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“Crazy Horse—Back on the Warpath.”
By Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Well hello everyone. I’m glad to be here. I’m glad that this conference is happening. It is certainly an important time. I live in Bath, Maine. It has a manifestation of the military industrial complex at a shipyard called Bath Iron Works where they build Navy Aegis destroyers.
The Global Network was created in 1992. At that time, I was working for the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, working on space issues, and we realized the militarization of space was moving forward quickly and that we needed to do more to internationalize knowledge and resistance against it. In Colorado Springs, Colorado was the only other group in the country that was working on space issues too, a group called Citizens for Peace in Space, because the U.S. Space Command was headquartered at that time there before moving to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska. So together we created the Global Network in 1992 and today there are about 150 affiliated groups all over the world that are a part of it.
I want to talk to you today about Wasichu. Wasichu is a Lakota word; Lakota are often called the Sioux Indians out in the Dakotas. When they first met the white man, their first contact they had was with a white man who, in the middle of the winter, came into one of their tepees and stole all their food. In this particular tepee, they had stored the fat for the really worst part of the winter when they would run out of everything else and they were just living on fat. Wasichu means the one who steals the fat, the greedy person. Today, in the modern Indian movement, they use the word Wasichu to mean corporations that steal from the people, that steal from the land and that steal the resources, and so this is what I want to talk to you about today, the Wasichu.
I want to tell you a story from South Dakota set in the years of 1877 to 1881, soon after gold had been discovered in the Black Hills that the Lakota people called the Paha Sapa, the heart of the universe. Their sacred lands had been promised to them by treaty for as long as the grass grew green. But gold was discovered there and the military/U.S. Army, people like General Custer, were sent there to clear a military highway between the east into the Black Hills so that the prospectors could go in and get the gold - clear out the Indians, clear out the people. Most all of the clans had been brought onto the reservation by 1877, with the exception of two - Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. Finally, even Crazy Horse in 1877 was brought onto the reservation as his people were starving to death. The whites coming into the Black Hills had pretty much gotten rid of all of the buffalo. The buffalo had all been decimated in the years before by buffalo hunters killing them from the trains, just killing legions of buffalo, taking the hides and leaving the meat to rot on the plains. The native people saw the insanity of the white man during this time.
Crazy Horse decided to go on the reservation, and the deal that he made with the Army was that he would give up his guns and his horses, virtually their entire way of life. He was brought into a tepee on the reservation with essentially nothing and the people were promised provisions by the federal government. As it turned out the blankets they were given were very thin and were laden with smallpox virus. The flour had bugs in it; the meat and bacon were rotten. The contractors who delivered these supplies were cheating the people and pocketing the profits. Crazy Horse’s people were even starving there on the reservation.
In 1881, Sitting Bull finally came on the reservation for the same reason, but a problem resulted. The problem was that the military industrial complex that existed at that time had been making big money off the Civil War and then from the expansion of the Indian wars out onto the Great Plains and into Texas where the Army was wiping out the Comanches. As these Indian wars were brought to a close, these weapons corporations were seeing a dry up of their funding, and so they created a public relations campaign across the country. They had artists do renderings and stories were written about Crazy Horse back on the warpath, raping women, killing children, marauding against the white settlers that were coming out west. These stories were planted in all the major newspapers across America, “Crazy Horse—Back on the Warpath.” The American people rose up in indignation, and Congress swung into action and reappropriated more money to fight Crazy Horse out in South Dakota. In fact, he was sitting in his tepee on the reservation.
The military industrial complex has an MO. When I was a kid I wanted to be an FBI agent. I wanted to fight organized crime, and so I thought I’d get a head start on everybody else. I subscribed to an FBI correspondence course. I learned about fingerprinting, and I learned about FBI definitions like MO (modus operandi). Every criminal has an MO. This military industrial complex that we are talking about today, which has been in existence essentially since the first Indian wars on this continent in the northeast of the United States, this military industrial complex is a criminal syndicate in operation across our country. In more recent times we saw it manifest itself with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in Vietnam and the lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2003. The story today is that we know that Al-Qaeda is down to about 100 people, the Pentagon acknowledges, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but still, the military industrial complex creates justifications to continue that war. And now China is being set up as the next boogieman as the American people are being made to fear the rising Red Army.
In each case when this military industrial complex moves into gear, what we see next is destroyed societies and cultures. We witness new weapons systems tested and produced. Go back to the Indian wars and you see the repeating rifles and the Gatling guns created, the buffalo destroyed by new high-powered, long-distance rifles. The Persian Gulf War that began in the early 90’s was called the first space war because for the first time space technology was used to coordinate and direct an entire war. The Pentagon bragged that before the war even started with Saddam Hussein the Space Command had pre-identified all of his military targets by space satellites, even to the point that they knew where his military communication cables were under the desert floor, they could see them from space. In the first two to three days of the war, the Pentagon bombed 95% of those military targets—the Persian Gulf War lasted for months, and so after the first couple of days the U.S. played cat and mouse with Saddam’s remaining military capability. The Pentagon used that time to test out many new weapon systems, used so many cruise missiles that in Titusville, Florida, at the McDonnell Douglas plant they were working three shifts a day, 24 hours a day to resupply the cruise missiles at a million dollars apiece.
The Pentagon used depleted uranium in Iraq and uses drones today in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As part of this new China scare we have been hearing about cyber warfare. The idea is that you can use computers to invade another country by first essentially crawling inside of their computer so that you can shut down their air defense systems before you attack them and they have no ability to defend themselves. All of these kinds of new systems created, not out of necessity, but out of desire for profit and control.
A few years ago during the Bush administration I was watching one of my favorite TV programs, C-SPAN, and I saw a startling program. They introduced the speaker at a military conference as Donald Rumsfeld’s strategy guy. His name was Thomas Barnett, who at that time was an instructor at the Naval War College in Rhode Island. He wrote a book called the Pentagon’s New Map. First, I want to say something about the audience. It was a huge auditorium. High-level military brass from all the services was present, and in the introduction they said high-level CIA people were there as well. Barnett was there to lay out for the highest levels of the military the new Pentagon military strategy.
Barnett essentially said this: Because of corporate globalization of the world’s economy, every different country is going to have a different role in the future, a different job. We’re not going to make things in America anymore. We’re not going to have jobs in America because it’s cheaper for the corporations to go overseas, maximize profits internationally, to build cars and clothes and shoes, refrigerators, computers, everything else. Our role under corporate globalization will be security export.
Thus it’s no coincidence that today in America the number one industrial export product of our nation is weapons, and when weapons are your number one industrial export product, what is your global marketing strategy for that product line?
Barnett went on to say that there would essentially be two military services in the future. Because of space technology, the old distinction between Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, he said, is being rubbed out. One he called “leviathan” whose job would be to go in, shock and awe, do a complete destruction of a particular country, and the other service will be “systems administration,” sys-ad he called it. He said these troops would never come home. After we’ve gone in with leviathan, completely destroyed a country, systems administration will go in and run the country. Yes, they’ll set up a puppet government, of course, like Libya or in Afghanistan, but systems administration will run the country and will never come home. In fact, just about two years ago I read that Lockheed Martin had gotten a huge contract from the Pentagon to begin training the new generation of systems administration warriors.
Barnett went on to say that young people in America, the angry, young men who are whiling away their time because they have no jobs would be perfect for leviathan because they’re angry, they’re connected to computer games, they’ll be good at doing things like flying drones and he basically described the militarization of our culture. Last year I saw a manifestation of this. I heard a rumor that Sears had a new line of kids’ clothes, and I went to see it with a friend because I really had to check this out, and what I discovered when I walked into the kids’ section of Sears was a complete display of military uniforms turned into kids clothing. The message to the younger generation is this is all you’re going to be. This is your future in America, either flipping hamburgers or coming into the military.
The other thing that Barnett talked about which is very important is the Pentagon’s new map. He said there is part of the world today that is not submitting to the authority of corporate globalization. He called it the non-integrating gap, and he clearly identified it. He named the Middle East, where, of course, we are in Iraq today with our permanent military bases and these people won’t be coming home. Central Asia where we are today in Afghanistan, again, we’re not coming home from there. Africa where he said we will be fighting 20 years from now for their oil, well even sooner than that as NATO, our lap dog, has invaded Libya that sits on the largest supply of oil on the African continent. Finally, Barnett said parts of Latin America are included in this non-integrating gap, places like Venezuela where Hugo Chavez is not playing ball with corporate globalization. Barnett maintained our job in America, under security export, will be to go into the non-integrating gap, and secure it to the benefit of corporate globalization. Barnett said America would not do international treaties anymore because they will just stand in our way. Barnett also told this big audience, “Adolph Hitler never had to ask permission to invade another country and neither will we.” This arrogance is why we are having endless war today.
Because of diminishing resources around the world, the corporations have determined that they are going to control the oil, the natural gas, the water, the other minerals in places like resource-rich Africa, and it will be our job to go in there and to secure those places. In fact, the more unemployment we have the better because then more young people will have to enter the “economic draft” to go fight endless war to benefit the multinational corporations.
So it is no coincidence today that Virginia receives more Pentagon contracts, more Pentagon dollars than any other state in the nation. Virginia is followed by California at #2, Texas at #3, Connecticut at #4 and Massachusetts at #5. Social progress is being defunded and Congress is funding “security export” under the watchful eye of military industrial complex lobbyists.
You might remember that right before George W. Bush left office there was a lot of talk about his deployment of so-called “missile defense” systems in the Czech Republic and in Poland. It was causing quite a bit of stir, and soon after Obama came into office, many people were very excited because Obama said he was not going to go forward with those deployments. Some people called me and said “Bruce, you said Obama wasn’t going to be any good, but look, he just canceled Bush’s missile defense deployment,” and I responded, “Well, you’ve gotta follow the other hand of the magician.”
I have come to call Obama the magician because what you get on the one hand is not necessarily what you get on the other. Soon after this Obama went to Prague in the Czech Republic. You might remember that it was in Prague where he made a disarmament speech saying we’re going to get rid of nuclear weapons. Obama next came forward with a new missile defense plan calling for increased deployment of Aegis destroyers, made where I live in Bath, Maine. These Navy warships outfitted with missile defense systems are being deployed surrounding Russia and China. Just this past week, Romania signed a deal with Hillary Clinton to put missile defense interceptors on ground-based launchers in Romania. Turkey recently signed a deal with the U.S. to put missile defense radar systems into their country. Poland has already agreed to put Patriot (Pac-3), the third generation of Patriot missile defense interceptors, in their country just 35 km from the Russian border. The Obama administration has lately been sending these Aegis destroyers outfitted with missile defense interceptors into the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and angering the Russians. The Russians are now saying, “The START II treaty that we signed with you is now in jeopardy because if you continue with these missile defense deployments, Mr. Obama, we’re going to pull out of that treaty.”
Now what is it about these missile defense systems on the Navy Aegis destroyers that Obama likes so much? Well, right before the 2008 election, a dear old friend in Maine, a guy by the name of Herschel Sternlieb, a Jewish man, asked me “Bruce, you ever heard of the Crown family?” and I said no. He said, “They are from Chicago, the Crown family. Go home and google it.” So I did, and I discovered that the Crown family at the time of the 2008 election was the majority stockholders in the General Dynamics Corporation that owns Bath Iron Works in Maine. It was the Crown family in Chicago that “discovered” Obama early on, promoted him within the national Jewish constituency, helped get him elected to the U.S. Senate and then helped create his presidential campaign. As it turns out, Obama received more funding from the military industrial complex in the 2008 election than even the war hawk, John McCain, did. This was reported in Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine. To me it’s thus no mystery or coincidence that Obama has said he is going to cancel the Bush version of missile defense deployments and in its place go with the version made by General Dynamics Corporation as the preferred option to surround Russia.
Now why Russia? It doesn’t make sense. Why restart the Cold War? Well, is it possible that a key part of the answer is because Russia has the world’s largest supply of natural gas and also significant supplies of oil? Have we not yet learned that it is official U.S. military strategy to surround and control any part of the world that has significant fossil fuel resources?
At the same time, these Aegis destroyers, outfitted with missile defense systems, are also being deployed by the Obama administration to surround China. Today, they are being ported in Japan, in South Korea, and in Australia. Throughout the Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. Pentagon is, in fact, doubling its military presence. Last night, Ann Wright talked about little Jeju Island, an island just south of the Korean mainland. It now has a Navy base being built there. I called the South Korean Embassy in Washington to say stop building this Navy base, we support the Gangjeong villagers who have been living in this village for 400 years, growing food, fishing, their entire way of life is being disrupted. When I, and others, called the embassy, we were told don’t call us, call your own government. They’re twisting our arm, forcing us to build this base. Why does the U.S. want a Navy base on the south side of Jeju Island? Because, as you look at a map, you see that this is a strategic location in the Yellow Sea. It is essentially the front gate, if you’ll think of it that way, of the entryway into their country for China as they import 80% of their oil on ships.
The Pentagon strategy appears to be that while we might not be able to compete with China economically, if we control their access to resources, we will hold the key to their economic engine. In 2001 an article ran in the Washington Post called “For Pentagon, Asia Moving to the Forefront” and the article reported that the U.S. was going to double its military presence in the region, it was going to manage China. So imagine China seeing all this with their couple of military satellites up there in space looking down at this massive U.S. militarization in the region. Expanding bases in Guam, putting PAC-3/Patriot missile defense systems even in Taiwan. It’s kind of the Cuban Missile Crisis in reverse. So China is now responding, increasing its own military spending, increasing the size of its Navy and, again, as Ann said last night, the Pentagon says, “Oh my God, look at China, look what they’re doing.” What if the reverse was to happen? What if China was putting Navy ships off the east and west coast of the United States? What if China had military bases in Canada and Mexico? We would be freaking out. We would be going “ballistic.”
Princeton Professor Aaron Friedberg, a former close advisor to Dick Cheney argued in a New York Times column on September 4th that American taxpayers must put up with whatever is needed to keep the Chinese under control. “Strength deters aggression,” argued Friedberg. “This will cost money,” he said.
These missile defense systems, what I call the shield of first-strike warfare, are now being used to encircle Russia and China. This is how it works. In a computer war-game run by the U.S. Space Command, reported annually in aerospace industry publications, set in the year 2016, the Pentagon launches the first-strike preemptive attack from space using the new weapons system called the military space plan now under development to replace the recently retired shuttle. The military space plane, carrying either nuclear or conventional weapons, flies down from orbit, drops a devastating attack on China, and goes back up into space.
China does admittedly have 20 nuclear missiles capable of hitting the west coast of the United States today, and in that first-strike attack by the military space plane, and other weapons systems by the U.S., the Space Command tries to take out China’s nukes but are not successful at hitting every one of them. China then fires their remaining retaliatory capability, and it is at that point, after the U.S. sword has been thrust into China’s nuclear forces, the U.S. missile defense systems come into play. Their job is to shield, to take out the remaining Chinese nuclear forces to successfully complete the first-strike attack. And so this is the military capability that today is being developed under the name of “missile defense,” and is also what is being war-gamed at the U.S. Space Command.
China and Russia obviously are aware of what is going on, they are certainly aware that they are being targeted by the U.S. for the preparation of a first-strike attack and, indeed, massive money is needed to pull this off. The Pentagon and the aerospace industry have long been saying that Star Wars, the weaponization of space - moving the arms race into the heavens, will be the largest industrial project in the history of the planet Earth. Now where will that money come from? In an editorial in Space News just a few years ago they wrote: We have a responsibility as an industry to come up with a funding source and we have. We’re now sending our lobbyists to Washington to secure that funding source. It’s the entitlement programs. Yes, the entitlement programs that we’ve been talking about this weekend, which officially are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what’s left of the welfare program after Bill Clinton got through with it. These are the programs that the military industrial complex has identified for defunding in order to pay for endless war.
Earlier today there was some mention of the new Super Committee in Congress, what I call the Congressional coup d’etat, where 12 members of the House and Senate have been given the power of God. The Congressional Super Committee, that will be given these extraordinary powers to cut the federal budget, will be co-chaired by Senator Patty Murray, Democrat from Washington. She is often called “Boeing’s Senator.” There are huge conflicts of interest between these committee members, these 12 people, and the military industrial complex. The Boston Globe reported just a few weeks ago that “The six Republicans and six Democrats represent states where the biggest military contractors - Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Boeing Co. - build missiles, aircraft jet fighters and tanks while employing tens of thousands of workers.” The Globe tried to make the case that it would be a “Doomsday” if this new Super Committee allowed major cuts in military spending. Senator Murray, the Democrat, got $276,200 in campaign donations from these aerospace corporations since 2007, more than any other committee member. Second place goes to Senator Max Baucus, the Democrat from Montana at $139,100, and third place went to the Republican, Dave Camp from Michigan who got $130,800, and the fourth spot was Skull and Bones member, Senator John Kerry, Democrat for Massachusetts, at $73,500. You remember that election don’t you? When Skull and Bones ran against Skull and Bones. When it was George W. Bush against John Kerry. You remember that, right? So three out of the top four Super Committee recipients of weapons contractor’s cash are Democrats. It’s a bad situation, coup d’etat, coup d’etat.
But I like to remind people there’s always an Achilles heel. There always is. Every giant has an Achilles heel. Every person has an Achilles heel. Every politician has an Achilles heel and every plan for endless war has an Achilles heel. And in this case, the Achilles heel is called the big green or what the Indians called the green frog skin. The native people said that when the white man came to this continent they noticed he was blinded, they saw a spiritual disconnection between the white man and the Earth, and this is why the white man was destroying his own nest, because he was blinded by his love for the green frog skin. Today, friends, we can no longer afford guns and butter. We now have two freight trains heading for a collision course. One freight train is called social progress, and the other freight train is called endless war. One of them is going to win out. Which will it be? Will it be a return to feudalism, a corporate brand of feudalism, or will we have true democracy and social progress in our time?
We do have a problem today. It’s called climate change, and we need every available hand on deck to deal with it. We need every available dollar of our resources available to help us put a small chink in the coming reality of climate change. A study has been done by UMass-Amherst Economics Department and they found that one billion dollars of military spending creates 8,500 jobs. You take that same billion dollars and you put it into home weatherization, something we really need in Maine where we have the oldest housing stock in the nation, and you get 12,804 jobs. Or if you put it into building mass transit you get 19,795 jobs. Everywhere I go I like to ask people, “Which would you rather have with your tax dollars, 8,500 jobs for endless war or 19,795 jobs building railcars to get us out of our gas-guzzling cars so we don’t have to go to war for oil?” I have yet to find anyone in two years of asking this question tell me they want to keep blowing money down the rat hole of Pentagon spending. We must call for the conversion of the military industrial complex.
Fundamentally, as we do our peace work, each and every one of us have got to begin to integrate this jobs issue into our work. We have to talk about jobs everywhere we go. We have to talk about jobs when we talk about war. We have to talk about jobs when we talk to people about peace. We should talk about jobs every time we open our mouths, every time we stand on a street corner with our outdated signs that say “No blood for oil” and “War is not the answer.” It’s time for us to update our signs and talk about endless war and Bring Our War $$ Home. If we do that we might find that the American people, who in poll after poll are saying that the collapsing economy is their biggest worry, might start listening to us. If we create an alternative sustainable vision of the future, and put it out there as part of our peace work, we might find that the American people just might start paying attention to what we have to say once again.