Imperial Sociopaths

“The sociopath sees other people as objects to be manipulated and used, much as the rest of us would use a screwdriver or a kleenex. The sociopath feels no empathy for others (although he can fake empathy) and he feels no shame or remorse about abusing people. In his universe, he is the center, and everyone else exists only to serve him.”

— Glenn Campbell

Christopher Columbus was a Sociopath

“It appears to me, that the people are ingenious, and would be good servants and I am of opinion that they would very readily become Christians, as they appear to have no religion,” wrote Columbus in his journal upon encountering the natives of Guanahani.

Columbus installed himself as “viceroy and governor of [the Caribbean islands] and the mainland” of America. He instituted slavery (encomiendo) and engaged in the systematic extermination of the native Taino population. These natives numbered approximately 8 million when Columbus arrived; upon his departure the Taino numbered around 100,000. A census taken in 1542 reported only 200 remained. By 1555 the natives of Haiti were completely extinct. “All told, it is probable that more than one hundred million native people were ‘eliminated’ in the course of Europe’s ongoing ‘civilization’ of the Western Hemisphere,” explains Ward Churchill.

“There are more American Indians alive today than there were when Columbus arrived or at any other time in history,” radio talkshow know-it-all Rush Limbaugh once declared. “Does this sound like a record of genocide?”

Yet according to the 2000 Census, there were 1,678,765 Indian Americans, down from an excess of 12 million prior to the arrival of Columbus. Not only is Limbaugh a liar — he is an ignoramus. But then considering he makes a comfortable living inventing excuses for neocon sociopaths, this should probably be expected.

Going after the New Canaanites

John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts Bay, considered America the New Israel and the Puritans Israelites. Like the Zionists of today, these evangelical Puritans believed the land where millions of indigenous natives lived was for their exclusive use and possession, given to them by an Old Testament god. The American Indians were the “new Canaanites” in America’s “Promised Land.” It was the divine mission of the Puritans to convert these “Canaanites” to Christianity. If that failed, it was acceptable to slaughter them in the name of Christ.

“God laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven,” declared Captain John Mason as he went about slaughtering the Pequot Indian tribe in 1637. “Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies.” “Sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents,” added Captain John Underhill. “We have sufficient light from the Word of God for our proceedings.” In other words, the Puritans referenced the Bible for genocidal inspiration, just as the Zionists and the Christian Zionists reference it today.

Within two hundred years John Winthrop’s New Israel became John L. O’Sullivan’s Manifest Destiny. It contained similar evangelical Christian underpinnings. “It had a future that was destined by God to expand its borders, with no limit to area or country. All the traveling and expansion were part of the spirit of Manifest Destiny, a belief that it was God’s will that Americans spread over the entire continent, and to control and populate the country as they see fit. Many expansionists conceived God as having the power to sustain and guide human destiny,” notes Michael T. Lubragge. Manifest Destiny seized the Puritan notion of establishing a “city on a hill” and injected it with ideological and religious steroids. And like the Puritans, adherents of Manifest Destiny had no problem eliminating those who stood in their way — namely Indians.

According to O’Sullivan, a democratic leader and influential editor, the unhindered imperialist expansion of European white people over native American land was “right such as that of the tree to the space of air and the earth suitable for the full expansion of its principle and destiny of growth.” Soon after O’Sullivan uttered these words, the United States declared war on Mexico and proceeded to grab much of what is now the Southwestern United States.

William E. Channing, in a letter to Henry Clay in 1837, wrote that “the Indians have melted before the white man, and the mixed, degraded race of Mexico must melt before the Anglo-Saxon. Away with this vile sophistry! There is no necessity for crime. There is no fate to justify rapacious nations, any more than to justify gamblers and robbers, in plunder. We boast of the progress of society, and this progress consists in the substitution of reason and moral principle for the sway of brute force.”

So powerful was the “sway of brute force” mingled with religious fanaticism in the name of empire that Albert T. Beveridge stood before the Senate and proclaimed: “God has not been preparing the English-speaking and Tectonic peoples for a thousand years for nothing but vain and idle self-admiration. No! He has made us the master organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns… He has made us adepts in government that we may administer government among savages and senile peoples.” If you edit out the overt racism and over-the-top religiosity from the above statement it sounds close to something a neocon sociopath told the Wall Street Journal last week. It’s a “clash of civilizations” driving the neocon war against the Third World, the idea that our everybody on the planet should have “democracy” forced on them at gunpoint. No doubt Albert T. Beveridge would nod his head in agreement if he were alive today.

Chronic Wrongdoing in the Empire

But it wasn’t strictly the American West and Mexico where Manifest Destiny came into destructive play. The US intervened militarily in Puerto Rico (1824), Nicaragua (1857 and 1860), and in the province of Panama (1860). In 1898, President McKinley used the accidental explosion aboard the US battleship Maine in Havana harbor as a pretext to launch the Spanish-American war and invade and occupy Cuba.

“Incidental to our tenure in the Philippines is the commercial opportunity to which American statesmanship cannot be indifferent,” declared McKinley as Admiral Dewey destroyed Spain’s Pacific fleet at Cavite, in the <Philippines.The> “annexation” of the Philippines resulted in 200,000 civilian dead and nearly fifty years of US colonialism. “Whatever a man feels or thinks or does, there is never any but one reason for it — and that is a selfish one,” wrote Mark Twain of the invasion and occupation of the Philippines.

“Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the US, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power,” said President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. In other words, the United States felt compelled to protect the interests of the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Venezuela.

The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine in 1905 declared the United States to be the policeman of the Caribbean. That same year the Dominican Republic was placed under a customs receivership, i.e., the US would run its affairs and decide what particular sociopath would act as its unelected leader, so long as he knew how the treat the locals when they revolted, as they did on occasion. So feverish was the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine that when the Mexicans refused to salute the US flag, a battleship shelled Veracruz and Marines invaded part of the city.

American Sociopaths: Serving Other Imperatives

And so US sociopaths behaved for most of the 20th century. “The engine of American foreign policy has been fueled not by a devotion to any kind of morality, but rather by the necessity to serve other imperatives,” writes William Blum (a lack of moral sense is a key attribute of clinical sociopathy). As the meticulous research of Blum demonstrates, the United States intervened covertly and overtly in:

China (1945-49)
Italy (1947-48)
Greece (1947-49 and 1964-74)
the Philippines (1945-53)
South Korea (1945-53)
Albania (1949-53)
Iran (1953)
Guatemala (1953-1990s)
the Middle East (1956-58)
Indonesia (1957-58 and 1965)
British Guiana/Guyana (1953-64)
Vietnam (1950-73)
Cambodia (1955-73)
the Congo/Zaire (1960-65)
Brazil (1961-64)
the Dominican Republic (1963-66)
Cuba (1959 to present)
Chile (1964-73)
East Timor (1975 to present)
Nicaragua (1978-89)
Grenada (1979-84)
Libya (1981-89)
Panama (1989)
Iraq (1990s and 2003)
Afghanistan (1979-92 and 2001 to the present),
El Salvador (1980-92)
Yugoslavia (1999)

These interventions and covert underminings have resulted in numerous military coups, countless tortures, disappearances, mass starvation, assassinations, and literally millions of dead people all over the world (200,000 in East Timor out of a population of between 600,000 and 700,000; a million in Indonesia; 75,000 in El Salvador; 100,000 in Guatemala; upward to 2 million in Cambodia; 3 million in Vietnam).

Creative Destruction: the Neocon Sociopaths

The Bush neocons are simply the most recent and some would argue to most vicious and ideologically demented of a long line of American sociopaths serving empire and pathologically selfish personal interests. While an earlier sociopath, Albert T. Beveridge, believed the Judeo-Christian god “has made us the master organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns,” present day neocon sociopath Michael Ledeen has embraced chaos and declares “Creative destruction is our middle name. We do it automatically…”

Ledeen may sincerely believe this form of destruction — the neocon “sway of brute force” in the name of a renewed and updated version of global Manifest Destiny and an Americanized “city on a hill” — may be “creative,” but for thousands of Iraqis and Afghans it is nothing less than merciless barbarism, pernicious mass murder. Spreading between 1000-2000 tons of depleted uranium over the Iraqi countryside is anything but creative — it is a war crime of a nearly unimaginable magnitude, an immeasurably destructive act.

The neocons, of course, are not the only ideological sociopaths on the block. Large organizations of monetary sociopaths — most notably the IMF and World Bank — have no interest in “Christianizing” natives in the Third World, but are as interested in gold — or rather the new financial gold produced through debt — as Columbus and the Conquistadors.

“Debt is an efficient tool,” writes Susan George. “It ensures access to other peoples’ raw materials and infrastructure on the cheapest possible terms.” Just as sociopaths following the selfish white-only Christian contrivances of Manifest Destiny plotted to strip the Pequot, Narragansetts, the Mohawks, the Pokanoket and many other tribes of their ancestral land, so the sociopaths at the helm of the IMF and World Bank conspire to steal land from the original indigenous peoples of Papua New Guinea and elsewhere. According to UNICEF, 500,000 children per year die because of IMF and World Bank “structural readjustment programs,” the main tool used to gain control of land and natural resources in the Third World. Only a sociopath can sit in an office on Wall Street or in Singapore and not be disturbed by the mass suffering and death caused by these criminal financial policies.

“The United States achieved its present position of strength not by practicing a foreign policy of live and let live, nor by passively waiting for threats to arise, but by actively promoting American principles of governance abroad — democracy, free markets, respect for liberty,” explain the neocon twins Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan. In other words, the United States has consistently employed military force to impose “free markets” and “democracy” — as defined by Wall Street, investment bankers, transnational corporations, the IMF and World Bank — on the Third World. “Support for American principles around the world can be sustained only by the continuing exertion of American influence.”

Resistance to the Imperial Drive of the Neocon Sociopath

As Ken Reiner notes, people need to understand the neocon military/transnational vision of world domination — and soon. If left unchecked, “America will continue its imperial drive, utilizing its World Bank, IMF and WTO to place the entire world under corporate control and into conditions of slavery and colonialism. Concurrently it is uncontrollably on a path that will irreversibly destroy the environment and the lives of billions of helpless peoples throughout the world.”

In small ways, resistance to the master plan of the neocon sociopaths and the transnational corporations they work for is growing. For instance, on September 12, workers and farmers in Bangalore, India, destroyed a greenhouse at a research facility belonging to St. Louis-based Monsanto, which sells genetically modified seeds.”We timed the attack to draw the attention of those attending the World Trade Organization meeting in Cancun, Mexico,” said M.D. Nanjundaswamy, president of the Karnataka State Farmers Association, an organization opposed to the introduction of genetically altered cotton seeds in India, saying they are environmentally hazardous and could contaminate the genes of native varieties through cross pollination.

From the Zapatista movement in Mexico to Sin Tierra in Brazil, to peasant movements in India and beyond, there is a growing activism in opposition to the inhumane neoliberal schemes of the neocons. Bush may attempt to attack these movements by clamping down on humanitarian NGOs — who often work side by side with peasant groups — but his efforts are destined to failure.

Resistance is growing exponentially and eventually through patience and persistence the reign of the American sociopath may one day come to an end. Hopefully this will happen before the clique of neocon sociopaths in Washington — espousing their own high-tech version of Manifest Destiny — completely destroy the planet’s already damaged biosphere.

KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent online gallery Ordinary Vistas. Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s forthcoming volume, The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

He can be reached at:


KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books. He can be reached at: