Annual Fundraising Appeal
Over the course of 21 years, we’ve published many unflattering stories about Henry Kissinger. We’ve recounted his involvement in the Chilean coup and the illegal bombings of Cambodia and Laos; his hidden role in the Kent State massacre and the genocide in East Timor; his noxious influence peddling in DC and craven work for dictators and repressive regimes around the world. We’ve questioned his ethics, his morals and his intelligence. We’ve called for him to be arrested and tried for war crimes. But nothing we’ve ever published pissed off HK quite like this sequence of photos taken at a conference in Brazil, which appeared in one of the early print editions of CounterPunch.
100716HenryKissingerNosePicking
The publication of those photos, and the story that went with them, 20 years ago earned CounterPunch a global audience in the pre-web days and helped make our reputation as a fearless journal willing to take the fight to the forces of darkness without flinching. Now our future is entirely in your hands. Please donate.

Day12Fixed

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
cp-store

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Bombs as a Poor Chisel Bush's War Drive: Fear, Distraction & Self-Adulation

Bush’s War Drive

by NEVE GORDON

One better think twice before supporting Bush’s initiative to launch an attack on Iraq if only because war, as Martin Luther King pointed out, is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrows.

A good way to grasp the logic underlying Bush’s plan is by examining the intricate mechanisms his Administration is using to shape public opinion, the most conspicuous of which are distraction, fear, and self-adulation.

DISTRACTION. The Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro film Wag the Dog was a comical expression of this strategy, which is currently being put to use in ways more cynical than the movie producers imagined.

Considering that Saddam Hussein’s modus operandi has not changed in the past few years, the urgency with which the Bush administration is pushing the war against Iraq at this particular moment in history requires an explanation. Not surprisingly, the answer lies very close to home.

Bush’s war cry succeeded in sidelining widespread corporate corruption, which made headlines right before his combative designs were revealed. Enron, Worldcom and the like are no longer under the limelight.

The call to arms has also been used to suppress figures pointing to the rising number of poor Americans, which reached 32.9 million, an increase of 1.3 million from the year before. The Census Bureau’s annual report on income and poverty provided evidence that the weakening economy is beginning to a have detrimental affect on large segments of society, regardless of race, region and class. I, for one, don’t see CNN spending much time covering poverty and its threat to American society.

Along the same lines, civil liberties, worker’s rights, and the environment have all been under attack by this Administration, and only recently have citizen groups managed to mobilize and fight back. What could be more effective than a war to deflect mounting domestic criticism?

FEAR. In order to convince the public that the Iraqi campaign is not simply being used to distract the public from pressing issues at home, a real and present danger must be created.

Just two years before the Gulf War, President Bush — the father — stood by without a murmur of protest as Saddam Hussein massacred 100,000 Kurds. The relation to Iraq’s premier changed dramatically when he invaded Kuwait, thus threatening U.S. interests in the Middle East, which come down to one thing: access and control of oil. Overnight Hussein was transformed from a Third World ally into an evil monster, a modern day Hitler. It worked then, and it is working now.

We are currently being told that Hussein is dangerous because he has access to weapons of mass destruction. Considering, however, that most countries in the Middle East possess chemical weapons, including Israel, Egypt, Syria and probably Saudi Arabia, the "preemptive" elimination of Iraq’s weapons program is, to say the least, peculiar. It’s really about whose a friend and whose a foe, not about weapons.

The Administration is not taking any risks, however, and recently decided to spread its eggs among a few baskets. Suddenly Saddam Hussein is not merely a recalcitrant tyrant who has weapons of mass destruction, but, in Bush’s words, a man who hates America, loves to link up with Al Qaeda, and is a true threat to America.

Ironically, Israel’s Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon, who is not known for his dovish opinions, recently averred, "Iraq’s capabilities are shallow compared to what they were in the Gulf War. They are not capabilities that give me sleepless nights."

If Israel isn’t worried, why, one might ask, is Bush?

SELF-ADULATION. The Bush Administration justifies its actions by engendering a sense that Uncle Sam not only knows better, but is also more responsible and righteous than any other country. This tactic produces a certain type of patriotism used to avert all forms of criticism, as can be seen by how the Administration’s seemingly omnipresent knowledge and moral high ground is employed to counter the claims made by an overwhelming number of countries that adamantly reject Bush’s war plans.

Just envision the good that could be done if an extra 100 or 200 billion dollars — the war’s estimated cost! — were allocated to education, training programs and creating new jobs. The public education system would receive a vital injection and millions of people could finally exit the vicious cycle of poverty and deprivation. Wouldn’t that be a more worthy endeavor than the one Bush is pursuing?

"To be a patriot," Mark Twain once wrote, "one had to say, and keep on saying, ‘Our country, right or wrong,’ and urge on the little war." And then Twain added, "Have you not perceived that that phrase is an insult to the nation?"

NEVE GORDON teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University, Israel and can be reached at ngordon@bgumail.bgu.ac.il. Some of his articles recently appeared in The Other Israel: Voices of Refusal and Dissent edited by Roane Carey and Jonathan Shainin (The New Press 2002).