Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Excerpt: Noam Chomsky

An excerpt from: Noam Chomsky's "'Losing' the World": American Decline in Perspective, Part 1,, February 14, 2012

"There are important lessons in all this for today, even apart from another reminder that only the weak and defeated are called to account for their crimes. One lesson is that to understand what is happening we should attend not only to critical events of the real world, often dismissed from history, but also to what leaders and elite opinion believe, however tinged with fantasy. Another lesson is that alongside the flights of fancy concocted to terrify and mobilize the public (and perhaps believed by some who are trapped in their own rhetoric), there is also geostrategic planning based on principles that are rational and stable over long periods because they are rooted in stable institutions and their concerns. That is true in the case of Vietnam as well. I will return to that, only stressing here that the persistent factors in state action are generally well concealed.

"The Iraq war is an instructive case. It was marketed to a terrified public on the usual grounds of self-defense against an awesome threat to survival: the “single question,” George W. Bush and Tony Blair declared, was whether Saddam Hussein would end his programs of developing weapons of mass destruction. When the single question received the wrong answer, government rhetoric shifted effortlessly to our “yearning for democracy,” and educated opinion duly followed course; all routine.

"Later, as the scale of the U.S. defeat in Iraq was becoming difficult to suppress, the government quietly conceded what had been clear all along. In 2007-2008, the administration officially announced that a final settlement must grant the U.S. military bases and the right of combat operations, and must privilege U.S. investors in the rich energy system -- demands later reluctantly abandoned in the face of Iraqi resistance. And all well kept from the general population."

1 comment:

  1. Chomsky's words are dead on, yet we continue to beat the drums of war over Iran. It's as clear as day to me that Iran has every right to pursue a nuclear program as America and Britain has been undermining their sovereignty since 1953. They need defense. Yet America's role and Britain's despicable actions for the last 50 years are never once cited as reasons to understand Iran. What a sad time these days are when lies are accepted as easily as the war they lead to, especially when history is there for all to see.