CRAIGforCONGRESS

Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives

  
 

 

 

Liberty Under God
IS UNDERMINED BY
Trusting the Government



Congress should
  • not ask Americans to "trust" the government

Those who criticize the government are themselves criticized for not "trusting" the government.

Trusting the government is

  1. un-American
  2. un-Christian
  3. un-wise

It is un-American to trust the government because the Founders of our government urged us not to.

It is un-Christian to trust the government because of the Christian doctrine of "the Depravity of Man." America's Founders, having been educated in a Calvinist nation, would agree.

It is unwise to trust the U.S. Government because the U.S. government is the most corrupt, lawless, and evil government on earth.

1. Trusting Government is Un-American

How do libertarians respond to the accusation that they do not have enough trust in government? John Adams wrote in 1772:

There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty."

Should libertarians have more confidence in their government? Thomas Jefferson, 1799:

Confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism. Free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy, and not confidence, which prescribes limited constitutions to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power.… In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.

James Madison warned the people of Virginia (1799):

the nation which reposes on the pillow of political confidence, will sooner or later end its political existence in a deadly lethargy.

Madison added in Federalist No. 55,

[T]here is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust. . . .

Trusting government, having "confidence in government," is un-American.

The British historian Lord Acton put it this way:

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.

The exercise of political power is problematic. We should assume that "great men" -- that is, powerful men -- men who wield the force of "the government" -- are morally corrupt. This assumption should be considered confirmed if he increases his own power during his time of "public service."

It’s just fascinating to see how deferential Americans have been to the government seizing nearly absolute power in area after area. Something that was great about this country was Americans had a natural skepticism of politicians and of government authority. But that’s something which has been lost. I was fascinated by the opinion polls, the opinion numbers in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks. Trust in government doubled overnight. The percentage of Americans that trusted the government to do the right thing was up in the sixty or seventy percents, and this is after the biggest federal screwup since Pearl Harbor. But it was this surge in trust of government. That was a reason that Bush could con the American people into war with Iraq. And that’s why Bush has gotten away with so much other lawbreaking, because people trusted the government. And if there’s any lesson from the post-9/11 world, it is that the more esteem the government gets, the more dangerous it becomes.
James Bovard

2. "Trusting" Government is un-Christian

It was America's Christian-Calvinist milieu that laid the foundation for America's Founding Fathers' unwillingness to "trust government." Americans in 1776 believed in "the Depravity of Man."

If you accept that doctrine, the last thing you want to do is give depraved man a monopoly of institutional power to do evil.

But that's what "government" represents.


Depravity Chart
Depravity Under "Anarchy" and "Government"


Problem

Under Anarchy

Under "Government"

Reality

Theft

Given freedom (the absence of government), the depraved man will steal your money.


We've been trained in government schools to believe that without government ("anarchy"), we would have chaos and disorder. Nobel Prize-winning economist Freidrich Hayek has shown that order is created by cooperation under freedom from government intervention. Socialism creates economic disorder, poverty, and ultimately death.

Definitions:

An-archy: A society without archists, made up of people who believe it is wrong to initiate force or threaten violence against others.

Archism: An "archist" is someone who believes he has the right to impose his will on other people by force or threats of violence.

Depravity: the selfish desire to be an archist.

Given government power, that same depraved man will only tax you "responsibly," taking only what is needed for "the public good," or "the general welfare."

Lord Acton:

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.
In 1994 “criminals” committed 7,885 bank robberies, taking $28 million. That same year, “government agencies” seized $2.1 Billion in “asset forfeiture proceedings,” often without “probable cause,” and often not returned even when innocence was proven.

Taxation steals hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Fiat money is a form of theft. Trillions of dollars a year.

As long as men are depraved, there will be more theft when depraved men are given the power of "the State."

There will be less theft under "anarchy," as long as parents have the right to homeschool their children and teach them "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God."

Adultery 

Given freedom, the depraved man will lust after your wife. Given a job with TSA, that same depraved man will behave as a gentleman, professionally evaluating your wife under her clothes through a sophisticated X-ray machine, and ensuring public safety by groping her private parts to vindicate her honor as a non-terrorist. As long as men are depraved, they should not be given power over women through government agencies.

Murder

Given freedom, a depraved man will kill other human beings. Given government power, a depraved man would never, ever
  • send a drone against anyone to assassinate them without due process,
  • bomb a nation of human beings "back to the stone age" because their "leader" would not "cooperate" with a United Nations Resolution,
  • lie on the witness stand to get a conviction for the death penalty
World Governments have murdered an average of 10,000 human beings every single day of the year for the last 100 years without just cause.

So-called "anarchists" (that is, archists operating without government approval) only succeed in killing about that many people every year.

These figures do not include abortion, which are a coordinated public/private enterprise, approved -- and often funded -- by government. Governments tell us all that mothers have a "fundamental right" to murder their babies. Today -- during the next 24 hours -- 115,000 babies will be murdered around the world.

"Governments" have killed around 200 million of their "own" post-unaborted citizens. Wars against the post-unaborted citizens of other nations have killed an equal or greater number. That's half a BILLION murders in the last century, committed by governments.

As many as 90 million people were murdered in World War II, which ensured that Poland could be given to Stalin, and China could be given to Mao. 76 million human beings were murdered under Mao. Could Japan have been worse for the Chinese? Could the complete absence of organized governments have been worse for the world in the 20th century?

More details.

Kidnapping 

Given the freedom of anarchy, a depraved man will enslave another human being.

Given government power, that same depraved man would never, ever

Government archists -- not so-called "anarchists" -- are responsible for the greatest deprivation of human liberty.

  "If men were angels," James Madison once said, we need not have a government. If men are depraved, we dare not have one. Because we've been trained to fear "anarchy," we give massive lethal power to "archists," who ban the Ten Commandments from government-run schools, and engage in more sin, wickedness, violence, death, and destruction than a Free Market would ever allow unorganized "anarchists" to commit.

Trusting government is idolatry. Government is The Most Lethal Idolatry in Human History.


Adolph Hitler did not kill six million Jews.

Name one Jew whom you can prove Hitler killed.

Six million Jews were killed by
six million Germans
who chose to wear a silly uniform, walk a silly goose-step, and follow the orders of a beyond-silly, pathologically evil man.

These Germans were archists. They were "ordinary people." Just like you.

If you don't take immediate steps to become an anarchist, then by default you'll be an archist. Plus, you'll be unable to resist the temptations, the bribes, the pressure and the threats by archists to become an archist. You'll become an archist just like those rows and rows of "good" Germans above. They are just like you. You are just like them. "Sensible." "Rational." "Practical."


How to Become A Christian Anarchist


3. Trusting the U.S. Government is Un-Wise

In fact, trusting the U.S. Government is Heartless and Cruel.

Trusting the U.S. Government Makes us Less Human

The following reasons not to trust the U.S. Government are from an article entitled "World's Most Evil and Lawless Institution? The Executive Branch of the U.S. Government" in AlterNet / By Fred Branfman. I don't know why Branfman limits his discussion to the Executive Branch. The Congress could have stopped all this evil. It didn't. The Supreme Court could have issued an opinion as to its Constitutionality, as well as its morality. It didn't. It's not just the Executive Branch that we can't trust, nor is it just the U.S. Federal Government that we can't trust; it's the entire concept of a monopoly of violence entrusted to depraved men. By definition, every "government" is a criminal enterprise.

Here is a lengthy excerpt from that article:


It is a matter of indisputable fact that the U.S. Executive Branch has over the past 50 years been responsible for bombing, shooting, burning alive with napalm, blowing up with cluster bombs, burying alive with 500-pound bombs, leveling homes and villages, torturing, assassinating and incarcerating without evidence more innocent civilians in more nations over a longer period of time than any other government on earth today.

Americans keep this secret because facing it openly would upend our most basic understandings about our nation and its leaders. A serious public discussion of it would reveal, for example, that we cannot trust Executive Branch leaders’ human decency, words, or judgment. And more troubling, acknowledging it would mean admitting to ourselves that we have been misleading our own children, that our silence has robbed them of the truth of their history and made it more likely that future leaders will continue to commit acts that stain the very soul of America.

Can Americans Trust the U.S. Executive Branch?

Columnist George Will recently summarized the fundamental issue underlying not only Edward Snowden's recent whistleblowing, but all controversies about U.S. Executive Branch behavior: "The problem is we're using technologies of information-gathering that didn't exist 20 years ago... and they require reposing extraordinary trust in the Executive Branch of government."

Former Bush aide Matthew Dowd chimed in on the same talk show, saying "what they're saying is trust us, trust us." trust is indeed the only basis for supporting a U.S. Executive which hides its activities from its own citizens.

But can we trust the Executive’s Branch’s commitment to truth, law and democracy, or even basic human decency? Judging its actions, not words, over the past 50 years is the key to deciding this issue. And we might begin with some basic questions:

How would you regard the leaders of a foreign power who sent machines of war that suddenly appeared over your home, dropped bombs which killed dozens of your neighbors and your infant daughter, wounded your teenage son, destroyed your home, and then forced you into a refugee camp where your older daughter had to prostitute herself to foreigners in order to support you, your wife and legless son? (U.S. Executive Branch officials created over 10 million refugees in South Vietnam.)

What would you think of foreign leaders who occupied your country, disbanded the military and police, and you found yourself at the mercy of marauding gangs who one day kidnapped your uncle and cousin, tortured them with drills, and then left their mangled bodies in a garbage dump? (U.S. Executive Branch officials occupied Iraq, disbanded the police, and failed to provide law and order as legally required of Occupying Powers.)

How would you view a foreign power which bombed you for five and a half years, forced you and your family to live in caves and holes like animals, burned and buried alive countless of your neighbors, and then one day blinded you in a bombing raid that leveled your ancestral village, where you had honored your ancestors and had hoped after your death to be remembered by your offspring? (U.S. Executive Branch leaders massively bombed civilian targets in Laos for nine years, Cambodia for four years.)

What would you think of foreign assassins whom as Jeremy Scahill reports in Dirty Wars, broke into your house at 3:30am as a dance was coming to an end, shot your brother and his 15-year old son, then shot another of your brothers and three women relatives (the mothers of 16 children) denied medical help to your brother and 18-year-old daughter so that they slowly bled to death before your eyes, then dug the bullets out of the women's bodies to cover up their crimes, hauled you off to prison, and for months thereafter claimed they were acting in self-defense? And how would you feel toward the leaders of the nation that had fielded not only these JSOC assassins but thousands more, who were conducting similar secret and lawless assassinations of unarmed suspects while covering up their crimes in many other countries around the world? (3)

How would you view the foreign leaders responsible right now for drone attacks against you if you lived in northwest Pakistan where, a Stanford/NYU study reported after a visit there,

"hovering drones have traumatized millions living in these areas. Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves."

These are not rhetorical questions. Every one of these acts, and countless more, have been committed by the U.S. Executive Branch over the past 50 years, and will continue indefinitely until it is transformed. If we judge them by their actions, not words, we must face the following facts:

  • The U.S. Executive Branch killed in Vietnam from a U.S. Senate Refugee Subcommittee estimated 415,000 civilians to the 1.2 million civilians later estimated by Robert McNamara, to the two million civilians estimated by Nick Turse. And it wounded at least 1,050,000 civilians and refugeed at least 11,368,000, according to the Refugee subcommittee (3); assassinated through its Phoenix Program an officially estimated 26,000 civilians, and imprisoned and tortured 34,000 more, on unproven grounds that they were "Vietcong cadre"; created an estimated 800,000-1.3 million war orphans and 1 million war widows; and after the war ended left behind Agent Orange poisons, unexploded cluster bombs, and landmines, creating an estimated 150,000 deformed Vietnamese children; and killing and maiming 42,000 peacetime victims.
  • The U.S. Executive has, in Laos, conducted nine years of bombing which has been estimated by Laos' National Regulatory Authority to have killed and wounded a minimum of 30,000 civilians by bombing from 1964-'73, and another 20,000 since then from the unexploded cluster bombs it left behind. It also created over 50,000 refugees after it had leveled the 700-year-old civilization on the Plain of Jars.
  • The U.S. Executive has, in Cambodia, killed and wounded tens of thousands of civilians by carpet-bombing villages from 1969-'75. All told, after Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger secretly bombed and invaded Cambodia, waging a war that made the U.S. Executive responsible for casualties on all sides, the U.S. Senate Refugee Subcommittee estimated that 450,000 persons had been killed and wounded, and 3,990,000 made refugees. (4) Historian Michael Clodfelter has estimated that 600,000 Cambodians died from all causes during the U.S. Executive's aggressive war.(5)*
  • The U.S. Executive under Bill Clinton in Iraq, John Tirman reports in The Deaths of Others, imposed an embargo so severe that "UNICEF estimated that 500,000 children under five years of age had died as a result of the war and sanctions from malnutrition, diseases for which cures were available but medicine in Iraq was not, and poor health at birth due to prenatal effects on mothers." (6) Dennis Halliday, Assistant UN Secretary General, declared that "I had been instructed to implement a (sanctions) policy that has effectively killed over a million individuals."
  • And after invading Iraq in 2003, the Executive under George W. Bush, as the Occupying Power, was legally responsible for maintaining law and order. Its war was also an aggressive war as outlawed at Nuremberg. It thus bears both the moral and legal responsibility for the deaths of more than 130,000 Iraqis(Iraq Body Count) to 654,965 (Lancet Scientific Journal) to 1,220,580 (Opinion Research Business), hundreds of thousands more wounded, and more than officially estimated 5 million refugees.
  • The Executive has, in Afghanistan, conducted thousands of night raids familiar to viewers of World War II Gestapo movies – killing over 1500 civilians in 6282 raids in 10 months from 2010 to early 2011 alone, as revealed by investigative reporter Gareth Porter. They have also conducted numerous bombing strikes and supported a corrupt regime which has stolen billions of dollars while their fellow citizens died for lack of healthcare and food.
  • The Executive has, in Pakistan and Yemen, killed an estimated 2,800-4,000 persons from drone strikes, only 73 of whom it has named. Most were killed in “signature strikes” in which the victims’ names were unknown, and who in no way threatened the United States.
  • Also, over the past 50 years, the U.S. Executive Branch bears a major responsibility for massive death and torture throughout Central and Latin America and in Africa. Church, human rights and others estimate that U.S.-installed, trained, equipped and advised death squads in El Salvador and Contras in Nicaragua killed well over 35,000 and 30,000 persons respectively. The U.S.-supported Rios Montt regime in Guatemala killed an estimated 200,000. The U.S.-supported coup in Chile brought to power a regime that killed an estimated 3,200-15,000 political opponents and tortured another 30,000. U.S. support for Indonesian government genocide in East Timor helped kill over 200,000 persons. U.S. support for terrorists led by Jonas Savimbi in Angola helped kill an estimated 1.2 million persons and displaced another 1.5 million. (7)

And how much can you trust the decency of a US. Executive that treats these millions of human beings as mere nameless, faceless "collateral damage" at best, direct targets at worst, as human garbage barely worthy of mention, as "non-people" as Noam Chomsky has observed?

We almost never ask such questions in this country, never try to put ourselves in the shoes of the tens of millions of victims of our leaders' war-making, because doing so confronts us with a grave dilemma. On the one hand, if we would say these acts are evil if done to ourselves they are obviously also evil when done to others. But admitting that would require most of us to challenge our most basic beliefs about this nation and its leadership. And if we are members of our political, intellectual, media, government and private sector elites, it would threaten our jobs and livelihoods.

We are divided. The honest part of ourselves knows there is only one word that can adequately describe the U.S. Executive Branch’s indifference to non-American life. It is not a word to be used lightly, for overuse robs it of its power. But when appropriate, failing to use it is an act of moral cowardice that assures its continuation. That word is evil.

If we would regard such acts as evil if done to us, they are equally evil if done to others. This is what we teach our children when we teach them the Golden Rule or that America is a nation of laws, not men. It means, simply, that if needlessly ruining the lives of the innocent is evil, the U.S. Executive Branch is the most evil and lawless institution on the face of the Earth today, cannot be trusted, and poses a clear and present danger to countless innocents abroad and democracy at home.

We speak of “institutional evil” here because the greatest evils of our time are conducted by often personally decent, even idealistic, men and women. It is not necessary to be hate-filled or personally violent for an American to commit evil today. One need only be part of, or support the police, intelligence and military activities of the U.S. Executive Branch.

But the practical part of ourselves, the part that needs to make a living and maintain emotional equilibrium, leads us to ignore the mass evil our leaders engage in. It is so much easier. For accepting this truth means accepting that our leaders are not good and decent people; that JSOC commandos are not "heroes" but rather lawless assassins whose very existence shames us all; that we are not being protected, but endangered by leaders who are turning hundreds of millions of Muslims against us; that we must assume that Executive officials are right now secretly engaging in a wide variety of illegal and immoral activities that would shock and disgust us if they were revealed; and that we cannot believe a word they say when these abuses are revealed as they so regularly engage in secrecy and stonewalling, lying when discovered, covering up when the lie is revealed, and claiming it was an aberration and/or blaming it on a subordinate when the cover-up fails. (8)

The issue of trust is key since it is the only basis upon which U.S. citizens can support secret Executive actions about which they are not informed. And the issue of trust is ultimately a moral, not legal judgment. We acknowledge that the citizen actually has a moral obligation to resist an unjust law promulgated by an immoral government, whether in the Soviet Union, South Africa, or, as we acknowledge when we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, in America.

Even when the law is used by the likes of David Ignatius, David Brooks, Tom Brokaw, and Nancy Pelosi and to attack Edward Snowden, their key unstated assumption is that they trust the U.S. Executive since they know little more about its secret activities than anyone else. The moral dividing line is clear. Those indifferent to innocent human life and democracy are less angry at Executive mass murder and threats to democracy than at those who reveal this wrongdoing.

Although the principal responsibility for the millions of lives U.S. leaders have ruined lies with the Executive, most of America's other organs of power have also participated in keeping the screams of America's victims from reaching the public. Republicans and conservatives have not only shown no concern for America's innocent victims, but heartlessly cheered on its leaders' torment of the innocent.

Bush U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, when asked by a New York Times writer about U.S. responsibility to aid the millions of refugees its invasion of Iraq had created, responded that the refugees had “nothing to do with our overthrow of Saddam. Our obligation was to give them new institutions and provide security. We have fulfilled that obligation. I don’t think we have an obligation to compensate for the hardships of war. Helping the refugees flies in the face of received logic. You don’t want to encourage the refugees to stay.”

But particularly striking has been the behavior of centrists and liberals who know full well the horrors U.S. Executive Branch leaders have inflicted upon the innocent, espouse humanitarian values, but simply look the other way. The Times, for example, quite appropriately ran photos and small bios humanizing each of the nearly 3,000 Americans killed on 9/11. But its editors have made a conscious decision not to humanize virtually any of the millions of non-Americans U.S. leaders have killed abroad, as has the rest of the U.S. mass media.

David Petraeus became Afghanistan commander on July 4, 2010, and proceeded to loosen General McChrystal’s rules of engagement, triple bombing and night raids and invade southern Afghanistan, leading to a huge increase in U.S. and Taliban violence against civilians. Within months, the Red Cross said conditions for civilians were the worst they’d been for 30 years.

A Pakistan newspaper reported that things were so bad at the Kandahar Mirwais hospital that civilian casualties “overwhelm the limited bed space. On some days, the floor is red with blood” and that the overflow at Kandahar’s Mirwais hospital has forced hundreds of sick and injured Afghans to cross the border into Pakistan every day to seek medical treatment.” It also noted that “many Afghans are unable to get to basic healthcare” because despite hundreds of billions in U.S. spending on war, thirty years of conflict have left the country’s health care system struggling to cope.”

The Special Representative to Afghanistan of close ally Great Britain said “David Petraeus should be ashamed of himself ... He has increased the violence, trebled the number of special forces raids and there has been a lot more rather regrettable boasting from the military about the body count," and that “Petraeus has ignored his own principles of counter-insurgency which speaks of politics being the predominant factor in dealing with an insurgency."

But none of this reached the American public. No stories of visits to Kandahar Hospital, no interviews with Britain’s Special Representative appeared in the U.S. mass media. Instead, dozens of U.S. journalists visiting Afghanistan praised General Petraeus, and presented his sanitized version of a war in which only “militants” are killed. Petraeus’ greatest accomplishment, Time magazine columnist Joe Klein informed his readers after a Petraeus-managed trip to Afghanistan, was to turn the U. S. army into a “learning institution.”

And Democratic Party politicians, while at least voicing concern for those in need in this nation and acting honorably for a few brief moments at the end of the Indochina war, have funded the Executive's killing abroad and limited their own concerns to the wellbeing of America's soldiers. (9)

In 1967, Chomsky wrote a landmark essay titled "The Responsibility of Intellectuals," arguing that public intellectuals — who had the time, opportunity and freedom to study the pain its leaders inflicted upon the innocent, and to convey it to the larger public—had a special responsibility to do so.

But his argument, by and large, has fallen upon deaf ears, particularly since Vietnam. Thousands of intellectuals, members of Congress, pundits, academics and journalists have turned a blind eye to U.S. mass murder. And many even turned into "liberal hawks", supporting war against Iraq. The likes of the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen, the N.Y. Times’ Thomas Friedman, Slate’s Christopher Hitchens, The New Republic’s Leon Wieseltier, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, and many others not only urged a war that brought a living hell to Iraq, but being liberals, justified it on the grounds that it would help the Iraqi people. (See “Bush’s Useful Idiots,” by Tony Judt.)

They even denigrated the millions of decent and honorable Americans who marched to try and head off the Iraq war. It is so easy when making a good living and having access to “official sources” to see oneself as smarter and better-informed than “naïve” students and grandmothers in tennis shoes. Hitchens, for example, called war opponents "moral imbeciles," "noisy morons," "overbred and gutless," "naive" and "foolish."

And after the war began most of these “liberal war hawks” then turned a blind eye to the civilian carnage resulting from the war they had supported in the name of the Iraqi people, as the body count steadily rose by tens of thousands until over 5 million Iraqis were killed, wounded or made homeless. Nor did they apologize to the millions of their fellow Americans opposing the war whom they had so arrogantly maligned, and who had turned out to be so much wiser and more moral than they were.

Executive Evil in Microcosm: A Personal Report

I first encountered U.S. Executive evil and lawlessness in September 1969, when I interviewed the first Lao rice farmers to come out of communist zones in northern Laos into American zones around the capital city of Vientiane. I was horrified as these gentle Lao, who did not even know where America was, described living under U.S. bombing for five and a half years. I interviewed people who had been blinded and lost limbs and yet were the lucky ones because they had survived. As I learned of grandmothers burned alive, pregnant mothers buried alive, children blown to bits by antipersonnel bombs, and realized that millions of Lao and Vietnamese farmers were still being bombed, I felt as if I had discovered Auschwitz while the killing was still continuing.

As I began to research the bombing, visiting U.S. airbases in Thailand and South Vietnam, talking with U.S. Embassy officials, interviewing a former U.S. Air Force captain over a period of months, I learned it was but a handful of top U.S. Executive Branch leaders, Republicans and Democrats alike, who were solely responsible for the bombing. Neither Congress nor the American people had even been informed, let alone offered their consent. The U.S. Executive, I learned, was a power unto its own that could not legitimately claim to represent the American people.

From May 1964 until March 1970, U.S. Executive officials constantly denied they were even bombing in Laos. When the evidence became so great that even Richard Nixon had to admit the bombing, Executive Branch officials continued to lie by denying they had bombed any civilian targets at all—even as I was interviewing over 1,000 refugees on dozens of occasions and hearing from each that their villages had been destroyed and that they had witnessed countless civilian casualties.

One day I was shocked to feel pellets still in the body of an old grandmother and see a 3-year old girl with napalm wounds on her breast, stomach and vagina. That night I read that U.S. Air Attaché Colonel William Tyrrell had testified to the U.S. Senate that "I recall talking to refugees from (the Plain of Jars) and they told me they knew of no civilian casualties during the operation. Villages, even in a freedrop zone, would be restricted from bombing." (10)

I couldn't believe it! How could a U.S. official look a U.S. senator directly in the eye and tell so big a lie?

I also read how the Senate had not been told of this mass bombing, how Executive officials had lied to senators even in a closed 1968 hearing. Senator William Fulbright stated at the fall of 1969 hearing that "I think the surprise that is evidenced by the chairman of the subcom­mittee and others, that they did not know the extent of this involve­ment until these hearings, is pretty clear evidence that we were not aware of these activities, although we had had some hearings on it." (11)

Realizing that a handful of U.S. Executive Branch leaders had the power, all by themselves, to level the Plain of Jars shook me to my core. Every belief I had about America was upended. If a handful of Executive leaders could unilaterally and secretly destroy the 700-year-old civilization on the Plain of Jars, it meant that America was not a democracy, that the U.S. was a government of men, not laws. And it meant that these men were not good and decent human beings, but rather cold-blooded killers who showed neither pity nor mercy to those whose lives they so carelessly destroyed.

On a deeper level, it meant that even core beliefs I took for granted were untrue. Might did make right. Crime did pay. Suffering is not redemptive. Life looks very different in a Lao refugee camp looking up than in Washington, D.C. looking down. In those camps I realized that U.S. Executive Branch leaders lacked even a shred of simple human decency toward the people of the Plain.

I remember once laying in my bed late at night after returning from an interview with Thao Vong, a 38-year old Lao farmer who had been blinded in a U.S. bombing raid. Vong was a gentle soul, displayed no anger to those who had turned him from a provider of four into a helpless dependent. I contrasted him and the other Lao farmers who had been burned and buried alive by bombers dispatched by LBJ, McNamara, Nixon and Kissinger. The latter were ruthless, often angry and violent men, indifferent to non-American life—precisely the qualities threatening all life on earth. Thao Vong was gentle, kind and loving, and he and his fellow Lao wanted nothing more than to be left alone to raise their families, enjoy nature and practice Buddhism — precisely the qualities needed for humanity to survive.

I also thought of sweet-faced Sao Doumma, whose wedding photo had so struck me, and who was killed in a bombing raid executed by Henry Kissinger seven years later. (12)

And I found myself wondering: by what right does a Henry Kissinger live and a Sao Doumma die? Who gave Kissinger and Richard Nixon the right to murder her? Who gave Lyndon Johnson the right to blind Thao Vong? I found myself asking, what just law or morality can justify these "killers in high places" who burned and buried alive countless Lao rice farmers who posed no threat whatsoever to their nation, solely because they could?

I was also troubled by another thought: if even a Thao Vong and his fellow subsistence-level farmers were not safe from this kind of brutal savagery, who was? If I believed that a society is judged by how it treats the weakest among us, what did this say about my nation?

And I found myself particularly reflecting on the question I found most troubling of all: beyond the issue of lawless and heartless American leaders, what does it say about my species as a whole that the most powerful could so torment the weakest for so long with virtually no one else knowing or caring? I was anguished not only about this extreme form of mass murder, but what it implied about humanity.

I shuddered in 1969 as I reflected on what I was seeing with my own eyes. I shudder today as I write these words.

One particular fact puzzled me during my investigations of the air war. All the refugees said the worst bombing occurred from the end of 1968 until the summer of 1969. They were bombed daily, every village was leveled, thousands were murdered and maimed. But I knew from U.S. Embassy friends that there were no more than a few thousand North Vietnamese troops in Laos at the time, and that there was no military reason for the sudden and brutal increase in U.S. bombing. Why, then, had this aerial holocaust occurred?

And then, to my horror, I found out. At Senator Fulbright's hearing, he asked Deputy Chief of Mission Monteagle Stearns why the bombing of northern Laos had so intensified after Lyndon Johnson's bombing halt over North Vietnam. Stearns answered simply:

"Well, we had all those planes sitting around and couldn't just let them stay there with nothing to do." (13)

U.S. officials had exterminated thousands of people of the Plain of Jars, destroying their entire civilization, because the U.S. Executive just couldn't let its planes sit around with nothing to do. The fact that innocent human beings were living there was irrelevant. No one hated the Lao. For Executive policy-makers in Washington, they just didn't exist, had no more importance than cockroaches or mosquitoes.

And that wasn’t all. Once the planes became available, they did in fact discover a purpose for them, as the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Refugees reported in September 1970: "The United States has undertaken a large-scale air war over Laos to destroy the physical and social infrastructure in Pathet Lao held areas. Throughout all this there has been a policy of secrecy. The bombing has taken and is taking a heavy toll among civilians."

Once the planes became available, the people of the Plain of Jars were not "collateral damage" to military targets. They were the target.

Chomsky, who interviewed the refugees in 1970 and is the world's expert on U.S. war crimes abroad, has called the bombing of northern Laos "one of the most malevolent acts of modern history," and N.Y. Times columnist Anthony Lewis termed it "the most appalling episode of lawless cruelty in American history." Chomsky has also stated that though U.S. leaders did not achieve their primary goal of winning militarily in Indochina, they did destroy a possible independent economic alternative to the U.S. model for developing countries.

"Malevolence." "Lawless." "Cruel." These are not words we normally apply to the Executive Branch as an institution, or the individuals who head its powerful agencies. But if we are to decide whether we can trust the Executive Branch with our own lives we must face the truth of its evil lawlessness.


Footnotes

(1) Robert McNamara, “The Post-Cold War World; Implications for Military Expenditures In Developing Countries,” in Proceedings of the World Bank Annual Conference on Development Economics, 1991 (Washington D.C.: International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, 1991)

(2) See “Dollars and Deaths,” Congressional Record, May 14, 1975, p. 14262

(3) Kindle loc., 7078ff.

(4) “The Study Mission Report for the Subcommittee to Investigate Problems Connected With Refugees and Escapees,” January 27, 1975, p. 31

(5) Vietnam in Military Statistics, p. 278

(6) The Deaths of Others, Kindle loc. 3653

(7) The Deaths of Others, Kindle loc. 3311

(8) The Deaths of Others, kindle loc. 5988

(9) The two times Congress has limited Executive war-making were its vote to halt bombing over Cambodia in August 1973, and when it cut military aid to Thieu from $1.2 billion to $700 million in the fall of 1974.

(10) "United States Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad, Kingdom of Laos, "Hearings Before the Subcommittee on United States Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Ninety-First Congress, First Session, Part 2, October 20, 21, 22, and 28, 1969, p. 514

(11) “United States Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad, Kingdom of Laos," ibid.p. 547

(12) Sao Doumma’s wedding photo appears on the cover of Voices From the Plain of Jars, recently republished, which is the only book of the Indochina war written by the peasants who suffered most and were heard from least.

(13) ”United States Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad, Kingdom of Laos," ibid., p. 484

(14) The Untold History of the United States, p. 387, 395

(15) In The Death Of Others, John Tirman makes a convincing case that the 110,000 Iraqi dead estimated by the Iraq Body Count organization is far too law since they were limited to the relatively few deaths reported in English language newspapers, and located in Baghdad is far too low. He notes it depends upon English language newspapers, that most murders occur outside Baghdad in areas where few journalists visit, media coverage of Iraq plummeted post-invasion, and people often do not report deaths, particularly to the Iraqi authorities they mistrust. He also makes a strong case for believing the Johns Hopkins University estimates published in the Lancet scientific journal of more than 600,000 Iraqi dead. (Kindle loc. 5797 ff.)


Some might disagree with Branfman's conclusion (U.S. = most evil), citing Communist governments like the "former" Soviet Union and Red China.

The Soviet Union was propped up by technological, economic, and military aid by the U.S. See any of the works of Charles Levinson, or of Antony Sutton, Research Fellow at the prestigious Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Start with The Best Enemy Money Can Buy (1986) or National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union (1973). See also Joseph Finder, Red Carpet (1983).

Senator Joe McCarthy -- for all the invective against him - was right: The U.S. Federal Government was infested with commies:

The New American - The Real McCarthy Record - September 2, 1996
McCarthy's "Witches" - The New American - June 16, 2003
McCarthy and His Colleagues - The New American - June 16, 2003

The prestigious (and conservative) think-tank at Stanford University, the Hoover Institute, published a multi-volume study of de-classified State Department documents and other government records which proved beyond question that the Soviet Union would not have lasted more than a few years without technological and financial aid from the so-called "capitalist" West. Socialism does not work. It must be propped up by capitalism.

WALL STREET AND THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION

Antony Sutton

Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development, 1930-1945

The purpose of World War II -- which was determined not by the brave men and women who fought in it, but by the communists in the Roosevelt White House, the State Department and throughout the federal government -- was to extend communism, which was at least 10 times as lethal as Hitler. America only entered the war against German National Socialism in order to further International Socialism under Stalin.

The same is true for America's entry into the Pacific Theater against Japan: the goal was to eliminate a threat to international socialism in the Far East.
FDR and his communist advisors were planning to enter WWII even as they promised to keep our boys out of war, and in Asia they opened the door to Mao Tse Tung, keeping Douglas McArthur from closing it.

As many as 90 million human beings died in World War II,
to protect Soviet Stalinism, which was guilty of murdering a nearly equal amount of human beings, and
to promote Communism in Asia, which again resulted in the murder of a nearly equal amount (best estimate: 76 million murdered under Mao) of human beings. In many ways this massive global destruction of property, liberty, and human beings was led by the United States. It most certainly was aided and abetted.

More on World War II.

Many tyrants like Saddam Hussein and the Shah of Iran are puppets of the U.S. Mao may not have been a "puppet," whose strings were directly pulled by U.S. Puppetmasters (though we don't know everything there is to know), but he was certainly unleashed on the world by the U.S.

Branfman is right to conclude that the U.S. Government is the most evil and lawless government on earth.


Why a Bill of Rights? | Walter Williams
Why Bad Men Rule | Hans-Hermann Hoppe

"Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters ... but they mean to be masters."
~ Daniel Webster

A well-governed person, who yearns for a well-governed society, wants to place firm limits on "the government."



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