Bill Blum: The Anti-Empire Report


Richard Moore


The Anti-Empire Report

Some things you need to know before the world ends

March 22, 2006
by William Blum

"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens." Friedrich Schiller

"With stupidity, even the gods struggle in vain."

      I'm often told by readers of their encounters with
Americans who support the outrages of US foreign policy no
matter what facts are presented to them, no matter what
arguments are made, no matter how much the government's
statements are shown to be false. If these Americans have no
other defense of the policies they will declare how glad
they are that the United States rules and polices the world;
better America than someone else. They include amongst their
number those who still believe that Iraq had a direct
involvement in the events of September 11, that Saddam
Hussein had close ties to al Qaeda, and/or that weapons of
mass destruction were indeed found in Iraq after the 2003

      My advice is to forget such people. They would support
the outrages even if the government came to their homes,
seized their first born, and hauled them away screaming, as
long as the government assured them it was essential to
fighting terrorism (or communism). My (very) rough guess is
that they constitute no more than 15 percent of the
population. I suggest that we concentrate on the rest, who
are reachable.

      Inasmuch as I can not see violent revolution
succeeding in the United States (something deep inside tells
me that we couldn't quite match the government's firepower,
not to mention their viciousness), I can offer no solution
to stopping the imperial monster other than increasing the
number of those in the opposition until it reaches a
critical mass; at which point ... I can't predict the form
the explosion will take.

      So I'm speaking here of education, and in my writing
and in my public talks I like to emphasize certain points
which try to deal with the underlying intellectual
misconceptions and emotional "hangups" I think Americans
have which stand in the way of their seeing through the
bullshit; this education can also take the form of
demonstrations or acts of civil disobedience, whatever might
cause a thaw in a frozen mind. Briefly, here are the main

      (1) US foreign policy does not "mean well". It's not
that American leaders have miscalculated, or blundered,
causing great suffering, as in Iraq, while having noble
intentions. Rather, while pursuing their imperial goals they
simply do not care about the welfare of the foreign peoples
who are on the receiving end of the bombing and the torture,
and we should not let them get away with claiming such

      (2) The United States is not concerned with this thing
called "democracy", no matter how many times George W. uses
the word each time he opens his mouth. In the past 60 years,
the US has attempted to overthrow literally dozens of
democratically-elected governments, sometimes successfully,
sometimes not, and grossly interfered in as many democratic
elections in every corner of the world. The question is:
What do the Busheviks mean by "democracy"? The last thing
they have in mind is any kind of economic democracy, the
closing of the gap between the desperate poor and those for
whom too much is not enough. The first thing they have in
mind is making sure the target country has the political,
financial and legal mechanisms in place to make it
hospitable to globalization.

      (3) Anti-American terrorists are not motivated by
hatred or envy of freedom or democracy, or by American
wealth, secular government, or culture. They are motivated
by decades of awful things done to their homelands by US
foreign policy. It works the same all over the world. In the
period of the 1950s to the 1980s in Latin America, in
response to a long string of Washington's dreadful policies,
there were countless acts of terrorism against US diplomatic
and military targets as well as the offices of US
corporations. The US bombing, invasion, occupation and
torture in Iraq and Afghanistan have created thousands of
new anti-American terrorists. We'll be hearing from them for
a terribly long time.

      (4) The United States is not actually against
terrorism per se, only those terrorists who are not allies
of the empire. There is a lengthy and infamous history of
support for numerous anti-Castro terrorists, even when their
terrorist acts were committed in the United States. At this
moment, Luis Posada Carriles remains protected by the US
government, though he masterminded the blowing up of a Cuban
airplane that killed 73 people and his extradition has been
requested by Venezuela. He's but one of hundreds of
anti-Castro terrorists who've been given haven in the United
States over the years. The United States has also provided
close support of terrorists in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq and
elsewhere, including those with known connections to al
Qaeda, to further foreign policy goals more important than
fighting terrorism.

      (5) Iraq was not any kind of a threat to the United
States. Of the never-ending lies concerning Iraq, this is
the most insidious, the necessary foundation for all the
other lies. This is the supposed justification for the
preemptive invasion, for what the Nuremberg Tribunal called
a war of aggression. Absent such a threat, it didn't matter
if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, it didn't matter if
the intelligence was right or wrong about this or that, or
whether the Democrats also believed the lies. All that
mattered was the Bush administration's claim that Iraq was
an imminent threat to wreak some kind of great havoc upon
America.  But think about that. What possible reason could
Saddam Hussein have had for attacking the United States
other than an irresistible desire for mass national suicide?

      (6) There was never any such animal as the
International Communist Conspiracy. There were, as there
still are, people living in misery, rising up in protest
against their condition, against an oppressive government, a
government usually supported by the United States.

      (7) Conservatives, particularly of the neo- kind (far
to the right on the political spectrum), and liberals (ever
so slightly to the left of center) are not ideological polar
opposites. Thus, watching a TV talk show on foreign policy
with a conservative and a liberal is not "balanced"; a more
appropriate balance to a conservative would be a left-wing
radical or progressive. American liberals are typically
closer to conservatives on foreign policy than they are to
these groupings on the left, and the educational value of
such "balanced" media can be more harmful than beneficial as
far as seeing through the empire's motives and actions.

How to be (duh) happy

Renowned conservative writer George Will penned a column
last month celebrating the fact that a survey showed that
conservatives were happier than liberals or moderates. While
34 percent of all Americans call themselves "very happy",
only 28 percent of liberal Democrats (and 31 percent of
moderate or conservative Democrats) do, compared with 47
percent of conservative Republicans. Will asserted that the
explanation for these poll results lies in the fact that
conservatives are more pessimistic and less angry than
liberals. If that seems counter-intuitive concerning
pessimism, I could suggest you read his column{1}, except
that it wouldn't be particularly enlightening; the piece is
little more than a vehicle for attacking the welfare state
and government interference in the god-given, wondrous
workings of free enterprise. "Pessimistic conservatives put
not their faith in princes -- government -- they accept that
happiness is a function of fending for oneself," writes

       I would propose that one important reason
conservatives may be happier is that their social conscience
extends no farther than themselves and their immediate
circle of friends and family. George Will gives not the
slightest hint that the sad state of the world affects, or
should affect, conservatives' happiness. In my own case, if
my happiness were based solely on the objective conditions
of my particular life -- work, social relations, health,
adventure, material comfort, etc. -- I could, without
hesitation, say that I'm very happy. But I'm blessed/cursed
with a social conscience that assails my tranquility.
Reading the hundred varieties of daily horrors in my morning
newspaper -- the cruelty of man, the cruelty of nature, the
cruelty of chance -- I'm frozen in despair and anger. Often,
what makes it hardest to take is that my own government, at
home and abroad, directly and indirectly, is responsible for
more of the misery than any other human agent. I would have
been incredulous, during the first half of my life, to think
that one day my own government would scare me so. But if I
were a conservative, I could take great comfort, even
happiness, in convincing myself that it's largely "the bad
guys" who are being hurt and that all these horrors are for
the purpose of extending democracy, freedom, and other joys
to the dark corners of the world. And at a profit.

The Cuban punching bag

The Committee to Protect Journalists{2}, located in New
York, calls itself "An Independent, nonprofit organization
dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide". In December
it issued a report that said that "China, Cuba, Eritrea, and
Ethiopia are the world's leading jailers of journalists in

      On January 7 I sent them the following email{3}:

"Dear People,
      "I have a question concerning your report on
imprisoned journalists. You write that you consider
journalists imprisoned when governments deprive them of
their liberty because of their work. This implies that
they've been imprisoned because of WHAT THEY'VE WRITTEN PER
SE. You show Cuba with 24. And I would question whether your
criterion applies to the Cuban cases. The arrests of these
persons in Cuba had nothing to do with them being
journalists, or even being dissidents, per se, but had
everything to do with their very close, indeed intimate,
political and financial connections to American government

      "The United States is to the Cuban government like al
Qaeda is to Washington, only much more powerful and much
closer. During the period of the Cuban revolution, the
United States and anti-Castro Cuban exiles in the US have
inflicted upon Cuba damage greater than what happened in New
York and Washington on September 11, 2001. In 1999, Cuba
filed a suit against the United States for $181.1 billion in
compensation for victims of (at that time) forty years of
aggression. The suit accused Washington policies of being
responsible for the death of 3,478 Cubans and wounding or
disabling 2,099 others.

      "Would the US ignore a group of Americans receiving
funds from al Qaeda and engaging in repeated meetings with
known leaders of that organization inside the United States?
Would it matter if these American dissidents claimed to be
journalists? In the past few years, the American government
has arrested a great many people in the US and abroad on the
basis of alleged ties to al Qaeda, with a lot less evidence
to go by than Cuba had with its dissidents' ties to the
United States.

      "Moreover, most of the arrested Cubans can hardly be
called journalists. Their only published works have appeared
on websites maintained by agencies of the United States."

On February 10, having received no reply, I sent another
email referring them to my January 7 letter. As of March 21
I still have not received a reply. In the United States one
does not have to defend attacking Cuba for any reason. You
just do it, and if by some oddball chance, some oddball
person asks you to defend what you've said ... Who cares?
The sports section of the Washington Post today brings
another mindless knee-reflex attack. Alfonso Soriano, the
Washington National's new player, has refused to play left
field, insisting on his regular second-base position.
"Imagine," writes Thomas Boswell, "Soriano refusing to
change positions if he played for the Cuban team in the WBC
title game. Fidel Castro might have disposed of the body
before game time."{4}

      Incidentally, it might also be noted that amongst
America's prison population of more than two million, there

probably at least a few hundred who have practiced
journalism at one time or other, in one manner or other.

September 11, 2001

Many readers have asked me why I haven't expressed any
opinion about the events of that infamous day. The reason is
that I preferred to not get entangled in all the complexity
and controversy, the arguments and hard feelings, without
any clear answers. But, very briefly, here goes.

      Almost all of those who have asked me this believe
that it was all planned and carried out by US government
officials. I don't think so. Not that I would put it past
the imperial mafia morally. I just think the complications
would have made it next to impossible to stage with such
"success", and without making it obvious to virtually
everyone. I think what's more likely is that the government
knew that some terrorist act involving aircraft was being
planned and they let it happen so as to make use of it
politically, or they watched the progress of the planning to
see where it would lead, and perhaps capture other plotters,
and they waited too long, which is apparently what happened
in the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in
1993. There is an impressive body of evidence indicating
that various government officials had knowledge of the broad
outline of the 2001 planned deed, if not every detail.

      I also think that some of the questions raised by 9-11
researchers are not very impressive. Like no one has given
me a good explanation as to why the government would want to
destroy building 7. And the fact that Bush quietly spent
time in a class with young students after hearing about the
first plane -- If it was being staged he would have reacted
in a different way. Or that several of the hijackers turned
up "alive" in the Middle East. Why couldn't their identity
have been stolen? And more things like that.

      There are numerous questions about the official
version -- which leaves the government completely innocent,
albeit incompetent -- that make it very difficult to take
the story at face value, but one doesn't therefore have to
jump to the other extreme of a government operation.

And now for something completely different

Question for discussion, class. Why does a lottery whose
jackpot reaches $200 million or more attract so many more
players than one where the jackpot is only about $20
million? It's as if winning only $20 million wouldn't change
one's life radically and dramatically. What dream do these
people have that could be realized by $200 million but which
would be unfulfilled with only $20 million?


{1} Washington Post, February 23, 2006, p.19


{3} To: •••@••.•••

{4} Washington Post, March 21, 2006, p.E1

            William Blum is the author of:

Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World
War 2

Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower

West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir

Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire
           < >

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