U.S. Secret War, Murder, Incompetence Are the Real Issues

I have been increasingly struck over the years by how America is divided between those who hear the screams of its millions of victims abroad and those who do not. This is the fundamental issue underlying Michael Kinsley’s recent attack on Glenn Greenwald, in which Kinsley wrote “newspapers should not have the final say over the release of government secrets. That decision must ultimately be made by the government.”1

As the U.S. Executive increasingly turns to secret warmaking — relying on lawless assassination from the air as U.S. drone bases spread around the world, and on the ground by U.S. “Joint Special Operations Command” assassins secretly operating in over 100 nations – the attached Powerpoint presentation entitled “Laos: Birthplace Of Modern U.S. Executive Secret War And A New ‘Ahuman’ Age” has become increasingly relevant. It combines my personal experiences in discovering the U.S. Secret War in Laos, which Noam Chomsky has called “one of the most malevolent acts of modern history”, with an exploration of its implications for clandestine U.S. warmaking today.

The real issue in Kinsley v. Greenwald, of course, is not “secrets” per se but how the U.S. government has used them to kill, wound, make homeless, torture and incarcerate without trial well over 20 million civilians over the past 50 years, far more than any other government on earth – and, at the same time, waste trillions in a losing strategy. American has not won a major war since the end of World War II, and present U.S. “counter-terror” strategy has seen its enemies grow far stronger throughout the Muslim world, Africa and Asia.2

Particularly striking is the monstrous media and “liberal” elite’s indifference to U.S.-caused human suffering. Few report, for example, on how Bush’s occupation of Iraq killed, wounded and made homeless over 5 million Iraqis.3

Rather than defend it, they cravenly ignore U.S. torment of the innocent, turning their heads and pretending they just do not see.

Supporting government secrecy also obscures how the U.S. government has weakened not strengthened U.S. national security. The U.S. Executive Branch has wasted $4-6 trillion on failed invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, enough to fund four years of free college education for all of America’s 20 million college students. Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya – one need only open the daily newspaper to see how thoroughly the U.S. Executive has increased not decreased the strength of U.S. foes.

An example: Karachi, Pakistan is in the news these days. But McClatchy reported five years ago that “concerns are growing among U.S. intelligence and military officials that (U.S. drone) strikes are bolstering the Islamic insurgency by prompting Islamist radicals to disperse into (Pakistan’s) heartland … Many militants are thought to have taken refuge among Karachi’s estimated 3.5 million Pashtuns, the ethnic group comprising the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan… An upheaval in Karachi, home to Pakistan’s stock exchange and other financial institutions, would be catastrophic.”4

Yes, U.S. Afghan policy has destabilized the far larger and nuclear-armed Pakistan, making violent reprisals against US violence far more likely.5

Since present U.S. warmaking is increasingly secret, relatively little is known about it. But important insights into it can be gained by understanding Laos — the U.S. Executive’s most extensive secret war to date. I recently prepared this presentation after being invited to Tulsa by Professor Jeremy Kuzmarov, one of the few academics who understands the present importance of the Secret War against Laos.6

  1. Eyes Everywhere,” NY Times. []
  2. Please see “The World’s Most Evil And Lawless Institution? The Executive Branch of the U.S. Government.” []
  3. 5 Million Iraqis Killed, Maimed, Tortured, Displaced — Think That Bothers War Boosters Like Christopher Hitchens? []
  4. Do U.S. Drones Kill Pakistani Extremists Or Recruit Them?” []
  5. Please see “Tom Brokaw, Bill O’Reilly, And Genuine U.S. National Security.“ []
  6. Interested folks are also directed to Marc Eberle’s film on YouTube: The Most Secret Place on Earth . []

Fred Branfman is an American anti-war activist and author of a number of books about the Indochina War, including Voices from The Plain of Jars, Life Under an Air War,. He can be reached at Fredbranfman@aol.com. Read other articles by Fred.