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Issue #1764      February 8, 2017

A history of US wars of
aggression and intervention

United States’ foreign policy has never been driven by a devotion to any kind of morality, but by the necessity to:

  • make the world safe for investment by American corporations;
  • enrich US armaments corporations who contribute generously to Congress members;
  • prevent the development of any society which becomes an example of an independent alternative to the capitalist model;
  • extend its political and economic control over as much of the globe as possible.

1945-49 – China

USA intervened in civil war, on side of Chiang Kai-shek, against Mao’s liberation struggle. US used defeated Japanese soldiers to fight against the Chinese people.

1947-49 – Greece

USA militarily supports Greek neo-fascists, against the major Greek left-wing parties who were fighting for independence. The neo-fascists won and set up a brutal regime, with the help of the American CIA.

1945-53 – Philippines

US fought the left-wing Huks forces, while the Huks were still fighting the Japanese invaders. Huks were defeated and the US installed puppet governments, culminating in the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

1945-53 – South Korea

US military suppresses popular independence movement in favour of a corrupt, reactionary and brutal regime whose leaders had collaborated with the Japanese fascists.

1953 – Iran

Progressive and popular Prime Minister Mossadegh nationalised the British oil company which controlled Iran’s oil. A US and British backed coup against him re-installed the brutal Shah of Iran. He privatised Iran’s oil, British and American oil companies getting equal shares.

1953 – Guatemala

A CIA-organised coup ousted a progressive, democratically-elected government which had nationalised the US United Fruit Company. So began 40 years of death squads, torture, disappearances and mass executions, killing over 100,000 civilians.

1953-64 – British Guyana

For 11 years the US and Britain orchestrated terrorism, strikes and disinformation to finally oust progressive, popularly-elected Prime Minister Cheddi Jagan. Under Jagan, Guyana became one of the region’s better-off countries, but after1964 it became one of the poorest.

1950-73 – Vietnam

Replacing the defeated French colonialists, the USA poured money, armaments and soldiers into Vietnam to prevent the people winning independence. With more bombs dropped on Indo-China than in WW2 and a million dead, the USA finally withdrew, also defeated. Much of Vietnam was poisoned with Agent Orange. Birth defects still regularly occur. Vietnam was reduced to one of the poorest countries in Asia.

1955-73 – Cambodia

The Nixon/Kissinger infamous 1969-70 “carpet-bombings” of Cambodia finally overthrew independent leader Prince Sihanouk. The bombing continued for 5 years, opening the way for the murderous Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot to seize power. Ironically, the USA gave Pol Pot diplomatic and military support after the Khmer Rouge were ousted from power by Cambodian patriots assisted by Vietnamese forces.

1960-65 – Congo

Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s first Prime Minister after winning independence from Belgium, was assassinated on US President Eisenhower’s request to protect US interests in Congo’s mineral wealth. For the next 30 years, the US-friendly corrupt and brutal Mobuto regime ruled the Congo, with Mobuto becoming a multi-billionaire at his poverty-stricken people’s expense.

1961-64 – Brazil

Progressive President Goulart limited profits of multi-national companies, nationalised a US communications corporation, adopted an independent foreign policy opposing sanctions on Cuba. A US-backed coup overthrows him in 1964, initiating death squads, disappearances, torture and violent military suppression of civilian demonstrations.

1963-66 – Dominican Republic

In 1963 Juan Bosch became the first democratically elected President on a platform of land reform, low-rent housing, modest nationalisation and restricted foreign investment. Seven months later he was ousted by a coup. A revolt broke out, threatening to return Bosch to power. The US sent in 23,000 troops to help crush it.

1959 to now – Cuba

Since the revolution of 1959, the US has backed terrorist attacks against Cuba, bombings, crop poisonings and assassinations (including attempts against Cuban leader Castro). The US financed the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion by anti-Castro Cubans in 1961. The US trade and travel embargo on Cuba still operates.

1965 – Indonesia

A US-backed coup by General Suharto ousted democratically-elected President Sukarno. Over one million people were hunted down and killed, including thousands of people’s leaders, whose names were given to the military by the US Embassy. Decades of repression followed.

1970-73 – Chile

Socialist Salvador Allende was democratically elected as President in 1970. He nationalised the giant US copper company in Chile and a struggle began between the people and government on one hand, and the right-wing backed by the CIA and US foreign policy on the other. In 1973 a US-backed military coup overthrew Allende’s government. The military carried out mass executions, and torture. Thousands were murdered or “disappeared”. Chile became an economic rationalist experiment.

1967-74 – Greece

A US-backed military coup took place in 1967, to prevent liberal Papandreou being returned as Prime Minister. The colonels declared martial law, implemented torture, beatings, arrests, leaving 8,000 dead in the first month. The coup leaders were fiercely anti-communist and pro-American, working closely with the CIA. The colonels held power until 1974.

1975 – East Timor

Newly-independent East Timor was invaded by Indonesia, the day after US President Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger visited Indonesia, giving permission for US arms to be used in the invasion. By 1989, over one-third of the population of 700,000 had been killed. Indonesia had US backing, including armaments, throughout its 25-year occupation.

1978-89 – Nicaragua

Washington saw the Sandinistas’ 1978 overthrow of US-backed fascist dictator Samoza, as “another Cuba”. US diplomatic & economic sabotage soon took a military form, with the arming and financing of the Contras, who were mainly ex-Samoza soldiers dedicated to overthrowing the progressive and popular Sandinista government. The Contras burned down schools and hospitals, raped, tortured, mined harbours, bombed and strafed villages. These were US President Reagan’s “freedom fighters”.

1979-84 – Grenada

US destabilisation tactics began soon after Maurice Bishop formed a government in 1979. The US saw this tiny island of 110,000 people as yet “another Cuba”. In October 1983, the US invaded Grenada, overthrowing the Bishop government, killing 400 Grenadians and 84 Cubans (mainly construction workers). Grenada’s new US-trained police and “counter-insurgency” force gained a reputation for brutality, arbitrary arrest, abuse of authority and erosion of civil rights.

1981-89 – Libya

Libya refused to be a US client state in the Middle East, nationalising US and British oil interests. The US has shot down Libyan planes inside Libyan airspace and bombed the country, killing at least 40 people, including Libyan leader Gaddafi’s young daughter. The US has attempted to assassinate Gaddafi a number of times. In 2011 the Libyan government was overthrown by US-funded terrorist forces and Gaddafi was murdered.

1989 – Panama

Under the guise of “getting” Panama’s “drug-trafficking” President, Manuel Noriega, the US bombed and invaded Panama City, leaving 15,000 homeless, over 5,000 dead and 3,000 wounded. The real reason: to behead Panama’s strong and growing national independence movement and to ensure the Panama Canal Special Zone remained under American control.

1990s – Iraq

Using Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait as the excuse, the US carried out the most concentrated aerial bombardment in world history, dropping 177 million pounds of bombs on the Iraqi people. Napalm and cancer-causing depleted uranium weapons were used. Iraq’s water, sewerage and electricity infrastructure were devastated, causing massive loss of life. Sanctions have since killed over a million children and even more adults, denying them proper medicines. America’s aim: to establish US military bases and gain control over Iraq’s vast oil reserves. The United States is still intent on fulfilling these aims.

1979-92 – Afghanistan

In the late 1970s, Afghanistan had an anti-feudal revolution, throwing out the monarchy and establishing a progressive government which carried out land reform, introduced universal education, for both males and females, gave women equal rights, and established friendship with its neighbour, the Soviet Union. The USA gave billions of dollars to opposition forces waging war against the progressive government. With more than a million dead, three million disabled, five million refugees, (in total, half the population), the government fell, opening the way for America’s ally, the clerical-fascist Taliban regime, to take charge.

1980-92 – El Salvador

With US support, the right-wing Salvadoran government used electoral fraud and murder as political weapons. In 1980, the left opposition forces took up arms in desperation. The civil war began. US troops, military advisors and CIA operatives played a considerable role, training death squads and advising on strategy. The war ended in 1992, with 75,000 civilian deaths. The US poured $6 billion into the conflict to ensure the privileged few retained control of the country’s wealth.

1987-94 – Haiti

For 30 years, the US supported the dictator Duvalier, the CIA backing the torturers, drug traffickers and death squads. Duvalier was finally ousted, but newly-elected reformist priest Aristide was exiled after a US-backed military coup against him in 1991. The US finally succumbed to popular pressure to reinstate Aristide, but only after he pledged to maintain a private enterprise economy and not help the poor at the expense of the rich.

1999 – Yugoslavia

Bombed back to the pre-industrial age by the US, under NATO cover, supposedly for “humanitarian” reasons. The real aim was to further western interests in the region.

Current – Syria

Compiled by the Communist Party of Australia.

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