,000 Americans and more than 5,000 Vietnamese out of the city. The 19-hour operation involved 81 helicopters and is often called the largest helicopter evacuation on record.

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U.S. Navy personnel aboard the U.S.S. Blue Ridge push a helicopter into the sea off the coast of Vietnam in order to make room for more evacuation flights from Saigon on April 29, 1975. The helicopter had carried Vietnamese fleeing Saigon as North Vietnamese forces closed in on the capital.

What about Iraq and Afghanistan?

Then there are the Iraq and Afghanistan experiences. The gratuitous Iraq adventure was only “successful” in terms of massive destruction and human suffering including wholesale infant mortality. The Afghan mission was justified by an American-sponsored Muslim guerilla fighter hiding in a cave. Imagine that. Uncle Sam certainly never expected still to be fighting in Afghanistan 17 years on. The jauntily-named “Operation Enduring Freedom” may be enduring but it’s surely not freedom; who writes this dreck, anyway?

We don’t have time or space here to discuss the cases of Cuba (Cuba, a rogue state?!) nor Chile, perhaps the most egregious of all. So I won’t bore you with more regime-change operations fathered (or mothered, if you prefer) by the world’s premier rogue state. I trust you get the picture. The question that remains is: How will it end? I can answer that. It will end with eventual world domination. Unless someone comes up with a better idea.

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Read more rantings in my ebook, The Turncoat Chronicles.
Thanks for commenting and sharing.

Playing the U.S. American Game of Rogue States/Regime Change–1/2

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What’s a “Rogue State?”

“Rogue state” is a term applied by some theorists to states they consider threatening to world peace. That is, countries ruled by authoritarian governments that severely restrict human rights, sponsor terrorism and seek to extend weapons of mass destruction. The term is used primarily by the United States (though the US State Department officially stopped using it in 2000). In a speech to the UN in 2017, President Donald Trump reiterated the phrase.

The US Americans have established themselves as the world authority on “rogue states.” They decide which are the countries that function outside of the constrictions of international order and reject the rule of law. In fact, it was President Clinton’s National Security Advisor, Anthony Lake, who coined the term “rogue state” in a 1994 issue of Foreign Affairs. He categorized five countries as rogue states: North Korea, Cuba, Iraq, Iran and Libya. One nation was conspicuously missing from this list but it would have been unseemly for Mr. Lake to name his own country.

In was in June of 2000 when U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, swapped the term for “States of Concern.” Other euphemisms have been employed since then–“Axis of Evil,” “Outposts of Tyranny,” and “State Sponsors of Terrorism.” I recently discovered that two excellent books were published on the subject of rogue states some time ago, by Noam Chomsky and William Blum. Both included the term “rogue state” in the title, and the United States was the protagonist of both of them. Interestingly, both of these prestigious commentator/activists also included Israel in the category of rogue state, principally for their treatment of the Palestinians since 1948. Continue reading “Playing the U.S. American Game of Rogue States/Regime Change–1/2”