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The Cultural Roots of Interventionism in the US

by Steve Martinot
Previously published in Social Justice, vol 30, no. 1 (May 2003)

On Oct. 7, 2001, the US launched a massive military assault on Afghanistan that effaced its political structure, and created an enormous refugee situation. Since the middle of 2002, the US has been threatening to do the same thing to Iraq, running through a spectrum of reasons that change as each previous argument collapses. (At the time of this writing, the world waits to see if UN inspectors will find weapons of mass destruction in that country.) But the assault on Afghanistan, mounted in response to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, was only the latest of a series. Preceded by Grenada (1982), Panama (1989), Iraq (1991), and Yugoslavia (1999), the series stretches across two decades. Each assault had its own peculiarity, and violated certain principles of democracy and international law; yet each received overwhelming support in the US, at both institutional and popular levels. Though its moments differ, they reveal a common structure; and the series as a whole poses an enveloping question concerning its general acceptibility. To discern the structure of these assaults, let us begin with the last. On Sept. 11, 2001, two hijacked planes were flown into the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City, causing those buildings to collapse, and killing around three thousand people. A third plane was flown into the Pentagon, leaving it in flames for days; and a fourth crashed in Pennsylvania. All were ostensibly hijacked, all within hours of each other. Though no one took credit for this coordinated act of destruction, the US government immediately claimed, without evidence, that a Saudi expatriot allegedly living in Afghanistan was responsible, and that 19 men of Middle Eastern origin, of whom the FBI published the names two days later, had committed this act of collective suicide and mass murder. There could be no evidence of who had taken control of the planes and turned off their transponders since all who knew died in the crashes. Osama bin Laden was ordered arrested, and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was instructed to extradict him. That regime was then militarily driven from power for refusing to comply. That is, the Taliban was declared guilty by association, and the nation of Afghanistan punished as a result. This, then, is the "bare-bones" scenario that would befit a judicial style consistent with a warrant for bin Laden's arrest; and clearly something is wrong with what it describes. In reality, nothing unfolded in this manner. Though in

violation of international law (Geneva Accords and UN Charter), the military assault on Afghanistan constituted the first act in what was declared to be an "endless war."1 The massive bombing of Afghanistan created a civilian death count considerably beyond that of the WTC; whole villages were obliterated, and an already critical refugee and starvation situation was exacerbated, stretching well into Pakistan. In place of the Taliban organization, an interim government was invented. Though objection to this assault in the US was small, it was repressed: public figures who spoke against the attack were vilified, people were fired, students suspended from school, social programs closed, university professors sanctioned, etc.2 All to arrest one man? The assault on Afghanistan, according to military experts, would have required at least 3 months of logistic preparation; and indeed, plans for the assault had begun the previous July.3 If so, then the arrest of bin Laden only served as a legalist pretext for a prior political project, the change of Afghani regime. Were that the real objective all along, then the idea of avenging 911 would have been simply opportune, for popular consumption. However, the evident difference between the absent evidence (for what had happened on 911) and a military policy which ignored the absence of evidence signified that mainstream support for the "revenge" assault required no evidence. In addition, neither the restraint for which the anti-war opposition called, nor the horror of subjecting Afghanistan to mass destruction, had any moderating effect. But in the context of a pre-planned assault and a legalist legitimation (the arrest warrant), more than a vengeful blood-lust is at stake. To the extent a government proclamation was sufficient to marshall support, we confront a cultural rather than political phenomenon.4 Two domains of inquiry present themselves. The first is the use of international legalism to symbolize rather than explain or authorize an intervention, the pursuit of which itself violates international and US law. The second is the structure of popular acceptance that likewise ignores illegality (the violation of treaty, of international codes, and the principle of national sovereignty), and for which both legalism and militarism are sufficient authorization in themselves. And these, we will see, are common elements of the aforementioned attack series; all deploy a similar legalism, and each reveals a hiatus between policy and legitimacy. The US invaded Panama militarily to arrest a Panamanian, Manuel Noriega (the proverbial "strongman," sometimes president, sometimes not) for drug trafficking in violation of US law. The invasion was clearly in violation of the OAS charter, which guarantees the sovereignty of American states.5 Noriega was returned to the US, tried and jailed, while Panama was left

to bury its dead (300 killed, 3,000 wounded, men, women, and children, and 18,000 homeless, according to Physicians for Human Rights, Dec. 1990) and rebuild the wartorn districts of its capital city. The assault constituted what could be called an international SWAT team operation of mega-proportions. Many legal arguments supporting the invasion rearticulated Reagan's rationale for invading Grenada, namely, that it was properly the US mission to rescue a people held in thrall by thugs. No less a figure than Prof. Anthony D'Amato of Northwestern Univ. Law School argued that "sovereignty," in the case of Panama, was of no legal consequence in the face of the human right of "Panamanian citizens to be free from oppression by a gang of ruling thugs."6 He goes on to say that treaty arguments "are far less important to international law than the actual customary-law-generating behavior of states." "The U.S. interventions in Panama and, previously, in Grenada are milestones along the path to a new nonstatist conception of international law that changes previous nonintervention formulas such as Article 18 [of the OAS charter]." Thus, D'Amato gives certification to "unwritten" law, to a system of "precedents" in the process of being created (that is, without precedent), as an alternate international "lawfulness." Yet in rejecting the stance that upholds treaty agreements and international accords as law, he ignores the fact that what then constitutes "precedent" outside international agreement can only be the acts of the powerful, of military might pure and simple. Ironically, the concept of human rights to which D'Amato refers, and whose defense he recommends, invokes a strong sense of democracy. It thus poses two questions: who judged the Panamanian desire to be relieved of Noriega, the Panamanians by vote, or Washington through distant decision? and why or how are Panamanians held accountable under laws made elsewhere, in the enactment of which they played no role, nor had any democratic input? Congressman Steve Chabot of Ohio confirms the import of these questions when he states, in 2000, that "American civilians who commit crimes abroad are also not subject to the criminal laws of the United States, because the jurisdiction for those laws ends at our national borders."7 No treaty existed that would extend US law to other sovereign nations. Both D'Amato and US policy ignored the fact that Panama had its own laws which had been written by Panamanians for Panamanian benefit and jurisprudence. For the US government and public, however, the alleged lawfulness of bringing a drug trafficker to justice overshadowed the absence of legality in doing so -- as if to say, we know what is best for you, or what you would have done had you known better (which is clearly chauvinist). The actual precedent, however, if any were established, D'Amato notwithstanding, would then be an arbitrary

conflation of US law with Panamanian law, an allegorical "internationalization" of US law in the sense of a unilateral extension of US jurisdiction and sovereignty over other sovereign nations -- in violation of actual international law. "Internationalization" of US law was extended further by the 1991 bombing of Iraq, and later by the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia. In those cases, the person named criminal had not violated US law. Nevertheless, the US government chose to proclaim a violation. Hussein was charged with aggression against Kuwait, though the reality of what had transpired between the two countries was left unspoken.8 Milosevich was charged with human rights violations in his own country, though NATO's involvement in Serbian internal affairs was similarly swept out of sight.9 The two interventions had similar goals: to force Iraq out of Kuwait and to force Serbia out of Kosovo; and they both manifest themselves through inappropriate international bodies: the UN in the first case, in which a peacekeeping organization was used to make war; and NATO in the second, using an international treaty organization to resolve an internal matter in a non-signatory sovereign nation. The first occurred in total rejection of Iraq's willingness to negotiate its withdrawal from Kuwait (it had, in fact, negotiated its invasion of Kuwait with the US); and the second was promulgated through ultimatums designed to nullify Serbian sovereignty (that is, that Serbia negotiate the erasure of its existence as a negotiant).10Ultimately, both Kuwait and Kosovo were seized and occupied militarily by the US (or NATO) after enormously destructive technological assaults, as if that had been the goal all along. In effect, international bodies designed to preserve sovereignty and oversee international peace were transformed into war councils against national sovereignty, in violation of the United Nations Charter (Articles 2, 33, and 42). Coopted as proxies for US policy, they were, in effect, "nationalized" by the US for its own international purposes. Thus, their transformation is consistent with the earlier "precedent" of conflating US and international law with respect to Panama. The idea of US "nationalization" of international law implies the subordination of international law to US policy.11 The attack-sequence (Panama, Iraq, Yugoslavia), in marking the unilateral usurpation of international law as an extension of US jurisdiction to the international level, and subsuming it to US policy, constitutes a massive rejection of respect for sovereignty or the possibility of "due process" with respect to sovereign nations. Rather, it enacts the substitution of the capabilities of power for the rule of law implied in D'Amato's theoretics, namely, that might makes right.

In the process, the very concept of war has been transformed, reflecting this transformation of international relations. It has become something other than war. Bombing nations from vast aerial distance that are incapable of carrying on an air war, like Afghanistan or Yugoslavia, cannot be considered a war. When only one side does any shooting, it becomes something else, something beyond war. In spite of having no real opposition, the bombing was carried out to full destructiveness. The conventional bomb ordnance dropped on Iraq in 1991 was the equivalent of six Hiroshima-sized A-bombs. Among the first targets were electric power stations, desalinization plants, and sewage treatment plants; that is, civilian infrastructure along with military targets. (Clark, 1991) This too is not war; it is a form of "clearing the land" -- Guernica on a national scale. And finally, even the concept of "costs" was inverted. The US had tranformed itself from a creditor nation to the world's largest debtor nation during the Reagan years. Military action is infinitely more expensive than diplomacy or negotiations, both in a monetary sense, and in the lives and psychic damage to all concerned. Yet the massive violence, the displacement of people, the terrible wounds to bodies and social space wrought by bombing, was somehow preferable, as if conspicuous extravangance would offset the cost rather than augment it. In sum, the bombing itself appears to have been one of the real motivations for the assault. There is a massive ethical inversion lurking here in the disparity between a real war and wanton destruction.
The Cultural Ethic of Support

Why does the impunity of such destructiveness get support in a nation that prides itself on valuing the inviolability and sanctity of the individual, and of sovereignty? It is not economic gain. The attack sequence does not provide economic benefit to its supporters. The economic projects, control of resources, and corporate investments that may be at stake have no direct connection to social conditions in the US. The support by ordinary people does not arise from an economic interest. Nor does it arise from a compelling "logic." Indeed, the justifications have consistently been self-contradictory. In Panama, the concept of law was rendered moot in the name of law. In Iraq, the return of sovereignty to Kuwait was invoked in order to cancel it for both Kuwait and Iraq. In Yugoslavia, humanitarian purpose (to stop "ethnic cleansing") was invoked to render Yugoslavian terrain uninhabitable, and to "cleanse" Kosovo of Serbians. There is, ultimately, no logical connection possible between the "humanitarian" and militarism. One can write "humantarian aid" on a bomb, but when dropped from 30,000 feet it can only amount to mass murder. Finally, support does not arise from political advantage; the people of the US do not gain from the territory occupied (the Canal Zone, Kuwait, Kosovo, Afghanistan). There was

no advantage amassed that could not have been accomplished through diplomacy. It is to the structure of each assault, rather than its substance, that one must turn to explain the cultural ethic at work here. Three simultaneous elements were coordinated in each assault. The first was an arbitrary criminalization of a nation, symbolized by the demonization of its leader. Its arbitrarity is evident in comparison to similar situations elsewhere in the world that the US chose to ignore, such as East Timor, Guatemala, or Chiapas. This arbitrarity suggests that the "criminality" of the "target" leader was not the focus of the assault, but rather a rhetorical pretext to use against his nation for other purposes. Second, proclaiming the target nation criminal implicitly decriminalizes the violence used against it by the US; the onus for its destructiveness can then be laid on the target's shoulders. The terrible hardships to ordinary people wrought by the economic embargoes on Cuba, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, and others, get blamed on the local leader. The police in the US now operate according to this ethical inversion. It is called "vicarious liability," and was the basis on which the famous Bear Lincoln case hinged. Other cases have occrred where police officers fired into a car to stop it from being driven away, killing the passenger, for which the driver was charged with murder. In other words, a criminalization of others renders one's own injustice a form of "justice." In that manner, the violence and destructiveness of the assault become self-legitimizing. And third, issues of social justice can be recognized as such politically only to the degree authorized by official governmental policy. For instance, though the situation in Chiapas vis-a-vis Mexico paralleled that in Kosovo, it remained off the political radar screen of the mainstream as long as the government regarded it as unimportant. This ability to define and redefine what is meant by social justice in part explains popular support for an intervention. Indeed, this is Noam Chomsky's central point in his critique of US policy. Chomsky focuses on many of the same points made in the present essay. For him, US interventionism is marked by a substitution of a rule of force for the rule of law, the use of "defense" as a disguise for aggression, the need for perpetual threat, and the pretense to humanitarianism, of "elevating" the social status of those who suffer its assaults. But he generally contents himself with an investigation of the rhetorical patterns by which the government does this, rather than probe the cultural structures that those rhetorical patterns rely on and express. He thus deals with what symbolize certain cultural structures, rather than investigate their form.12

The triadic structure described here goes beyond rhetoric or redefinition. The legalist discourses, political impunity, and violence that dimension foreign policy are not isolable; they condition each other in modes of cyclic legitimation. Legalism legitimates impunity, impunity legitimates violence, and violence legitimates the use of legalistics -- and the entire cycle hides the ethical inversions that inhabit each step. It is the political sanctity that interventionism assumes for itself thereby which obviates the need to open its ethical logic to scrutiny; it already equates arbitrarity of action with political principle. Indeed, the self-legitimization, or self-referentiality, of each intervention is what makes the absence of stated political goals or programs intelligible -that is, the intervention becomes the goal itself. In Iraq, for instance, removing Hussein was not a goal; indeed, his continuance in power was essential to maintaining control of Kuwait, despite the deaths of a million and a half Iraqis resulting from the embargo; and conversely, it was essential for maintaining the embargo, to insure that Iraq did not recuperate its economy. Ultimately, the popular support for both suggests that no political goals (other than death and devstation) were needed. Yet this is only half the story. The structure of popular support for interventionism is highlighted by the character of the opposition. Though parenthetical to the political process, and without the means of bringing its case to open public discourse, several modes of opposition to each intervention have arisen, and sought popular attention. They have all attempted to reveal the contradictions in the interventionist rhetoric, and to demand debate on issues of justice with respect to interventionist policy. But to do so, the anti-intervention movements must make assumptions that are also contradictory. In particular, they assume that debate between the principles of justice and sovereignty and the rhetoric of self-legitimization is possible. But there is no common ground. Where the first argues that an act must be based on principles that precede the act in order to be just, the second responds that it already is, since the principles follow from the act, and thus inhere to it (as with D'Amato). Discussion is ended before it begins. Alongside this failure, the opposition also assumes that if the facts are known, then the American people would see beyond the government's rhetoric to the undemocratic aggressiveness of its practices, and bring those practices to a halt. That is, logically the principles of democracy and sovereignty should be sufficient to curtail support for violations of those same principles. But that approach has not worked. During the Vietnam War, for instance, the facts only served to generate a socio-political debate on the morality of the war, as if

carpet bombing rural populations, or poisoning an entire ecosystem could be dealt with as "moral" issues.13 The facts about Iraq, censored at the time of the bombing by the Pentagon, have since become available; yet knowledge of the resulting social devastation and mass starvation has sparked no national discussion. Even though the facts be known, little concern for right or justice ensues.14 Of course, it is the democratic and sovereign right of a "people" to not concern themselves with such things. But when their non-concern seems to violate their cultural tradition, along with their political rhetoric, it begins to appear like cultural failure. And that failure suggests that something is missing in the opposition's strategy. A consistent ineffectiveness in the deployment of American principles against governmental interventionism suggests that something in the structure of "American democracy" already incorporates that very ethos of interventionism. If such were the case, then intervention would not only be permissible within the American ethos, but moral. Ultimately, democratic strategies of opposition would end up operating against themselves because their reliance on American principles would only valorize the foundation for intervention they were attempting to oppose. In effect, the problem would not be that "facts" about the injustice of an intervention were ignored; those facts would instead participate in its actual justification, and become non-oppositional. On the one hand, the facts concerning US violations of sovereignty would reinforce an American's sense of sovereignty. And on the other, the charge that the government had violated the principles of democracy and sovereignty through intervention would be politically incomprehensible. Between the facts of intervention and speaking the facts in opposition to intervention lies the triadic structure of arbitrary self-legitimization. When outrageous facts do not generate outrage, it is time to critique not only the ear that hears those facts, but the strategy that speaks them. The absence of outrage means that something has substituted itself for "democratic principles" at the moment those principles are violated, some "higher" responsibility that would be abrogated in the absence of intervention. The question becomes, what is the cultural foundation and character of this process of substitution? Where does this triadic structure come from? What are its roots or foundations in US history? Why is there an attack sequence? Why would not the hindsight toward any one of the sequence make the next one suspect or unacceptible as it developed? Such a refusal of hindsight already goes beyond nationalism; but nationalism can serve as a place to begin.
A Critique of US Nationalism

The forms that nationalism first took in the US were the desire to separate from England which emerged in the mid-18th century, and the defense of slavery after the revolution. Both reflected the distinct economic development of the continental colonies, and both expressed a consciousness of the US as a "white nation." The English had discovered and seized two vast sources of wealth on the American continent. While the Spanish had found riches in gold they could transport to Europe, the wealth the English "found" was more stationary, and could not be transported. It resided in the seemingly endless land to be transformed into property, and in the wealth of slavery. The land of the American continent was seized from its indigenous inhabitants; but that seizure did not consist in a change of ownership. It is the act of seizure that created the land as property in the first place; the seizure was not a transformation of property as such, but a transformation to property of what was not. The property relation is not an inherency in things, but a juridical structure, a social relation. The indigenous people's relation to the land was not one of property; it was in fact incommensurable with the property relation, and was erased by the land's transformation into property at English hands. In effect, the seizure of the land was a juridical act (backed immediately by military force). The wealth of slavery, on the other hand, did consist in the seizure and transportation of what contained its riches -- the labor of Africans taken from their distant land, uprooted from their cultural and economic origins and foundations, and transformed into bond-laborers, again as property. But it also resided in the act of seizure, the slave trade, and thirdly, in the market value calculated for their persons, their chattel existence as a category of selfaugmenting capital. In sum, the wealth the English "found" lay not in what it was but in the peculiar (European) manner of its seizure -- the transformation of what was not property into property. Yet it was only by adjoining one to the other that this seized labor and endless land were made into wealth. All of the crops by which the continental colonial economy established a major position in international markets -tobacco, rice, indigo, or cotton -- depended on their mass-production by plantation agro-business deploying huge labor forces. And it was the endlessness of the land that made slavery possible as a system of production (its "necessity" was a different ethical question for the settlers). Indeed, it was the condition on which the slave trade itself became the most profitable of all the colonial industries.

This confluence of seemingly inexhaustible sources of wealth rendered the continental colonial economy unique. By the 18th century, it had developed interests at odds with its English origins, namely, a desire to control that wealth autonomously. Small economic disputes between the colonies and England tended to become large political contradictions. For instance, in 1766, the Virginia colony sought to curtail the slave trade, which the king vetoed.15 The colony had not voted that curtailment out of any moral awakening concerning slavery, but from an attempt to maintain its own capital values. The plantations calculated property values on total real estate, which included the value of the slaves owned, based on market price levels (just as corporate capitalization is calculated on stock market prices). During periods of excess supply over demand, the price of slaves fell on the open market, and property values in general fell with it. The plantation owners sought to restrict the slave trade temporarily in order to maintain the capital values of their estates. The king had different concerns, viz. the tariffs that flowed to him from the slave trade itself. The king's move upset the plantation colonies far more than a tea tax. Autonomy of operations, and freedom from such tariffs became the slogans of the independence movement -- not surprisingly led by the Virginians. But mere economic dispute would not have been sufficient to produce violent secession and independence. Something more than a disagreement over economics or the future control of continental wealth was at stake. A sociocultural disparity of identity and identification had arisen between the settlers and England. What had evolved along with the slave system was a concept of whiteness and race, a white racialized identity at variance with merely being "English." And this new identity and identification sought independence in order to invent a "white" nation to embody it.16 Let us briefly review how this happened. The invention of whiteness was both a condition for and an effect of the systematic codification of slavery. When the English first settled the Virginia colony in 1606, they had no juridical concept of slavery, nor did they think of themselves as white. They first differentiated themselves from both Native Americans and Africans as "Christians" from "heathens." But the binary used with respect to the Africans soon became that of "English" and "Negro," owing to continued importation, and the conversion of some Africans to Christianity. The designation "Negro," counterposed to "English," did not yet signify race; it corresponded instead to place of origin, viz. Africa.17 "Negro" named African origin abstractly, disdaining to recognize differences of locale or society of origin. As an originterm rather than a race-term, it meant not-English. The English only arrived at racializing themselves as white, and the Africans as black (transforming the

word "Negro" into a racializing term) in the 1690s.18 In other words, it took almost a century. During that century, three cultural factors coalesced to produce a structure of racialization. They were the centrality of allegiance, the gradual extension of the "chattel" concept, and the legislation of sexuality; the three were amalgamated into a process of racialization in the wake of Bacon's rebellion. A sense of the primacy of allegiance for the Virginia colony is provided by the way it dealt with those who left to live with the surrounding indigenous people (a number of Algonquin societies). During the first decade (1606-16), the English faced rampant starvation, having settled land they did not understand. When a settler fled to the indigenous, who understood the land and did not starve, the colony would recapture him, and punish him by public torture, often to death.19 In other words, the demand for allegiance marked the colony's primary response to crisis. It marked its insular conception of itself, and its demand for loyalty to that insularity. The "chattel" concept existed in the colony from the beginning. "Chattel" signifies a form of commodification of the laborer, in which a person could be "sold," used as collateral or for the repayment of debts, assigned to heirs, etc.20 The indenture system, by which Virginia first supplied itself with labor, was a form of chattel. And until 1650, the vast majority of indentured laborers were English (delivered into bondage by poverty, promises, transport from prisons, or being kidnapped off English city streets). The indenture contract for English bond-labor provided the legal instrument by which chattel transactions were accomplished. The first Africans brought to the colony were treated as ordinary indenturees.21 Because they were not English, however, they were given no contracts, having no juridical relation to English law. While English laborers were sold through transfer of the contract, the Africans had to be brought to a market. Auction market procedures developed as needed, with the increases in African arrivals (after 1650). The existence of auction markets substituted the laborer's body for the absent contract. And color then came to signify their different juridical relation to the colony. The markets as public pricing institutions gradually transformed the African laborers into estate wealth. While the English laborers lost value as they approached the release date on their contracts, the African laborers did not to the extent they had none; and this factor disposed the colony to gradually legislate the conditions under which their servitude would be made permanent (the first steps were taken in 1662) in order to maintain them as wealth. The first slave codes were passed in 1682, and the slave system itself fully codified in 1705. After that, bond-labor became essentially non-English.

A division between English and Africans more directly related to racialization emerged from statutes governing sexuality and marriage. In the 1660s, the colony passed the first of a long series of anti-miscegenation laws. Each successively increased the punishment for disobedience. In 1660, it provided that mixed marriage among laborers was justification to place both partners in extended bondage. Later, the punishments became more dire.22 In 1660, matrilineal servitude status was also established. This meant that the offspring of mixed couples took the servitude status of the mother. Though this clearly violated a major tenet of patriarchal tradition, it nevertheless served to enhance plantation wealth. It set African women aside for abuse, and served notice to free Englishmen not to seek heirs through relationships with Africans. Two major implications inhere to these statutes. The first is that mixed marriage between English and Africans was far more prevalent than the elite were willing to countenance, meaning that antipathy toward the Africans was not general, nor inherently English, but a desire on the part of the elite. And second, it gave the colony great control over the sexuality of both African and English women. African women faced not only abuse but criminal status for involvement with English men. And English women were subjected to social surveillence to guard against their producing children by African fathers, since those children would be considered free at a time when perpetual servitude was being legislated for all Africans and African-Americans. Thus, womanly being and motherhood were deployed by the elite to create different social categorizations for English and African people. These statutes then served as a basis for the 18th century biologization of the concept of race. These various historical moments -- allegiance, capitalization of the body, and matrilineal servitude -- were brought together as a structure of racialization at the end of the 17th century, in the aftermath of Bacon's rebellion. Bacon's rebellion began as a movement of small farmers at the margins of the colony to gain access to land (the primary route to wealth) beyond the colonial boundary -- an endeavor rigidly limited by the Colonial Council. Bacon, himself a large landholder, instigated attacks on the indigenous outside the colony (against Council policy), and then assailed the Council for failing to defend the outlying farmers against indigenous counter-attacks. Though begun as a movement of small farmers for greater representation, it ended with both English and African bond-laborers bearing arms in common cause against the elite. That this was acceptible to the English laborers, though Africans had long been barred from bearing arms, scared the colonial administration. It initiated a variety of measures to forestall further common cause against itself. (Zinn,55)

The Colonial Council launched a campaign of vilification of the African bond-laborers, warning that they represented a threat of renewed uprising and social violence. Having defeated Bacon's rebellion, the Council invoked the hardships and dislocations it had caused to create a fear of further upheaval. Statutes were passed during the 1680s warning against the threat of "Negro rebellion." The effect was to inculcate a mode of paranoia among the English concerning the Africans as a basis for reasserting allegiance to the colony. At the same time, the conditions of servitude of the Africans were exacerbated rather than alleviated, and the importation of Africans increased. (Boskin,47) As steps toward a unification of the English, the production of social paranoia and its intended antipathy toward Africans and African-Americans constituted an essential step toward the racialization of the colony. It was accomplished through a "proto-racialization" of rebellion itself. If allegiance and fear formed one dimension of this process, the codification of slavery and the formation of patrols in the early 18th century formed another. The inculcated fear of African rebellion was given material form through the organization of militias deploying poorer English farmers and laborers, and soon afterwards the founding of a system of patrols. The job of the patrols was to guard against runaways and uprisings, and to suppress any sign of autonomy on the part of African-American bond-laborers. The English were conscripted into these patrols; and any failure of duty was punishable. The patrols became the symbols for colonial social solidarity because they signified that there was a real danger from the black "enemy within." As a belated nod toward Bacon's demand for greater representation, the poor and middle class English were given the job of policing, if not of making policy; that is, through the patrols, they were given a role if not rule. The patrols quickly developed styles of gratuitous violence against the bond-laborers, and against black people in general, as a form of extracting patronage from the elite through the appearance of heightened danger that their own violence represented.23 Conversely, the violence was actually encouraged by the elite as a way of diverting any discontent on the part of the poorer English, as well as grounding a system of paternalism toward the slaves as a protection system against patrol brutality to elicit slave obedience. Thus, through policing the threat of "Negro rebellion," the norms of violence and paranoia brought poorer English into social solidarity with the elite, in a "common cause" in which they began to see themselves as "white." "Whiteness" begins through a consensual and solidarist sense of a beseiged people, establishing its identity through its own generalization and oppression of those it then sees as a threat. To the extent that race is a system of social

categorization, the colony racialized itself as white by racializing the Africans and African-Americans as black through the institution of systematic social violence and paranoia. As with all paranoia, the perceived threat was both self-constituted and self-constituting. The social solidarity motivating the patrols institutionalized the resulting paranoia, and the patrol's violent operations affirmed the motivation for having organized them. The emergence as a social norm of this mutually conditioning system marks the moment the colony can be said to have chosen itself as white. It was the moment its creation of a threat for itself through repression and enslavement in the pursuit of wealth became its identity structure, as well as its refusal of a choice to humanize itself through the elimination of slavery. Though it had recognized that the Africans rejected their slave status, it chose to refuse to recognize that recognition, and henceforth promulgated a cycle of repression and fear as the condition for its own social cohesion. The cyclicity of this racializing structure is its secret power. A perceived or concocted threat is used to produce a solidarity of defense; that solidarity expresses itself through support for violence in the name of defense; and the actuality of violence (both inducing and testifying to resistance) makes the threat concrete, requiring greater solidarity. It is this cycle that has traditionally transformed black and brown resistance to white domination into what is perceived as aggression. And concomitantly, the violence against the AfricanAmerican bond-laborers was not in order to oppress them, but inflicted on them because they were already oppressed, as the way "white" society consolidated itself. That is, the violence was added to the oppression of a black bond-labor force for the social purposes of cohesion internal to "white" society. The codification of slavery in 1705 established the juridical basis for this confluence of allegiance to whiteness, paranoia, and consensus on violence. Within that structure, brutality engendered support for brutality; and consensus relied on gratuitous violence to consolidate consensus. When the American independence movement emerged in opposition to England, it was the invention of itself as white consensus that it manifest, and that it further reflected in its self-definition as a nation. The United States invented itself as a nation by political fiat, rather than as the expression of an extended autochthonous cultural evolution. The "we, the people" of the Constitution fabricates a nation by definition where there had been none. And it would understand itself to be a "white nation," as no other nation before it ever had.24

Ultimately, the cycle of paranoia, white solidarity, and violence would repeat itself in the development and operations of Jim Crow from the 1880s onward. While a full discussion of the structure of Jim Crow is beyond the purview of this essay, a brief mention is warranted. Just as the (1800s) founding of whiteness had accompanied and conditioned a particular colonial form of oppressive social organization, the spread of Jim Crow to reconstitute the social structures of whiteness in the wake of Reconstruction accompanied the organization of debt-servitude imposed on black agricultural workers to replace the old plantation forms. To do this, a new form of paranoia had to be developed consistent with the new social conditions of black emancipation. It took the form of the demonization of black men along sexual lines.25 And this demonization was given material form through chain gangs and the approbation of open collective violence against the black body. White mob violence served to "prove" the existence of a threat, and Jim Crow laws established the necessary integument for the white solidarity that the violence expressed. The segregation laws extending to every aspect of southern society simply generalized the domains in which a recalcitrance and anti-social status could be presumed for black people -- and against which white solidarity could be invoked and transformed into violence. The culture of lynching manifest all these aspects. During the entire Jim Crow era, lynching was publically accepted and given media approbation and publicity. Routinely, announcements would appear in the newspapers, a date would be given, and the railroad would put on extra trains going into that town for that day. For the killing of Jesse Washington in 1916, 15,000 people showed up, and watched the men that took him out of jail kill him by slow torture. Parts of his body were then taken as souvenirs of the event by the crowd.26 As Ida Wells pointed out in the 1890s, it was the public aspect of the event that produced the feeling of sanctity among whites; it convinced them that their abstract criminalization of black men was just, and that Jim Crow laws were necessary, along with supplementary extra-legal means, to stem the tide. The violence against those presumed criminal, and thus thrust outside societal and juridical protection, pertains not to the sanctity of the law but to the sanctity of the extra-judicial social organization that does it.27 Ultimately, it is this process of sanctification of extra-legal violence that we see repeated in the interventionary "attack sequence," in which the US operates as an "international event" rather than as a "nation-state." In the ritual killing represented by lynching, the identity of the victim is immaterial, as is the question of whether s/he did anything or not. The act is perpetrated to avenge the existence of the victim, not an act, and the violence is

for the purpose of bringing whites together and to manifest their consensus in being white. The violence is thus gratuitous, meaning it has no relation to the victim or to norms of justice other than through the paranoia whose reality it affirms. This cycle of self-created threat, solidarity in the name of defense, and gratuitous violence to manifest consensus and to confirm the threat, is the concrete form that racialization took during the 18th century. It is the form that reracialization took after the Civil War through Jim Crow. And in the present, it underlies US interventionism, relying on an analogous demonization of a person (a national leader rendered an "enemy"), a mass ethic of solidarity in defense against that person's nation, and gratuitous arbitrary violence to confirm the threat and legitimize the consensus. Like whiteness itself, interventionism marks a social identity that has constructed itself to be what is threatened apriori and in the abstract. This same structure is repeated in contemporary police profiling; the horrendous crimes that have occurred through its operations (Amadou Diallo, Tyisha Miller, a prison population of over 2 million, etc.) testifies to a continuity of social structure that was not interrupted when the Civil Rights movements put an end to Jim Crow.
Proslavery as Nationalism

American nationalism took a slightly different turn after the revolution; it found itself enmeshed in a defense of slavery. When Europe banned slavery and the slave trade in 1806, in the wake of the Haitian revolution, many Europeans cast a critical eye on the US for proclaiming itself a free society while hypocritically maintaining slavery. The response was a defense of slavery that emerged from all regions and levels of society (not simply the south), so much so that, as Larry Tise argues, it become a hallmark of national identity.28 The defense of slavery took many forms, all of which sought to reconcile slavery with the Declaration of Independence. For some, this meant reinterpreting slavery, and for others, reinterpreting the Declaration. Though many recognized slavery as evil, they defended it as a lesser, necessary evil in opposition to the "greater evil" of emancipation (this was the first appearance of the "lesser of two evils" idea in American politics). In its mild form, this argument held that living in the same society with free African-Americans would contradict other principles contained in the Declaration. (Tise,342) In its extreme form, slavery was seen as the most efficient way to keep AfricanAmericans under control on the assumption that if freed they would rebel and cause social chaos (an extension of white paranoia). Others, on the other hand,

asserted that slavery was itself the essential foundation of freedom. To be free, one must dominate someone; in dominating absolutely, one established the most absolute of freedoms. (Tise,116) The US was thus the freest of nations; slavery was, in short, what made the US great. A milder form of this argument contented itself with noting that slavery was a property right, and property was the foundation of freedom; one could not contest the one without putting the other in jeopardy. In these ways, by the 1830s, the Declaration of Independence was read to mean white independence, and American nationalism to be essentially white nationalism. Taken as a whole, these nationalist arguments reiterated the allegiance to whiteness, valorized the segregationist social solidarity through which whiteness was constructed, and reconciled the violence of slavery as its legitimate expression. For the vast majority of white Americans, white freedom, white supremacy, and the concept of a "white nation" were all one idea, one national ethos. This national ethos would inhabit the most banal of social pronouncements. For instance, in arguing against abolition in 1836, Senator Leigh of Virginia made mention of white mob riots against the black communities of Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and New York, and asked what worse social disorder would have erupted had there been general emancipation.29 He raised no question about possibly charging the white mobs with criminal behavior, or bringing their instigators to justice. Instead, he saw the white mobs to be simply demonstrating the Anglo-Saxon propensity to dominate and enslave other races. It was those whites who argued for emancipation who were the real outlaws and traitors for advocating what would have fomented even greater mob violence. In short, for Leigh, black people should be enslaved for their own good, so that good civilized white folks would be spared the necessity of mob barbarity. This "nationalist ethos" even infected the anti-slavery arguments of the several anti-slavery parties in the north and midwest (those that would later coalesce in the Republican Party). Though they argued that slavery was morally wrong, it was because it produced inequality among whites, not because it was inhuman toward blacks. Slave owners had a decided social and political advantage over non-owners, by wealth and the votes they controlled. And white workers were at a disadvantage where slave labor could be employed in the same jobs more cheaply, thereby reducing overall labor conditions. These parties managed to get slavery gradually abolished in the north, after which they contented themselves with obstructing slavery's extension to the new territories. But they ultimately supported black disenfranchisement in both

areas. In effect, antislavery too was predicated on white supremacy rather than human dignity and human rights. Only the radical abolitionists considered the humanity of the bond-laborers -- which sometimes meant calling nationalism itself in question. For instance, against white nationalism, Garrison proposed his "disunion" thesis, and attempted to articulate the construction of a different form of nation altogether.30 These two main threads of nationalism (proslavery and Republican antislavery) clashed and then came together during the onset of US interventionism toward Mexico in 1846. As Horsman describes it, a peculiar dilemma arose: the question of whether to annex or colonize Mexican territory. Those who opposed direct colonization feared that colonial governance would corrupt the purity of US republican institutions. (RMD,231) Others opposed annexation because it would mean accepting the Mexicans as citizens, which they feared would corrupt the racial purity of anglo-saxon society. For most white Americans, the Mexicans inhabiting the lands of Texas and the southwest had already been racialized as inferior. The question was never whether to attack Mexico or not, but rather what form of outcome should ensue when Mexico was attacked -- with respect to its effect on white American society, not it effect on the Mexicans. The dilemma posed by the presence of people on the territory to be seized was not with their welfare, but with the structural effect their seizure would have on the US. (RMD,236) In other words, the concern was self-reflective, the effect on the US of "bringing civilization" to other lands rather than its effect on those others. (RMD,240) The idea of Manifest Destiny, which meant that Anglo-Saxon society was ordained to settle and govern all lands on the continent, was not in question. Ideally, annexation was preferable if the land could be considered empty; and "bringing civilization" to it would mean settlement by whites. If there were other inhabitants, over which controls would be required, it was as if the territory itself were corrupt and would exact a toll for taking it as a resource. Annexation thus presented a similar dilemma to that between the Declaration's principle of equality and the construction of a white nation. If the governance of the territory was to be that of a white republic, then the concept of a "civilizing mission" had to be reinterpreted. The "mission" became one of implanting (or importing) a white society rather than imparting "civilization." What was projected was a racialized (deracialized) emptiness through which the land could be refashioned in the Anglo-saxon's social self-image. As a southern novelist put it at the time, "slavery will be the medium" for bringing "freedom and civilization" to Texas and Mexico. (RMD,167)

As archetypes of US interventionism, annexation and Manifest Destiny conflate the acts of "civilizing" the land with "clearing the land," that is, with dis-recognition of the humanity of other people who happened to be there.31 Thus, intervention fused the focus on landed wealth (the first nationalism) with the reduction of those racialized to nonentity status in servitude (the second nationalism). In effect, the birth of US interventionism (in Texas), sparked by an expansionism that was later extended under different juridical forms to the appropriation of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philipines at the end of the century, expressed itself in a form analogous to the structure of white supremacy -- in particular, a seizure of land in and as a "freedom," a "clearing" of that land through the dis-humanization (racialization or enslavement) of its inhabitants (where "dis-humanization" means both the withholding of humanity as a concept from certain people as well as reducing them to dehumanizing social and physical conditions), and a self-generating cycle of fear, white consensus and solidarity, and violence.
The Problem of Present Day Interventionism

Since World War II, the watchwords of a white "civilizing mission" -which characterized US expansion and annexation until the Spanish-American War -- have shifted slightly to a focus on "bringing democracy" to other nations. This has generally consisted of imposing a two-party system, regardless of the other nation's indigenous or historical political traditions (as in El Salvador in 1990).32 However, "bringing democracy" to another place or people is a self-contradictory and self-subverting project. It falls prey to the same inversion that characterized the 1840s assault on Mexico. If democracy means rule by and for the people, then it must be the people in question who decide freely and for themselves how and through what forms and issues they will determine their destiny. That is, they must be sovereign in the exercise of their choices and modes of participation. Sovereignty is the most essential prior condition for this endeavor. One does not arrive at sovereignty through the development of democratic processes (like the proverbial "making progress" toward "civilization" that white supremacy holds over those it dominates); one can only begin to develop forms of democracy if one has the sovereign ability to do so. To "bring" a system (however democratic it may appear) from outside and impose it constitutes on its face a violation of sovereignty. To intervene to "facilitate" democracy implies violating the sovereignty on which democracy depends. What remains unavoidable is an intruding judgment concerning proper function, and an

administering outside influence or control on the people ostensibly given this "democracy." Such exercise of controlling judgment occurred in the case of Nicaragua's elections of 1986 and 1990; the US proclaimed the elections flawed when the Sandinistas won, and imposed an embargo in response.33 In the cases of Guatemala (1954) and Chile (1973), as with Nicaragua, in which democratically elected governments were overthrown as undemocratic, an additional notion of "security" was added (Pres. Reagan had spoken openly of the possibility of a Nicaraguan invasion of Texas in 1985). And herein lies the inversion of the democratic mission. If democracy is to be established by the US in other nations for the purposes of order and security, it implies first, that indigenous forms of democracy would produce insecurity and disorder (which was the rationale given for the interventions in Guatemala in 1954); and second, since the US controlled the military assaults against those governments, the security at stake had to have been that of the US.34 As with Mexico in 1846, the intervention meant "clearing the land" of existing social and political infrastructures and resettling it with a form acceptible to the US -- in both cases, a terrible military dictatorship declared to "save" the people of those countries from the instability and insecurity of their former democratic governments.35 Thousands died in each intervention, because the US took upon itself an act of judgment of what would self-referentially fulfill its own "security" needs, couched in terms such as D'Amato's "human rights" assistance. Again, the appeal to paranoia (the need for security against a small nation), the presumption to dominate as the right of the US as a consensual nation, and the imposition of intense violence on a weaker society, characterize each. In effect, an ongoing political logic is revealed. In the invasion of Grenada, a governmental system was annihilated. In the bombing of Iraq, an entire social infrastructure was destroyed. In the intervention in Kosovo, the final step in dismantling the Yugoslav social system was accomplished. Each was explained in terms of world security, and each produced a form of US domination of the area. In each instance, an aggression against a civilian population was used to render them an enemy in order to establish a desired "humanitarian" character for that violence against them. But one cannot foster the human rights of people by killing and terrorizing them. The rhetoric of human rights and democracy is emptied and rendered unintelligible by the structure of intervention. As with the former reinterpretations of the Declaration of Independence, contemporary intervention reinterprets the humanitarian as that which will benefit the US. It is a self-referential mode of imposition, messianic in its

"democracy" and paranoid in its project. It is its white supremacy that allows it to claim to defend sovereignty because it violates it; to claim to establish freedom because it dominates; and to claim to build democracy because it obviates democracy through a violation of sovereignty.
The Culture of Interventionism

In summary, US interventionism has three structural elements that are homologous to corresponding elements of white racialized identity and white supremacy: an allegiance to itself as a messianic concern; a paranoia that reflects itself as an arbitrary denigration or criminalization (the dishumanization of others as undemocratic or chaotic); and a reliance on gratuitous and self-justifying violence.36 And let us reiterate that white supremacy is a social structure, to which some people, mostly white, adhere and identify, and not a function of skin color; indeed, skin color is given the meanings it has from the operation of that social structure, as a system of social categorizations. This triadic structure is cultural to the extent that it threads itself throughout the history of the US in similar forms, though with varying content (like racism itself). This is particularly evident in the modes of paranoia induced. From the beginning, for instance, Native peoples were renarrativized as "treacherous" and "recalcitrant" (without granting them the right to selfdefense) by the first colonists.37 The demand for colonial allegiance through torture, the alienness and suffering inflicted on African bond-laborers in order to hold their enslavement against them, the messianic vision of democracy to which alternate forms constitute threats, all express moments of that paranoia. While its concrete roots are the two forms of pillage and seizure that constituted the wealth of the colonies and the antecedents of the US as a nation (land and unpaid labor), its rhetorical forms are the proclaimed virtues and promises of a self-universalized and generalized system that calls itself democratic and thinks of itself as white. As the underpinings of a messianism -the pretense of a gift to the world -- this paranoia which constantly sees others as aggressors haunts the US is a ghost. That ghost (of usurped land and labor) manifests itself as the inherency of an interventionist ethic in the heart of the American conception of democracy. This historical notion of paranoia would include what Hofstadter calls the "paranoid style" of US politics;38 but it goes beyond his concept. For Hofstadter, the paranoid political style consists in the invention of specific "dangers" to the "American way of life," against which a national defense can by developed. For instance, the anti-immigrant campaign of the 1830s and the

anti-communist campaign of the 1950s took the same form, the need to defend against a foreign power and foreign ideology whose purpose was to subvert the American way of life; in the 1950s, this meant Russia and communism, and in the 1830s, it meant Austria and Catholicism -- the rhetorical forms of both campaigns were the same. The cultural paranoia of the "white nation" is a question not of "style" but of a national identity for which a sense of threat is indispensible. It signifies the necessity of standing in allegiance and solidarity as white, a solidarity in identification with whiteness against the alleged aggressiveness of another. In contemporary interventionism, the other's aggressiveness is a proxy threat that stands in for the originary "racial" threat required by the structure of white supremacy. In effect, it is white paranoia that makes the political paranoia work, whether it takes the form of "humanitarian" bombing or what Hofstadter identifies as style. The genius of cultural paranoia is its ability to continually disguise its self-justifying violence or aggression as self-defense against something. One sees this in the manner in which both white conservatives and white liberals reduce black demands for justice, equality, and autonomy to a perception of aggression (either "they want to take over everything," or "they are going too far"). The contemporary anti-immigrant movement perceives migrants from third world countries as having "come to take what we have," ignoring the fact that they come from areas empoverished by colonial and corporate investment (chiefly US corporations) -- perhaps even consciously wanting to take back what had been taken from them. Beneath the historical conflation of American nationalism and "white nationalism," of representative democracy and "white democracy" that inhabits the American identity, the need for a threat to instigate the renewal of a messianic project continually reoccurs, to confirm its "white racialized identity." This is the "higher responsibility" to which the mainstream American responds when called upon by government violence against others, and which would be abrogated by the absence of intervention. (And this is not determined by the color of a person's skin; we are speaking about "white supremacy" here as a social structure, a social ethos, to which one subscribes through one's subscription to the "white nation.") The paranoia and the self-valorizing violence through which that "higher responsibility" expresses itself structures the very foundations upon which American identity rests (in its land emptying and labor controlling endeavors). They constitute the structure of its interventionist ethic. As different manifestations of the same cultural structure, white racialized identity and the ethic of governmental intervention are parallel. Each operates

according to a prioritization of allegiance and consensus, a cultural paranoia that criminalizes others in order to construct a defensive solidarity, and a violence that relies on allegiance to self-referentially confirm the paranoia. The three aspects of the attack sequence -- the identification of a criminal national leader, a decriminalization of US violence in dealing with that criminal leader, and the self-consensualizing legitimacy of US government strategies as forms of legality -- reflect these same dimensions. It is the underlying white racialized identity that permits US interventionism to proceed without ethical crisis. The interventionary ethos appears moral to white supremacy because it reproduces the structure that constitutes that white supremacy. The assault on Afghanistan (retaliatiing for Sept. 11 by destroying whole towns and killing many thousand civilians) reflected these three elements: an arbitrary criminalization of the Taliban, an unprogrammatic military campaign to drive it off the land, and an arbitrary degree of violence against that land's people -- all as a measure of US messianic rectitude. In its wake, the rhetoric of a "war on terrorism" becomes empty, but that only better serves the gratuitousness required by messianic purpose by obviating the need for real political goals. Similarly, against Yugoslavia, the demand for its abandonment of sovereignty, the destruction of its terrain with bombs and ecological disaster (depleted uranium and demolished chemical plants), and the presumed equation of Serbian existence with criminality all fulfilled the same structure. For the white American identity, the assault confirms the messianic purpose by signifying that the destruction produced was indeed "humanitarian." And now, Iraq ... Again. If interventionism requires no real political goal for itself beyond its rhetorically machinated response to a criminalization it has imposed on another, then the messianism (of "democracy") thrown against the sovereignty of that perceived "threat" is sufficient. Indeed, the paranoid inversion that sees the other's defense as aggression and its own interventionary aggression as defense makes a programmatic political purpose all but impossible.39 The ability to criminalize, and to manufacture an international solidarity against the other is itself the acheivement of the goal, the confirmation that its paranoid perception was real. If, in its messianism, US interventionism it proves itself white supremacist again and again, then it is an exterminationist messianism. As Joy James puts it, there is always a genocidal dimension to white supremacy, as well as a violently enforced allegiance to it.40 The problem, then, for anti-interventionist movements, is that relying on democratic sentiment in the US to discredit the injustice of intervention produces an element of negative capability. It crashes against the self-

justifications of paranoia and violence. The problem is not why interventionism is acceptible to the American people. And it is not that a democratic moral code might countermand pragmatic aggression and return the nation to the paths of justice. Intervention is already the operation of the moral code of a messianic democracy that presumes itself just. That moral code does not bestow the right to intervene; it dispenses with right altogether, and establishes the paranoid requirement to intervene. For an anti-interventionism to be effective, it would have to contest the foundations of that moral code, the foundations of white supremacy as the mainstream cultural structure in the US. It has previously failed in its project because it has been predicated on the notion that the US is primarily a political rather than a racialized entity (see note 13). This is a mistake. It has not understood that whiteness is the nationalism of the US. It assumes that a human rather than a white sense of justice may prevail. The incommensurability between the two insures that facts and stories will remain insufficient for transforming society's consciousness, and that government interventionism, however criminal, will continue to be seen as the ultimate good by white nationalism.

1. International law provides the right to defend against terrorist attacks, but not to retaliate without going through certain international channels and procedures, which the US ignored. 2. Here is a partial list. Nancy Oden, Green Party organizer, was kept off a plane by federal agents on 11/1/01 in Maine. Katie Sierra, a 15 year old West Virginia high school student, was suspended from school for wearing a T-shirt that said "After I saw all the Afghani children on TV killed by our bombs, I felt so much safer." Barbara Wein, an instructor at the US Institute for Peace in Georgetown, was fired in Nov. 2001, for making public statements against the war in Afghanistan. Two American citizens have been declared "enemy combatants" by the Justice Dept. and held without trial or Constitutional rights. Two Palestinian women (Alia Atawneh and Hiam Yassine) were fired a week after 911 from Macy's West in San Jose, CA. because they were Palestinian; all told, over 56 people have been fired in the SF Bay Area because of 911. A tenured professor (Dr. Sami Al-Arian) at Univ. of South Florida in Tampa was suspended with intent to terminate on Sept. 28, 2001 for having made pro-Palestinian remarks made in the mid-1990s. These are on-going stories that can be researched easily on the web, or the NY Times. There are many people of Middle Eastern origin who have been killed since

911, and many more jailed indefinitely by the INS, without charge. The relevance of these facts to the argument of this essay will become evident below. 3. Stan Goff, a retired Special Forces instructor, provides an analysis of the military preparations needed for the assault. The URL for the article is http://www.narconews.com/goff1.html. See also, Patrick Martin on the World Socialist Web Site, http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/nov2001/afgh-n20.shtml. 4. The problem of terrorism becomes a mere footnote to the extent that the attack fulfilled the definition of terrorism accepted by both the United States and the United Nations, and was supported within the US. According to the United Nations (1999), terrorism is "criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes [that] are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other nature that may be invoked to justify them" (General Assembly Res. 51/210 Measures to eliminate international terrorism). Terrorism is defined in the U.S. by the Code of Federal Regulations as: "..the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85) An essential aspect of both definitions is the notion of political purpose. For there to be political purpose to an act, and for an act to be terrorism, someone has to take credit for it. 5. The charter of the Organization of American States, articles 18, 20, and 27. The invasion also violated the UN charter, Article 2(4), and the Geneva Conventions (1949), Art. 3, as well as Articles 51, 52, and 57 of Protocol I of those Conventions, to all of which the US is treaty signatory. The US invasion was condemned by UN General Assembly vote (75-25) and by the O.A.S. 20-1. Cf. Maechling, Charles Jr. "Washington's Illegal Invasion." Foreign Policy , Summer 1990: 113131. See also Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Report No. 31/93, Case 10.573, United States, Oct. 14, 1993. Noriega was indicted in a US court in Feb. 1988, for violation of several clauses of Title 18 and 21 of the U.S. Code, but not of international law.

The US called for his extradition, and failing that, imposed an economic embargo on Panama. This subsequently engendered severe political crisis and duress during elections in 1989; the US then charged Noriega with election irregularities, after which it invaded. The only extant legitimacy for US intervention in Panama were to prevent closure of the canal (Panama Canal Treaty of 1977 (ratified April 1978), Appendix B; publ. by US Dept. of State). Cf. Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy (New York: Verso, 1991), chap5. 6. Anthony D'Amato, "The Invasion of Panama was a Lawful Response to Tyranny" 84 American Journal of International Law 516 (1990). D'Amato argues by analogy with domestic abuse, in which a wife must have recourse to the state (courts and police) to protect herself from a stronger abusive spouse. Likewise, the Panamanian people must have recourse to a "state" to prevent their "president" from abusing them. In other words, he is giving an argument that rationalizes the extension of US law over the Panamanians. This allegorizes "the protective principle," which states that "All nations of the world recognize that a person who intends to put into motion that which has effects in another state is answerable to the state where the evil is done.... [and] recognizes the right of a state to punish [such] offenses committed outside the territory by non-nationals." But it is not part of the protective principle that a state can go outside its territory to arrest such a person. Indeed, the existence of Interpol, and various treaties concerning extradition, testify to this. 7. Congressman Steve Chabot, speaking at a Congressional hearing on the "Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act" of 1999, Thursday, March 30, 2000, House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Crime, Committee on the Judiciary; he also stated that "As a result of these jurisdictional limitations, American civilians who commit crimes in foreign countries can be tried and punished only by the host nation." If this limitations holds for US nationals, it would certainly hold for foreign nationals. 8. Kuwait had taken measures inimical to Iraqi sovereignty, and the US had given a green light to Iraq to settle the matter. Kuwait's actions included an arbitrary demand for immediate repayment of large loans advanced to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war; the lowering oil prices on the world market, obstructing Iraq's access to income to repay the loans; and diagonal drilling into Iraqi oil reserves under their mutual border. Iraq approached the US, which informed Iraq directly through statements made by State

Dept. spokesperson Margaret Tutweiler and through its ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie, on July 24 and 25, 1990, that it had no "defense or security commitments" with Kuwait, and that the US would not interfere in "Arab-Arab" affairs. When the US turned on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait, it became evident that it had been a sting operation all along. Cf. Beyond the Storm , eds. Phyllis Bennis and Michel Moushabeck (New York: Olive Branch Press, 1991); Joel Beinin, Origins of the Gulf War (Westfield, N.J., 1991). Ramsey Clark, The Fire This Time: U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf (New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1992). The Gulf War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions , eds. Micah Sifry and Christopher Cerf (New York: Times Books, 1991). Alan Geyer and Barbara Green, Lines in the Sand: Justice and the Gulf War (Louisville, Ky: John Knox Press, 1992). 9. The intervention in Yugoslavia is complex, and composed of many interwoven factors, including the international campaign to dismantle the Yugoslav federation, the creation of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the Rambouillet ultimatum, and the US/NATO violation of international law. But intervention was the goal. When Nelson Mandela proposed to bring a team from Africa to mediate the many-sided conflicts in Kosovo, he was waved aside by NATO. See, for instance, Raju G.C. Thomas (Professor of Political Science at Marquette University), "Nato and International Law", Jurist: The Law Professor's Network , 2000. Other articles at: http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/kosovo.htm The KLA was a paramilitary group organized, armed and financed under NATO auspices to invade Kosovo and provoke a civil war there by attacking Serbian people and police. This began in late 1996, when negotiations between the Kosovars (Rugova's Kosovo Democratic Union) and the Serbs were progressing toward settlement of their differences. The KLA derailed that process. At no time did it operate without close coordination with NATO. Recognition of the KLA's role spanned the political spectrum. Cf. Rollie Keith, "The Failure of Diplomacy," from The Democrat , May 1999. (Keith is a retired Army officer and was head of a NATO observor force in Kosovo.) The US Senate Republican Policy Committee : Larry Craig, Chairman; "The Kosovo Liberation Army: Does Clinton Policy Support Group with Terror, Drug Ties?" 1991. Progressive Response / Foreign Policy in Focus , March 1999, vol 2, no 10. "Plotting the War Against Serbia: an Insider's Story; Press Bureau of PDS ( Democratic Socialist Party ); german original at:

www2.pds-online.de/bt/themen/99041303.htm. John Whitley, publisher of the Toronto-based New World Order Intelligence Update , interviewed Mar. 31 1999 on the Jeff Rense talk show, Toronto, Canada, on the KLA as a NATO invention. Le Monde , Jan 21, 1999, on false atrocities used to rationalize NATO intervention. Keith Pavlik, "NATO's sponsorship of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)", International Action Center Commission of Inquiry , 39 West 14th Street, Room 206, New York, NY 10011. Michel Chossudovsky, "Kosovo 'Freedom fighters' Financed by Organized Criome", 1999; chossudovsky@sprint.ca . Anthony Wayne, "The Hidden Origins of the KLA, Lawgiver.Org , April 11, 1999. Frank Viviano, SF Chronicle, 4/7/99. 10. Iraq proposed to negotiate its withdrawal from Kuwait on Aug. 3, Aug. 10, Aug. 23, Dec. 1, Dec. 13, and Dec. 26, 1990. From Jan. 3 1991, various nations proposed plans. Throughout, the US responded with sanctions, embargoes, blockades, and dictated terms, but refused to negotiate. (cf Geyer and Green, pp. 87-111) Though polls showed that the majority of the US favored a diplomatic solution, after the bombing started, this changed to overwhelming support. The Rambouillet ultimatum was that NATO take control of Kosovo, and have free reign to station troops within Serbia itself (that is, that Serbia relinquish its sovereignty), or NATO would bomb. It was never a negotiation. Cf. Satish Nambiar, "The Fatal Flaws Underlying Nato's Intervention in Yugoslavia" United Services Institution of India documents , New Delhi, 4-6-99. Satish Nambiar is a retired commander of India Air Foce, Head of UN Mission to in Yugoslavia, 1992-1993, and Director of United Services Institution of India. See also "Was a Peaceful Kosovo Solution Rejected by the US? statement by FAIR, FAIRL,Fairness and Accuracy in Media , Apr. 14, 1999. For the Rambouillet document: www.mondediplomatique.fr/dossiers/kosovo/rambouillet.html. Cf especially, Appendix B to Chapter 7. 11. The "nationalization" and subordination of international law to US policy is allegorized in US attitude toward International Criminal Court. The US has refused to agree to the establishment of such a court, to which it would be itself subject along with all other nations. Yet it has acted to create special courts and jurisdictions to which it subjects other

nations, such as the court to try war crimes in Yugoslavia. Cf. "The Milosevich Indictment, by Stephen Shalom, Znet , 5-28-99. 12. See, for instance, Noam Chomsky, Turning the Tide (Boston: South End Press, 1985), especially the section entitled "Patterns of Intervention," pp. 85-170. 13. The movement against the Vietnam War succeeded in assisting the termination of US intervention there by addressing the war machine, the basic locus of violence in it; by 1969, US armed forces in Vietnam had to a large degree been rendered non-combatant. When the movement later thought it possible to deal with the US government as a political entity with which it had structural connections, and in which it could have an influence, through the McGovern campaign, it almost destroyed itself. 14. Perhaps the facts the anti-intervention opposition has sought to disseminate are too big to contemplate. Half a million Iraqi children have died of disease and starvation because of the embargo; and Secretary of State Albright has said publically that this was acceptible (60 minutes, CBS, 5/12/96). Add to this the bombing of civilian populations in each case. Nevertheless, the main task of anti-war activities must be precisely to reveal these facts. 15. Kenneth Stampp, The Peculiar Institution (New York: Vintage Books, 1956), p. 25. 16. Benjamin Franklin reasons thus in 1751, in his essay, "Observations Concerning the Increase in Mankind." 17. Cf. Joseph Boskin, Into Slavery: Racial Decisions in the Virginia Colony (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1979). 18. William Hening, ed. Statutes at Large: the Laws of Virginia Colonial Council (Richmond, 1809). Also, Jack Forbes, Africans and Native Americans: the Language of Race and the Evolution of Red-Black Peoples (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1993).

One can trace the development of the idea through the sequence of binaries by which the English referred to themselves and to the Africans in the Colonial Statutes, If at first, the Africans were referred to as "Negroes" or "heathens," and the English as "Christians," as Africans converted to Christianity under the promise of freedom, this shifted to "Negroes" and "English." But as the promise of freedom was later withdrawn (in the 1660s) as deleterious to plantation wealth, the binary shifted back to "Negro" and "Christian," with the word "Christian" filling the same rhetorical role that would later be played by the word "white." But the term "white" only appears first in the Colonial records in 1691, in an antimiscegenation statute. For a more complete description of this process, see Steve Martinot, The Rule of Racialization (Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 2003). 19. Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States (New York: Colophon, 1980), p. 24. 20. Theodore Allen, The Invention of the White Race (New York: Verso, 1997), Vol. II, p. 98. 21. When the first Africans arrived in 1619, they were purchased by the Colonial Council and distributed among a number of the plantations, as befit the Council's role as "board of directors" of the corporate structure of the colony. By 1650, there were perhaps 300 Africans in the colony. Only after that did the colony focus on African labor, in part because they could not run away as easily as the English indenturees. 22. Martha Hodes, ed., Sex, Love, Race (New York: NYU Press, 1999), p. 112ff. 23. Stampp, p. 215. Eugene Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll (New York: Vintage Books, 1976), pp. 5, 135. 24. The US was proclaimed a "white nation" repeatedly by officials and political leaders: Benjamin Franklin (as mentioned above); Jedediah Morse in "American Geography"; the Naturalization Law of 1790; the Dred Scott Decision of 1857; Andrew Johnson while campaigning for Vice-President in 1864; to mention a few.

25. Glenda E. Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1996), 26. Grace E. Hale, Making Whiteness (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998), pp. 207-239. 27. Ida B. Wells, On Lynchings: Southern Horrors (New York: Arno Press, 1969). 28. Larry Tise, Proslavery (Athens, Ga.: Univ. of Georgia Press, 1987). 29. Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1981), p. 209. Hereafter abbreviated as RMD. 30. Aileen Kraditor, Means and Ends in American Abolitionism (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1989), p. 196ff. 31. In 1970, Lieutenant Coker, a decorated Vietnam War Marine touring schools to valorize the war, answered a boy who asked what Vietnam was like by saying, "it would be a beautiful place if it weren't for the people." From the awardwinning documentary film, Hearts and Minds . 32. While the history of the intervention in El Salvador is instructive, it is too long and complex a story to do justice in a few words. Cf. Chomsky, Turning the Tide , pp. 101-127. Voices from El Salvador , ed. Mario Menendez Rodriguez (San Francisco: Solidrity Pubs., 1983). El Salvador's Decade of Terror , America's Watch Publication (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1991). 33. Cf. Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy (New York: Verso, 1991), and Language and Problems of Knowledge: the Managua lectures (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1988). 34. Chomsky, Deterring Democracy , pp. 262-269, 392-395. I am leaving out the corporate interests that were obeyed; in the cases of Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, and Nicaragua, a socialist platform clearly called corporate interests in question in the name of each nation's sovereign control of its own natural resources. Given that these socialist platforms expressed

either a democratic will or a popular uprising of the people, the fact of opposition by the US government is overtly anti-democratic. But my concern here is the form of the intervention, and the cultural structures that valorized it as a political act, and not its different ideological moments which, I am arguing, rested upon that structure. 35. In the Philipines, the atrociousness of that dictatorship was administered directly. It is captured in Gen. Jake Smith's words to the Marines: "I wish you to kill and burn. The more you kill and burn, the better it will please me. I want all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the US." In other words, it is the absence of "real" hostilities is to be used as a propitious time to kill persons, rather than wait for some imagined future. (Turning the Tide,163) 36. A recent example of such thinking was given by the judge in the recent trial of 5 Cubans in Miami. At the height of the government's post-911 anti-terrorism campaign, these Cubans were convicted of spying, and sentenced to 15 years to life, for having passed information to Cuba about impending terrorist attacks on Cuba from US territory. These attacks had been undertaken by a number of Cuban counter-revolutionary organizations in Miami, all supported in various ways by agencies of the US government. They included Alpha-66, Hermanos al Rescate, and the Cuban American National Federation, and their acts over a number of decades had included unlawful over-flights, bombings, assassination attempts, and spreading crop-destroying biological agents. All of these acts constitute terrorism. In sentencing the five, the judge remarked, as an offhand rationale for her opinion, that if the US had decided to invade Cuba, and these defendants had given Cuba advance warning of this, think of how many "American boys" would have died as a result. Thus, she wanted to punish them for conspiracy to murder. What is assumed in this is that the US can arbitrarily invade any sovereign nation it chooses with impunity, and any attempt on the other's part to defend itself will be severely criminalized. 37. Boskin, Into Slavery , pp. 9ff. 38. Richard Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style of American Politics (New York: Knopf, 1966).

39. Even in the Philipines in 1899 did the US see its occupation of those islands as "defensive." (TT,87) 40. Joy James, Resisting State Violence (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1996), p. 46.