Monday, March 31, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Afterword Segment 2/14
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With the US victory, jingoist rhetoric subsided, and it becomes possible to survey just what happened in the misnamed "Gulf War" -- misnamed, because there never was a war, at least, if the concept involves two sides in combat. That didn't happen in the Gulf.

The crisis began with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, leaving hundreds killed according to Human Rights groups. That hardly qualifies as war. Rather, in terms of crimes against peace and against humanity, it falls roughly into the category of the Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus, Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1978, or the US invasion of Panama. In these terms it falls well short of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, and cannot remotely be compared with the near-genocidal Indonesian conquest of East Timor, to mention only two cases of aggression and atrocities that continue with the decisive support of those who most passionately professed their outrage over Iraq's invasion.

In subsequent months, Iraq was responsible for terrible crimes in Kuwait, with several thousand killed and many tortured. But that is not war either; rather, state terrorism, of the kind familiar among US clients.

The next phase of the conflict began with the US-led attack of January 16. Its first component targeted the civilian infrastructure, including power, sewage and water systems; that is, a form of biological warfare, having little relation to driving Iraq from Kuwait -- rather, designed for long-term US political ends. This too is not war, but rather state terrorism, on a colossal scale.

The second component of the attack was the slaughter of Iraqi soldiers in the desert, largely unwilling Shi'ite and Kurdish conscripts it appears, hiding in holes in the sand or fleeing for their lives -- a picture remote from the disinformation relayed by the press about colossal fortifications, artillery powerful beyond our imagining, vast stocks of chemical and biological weapons at the ready, and so on. Pentagon and other sources give estimates in the range of 100,000 defenseless victims killed. "This is not war; it is simply massacre and murderous butchery," to use the words of a British observer of the US conquest of the Philippines at the turn of the century, The desert slaughter was a "turkey shoot," as some US forces described it, borrowing the term used by their forebears butchering Filipinos4 -- one of those deeply-rooted themes of the culture that surface at appropriate moments, as if by reflex.

Months later, US Army officials revealed what the Pentagon expected: not war, but slaughter. The ground attack began with plows mounted on tanks and earthmovers to bulldoze live Iraqi soldiers into trenches in the desert, an "unprecedented tactic" that was "hidden from public view," Patrick Sloyan reported. The commander of one of the three Brigades involved said that thousands of Iraqis might have been killed; the other commanders refused estimates. "Not a single American was killed during the attack that made an Iraqi body count impossible," Sloyan continues. The report elicited little interest or comment. Nor did the "murderous butchery" generally.5

The goal of the attack on the civilian society was no secret: the population was to be held hostage to induce the military to overthrow Saddam and wield the "iron fist" as he himself had done with US support before stepping out of line. Administration reasoning was outlined by New York Times chief diplomatic correspondent Thomas Friedman. If Iraqis suffered sufficient pain, some general might topple Mr. Hussein, "and then Washington would have the best of all worlds: an iron-fisted Iraqi junta without Saddam Hussein," a return to the happy days when Saddam's "iron fist...held Iraq together, much to the satisfaction of the American allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia," not to speak of the boss in Washington.6

The operation of holding a civilian population hostage while tens of thousands die from starvation and disease raises only one problem: unreasonable soft-hearted folk may feel some discomfort at having "sat by and watched a country starve for political reasons," precisely what would happen, UNICEF director of public affairs Richard Reid predicted, unless Iraq were permitted to purchase "massive quantities of food" -- though it was already far too late, he reported, for the children under two, who had stopped growing since late 1990 because of severe malnutrition. But Bush's ex-pal helped the President out of this dilemma. The Wall Street Journal observed that Saddam's "clumsy attempt to hide nuclear-bomb-making equipment from the U.N. may be a blessing in disguise, U.S. officials say. It assures that the allies [read: US and UK] can keep economic sanctions in place to squeeze Saddam Hussein without mounting calls to end the penalties for humanitarian reasons."7 The operation could thus proceed unhampered by the bleeding hearts.

Go to the next segment.

4 Luzviminda Francisco and Jonathan Fast, Conspiracy for Empire (Quezon City, 1985), 302, 191.

5 Newsday, Sept. 12, 1991, p. 1. The Boston Globe gave the story a few lines on p. 79, Sept. 13. The Times ran a tepid account a few days later; Eric Schmitt, NYT, Sept. 15.

6 NYT, July 7, 1991.

7 Kathy Blair, Toronto Globe and Mail, June 17, 1991; WSJ, July 5, 1991. KEYWORDS terrorist democracy elections cia mossad bnd nsa covert operation 911 mi6 inside job what really happened wtc pentagon joint chiefs of staff jcs centcom laser hologram usa mi5 undercover agent female sex exploitation perception deception power anarchy green social democratic participation japanese spy black-op false flag gladio terror.

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posted by u2r2h at 3:44 AM


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