Jul 17, 2021 • 1HR 3M

The United States of War

 
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Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader talks about what’s happening in America, what’s happening around the world, and most importantly what’s happening underneath it all.
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Ralph spends a lively hour with David Vine, Professor of Anthropology at American University, discussing his book “The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts from Columbus to the Islamic State.” Plus, Ralph announces that the Congress Club letter writing campaign is ready to kick off.


David Vine is Professor of Anthropology at American University and a member of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists. He is the author of several books including Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World and Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia. His latest book is The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic StateNote: David Vine has committed to donating all profits from book royalties and speaker honorariums to the Chagossian people and non-profit organizations serving other victims of war.

I think the drone program has been an abomination. And I would challenge anyone to identify a single drone assassination that one could claim was legal in any sense. But I think beyond the legality and the inhumanity of this kind of assassination complex… Beyond that, the drone program is an example and a symbol of the way in which the entire War on Terror has been counterproductive. I actually spoke to someone in the White House, who was part of that drone killing program in the Obama administration. And it hadn’t even occurred to him and others in the White House that these drone strikes might have been counterproductive.

David Vine, author of The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State

US bases abroad show us how the United States is an empire that has sought expansion. US officials have sought expansion. And that US bases abroad have not just enabled the long series of US wars, but have actually made war more likely. Because when you build bases abroad– bases on other people’s territories– these tend not to be defensive in nature. They tend to actually be offensive in nature. They tend to be platforms for war. And that’s, indeed, what we’ve seen through the long series of US wars since independence.

David Vine, author of The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State

Obama was such a disappointment here. Given the way he talked in his campaign, and his training as a constitutional lawyer… [He] was observed as having a great deal of interest in pushing buttons that evaporate people 6,000 miles away, who they don’t have any evidence that they’re conducting any imminent strike against anything called “America.”

Ralph Nader

“Biden– not in a heavy way but a continuing way–he made direct attacks, military attacks, in Iraq and Syria. Not in response to a direct attack by an adversary. And he basically is saying now he’s going to attack anywhere, regardless of whether there is something going on that’s threatening us imminently. And this completely contradicts his interview with Chris Matthews of about 12 years ago, when he basically said “Only Congress can declare war, and this should be an impeachable offense!” So here we go again. You’ve got this enormous pressure, regardless of whether we’ve got a Republican [or] Democrats in the White House. And the increasing taboo in the Congress of even challenging the military budget.

Ralph Nader

I think that many US government officials from the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations are war criminals and should be prosecuted as such. I think that’s unlikely to happen in the Biden administration, unfortunately. Part of the way that government officials, they think about covering their own asses…if you start going after former officials, you worry about opening yourself up for later prosecution. Of course, if you went after former officials for the crimes they’ve committed, you might also hope that, then, that would encourage current officials to not break the law.

David Vine, author of The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State


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