Noam Chomsky Interview
- New Chomsky Interview: "U.S. Is A Leading Terrorist State"
by Noam Chomsky . Monday December 30, 2002 at 03:41 PM
The US is one of the leading terrorist states in the world.
Mark Thomas: If we can start with US foreign policy in relation to
Iraq and the War on Terror, what do you think is going on at the
Noam Chomsky: First of all I think we ought to be very cautious about
using the phrase 'War on Terror'. There can't be a War on Terror.
It's a logical impossibility. The US is one of the leading terrorist
states in the world. The guys who are in charge right now were all
condemned for terrorism by the World Court. They would have been
condemned by the U.N. Security Council except they vetoed the
resolution, with Britain abstaining of course. These guys can't be
conducting a war on terror. It's just out of the question. They
declared a war on terror 20 years ago and we know what they did.
They destroyed Central America. They killed a million and a half
people in southern Africa. We can go on through the list. So there's
no 'War on Terror'.
There was a terrorist act, September 11th, very unusual, a real
historic event, the first time in history that the west received the
kind of attack that it carries out routinely in the rest of the
world. September 11th did change policy undoubtedly, not just for
the US, but across the board. Every government in the world saw it
as an opportunity to intensify their own repression and atrocities,
from Russia and Chechnya, to the West imposing more discipline on
This had big effects - for example take Iraq. Prior to September
there was a longstanding concern of the US toward Iraq - that is it
the second largest oil reserves in the world. So one way or another
US was going to do something to get it, that's clear. September 11th
gave the pretext. There's a change in the rhetoric concerning Iraq
after September 11th - 'We now have an excuse to go ahead with what
It kinda stayed like that up to September of this year when Iraq
suddenly shifted... to 'An imminent threat to our existence.'
Condoleeza Rice [US National Security Advisor] came out with her
warning that the next evidence of a nuclear weapon would be a
mushroom cloud over New York. There was a big media campaign with
political figures - we needed to destroy Saddam this winter or we'd
all be dead. You've got to kind of admire the intellectual classes
not to notice that the only people in the world who are afraid of
Saddam Hussien are Americans. Everybody hates him and Iraqis are
undoubtedly afraid of him, but outside of Iraq and the United
States, no one's afraid of him. Not Kuwait, not Iran, not Israel,
not Europe. They hate him, but they're not afraid of him.
In the United States people are very much afraid, there's no
about it. The support you see in US polls for the war is very thin,
it's based on fear. It's an old story in the United States. When my
kids were in elementary school 40 years ago they were taught to hide
under desks in case of an atom bomb attack. I'm not kidding. The
country is always in fear of everything. Crime for example: Crime in
the United States is roughly comparable with other industrial
societies, towards the high end of the spectrum. On the other hand,
fear of crime is way beyond other industrial societies...
It's very consciously engendered. These guys now in office, remember
they're almost entirely from the 1980s. They've been through it
and they know exactly how to play the game. Right through the 1980s
they periodically had campaigns to terrify the population.
To create fear is not that hard, but this time the timing was so
obviously for the Congressional campaign that even political
commentators got the message. The presidential campaign is going to
starting in the middle of next year. They've got to have a victory
under their belt. And on to the next adventure. Otherwise, the
population's going to pay attention to what's happening to them,
which is a big assault, a major assault on the population, just as
in the 1980s. They're replaying the record almost exactly. First
thing they did in the 1980s, in 1981, was drive the country into a
big deficit. This time they did it with a tax cut for the rich and
the biggest increase in federal spending in 20 years.
This happens to be an unusually corrupt administration, kind of like
Enron administration, so there's a tremendous amount of profit going
into the hands of an unusually corrupt group of gangsters. You can't
really have all this stuff on the front pages, so you have to push
off the front pages. You have to keep people from thinking about it.
And there's only one way that anybody ever figured out to frighten
people and they're good at it.
So there's domestic political factors that have to do with timing.
September 11th gave the pretext and there's a long term, serious
interest [in Iraq]. So they've gotta go to war... my speculation
be that they would like to have it over with before the presidential
The problem is that when you're in a war, you don't know what's
going to happen. The chances are it'll be a pushover, it ought to
be, there's no Iraqi army, the country will probably collapse in two
minutes, but you can't be sure of that. If you take the CIA warnings
seriously, they're pretty straight about it. They're saying that if
there's a war, Iraq may respond with terrorist acts.
US adventurism is just driving countries into developing weapons of
mass destruction as a deterrent - they don't have any other
Conventional forces don't work obviously, there's no external
deterrent. The only way anyone can defend themselves is with terror
and weapons of mass destruction. So it's plausible to assume that
they're doing it. I suppose that's the basis for the CIA analysis
and I suppose the British intelligence are saying the same thing.
But you don't want to have that happen in the middle of a
campaign... There is the problem about what to do with the effects
the war, but that's easy. You count on journalists and intellectuals
not to talk about it. How many people are talking about Afghanistan?
Afghanistan's back where it was, run by warlords and gangsters and
who's writing about it? Almost nobody. If it goes back to what it
was no one cares, everyone's forgotten about it.
If Iraq turns into people slaughtering each other, I could write the
articles right now. 'Backward people, we tried to save them but they
want to murder each other because they're dirty Arabs.' By then, I
presume, I'm just guessing, they [the US] will be onto the next war,
which will probably be either Syria or Iran.
The fact is that war with Iran is probably underway. It's known that
about 12% of the Israeli airforce is in south eastern Turkey.
there because they're preparing for the war against Iran. They don't
care about Iraq. Iraq they figure's a pushover, but Iran has always
been a problem for Israel. It's the one country in the region that
they can't handle and they've been after the US to take it on for
years. According to one report, the Israeli airforce is now flying
at the Iranian border for intelligence, provocation and so on. And
it's not a small airforce. It's bigger than the British airforce,
bigger than any NATO power other than the US. So it's probably
underway. There are claims that there are efforts to stir up Azeri
separatism, which makes some sense. It's what the Russians tried to
do in 1946, and that would separate Iran, or what's left of Iran,
from the Caspian oil producing centres. Then you could partition it.
That will probably be underway at the time and then there'll be a
story about how Iran's going to kill us tomorrow, so we need to get
rid of them today. At least that's been the pattern.
Campaign Against Arms Trade: How far do you see the vast military
production machine that is America requiring war as an advertisement
for their equipment?
Chomsky: You have to remember that what's called military industry
just hi-tech industry. The military is a kind of cover for the state
sector in the economy. At MIT [Massachusetts Institute of
where I am, everybody knows this except maybe for some economists.
Everybody else knows it because it pays their salaries. The money
into places like MIT under military contract to produce the next
generation of the hi-tech economy. If you take a look at what's
the new economy - computers, internet - it comes straight out of
like MIT under federal contracts for research and development under
cover of military production. Then it gets handed to IBM when you
At MIT the surrounding area used to have small electronics firms.
Now it has small biotech firms. The reason is that the next cutting
edge of the economy is going to be biology based. So funding from
the government for biology based research is vastly increasing. If
you want to have a small start-up company that will make you a huge
amount of money when somebody buys it someday, you do it in genetic
engineering, biotechnology and so on. This goes right through
history. It's usually a dynamic state sector that gets economies
One of the reasons the US wants to control the oil is because
flow back, and they flow in a lot of ways. Its not just oil profits,
it's also military sales. The biggest purchaser of US arms and
British arms is either Saudi Arabia or United Arab Emirates, one of
rich oil producers. They take most of the arms and that's profits
hi- tech industry in the Unites States. The money goes right back to
the US treasury and treasury securities. In various ways, this helps
prop up primarily the US and British economies.
I don't know if you've looked at the records, but in 1958 when Iraq
broke the Anglo-American condominium on oil production, Britain went
totally crazy. The British at that time were still very reliant on
Kuwaiti profits. Britain needed the petrodollars for supporting the
British economy and it looked as if what happened in Iraq might
to Kuwait. So at that point Britain and the US decided to grant
nominal autonomy, up to then it was just a colony. They said you can
run your own post office, pretend you have a flag, that sort of
thing. The British said that if anything goes wrong with this we
will ruthlessly intervene to ensure maintaining control and the US
agreed to the same thing in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.
CAAT: There's also the suggestion that it's a way of America
controlling Europe and the Pacific rim.
Chomsky: Absolutely. The smarter guys like George Kennen were
out that control over the energy resources of the middle east gives
US what he called 'veto power' over other countries. He was thinking
particularly of Japan. Now the Japanese know this perfectly well so
they've been working very hard to try to gain independent access to
oil, that's one of the reasons they've tried hard, and succeeded to
extent, to establish relations with Indonesia and Iran and others,
get out of the West-controlled system.
Actually one of the purposes of the [post World War II] Marshall
this great benevolent plan, was to shift Europe and Japan from coal
oil. Europe and Japan both had indigenous coal resources but they
switched to oil in order to give the US control. About $2bn out of
$13bn Marshall Plan dollars went straight to the oil companies to
convert Europe and Japan to oil based economies. For power, it's
enormously significant to control the resources and oil's expected
to be the main resource for the next couple of generations.
The National Intelligence Council, which is a collection of various
intelligence agencies, published a projection in 2000 called 'Global
Trends 2015.' They make the interesting prediction that terrorism is
going to increase as a result of globalisation. They really say it
straight. They say that what they call globalisation is going to
lead to a widening economic divide, just the opposite of what
economic theory predicts, but they're realists, and so they say that
it's going to lead to increased disorder, tension and hostility and
violence, a lot of it directed against the United States.
They also predict that Persian Gulf oil will be increasingly
for world energy and industrial systems but that the US won't rely
it. But it's got to control it. Controlling the oil resources is
more of an issue than access. Because control equals power.
MT: How do you think the current anti-war movement that's building
compares with Vietnam? What do you think we can achieve as people
involved in direct action and protest? Do you think there's a
possibility of preventing a war from occurring?
NC: I think that's really hard because the timing is really short.
can make it costly, which is important. Even if it doesn't stop,
important for the war to be costly to try to stop the next one.
Compared with the Vietnam War movement, this movement is just
incomparably ahead now. People talk about the Vietnam War movement,
they forget or don't know what it was actually like. The war in
started in 1962, publicly, with a public attack on South Vietnam -
force, chemical warfare, concentration camps, the whole business. No
protest... the protest that did build up four or five years later
mostly about the bombing of the North, which was terrible but was a
sideshow. The main attack was against South Vietnam and there was
any serious protest against that.
This time there's protest before the war has even got started. I
can't think of an example in the entire history of Europe, including
the United States, when there was ever protest of any substantial
level before a war. Here you've got massive protest before war's
even started. It's a tremendous tribute to changes in popular
culture that have taken place in Western countries in the last 30 or
40 years. It's just phenomenal.
SchNEWS: It sometimes seems that as soon as protest breaks out of
quite narrow confines, a march every six months maybe, you get
attacked. People protesting against the war recently in Brighton
were pepper sprayed and batoned for just sitting down in a street.
Chomsky: The more protest there is the more tightening there's going
to be, that's routine. When the Vietnam War protests really began to
build up, so did the repression. I was very close to a long jail
sentence myself and it was stopped by the Tet Offensive. After the
Tet Offensive, the establishment turned against the war and they
called off the trials. Right now a lot of people could end up in
Guantanamo Bay and people are aware of it.
If there's protest in a country then there's going to be repression.
Can they get away with it? - it depends a lot on the reaction. In
the early 50s in the US, there was what was called Macarthyism and
the only reason it succeeded was that there was no resistance to it.
When they tried the same thing in the 60s it instantly collapsed
because people simply laughed at it so they couldn't do it. Even a
dictatorship can't do everything it wants. It's got to have some
degree of popular support. And in a more democratic country, there's
a very fragile power system. There's nothing secret about this, it's
history. The question in all of these things is how much popular
resistance there's going to be.
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- Apocalypse Near
Interview With Noam Chomsky
By Merav Yudilovitch
08/09/06 "Ynet" -- -- Last week, a group of renowned intellectuals
published an open letter blaming Israel for escalating the conflict in
the Middle East. The letter, which mainly referred to the alignment of
forces between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, caused a lot of
anger among Ynet and Ynetnews readers, particularly due to its claim
that the Israeli policy's political aim is to eliminate the
The letter was formulated by art critic and author John Berger and
among its signatories were Nobel Prize winner, playwright Harold
Pinter, linguist and theoretician Noam Chomsly, Nobel Prize laureate
Jos é Saramago, Booker Prize laureate Arundhati Roy, American author
Russell Banks, author and playwright Gore Vidal, and historian Howard
Prof. Chomsky, you claimed that the provocation and
counter-provocation all serve as a distraction from the real issue.
What does it mean?
"I assume you are referring to John Berger's letter (which I signed,
among others). The "real issue" that is being ignored is the
systematic destruction of any prospects for a viable Palestinian
existence as Israel annexes valuable land and major resources, leaving
the shrinking territories assigned to Palestinians as unviable
cantons, largely separated from one another and from whatever little
bit of Jerusalem is to be left to Palestinians, and completely
imprisoned as Israel takes over the Jordan valley.
"This program of realignment cynically disguised as "withdrawal," is
of course completely illegal, in violation of Security Council
resolutions and the unanimous decision of the World Court (including
the dissenting statement of US Justice Buergenthal). If it is
implemented as planned, it spells the end of the very broad
international consensus on a two-state settlement that the US and
Israel have unilaterally blocked for 30 years matters that are so
well documented that I do not have to review them here.
"To turn to your specific question, even a casual look at the Western
press reveals that the crucial developments in the occupied
territories are marginalized even more by the war in Lebanon. The
ongoing destruction in Gaza which was rarely seriously reported in
the first place - has largely faded into the background, and the
systematic takeover of the West Bank has virtually disappeared.
"However, I would not go as far as the implication in your question
that this was a purpose of the war, though it clearly is the effect.
We should recall that Gaza and the West Bank are recognized to be a
unit, so that if resistance to Israel's destructive and illegal
programs is legitimate within the West Bank (and it would be
interesting to see a rational argument to the contrary), then it is
legitimate in Gaza as well."
You claim that the world media refuses to link between what's going on
in the occupied territories and in Lebanon?
"Yes, but that is the least of the charges that should be leveled
against the world media, and the intellectual communities generally.
One of many far more severe charges is brought up in the opening
paragraph of the Berger letter.
"Recall the facts. On June 25, Cpl. Gilad Shalit was captured,
eliciting huge cries of outrage worldwide, continuing daily at a high
pitch, and a sharp escalation in Israeli attacks in Gaza, supported on
the grounds that capture of a soldier is a grave crime for which the
population must be punished.
"One day before, on June 24, Israeli forces kidnapped two Gaza
civilians, Osama and Mustafa Muamar, by any standards a far more
severe crime than capture of a soldier. The Muamar kidnappings were
certainly known to the major world media. They were reported at once
in the English-language Israeli press, basically IDF handouts. And
there were a few brief, scattered and dismissive reports in several
newspapers around the US.
"Very revealingly, there was no comment, no follow-up, and no call for
military or terrorist attacks against Israel. A Google search will
quickly reveal the relative significance in the West of the kidnapping
of civilians by the IDF and the capture of an Israeli soldier a day later.
"The paired events, a day apart, demonstrate with harsh clarity that
the show of outrage over the Shalit kidnapping was cynical fraud. They
reveal that by Western moral standards, kidnapping of civilians is
just fine if it is done by "our side," but capture of a soldier on
"our side" a day later is a despicable crime that requires severe
punishment of the population.
"As Gideon Levy accurately wrote in Ha'aretz, the IDF kidnapping of
civilians the day before the capture of Cpl. Shalit strips away any
"legitimate basis for the IDF's operation," and, we may add, any
legitimate basis for support for these operations.
"The same elementary moral principles carry over to the July 12
kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers near the Lebanon border,
heightened, in this case, by the regular Israeli practice for many
years of abducting Lebanese and holding many as hostages for long
"Over the many years in which Israel carried out these practices
regularly, even kidnapping on the high seas, no one ever argued that
these crimes justified bombing and shelling of Israel, invasion and
destruction of much of the country, or terrorist actions within it.
The conclusions are stark, clear, and entirely unambiguous hence
"All of this is, obviously, of extraordinary importance in the present
case, particularly given the dramatic timing. That is, I suppose, why
the major media chose to avoid the crucial facts, apart from a very
few scattered and dismissive phrases, revealing that they consider
kidnapping a matter of no significance when carried by US-supported
"Apologists for state crimes claim that the kidnapping of the Gaza
civilians is justified by IDF claims that they are 'Hamas militants'
or were planning crimes. By their logic, they should therefore be
lauding the capture of Gilad Shalit, a soldier in an army that was
shelling and bombing Gaza. These performances are truly disgraceful."
You are talking first and foremost about acknowledging the Palestinian
nation, but will it solve the "Iranian threat"? Will it push Hizbullah
from the Israeli border?
"Virtually all informed observers agree that a fair and equitable
resolution of the plight of the Palestinians would considerably weaken
the anger and hatred of Israel and the US in the Arab and Muslim
worlds and far beyond, as international polls reveal. Such an
agreement is surely within reach, if the US and Israel depart from
their long-standing rejectionism.
"On Iran and Hizbullah, there is, of course, much more to say, and I
can only mention a few central points here.
"Let us begin with Iran. In 2003, Iran offered to negotiate all
outstanding issues with the US, including nuclear issues and a
two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. The offer was
made by the moderate Khatami government, with the support of the
hard-line "supreme leader" Ayatollah Khamenei. The Bush administration
response was to censure the Swiss diplomat who brought the offer.
"In June 2006, Ayatollah Khamenei issued an official declaration
stating that Iran agrees with the Arab countries on the issue of
Palestine, meaning that it accepts the 2002 Arab League call for full
normalization of relations with Israel in a two-state settlement in
accord with the international consensus. The timing suggests that this
might have been a reprimand to his subordinate Ahmadenijad, whose
inflammatory statements are given wide publicity in the West, unlike
the far more important declaration by his superior Khamenei.
"Of course, the PLO has officially backed a two-state solution for
many years, and backed the 2002 Arab League proposal. Hamas has also
indicated its willingness to negotiate a two-state settlement, as is
surely well-known in Israel. Kharazzi is reported to be the author of
the 2003 proposal of Khatami and Khamanei.
"The US and Israel do not want to hear any of this. They also do not
want to hear that Iran appears to be the only country to have accepted
the proposal by IAEA director Mohammed ElBaradei that all
weapons-usable fissile materials be placed under international
control, a step towards a verifiable Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty.
"ElBaradei's proposal, if implemented, would not only end the Iranian
nuclear crisis but would also deal with a vastly more serious crisis:
The growing threat of nuclear war, which leads prominent strategic
analysts to warn of 'apocalypse soon' (Robert McNamara) if policies
continue on their current course.
"The US strongly opposes a verifiable FMCT, but over US objections,
the treaty came to a vote at the United Nations, where it passed
147-1, with two abstentions: Israel, which cannot oppose its patron,
and more interestingly, Blair's Britain, which retains a degree of
sovereignty. The British ambassador stated that Britain supports the
treaty, but it "divides the international community". These again are
matters that are virtually suppressed outside of specialist circles,
and are matters of literal survival of the species, extending far
"It is commonly said that the 'international community' has called on
Iran to abandon its legal right to enrich uranium. That is true, if we
define the "international community" as Washington and whoever happens
to go along with it. It is surely not true of the world. The
non-aligned countries have forcefully endorsed Iran's "inalienable
right" to enrich uranium. And, rather remarkably, in Turkey, Pakistan,
and Saudi Arabia, a majority of the population favor accepting a
nuclear-armed Iran over any American military action, international
"The non-aligned countries also called for a nuclear-free Middle East,
a longstanding demand of the authentic international community, again
blocked by the US and Israel. It should be recognized that the threat
of Israeli nuclear weapons is taken very seriously in the world.
"As explained by the former Commander-in-Chief of the US Strategic
Command, General Lee Butler, "it is dangerous in the extreme that in
the cauldron of animosities that we call the Middle East, one nation
has armed itself, ostensibly, with stockpiles of nuclear weapons,
perhaps numbering in the hundreds, and that inspires other nations to
do so." Israel is doing itself no favors if it ignores these concerns.
"It is also of some interest that when Iran was ruled by the tyrant
installed by a US-UK military coup, the United States including
Rumsfeld, Cheney, Kissinger, Wolfowitz and others - strongly supported
the Iranian nuclear programs they now condemn and helped provide Iran
with the means to pursue them. These facts are surely not lost on the
Iranians, just as they have not forgotten the very strong support of
the US and its allies for Saddam Hussein during his murderous
aggression, including help in developing the chemical weapons that
killed hundreds of thousands of Iranians.
"There is a great deal more to say, but it appears that the "Iranian
threat" to which you refer can be approached by peaceful means, if the
US and Israel would agree. We cannot know whether the Iranian
proposals are serious, unless they are explored. The US-Israel refusal
to explore them, and the silence of the US (and, to my knowledge,
European) media, suggests that the governments fear that they may be
"I should add that to the outside world, it sounds a bit odd, to put
it mildly, for the US and Israel to be warning of the "Iranian threat"
when they and they alone are issuing threats to launch an attack,
threats that are immediate and credible, and in serious violation of
international law, and are preparing very openly for such an attack.
Whatever one thinks of Iran, no such charge can be made in their case.
It is also apparent to the world, if not to the US and Israel, that
Iran has not invaded any other countries, something that the US and
Israel do regularly.
"On Hizbullah too, there are hard and serious questions. As
well-known, Hizbullah was formed in reaction to the Israeli invasion
of Lebanon in 1982 and its harsh and brutal occupation in violation of
Security Council orders. It won considerable prestige by playing the
leading role in driving out the aggressors.
"The 1982 invasion was carried out after a year in which Israel
regularly bombed Lebanon, trying desperately to elicit some PLO
violation of the 1981 truce, and when it failed, attacked anyway, on
the ludicrous pretext that Ambassador Argov had been wounded (by Abu
Nidal, who was at war with the PLO). The invasion was clearly
intended, as virtually conceded, to end the embarrassing PLO
initiatives for negotiation, a "veritable catastrophe" for Israel as
Yehoshua Porat pointed out.
"It was, as described at the time, a "war for the West Bank." The
later invasions also had shameful pretexts. In 1993, Hizbullah had
violated "the rules of the game," Yitzhak Rabin announced: these
Israeli rules permitted Israel to carry out terrorist attacks north of
its illegally-held "security zone," but did not permit retaliation
within Israel. Peres's 1996 invasion had similar pretexts. It is
convenient to forget all of this, or to concoct tales about shelling
of the Galilee in 1981, but it is not an attractive practice, nor a
The problem of Hezbollah's arms is quite serious, no doubt. Resolution
1559 calls for disarming of all Lebanese militias, but Lebanon has not
enacted that provision. Sunni Prime Minister Fuad Siniora describes
Hizbullah's military wing as "resistance rather than as a militia, and
thus exempt from" Resolution 1559.
"A National Dialogue in June 2006 failed to resolve the problem. Its
main purpose was to formulate a "national defense strategy" (vis-à-vis
Israel), but it remained deadlocked over Hizbullah's call for "a
defense strategy that allowed the Islamic Resistance to keep its
weapons as a deterrent to possible Israeli aggression," in the absence
of any credible alternative. The US could, if it chose, provide a
credible guarantee against an invasion by its client state, but that
would require a sharp change in long-standing policy.
"In the background are crucial facts emphasized by several veteran
Middle East correspondents. Rami Khouri, now an editor of Lebanon's
Daily Star, writes that "the Lebanese and Palestinians have responded
to Israel's persistent and increasingly savage attacks against entire
civilian populations by creating parallel or alternative leaderships
that can protect them and deliver essential services."
Apocalypse near (Part two)
You are not referring in your letter to the Israeli casualties. Is
there differentiation in your opinion between Israeli civic casualties
of war and Lebanese or Palestinian casualties?
"That is not accurate. John Berger's letter is very explicit about
making no distinction between Israeli and other casualties. As his
letter states: "Both categories of missile rip bodies apart horribly -
who but field commanders can forget this for a moment."
"You claimed that the world is cooperating with the Israeli invasion
to Lebanon and is not interfering in the events Gaza and Jenin. What
purpose does this silence serve?
"The great majority of the world can do nothing but protest, though it
is fully expected that the intense anger and resentment caused by
US-Israeli violence will as in the past prove to be a gift for the
most extremist and violent elements, mobilizing new recruits to their
"The US-backed Arab tyrannies did condemn Hizbullah, but are being
forced to back down out of fear of their own populations. Even King
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Washington's most loyal (and most important)
ally, was compelled to say that "If the peace option is rejected due
to the Israeli arrogance, then only the war option remains, and no one
knows the repercussions befalling the region, including wars and
conflict that will spare no one, including those whose military power
is now tempting them to play with fire."
"As for Europe, it is unwilling to take a stand against the US
administration, which has made it clear that it supports the
destruction of Palestine and Israeli violence. With regard to
Palestine, while Bush's stand is extreme, it has its roots in earlier
policies. The week in Taba in January 2001 is the only real break in
US rejectionism in 30 years.
"The US also strongly supported earlier Israeli invasions of Lebanon,
though in 1982 and 1996, it compelled Israel to terminate its
aggression when atrocities were reaching a point that harmed US interests.
"Unfortunately, one can generalize a comment of Uri Avnery's about Dan
Halutz, who "views the world below through a bombsight." Much the same
is true of Rumsfeld-Cheney-Rice, and other top Bush administration
planners, despite occasional soothing rhetoric. As history reveals,
that view of the world is not uncommon among those who hold a virtual
monopoly of the means of violence, with consequences that we need not
What is the next chapter in this middle-eastern conflict as you see it?
"I do not know of anyone foolhardy enough to predict. The US and
Israel are stirring up popular forces that are very ominous, and which
will only gain in power and become more extremist if the US and Israel
persist in demolishing any hope of realization of Palestinian national
rights, and destroying Lebanon. It should also be recognized that
Washington's primary concern, as in the past, is not Israel and
Lebanon, but the vast energy resources of the Middle East, recognized
60 years ago to be a "stupendous source of strategic power" and "one
of the greatest material prizes in world history."
"We can expect with confidence that the US will continue to do what it
can to control this unparalleled source of strategic power. That may
not be easy. The remarkable incompetence of Bush planners has created
a catastrophe in Iraq, for their own interests as well. They are even
facing the possibility of the ultimate nightmare: a loose Shi'a
alliance controlling the world's major energy supplies, and
independent of Washington or even worse, establishing closer links
with the China-based Asian Energy Security Grid and Shanghai
"The results could be truly apocalyptic. And even in tiny Lebanon, the
leading Lebanese academic scholar of Hizbullah, and a harsh critic of
the organization, describes the current conflict in "apocalyptic
terms," warning that possibly "All hell would be let loose" if the
outcome of the US-Israel campaign leaves a situation in which "the
Shiite community is seething with resentment at Israel, the United
States and the government that it perceives as its betrayer.
"It is no secret that in past years, Israel has helped to destroy
secular Arab nationalism and to create Hizbullah and Hamas, just as US
violence has expedited the rise of extremist Islamic fundamentalism
and jihad terror. The reasons are understood. There are constant
warnings about it by Western intelligence agencies, and by the leading
specialists on these topics.
"One can bury one's head in the sand and take comfort in a
"wall-to-wall consensus" that what we do is "just and moral" (Maoz),
ignoring the lessons of recent history, or simple rationality. Or one
can face the facts, and approach dilemmas which are very serious by
peaceful means. They are available. Their success can never be
guaranteed. But we can be reasonably confident that viewing the world
through a bombsight will bring further misery and suffering, perhaps
even 'apocalypse soon.'"
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