Gallery C

The War Machine
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Naval Attacks; A Long Favored Excuse To Go To War

By James Donahue

Before 911 the United States traditionally declared war against other nations because of naval attacks that were sensationalized by the media. It was always a carefully orchestrated event designed to enrage the general public enough to squelch any resistance to the horrors of enduring another war.

The 911 aerial attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center towers was a dramatic shift from the old naval assault technique. The attack was so successfully made, and was such a shocking event, that President George W. Bush and U.S. military leaders had no problem launching not just one, but two disastrous attacks on Middle Eastern countries that had nothing to do with the attack. The enemy was officially identified as al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist group that has cells throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa and Indonesia. This group had known terrorist cells operating in Afghanistan, where it was said the 911 plot was hatched, so Bush launched a war against the entire country under the guise of driving al-Qaeda into neighboring Pakistan.
So why didn’t Bush expand the war into Pakistan, but instead declared war against Iraq, which had no business with al-Qaeda and nothing to do with the 911 attacks? Apparently because he could get away with what he did. Americans appeared to be so petrified by what happened Bush, Cheney and their gang got away with just about anything they wanted to do in the weeks and months that followed.

The aerial assault strategy proved to be so successful in 2001 that we may never see a naval attack used again as an excuse to go to war.
Before that, however, it was always a naval assault that primed America’s war pump. Remember that it was the German sinking of the liner Lusitania, off the coast of England in 1915 that stirred the nation to give up its separatist ideology and give President Woodrow Wilson and Congress permission to declare war against Germany. We jumped into the war in 1917 and helped England and the Allied Powers defeat the Germans the following year.

Of course we all know that it was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 that prompted The United States to declare war against Japan and Germany, and throw us in the midst of World War II. What we are only now beginning to learn was that the US was goading Japan into attacking us by shutting off Japanese oil supplies.

Americans who know their history remember that it was the mysterious explosion and sinking of the U.S. Battleship Maine, while anchored at Havana, Cuba in 1898, that stirred the nation to a war with Spain that was linked to Cuba’s fight for independence. Because of the unrest in Cuba, the Maine had been sent to Havana to “protect” U.S. citizens living and working there.

Even our “war” in Vietnam was linked to a naval attack. Before President Lyndon Johnson took office, our troops were present in Vietnam as advisors in what was declared a police action. Then, not long after President Kennedy was assassinated and Johnson took office, the USS Maddox was reportedly fired on by three North Vietnamese gunboats in the Gulf of Tonkin in August, 1964. There were no U.S. casualties. The attack prompted Congress to pass a resolution giving Johnson permission to escalate the conflict. Declassified documents in 2005 revealed that the Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened. It was a “false flag” story that drew American troops into a conflict that never should have happened.