Please Mr. President: “No more “War Tactics.” We want a “Peace Strategy”


Anthony J. Marsella – TRANSCEND Media Service

“We must act now, or others will think we are weak.”  “We must punish Assad for his criminal act.” “It is a moral obscenity.”  “No boots on the ground, just weapons and bombs, at this point.”  “It is our responsibility as the leader of the free world to destroy the possibility of its recurrence by this desperate madman.”  “If we don’t stop the use of these weapons of mass destruction, we may be the next victim.”

These and similar words have now become daily fare from President Obama, members of his cabinet, congressional members, and a host of warmongers, profiteers, and beneficiaries of violence.  I cannot recall a USA leader calling more ardently for military tactics, justifying his words by demonizing others, and ignoring our national culpability.  We are not being offered a well-developed strategy for peace that will bring an end to the violence and war that abounds, particularly our role in its promotion and continuation.  What began as an Arab Spring filled with hope, has now become endless destruction in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and other Muslim nations.  Who benefits from the seeds of violence we have planted and nurtured?

Fortunately, the American public and a growing number of military leaders, activist peace organizations, and courageous individuals strongly disagree, and are pointing out the futility of any military intervention, arguing that our experience will not resolve the problem, but will increase the regional instability and promote further terrorism.  Selective military tactics are a bandage, not a cure.

The death of more than 1400 Syrian men, women, and children from Sarin gas, is not being challenged nor dismissed for its horror and savagery. It is a brutal act, and constitutes an international war crime deserving of the arrest and prosecution of it culpable agents, including USA officials who may be complicit.  What is being challenged is the wisdom of the United States to once again impose external militarily intervention, including military arms and supplies to selected parties, regime change, and appointments of unpopular despotic leaders.  These leaders, often military juntas, are subsequently kept in office by United States gifts and restricted financial aid designed to keep the nation in debt.

A popular phrase comes to mind:  “Been there, done that!”  Millions of people have been killed throughout the world because of well-intentioned efforts that have proved to be major sources of continuing destruction.   Citizens have come to understand, that your demands for “retribution” and “revenge,” actually are designed to serve other purposes, even as you and others speak of the “noble” intentions of an “avenging angel.”

Under optimal circumstances, foreign policy and action should serve multiple purposes, including economic, political, and moral aims.  This is simply good planning.  But when the multiple purposes are (1) less than admirable in their aims, (2) are not presented openly as an interwoven strategy of action, and (3) are designed to promote war and destruction, rather than bring peace, then it is time to step back from using military tactics, and to develop a strategy for global peace.

In my opinion, the government and corporate leaders of the United States of America and allied nations are contributing to the chaos and destruction in Syria and other Middle Eastern and North African nations for some of the following reasons:

1. Preserve Dollar as World Currency Because of Immense National Debt

To prevent the Iran-Iraq-Syria panned energy corridor agreement from becoming a reality, and to preserve the dollar as the world currency.  This agreement would provide for Iranian energy from the richest natural gas region in the world to be transmitted via a pipeline to the Mediterranean, thus creating an alternative to existing oil resources and the efforts by the USA to export its gas resources for much needed money.  But the real issue may be that the “corridor” and a growing number of other nations no longer want payment in USA dollars. They recognize that the USA has abused its privilege as a stable and unbiased financial resource, by asking nations around the world to support the USA’s un-payable national debt.  Essentially, given the size of the USA debt, if nations turn from the dollar as the standard of exchange, our economy will collapse.  Oddly enough, Saudi Arabia and nearby kingdoms have stated they will continue supplying oil and accepting USA petrol dollars, and so they support us, but many nations are becoming concerned about inflationary dollar payments.  As a result BRIC nations and others have created their alternative to the dollar. And remember, we are responsible for the debt, as our businesses chose to leave the USA.

2. Maintain the Turmoil

To keep the Middle-East and North Africa regions in turmoil because this prevents organized protests and actions against the USA and its allies by Muslim states and people who chose to criticize USA actions and culture. The USA has incited tribalism, civil war, religious sect quarrels, and distrust among these nations, using invasion, occupation, regime change, and the appointment of corrupt national leaders willing to betray their people for billions in hush money.

3. Keep Turkey Pre-Occupied

To keep Turkey, Muslim nation, focused on preventing the formation of a Kurdish nation-state from the chaos in the Middle-East.  This concern goes back to the 1920 Treaty of Sevres, imposed on the Kurdish people by colonial powers of the day.  The Kurds were uprooted from a region called “Kurdistan,” and scattered among five countries: Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia, and Turkey.  The Kurds and Turks have been at war for decades.  In addition, this cools Turkey’s criticism of Israel’ actions, and also encourages Shia and Sunni struggles.

4. Demonize China and Russia

To accuse China and Russia of lacking concern for the gas victims in Syria.  Accuse China and Russia of abandoning “morality,” “decency,” and “legal responsibilities.”  This encourages the isolation and vilification of Russia and China, enabling the USA to form regional trade and military pacts that punish Russia and China, and any other nations who are non-compliant (e.g., Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia).

5. Provide Opportunity to Destroy Iran

To offer Israel the opportunity to act unilaterally to destroy Iran’s military forces, energy structures, and support of insurgent groups Hezbollah. In this scenario, one by one, the Islamic nations of the Middle-East and North Africa are kept powerless, pre-occupied internally with civil strife, and externally, with threats of economic destruction from Central Banks, IMF, World Bank, and the WTO. If Hezbollah becomes an orphaned militant organization with limited support for arms or money, Israel’s security is strengthened, and it can expand borders in Lebanon, and occupy all of Jerusalem.  Cooperate or else!  This is not visionary leadership, it is merely a path for endless war.  Already we have established a huge Africa Command and have soldiers in 35 African nations

6. Demonstrate Military Might of USA and Instill Fear of Punishment      

To demonstrate to the world that any efforts to resist cooperation with the USA and its allies will result in violence, destruction, and national collapse.  The UN does not matter. Who can withstand the USA military and financial might?  The USA’s presence marked by an organized  network of (1) 666 foreign military bases and operations; (2) militarization of national police and cooperation of military leaders (e.g., SOA); (3) global prisons and internment facilities designed for arrest, confinement, and containment (torture) of insurgents and activists; (4) death squads and drones for assassinations and murder of all who represent threats to USA interests and goals; (5) establishment of a vast national security intelligence system including citizen spies, collaborators, propaganda, and technical surveillance, monitoring, and archiving of data, including the building of massive fortress-like embassies and consulates that serve a centers for facial surveillance and recognition of all citizens of that nation.  For example, as the USA left Iraq, it departed with massive facial recognition and related identification materials on virtually all citizens, especially those in government military and police forces and services.   Incidentally, keeping the citizens of the USA in fear of terrorism, enables the NSA to enhance its surveillance and monitoring actions and technologies.

7. Redemption for Our Own Uses of Weapons of Mass Destruction

There is hypocrisy in our words and actions that cannot be hidden beneath  sanctimonious and self-righteous rhetoric.  How boldly our leaders stand before us proclaiming the indecency of others as we used radiation depleted bullets and bombs in the battle of Fallujah in Iraq.  This resulted in legacy of birth deformities and malignancies that will endure for a century or more.  How boldly our leaders speak, when we used “Agent Orange” (Dow Chemical) in Vietnam, destroying trees, fields, and the lives of millions of Vietnamese and our own troops.  How boldly our leaders speak as we used drones assassinations, napalm and white phosphorous bombs, their deadly explosions now permanent images of war’s horror The world recalls our military’s brutality and savagery in the iconic image of a nude young Vietnamese female child fleeing from an explosion, sheer agony on her face.

Unproductive USA Foreign Policies and Actions

The continued use and abuse of foreign policies and actions rooted in violence do not promote cooperation, nor admiration; rather they encourage instability via support for protests, insurrections, rebellions, revolutions, and acts of domestic, state, and international terrorism.  As oppression occurs, injustice thrives, and terrorism becomes the only option. Table 1 lists examples of USA foreign policy and action alternatives. These have been developed and refined over decades.

Table 1

The Menu of Counter-Productive USA Foreign Policy Actions

Choices, Options, Alternatives

Assassinations/death squads/drones,

Bounties for info/capture

Bribery, purchase, and installation of pro-American leaders and dictators

Celebration of national “morality”

Collaboration/contracts with foreign universities, scientists, professional organizations, and intelligence agencies

Contingent “humanitarian” aid

Contingent “foreign” aid

Control of UN via vetoes and economic pressures

Control IMF and World Bank

Cooperate with foreign nation security services (e.g., military, intelligence, corporations)

Development of domestic crowd controls (militarization of police)

Drug wars and corruption of officials

Disproportionate support of “allies”/Enemification of others

Entrapments of targeted individuals and groups

Establishment of military bases [more than 666 known foreign bases],

Exportation of popular American culture (i.e., consumerism, materialism, commodification, competition, crony capitalism, celebritization)

False flag operations (disguised military and/or economic interventions/invasions)

Foreign student/faculty/consultant exchanges (used for intelligence recruitment)

Fund development of disguised/pseudo-organizations used for national purposes (e.g. Human Ecology Fund, ONR, AID)

Glorification of war, militarism, warrior mentalities and images, machismo,

Hegemonic globalization (i.e., Control of socio-technical changes and economy)

Infiltration of peace, anti-war groups, and social activist organizations

Invasion and overthrow, including regime change

Justification of torture (“enhanced interrogation”)

Mass surveillance, monitoring, and archiving of info/communication data

Massive government/private intelligence security agencies/organizations

Media influence and control via news and commentators

Military interventions and occupations

Mind control technologies (e.g., drugs, EMR, behavior control technologies)

Negotiation/conflict resolution delays

Non-Prosecution of connected military, government, civilian law violators/abusers

Military occupation of nations, regions,

Promotion of nationalism/pseudo-patriotism/USA exceptionalism

Propaganda to instill fear in citizens, and vilification of individuals and groups

Recruitment of spies, informers, collaborators, agents

Uses surrogate nations and forces to accomplish goals

Use false flags incidents

Use major philanthropic foundations to influence policy and actions

Vilification and enemification of domestic and/or international critics.

Weapons/arms dealer/arms sales for money and to promote causes

Witness protection programs

A Closing Thought:  Productive Foreign Policies and Actions

The proposed intervention in Syria by the United States and its allies – regardless of its sanctioning by Congress, the UN, or Presidential prerogative, cannot bring peace and justice.  The challenge we face as citizens and a nation is how the dominant techno-military-industrial/corporate-educational complex dominating the world order can be controlled: it is a Leviathan.  “America no longer has a functioning democracy,” said President Jimmy Carter.

A serious question must be asked: Is the United States of America now a nation driven by the virtues of its founding documents, or is it now becoming a vehicle to be used by a cabal of wealthy individuals and multinational organizations dominated by banking, insurance, and energy corporate powers, and other monopolistic groups in medicine, pharmaceuticals, media, transportation, communications, entertainment, and food. There is an ancient saying: “When you go forward for revenge, dig two graves.”  Mr. President, choose and use productive foreign policy choices and options, as presented in Table 2.  No one wins in war.

Table 2: Productive Foreign Policy Options


Public Apology


Humanitarian Aid

Choose and Support Non-Violence Protests and Change

Practice Humility

International Loan Forgiveness

Join International Courts

Use “Justice” as an Arbiter

Prosecute American War Crimes

Close Guantanamo and Other Prisons

Cease all Vilification of Muslims

Address the Decline of USA Empire by Stopping the Pursuit of Empire

End Global Surveillance and Restore Privacy and Constitutional Rights

Address Domestic Inequities and Inequalities

Limit Lobbyist Influence and Control of Offices

End Corporate Political Election Dominance and Control

Be the Nation You Want Others to Be

Destroy all Weapons of Mass Destruction (Nuclear, Toxic, Gas, etc)

Implement an Immediate Conflict Resolution Office

Develop a Department of Peace as a Cabinet Office

Review Consequences of DHS and NSA Abuses

Restore Balance of Power Across Executive, Congressional, and Justice Sectors.

Limit “imperial” presidency power.

Develop a Metric to Assess USA International Abuses

Acknowledge the National Security of the USA is best Secured by Pursuing and Modeling Peace, not by Engaging in Constant Accusations and Enemification of Other Nations, Cultures, and People.

Increase Governmental Transparency and Accountability

Speak Truth

Mr. President:  Develop a foundation for domestic and global peace. Restore confidence in the USA, not because of its fearful military, political, and economic might, but because of its commitment to the enduring human values, and its constitutional guarantees.

September 8, 2013


Anthony Marsella, Ph.D., a  member of the TRANSCEND Network, is a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii, and past director of the World Health Organization Psychiatric Research Center in Honolulu. He is known nationally and internationally as a pioneer figure in the study of culture and psychopathology who challenged the ethnocentrism and racial biases of many assumptions, theories, and practices in psychology and psychiatry. In more recent years, he has been writing and lecturing on peace and social justice. He has published 15 edited books, and more than 250 articles, chapters, book reviews, and popular pieces. He can be reached at


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 16 Sep 2013.

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