The Regime-Change Machine

The world is in chaos, war is breaking out all over, there’s blood flowing in the streets of cities from the Middle East to Africa, but not to worry – we’ve got an “Atrocity Prevention Board”! Now doesn’t that make you feel much better?

The board is chaired by the infamous Samantha Power – whose advocacy of the “responsibility to protect” doctrine is credited with the Obama administration’s support for Islamist rebels in Libya, and is currently energizing calls for a similar intervention in Syria. The announcement of this new bureaucratic instrument of war was made by Obama at a recent speech delivered at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, where professional warmonger and Israel Firster Elie Wiesel took the opportunity to call for war with Iran and the President, for his part, announced the imposition of new sanctions on both Iran and Syria.

The atrocities this board is supposed to prevent are those that are not committed by the US: our atrocities, you understand, are really “humanitarian” acts, as opposed to their atrocities, which are … well, just plain old atrocities. One can safely assume the cold-blooded murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, killed by US sanctions prior to the invasion, is not one of those atrocities to be considered by the Board. Nor will those many thousands of Iraqi civilians who lost their lives in the war be so recognized.

No, designation will be reserved for the actions of governments that defy our will, like Iran and Syria. Obama singled out South Sudan and Libya as monuments to this policy of “atrocity prevention” – Libya, whose Islamist government is jailing, murdering, and otherwise repressing its own people, and South Sudan, a completely made-up “nation” that owes its very existence to Western intervention, routinely arrests opposition figures and journalists, and is currently involved in putting down local and tribal insurgencies in the majority of its provinces (with our help, you can be sure).

The piddling atrocities carried out by such tinhorn despots as Bashar al-Assad and the Iranian mullahs are nothing compared to the large-scale war crimes routinely committed by US forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our drones roam the world, wreaking random havoc on innocents and “terrorists” alike – oh, but that isn’t an “atrocity.” It’s “fighting terrorism.” That is how the world’s biggest perpetrator of atrocities gets to set up an “Atrocity Prevention Board” and not be laughed off the world stage.

Where oh where does the authority to set up such a board come from? There’s no mention of it in the Constitution – but, then again, you don’t want to be labeled a “constitutional fundamentalist,” do you? So please shut up about that, and go on to the next question: did Congress ever authorize the creation of such a board? Well, who cares if they did or not? Because we don’t even need Congress to approve a declaration of war before the President calls out the troops – he can do so all on his own. After all, he’s the Emperor, the commander-in-chief, the Great Leader whose will is law when it comes to foreign policy. The Founders would be horrified – but who cares about those old white racists, anyhow? They would have been horrified by so much we take for granted that they might as well be aliens from another dimension: we can safely file their imagined objections away under “horse-and-buggy” and be done with them forever.

Yes, we live in a Brave New World, where, with the stroke of a pen, the Leader can create an entirely new government agency devoted to overseas espionage – the “Defense Clandestine Service,” which will no doubt cooperate with the Atrocity Prevention Board, the CIA, the DIA, and all the other alphabet-soup agencies that constitute the Regime Change Machine loudly revving up its motors. Together these assembled paper-pushers, political appointees, and military contractors constitute a formidable apparatus, well-oiled with billions of our tax dollars, to spread the “benefits” of American hegemony all across the globe: that’s “globalization” for you! All of them unaccountable, operating in secret, and owing loyalty only to themselves and whatever gang of thieves and opportunists happens to be running the US government at any particular moment.

Make no mistake: the “Atrocity Prevention Board” is an instrument of propaganda, targeted not at any foreign audience – which knows better than to take seriously the threadbare rationalizations of our bureaucrats – but at the US electorate, and, in particular, the policy-making elites. So, you don’t agree we ought to intervene in Nation X to save it from the depredations of Dictator Y? But the Atrocity Prevention Board has determined that a mass atrocity is scheduled to take place within days – what are you, a heartless “isolationist”?

In this way the machinery of war is prepared, public opinion is tamed, and the American agenda – global dominance [.pdf] – is implemented, with nary a protest to be heard.

The hypocrisy and duplicity of our ruling elites is boundless, and they don’t shy away from Orwellian phraseology: after all, who else would set up an “Atrocity Prevention Board” when they are themselves the single greatest perpetrators of atrocities on earth? That takes real chutzpah, a substance plentiful in Washington, D.C.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].