I was 20, and the so-called Vietnam War was just heating up. I did my homework on Vietnam because teachers challenged my opinions. I thought the early antiwar protesters were completely wrong; we had to stop those dirty commies, after all. The newspapers told us so. But this was America: the protesters had a perfect right to protest.
The problem was that I did my homework.
It wasn’t long before I had my stash of quarters under the center console of my secondhand Datsun 2000 for emergency gas money. I was prepared to immigrate to Canada.
Unpatriotic, cowardly, un-American, you say?
See, I did my homework. By skimming only three random library books on Vietnam. From that paltry reading of Vietnamese history and at the young and tender age of 20 I concluded:
- The Vietnamese had been successfully repelling invaders for at least 1,000 years. These invaders included the Chinese, the British, and most recently, the French.
- Thus, the “Domino Theory”  was clearly total bunk.
- The U.S. would likely lose.
Now, as far as I can tell, any reasonable person would have reached the same conclusion, if they had done their homework.
Robert S. McNamara was the U.S. secretary of defense during seven years of the Vietnam War. The S. stands for “Strange.” I’m not making that up. He was one of the best and brightest of his generation. He got his start by shepherding Ford Motor Company out of a terminal downward spiral. The horror is that he and his organization, USA Corp., apparently hadn’t done their Vietnam homework.
Sony Classics, “The Fog of War”“
So Mr. McNamara didn’t do his homework till 1995, 25 years after the war ended. Worse, as it turns out, the Gulf of Tonkin incident the very thin excuse for the Vietnam War was either a mistake or a fraud. Maybe both.
from Robert S. McNamara, Sony Classics, ” The Fog of War ”
The only thing Mr. McNamara didn’t explain was that the first attack on the Maddox was North Vietnamese “hot pursuit” retaliation for a U.S. attack on North Vietnamese shore installations and it wasn’t the first such U.S. attack on North Vietnam’s sovereign territory, either.
So it’s clear the Vietnam war wasn’t inevitable. Quite the contrary. Like all wars that don’t involve invasion of U.S. territory by foreign troops, it was an arbitrary decision, delivered in accordance with the Goering Protocol.  In fact, this seems to have become U.S. standard operating procedure. Which, in this case, according to Mr. McNamara’s figures (above), resulted in the deaths of 3,458,000 or so men, women, and children and the wounding and maiming of countless millions of others, which, because of agent orange, cluster bombs, and land mines, continues to this day.
“Oh, ah, gee, uh sorry, Mrs. Peckinpah, I, ah, forgot to do my homework. But here it is. I know it’s 25 years late, but, aw, shucks“
“Oops! Ah, Mr. Slick, you’re right. He didn’t swing first. And, yea, I know he’s just a little guy. But don’t worry he’ll be out of the hospital soon. And they only had to amputate his right leg from the knee down“
“Are you going to give me detention or do I have to stand in the corner?”
According to Mr. McNamara, that’s three-million four-hundred thousand Vietnamese, folks as if we lost 27 million American men, women, and children. Not to mention the 58,000 or so U.S. servicemen and women we did lose. Or those who were maimed.
So, was Jane Fonda right? 
From Pulitzer Prize winning “Hearts and Minds”
And don’t you wish she’d been president instead of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon?
Which brings me to the current so-called war. “So-called” because war can only be legally declared by Congress that is, if Congress abides by its own law and this “war,” just like each and every other one since WWII, wasn’t declared by Congress. See, the U.S. Congress didn’t declare it in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. 
But that’s no surprise. The U.S. Congress isn’t law abiding any more than the president is. If you want to get an idea how seriously and often these folks break their own laws, just review the Ninth and Tenth Amendments  to the U.S. Constitution to which they all pledge an oath when they take office. And don’t just take it from me check out Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws by former federal judge and Fox News analyst Andrew P. Napolitano.
As far as declaring war goes, grandfatherly Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) focuses in on government lawbreaking like a laser beam in a James Bond flick:
“I think it is a fact of modern history that declarations of war are gone. I think they are anachronistic. Clearly the Constitution assigns the declarations of war function to Congress and only to Congress. But declaring war has consequences in a technologically advanced world that nobody wants to face. Instead what you do is you call it a police action, as we did in Korea, or you call it something else, but you do not formally take that giant leap of declaring war.”
– Congressional Record, June 7, 1995
But Mr. Hyde (not kidding about his name either) conveniently misses the point: Declaring war is supposed to be a “giant leap.” It’s almost never supposed to happen. That’s the point!
And just so there’s no doubt about Congress and the Constitution, Hyde went on to explain that in general, the Constitution has been “overtaken by events, by time” and is “no longer relevant to modern society.” 
Then why swear to “uphold and defend” it when you take office?
So, for those few who still think the U.S. Congress should abide by its own laws, this “war” isn’t, apparently, a war. But since they persist in calling it “war” anyway because everyone knows that’s what it really is we can let them have their way. In which case, this “war” is illegal. Just like every so-called war the U.S. government has started since WWII. 
Not only are those other “wars” Korea, Afghanistan, the Gulf War, Yugoslavia, Panama, and the current one in Iraq illegal according to the U.S. Constitution, they’re also illegal according to the Geneva Accords , and the NATO Charter, and the UN Charter.
“In helping maintain international peace and security, Chapter 7 of the UN Charter assigns an important role to regional organizations [like NATO], but, as secretary-general, I have many times pointed out that under the [UN] Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security and this is explicitly acknowledged in the North Atlantic Treaty [founding document of NATO]. Therefore the [UN Security] Council should be involved in any decision to resort to force.”
– United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, March 24, 1999
But as bad as they were, the excuses and homework done for the Vietnam “War” were rock-solid compared to the sorry excuses for this “war,” so-called “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
Unreported in the U.S. corporate media, the U.S. government, in cahoots with the British government, were since 1992 engaged in the “secret war” bombing of Iraq, described as “ the longest Anglo-American campaign of aerial bombardment since World War Two.” This bombing was stepped up significantly in the last months before the latest invasion of Iraq. According to Democracy Now! reporter Jeremy Scahill, June 6, 2005, it was common knowledge among the Iraqi leadership Saddam Hussein, Tariq Aziz, etc. that the U.S. was hoping the stepped-up bombing would be a Gulf-of-Tonkin-like provocation that got Iraq to seem to attack first.
That didn’t work, and in the last analysis, all the excuses Mr. G.W. Bush gave for attacking the people of Iraq in 2003 were either wrong or lies.  Probably both. Many folks in addition to Americans who still believe in the U.S. Constitution regard the “war” on Iraq as illegal, and U.S. tactics in the “war on terror” as terrorism. 
- Iraq had no WMD:
“President Bush and his vice president conceded Thursday in the clearest terms yet that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. Cheney dismissed the significance of Duelfer’s central findings, telling supporters in Miami, ‘The headlines all say “no weapons of mass destruction stockpiled in Baghdad.” We already knew that.'”
– “Bush, Cheney Concede Saddam Had No WMDs,” Associated Press, Oct. 7, 2004
- According to nearly all sources including a CIA report Iraq had no al-Qaeda links. 
- Iraq had no connection to the 9/11 attacks:
“‘We’ve had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in Sept. 11,’ Bush told reporters as he met members of Congress on energy legislation.”
– “Bush Distances from Cheney on Saddam-9/11 Link,” Reuters, Sept. 17, 2003
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld agrees. So does neocon guru and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. You can find the Laura Ingraham transcript quoting Wolfowitz here.
Now, finally, the U.S. corporate media has been dragged, kicking and screaming, to focus on the Downing Street Memo, or DSM. The DSM, a July 23, 2002, briefing to top British Cabinet officials, revealed that the “intelligence and facts were fixed around the policy” in order to justify a military invasion of Iraq. This memo points to the real origin of the well-orchestrated full-court press to create and justify the invasion.
In normal-speak, that means Bush and Blair decided to invade Iraq first, then look for or manufacture excuses. This manufacturing of excuses to attack the people of Iraq was largely carried out by the “Office of Special Plans” specially created for the job. 
And finally, pressure is building to look at the implications of the DSM, and a Reuters reporter actually asked about it in a joint Bush/Blair media conference. Apparently it was a surprise to both Bush and Blair. Normally reporters who ask such embarrassing questions get ignored or banished. Often both. Even media veterans like Helen Thomas.
In the clip below — I edited it for time and relevance — watch Blair’s facial expressions after he gives his response to the charges of “fixing the facts around the policy.” And watch Bush’s signature smirk as he claims “no one wants to put their military into combat.”
from Bush/Blair Media Conference, June 7, 2005
At any rate, how can men who both claim they were using the UN to find a peaceful solution look The Blix Choice in the face?
“[Chief UN weapons inspector] Dr. [Hans] Blix
said the choice for the UN was between continued containment and invasion. Both strategies had problems, but an invasion required 250,000 troops and over $100bn while for containment the numbers were 250 inspectors and $80m.”
– “U.S. Claim Dismissed by Blix,” The Guardian, Feb. 5, 2003
That’s 250 inspectors plus $80 million dollars
250,000 troops plus $100 billion dollars. 
And does the following sound like folks who are trying “to look for a way of managing to resolve this without conflict” (Blair) or went to the United Nations with the notion that a plan to use force couldn’t have been “further from the truth” (Bush)?
“[British] Ministers were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal. Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W. Bush three months earlier [April 2002]. The briefing paper said that since regime change was illegal it was ‘necessary to create the conditions’ which would make it legal. [T]he American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal U.S. action.
“The document said the only way the allies could justify military action was to place Saddam Hussein in a position where he ignored or rejected a United Nations ultimatum.
The suggestions that the allies use the UN to justify war contradicts claims by Blair and Bush, repeated during their Washington summit last week, that they turned to the UN in order to avoid having to go to war. The attack on Iraq finally began in March 2003.”
– “Ministers Were Told of Need for Gulf War ‘Excuse,’ The Sunday Times (UK), June 12, 2005
If you don’t trust the British top-level memos, how about the ultraconservative Washington Times:
“George Bush set the U.S. on the path to war in Iraq with a formal order signed in February 2002, more than a year before the invasion, according to a book published yesterday.
Rumsfeld’s War is by Rowan Scarborough, the Pentagon correspondent for the conservative Washington Times newspaper.
‘On February 16, 2002, Bush signed a secret national security council directive establishing the goals and objectives for going to war with Iraq, according to classified documents I obtained,’ Mr. Scarborough wrote.”
– “Bush ‘Wanted War in 2002,’” The Guardian, Feb. 24, 2004
The timeline: Feb. 16, 2002, Bush signs “secret national security council directive” to invade Iraq. Three months later (April) he tells Tony Blair at the Crawford, Texas, ranch, and three months after that (July 2002), the British Cabinet is briefed on the need to find an excuse since Britain will be complicit in the coming illegal U.S. actions.
Pulitzer Prize winning Seymour Hersh, UNI, Urbana-Champagne, May 10, 2005
But in the case of Iraq, why did Bush and Blair lie? Why did Bush want to invade Iraq if it wasn’t the WMD, al-Qaeda connections, or 9/11?
The probable answer can be gleaned from neocon headquarters, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). In particular, the omnipotent folks at PNAC produced a blueprint for your future, released in September 2000 well before 9/11 and titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” This blueprint states, “while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” Could this PNAC notion that there was a “need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf” be the real reason the intelligence and facts were “fixed around the policy”?
The next logical question is, why a “substantial American force presence in the Gulf”? This may well be a hangover from the naive zero-sum mercantilist economic thinking typical of non-Austrian School 20th century economists, famously stated:
“We have about 50 percent of the world’s wealth but only 6.3 percent of its population. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real test in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization.” 
Economics, however, is anything but a zero-sum game.
Interestingly, that same PNAC document written well before 9/11 remember suggests that the process of transforming the U.S. into “tomorrow’s dominant force” is likely to be a long one in the absence of “some catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor.”  It’s also interesting in this context that a Zogby poll showed that “half of New Yorkers believe U.S. leaders had foreknowledge of impending 9/11 attacks and ‘consciously failed’ to act.” 
As of June 23, 2005, a Rasmussen Report poll found that 49 percent of surveyed Americans thought Bush was responsible for the war in Iraq and only 44 percent blamed it on Saddam Hussein. If I were on the Bush team, I’d be worried. Very worried.
Now once again, Mr. McNamara:
Robert S. McNamara, Sony Classics, “The Fog of War”
So how is the current non-war stacking up death-wise?
As of this writing, a very conservative estimate is that at least 23,000 Iraqi citizens have been killed as a result of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” This only includes those deaths reported and verified in the newspapers and other media.
If you’re connected to the Internet, here’s that same conservative estimate but up-to-date:
A more realistic study, first released by prestigious British medical journal The Lancet on Oct. 29, 2004, suggests there were at least 100,000 excess Iraqi deaths as a result of the 2003 invasion, most caused by violence and most of those caused by Coalition  air strikes. Since, in the words of U.S. CENTCOM General Tommy Franks, “We don’t do body counts,” the Lancet figures are the most accurate figures available.
As might be expected, a government-sponsored disinformation campaign ensued, but was thoroughly discredited by a well reasoned rebuttal from The Lancet and others.
This 100,000 number has obviously increased since the October 2004 release date of that study. 
And of course, there are the U.S. servicemen who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan almost 2,000 as of this writing.
This figure does not include the approximately 10,740 U.S. soldiers officially listed as maimed and/or wounded as of February 2005. 
But before you act on what I say when I tell you that your president and commander-in-chief lied you into the Iraq non-war, that he should be treated accordingly, and that for your own self-respect and self-preservation, you should refuse to kill innocent men, women, and children, check around. No matter how sane and normal that advice sounds, you still might want to indulge in “due diligence.”
So how about starting with a U.S. Navy court-martial judge:
Democracy NOW!, May 13, 2005
Or do you want to end up like Rambo? 
Or, all fact no fiction, like Ron Kovic, author of Born on the Fourth of July?
What You Can Do
- Join over 500,000 folks and sign the petition to impeach G.W. Bush.
- Sign the American Friends Service Committee petition to bring the troops home.
- Pass this article around to any folks you know who are in the military or have relatives in the military and save the link for later.
- If you are draft age or know someone who is, acquaint yourself with your draft options. Once again, the American Friends Service Committee is a good place to begin, particularly their “Youth & Militarism” page. Rumor also has it they may have access to a modern “underground railroad” (they were instrumental in setting up the original that helped slaves escape their masters) to get folks who don’t want to kill other folks, military or otherwise, out of the country.
- Read the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights, starting with the preamble. Then you’ll at least know what the law of the land is and whether or not you want the politicians to obey the laws they swear to “defend and uphold.”
- Stay up-to-date and show up at the Sept. 25, 2005, antiwar/impeachment demonstrations.
- Learn how tricking populations into war has become standard operating procedure for modern governments and discover the likely main reason why.
- Stay informed. The U.S. corporate media (ABC, NBC, CBS, Time Warner, etc.) the fifth branch of government  often can’t and won’t tell the truth. They regularly employ the Goebbels gambit: “Don’t tell them then it will not exist.”  Instead, get your news through the Internet from sites such as Antiwar.com, The Price of Liberty, The Libertarian Enterprise, America in Denial, Rational Review, Strike the Root, etc. Also, for regular weekday news coverage, find Democracy Now! (Link TV Channel 375 on Direct TV or Channel 9410 on the DISH network) and News World International (Channel 366 on Direct TV).
 The idea behind the so-called “Domino Theory” was that if South Vietnam fell to the communists, so would all the other countries in the area as if they were all a row of lined-up dominoes. return
“Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war, neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” return
 In 1972, as a peace activist, actress Jane Fonda visited North Vietnam and claimed the U.S. was wrong to be involved. She also claimed U.S. soldiers were war criminals. Much fact and fiction ensued and for a time, Fonda became known among the pro-war folks as “ Hanoi Jane.” return
 “Article I. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Section 8. The Congress shall have Power
Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.”
– U.S. Constitution
“[T]he executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.”
– James Madison return
 Bill of Rights
“Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
“Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” return
 Source: U.S. Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), P.O. Box 1776, Lake Jackson, TX 77566. Phone: (979) 265-3034 return
“Excluding World Wars and expeditions to suppress piracy or the slave trade, the United States has launched armed invasions and interventions in other countries on more that 130 separate occasions, including China (on 18 separate occasions), Mexico (13), Nicaragua and Panama (9 each), Honduras (7), Colombia and Turkey (6 each), the Dominican Republic, Korea, and Japan (5 each), Argentina, Cuba, Haiti, the Kingdom of Hawaii, and Samoa (4 each), Uruguay and Fiji (3 each), Guatemala, Lebanon, the Soviet Union, and Sumatra (2 each), Grenada, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Chile, Morocco, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Syria, Iraq, Peru, Formosa, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam [list based on compilations by the House Armed Services Committee].”
– “The Common Enemy,” by Carl Sagan, Parade magazine, Feb. 7, 1988
Of course, there have been a few additions to the 130 counted by Sagan in 1988 Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Haiti, Somalia, Kosovo, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq again, etc. And these are just the official military interventions. As of 2004, the U.S. had more than 300,000 troops stationed in 135 foreign countries and an FBI presence in over 60 countries.
For a more thorough list of U.S. interventions, see this.
There are also other less forceful intrusions, usually including the U.S.-controlled International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. See, for example, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. return
 “According to the 1954 Geneva Accords, the U.S. was only allowed 350 military advisers in Vietnam, yet by 1961 there were already 700 and Kennedy eventually authorized 12,000 ‘advisers.'”
– Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets, 2001 return
“WARSAW (AFP) – In a first sign of official criticism in Poland of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, President Aleksander Kwasniewski said that his country had been ‘taken for a ride’ about the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in the strife-torn country.
‘That they deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction, that’s true. We were taken for a ride,’ Kwasniewski said Thursday.”
– Agence-France Presse, March 18, 2004 return
 U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney was the point man for creating the false impression that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks. The Office of Special Plans, charged with cherry-picking weak and/or false intelligence linking Iraq with al-Qaeda, delivered its fruits directly to Cheney’s office. Typical of Cheney’s disingenuous tactics was his statement when questioned by Tim Russert on Meet the Press about the nonexistent Saddam links to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks: “I’m not surprised the American people believe Saddam was involved in 9/11,” he said. I guess not he was instrumental in creating that impression. return
 “At issue is a secret Pentagon committee headed by Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, that is widely believed to be responsible for gathering much of the erroneous intelligence information used by President Bush and senior White House officials on the so-called Iraqi threat, specifically, its ties to al-Qaeda.
“The Pentagon unit, called the Office of Special Plans, was formed, according to published reports, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to find links between Iraq and al-Qaeda. About a dozen former CIA intelligence officials have been quoted as saying that the Office of Special Plans cherry-picked intelligence, much of which was gathered by unreliable Iraqi defectors, to make a stronger case for war and delivered directly to Vice President Dick Cheney’s office and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice without first being vetted by the CIA.”
– “Wolfowitz: Iraq Not Involved in 9-11, No Ties to al-Qaeda, Jason Leopold, Aug. 7, 2003
 The price tag just (June 16, 2005) has exceeded twice that amount, $200 billion dollars. return
“Code-named Operation Northwoods, the plan, which had the written approval of the [Joint Chiefs] Chairman [Lemnitzer] and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war [against Castro’s Cuba].”
– Body of Secrets, James Bamford, 2001 return
“General Sanchez said he was ‘very happy’ with the current level of allied forces in Iraq 120,000 Americans and 15,000 troops from other countries.
No further troop contributions from other countries, other than perhaps a small contingent from Japan, are expected.”
– “U.S. Troops Are Expected to Remain in Iraq,” New York Times, Dec. 16, 2003
“The Dutch have 1,300 troops in Iraq.”
– Andrea Mitchell, CNBC, March 17, 2004
 The way the Western corporate media are covering it, it seems as if the so-called “insurgents” are just blowing themselves and other random folks up indiscriminately. While suicide bombers obviously cause collateral damage, just as does coalition bombing (see “Greetings From Fallujah!“), their primary targets are those who are collaborating with those they consider the invaders, that is, those cooperating with the so-called “Coalition of the Willing.” return
 Interestingly, in September 2004, six months before the above official figures were released, UPI reported that, in addition to the 1,019 dead and 7,245 wounded, the military had evacuated an additional 16,765 individual service members from Iraq and Afghanistan for injuries. This implies:
1. Approximately 25,000 U.S. soldiers have been injured enough in Iraq and Afghanistan to be evacuated.
2. There is a concerted effort to hide this fact from “we the people.” return
 First Blood was, naturally, a work of fiction, but the situations dramatized by Sylvester Stallone in this clip are only too realistic given the history of Vietnam vets. This is already beginning to be hauntingly familiar to the vets of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” return
 The fourth branch of government is the Federal Reserve as you’ll no doubt discover shortly. return
 Chief Nazi “Information Officer” Joseph Paul Goebbels (in Goebbels, From Economics to Publicity, ed. 1955, Alles die Zeitungen collection, Dr. Herzbold Neher) return
A reproducible CD of this article including videos is available from the author: mailto:LReichardWhite@yahoo.com.