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power and terror:
Conflict, Hegemony and the Rule of Force by Noam Chomsky
Martha asked, “You don’t care what the American people think?”
He said, “NO.” Cheney then goes on to say that we can’t be subject to fluctuations in opinion polls.
A White House spokesman was asked later if this meant the government didn’t think the public should have input. The spokesman remarked that the public has input every four years.
Since the oligarchics fund the campaigns and pretty much own the candidates in those four-year elections cycles (everyone, but not Bernie), that remark sums up their attitude towards democracy.
Other damage that administration did to democracy was to stack the federal courts with corporate conservatives, but that is another story.
The news out of Paris this weekend is called blowback… violence begets violence. In Power and Terror: Conflict, Hegemony and the Rule of Force, Noam Chomsky points out a number of issues where polls of Americans opinions are in contrast to government – large majorities support a single payer health care system; less military-focused budget priorities; and stronger human rights policies and real democracy. The government and mainstream media declare these positions not politically feasible. Since the majority supports them there must be some other criterion for politically feasible and, of course, that brings us to the disproportionate influence of the 1%. What the 1% wants the 1% usually gets.
Another related, revealing and disturbing factoid Chomsky cites is a worldwide study by Edward Herman looking at the relationship between U.S. aid and torture. The study showed a high correlation. A second study concluded that the key factor was “investment climate.” U.S. aid increased as investment climate improved – a favorable investment situation for U.S. corporations equaled higher U.S. aid levels.
How is a favorable investment climate created and maintained? Well, “One of the best ways is to murder union organizers and peasant leaders, to torture priests, to massacre peasants, to undermine social programs etc;” Not that the U.S. prefers human rights violations, that is just what accompanies the favorable business climate created by client governments.
In government and media discussion of the terrible threat to the U.S. from Iran, the regime is described as dictatorial (though elected) and dangerous. No argument with the former. No evidence needed for the latter. No mention, of course, of the inconvenient fact that the U.S. and Britain in 1954 overthrew a parliamentary democracy in Iran installing the Shah’s ruthless regime characterized by the usual offensive attributes.
The U.S. has boots on the ground, as the saying goes, in Afghanistan and Iraq but Iran is “destabilizing” the area. Stabilization is when everyone is following orders and a favorable investment climate is created. In fact, this is what is typically at the root of U.S. aggression – from Clinton’s bombing of Kosovo/Serbia to the U.S. invasion of Vietnam, the embargo of Cuba and support for right wing dictators across the planet. Risking the sensibility of the blind patriot, Chomsky compares U.S. operations to the Mafia – the Don cannot allow one storekeeper to refuse “protection” payments. Total obediance is required or the system of domination is threatened.
Chomsky ventures where few will follow or even comprehend given the indoctrination system when it conflicts too mightily with received wisdom and U.S. allegiance to Israel unfettered by human rights considerations.
Israel is described as playing the role of a U.S. aircraft carrier, a military base in the midst of an oil-drenched prize sure to lure the attention of the consumption addict. Israel is allowed wide lattitude in its barbaric behavior around land grabs and oppression of Palestinians so long as they play out their proper military role.
Anyone dependent on mainstream media for their notion of what’s going on in the mideast would be flabbergasted to hear that it is the U.S. and Israel who have blocked a two-state peace settlement for 35 years. It is these same players who block proposals for a nuclear-free middle east – something one would think highly desirable, but since the aircraft carrier has them and U.S. ships in the area probably have them, then the what’s good for the goose is good for the gander cannot apply. The Don’s dominance cannot be questioned.
- Image: The feature image is an original illustration by Tom Ferguson.