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Letter from Bellingham Travail: Stopping the War Machine

In Bellingham on Jan 28, 2024 the Washington State Democratic Central Committee passed a resolution written by me, Donald A. Smith, PhD, along with Sharon Abreu and Linda Boyd, calling for a less militarized foreign policy and for a “just transition” to a peace economy.

Resolution on the Urgency of Transitioning to an Economy Based on Peace 

The Washington State Democratic Progressive Caucus had earlier unanimously passed the same resolution in a slightly different form.

Most Americans initially supported the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, thinking that the wars were noble defenses of democracy.

Eventually, Americans learned that all three wars were far from noble and that the government had been lying about their progress.

Similar things can be said about the wars, proxy wars, and government overthrows in Iran (1953), Indonesia (1965-1966), Kosovo, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Gaza, throughout Latin America, and elsewhere.

Several million people died in the Vietnam War. Approximately 1 million people died in the U.S.-backed war in Indonesia. Hundreds of thousands died in U.S. proxy wars in Latin America, where U.S. meddling continues to this day.

Legacy of U.S. foreign policy: death

According to Brown University’s Costs of War project, post-9/11 U.S. wars killed 900,000 people directly and another 3.5 million people indirectly.

These wars, overthrows, and associated economic sanctions caused refugee crises that destabilized governments throughout Europe and caused havoc at the U.S. border.

Nearly the only people held responsible for these disasters were whistle blowers who exposed U.S. war crimes and lies.

Yet not six months after the disastrous end to the disastrous war in Afghanistan, the U.S. was again at war: a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine.

The government and its compliant media told Americans that the Russian invasion was “unprovoked.” So most Americans believed that U.S. aid for Ukraine was a noble defense of democracy.

Sorry, but how can so many Americans be naive enough to believe what the government says about Ukraine, given the history of US lies about wars?

While Russia’s 2022 invasion was criminal, the sad truth is that the U.S. is far from innocent in the crisis, and the U.S. has launched numerous and less justified wars worldwide.

Senior U.S. diplomats, academics and journalists said that aggressive NATO expansion provoked the war in Ukraine and that the U.S. helped overthrow the government of Ukraine in 2014, allying with far-right groups Right Sektor, Svoboda, and Azov Battalion to do so. In much the same way, the U.S. allied with Muslim extremists to overthrow governments in Kosovo, Libya, and Syria, where the U.S. currently occupies one third of the country with help from its proxy army, the Syrian Defense Forces.

Senior U.S. diplomats say the U.S. provoked Russia in Ukraine

I know that all this is not a popular view in the current Democratic Party, which, amazingly, has become more hawkish than the crazy GOP.

The U.S. intentionally provoked the war in Ukraine by aggressively expanding NATO, contrary to verbal promises given to Soviet leaders, and against the warnings by senior U.S. diplomats. The U.S. poured billions of dollars into regime change operations in Eastern Europe, even though Russia had repeatedly asked to be integrated into the Western alliance. The U.S. aided Chechen rebels that Russia regarded as terrorists. The U.S. withdrew from multiple nuclear arms treaties. The U.S. allied with far-right Ukrainian militias that were attacking Russian speakers in the east and that had been widely condemned by U.S. media and by Congress prior to 2022. Likewise, the U.S. allied with Muslim extremists to overthrow pro-Russian governments in Kosovo, Syria, and Libya.

Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine voted overwhelmingly to ally with Russia, and the post-2014 Ukrainian government suppressed official uses of the Russian language. Far-right groups such as the Azov Battalion and Svoboda integrated into the Ukrainian army and continue to bully politicians.

As reported in the New Yorker, the NSA and CIA went to great lengths to hide information about Ukraine, but it is clear that the U.S. aided the 2014 coup. According to Chas W. Freeman, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a Lifetime Director of the Atlantic Council, the U.S. engineered it.

The RAND Corporation study Overextending an Unbalancing Russia recommended arming Ukraine as the best way to weaken Russia and predicted that it would provoke a war. The U.S. undermined peace deals both before and after the Russian invasion. Angela Merkel and others later admitted this.

In short, as Dennis Kucinich and others have said, the U.S. used Ukrainians as disposable pawns in a nasty geopolitical chess game with Russia.

U.S. hypocrisy is stunning. It invaded, occupied and bombed countries worldwide (e.g., Iraq) for far less provocation than Russia’s invasion of its neighbor Ukraine. The U.S. is currently occupying one third of Syria (the parts with oil), with help from its proxy army, the Syrian Defense Forces. The U.S. still has troops in Iraq (making them easy targets for enemies) and has over 750 military bases in about 80 countries.

Yet Russia is now on the offensive in Ukraine, and despite American sanctions, the Russian economy is booming. It grew faster than all G7 economies in 2023; Russia even overtook Germany as Europe’s largest economy. More and more countries are dumping the U.S. dollar as the international currency. The European economy is suffering from the sanctions, which caused inflation. The U.S. is $34 trillion in debt but has already sent over $100 billion to Ukraine, one of the most corrupt countries in Europe. Furthermore, the U.S. is bombing Iranian-linked militants in Yemen and Iraq, risking war with Iran. And the U.S. is actively preparing for war with China.

The bipartisan military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned against has been fleecing the public and causing death and destruction worldwide for decades. The military budget is close to $1 trillion a year, but the Pentagon is unable to pass an audit and can’t account for trillions of dollars in assets. Multiple weapons programs, such as the $1.7 trillion F-35 fighter jet, are low-functioning boondoggles. For a fraction of the money the U.S. spends on the corrupt and destructive military, we could feed the poor, house the homeless, convert to green energy, and implement universal health care.

A trillion dollars here, a trillion dollars there. Pretty soon it adds up to a lot of money.

For more information see

Resolution on the Urgency of Transitioning to an Economy Based on Peace 


Senior U.S. diplomats, journalists, academics and Secretaries of Defense say: The U.S. provoked Russia in Ukraine

and the links therein.

By the way, the resolution passed by the Washington State Democratic Central Committee in Bellingham omitted the fourth WHEREAS, which reads:

WHEREAS, aggressive NATO expansion was a contributing cause [5] of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as even NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg and various senior U.S. diplomats and Secretaries of Defense admitted [6]; the U.S. armed the Saudis in their brutal war against Yemen and continues to support Israel in its oppression and (since Oct 7, 2023) genocide of the Palestinian people; and the U.S. arms buildup and aggressive economic and diplomatic actions towards China seem designed to provoke yet another war, this one over Taiwan;

Sharon Abreu, who shepherded the resolution through the state Central Committee, says that prior to the Bellingham meeting, the state Resolution Committee had removed the fourth WHEREAS, and when the resolution came up for a vote by the Central Committee, she dared not call for reconsideration of the fourth WHEREAS, since she knew debate would be contentious and since she knew it would still be a big win for the state committee to have passed this resolution. In fact, I am surprised they passed it at all, since I know that some people in the Democratic Party vehemently disagree with my views on the war in Ukraine, and their passing the resolution even without the fourth WHEREAS gives legitimacy to these antiwar views.

More and more, the truth is coming out: the U.S. lied about another war, which was avoidable had the U.S. had a more restrained and sane foreign policy.


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