On Roosting Chickens: A History of US Empire

On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality

by Ward Churchill

AK Press (2003)

Book Review

With the massive evidence compiled by the 9-11 Truth movement over the last two decades,* the book’s original premise has ceased to be relevant in 2020. Long time American Indian activist Ward Churchill took the title of this book from his infamous 2001 essay “On the Justice of Roosting Chickens.”  In the latter (and in Chapter 1), Churchill argues that the 9-11 attacks were a natural and unavoidable consequence of unlawful US foreign policy. The essay would lead to his dismissal from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2017.

By the time this book was published in 2003, both Thierry Meyssan (The Big Lie) and Nafeez Ahmed (The War on Truth) had published books questioning the official version of 9-11. As of February 2002, there was also a thriving 9-11 Unanswered Questions movement, which would be the precursor to 9-11. I’m a little surprised Churchill would have no knowledge of activists who were already challenging the official story in 2003.

That being said, the book’s second and third chapters are invaluable. Chapter 2 compiles all US military actions from 1776 on. Chapter three documents all known US violations of international law dating from the 1945 founding of the United Nations.

After 1947, this list includes the use of CIA interventions to overthrow lawful governments:

  • US invasion and occupation of sovereign Native American territories – 46
  • US military actions against US civilians during protests, rebellions, riots, and strikes (including WACO, Ruby Ridge, and the 1999 anti-WTO protests in Seattle) – 23
  • US troop deployment to put down slave revolts: 5
  • US military actions against
    • North Africa – 15
    • Mexico (excluding the US-Mexican War, which forced Mexico to give up have its territory) – 29
    • France (including 1961 attempted assassination of DeGaulle) – 4
    • Spain (excluding Spanish American War) – 6
    • Cuba (following Spanish American War) – 5
    • Canada – 1 (1837 border clash)
    • Pacific Island (excluding Hawai’i and Philippines) – 5
    • Greece – 3
    • South America – 19
    • China (excluding participating in civil war against Mao) – 15
    • Sub-Saharan Africa – 8
    • Turkey – 2
    • Central America – 19
    • Japan (prior to World War II) -3
    • Korea (prior to World War II) – 33
    • Hawai’i – 3
    • Haiti (prior to deposing Prime Minister Aristide in 1991) – 4
    • Philippines – 4
    • Dominican Republic -5
    • Cuba (prior to Cuban revolution – incursions following the Bay of Pigs are too numerous to count) – 2
    • USSR – 2
    • Greenland/Iceland – 1 each
    • Italy – 1
    • Iran (prior to 1953 CIA coup) – 1
    • Albania – 1
    • Syria – 1 (failed CIA coup in 1956)
    • Indonesia – 2
    • Cyprus – 1
    • Lebanon – 2
    • Grenada – 1
    • Australia – 1

Chapter 3 is a chronological history of UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions condemning the US. It includes censures  for using napalm and Agent Orange in Vietnam, for using torture and the death penalty in US prisons, for their refusal to support the UN declaration for the elimination of racism, for their illegal blockade against Cuba, and for their illegal invasions of Angola, Panama and Nicaragua.

The chapter also includes countless Security Council and General Assembly resolutions condemning South Africa (not only for Apartheid but for the illegal invasion and occupation of Namibia and Angola) and Israel (for their illegal occupation of Palestine and the Golan Heights, their illegal invasion and 20+ year occupation of Lebanon, and their illegal deployment of nuclear weapons).

Here Churchill also covers Clinton’s illegal war against Yugoslavia, debunking most of the pro-war propaganda about alleged Serbian genocides. And finally the illegal 1972 CIA coup against democratically elected Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam (after he withdrew Australian troops from Vietnam). I was unaware prior to reading this book that John Kerr,** the Australian governor general responsible for removing Whitlam from office was a long time CIA asset.


*See https://stuartbramhall.wordpress.com/2020/02/13/making-sense-of-9-11/

**In Australia and New Zealand, the Governor General is appointed by the British monarch and technically has the authority to overrule Parliament. See https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/23/gough-whitlam-1975-coup-ended-australian-independence

 

 

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