Nothing will help us in the future more than understanding history. Events from the past may not necessarily repeat themselves, but the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. This applies to individuals as well as groups. The only group in the world today with a legal monopoly on the use of force is the government, and by looking at the way it operated in the past, we can better understand its actions today.
One bit of history that is not known to the majority of Americans is the true hysteria that surrounded U.S./Cuba relations in the 1960s. The Cold War and the fear of the spread of communism was very real, and America responded in a dramatic way. Not only did Americans build bomb shelters across the country (many still remain in public schools), but the U.S. got itself in military conflicts around the world. Wars were fought in Korea, Vietnam, and even Afghanistan, all fueled by fear.
The U.S. government went so far as to propose staging attacks on Americans in America in order to spur a war with Cuba. Cuba had not aggressed the U.S., so there was no sellable reason to go to war. In order to promote a war with Cuba, Lyman L. Lemnitzer, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asked for John F Kennedy to sign off on Operation Northwoods, which was a plan to commit attacks of terrorism against U.S. military and civilian targets. To promote a war, there were plans to kill Americans.
One of the key parts of the document was that it was forbidden to be released to key members of government. It was not to be forwarded to commanders of unified or special commands, U.S. officers assigned to NATO activities, or the United Nations Military Staff Committee. The proposal would have kept many in the government completely in the dark.
Luckily, President Kennedy rejected Operation Northwoods, and when Lemnitzer was up for reappointment as JCS Chairman he was rejected. This is one of the most notorious cases of a “false flag”, but sadly, it is still not widely known. The DOD documents were officially declassified in the early 2000s, but since its release has rarely been revisited.