I was inspired by the article I reference below and it led me to want to make a few points, the first on American foreign policy and the second on the War on Terror.
In reading a post by “On Resistance”, written in 1967 at the height of the anti-war movement, not only did I come upon amazingly sound logic of a younger Chomsky who was still hammering out his own beliefs and feelings, and perhaps a more active/involved Chomsky, I found this gem of a paragraph about three-fourths into the article, he is speaking about the Vietnam conflict.titled
More important, we can ask the really fundamental question. Suppose that it were in the American “national interest” to pound into rubble a small nation that refuses to submit to our will. Would it then be legitimate and proper for us to act “in this national interest”? The Rusks and the Humphreys and the Citizens Committee say “Yes”. Nothing could show more clearly how we are taking the road of the fascist aggressors of a generation ago.
To be direct, American foreign policy has not changed much. We act in the self-interest of ‘America’. However, when politicians and generals say they are acting in our national interests, they do not mean the individual American, the middle-class family, the single mother. They are referring to the military-industrial complex that results in huge gains of money for a few individuals at the expense of millions of lives, the loss of sovereignty of other countries and the expense of millions, nay billions of tax dollars.
It’s like spending someone else’s money while gambling and losing twenty of their dollars while making ten fresh dollars for yourself and not paying them back, but sticking that money in your pocket. Then, once you’ve ran out of the money you took from them you go back and print more off and find another casino (read: country to exploit their natural resources) and spend more money that is not yours, making money at the rate of 2:1 or worse, but you’re still making money, and spending another’s. So, no loss on your part.
Let’s take the quote above and transpose it to today’s world.
More important, we can ask the really fundamental question. Suppose that it were in the American “national interest” to invade a small nation that is ruled by a dictator who refuses to submit to our will. Would it then be legitimate and proper for us to act “in this national interest”? The Bushs and the McCains and the Levins (the Bachmanns, Santorums, and Obamas) say “Yes”. Nothing could show more clearly how we are taking the road of the fascist aggressors of a generation ago.
Let me throw in a caveat here, the Democrats are just as to blame as the Republicans. This is not a singe-party problem. This is probably the most bipartisan aspect of our government. Rhetoric is one thing, actions are another and we’re at war, Congress has to vote to go to war, not the President. Yes, the Iraq war has ended, but we we’re in Libya, we’ll probably end up in Syria, and certainly Iran if Israel or Saudi Arabia have anything to say about it. Kind of ironic that the Israelis and the Saudis can agree on something.
To move on, when a politician says that we must fight the War on Terror, they’re forgetting fundamental aspects of what they’re saying, 1. the definition of Terror and 2. that a WAR on terror is oxymoronic.
1. Terror is defined as the use of such fear to intimidate people, especially for political reasons. Granted, Al Qaeda are terrorists. There is no disputing of that fact. However, when you consider that most likely more than 500,000 civilian lives have been killed as a result of the Iraq War, where we disposed of a dictator whom we had supported for decades, until he no longer worked in our best interest, that is a lot more than Al Qaeda have killed. Look around the world at the amount of coups instigated by the CIA or our military. The most notable being the installment of the Shah in Iran in 1953, or perhaps the Iran-Contra affair with Oliver North at the head there. Here is a link to successful coups by the US, mind you, that is just a list of successful coups.
2. A War on Terror to bring about peace is an oxymoron. War begets violence and violence begets anger and anger begets resentment and resentment begets enemies and enemies beget war.
American foreign policy boils down to, what is in the best interest of the major partners of the military-industrial complex in America?
Of the worlds top 50 oil reserves by country, 11 of them are in the Middle East, in order of largest to smallest: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, Libya, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Yemen and Syria.
We invaded Iraq the first time because they invaded Kuwait, scared of him then invading Saudi Arabia too and wanting to secure our oil interests in the Middle East. Saudi oil was largely developed with American engineers. During the reign of Bush II we invaded Iraq again under the guise of WMDs that existed and then once we were there (oil secure) they no longer existed.
So, when you’re considering American foreign policy, ask not the politicians or media why, you have all the information available on the internet, ask how does this serve the military-industrial complex’s business interests.
Don’t be surprised if we go to war with Iran or Syria, just ask why, and don’t ever stop asking why.
A little extra reading: Al Jazeera’s Infographic on the Iraq War