America’s Wars - Just or unjust?

So is America the world's protector or bully? We believe the evidence indicates protector.

Iraq (2003 - present) - Morally Just, but was it worth the cost? Destroying a dictator as evil as Saddam is certainly beneficial for Iraq and for the world.  Iraq was an international terrorist state under the control of a madman - Saddam Husein - as evil as anyone in history.  Saddam started a war with Iran in 1980 and invaded Kuwait in 1991 where more than 1,000 Kuwaiti civilians were executed. For more than 20 years, Saddam's thugs have committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. This list includes the gassing of 5,000 in Halabja and other villages in 1988; the genocidal Anfal campaign against the Iraqi Kurds in 1987-88; the violent suppression of the 1991 Kurdish uprising that led to 30,000 or more civilian deaths; the draining of the Southern Marshes during the 1990s, which ethnically cleansed thousands of Shias; and the summary executions of thousands of political opponents. Hussein plotted to assassinate President Bush in 1993 when he visited Kuwait City.(1) President Clinton launched air attacks against Iraq as a result. Not even the Soviet Union at the height of the cold war dared to attempt to assassinate the President of the United States.

Prior to the US invasion of Iraq, the world was unanimous in its belief that Saddam had the potential to produce weapons of mass destructions. Although this assessment turned out to be wrong, this does NOT make the US invasion unjust. 

Iraq under Saddam was a major state sponsor of international terrorism. The report from the 9/11 committee states: “Baghdad actively sponsored terrorist groups, providing safe haven, training, arms, and logistical support, requiring in exchange that the groups carry out operations ordered by Baghdad for Saddam's objectives. Terrorist groups were not permitted to have offices, recruitment, or training facilities or freely use territory under the regime's direct control without explicit permission from Saddam. Saddam used foreign terrorist groups as an instrument of foreign policy. Groups hosted by Saddam were denied protection if he wanted to improve relations with a neighboring country and encouraged to attack those Saddam wanted to pressure. If they refused Saddam's "requests," they were exiled from Iraq”(2)

Known terrorists were living freely in Iraq - given sanctuary by Hussein.
• Abu Abbas - a leader in the Palestinian Liberation Front, his group hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and murdered an elderly American passenger Leon Klinghoffer in 1985. He was captured by US forces in Iraq and died in prison.(2)
* Abu Nidal - While enjoying safe haven in Iraq, his group conducted a number of terrorist attacks on Jewish and Israel targets in the 1970s and 1980s, including murders at synagogues and attacks on El Al airline passengers in Turkey, Austria, Belgium, and Italy, and the hijacking of a Pan Am airliner (Pan Am 73) in Karachi, in which 22 people (2 Americans) were murdered.(2)
• Abdul Rahman Yasin - He helped make the bombs used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing attack. Yasin is the only participant in the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 who was never brought to justice.

The invasion of Iraq caused Libya to voluntarily give up their weapons of mass destruction.

Afghanistan (2001 - present) Morally just.  The Talliban gave sanctuary to Bin Laden, the mastermind behind 9/11.  The Talliban were butchers of their own people.  The world is a much safer place with them scurrying from cave to cave.

Gulf War (1991) Morally just. Saddam invaded Kuwait and would undoubtedly have gone into Saudia Arabia if the US hadn’t gotten involved.  Saddam at this time was at the peak of his power and was well along in chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.  The US turned Saddam into a loser in 4 days and put a huge dent into Iraq’s ability to continue with their weapons programs.

The Cold War (1945-1990) - Morally just. The US lead the free world in holding the line against the advancement of Soviet Communism - a brutal dictatorship that had killed MILLIONS since 1917.

Panama (1989-90) Morally just. Noriega was essentially Panama’s dictator since 1983. He was able to manipulate elections so that the winning presidents would be his puppet leaders. Relations between the US and Noriega had become increasingly tense since 1987. The two years before the US invasion were especially difficult. One of Noriega's principal lieutenants charged the dictator with murder, drug trafficking, and election fraud. Riots broke out in Panama City, and the internal crisis grew worse as the country's economy deteriorated. To deflect rising criticism within Panama, Noriega resorted increasingly to anti-American rhetoric. At his direction, Noriega’s paramilitary units began initiating increasing incidents of harassment against U.S. military personnel in the country - and then CHILDREN of US personnel. 

In October 1987, nine US soldiers were arrested without any cause. They were detained overnight, refused outside contacts, and then released. The frequency and seriousness of these incidents increased soon after two U.S. federal grand juries indicted Noriega on 4 February 1988 for drug trafficking. The Reagan administration responded to the increased tension by sending a company of U.S. Marines and several Military Police units to bolster the forces already in Panama.

In the weeks that followed, additional servicemen were detained and assaulted. In the late hours of 12 April 1988, at a fuel tank farm near Howard Air Force Base, gunfire was exchanged between the U.S. Marine Corps guards and armed intruders. By the end of 1988 there were over 300 incidences of U.S. military personnel and family members' having experienced harassment, threats, or assaults at the hands of the Panamanian military.

The tension continued throughout the following year. In February 1989 Panamanian soldiers detained a Navy civilian employee who was in Colon. They beat him and then threatened to kill him. That same month, the PDF seized an off-duty Navy lieutenant, strip-searched and beat him, and released him nine hours later. 

Two weeks later, an incident occurred that showed how vile Noriega’s henchmen were. Nine Department of Defense (DOD) school buses, loaded with 100 children, were seized for alleged traffic violations. The Fort Clayton provost marshal, assisted by about twenty military police, occupied the buses to prevent the PDF from removing the children or moving the buses to another location. Three hours later one of Noriega's lieutenants abruptly ended the negotiations with the provost marshal and permitted the school buses to return to Fort Clayton. 

During the Panamanian national elections of May 1989, opponents of Noriega, with help from the Roman Catholic Church, out foxed him this time by counting results from the country's election precincts before they were sent to election centers run by Noriega cronies. Their tally showed Guillermo Endara defeating Carlos Duque, Noriega’s candidate by a nearly 3–1 margin and these results were widely broadcast in Panama. Noriega's government insisted that it had won the presidential election and vowed to remain in power.

The next day, Endara’s motorcade was intercepted by a detachment of Noriega's paramilitary troops and he was badly beaten. The United States recognized Endara as the legitimate president of Panama.

On 16 December, 1989, four US military personnel were stopped at a roadblock around 9 PM outside Panamanian Army headquarters in the El Chorrillo neighborhood of Panama City. The four officers had left the Fort Clayton military base and were driving to a popular downtown Panama City restaurant Saturday night when they made a wrong turn and were halted by soldiers at the checkpoint. They were unarmed and in a private vehicle. When the Panamanian troops tried to pull the Americans from their car they attempted to flee. Panamanian Army troops opened fire and killed one of the officers and wounded another.

A US naval officer and his wife witnessed the incident and were subsequently detained by Panamanian Defense Force soldiers. While in police custody, the US naval officer was repeatedly beaten and kicked in the groin and head. He spent two weeks in the hospital recovering from his beating. His wife was repeatedly threatened and then slammed against a wall with such force that her head was cut.

This is why the US invaded Panama. The legal justification was to protect the integrity of the Torrijos–Carter Treaties which gave the Panama Canal to Panama. Noriega threatened the neutrality of the Panama Canal and the U.S. had the right under the treaties to intervene militarily to protect the canal. The US also has a moral obligation to protect its citizens. 

In addition to all this, Panama had become a center for drug trafficking and money laundering with Noriega’s direct involvement.(A)(B)

On Dec 20, 1989, US forces invaded Panama. Several hours later, Guillermo Endara, who had won the presidential election earlier that year, was sworn in as President of Panama. Noreiga was eventually captured and brought to the US for trial.

Most people in Panama supported the US removal of Noriega.(C)

Sources: 
A. http://www.history.army.mil/brochures/Just%20Cause/JustCause.htm
B. http://www.history.army.mil/html/books/just_cause/CMH_55-1-1_Just_%20Cause_opt.pdf
C. http://www.hrw.org/reports/1989/WR89/Panama.htm#TopOfPage

Libya (1980s) Morally just. Khaddafi was another Muslim fanatic and international terrorist. Several bombing attacks against Libya kept Khaddafi in his box.

Grenada (1983) Morally just. Grenada is a small island nation in the Caribbean. Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1974. In 1979, the leftist New Jewel Movement, led by Maurice Bishop overthrew the government of Eric Gairy, suspending the constitution. Under Bishop, Grenada began a military buildup and aligned his nation with the Soviet Union and Cuba. Promised elections by Bishop were cancelled and political opposition was repressed.  These issues raised concerns in Washington but things came to a head on Oct. 13, 1983 when Bishop was overthrown by hardline Marxists named Bernard Coard and Hudson Austin. Days later, Bishop and dozens of supporters were massacred by the military and general anarchy took hold. With 800 US medical students on the island, the Iran hostage crisis still fresh in everyone's memory, and Grenada’s dictators real intentions unclear, President Reagan decided to take action.

On Oct 25, US troops, with support from several other Caribbean nations, invaded and secured the island in 4 days. It was later learned that Grenada's governor-general, Paul Scoon, had requested the invasion through secret diplomatic channels.(b) 

Political Left view: Opponents of the invasion cite two reasons to support the belief the invasion was unjust and immoral:

1) Critics claim the US asked other Caribbean nations to request US help in removing Coard from power in order to legitimize our invasion. Not true. Coard was viewed as a very menacing influence in the Caribbean by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and they wanted him removed from power. The OECS asked for military help on Oct. 22, 1983. Whether the formal request was drafted in Washington or not is meaningless. If any Caribbean nation didn’t want the US to invade, they could have stated their opposition. Since much of the world media has always enjoyed trashing the U.S. over anything, if any Caribbean country opposed the invasion, they would have had instant world wide coverage. So the Caribbean nations were not manipulated into requesting US help against Grenada. They did so willingly.  

2) Critics claim the invasion was not necessary since the students were not in danger. This is typical of the left. They are accepting the word of honor of two murderers - Coard and Hudson - who could change their mind at any time they chose, and then it would be too late for a rescue. Coard and Hudson ordered the execution of Bishop and several dozen former government officials.(a) Vivid memories of the Iranian hostage crisis and the aborted hostage rescue attempt were fresh. Ronald Reagan was not about to trust the word of two thugs and hope for the best. On October 23, a truck bomb at a US base in Beirut, Lebanon killed over 240 Marines and this increased the urgency of the Reagan administration to get the students out. 

The political left proudly claims that post invasion information indicates the students were never in danger - information gathered after the bad guys were removed.  Again, this is typical monday morning quarterbacking and proves nothing.  Had the invasion not taken place, there is no way to know what would have happened in the future. Reagan had to deal with known facts at the time.

But other documents captured by the US prove Coard/Hudson intended to establish a Communist outpost in the eastern Caribbean and destabilize neighboring countries.(c)

Most of the islanders supported the invasion. On Mar. 03, 1986, some 40,000 Grenadians waited for the first words from President Reagan and pay tribute to the island's liberator, "Uncle Reagan."(d) The date of the invasion is now a national holiday in Grenada, called Thanksgiving Day. 

In 2004, Paul Scoon said he considered President Reagan to have been one of the greatest American presidents and a great world leader. “I think his men really saved us,” he said.(b)

Source:
a. http://fc95d419f4478b3b6e5f-3f71d0fe2b653c4f00f32175760e96e7.r87.cf1.rackcdn.com/831025%200656%20Reagan%20to%20MT%20(1048-196).pdf
         from: http://www.margaretthatcher.org/archive/results.asp?w=prem191048%20OR%20prem191049&pg=2
b. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/world/americas/paul-scoon-who-invited-grenada-invaders-dies-at-78.html?_r=0
c. http://documents.theblackvault.com/documents/dod/readingroom/10/154.pdf
d. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,960811,00.html

Vietnam (1965-1974) Morally just.  After Ho Chi Minh defeated the French colonialists in 1954, the parties met at Geneva to work out a final solution for Indochina. Vietnam was divided in half, with the north being communist and the south being free. Vietnam was supposed to be reunited by an election in 1956. Eisenhower called off the election because Ho Chi Minh had the election in the north rigged.  Observers sent to monitor the elections where not allowed to do their job. This was not a civil war, rather a war of communist aggression against South Vietnam.  

Political Left view: The Left believes that Ho Chi Minh wanted to be an ally of the US. This was a scam by Ho. Naturally the Left was naive enough to take his statements at face value. This was diplomacy by Ho designed to fool the Left - which is not hard to do. There was no way that the US was going to align itself with a Communist dictator. Every thing Ho believed went against basic US beliefs.

Korea (1950-1953) Morally just.  Another war of communist aggression.  The communist north invaded the south without warning.  The US saved the south from being overrun. The South Korean people overwhelmingly supported US troops.
 
One War veteran returned to South Korea in 1997 on a tour sponsored by the Korean government. The tour buses were marked so people could see they were carrying US veterans of the war. In many of the towns they rode through, Koreans of all ages saluted the buses. The Korean people were very happy to see the US veterans.(3)

World War II (1941-1945) Morally just.  The US saved the world from imperial Japan and Nazi Germany.

World War I (1917-1919) Morally just. The US saved western Europe from Germany.

Sources:
1. http://hnn.us/articles/1000.html
2. http://www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/hearing3/witness_yaphe.htm
3. American Legion Magazine, June, 2010