Why 'the Good War' Wasn't So Good
by John Kaminski

Imprisoned poet's long-forgotten words mean more to us now

A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him. — Ezra Pound

I have kept repeating one important thought during my rantings over the past two years. It is this: Realizing that the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001 were conceived, engineered and then covered up by the powers that be in Washington, D.C. provides us with an open window through which to analyze the misrepresented behavior of American foreign policy during the past two centuries.

Once we acknowledge the political pathology that has us in its grip, we have a realistic chance of rehabilitating our insane society. If we don't, we're about to become fishkill in a permanent red tide of various poisons.

Examining this happy history that has been falsely imbued in our minds by prejudiced corporate media and brainwashed school curricula affords a significant opportunity to reclaim our country from the corporate rapists who have hijacked it in the name of profit. I believe there is no other way to purge America of its destructive dementia and bring the true crooks to justice than to deconstruct the patriotic propaganda that has led us to believe we are a noble nation on the side of truth and beauty.

If we could do this, we could confront our past honestly, and see the devil's smile in the pleasant details of history we have grown up with.

The first hurdle is getting Americans to understand about 9/11. The more intelligent among you know for certain something smells. Why else would there have been all these unexplained coverups in the name of national security, and all these unanswered questions about what really did happen? But once you have mastered the basic questions, you can't help but see the Arab hijacker fable as a deceptive strategem to justify future wars and oppression against dark-skinned people from whom we want to steal precious things.

Only then, when you comprehend in your heart the level of cynicism and betrayal necessary to inflict such a grievous wound upon your own countrymen, can you begin to visualize what kind of animalistic society would cloak its policies of constant aggression and mass murder in the righteous euphemisms of fighting for freedom and democracy against dreaded "evildoers".

The whole fable that has now come unraveled in the rapes and murders of imprisoned Iraqis now provides us a clear chance to see the true fabric of American behavior, so forgive me if I repeat myself from other essays and again try to make you realize that these recent, twisted exhibitions of heartless sadism are not exceptions to the rule of American behavior, but rather the norm. Wounded Knee. Dresden. My Lai. Fallujah.

It is only through this portal of realization and confession that we may make America into something that can be truly cherished, rather than what it is now, which is justifiably condemned by honest human beings everywhere.

In reviewing the history of America's involvement in foreign wars throughout the 20th century, I observed an uninterrupted series of false excuses — you know the list: Philippines, Cuba, all of Central America at one time or other, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iraq again — used to justify carnage, all of it passed off as defending freedom and democracy, but beneath the surface all of it constructed to maintain financial advantage over a certain commodity or a certain geographical segment of the world. A small percentage of Americans have always known that these involvements have been about protecting the profit-making potential of some corporation which has contributed heavily to the man who made the decision to go shoot up some defenseless, Third World hamlet.

Initially, the only two wars that didn't fit into this pattern of exploitation and invasion were the two big ones, World Wars I and II. Those, we had been taught in schools, were good wars, in which America sacrificed many thousands of its own citizens and millions of lives in other countries to defend "freedom" from evil fascists, nasty Communists or inscrutable Shintoists.

That always bothered me. I mean, things tend to stay true to form. Tigers don't change their stripes. How could it be, I thought awhile back, how could the United States have engaged in all these bad wars, that were predicated upon provable lies, and yet have two good wars in the middle of the string? I reasoned I must be missing something, and I was.

Bits and pieces began to emerge. Worldwide Judea declared all-out war against Germany in the mid-30s. Earlier, the Treaty of Versailles, ramrodded through by President Wilson's Jewish adviser Colonel House, handicapped Germany with onerous financial entanglements, all but guaranteeing, according to some historians, the inevitability of another war.

And then there was President Roosevelt's apparent foreknowledge of the strike at Pearl Harbor, and his failure to tell the troops there, in order to aggravate American public opinion into support for war. And even the movie "Pearl Harbor" told the tale of how America cut off Japan's oil supply to stir up trouble in the first place.

But the real missing piece came leaping out at me a few days ago, when somebody sent me a story about the poet Ezra Pound, and what happened to him during and after World War II. For those who don't know, Pound — considered by many of those who know to be the greatest poet of the 20th century — was arrested for treason because of the broadcasts he made from Italy during the early 1940s that urged the United States not to get involved in the fighting.

The story was Michael Collins Piper's famous 1997 piece in the Barnes Review (http://www.barnesreview.org/ezrapound.htm).

Unfortunately, given the way histories tend to be written (namely, by the victors), what Pound did and what happened to him because of that are rather widely known, whereas what he actually said that got him in so much trouble is not.

And what he said turns out to be eerily appropriate for the horrible developments happening today. The stories you have been taught about World War II are wrong. Pound spent 13 years in a mental institution (without a trial) for being right.

Consider the way the word "Nazi" has been used in our language as a synonym for depravity. After a lifetime of use, the negative connotation is second-nature to us. But Pound didn't see it that way.

He believed that international bankers were on the side of the U.S., Britain and the Soviet Union, and they were all arrayed against Germany. He insisted that without the machinations of the banks and their accomplices in the media, there would have been no war — and no wars ever.

Pound saw the American national tradition being perverted by the aggressive new internationalism, the brainchild of Jews who organized Soviet Communism, long had control of British banks, and manipulated the American President Roosevelt.

"Sometime the Anglo-Saxon may awaken to the fact that ... nations are shoved into wars in order to destroy themselves, to break up their structure, to destroy their social order, to destroy their populations. And no more flaming and flagrant case appears in history than our own American Civil War, said to be an occidental record for size of armies employed and only surpassed by the more recent triumphs of [the Warburg banking family:] the wars of 1914 and the present one."

Although Pound's broadcasts centered on keeping Americans out of World War II, the underlying theme of most of his pieces was money. Free people need to be in control of their money if they are to be actually free, Pound stressed. On the issues of usury and the control of money and economy by private special interests, Pound thundered: "There is no freedom without economic freedom," he said. "Freedom that does not include freedom from debt is plain bunkum."

Pound believed usury was the cause of war throughout history. "The usury system does no nation ... any good whatsoever. It is an internal peril to him who hath, and it can make no use of nations in the play of international diplomacy save to breed strife between them and use the worst as flails against the best. It is the usurer's game to hurl the savage against the civilized opponent. The game is not pretty, it is not a very safe game. It does no one any credit."

Pound tried to tell everyone that World War II was not an isolated event, and in his words we can hear the warnings that come down to us now in the echoes of Vietnam, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.

"This war did not begin in 1939. It is not a unique result of the infamous Versailles Treaty. It is impossible to understand it without knowing at least a few precedent historic events, which mark the cycle of combat. No man can understand it without knowing at least a few facts and their chronological sequence."

And his words in 1942 ring presciently for the future of America as the U.S. war machine rumbles around the planet in 2004 and threatens every nation on earth.

"This war is part of the age-old struggle between the usurer and the rest of mankind: between the usurer and peasant, the usurer and producer, and finally between the usurer and the merchant, between usurocracy and the mercantilist system ..."

World War II was not an isolated event. It was part of a deliberate trend spanning centuries, Pound insisted.

"The present war," he said, "dates at least from the founding of the Bank of England at the end of the 17th century, 1694-8. Half a century later, the London usurocracy shut down on the issue of paper money by the Pennsylvania colony, A.D. 1750."

According to Pound, it was the money issue (above all) that united the Allies during the second 20th-century war against Germany: "Gold. Nothing else uniting the three governments, England, Russia, United States of America. That is the interest — gold, usury, debt, monopoly, class interest, and possibly gross indifference and contempt for humanity."

The real enemy, said Pound, was international capitalism. All people everywhere were victims: "They're working day and night, picking your pockets," he said.

Pound said: "Usury has gnawed into England since the days of Elizabeth. First it was mortgages, mortgages on earls' estates; usury against the feudal nobility. Then there were attacks on the common land, filchings of village common pasture. Then there developed a usury system, an international usury system, from Cromwell's time, ever increasing."

When all was said and done, Pound predicted it would be the big money interests who would really win the war — not any particular nation-state — and the foundation for future wars would be set in place: "The nomadic parasites will shift out of London and into Manhattan. And this will be presented under a camouflage of national slogans. It will be represented as an American victory. It will not be an American victory. The moment is serious. The moment is also confusing. It is confusing because there are two sets of concurrent phenomena, namely, those connected with fighting this war, and those which sow seeds for the next one."

We are clearly in the same spot today.

Pound said one of the major reasons for World War II was the manipulation of the press, particularly in the United States: "I naturally mistrust newspaper news from America," he declared. "I grope in the mass of lies, knowing most of the sources are wholly untrustworthy."

And now. Same story, different day. Pound tried to warn us, more than 60 years ago, but we threw him into an insane asylum for 13 years, the best poet of the 20th century given his reward by the country he loved for speaking his mind in the land of Freedom of Speech.

A harbinger perhaps of the new Homeland Security laws that ignore all poets and truthtellers and keep us securely on the road to war for the profits of a precious, pathological few.

Now the entire population of the planet is about to be consigned to a worldwide capitalist insane asylum, in which love and honor are merely interesting advertising strategies useful in the sale of consumer goods, and loyalty and patriotism mere fairy tales at contract time, to be sold by all to the highest bidder seeking to steal parts of the world from someone else.

Now as then, the world's future rests upon those with ears to hear.

John Kaminski, skylax@comcast.net, is the author of America's Autopsy Report, a collection of his Internet essays seen on hundreds of websites around the world, and also The Day America Died: Why You Shouldn't Believe the Official Version of What Happened on September 11, 2001, a 48-page booklet written for those who still believe what the U.S. government is still saying about 9/11.

The Iraq War Serendipity Home Page