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 Chomsky: 'There Is No War On Terror'

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Nombre de messages : 8069
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005

MessageChomsky: 'There Is No War On Terror'

Chomsky: 'There Is No War On Terror'
By Geov Parrish, AlterNet
Posted on January 14, 2006, Printed on March 7, 2006 For over 40 years, MIT professor Noam
Chomsky has been one of the world's leading intellectual critics of U.S. foreign
policy. Today, with America's latest imperial adventure in trouble both
politically and militarily, Chomsky -- who turned 77 last month -- vows not to
slow down "as long as I'm ambulatory." I spoke with him by phone, on Dec. 9 and
again on Dec. 20, from his office in Cambridge.
Geov Parrish: Is George Bush in political trouble? And if so, why?
Noam Chomsky: George Bush would be in severe political trouble if there were
an opposition political party in the country. Just about every day, they're
shooting themselves in the foot. The striking fact about contemporary American
politics is that the Democrats are making almost no gain from this. The only
gain that they're getting is that the Republicans are losing support. Now,
again, an opposition party would be making hay, but the Democrats are so close
in policy to the Republicans that they can't do anything about it. When they try
to say something about Iraq, George Bush turns back to them, or Karl Rove turns
back to them, and says, "How can you criticize it? You all voted for it." And,
yeah, they're basically correct.
How could the Democrats distinguish themselves at this point, given that
they've already played into that trap?
Democrats read the polls way more than I do, their leadership. They know what
public opinion is. They could take a stand that's supported by public opinion
instead of opposed to it. Then they could become an opposition party, and a
majority party. But then they're going to have to change their position on just
about everything.
Take, for example, take your pick, say for example health care. Probably the
major domestic problem for people. A large majority of the population is in
favor of a national health care system of some kind. And that's been true for a
long time. But whenever that comes up -- it's occasionally mentioned in the
press -- it's called politically impossible, or "lacking political support,"
which is a way of saying that the insurance industry doesn't want it, the
pharmaceutical corporations don't want it, and so on. Okay, so a large majority
of the population wants it, but who cares about them? Well, Democrats are the
same. Clinton came up with some cockamamie scheme which was so complicated you
couldn't figure it out, and it collapsed.
Kerry in the last election, the last debate in the election, October 28 I
think it was, the debate was supposed to be on domestic issues. And the New York
Times had a good report of it the next day. They pointed out, correctly, that
Kerry never brought up any possible government involvement in the health system
because it "lacks political support." It's their way of saying, and Kerry's way
of understanding, that political support means support from the wealthy and the
powerful. Well, that doesn't have to be what the Democrats are. You can imagine
an opposition party that's based on popular interests and concerns.
Given the lack of substantive differences in the foreign policies of the two
parties --
Or domestic.
Yeah, or domestic. But I'm setting this up for a foreign policy question. Are
we being set up for a permanent state of war?
I don't think so. Nobody really wants war. What you want is victory. Take,
say, Central America. In the 1980s, Central America was out of control. The U.S.
had to fight a vicious terrorist war in Nicaragua, had to support murderous
terrorist states in El Salvador and Guatemala, and Honduras, but that was a
state of war. All right, the terrorists succeeded. Now, it's more or less
peaceful. So you don't even read about Central America any more because it's
peaceful. I mean, suffering and miserable, and so on, but peaceful. So it's not
a state of war. And the same elsewhere. If you can keep people under control,
it's not a state of war.
Take, say, Russia and Eastern Europe. Russia ran Eastern Europe for half a
century, almost, with very little military intervention. Occasionally they'd
have to invade East Berlin, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, but most of the time it was
peaceful. And they thought everything was fine -- run by local security forces,
local political figures, no big problem. That's not a permanent state of war.
In the War on Terror, however, how does one define victory against a tactic?
You can't ever get there.
There are metrics. For example, you can measure the number of terrorist
attacks. Well, that's gone up sharply under the Bush administration, very
sharply after the Iraq war. As expected -- it was anticipated by intelligence
agencies that the Iraq war would increase the likelihood of terror. And the
post-invasion estimates by the CIA, National Intelligence Council, and other
intelligence agencies are exactly that. Yes, it increased terror. In fact, it
even created something which never existed -- new training ground for
terrorists, much more sophisticated than Afghanistan, where they were training
professional terrorists to go out to their own countries. So, yeah, that's a way
to deal with the War on Terror, namely, increase terror. And the obvious metric,
the number of terrorist attacks, yeah, they've succeeded in increasing terror.
The fact of the matter is that there is no War on Terror. It's a minor
consideration. So invading Iraq and taking control of the world's energy
resources was way more important than the threat of terror. And the same with
other things. Take, say, nuclear terror. The American intelligence systems
estimate that the likelihood of a "dirty bomb," a dirty nuclear bomb attack in
the United States in the next ten years, is about 50 percent. Well, that's
pretty high. Are they doing anything about it? Yeah. They're increasing the
threat, by increasing nuclear proliferation, by compelling potential adversaries
to take very dangerous measures to try to counter rising American threats.
This is even sometimes discussed. You can find it in the strategic analysis
literature. Take, say, the invasion of Iraq again. We're told that they didn't
find weapons of mass destruction. Well, that's not exactly correct. They did
find weapons of mass destruction, namely, the ones that had been sent to Saddam
by the United States, Britain, and others through the 1980s. A lot of them were
still there. They were under control of U.N. inspectors and were being
dismantled. But many were still there. When the U.S. invaded, the inspectors
were kicked out, and Rumsfeld and Cheney didn't tell their troops to guard the
sites. So the sites were left unguarded, and they were systematically looted.
The U.N. inspectors did continue their work by satellite and they identified
over 100 sites that were systematically looted, like, not somebody going in and
stealing something, but carefully, systematically looted.
By people who knew what they were doing.
Yeah, people who knew what they were doing. It meant that they were taking the
high-precision equipment that you can use for nuclear weapons and missiles,
dangerous biotoxins, all sorts of stuff. Nobody knows where it went, but, you
know, you hate to think about it. Well, that's increasing the threat of terror,
substantially. Russia has sharply increased its offensive military capacity in
reaction to Bush's programs, which is dangerous enough, but also to try to
counter overwhelming U.S. dominance in offensive capacity. They are compelled to
ship nuclear missiles all over their vast territory. And mostly unguarded. And
the CIA is perfectly well aware that Chechen rebels have been casing Russian
railway installations, probably with a plan to try to steal nuclear missiles.
Well, yeah, that could be an apocalypse. But they're increasing that threat.
Because they don't care that much.
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