Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Creating Communists, Torturers and Terrorists

Dr. Mary J. Ruwart

The best defense against foreign aggression is the practice of non-aggression domestically.

In the previous chapter, we learned how our desire to control our neighbors expands to create the "foreign" threat of communism in our own backyard. In this chapter, we'll explore how our domestic aggression establishes enemies abroad as well.

Creating Communism

Have you ever wondered how the former Soviet Union, so unproductive that it could barely feed its own people, managed to become a military power second only to the United States? Extensive research suggests that the Soviet military-industrial complex is a creation of the Pyramid of Power we have built here at home!

It was common knowledge earlier in this century that U.S. banking interests helped establish communism in Russia (Figure 20.1). A 1911 cartoon from the St. Louis Post Dispatch by Robert Minor showed Karl Marx welcomed to Wall Street by John D. Ryan (National City Bank), and John D. Rockefeller (Chase Bank and Standard Oil), as well as J.P. Morgan and his partner George W. Perkins (Guaranty Trust Co. and Equitable Life). Andrew Carnegie and Teddy Roosevelt were also featured. Why did America's wealthy encourage a philosophy that portrayed them as selfish others who should be forced - at gunpoint, if necessary - to give up the wealth they had accumulated?

These men were not stupid. They knew that aggression- through- government always favored the rich while fostering the illusion of helping the poor. Many of them had profited greatly from the aggression of licensing laws.


The bankers had done especially well, even before the Federal Reserve put the banks at the apex of the Pyramid of Power. Banks created more money than they would have in a marketplace ecosystem free from aggression. These extra dollars, subsidized by the American public primarily through inflation, were loaned or given to the Communists to aid them in their rise to power. (1)

In 1917, three factions were involved in the Russian revolution. Besides the Communists and those loyal to the czar, a small group championed the benefits of non-aggression. (2) Of the three groups, only the Communists favored the aggression of central banking. Not surprisingly, the banking and business elite gave substantial support to the Communists, the group most willing to reward their financiers with plunder gained through aggression.

As the Communists gained strength from Western support, they were able to defeat the czarists and the small group that advocated non-aggression. By allowing domestic aggression to create the money monopoly, Americans unwittingly laid the yoke of communism on the backs of the Russian people and saddled themselves with additional inflation and taxation.

The communists repaid the loans from the banking interests with imperial gold coins taken from the czar's treasury. (3) By exporting large portions of farm produce as well, the Soviets were able to buy modern machinery. (4) As a result of exporting much of the food supply, starvation threatened the Russian populace in 1922. Herbert Hoover, then Secretary of Commerce, sent the Russians famine relief, subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer. (5) Without American aid through aggression, the Communist regime would probably have collapsed.

Instead, the Communists rewarded people who had helped them with licenses in the Soviet Union. (3) They took the privately owned oil fields at gunpoint, if necessary and assigned them to their political favorites. (6) For example, Standard Oil was given control of the Russian oil fields that had prevented Rockefeller from keeping his worldwide monopoly on oil (Chapter 7: Creating Monopolies That Control Us). (7) By 1928, oil was the largest export, contributing almost 20% to Russia's foreign exchange.8 By supporting communism, Rockefeller was able to escape the regulation of the marketplace ecosystem and do away with much of his international competition.

Chase National Bank helped the Soviets obtain a steady stream of credit. (9) The New York financial house of Kuhn, Loeb & Company financed the Soviet's First Five-Year Plan for economic development. (10) Without the massive creation of money made possible through the Federal Reserve System (Chapter 9: Banking on Aggression), these loans might not have been possible. The Communist regime was able to buy the technology their system could not produce, because Americans were willing to use aggression-through-government to control their neighbors.

In 1929, the Soviet government forced citizens at gunpoint, if necessary to turn their gold over to the government, (11) possibly to begin the necessary loan repayments. Did the Soviet government use these loans to feed and clothe its people? Hardly! Just as in the Third World today, the poor rural population was forcibly removed from their land and taken to collective farms. During Stalin's campaign in the 1930s, millions of people were killed. (11) The desire of Americans to control their neighbors rippled outward into other nations. The great wealth that Americans had created gave them incredible power to help or harm the rest of the world.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt supplemented the bank loans to the Soviets with taxpayer-financed assistance. He arranged secret military transfers with the Soviets, to help defeat Adolf Hitler. In addition, the Lend-Lease program transferred industrial and military supplies to the Soviets on easy credit terms from 1941 to 1946. (12) In 1944, Stalin noted that two-thirds of Soviet heavy industry had been built with U.S. help. Almost all the remaining one-third was imported from other Western nations. (13) Massive transfer of equipment and skilled personnel from the occupied territories to the Soviet Union supplied further technical expertise. (14) Our domestic aggression undertaken to protect the world from Hitler's dictatorship, created an equally vicious enemy that enslaved much of Eastern Europe.

Without U.S. assistance, Soviet technology would have remained so primitive that it is unlikely that they ever would have developed nuclear capabilities. (15) Without the bomb, the Cold War would never have been waged. Nuclear warheads could never have been shipped to Cuba. The United States need not have undertaken the massive military build-up that consumed its wealth.

Innovation and the creation of wealth are greatly stifled in aggressive Communist societies (Chapter 19: The Communist Threat Is All In Our Minds). Without U.S. aid, the Soviet Union could not have long survived. As evidence of this, consider that in 1960 the American government offered to release the Soviet Union from its Lend-Lease debt to the United States of $11 billion if the Soviets would pay $300 million of it. Although the Soviets reportedly had $9 billion in gold in their national treasury in 1960, (16) they refused. Without American-taxpayer assistance, the Soviets would have been bankrupt!

Even with such aid, however, the Soviet Union could hardly feed itself. The Soviet Wealth Pie was attenuated by massive aggression- through- government. American loans were used to assist the Soviets in financing food purchases after the poor 1972 harvest. (17) In Poland, such credits added over 10% to the national income in 1974! (18) The ability of the United States to make massive contributions to the Eastern Bloc testifies to the incredible wealth-creating ability of our marketplace ecosystem, which is less troubled by aggression than the Soviet one.

Although much of the Soviet aid was offered through private banks, the American taxpayer was usually at risk. Loans were usually guaranteed by the taxpayer-financed Export-Import Bank. (19) Even without such guarantees, U.S. taxpayers could be liable. Loans that are not repaid can bankrupt lending institutions. In such cases, taxpayers (not the bankers who took foolish chances with their depositors' money) are usually expected to make up the loss if the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) cannot.

We expect our government to protect us from aggressors, whether they are individuals or other nations. The Soviet threat, however, was built largely through the guns of government that we hired to protect us! Communists won the Russian revolution with the help of bankers and industrialists who became enriched through exclusive licensing laws and further Soviet borrowing. Stalin's regime enslaved Eastern Europe with the extra money created through the exclusive, subsidized monopoly of the Federal Reserve. Lend-Lease, which probably contributed to the Soviet acquisition of nuclear technology, was paid for through the aggression of taxation. Finally, taxes were used to guarantee loans for food aid. At every turn, domestic aggression-through-government built and maintained the Soviet "enemy."

It's somewhat disheartening to discover that we were responsible for creating the superpower which we've feared for so many years. On the other hand, if our most formidable foe is only a paper tier dependent on us for its continued existence, maybe the world is not such a dangerous place after all!

Teaching Terrorism

Our domestic aggression may have contributed to other threats to our international security as well. For example, when we follow the history of developing nations, it is difficult to find one where our Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has not left its mark. The U.S. Senate's Church Committee documented 900 major, and several thousand minor, covert operations undertaken by the CIA between 1960 and 1975. (20) The latest chapter in our relations with Nicaragua exemplifies the way in which our domestic aggression creates more aggression overseas.

After the Sandanistas ousted the Somoza dictatorship from Nicaragua, President Carter gave them $75 million in foreign aid. (21 )Shortly thereafter, President Reagan declared that the Sandanistas were exporting communism to El Salvador with the ultimate intent of threatening our borders. Such fears seem unfounded. The Sandanistas hardly appeared bloodthirsty; they abolished the death penalty and limited prison terms to 30 years. (22) Like all communist countries the Sandanistas could not, without help, create the wealth necessary to undertake an invasion of the best-armed nation in the world. Certainly Communist Cuba, barely 100 miles from our shores and subsidized by the Soviets, had shown no inclination to invade us after the nuclear warheads were removed in the 1960s. Nevertheless, our government spent more than $100 million in support of the counterrevolutionary Contras before Congress forbade further expenditures in 1984. (23)

The civilian population failed to rally significantly to the Contra cause. Instead, the people voted 2 to 1 in 1984 to keep the Sandanistas in power in an election that international observers accepted as fair. (24) Most likely, the average Nicaraguan did not think the Sandanistas were any worse than the Somoza dictatorship that preceded them. Because many of the Contras had been associated with the Somozan National Guard, an alliance would have been easily forged between the average citizen and the Contras if feelings against the new government had run strong. (25) For better or worse, as a nation, the Nicaraguans had made their choice.

Our CIA, however, did not honor this choice. Instead, they taught the Contras to terrorize the Nicaraguan population. When it surfaced, the CIA training manual, Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare, became a great embarrassment to the Reagan administration. (26)

The Contras were encouraged to blow up bridges and attack health clinics, hospitals, and schools. (27) Widespread civilian killing, kidnapping, rape, torture, and mutilation by Contras were extensively documented. (28)

These terrorist tactics apparently had the desired effect. In 1990, the Nicaraguan population ousted the Sandanistas and voted for Violetta Chamorro who allegedly had up to $20 million in CIA campaign support. (29) Perhaps the Nicaraguans decided to accede to the demands of their Yankee neighbors in the hope of stopping the terrorism.

The Sandanista forces probably committed atrocities as well. Nevertheless, CIA intervention intensified the war of terrorism instead of letting it die a natural death. Without support from the United States or the Nicaraguan people, the Contras could not have continued and the civil strife would have ended.

This was not the first time our country had armed and trained terrorists. In the 1950s, the CIA recruited East German dissidents and trained them in bombing and damaging dams, bridges,trains, and other civilian facilities. (30) Could modern-day terrorists have learned their techniques from our own CIA or CIA-trained foreign operatives? When Americans are kidnapped, bombed, or tortured by terrorists, are we simply reaping as we have sown?

We don't need to fight fire with fire. We don't need to encourage torture and mayhem to topple Communist dictatorships. The former Soviet Union, favored with so much aid from the West, could not even feed its own people. Other aggressive governments will fare no better. With a few exceptions, all we need do is let them reap as they sow.

Drugs for War

One ironic twist to our support of the Contras involved the War on Drugs. As Nancy Reagan toured the country asking our youth to say "No!" to drugs, the Contras supported themselves through profitable drug deals. Evidence suggests that these deals were facilitated by our own CIA. (31) One pilot even claimed he flew drugs directly into Homestead Air Force Base in Florida! (32)

A wealth of evidence suggests that funding overseas covert operations with "protection money" from drug lords is not unusual. (33) The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) claims that the CIA has attempted to interfere with 27 prosecutions of drug dealers acting as CIA informants. (34)Our taxes went both to fight drug dealers and to protect them! When we use aggression as our means, we only end up fighting ourselves! When we start practicing non-aggression, we can stop spinning our wheels!

The Rich Get Richer

Our national government cannot protect us from such wasteful practices when we sanction aggression. Our national officeholders, just like our local ones, depend on special interest funding for their campaign chests. Local officials control the forests, grazing land, and other regional assets. Their electability is heavily influenced by the timber companies, cattle ranchers, and other local groups that can benefit from what these officials control.

Our national officials control the federal budget, funded by our tax dollars and deficit spending. Except for the separately-funded social security program, our two biggest expenditures are defense (26% of federal outlays in 1989) and interest on the national debt (15% of outlays in 1989). (35) The primary special interest groups that profit from theexpansion of these items are the military-industrial complex and the money monopoly, respectively.

These groups have great incentive to see that candidates who support deficits and military build-up are elected. The War on Drugs contributes to U.S. deficits while providing huge drug profits to fund clandestine activities and arms sales abroad.

Ex-president George Bush, a former CIA director, was an ideal special-interest candidate. His office was reputed to have been the first informed when the Hasenfus plane crashed in Nicaragua and began the unraveling of the Iran-Contra affair during his vice-presidential years.36 He ran up deficits faster than Ronald Reagan, who himself set new records.37 During Bush's first term of office, U.S. troops landed in both Panama and Kuwait. Bush was committed to the War on Drugs as well.

We can hardly blame special interest groups for exploiting us when we have given them power by our attempts to control others. They only reflect our own actions back to us. We made the rules; we can hardly complain if we have been beaten at our own game. Once we forsake aggression, however, special interest power, whether due to ignorance, chance, or design, (38) simply dissolves. When we take responsibility for what we have created, we can consciously choose differently! We made the rules; we can change them!

A Lose-Lose Situation

The gains made by special interest groups are largely an illusion, however. To appreciate why this is so, we must first examine the impact that our curious national defense program has had on the world.

Let's start with Nicaragua. Since the Contras did not have popular support, it is unlikely that they would have had the ability to arm themselves and terrorize the countryside without U.S. assistance. A civil war afterSomosa's overthrow,if it happened at all, would have been much less devastating. Without our aggression, many of the 45,000 people who were killed might still be alive. (39) Much of the country's wealth might not have been destroyed by the war. Effort that could have created wealth was dedicated to defense instead. For ten years, the Nicaraguan Wealth Pie was attenuated much more than it would have been in the absence of aggression.

Other Third World nations have suffered similar fates. Civil strife in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Angola was instigated or prolonged by U.S. intervention. (40) Our hopes of helping the oppressed Third World people throw off their domestic oppressors turned sour because we did not know The Easy Way Out (see below). Instead, the Wealth Pie of many nations, already diminished by the aggression of their own domestic government, dwindled further. After being subjected to civil war and our aid by aggression (Chapter 18: Beacon to the World), it's a wonder the developing nations are still developing at all!

Our Wealth Pie also diminished as time, effort, and money were put into buying destruction rather than production. The Wealth Pie of the entire world is much smaller than it could have been.

Less wealth means our world has fewer goods and services. Would we have cures for cancer, AIDS, and Alzheimer's disease if we hadn't squandered our talents on aggression? Would we enjoy a 20 hour work week with 40 hour week benefits? Would we have extended our lifespan to encompass more than a century of healthful living? Would we have broken the barrier that the speed of light poses to interstellar travel? Would we live in a world where no one ever goes hungry? Would we have learned how to live in harmony with our environment and our own inner self?

By greatly slowing the global creation of wealth, even the special interests which seemingly profit from a world of strife, will lose. No amount of money can buy wealth that has not been created. When they and their loved ones meet an early death due to an "incurable" disease, they pay the ultimate price of attenuating the world's Wealth Pie. Today's wealthy are poor compared to the wealth an average person would enjoy in a world of non-aggression. When special interests encourage aggression, they deprive themselves.

This impoverishment extends beyond the realm of physical wealth. I once had the opportunity to question a man who was intimately involved with the special interests that dominate our country's national defense policies. When asked what his goals were, he immediately responded, "Power and money!" Since this man was already quite wealthy and powerful, I eventually rephrased my question. "What would make you happy?" I queried.

His answer was profound. He explained that he felt separated from the rest of humanity, as if he were apart and different from other people. He wanted that to change; he wanted to feel connected.

At the time, I didn't appreciate the implications of what he had said. After much reflection, it seems that this feeling of separation is a direct result of how we view those around us. If we tell ourselves that others are not as wise as we are, as unselfish, or as informed, if we judge their choices to be inferior to ours, we no longer consider them our equals. We set them apart from ourselves. If we follow this judgment by forcing our choices on them at gunpoint, if necessary_the chasm between us grows. Aggression is the physical manifestation of our judgment of others. In this manner, a person who practices aggression regularly become+to+eparated from those he or she trespasses against. Those who create a reality where they, even with the best intentions, try to control the selfish others of the world may indeed find themselves looking down on the rest of humanity. At the apex of the Pyramid of Power, one is very much disconnected and alone.

I suspect humans require a sense of connectedness and community with the rest of their kind to reach the heights of happiness for which they were intended. When we use aggression, we destroy connectedness and community. When we use aggression, we forfeit the happiness that we are ultimately trying to achieve by controlling others.

Aggression is not in anyone's best interest. Only when we realize this will we have peace and plenty in both our inner and outer worlds.

Luckily, we do not need to wait until others who practice aggression become enlightened. Special interest groups only fan the
flames of poverty and strife. Like the serpent in the garden, the special interests tempt us to use the guns of government against our neighbors to create the money monopoly and levy the taxes that pay for killing machines. When we as a society say "No!" to aggression, we render those who would control us impotent.

The power broker I spoke with acknowledged that the special interests would be foiled if ordinary people ever realized what power they possess. Indeed, special interest elite spend much time and effort encouraging a sense of helplessness among the American public. We hold the key if we choose to use it. We can be victimized by special interests only when we try to victimize others. When we refuse to do unto others, others cannot easily do unto us!

The Easy Way Out

Our national defense policy has a profound effect on our world because of our great wealth. Ironically, we achieved this power by being, for a time, the least aggressive nation on earth.

How can we reclaim our heritage of political non-aggression? If we want a world of peace, the first sensible thing to do is to be

sure that our actions do not cause war. Otherwise, we will only be fighting ourselves. Conversely, when we abandon the domestic aggression that funds overseas dictators, teaches terrorism, and nurtures the Communist threat, we stop creating enemies!

Even without our country's aggression, however, it's unlikely that the world will be totally peaceful. How does a nation of non-aggressors fare in a world of aggressors?

Non-Aggression Wins the Game Even in a World of "Meanies"

Once again, the computer games give us a pleasant surprise. Even a population of players as small as 5% do so well with each other using TIT FOR TAT that non-aggression is the most profitable strategy even if the rest of the population always aggresses! (41) Even if other nations never followed our example, we would still come out ahead!

In the computer games, doing well meant getting points. In real life, the rewards of non-aggression are more tangible. Because non-aggression greatly increases the Wealth Pie, a lone nation practicing non-aggression would eventually be the wealthiest nation on earth. It would be technologically superior to other nations. Commercial aeronautical and space flight capability would be more advanced. Communications would be superior. Machinery would be more sophisticated. Nuclear energy would be better understood and applied. A country with such advanced technology would be a formidable foe. Indeed, at the turn of the century, the United States was evolving in exactly this way because it practiced non-aggression to a greater extent than most other nations.

One of the reasons a nation practicing non-aggression would be so prosperous is that its people could trade without the restriction of tariffs. International trade would flourish as it does in every duty-free zone.

Trading partners seldom need to resort to violence to work out their differences. They have every incentive to avoid fighting. On the other hand, stopping trade with the guns of government can provoke conflict. Indeed, some historians believe that a primary reason behind Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor was the embargo (prohibitive licensing) that prevented Americans from selling oil to Japan! (42)

Without the aggression of embargoes and tariffs, a nation of non-aggressors would have few enemies. If we practiced non-aggression, other nations would have little incentive to attack us!

Protecting American Interests Abroad

While aggressor nations might be deterred from invading the borders of a non-aggressive nation, seizing American assets abroad would still be tempting. How would we, as a nation of non-aggressors, defend our interests abroad?

At times, our troops have been sent into a country when property of U.S. companies have been threatened by aggressors. The American citizenry has been forced at gunpoint, if necessary to subsidize the protection of profits when companies have taken the risk of locating in an unstable area.

If our neighbor George opened a convenience store in a high-crime area, we'd expect him to hire extra guards to protect it and pass the costs on to his customers by raising prices. No one would be forced at gunpoint to subsidize his business or his profit. We should expect American companies operating abroad to adopt the same non-aggressive approach.

Companies wishing to locate in another part of the world could hire their own protection agents or insure themselves against nationalization or confiscation. Insurance companies would charge higher premiums for businesses locating in unstable countries, just as they charge businesses more to insure them in high-crime areas. The marketplace ecosystem, free from aggression, encourages companies to locate in areas that practice non-aggression and to shun those that don't.

Toppling Modern-Day Hitlers

Sometimes our troops have gone into other countries to support one side or another in a civil war in the hopes of containing communism or saving the world from would-be Hitlers. Most often, we are only protecting ourselves from our own creations.

For example, Hitler, like the Soviet Union, was greatly empowered by the funding he received from German banks and the American
elite. (44) Similarly, Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi strongman who invaded Kuwait, built his military machine through loans guaranteed by taxpayers of several Western nations, including our own. (45) Our domestic aggression help to create these invaders in the first place. If we forsake aggression, we might have no Hitlers and Husseins to deal with at all!

Even if our aggression no longer funds dictators, other banks and governments still could. We do not have the only central banks or weapons manufacturers. We are the most affluent, the most influential country in the world, but not the only one. Those who would dominate their countries require money and supplies for their military. Plundering peasants and destroying their means of wealth creation is a self-limiting supply system. Dictators cannot maintain their power without subsidies.

These subsidies usually come from the loans and gifts from Western nations, including the United States. Taxation and the inflation generated by the money creation of central banks makes these loans possible.

If a central bank inflated its nation's currency in a world where our country practiced non-aggression, citizens of the inflating nation would convert their currency into U.S. dollars to protect its value. They would not want their saving to be inflated away if they had another choice! As they made this conversion, they would be deflating the currency of their own nation. In a world where even one country practiced non-aggression, the central banks' ability to expand the money supply would be limited automatically! Subsidies to dictators would be limited as well! If we practiced non-aggression, would-be world conquerors might not even be able to subdue their own people!

Let's assume, however, that a head of state amassed enough power to invade another country. Today, a few government officials decide for everyone which side should be supported and to what extent. This support is taken at gunpoint, if necessary in the form of taxes, forced military service, or inflation. How would a nation of non-aggressors react?

Obviously, we would not all agree on exactly what should be done, any more than we would agree on what to do if we stumbled upon two people fighting each other in the street. Both combatants would claim to be the wronged party and cry for help. How would we know who is the aggressor?

Sometimes the answer to this all-important question is not always very clear, even when both sides stop fighting long enough to tell their story. Indeed, we seldom hear both sides of the story in an international crisis today. Our radio and television stations have licenses that can be revoked if they carry programs that aren't considered to be in the public interest. (46) Who determines what is in the public interest? Our government officials do, and they are frequently beholden to the special interests that profit from a nation at war. In a nation practicing non-aggression, both sides would be more likely to be heard.

Defusing Terrorism

If both sides of a conflict were welcome to present their side of the story and solicit support from Americans directly, terrorism against our people would dissolve. Terrorists harm civilians in an attempt to change aggressive government policy. (47) If we had no aggressive government policy, there would be no incentive for terrorism! Dissidents could solicit help directly from Americans. If the dissidents weren't satisfied with the outcome, terrorist action would only cost them the support they did have. If we practiced non-aggression, terrorism against our people would serve no purpose!

Policing Aggression

In a non-aggressive society, people would decide what to do about international conflicts much as they do when witnessing a street fight. After hearing both sides of the story, some people might offer to arbitrate so the two could settle their differences. Some people might fight on one side; some might fight on the other. Still others might not want to get involved at all. We wouldn't dream of forcing other bystanders at gunpoint, if necessary to fight on the side we chose. We'd expend more energy trying to force our neighbor to do as we wish than we'd exert in vanquishing the aggressor ourselves! In our neighborhoods, we honor our neighbor's choice.

When it comes to an international dispute, somehow we see the situation differently. We want to stop aggression so badly that we are willing to become aggressors ourselves to achieve our goal. By using aggression as our means, we only create ends we'd rather not have. Think how differently Vietnam might have been if we had honored our neighbor's choice!

No More Vietnams

When the war started, many Americans were proud to be "saving" South Vietnam. However, as the fighting dragged on, sentiments changed. This shift was dramatized in a recent movie, Born on the Fourth of July, depicting Ron Kovic, (47) who enthusiastically served in Vietnam and protested American involvement in Indochina when he returned.

In a non-aggressive society, those who no longer wished to contribute to a war effort could simply stop supporting it. Had we honored our neighbor's choice, Vietnam would almost certainly have ended sooner, saving many hundreds, even thousands, of lives. Instead, Americans were forced at gunpoint, if necessary to pay taxes to fund a war that few wanted. Young men were drafted into service at gunpoint, if necessary. Our youth were forced to risk life and limb with monetary compensation well below the minimum wage. We could hardly hope to teach the virtues of freedom while enslaving our own youth!

Meanwhile, the money monopoly and military- industrial complex profited from the Vietnam War. The many paid through inflation and taxation, for the profits of the few. A recent movie, JFK, based on the research of Jim Garrison, (49) suggested that President Kennedy was assassinated because he did not support the Vietnam War which generated special interest profits. My own research suggests that we went to war in Vietnam for some purpose other than containing communism. I spoke with a high-ranking officer who commanded an aircraft carrier group sent to that region. He told me that the war could certainly have been won, but that the military was not permitted to take the necessary action.

When we honor our neighbors' choice, there will be no more Vietnams.
If people vote against a war by not offering their time, money, or service, the issue is decided. Today, a few government officials decide whether a nation will go to war. As we've seen, these officials are beholden to special interest groups that profit from the fighting. They will choose war when the average person would choose peace. Further research with TIT FOR TAT strategies clearly indicate that erring on the side of too little retaliation rather than too much teaches non-aggression best.(50) When the decision of whether or not to go to war is left in the hands of each individual, the world will be a more peaceful place!

We needn't worry that Americans would fail to come to the aid of a foreign nation beset by a vicious aggressor. Historically, Americans have shown their willingness to help those battling aggression. Large deficits and defense budgets have been accepted by the American populace when the cause is considered just. However, if we are willing to force our neighbors at gunpoint, if necessary to support such causes, we become like the enemy we are fighting. Our belief that we should force our view point on others is what Vietnams are made of.

Protecting the Home Front

Obviously, the best protection against foreign invasion is to create as few enemies as possible. As we've seen throughout this chapter, a nation practicing non-aggression is most likely to do just that. When we no longer fund aggressors through domestic aggression, when we listen to both sides of a dispute, when we support those fighting aggression, would-be world conquerors have trouble subduing their own people. When we practice non-aggression, we stop would-be invaders before they begin!

If a defense did become necessary., a nation practicing non-aggression would be likely to have the strongest one. As we learned in Part II (Forgive Us Our Trespasses: How We Create Poverty in a World of Plenty), non-aggression increases a country's wealth. Aggression, and defense against aggression, consume wealth rapidly. The wealthier a country is, the longer it can sustain its defense.

Our country currently has a strong nuclear deterrent that is primarily directed at the former Soviet Union. Thankfully, most governments that possess nuclear technology have little incentive to use it. Because we are the wealthiest nation in the world, other countries depend on our technology. Destroying us would only make an attacking nation poorer and could contaminate the entire globe with radioactive fallout. Thus, a nuclear strike, if it came at all, would most likely come as a terrorist act. Against such strategies, we currently have no defense. Indeed, our best deterrent against a terrorist nuclear attack would be to defuse the tensions that might precipitate it by the practice of non-aggression.

Switzerland, a country historically dedicated to neutrality, has a strong defense against armed invasion. Switzerland has a part-time national government and no nuclear capability, yet sometime in the 1990s, it will have bomb shelters for every man, woman, and child. Every man is part of the army and is required to keep his military weapon in his home. An invading army would literally have to subdue every household to conquer that nation. Indeed, in both World Wars, when the Germans threatened to invade, the Swiss simply dissuaded them by inviting key German officers to witness their preparedness! The Germans had been considering a short-cut through non-mountainous regions of the tiny country. The Germans, however, decided against invading "the little porcupine." (51)

A non-aggressive nation could easily and affordably develop a Swiss-style defense, without the aggression of taxation or the universal draft that the Swiss use. People fearing a nuclear strike could construct their own shelters or participate in fund-raising for community facilities. People concerned with armed invasion could encourage the build-up of community defense forces. Military Olympics could stimulate proficiency in defensive skills among those who were inclined both toward athletics and the civic pride associated with being part of a community militia. Some communities could support their local militia much as they support their local sports teams. Fees could be charged to watch the Olympics. Local businesses and clubs could engage in fund-raising to outfit the citizen army. These troops might also be hired by other nations or sent to aid them by Americans who supported their cause.

An armed citizenry is an important aspect of national defense that has been neglected in this country. Instead of discouraging firearms with licensing laws, we could encourage wide spread proficiency with military hardware of all kinds. As we learned in Chapter 16 (Policing Aggression), we need not fear that an armed citizenry is a violent one. The belief in aggression, not the possession of firearms, is responsible for murder and mayhem. Proficiency in handling firearms among the general population would deter foreign aggressors just as surely as it deters individual criminals. An armed populace forces an invader to conquer each household, making successful foreign takeovers, if not impossible.

Non-Aggression Is the Best Defense

In other sections of this book, historical examples of The Easy Way Out have been readily available. No nation with modern armaments has a national defense completely free from aggression. As a consequence, predicting exactly what such a defense would look like is, at best, speculative. Based on the other consequences of non-aggression detailed throughout this book, however, we can confi-dently expect such a defense to be less expensive and of higher quality than defense through aggression. More importantly, non-aggression provides us with the best deterrent of all, because it stops most would-be Husseins and Hitlers from ever coming to power.

Historically, we have felt that national defense is too important to put in the hands of ordinary, everyday people. However, if we are willing to force others- at gunpoint, if necessary - to provide time and money toward defense, don't we become the invaders? We are trying to protect our lives, liberty, and property from those who would choose differently for us. If in the process of defending ourselves, we turn on our neighbors and make their lives, liberty, and property forfeit, haven't we become what we most fear?

Only when we no longer sanction aggression, ours or anyone else's, will we excise the cancer that causes war. Nothing less will create a peaceful and prosperous world. We cannot truly claim to be interested in peace if we are willing to perpetrate the actions that cause war.

...for the period 1917 to 1930 Western assistance in various forms was the single most important factor, first in the sheer survival of the Soviet regime and secondly in industrial progress to prerevolutionary levels.


The Soviet government has been given United States Treasury funds by the Federal Reserve Board and the Fed Reserve Banks acting through the Chase Bank and the Guaranty Trust Company and other banks in New York City.

- Louis McFadden, Chairman, U.S. House of Representatives, Banking Committee

...we are conducting a mass annihilation of defenseless men together with their wives and children.

- Nikolai Bukharin, Bolshevik leader

...10,000 German scientists and technical specialists had been absorbed into Soviet industry by May 1947. There is no question that there were sizable Soviet equipment removals from occupied areas after World War II; a minimum value figure in excess of $10 billion in 1938 prices can be set for equipment thus removed.


Our whole slave system depends on your economic assistance. When they bury us alive, please do not send them shovels and the most up-to-date earth-moving equipment.

- Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Soviet historian, Nobel Prize winner

The most fraudulent thing about the Nicaraguan election was the part the Reagan Administration played in it. By their own admission, United States Embassy officials in Managua pressured opposition politicians to withdraw from the ballot in order to isolate the Sandanistas and to discredit the regime.

- John Oakes, New York Times

Sometimes terror is very productive. This is the policy, keep putting on pressure until the people cry "uncle."

- Edgar Chamorro, Contra leader

The justification for those actions was that we were living in a very hard, predatory, "cloak-and-dagger" world and that the only way to deal with a totalitarian enemy was to intimidate him. The trouble with this theory was that while we live in a world of plot and counterplot, we also live in a world of cause and effect. Whatever the cause for the decision to legitimize and regularize deceit abroad, the inevitable effect was the practice of deceit at home.

- Norman Cousins, PATHOLOGY OF POWER

...We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the...military-industrial complex.

- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 1961

Every $1 billion of tax money the Pentagon spends on military purchases causes a loss of 18,000 jobs in the nation, compared with how consumers would have spent the money, a study said yesterday. Employment Research Associates of Lansing, Michigan, analyzed the effect of military spending on the U.S. economy using Defense Department and Bureau of Labor Statistics figures.

- United Press International, October 25, 1982

Judge not lest ye be judged.

- THE HOLY BIBLE, Matthew 7:1

For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the world and lose his soul?

- THE HOLY BIBLE, Mark 8:36

I spent 33 years... in active service... most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and the bankers. Thus I helped make Mexico, and especially Tampico, safe for American Oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the raping of half-a-dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street... I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers and Co. in 1909. I helped make Honduras "right" for American fruit companies in 1903.

- General Smedley Butler, Marine Corps Commandant

Saddam is a Frankenstein monster that the West created.

- Hans-Heino Kopietz, English Middle East analyst

Neither slavery or involuntary servitude... shall exist within the United States.

- U.S. Constitution, 13th Amendment

We should have closed the harbor of Haiphong... we permitted them to import all the necessities of war...

- Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp, Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Naval Operations in Vietnam

Suppose they gave a war, and no one came?

- Leslie Parrish-Bach, actress, Vietnam War protestor, and Richard Bach's BRIDGE ACROSS FOREVER

...people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of their way and let them have it.

- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959.

Men are afraid that war might come because they know... that they have never rejected the doctrine which causes wars... the doctrine that it is right or practical or necessary for men to achieve their goals by means of physical force (by initiating the use of force against other men) and that some sort of "good" can justify it.

- Ayn Rand,


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