Tuesday, June 29, 2004

You wrote, "Reflexively taking an anti-American pose with respect to our country's role in history is both factually incorrect and as intellectually lazy. Blindly following left-wing agitprop doesn't make you smarter than someone who believes their government. "

stop with the bullshit. There are people that take the time to look into the facts. You ASSUME
people are "blindly" doing this or "reflexivley" doing that, but have YOU looked into the facts or made an effort to THINK about what you are saying?

you wrote, "Has the United States made mistakes? Sure. "

Mistakes? WRONGS have been comitted in the service of special poweful interests like business interests.

You wrote, " But we have also arguably done more good for more people than any other country in world history, often by force of arms. Never forget that thanks to America's "history of invasions and occupations", France, Germany, Japan and South Korea are all vibrant, prosperous democracies. "

Lets look at the very first claim. you claim that "thanks to America's "history of invasions and occupations", France [is a] vibrant, prosperous democracy"

So American policy makers felt compelled to do something nice for France? Is that what you argueing?
Look, Germany declared war on the US and the US fought Germany. It would have been dificult or impossible not to have had the side effect of helping France when we were trying to defeat Germany. Your arguement is just odd concidering the facts. If your arguement isn't that the US was intentionally trying to help France, then why even mention it?

As far as how wonderful the US was to France after WWII, take a look at what was done to labor (you know, working people). US polciy makers served business interests and US based Labor Unions and undermined labor in France with CIA opperations using thugs.

On the post-war reconstruction of the Mafia by the U.S. as part of its campaign to destroy the European labor movement, see for example, Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics Of Heroin: C.I.A. Complicity In The Global Drug Trade, Brooklyn: Lawrence Hill, 1991, chs. 1 and 2 (updated edition of the classic work on U.S. government involvement in drug-running, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, New York: Harper and Row, 1972).  An excerpt (pp. 25, 36-38):

In Sicily the O.S.S. [the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the C.I.A.], through the Office of Naval Intelligence, initially allied with the Mafia to assist the Allied forces in their 1943 invasion.  Later, the alliance was maintained to check the growing strength of the Italian Communist party on the island. . . .  As Allied forces crawled north through the Italian mainland, American intelligence officers became increasingly upset about the leftward drift of Italian politics.  Between late 1943 and mid-1944, the Italian Communist party's membership had doubled, and in the German-occupied northern half of the country an extremely radical resistance movement was gathering strength. . . .  Rather than being heartened by the underground's growing strength, the U.S. army became increasingly concerned about its radical politics and began to cut back its arms drops to the resistance in mid-1944. . . .

As Italy veered to the left in 1943-1944, the American military became alarmed about its future position in Italy, and O.S.S. felt that [Sicily's] naval bases and strategic location in the Mediterranean might provide a future counterbalance to a Communist mainland. . . .  Don Calogero [an Italian mobster] rendered . . . services to the anti-Communist effort by breaking up leftist political rallies.  On September 16, 1944, for example, the Communist leader Girolama Li Causi held a rally in Villalba that ended abruptly in a hail of gunfire as Don Calogero's men fired into the crowd and wounded nineteen spectators. . . .  The Allied occupation and the subsequent slow restoration of democracy reinstated the Mafia with its full powers, put it once more on the way to becoming a political force, and returned to the Onorata Societa the weapons which Fascism had snatched from it. . . ."

In 1946 American military intelligence made one final gift to the Mafia -- they released [American mobster] Lucky Luciano from prison and deported him to Italy, thereby freeing one of the criminal talents of his generation to rebuild the heroin trade. . . .  Within two years after Luciano's return to Italy, the U.S. government deported more than one hundred more mafiosi as well.  And with the cooperation of his old friend Don Calogero and the help of many of his former followers from New York, Luciano was able to build an awesome international narcotics syndicate soon after his arrival in Italy.

The study also describes how the U.S. government helped to reestablish the Corsican Mafia in France when the C.I.A. employed the Corsican syndicates to forcibly break Marseille's powerful Communist labor unions during dock strikes in 1947 and 1950.  These actions "put the Corsicans in a powerful enough position to establish Marseille as the postwar heroin capital of the Western world" between 1948 and 1972 (pp. 44-61).

See also, Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, Whiteout: The C.I.A., Drugs and the Press, London: Verso, 1998, ch. 5; Henrik Krüger, The Great Heroin Coup: Drugs, Intelligence, & International Fascism, Boston: South End, 1980 (on the probable involvement of the C.I.A., Mafiosi, certain Southeast Asians and elements of the Nixon White House in the sudden shift of the U.S. heroin supply route from Marseilles to Southeast Asia and Mexico in the early 1970s).  On the involvement of the U.S. labor leadership in these actions, see footnote 71 of this chapter.

On the U.S. operations in post-World War II France, see for example, Gabriel Kolko, The Politics of War: The World and United States Foreign Policy, 1943-1945, New York: Pantheon, 1968 (updated edition 1990), ch. 4 and pp. 439-445; Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics Of Heroin: C.I.A. Complicity In The Global Drug Trade, Brooklyn: Lawrence Hill, 1991, chs. 1 and 2.

On the enthusiastic involvement of the mainstream U.S. labor leadership in the operations to restore the old industrial order to power in Northern Italy -- in part by reorienting the new Italian unions from their radical-democratic structure to American-style, leadership-dominated "business unionism" -- see for example, Federico Romero, The United States and the European Trade Union Movement, 1944-1951, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989 (translation 1992), especially pp. 16-41, 149.

On the U.S. labor leadership's complicity in the overall U.S. and British post-war effort to destroy unions internationally, see also, for example, Roy Godson, American Labor and European Politics: The A.F.L. as a Transnational Force, New York: Crane, Russak, 1976, especially pp. 52-53, 75, 104, 117-137.  This book, based on internal A.F.L. documents, explains in glowing terms and frames as a great humanitarian achievement in defense of democracy, liberty, and a free trade union movement, how the A.F.L. exploited postwar starvation in Europe to transfer power to its own associates by keeping food from their opponents (pp. 3, 104, 116); employed gangsters as strike breakers to split the labor movement (pp. 120-125); undermined efforts of French labor to block shipments to the French forces attempting to reconquer Indochina (p. 135); split the Confédération Générale du Travail, a major French union in the key industries of coal mining, communications, and transportation, in 1947 as part of its efforts to "restore the internal balance of political power and prevent a shift to the extreme left" (pp. 117-132); and so on.  However, the book skirts the Mafia connection, which is detailed in footnote 79 of this chapter.

Other studies of this topic include: Ronald Radosh, American Labor and United States Foreign Policy, New York: Random House, 1969 (review of U.S. labor leaders' rigid Cold War positions on foreign policy matters, and their active participation in reining in left-wing labor movements internationally); Ronald Filippelli, American Labor and Postwar Italy, 1943-1953: A Study of Cold War Politics, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989; Sallie Pisani, The C.I.A. and the Marshall Plan, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1991, pp. 99-100 (on U.S. labor leaders' activities in postwar France); Howard B. Schonberger, Aftermath of War: Americans and the Remaking of Japan, 1945-1952, Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1989, ch. 4 (on U.S. labor leaders' activities in occupied Japan); Fred Hirsh and Richard Fletcher, The C.I.A. and The Labour Movement, Nottingham, U.K.: Spokesman, 1977.  See also, Thomas Braden, "I'm glad the C.I.A. is 'immoral,'" Saturday Evening Post, May 20, 1967, p. 10 ("It was my idea to give the $15,000 to Irving Brown [of the A.F.L.].  He needed it to pay off his strong-arm squads in the Mediterranean port, so that American supplies could be unloaded against the opposition of the Communist dock workers").

Similar attitudes have persisted in the U.S. union leadership until the present.  See for example, Aaron Bernstein, "Is Big Labor Playing Global Vigilante?: The A.F.L.-C.I.O. Spends Millions A Year To Fight Communism Overseas -- Fueling A Bitter Internal Battle," Business Week, November 4, 1985, pp. 92-96.  An excerpt:

Through a group of little-known institutes, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. spends $43 million a year in 83 countries -- often for anticommunist projects that tend to merge with the [Reagan] Administration's foreign policy themes. . . .  Their combined spending nearly matches the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s $45 million U.S. budget.  Some $5 million of the foreign affairs money comes from dues of member unions.  The other $38 million comes largely from two government sources.  One is the Agency for International Development (A.I.D.) . . .  The other is the National Endowment for Democracy (N.E.D.), a congressionally funded foundation started with the aid of conservative Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) to "sell the principles of democracy" abroad. . . .

[C]onservative foreign policies are nothing new for labor: The A.F.L.-C.I.O. has long been proud of the role International Affairs Dept. Director Irving J. Brown and his predecessor Jay Lovestone have played in fighting communism around the world since World War II.

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