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When Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia recently declared that “Jews rule this world by proxy” and urged Muslim nations to unite to avoid being “defeated by a few million Jews,” he was heavily criticized throughout the Western world for anti-Semitism. Largely obscured was the fact that in the same address, Mahathir had been much more harsh with his fellow Muslims, calling them a backward people, crippled by religious superstition and enfeebled by infighting. But no one in the West accused him of being anti-Muslim. And when the US Senate voted — without dissent — to restrict military aid to Malaysia in retaliation (for his remark about Jews, not the one about Muslims), who amongst Mahathir’s critics conceded that this lent some credence to his statement about Jewish influence?
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The Most Reverend Pat Robertson recently called for the nuking of the State Department. “If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom,” he said over the radio. “I think that’s the answer.” Imagine that a Muslim minister — or any Muslim — had said the same on the radio — or even in a private conversation. Imagine anyone who wasn’t an influential conservative Christian or Jew saying the same in this day and age. Imagine the consequences.
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George W. recently designated Otto Reich, his Special Envoy for Western Hemisphere Initiatives, to lead a delegation to attend the commemoration ceremony of the 20th Anniversary of “the restoration of democracy to Grenada”. Bad enough that Reich has on his resume abetting anti-Cuban terrorists who bombed a plane out of the air killing 73 people, bad enough that what actually happened in October 1983 in Grenada was the US overthrowing another government which was not a threat to anyone and covering it up with a campaign of lies that stood unmatched until the present-day Iraq fiasco, but here’s what “the restoration of democracy to Grenada” looked like at the time: At the end of 1984, former Premier Herbert Blaize was elected prime minister, his party capturing 14 of the 15 parliamentary seats. Blaize, who in the wake of the invasion had proclaimed to the United States: “We say thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” had been favored by the Reagan administration. The candidate who won the sole opposition seat announced that he would not occupy it because of what he called “vote rigging and interference in the election by outside forces.” One year later, the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs reported on Grenada as part of its annual survey of human rights abuses:
Reliable accounts are circulating of prisoners being beaten, denied medical attention and confined for long periods without being able to see lawyers. The country’s new US-trained police force has acquired a reputation for brutality, arbitrary arrest and abuse of authority.
The report added that an offending all-music radio station had been closed and that US-trained counter-insurgency forces were eroding civil rights. By the late 1980s, the government began confiscating many books arriving from abroad, including Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana and Nelson Mandela Speaks. In April 1989, it issued a list of more than 80 books which were prohibited from being imported. Four months later, Prime Minister Blaize suspended Parliament to forestall a threatened no-confidence vote resulting from what his critics called “an increasingly authoritarian style”.
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A seemingly odd dispute broke out recently between the White House and a majority of the members of Congress, including many Republicans, over the nature of the Iraq reconstruction funds. Congress insisted that a significant portion of the money be in the form of loans, while the Bush administration wanted it all to be grants, even threatening a veto of the spending bill if it required Iraq to repay any of the money. In the end, the White House got its way. But what was it all about? Could it be that the Bushgang wanted to be more generous to the people of Iraq? That’s hardly in keeping with its bombing, invasion and occupation of the same people. Rather, it’s probably another indication that the Bush Administration has no intention of leaving Iraq. A loan which has to be repaid would be money owed by the US occupation authorities, providing them with less funds for the likes of Halliburton, Bechtel and other friends of George and Dick.
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Comparisons between the current Iraq quagmire and the infamous Vietnam quagmire are being raised more and more these days. But one vital difference is never pointed out; namely, that in Vietnam the US had a temporary objective, while in Iraq it’s permanent. In Vietnam, the object was to destroy the possibility of a state arising there that could serve as an example of an alternative to the capitalist development model for other Asian countries. Ideally, this could be achieved by instituting a pro-American government. Although this proved beyond Washington’s means, once Vietnam had been bombed, napalmed and Agent-Oranged into a basket case, which would not inspire anyone, the US was free to leave, with mission accomplished. In Iraq, the object is to colonize the place for a host of ongoing imperial needs, so there’s no plan to leave in the foreseeable future.
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Clinton’s former chief of staff, John Podesta, has formed a new think tank, the Center for American Progress. This was characterized by the Washington Post as “the liberal’s answer to the conservative Heritage Foundation”. This is a very common misunderstanding in the mainstream media and among the public — the idea that neo-conservatives (far to the right on the political spectrum) and liberals (ever so slightly to the left of center) are ideological polar opposites. Thus, a radio or TV show with a neo-con and a liberal thinks of itself as “balanced”. However, the opposite of a conservative — particularly the new breed that prominently advise the White House and Pentagon, and often occupy positions there — is a left-wing radical, progressive or socialist. Liberals are often closer to conservatives, especially in foreign policy, than they are to these groups on the far left. In this light, the never-ending debate about whether the media has a conservative or a liberal bias takes on much less significance.
1. For all the details, see WILLIAM BLUM, “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II”, chapter 45.
2. November 5, 2003. p.C3
WILLIAM BLUM is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World’s Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir. He can be reached at: BBlum6@aol.com