Think the U.S. Military and CIA Can “Do Some Good”?

Read About 15 Times That People Went Along with That—and Then Think Again

April 10, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


Over the past 60 years, the U.S. military and the CIA have been used over and over again supposedly as a “force for good” around the world. Here’s just some of what they actually did:

Korea, 1950-1953  U.S. invasion and war killed  five million people—American war crimes included massive carpet bombing that destroyed every building more than one-story high in North Korea, use of chemical weapons against civilians, and wholesale rape of women.

Vietnam, early 1960s to mid-’70s  More than two million Vietnamese civilians were killed in the war, in which the U.S. dropped twice the amount of bombs used in all of World War 2 on a country the size of New Mexico, used chemical weapons like napalm and Agent Orange, and massacred whole villages of children, women, and elders.

Indonesia, 1965  In a CIA-engineered coup, General Suharto’s military regime massacred at least 500,000, perhaps more than a million people, mainly communists and those accused of being communists, clogging the rivers in some areas with the bodies of victims.

Guatemala, early 1980s  The CIA trained and advised the forces under General Ríos Mott that systematically destroyed more than 600 indigenous Mayan villages, slaughtering 75,000 people.

Lebanon, 1982  President Reagan sent more than 1,200 Marines into Beirut in the name of “peacekeeping” but in reality to protect U.S. interests, including backing Israel’s brutal invasion of Lebanon, which was aimed at crushing Palestinian forces and killed more than 20,000 Palestinians and Lebanese.

El Salvador, 1980s  U.S. military “advisers” trained and led the Salvadoran military, whose death squads carried out massacres and “disappearances” of opponents—at least 75,000 people were killed and one-fifth of the country’s population was forced to flee their homes.

Panama, 1989  More than 29,000 U.S. troops invaded to oust Manuel Noriega, who used to be a CIA “asset” but then came to be seen by his masters as a liability; the poor neighborhood of El Chorillo was so heavily destroyed by the invaders, with thousands of residents killed, that it came to be known as “Little Hiroshima.”

Iraq, 1991  The U.S. and allied military forces waged a 42-day bombing campaign, followed by a ground invasion—100,000 to 200,000 Iraqis were killed in the war, and the systematic destruction of the country’s power, water, and sanitation systems had a devastating effect on the lives of the people in the following years.

Haiti, 1991  The CIA collaborated with local military forces to overthrow the elected president Aristide and unleash a wave of vicious repression; thousands of Aristide supporters were killed, and 60,000 Haitians were forced to flee the island in makeshift boats.

Somalia, 1992  U.S. Marines engaged in fierce gun battles in the capital, Mogadishu, in an attempt to oust a warlord from power; while several Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and some U.S. soldiers killed, the American attack killed between 500 and 1,000 Somalis, including civilians.

Afghanistan, 2001  The U.S. military invasion right after 9/11 began a war that continues today—in which U.S. forces have bombed wedding parties and hospitals, locked people up in dungeons of torture, and committed other crimes; some five million people have been driven from their homes.

Iraq, 2003  Based on the deliberate lie that they were going after “weapons of mass destruction,” the U.S. military and allies bombed and invaded the country, killing and wounding thousands of civilians; this began a nine-year occupation that set off even greater horrors for the people of Iraq and the whole region.

American Crime

American Crime is a regular feature of Each installment focuses on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

Read the American Crime series here

Libya, 2011  The U.S. military and NATO allied forces launched thousands of airstrikes in order to shape the upsurge against the Qaddafi regime for their own ends—hundreds of civilians were killed in the bombings, and the country became enmeshed in hellish war among various warlords and Islamic fundamentalists.

Yemen, ongoing  The U.S. military is carrying out a campaign of bombings, drone attacks, targeted assassinations, and Special Forces raids, in the name of going after Islamic fundamentalist forces but involving many civilian casualties—the latest atrocity: a January 2017 Navy SEALs raid on a village that killed 23 unarmed civilians, including nine children under age 13.

Syria, ongoing  The U.S. is escalating troop deployment and air attacks that started under Obama—several weeks before Trump’s April 7 Tomahawk cruise missile attack, missiles and a 500-pound bomb fired from drones hit a mosque in the town of Al-Jinah, where hundreds were gathered for prayer, killing 46 people.


In every one of these instances, there were liberals in the ruling class who claimed that the U.S. military was a force for “good”—and got all too many people to go along with that. NO! This army fights for the interests of U.S. capitalist-imperialists here and around the globe and enforces their domination of large parts of the world. And that is why it is NEVER a force for good and ALWAYS a force for terrible repression and reactionary violence against the people.




Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.