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Noam Chomsky Interview

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  • World View <ummyakoub@yahoo.com>
    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
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 4, 2003
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      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.

      12/28/02

      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
      moment?

      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
      their populations.

      This had big effects - for example take Iraq. Prior to September
      11th,
      there was a longstanding concern of the US toward Iraq - that is it
      has
      the second largest oil reserves in the world. So one way or another
      the
      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
      we're planning.'

      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
      question
      about it. The support you see in US polls for the war is very thin,
      but
      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
      already
      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
      be
      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
      an
      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
      it
      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
      would
      be that they would like to have it over with before the presidential
      campaign.

      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
      deterrent.
      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
      presidential
      campaign... There is the problem about what to do with the effects
      of
      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.
      They're
      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
      is
      just hi-tech industry. The military is a kind of cover for the state
      sector in the economy. At MIT [Massachusetts Institute of
      Technology]
      where I am, everybody knows this except maybe for some economists.
      Everybody else knows it because it pays their salaries. The money
      comes
      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
      called
      the new economy - computers, internet - it comes straight out of
      places
      like MIT under federal contracts for research and development under
      the
      cover of military production. Then it gets handed to IBM when you
      can
      sell something.

      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
      going.

      One of the reasons the US wants to control the oil is because
      profits
      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
      probably
      British arms is either Saudi Arabia or United Arab Emirates, one of
      the
      rich oil producers. They take most of the arms and that's profits
      for
      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
      spread
      to Kuwait. So at that point Britain and the US decided to grant
      Kuwait
      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
      pointing
      out that control over the energy resources of the middle east gives
      the
      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
      an
      extent, to establish relations with Indonesia and Iran and others,
      to
      get out of the West-controlled system.

      Actually one of the purposes of the [post World War II] Marshall
      Plan,
      this great benevolent plan, was to shift Europe and Japan from coal
      to
      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
      the
      $13bn Marshall Plan dollars went straight to the oil companies to
      help
      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
      important
      for world energy and industrial systems but that the US won't rely
      on
      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
      up
      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.
      You
      can make it costly, which is important. Even if it doesn't stop,
      it's
      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,
      but
      they forget or don't know what it was actually like. The war in
      Vietnam
      started in 1962, publicly, with a public attack on South Vietnam -
      air
      force, chemical warfare, concentration camps, the whole business. No
      protest... the protest that did build up four or five years later
      was
      mostly about the bombing of the North, which was terrible but was a
      sideshow. The main attack was against South Vietnam and there was
      never
      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.

      * This is an edited version. If you want to see the whole video,
      contact Undercurrents 01865 203661, underc@... .
      *********************************************************************

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    • World View
      Apocalypse Near Interview With Noam Chomsky By Merav Yudilovitch 08/09/06 Ynet -- -- Last week, a group of renowned intellectuals published an open letter
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 14, 2006
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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
        Palestinian nation.

        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
        Zinn.

        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
        periods.

        Truly disgraceful
        "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
        suppressed.

        "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
        Israeli forces.

        "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
        beyond Iran.

        "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
        polls reveal.

        "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.

        Peaceful means
        "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
        serious.

        "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.

        Shameful pretexts
        "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
        wise one.

        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
        cause.

        "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
        review."

        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
        Cooperation Council.

        "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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