William Blum: re/American political scene


Richard Moore

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     The Anti-Empire Report
Read this or George W. Bush will be president the rest of your life
        July 9, 2007
         by William Blum
Neocons, theocons, Demcons, excons, and future cons

Who do you think said this on June 20?   a)Rudy Giuliani; b)Hillary Clinton; 
c)George Bush; d)Mitt Romney;

or e)Barack Obama?

"The American military has done its job. Look what they accomplished. They got 
rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair 
elections. They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate 
that it understood its responsibilities to make the hard political decisions 
necessary to give the people of Iraq a better future. So the American military 
has succeeded. It is the Iraqi government which has failed to make the tough 
decisions which are important for their own people."[1]

Right, it was the woman who wants to be president because ... because she wants 
to be president ... because she thinks it would be nice to be president ... no 
other reason, no burning cause, no heartfelt desire for basic change in American
society or to make a better world ... she just thinks it would be nice, even 
great, to be president. And keep the American Empire in business, its routine 
generating of horror and misery being no problem; she wouldn't want to be known 
as the president that hastened the decline of the empire.

And she spoke the above words at the "Take Back America" conference; she was 
speaking to liberals, committed liberal Democrats. She didn't have to cater to 
them with any flag-waving pro-war rhetoric; they wanted to hear anti-war 
rhetoric (and she of course gave them a bit of that as well out of the other 
side of her mouth), so we can assume that this is how she really feels, if 
indeed the woman feels anything.

Think of why you are opposed to the war. Is it not largely because of all the 
unspeakable suffering brought down upon the heads and souls of the poor people 
of Iraq by the American military? Hillary Clinton couldn't care less about that,
literally. She thinks the American military has "succeeded". Has she ever 
unequivocally labeled the war "illegal" or "immoral"? I used to think that Tony 
Blair was a member of the right wing or conservative wing of the British Labour 
Party. I finally realized one day that that was an incorrect description of his 
ideology. Blair is a conservative, a bloody Tory. How he wound up in the Labour 
Party is a matter I haven't studied. Hillary Clinton, however, I've long known 
is a conservative; going back to at least the 1980s, while the wife of the 
Arkansas governor, she strongly supported the death squad torturers known as the
Contras, who were the empire's proxy army in Nicaragua.[2]

Now we hear from America's venerable conservative magazine, William Buckley's 
"National Review", an editorial by Bruce Bartlett, policy adviser to President 
Ronald Reagan; treasury official under President George H.W. Bush; a fellow at 
two of the leading conservative think-tanks, the Heritage Foundation and the 
Cato Institute; you get the picture. Bartlett tells his readers that it's almost
certain that the Democrats will win the White House in 2008. So what to do? 
Support the most conservative Democrat. He writes: "To right-wingers willing to 
look beneath what probably sounds to them like the same identical views of the 
Democratic candidates, it is pretty clear that Hillary Clinton is the most 

We also hear from America's premier magazine for the corporate wealthy, 
"Fortune", whose recent cover features a picture of Clinton and the headline: 
"Business Loves Hillary".[4]

Do those in love with the idea of a woman president care about such things? Have
they never heard of Margaret Thatcher, who tried her best to cripple the UK's 
marvelous National Health Service, amongst a hundred other reactionary policies?
Most of Clinton's supporters would love to see the end of the Iraqi daily horror
and so they presumably will also ignore Ted Koppel, the newsman of impeccable 
establishment credentials, who reported recently that he was told by someone who
had held a senior position at the Pentagon and occasionally briefs Hillary 
Clinton on Gulf area matters, that she expects US troops to still be in Iraq at 
the end of her first term and even at the end of her second term.[5]

The eternal struggle between the good guys and the bad guys

The United States and its wholly owned subsidiary, NATO, regularly drop bombs on
Afghanistan which kill varying amounts of terrorists (or "terrorists", also 
known as civilians, also known as women and children). They do this rather 
often, against people utterly defenseless against aerial attack. In the first 
half of this year, US/NATO forces killed more people than the Taliban and others
opposed to the Western occupation did.[6] This was immediately followed by a 
reported 133 additional bombing victims in the first week of July.[7]

US/NATO spokespersons tell us that these unfortunate accidents happen because 
the enemy is deliberately putting civilians in harm's way to provoke a backlash 
against the foreign forces. We are told at times that the enemy had located 
themselves in the same building as the victims, using them as "human 
shields".[8] Therefore, it would seem, the enemy somehow knows in advance that a
particular building is about to be bombed and they rush a bunch of civilians to 
the spot before the bombs begin to fall. Or it's a place where civilians 
normally live and, finding out that the building is about to be bombed, the 
enemy rushes a group of their own people to the place so they can die with the 
civilians. Or, what appears to be much more likely, the enemy doesn't know of 
the bombing in advance, but then the civilians would have to always be there; 
i.e., they live there; they may even be the wives and children of the enemy. Is 
there no limit to the evil cleverness and the clever evilness of this foe?

Western officials also tell us that the enemy deliberately attacks from civilian
areas, even hoping to draw fire to drive a wedge between average Afghans and 
international troops.[9] Presumably the insurgents are attacking nearby Western 
military installations or troop concentrations. This raises the question: Why 
are the Western forces building installations and/or concentrating troops near 
civilian areas, deliberately putting civilians in harm's way?

US/NATO military leaders argue that any comparison of casualties caused by 
Western forces and by the Taliban is fundamentally unfair because there is a 
clear moral distinction to be made between accidental deaths resulting from 
combat operations and deliberate killings of innocents by militants. "No 
[Western] soldier ever wakes up in the morning with the intention of harming any
Afghan citizen," said Maj. John Thomas, a spokesman for the NATO-led 
International Security Assistance Force. "If that does inadvertently happen, it 
is deeply, deeply regretted."[10]

Is that not comforting language? Can any right-thinking, sensitive person fail 
to see who the good guys are?

During its many bombings from Vietnam to Iraq, Washington has repeatedly told 
the world that the resulting civilian deaths were accidental and very much 
"regretted". But if you go out and drop powerful bombs over a populated area, 
and then learn that there have been a number of "unintended" casualties, and 
then the next day drop more bombs and learn again that there were "unintended" 
casualties, and then the next day you bomb again ... at what point do you lose 
the right to say that the deaths were "unintended"?

During the US/NATO 78-day bombing of Serbia in 1999, which killed many 
civilians, a Belgrade office building -- which housed political parties, TV and 
radio stations, 100 private companies, and more -- was bombed. But before the 
missiles were fired into this building, NATO planners spelled out the risks: 
"Casualty Estimate 50-100 Government/Party employees. Unintended Civ Casualty 
Est: 250 -- Apts in expected blast radius."[11] The planners were saying that 
about 250 civilians living in nearby apartment buildings might be killed in the 
bombing, in addition to 50 to 100 government and political party employees, 
likewise innocent of any crime calling for execution. So what do we have here? 
We have grown men telling each other: We'll do A, and we think that B may well 
be the result. But even if B does in fact result, we're saying beforehand -- as 
we'll insist afterward -- that it was unintended.

It was actually worse than this. As I've detailed elsewhere, the main purpose of
the Serbian bombings -- admitted to by NATO officials -- was to make life so 
difficult for the public that support of the government of Slobodan Milosevic 
would be undermined.[12] This, in fact, is the classic definition of 
"terrorism", as used by the FBI and the United Nations: The use or threat of 
violence against a civilian population to induce the government to change 
certain policies.

Another example of how "the enemy" can't be trusted to act as nice as 
god-fearing regular Americans ... "Defense officials said they believe at least 
22 -- and possibly as many as 50 -- former Guantánamo detainees have returned to
the battlefield to fight against the United States and its allies."[13] The 
Defense Department has at times used the possibility of this happening as an 
argument against releasing detainees or closing Guantánamo.

But is it imaginable, not to mention likely, that after three, four or five 
years in the hell on earth known as Guantánamo, even detainees not disposed to 
terrorist violence -- and many of them were picked up for reasons having nothing
to do with terrorist violence -- left with a deep-seated hatred of their jailors
and a desire for revenge?

Don't believe anything until it's been officially denied.

Those of you who've been reading my musings over the years know that the bombing
of PanAm flight 103 in December 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which took the 
lives of 270 people, has been a major interest of mine. When The Black Book of 
The American Empire is written someday there should be a mention of Abdelbaset 
Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, a Libyan who has spent the last six years in prison 
charged with the Lockerbie bombing. I and many others, including a number in 
establishment legal positions, have been arguing for years that the evidence 
against Megrahi is very thin and unpersuasive. Now a court in Scotland has 
agreed and has ordered a new appeal for Megrahi. I and other so-called 
"conspiracy theorists" have been vindicated, although Megrahi is not yet free.

Briefly, the key international political facts are these: For well over a year 
after the bombing, the US and the UK insisted that Iran, Syria, and a 
Palestinian group had been behind the bombing, which was widely regarded as an 
act of revenge for the US shooting down an Iranian passenger plane over the 
Persian Gulf in July 1988, killing 290 people. (An act the US calls an accident,
but which came about because of deliberate American intrusion into the Iran-Iraq
war on the side of Iraq.)  Then the buildup to the US invasion of Iraq came 
along in 1990 (how quickly do nations change from allies to enemies on the 
empire's chessboard) and the support of Iran and Syria was desired for the 
operation. Suddenly, in October 1990, the US declared that it was Libya -- the 
Arab state least supportive of the US build-up to the Gulf War and the sanctions
imposed against Iraq -- that was behind the bombing after all. Megrahi and 
another Libyan were fingered.[14]

The Scottish Court's recent ruling, as logical and justified as it is, is still 
a great surprise. When it comes to anything associated with the War on 
Terrorism, the UK and the US are not particularly noted for logic or justice. So
what might be the reason they're doing, or allowing, "the right thing" for a 
change? Could it be that Iran will now be charged with being the instigator and 
paymaster for the crime and that this will be used to hammer them into 
submission concerning nuclear power and weapons? Or justify an American attack? 
But then of course the United States would have to explain why it falsely 
accused Libya and allowed, and pushed for, an innocent man to be sent to prison 
for life. A very interesting dilemma. It would be great entertainment to hear 
George W. Bush trying to explain that one. (Cheney would just refuse to discuss 
the matter, saying it's "classified". Or tell the questioner to go fuck 
himself.) The dilemma is further heightened by the fact that it was the 
administration of George Bush Senior which made the accusation against Libya. 
His secretary of defense at the time was a gentleman named Richard B. Cheney.

A marriage made in heaven

Former White House counsel Harriet Miers once called George W. Bush the most 
brilliant man she has ever known.[15] She's now no longer alone in her bizarre 
little padded cell. On June 10, during the president's visit to Albania -- 
arguably the most backward country in all of Europe, today as well as when it 
was a Soviet satellite -- the joyous townspeople of Fushe Kruje yelled "Bushie! 
Bushie!" and Albania's prime minister gushed over the "greatest and most 
distinguished guest we have ever had in all times."

This was reported by Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, and prompted a 
letter from a reader, which said in part: "Regarding Eugene Robinson's June 12 
op-ed ... It was inevitable that somebody would sneer at the Albanian reception 
of President Bush ... [Robinson] patronizingly writing of 'a wonderful 
reverse-Borat moment'. ... U.S. support for Albania following the collapse of 
communism explains Albanian gratitude to the United States."[16]

Ah yes, the wonderful collapse of communism and the even more wonderful birth of
democracy, freedom, capitalism, and widespread poverty and deprivation in the 
former Soviet dominion. What actually happened is that the first election in 
"Free Albania", in March 1991, resulted in an overwhelming endorsement of the 
Communists. And what did the United States then do? Of course, it proceeded to 
undertake a campaign to overthrow this very same elected government. The 
previous year in neighboring Bulgaria, another former Soviet satellite, the 
communists also won the election. And the United States overthrew them as 
well.[17] These were the first of the non-violent overthrows of governments of 
the former Soviet Union and its satellites directed and financed by the United 

"The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it." Oscar Wilde

Some international stories never come to an end, relegated to the history books 
and stamped finis. They keep popping up in the news of the day, each time 
igniting controversy and confusion anew. The dropping of atomic bombs on Japan 
in World War 2 is a prime example. On June 30, the Japanese Defense Minister, 
Fumio Kyuma, declared in a speech: "I understand that the bombing ended the war,
and I think that it couldn't be helped."[19] Kyuma's remark offended survivors 
of the bombings in Japan who believe the use of atomic weapons was excessive, 
and he soon had to resign. At the same time, it has undoubtedly pleased many 
American nationalists who insist that the United States had no choice but to use
the bomb, and who resent the stigma the world has long attached to the US for 
being the first to employ such a dreadful weapon of mass destruction.

Kyuma was correct about one thing. The bombings did end the war. But that's only
because the United States wanted the war to end that way, partly so they could 
see how well the bomb worked, but principally to put the Soviet Union on notice 
that after the war, if the Russkis put up too much resistance to American 
imperialistic ambitions, this was a sample of what they could expect. Kyuma 
could just as correctly have said: "I understand that if the United States had 
accepted Japan's peace overtures the war could have ended without the use of the
atomic bomb." As opposed to the American nationalists' version of history, this 
version is well documented and established.[20]


The first item of the last edition of this report included a couple of examples 
of stereotypical cold war anti-communist thinking. I did not realize it at the 
time but the examples are derived in large part from an excellent book by 
Michael Parenti, "The Anti-Communist Impulse", published in 1969, which should 
have been credited.


[1] Speaking at the "Take Back America" conference, organized by the Campaign 
for America's Future, June 20, 2007, Washington, DC; this excerpt can be heard 
at democracynow.org/ - June 21.

[2] Roger Morris, former member of the National Security Council, "Partners in 
Power" (1996), p.415

[3] National Review Online, May 1, 2007
[4] Fortune magazine, July 9, 2007
[5] National Public Radio, "All Things Considered", June 11, 2007
[6] Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2007
[7] Washington Post, July 8, 2007, p.16
[8] Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2007
[9] Chicago Tribune, July 8, 2007, article by Kim Barker
[10] Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2007
[11] Washington Post, April 22, 1999, p.18
[12] William Blum, Rogue State, p.103-4
[13] Washington Post, June 22, 2007, p.3

[14] For an account of the case written in 2001, see: 
http://members.aol.com/bblum6/panam.htm. For a slightly updated account written 
in 2004, see: William Blum, Freeing the World to Death, chapter 10

[15] Copley News Service, October 10, 2005
[16] Washington Post, June 16, 2007, letter from Andrew Apostolou
[17] http://members.aol.com/bblum6/bulgaria.htm

[18] For further discussion of this, see Freeing the World to Death, p.166-71

[19] Associated Press, July 2, 2007
[20] http://members.aol.com/essays6/abomb.htm
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 
<www.killinghope.org >

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website at "essays".

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