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"Oh, they think it is better not to know," Pike replied. "There are too many things that
embarrass Americans in that report. You see, this country went through an awful trauma
with Watergate. But even then, all they were asked to believe was that their president had
been a bad person. In this new situation they are asked much more; they are asked to
believe that their country has been evil. And nobody wants to believe that."19

This has been compared to going to a counselor because your child is behaving strangely,
and being told, "You have a problem of incest in your family." People can't hear that.
They go to a different counselor. They grab at any other explanation. It's too painful.20

In The History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides, speaking of the practice of
plundering villages, the main source of a warrior's livelihood, tells us that "no disgrace
was yet attached to such an achievement, but rather credit".
Almost all of us grew up in an environment in which we learned that thou shalt not
murder, rape, rob, probably not pay off a public official or cheat on your taxes”but not
that there was anything wrong with toppling foreign governments, quashing revolutions
or dropping powerful bombs on foreign people, if it served America's "national security".

Let us look at our teachers. During the bombing of Yugoslavia, CBS Evening News
anchor Dan Rather declared: "I'm an American, and I'm an American reporter. And yes,
when there's combat involving Americans, you can criticize me if you must, damn me if
you must, but I'm always pulling for us to win."21 (In the past, US journalists were quick
to criticize their Soviet counterparts for speaking on behalf of the State.)

What does this mean? That he's going to support any war effort by the United States no
matter the legal or moral justification? No matter the effect on democracy, freedom or
self-determination? No matter the degree of horror produced? No matter anything7.
Many other American journalists have similarly paraded themselves as cheerleaders in
modern times in the midst of one of the Pentagon's frequent marches down the warpath,
serving a function "more akin to stenography than journalism".22 During the Gulf War,
much of the media, led by CNN, appeared to have a serious missile fetish, enough to
suggest a need for counseling.

The CEO of National Public Radio, Kevin Klose, is the former head of all the major,
worldwide US government broadcast propa-ganda outlets, including Voice of America,
Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty and the anti-Castro Radio Marti, which broadcasts into
Cuba from Florida. NPR, which can be thought of as the home service of the Voice of
America, has never met an American war it didn't like. It was inspired to describe the war
against Yugoslavia as Clinton's "most significant foreign policy success."23

And the head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Robert Coonrod, has a resume
remarkably similar to that of Klose, from Voice of America to Radio Marti.

Is it any wonder that countless Americans”bearing psyches no less malleable than those
of other members of the species”are only dimly conscious of the fact that they even
have the right to be unequivocally opposed to a war effort and to question the
government's real reasons for carrying it out, without thinking of themselves as (horror of
horrors) "unpatriotic"? Propaganda is to a democracy what violence is to a dictatorship.

During the 1991 Gulf War, the Bush administration conducted three briefings a day with
such telegenic figures as generals Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf. Marlin
Fitzwater later recalled that when ABC-TV interviewed a group of Kansans around a
kitchen table, "every answer at that table reflected one of the reasons we had given for
going in."24

In Spain, in the sixteenth century, the best minds were busy at work devising
rationalizations for the cruelty its conquistadors were inflicting on the Indians of the New
World. It was decided, and commonly accepted, that the Indians were "natural slaves",
created by God to serve the conquistadors.

Twentieth-century America took this a step further. The best and the brightest have
assured us that United States interventions”albeit rather violent at times”are not only in
the natural order of things, but they're actually for the good of the natives.

The media and the public do in fact relish catching politicians' lies, but these are the small
lies”lies about money, sex, drug use and other peccadillos, and the ritual doubletalk of
campaignspeak. A certain Mr. A. Hitler, originally of Austria, though often castigated,
actually arrived at a number of very perceptive insights into how the world worked. One
of them was this:

The great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted
rather than consciously and purposely evil...therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity
of their minds, they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they
themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big.25

How many Americans, after all, doubt the official rationale for dropping the A-bomb on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki”to obviate the need for a land invasion of Japan, thus saving
thousands of American lives? However, it's been known for years that the Japanese had
been trying for many months to surrender and that the US had consistently ignored these
overtures. The bombs were dropped, not to intimidate the Japanese, but to put the fear of
the American god into the Russians, The dropping of the A-bomb, it has been said, was
not the last shot of World War II, but the first shot of the Cold War.26

In 1964, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, when asked about US involvement in the
overthrow of the government of Brazil, declared: "Well, there is just not one iota of truth
in this. It's just not so in any way, shape or form." Yet, the United States had been
intimately involved in the coup, its role being literally indispensable.27

In the 1980s, the Reagan administration declared that the Russians were spraying toxic
chemicals over Asia”the so-called "yellow rain"”and had caused thousands of deaths.
So precise was Washington's information they could state at one point that in Afghanistan
3,042 had died in 47 separate incidents. President Reagan denounced the Soviet Union
for these atrocities more than 15 times in documents and speeches. The "yellow rain", it
turned out, was pollen-laden feces dropped by huge swarms of honeybees flying far

These are three examples, chosen virtually at random. Numerous others could be given.
But at the beginning of the 21st century do the American people really need to be
reminded that governments lie, that great powers lie greater, that the world's only
superpower has the most to lie about, i.e., cover up? Do I have to descend to the banality
of telling this to my readers?
Apparently so, if we are to judge by all those who swallowed the "humanitarian" excuse
for the bombing of Yugoslavia without gagging, including many on the left.

The idea of "altruism" has been a recurrent feature of America's love affair with itself.
From 1918 to 1920, the United States was a major part of a Western invasion of the
infant Soviet Union, an invasion that endeavored to "strangle at its birth", as Winston
Churchill put it, the Russian Revolution, which had effectively removed one-sixth of the
world's land surface from private capitalist investment. A nation still recovering from a
horrendous world war, in extreme chaos from a fundamental social revolution, and in the
throes of a famine that was to leave many millions dead, was mercilessly devastated yet
further by the invaders, without any provocation.

When the smoke had cleared, the US Army Chief of Staff put out a report on the
undertaking, which said: "This expedition affords one of the finest examples in history of
honorable, unselfish dealings...to be helpful to a people struggling to achieve a new

Seventy years later, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, was
moved to tell an audience in California that the United States has "so many friends" in the
Pacific because of "our values, our economic system and our altruism".30 (This was
shortly after Powell had directed the slaughter of the people of Panama.)

Author Garry Wills has commented on this American benevo-lence toward foreigners:
"We believe we can literally 'kill them with kindness', moving our guns forward in a
seizure of demented charity. It is when America is in her most altruistic mood that other
nations better get behind their bunkers."

What is it, then, that I mean to say here”that the US govern-ment does not care a whit
about human life or human rights?

No, I mean to say that doing the right thing is not a principle of American foreign policy,
not an ideal or a goal of policy in and of itself. If it happens that doing the right thing
coincides with, or is irrelevant to, Washington's overriding international ambitions,
American officials have no problem walking the high moral ground. But this is rarely the
case. A study of the many US interventions” summarized numerically above, and
detailed in the "Interventions" chapter”shows clearly that the engine of American
foreign policy has been fueled not by a devotion to any kind of morality, nor even simple
decency, but rather by the necessity to serve other masters, which can be broken down to
four imperatives:

1) making the world open and hospitable for”in current terminology”globalization,
particularly American-based transnational corporations

2) enhancing the financial statements of defense contractors at home who have
contributed generously to members of Congress and residents of the White House
3) preventing the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an
alternative to the capitalist model

4) extending political, economic and military hegemony over as much of the globe as
possible, to prevent the rise of any regional power that might challenge American
supremacy, and to create a world order in America's image, as befits the world's
only superpower.

To American policymakers, these ends have justified the means, and all means have been

In the wake of the 1973 military coup in Chile, which overthrew the socialist government
of Salvador Allende, the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, Jack
Kubisch, was hard pressed to counter charges that the United States had been involved.
"It was not in our interest to have the military take over in Chile," he insisted. "It would
have been better had Allende served his entire term, taking the nation and the Chilean
people into complete and total ruin. Only then would the full discrediting of socialism
have taken place. The military takeover and bloodshed has confused the issue."32

Though based on a falsehood made up for the occasion”that Allende's polices were
leading Chile to ruin”Kubisch's remark inadvertently expressed his government's strong
fealty to the third imperative stated above.

During the Cold War, US foreign policy was carried out under the waving banner of
fighting a moral crusade against what cold warriors persuaded the American people, most
of the world, and usually themselves, was the existence of a malevolent International
Communist Conspiracy. But it was always a fraud; there was never any such animal as
the International Communist Conspiracy. There were, as there still are, people living in
misery, rising up in protest against their condition, against an oppressive government, a
government likely supported by the United States. To Washington, this was proof that the
Soviet Union (or Cuba or Nicaragua, etc., functioning as Moscow's surrogate) was again
acting as the proverbial "outside agitator".

In the final analysis, this must be wondered: What kind of omnipresent, omnipotent,
monolithic, evil international conspiracy bent on world domination would allow its
empire to completely fall apart, like the proverbial house of cards, without bringing any
military force to bear upon its satellites to prevent their escaping? And without an
invasion from abroad holding a knife to the empire's throat?

Enemies without number, threats without end

Now, of course, Washington spinmeisters can't cry "The Russians are coming, and they're
ten feet tall!" as a pretext for intervention, so they have to regularly come up with new
enemies. America cherishes her enemies. Without enemies, she is a nation without
purpose and direction. The various components of the National Security State need
enemies to justify their swollen budgets, to aggrandize their work, to protect their jobs, to
give themselves a mission in the aftermath of the Soviet Union; ultimately, to reinvent
themselves. And they understand this only too well, even painfully. Presented here is Col.
Dennis Long, speaking in 1992, two years after the end of the Cold War, when he was
director of "total armor force readiness" at Fort Knox:

For 50 years, we equipped our football team, practiced five days a week and never played
a game. We had a clear enemy with demonstrable qualities, and we had scouted them out.
[Now] we will have to practice day in and day out without knowing anything about the
other team. We won't have his playbook, we won't know where the stadium is, or how
many guys he will have on the field. That is very distressing to the military
establishment, especially when you are trying to justify the existence of your organization
and your systems.33

The United States had postponed such a distressing situation for as long as it could. A
series of Soviet requests during the Cold War to establish a direct dialogue with senior
NATO officials were rejected as "inappropriate and potentially divisive." Longstanding
and repeated Soviet offers to dissolve the Warsaw Pact if NATO would do the same were
ignored. After one such offer was spurned, the Los Angeles Times commented that the
offer "increases the difficulty faced by U.S. policy-makers in persuading Western public
opinion to continue expensive and often unpopular military programs."34

In 1991, Colin Powell touched upon the irony of the profound world changes in
cautioning his fellow military professionals: "We must not...hope that it [the changes]
will disappear and let us return to comforting thoughts about a resolute and evil

But the thoughts are indeed comforting to the military professionals and their civilian
counterparts. So one month the new resolute and evil enemy is North Korea, the next
month the big threat is Libya, then China, or Iraq, or Iran, or Sudan, or Afghanistan, or
Serbia, or that old reliable demon, Cuba”countries each led by a Hitler-of-the-month, or
at least a madman or mad dog, a degree of demonizing fit more for a theocratic society
than a democratic one.

And in place of the International Communist Conspiracy, Washington now tells us, on
one day or another, it's fighting a War Against Drugs, or military or industrial spying, or
the proliferation of "weapons of mass destruction", or organized crime, or on behalf of
human rights, or, most particularly, against terrorism. And they dearly want the American
public to believe this. Here, for your terrorist-threat collection, are some of the headlines
appearing in the Washington Post and New York Times in one 7-week period in early

Jan. 22: "Clinton Describes Terrorism Threat for 21st Century"
Jan. 23: "President Steps Up War on New Terrorism"
Jan. 23: "Thwarting Tomorrow's Terrors"
Jan. 29: "Anti-Terrorism Powers Grow"
Feb. 1: "Pentagon Plans Domestic Terrorism Team"
Feb. 1: "The Man Who Protects America From Terrorism"
Feb. 2: "U.S. Targeting Terrorism With More Funds"
Feb. 16: "Anti-Terrorism Military Drills Take Parts of Texas by Surprise"
Feb. 17: "Has the U.S. Blunted Bin Laden?"
Feb. 19: "Spending to Avert Embassy Attacks Assailed as Timid: Terrorist Threat
Feb. 19: "Bangladesh: Bin Laden's Next Target?"
Feb. 23: "Preparing for Invisible Killers"
Mar. 7: "Muslim Militants Threaten American Lives"
Mar. 8: "Reagan Building Vulnerable to Attack"
Mar. 14: "2 Groups Appeal U.S. Designation as Terror Organizations"
Mar. 16: "Clinton Plans Training for Firefighters on Terrorism"

And on January 20, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen”a man who has written an
ode to the F-15 fighter jet, literally36” announced that $6.6 billion was to be spent on a
national missile defense system, a revival of President Reagan's Star Wars system. In
explaining this expenditure, Mr. Cohen cited only one threat”from North Korea. North
Korea! A country that can't feed its own people is going to wage a missile attack upon the
United States? What possible reason”other than an overpowering, irresistible yearning
for mass national suicide”could North Korea have for launching such an attack? Yet the
average American, reading Cohen's announcement, must have found it very difficult to
believe that one of their "leaders" could just step forward and publicly proclaim a crazy
tale. They assume there must be something to what the man is saying.

That's how the man gets away with it.

Does the man believe it himself? No more likely than that President Clinton believes it.
In 1993, while in South Korea, Clinton declared: "It is pointless for them [North Korea]
to develop nuclear weapons. Because if they ever use them it would be the end of their
country." This burst of honesty and common sense, which visits politicians occasionally,
was prompted in this instance by a journalist's question about how likely it was that North
Korea would comply with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.37 Oddly enough, less than a year


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