Blum: Anti-Empire Report, May 3, 2007


Richard Moore

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                    The Anti-Empire Report
Some things you need to know before the world ends
                                         May 3, 2007
                                       by William Blum

If the United States leaves Iraq things will really get bad

This appears to be the last remaining, barely-breathing argument of that 
vanishing species who still support the god-awful war. The argument implies a 
deeply-felt concern about the welfare and safety of the Iraqi people. What else 
could it mean? That the US military can't leave because it's needed to protect 
the oil bonanza awaiting American oil companies as soon as the Iraqi parliament 
approves the new written-in-Washington oil law? No, the Bush administration 
loves the people of Iraq. How much more destruction, killing and torturing do 
you need to be convinced of that? We can't leave because of the violence. We 
can't leave until we have assured that peace returns to our dear comrades in 

To better understand this argument, it helps to keep in mind the following about
the daily horror that is life in Iraq:

     It did not exist before the US occupation.

The insurgency violence began as, and remains, a reaction to the occupation; 
like almost all insurgencies in occupied countries -- from the American 
Revolution to the Vietcong -- it's a fight directed toward getting foreign 
forces to leave.

The next phase was the violence of Iraqis against other Iraqis who worked for or
sought employment with anything associated with the occupation regime.

     Then came retaliatory attacks for these attacks.
     Followed by retaliatory attacks for the retaliatory attacks.

Jihadists from many countries have flocked to Iraq because they see the war 
against the American Satan occupiers as a holy war.

Before the occupation, many Sunnis and Shiites married each other; since the 
occupation they have been caught up in a spiral of hating and killing each 

     And for these acts there of course has to be retaliation.

The occupation's abolishment of most jobs in the military and in Saddam 
Hussein's government, and the chaos that is Iraqi society under the occupation, 
have left many destitute; kidnapings for ransom and other acts of criminal 
violence have become popular ways to make a living, or at least survive.

US-trained, financed, and armed Iraqi forces have killed large numbers of people
designated as "terrorists" by someone official, or perhaps someone unofficial, 
or by someone unknown, or by chance.

The US military itself has been a main perpetrator of violence, killing 
individually and en masse, killing any number, any day, for any reason, anyone, 
any place, often in mindless retaliation against anyone nearby for an insurgent 

The US military and its coalition allies have also been the main target of 
violent attacks. A Department of Defense report of November 2006 stated: 
"Coalition forces remained the target of the majority of attacks (68%)."[1]

And here is James Baker, establishment eminence, co-chair of the Iraq Study 
Group, on CNN with

Anderson Cooper:

Cooper: And is it possible that getting the U.S. troops out will actually lessen
that violence, that it will at least take away the motivation of nationalist 

Baker: Many people have argued that to us. Many people in Iraq made that case.

   Cooper: Do you buy it?

Baker: Yes, I think there is some validity to it, absolutely. Then we are no 
longer seen to be the occupiers.[2]

In spite of all of the above we are told that the presence of the United States 
military has been and will continue to be a buffer against violence. Iraqis 
themselves do not believe this. A poll published in September found that Iraqis 
believe, by a margin of 78 to 21 percent, that the US military presence is 
"provoking more conflict that it is preventing".[3]

Remember that we were warned a thousand times of a communist bloodbath in 
Vietnam if American forces left. The American forces left. There was never any 
kind of bloodbath.

If the United States leaves -- meaning all its troops and bases -- it will 
remove the very foundation, origin, and inspiration of most of the hate and 
violence. Iraqis will have a chance to reclaim their land and their life. They 
have a right to be given that opportunity. Let America's deadly "love" embrace 
of the Iraqi people come to an end. Let the healing begin.

Some people love guns. But why should the rest of us be targets?

The massacre at Virginia Tech is the kind of tragedy that invariably produces an
abundance of sociological and psychological speculation, comparisons to the 
violence of American foreign policy, and many other clichés, platitudes, and 
truisms; a lot of ground I prefer not to walk over again.   Except this one 
thing, as knee-reflex as it is: We should ban all guns. It should be illegal to 
possess any functioning firearm; those who already possess them should be 
obliged to turn them in for a payment. No halfway measures here. We went beyond 
halfway measures many massacres ago.

Last year in England and Wales (population 54 million), where there are tough 
restrictions on gun ownership, there were 50 shooting deaths. In Washington, DC 
(population half a million), there were 137 fatal shootings.[4]

Nearly twice as many people commit suicide in the 15 US states with the highest 
rates of gun ownership than in the six states with the lowest rates of gun 
ownership, although the population of the two groups is about the same. Guns are
used in only five percent of suicide attempts, but more than 90 percent of those
attempts are fatal, whereas drugs account for nearly 75 percent of suicide 
attempts, but the fatality rate in those attempts is less than 3 percent.[5]

Those who question the correlation between ease of gun ownership and death by 
gunfire should try to imagine what the Virginia Tech killer would have done if 
he hadn't been able to purchase guns as easily as he had. What would he have 
used? A club? A knife? He would have been jumped and disarmed after attacking 
his first victim in the classroom.

The only exception to the gun ban should be for law enforcement. That doesn't 
include the military. If the American military did not have any weapons this sad
old world would be a much safer and nicer place, for American soldiers as well 
as their victims. So let's perform an act of euthanasia and pull the plug on the
military's life-support machine. Let's convert the Pentagon into affordable 
housing. We won't have to worry about anti-American terrorists because our 
un-armed forces would not be going all over the world and creating them by the 
thousands with bombings, invasions, overthrows of governments, occupations, 
support of repressive regimes, and similar charming activities, all of which 
require vast amounts of firearms and bombs. Yes, the bombs would become history 
as well.

Oh, one more thing. Before the gun ban goes into effect, a posse should be 
formed to go and shoot up the National Rifle Association's headquarters. The NRA
loves to cite the Second Amendment to the Constitution: "A well regulated 
Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the 
people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." What militias, in the 
21st century, are the NRA gun-lovers thinking of? And what state? I'd guess that
most NRA members are fervent libertarians who hold a lot of paranoia and no love
for any state. It's time for another constitutional amendment to abolish the 
Second Amendment, like the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments changed the 
Constitution to abolish slavery.[6]

Because of Virginia Tech's location and the fact that several of the victims 
came from the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, where I live, the Washington 
Post gave book-length coverage to the event. I found myself choking up, at times
with tears, repeatedly, each day as I read the stories of the stolen young 
lives. Two days after the massacre, the Supreme Court issued a ruling making 
certain abortions illegal. This led to statements from celebrating anti-abortion
activists about how the life of "unborn children" would be saved, and how the 
fetus is fully a human being deserving of as much care and respect and legal 
protection as any other human being. But does anyone know cases of parents 
grieving over an aborted fetus the way the media has shown parents and friends 
grieving over the slain Virginia Tech students? Of course not. If for no other 
reason than the parents choose to have an abortion. Does anyone know of a case 
of the parents of an aborted fetus tearfully remembering the fetus's first 
words, or high school graduation or wedding or the camping trip they all took 
together? Or the fetus's smile or the way it laughed? Of course not. Because -- 
to those who support abortion on demand -- the fetus is not a human being in a 
sufficiently meaningful physical, social, intellectual, and emotional sense. But
the anti-abortion activists -- often for reasons of sexual prudery, 
anti-feminism, religion (the Supreme Court ruling derived from the five Catholic
members of the court), or other personal or political hangups -- throw a halo 
around the fetus, treat the needs and desires of the parents as nothingness, and
damn all those who differ with them as child murderers. Unfortunately, with many
of these activists, their perfect love for human beings doesn't extend to the 
human beings of Iraq or Afghanistan.

A conservative's idea of a random act of kindness is cutting the capital gains 

Michael Scheuer is a former CIA officer who headed the Agency's Osama bin Laden 
unit. He's also the author of "Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, 
Radical Islam and the Future of America", and "Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is 
Losing the War on Terror". In last month's edition of this report, in my section
on Washington's war on terrorism, quoting from the Sydney Morning Herald I wrote
that when Scheuer was told that the largest group in Guantánamo came from 
custody in Pakistan, he said: "We absolutely got the wrong people." This 
sentiment is in keeping with the point I was making, that a significant portion 
of "terrorists" held in US custody are no such thing.

But then the editor of, which reprints my report each month, 
received a letter from Mr. Scheuer, saying in part: "Regarding the quote 
attributed to me in Mr. Blum's column. I do not recall ever making such a 
statement, and if I did make it, I spoke mistakenly. I have no reason to believe
that any one in the Guantanamo Bay facility does not deserve to be there. I have
objected to the facility only because it forces the United States to be subject 
to the pacifist whinings of human rights advocates and EC [presumably European 
Community] officials."

I replied to Scheuer, asking him if his remark -- "I have no reason to believe 
that any one in the Guantanamo Bay facility does not deserve to be there" -- 
referred only to "the present prisoners, those held as of the time of your 
alleged remark in February 2006, or any and all of the prisoners who've been 
held there the past 5 years? If the last, that would be quite a remarkable 
statement to make given all that we know about the very faulty criteria employed
in deciding who to send to Guantanamo, a portion of which I discuss in my 
article. Even if you're referring to the first or second time period, your 
statement would still be most surprising. How could you possibly know that? Or 
even hazard a guess? As I mention, even the prison commanders didn't believe 

Scheuer has not yet replied. I had also wondered about his use of the term 
"pacifist whinings". Then, in a review of former CIA Director George Tenet's new
book, Scheuer takes his former boss to task as well as Bill Clinton for not 
attacking Afghanistan enough in the late 1990s to kill Osama bin Laden and his 
followers, accusing the former president of "cowardly pacifism". Scheuer writes:
"I did not -- and do not -- care about collateral casualties in such situations,
as most of the nearby civilians would be the families that bin Laden's men had 
brought to a war zone. But Tenet did care. 'You can't kill everyone,' he would 
say. That's an admirable humanitarian concern in the abstract, but it does 
nothing to protect the United States. Indeed, thousands of American families 
would not be mourning today had there been more ferocity and less sentimentality
among the Clinton team."[7]

It should be noted that in 1993 Clinton ordered the firing of missiles into 
Iraq, killing and injuring many, as retaliation for Iraqi involvement in a plot 
to assassinate former president George H.W. Bush who was due to visit Kuwait. 
(Both the plot and the Iraqi involvement in it should be filed away under 
"alleged".)  In 1998 the president ordered the firing of several missiles into 
Afghanistan and Sudan in an attempt to take out suspected terrorists and their 
facilities, instead hitting "collateral casualties". And the following year, 
Clinton, wearing a NATO mask, dropped bombs on the people of Yugoslavia for 78 
consecutive days.

     But by Michael Scheuer's standards, Bill Clinton was a pacifist.

If it's difficult for you pacifists -- of the whining, cowardly, or any other 
variety -- to appreciate or understand the mind or heart or soul of a Michael 
Scheuer, if you think he's out of touch with reality, amoral, and scary, take a 
look at a recent get-together between George W. and a group of 
neo-conservatives. Compared to these guys, Scheuer should quickly seek out the 
nearest Friends Meeting House. And the rest of us should seek out another 
country. Or planet. reported on the February 28 luncheon between Bush and the leading 
lights of American neo-conservatism. You have to read the whole thing, but 
here's a snippet: "The most critical priority [of the neo-cons] is to convince 
the President to continue to ignore the will of the American people and to 
maintain full-fledged loyalty to the neoconservative agenda, no matter how 
unpopular it becomes. To do this, they have convinced the President that he has 
tapped into a much higher authority than the American people -- namely, 
God-mandated, objective morality -- and as long as he adheres to that (which is 
achieved by continuing his militaristic policies in the Middle East, whereby he 
is fighting Evil and defending Good), God and history will vindicate him. ... 
Finally, the neoconservatives left Bush with the overarching instruction -- 
namely, the only thing that he should concern himself with, the only thing that 
really matters, is Iran."[8]

Has there ever been an empire that didn't tell itself and the world that it was 
unlike all other empires, that its mission was not to plunder and control but to
educate and liberate? And that it had God on its side?

Will America's immune system be able to rid itself of its raw-meat 

The biggest lie of all is never mentioned

Bill Moyers' recent documentary "Buying the War" does an excellent job of 
showing how the preeminent members of American mainstream journalism failed 
woefully in their duty to the public and their profession by not properly 
questioning the great falsehoods of the Bush administration in the leadup to the
invasion of Iraq. The media did not expose the fallacies of White House claims 
that Saddam Hussein possessed all manner of weapons of mass destruction, that he
had close working ties to Osama bin Laden and/or al Qaeda, that an Iraqi agent 
had met with Mohammad Atta, the reputed leader of the 9-11 hijackers, and other 
stories put forth by the Bush-Cheney gang to create the belief that Saddam 
Hussein was a threat to the United States.

But the biggest lie of all about the war in Iraq, one that I've discussed before
in this report, one that the mainstream media never pursue, one that Moyers 
doesn't mention in his documentary, but one that has been clearly implied during
five years of news and discussions, is this: If in fact Saddam Hussein had 
possessed all those terrible weapons he would have been a threat to use them 
against the United States, even without provocation. This is so preposterous 
that I doubt that even Bush or Cheney held such a belief. To attack the United 
States, Hussein would have had to be imbued with nothing less than an 
irresistible desire for mass national suicide. I do not know of any evidence 
that he was insane.

Nor the leaders of Iran. But that counts for nought when the empire knows that 
you are a non-believer in the empire.

Moreover, having exposed the administration's stated excuses for war as 
fraudulent, the documentary inexplicably presents no discussion whatsoever as to
what might have been the real reasons for the war, though the program 
undoubtedly left many viewers wondering just that -- "So why did they lie so 
much?   To cover up what?"   Most TV journalists tend to tread rather lightly in
a field full of mines labeled "oil" or "Israel" or "defense corporations".[9]

Democracy Now!

I'm a fan of Amy Goodman and her morning radio program "Democracy Now". It 
consistently covers a wide range of issues of interest to the progressive 
community and undoubtedly recruits many new members to the cause. But perhaps 
their range is too wide to expect the Democracy Now! staff to have done all of 
their homework on all of the issues. Cuba is one such issue where the program 
tends to stumble. The latest example was on April 26. In the opening news 
report, Amy informed us: "In Cuba, six dissidents have been released from prison
nearly two years after they were jailed. The Cuban government had drawn 
international condemnation after the jailings in the summer of 2005."

That was it. CBS or NPR couldn't have followed the State Department script any 
better. There must be many thousands in American prisons who could be called 
"dissidents" for having at one time or another expressed serious disgust with 
what the US was doing in some part of the world and who had taken part in a 
protest; or done the same in regard to some vital economic, civil rights, or 
civil liberties issue at home. "Oh," you declare, "but they were not imprisoned 
because of their dissidence." Yes, that's true about almost all of them. But 
it's also true about almost all Cuban prisoners.

To grasp this, one must first understand the following: The United States is to 
the Cuban government like al Qaeda is to Washington, only much more powerful and
much closer. Since the Cuban revolution, the United States and anti-Castro Cuban
exiles in the US have inflicted upon Cuba greater damage and greater loss of 
life than what happened in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. Cuban 
dissidents typically have had very close, indeed intimate, political and 
financial connections to American government officials, particularly in Havana 
through the American Embassy (the United States Interests Section). Would the US
government ignore a group of Americans receiving funds from al Qaeda and/or 
engaging in repeated meetings with known leaders of that organization inside the
United States? In the past few years, the American government has arrested a 
great many people in the US and abroad solely on the basis of alleged ties to al
Qaeda, with a lot less evidence to go by than Cuba has had with its dissidents' 
ties to the United States, evidence gathered by many Cuban double agents.



{2] CNN, December 6, 2006

[3] World Public Opinion Poll, conducted by the Program on International Policy 
Attitudes, University of Maryland,

"The Iraqi Public on the US Presence and the Future of Iraq", September 27, 
2006, p.5

[4] Washington Post, April 24, 2007, p.18

[5] Study by Harvard School of Public Health, Associated Press, April 16, 2007

[6] The title of this section and some thoughts on the Constitution are taken 
from an excellent article on the subject of gun control by Jonathan Safran Foer 
in the Washington Post, April 22, 2007, p. B5

[7] Washington Post, April 29, 2007, p.B1

[8] Glenn Greenwald:,

[9] Transcript:

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

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at 
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