Pilger: “The Warlords of America”

2004-10-20

Richard Moore

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From: "RightsAction" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: "The Warlords of America" - by John Pilger
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 10:12:32 -0400

ARTICLE: food for thought about the global order

We re-distribute this article, by John Pilger, as a
contribution to debate about the global order and about the
possibilities and chances to support and promote community and
locally-controlled development in many countries and regions
of the global south.

===

"THE WARLORDS OF AMERICA", by John Pilger

May last, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution
which, in effect, authorised a "pre-emptive" attack on Iran.
The vote was 376-3. Undeterred by the accelerating disaster in
Iraq, Republicans and Democrats, wrote one commentator, "once
again joined hands to assert the responsibilities of American
power."

The joining of hands across America's illusory political
divide has a long history. The Native Americans were
slaughtered, the Philippines laid to waste and Cuba and much
of Latin America brought to heel with "bi-partisan" backing.

Wading through the blood, a new breed of popular historian,
the journalist in the pay of rich newspaper owners, spun the
heroic myths of a supersect called Americanism, which
advertising and public relations in the 20th century
formalised as an ideology, embracing both conservatism and
liberalism.

In the modern era, most of America's wars have been launched
by liberal Democratic presidents - Harry Truman in Korea, John
F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson in Vietnam, Jimmy Carter in
Afghanistan. The fictitious "missile gap" was invented by
Kennedy's liberal New Frontiersmen as a rationale for keeping
the cold war going.

In 1964, a Democrat-dominated Congress gave President Johnson
authority to attack Vietnam, a defenceless peasant nation
offering no threat to the United States. Like the non-existent
WMDs in Iraq, the justification was a non-existent "incident"
in which, it was said, two North Vietnamese patrol boats had
attacked an American warship. More than three million deaths
and the ruin of a once bountiful land followed.

During the past 60 years, only once has Congress voted to
limit the president's "right" to terrorise other countries.
This aberration, the Clark Amendment 1975, a product of the
great anti-Vietnam war movement, was repealed in 1985 by
Ronald Reagan. During Reagan's assaults on Central America in
the 1980s, liberal voices such as Tom Wicker of the New York
Times, doyen of the "doves," seriously debated whether or not
tiny, impoverished Nicaragua was a threat to the United
States.

These days, terrorism having replaced the red menace, another
fake debate is under way. This is lesser evilism. Although few
liberal-minded voters seem to have illusions about John Kerry,
their need to get rid of the "rogue" Bush administration is
all-consuming. Representing them in Britain, the Guardian says
that the coming presidential election is "exceptional." "Mr
Kerry's flaws and limitations are evident," says the paper,
"but they are put in the shade by the neo-conservative agenda
and catastrophic war-making of Mr Bush. This is an election in
which almost the whole world will breathe a sigh of relief if
the incumbent is defeated."

The whole world may well breathe a sigh of relief: the Bush
regime is both dangerous and universally loathed; but that is
not the point. We have debated lesser evilism so often on both
sides of the Atlantic that it is surely time to stop gesturing
at the obvious and to examine critically a system that
produces the Bushes and their democratic shadows. For those of
us who marvel at our luck in reaching mature years without
having been blown to bits by the warlords of Americanism,
Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, and for the
millions all over the world who now reject the American
contagion in political life, the true issue is clear.

It is the continuation of a project that began more than 500
years ago. The privileges of "discovery and conquest" granted
to Christopher Columbus in 1492, in a world the pope
considered "his property to be disposed according to his
will," have been replaced by another piracy transformed into
the divine will of Americanism and sustained by technological
progress, notably that of the media.

"The threat to independence in the late 20th century from the
new electronics," wrote Edward Said in Culture and
Imperialism, "could be greater than was colonialism itself. We
are beginning to learn that de-colonisation was not the
termination of imperial relationships but merely the extending
of a geopolitical web which has been spinning since the
Renaissance. The new media have the power to penetrate more
deeply into a 'receiving' culture than any previous
manifestation of western technology."

Every modern president has been, in large part, a media
creation. Thus, the murderous Reagan is sanctified still;
Rupert Murdoch's Fox Channel and the post-Hutton BBC have
differed only in their forms of adulation. And Bill Clinton is
regarded nostalgically by liberals as flawed but enlightened;
yet Clinton's presidential years were far more violent than
Bush's and his goals were the same: "the integration of
countries into the global free-market community," the terms of
which, noted the New York Times, "require the United States to
be involved in the plumbing and wiring of nations' internal
affairs more deeply than ever before."

The Pentagon's "full-spectrum dominance" was not the product
of the "neo-cons" but of the liberal Clinton, who approved
what was then the greatest war expenditure in history.
According to the Guardian, Clinton's heir, John Kerry, sends
us "energising progressive calls."

It is time to stop this nonsense.

Supremacy is the essence of Americanism; only the veil changes
or slips. In 1976, the Democrat Jimmy Carter announced "a
foreign policy that respects human rights." In secret, he
backed Indonesia's genocide in East Timor and established the
mujahedin in Afghanistan as a terrorist organisation designed
to overthrow the Soviet Union, and from which came the Taliban
and al-Qaeda. It was the liberal Carter, not Reagan, who laid
the ground for George W Bush.

In the past year, I have interviewed Carter's principal
foreign policy overlords "Zbigniew Brzezinski, his national
security adviser, and James Schlesinger, his defence
secretary. No blueprint for the new imperialism is more
respected than Brzezinski's. Invested with biblical authority
by the Bush gang, his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard: American
Primacy and Its Geo-strategic Imperatives describes American
priorities as the economic subjugation of the Soviet Union and
the control of central Asia and the Middle East.

His analysis says that "local wars" are merely the beginning
of a final conflict leading inexorably to world domination by
the US. "To put it in a terminology that harkens back to a
more brutal age of ancient empires," he writes, "the three
grand imperatives of imperial geo-strategy are to prevent
collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals,
to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the
barbarians from coming together."

It may have been easy once to dismiss this as a message from
the lunar right. But Brzezinski is mainstream. His devoted
students include Madeleine Albright, who, as secretary of
state under Clinton, described the death of half a million
infants in Iraq during the US-led embargo as "a price worth
paying," and John Negroponte, the mastermind of American
terror in central America under Reagan who is currently
"ambassador" in Baghdad. James Rubin, who was Albright's
enthusiastic apologist at the State Department, is being
considered as John Kerry's national security adviser. He is
also a Zionist; Israel's role as a terror state is beyond
discussion.

Cast an eye over the rest of the world. As Iraq has crowded
the front pages, American moves into Africa have attracted
little attention. Here, the Clinton and Bush policies are
seamless. In the 1990s, Clinton's African Growth and
Opportunity Act launched a new scramble for Africa.
Humanitarian bombers wonder why Bush and Blair have not
attacked Sudan and "liberated" Darfur, or intervened in
Zimbabwe or the Congo.

The answer is that they have no interest in human distress and
human rights, and are busy securing the same riches that led
to the European scramble in the late 19th century by the
traditional means of coercion and bribery, known as
multilateralism.

The Congo and Zambia possess 50 per cent of world cobalt
reserves; 98 per cent of the world's chrome reserves are in
Zimbabwe and South Africa. More importantly, there is oil and
natural gas in Africa from Nigeria to Angola, and in Higleig,
south-west Sudan. Under Clinton, the African Crisis Response
Initiative (Acri) was set up in secret. This has allowed the
US to establish "military assistance programmes" in Senegal,
Uganda, Malawi, Ghana, Benin, Algeria, Niger, Mali and Chad.

Acri is run by Colonel Nestor Pino-Marina, a Cuban exile who
took part in the 1961 Bay of Pigs landing and went on to be a
special forces officer in Vietnam and Laos, and who, under
Reagan, helped lead the Contra invasion of Nicaragua.

The pedigrees never change.

None of this is discussed in a presidential campaign in which
John Kerry strains to out-Bush Bush. The multi-lateralism or
"muscular internationalism" that Kerry offers in contrast to
Bush's uni-lateralism is seen as hopeful by the terminally
naive; in truth, it beckons even greater dangers. Having given
the American elite its greatest disaster since Vietnam, writes
the historian Gabriel Kolko, Bush "is much more likely to
continue the destruction of the alliance system that is so
crucial to American power. One does not have to believe the
worse the better, but we have to consider candidly the foreign
policy consequences of a renewal of Bush's mandate . . . As
dangerous as it is, Bush's re-election may be a lesser evil."

With Nato back in train under President Kerry, and the French
and Germans compliant, American ambitions will proceed without
the Napoleonic hindrances of the Bush gang.

Little of this appears even in the American papers worth
reading. The Washington Post's hand-wringing apology to its
readers on 14 August for not "pay[ing] enough attention to
voices raising questions about the war [against Iraq]" has not
interrupted its silence on the danger that the American state
presents to the world.

Bush's rating has risen in the polls to more than 50 per cent,
a level at this stage in the campaign at which no incumbent
has ever lost. The virtues of his "plain speaking," which the
entire media machine promoted four years ago "Fox and the
Washington Post alike" are again credited. As in the aftermath
of the 11 September attacks, Americans are denied a modicum of
understanding of what Norman Mailer has called "a pre-fascist
climate." The fears of the rest of us are of no consequence.

The professional liberals on both sides of the Atlantic have
played a major part in this. The campaign against Michael
Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 is indicative. The film is not radical
and makes no outlandish claims; what it does is push past
those guarding the boundaries of "respectable" dissent. That
is why the public applauds it. It breaks the collusive codes
of journalism, which it shames. It allows people to begin to
deconstruct the nightly propaganda that passes for news: in
which "a sovereign Iraqi government pursues democracy" and
those fighting in Najaf and Fallujah and Basra are always
"militants" and "insurgents" or members of a "private army,"
never nationalists defending their homeland and whose
resistance has probably forestalled attacks on Iran, Syria or
North Korea.

The real debate is neither Bush nor Kerry, but the system they
exemplify; it is the decline of true democracy and the rise of
the American "national security state" in Britain and other
countries claiming to be democracies, in which people are sent
to prison and the key thrown away and whose leaders commit
capital crimes in faraway places, unhindered, and then, like
the ruthless Blair, invite the thug they install to address
the Labour Party conference.

The real debate is the subjugation of national economies to a
system which divides humanity as never before and sustains the
deaths, every day, of 24,000 hungry people. The real debate is
the subversion of political language and of debate itself and
perhaps, in the end, our self-respect.

[August 21, 2004, John Pilger was born and educated in Sydney,
Australia. He has been a war correspondent, filmmaker and
playwright. Based in London, he has written from many
countries and has twice won British journalism's highest
award, that of "Journalist of the Year," for his work in
Vietnam and Cambodia. This article was first published in the
New Statesman. (c) John Pilger 2004]

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