Martin Luther King called the U.S. government the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” No one can legitimately deny that he was right. At the time he made his statement, King was referring to the untold death, suffering, and destruction that the Pentagon and the CIA were unleashing on the people of Vietnam. But after that war ended, the U.S. national-security establishment continued wreaking death, destruction, and suffering across the world.
Of course, there was lots of death and destruction throughout the Cold War, including deadly and destructive U.S. coups and assassinations in places like Iran, Guatemala, Congo, Chile, and other nations.
There was also Operation Condor, the international South American kidnapping and assassination ring in which the U.S. national-security establishment played a major role. We don’t know exactly how many people were killed in that operation but estimates go as high as 60,000, with many more imprisoned and tortured.
There was the U.S. partnership with Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, which killed countless Iranians and Iraqis. After that, there was the Persian Gulf War against former partner Saddam Hussein, which resulted in the massacre of tens of thousands of Iraqis. There were the brutal sanctions against the Iraqi people, which contributed to the deaths of countless Iraqi children. There was the unconditional U.S. support for the Israeli government’s policies against the Palestinians.
The 9/11 attacks were the direct result of the U.S. government’s death machine in the Middle East. The terrorists were retaliating for the massive death and destruction that the U.S. government was inflicting on people in that part of the world.
Rather than bring an end to their death machine, U.S. officials instead used the 9/11 attacks as the justification for invading Afghanistan and Iraq, in which they killed and injured countless more people and wreaked massive damage and destruction on those two nations.
Somewhere in there, we can throw the U.S. operations in Kosovo, Libya, Yemen, and Syria, which brought even more death and destruction, into the deadly and destructive mix.
Meanwhile, unwilling to relinquish Russia as its old Cold War enemy, the Pentagon and the CIA used their old Cold War dinosaur NATO to move eastward toward Russia’s border, knowing full well that the result would be a deadly and destructive war between Russia and Ukraine, which is what they expected and wanted.
Once the 20-year debacle of death, suffering, and destruction in the U.S. war in Afghanistan came to an end, the American people were denied the opportunity to engage in analysis and introspection with respect to that war. That’s because the Pentagon and the CIA immediately pulled the trigger that initiated Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by announcing their intention to make Ukraine part of NATO. That became the new focus of the American people, with the renewed Cold War notion that the Russians were coming to get us.
So, now the greatest purveyor of violence has the tens of thousands of deaths of Ukrainians and Russians as another notch on its death belt. After all, let’s keep something important in mind: Ukraine’s war against Russia is not about “freedom,” as U.S. officials continue to maintain. It’s about joining NATO, the old Cold War dinosaur that should have gone out of existence when the Cold War ended.
And now there is the unconditional military and financial aid to the Israeli government, which is waging a brutal, deadly, and destructive campaign in Gaza, which is quite similar to the campaign that the Pentagon and the CIA waged in Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 attacks.
If there was ever a time for soul-searching among the American people, it is now. Not only did the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state make the U.S. government the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, it also has contributed to the massive destruction of civil liberties and privacy at the hands of the federal government. It is also a major factor in the out-of-control federal spending and debt that is leading our nation to national bankruptcy.
Nothing is inevitable. If a critical mass of Americans arrive at the conclusion that Martin Luther King was right —and is still right — it is still possible to turn things around. But an absolutely necessary step in doing that is the dismantling of the national-security state and the restoration of America’s founding governmental system of a limited-government republic and a basic military force. Absent that, the U.S. government will continue to be the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.