Monday, March 31, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Afterword Segment 5/14
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3. "The Best of all Worlds"

Despite its victory, Washington did not quite achieve "the best of all worlds," because no suitable clone of the Beast of Baghdad had yet been found. Needless to say, not everyone shared the Washington-media conception of "the best of all worlds." Well after hostilities ended, the Wall Street Journal broke ranks and offered space to an authentic representative of the Iraqi democratic opposition, Ahmad Chalabi. He described the outcome as "the worst of all possible worlds" for the Iraqi people, whose tragedy is "awesome."13

The doctrinal system did face a problem as the Bush Administration lent its support to Saddam's crushing of the internal opposition. The task was the usual one: to portray Washington's stance in a favorable light, not easy after the months of tributes to our leader's magnificent show of principle and courage in confronting the rampaging Beast. But the transition was smooth and impressive. True, few can approach our devotion to the most august principles. But our moral purity is tempered with an understanding of the need for "pragmatism" and "stability," useful concepts that translate as "Doing what we choose."

In a typical example of the genre, Times Middle East correspondent Alan Cowell attributed the failure of the rebels to the fact that "very few people outside Iraq wanted them to win"; here the concept "people" is used in the conventional doctrinal sense, meaning people who count, not "meddling outsiders," quite a few of whom wanted the rebels to win. The "allied campaign against President Hussein brought the United States and its Arab coalition partners to a strikingly unanimous view," Cowell continued: "whatever the sins of the Iraqi leader, he offered the West and the region a better hope for his country's stability than did those who have suffered his repression."14

This version of the facts, the standard one, merits a few questions. To begin with, who are these "Arab coalition partners"? Answer: six are family dictatorships, established by the Anglo-American settlement to manage Gulf oil riches in the interests of the foreign masters, what British imperial managers called an "Arab façade" for the real rulers. The seventh is Syria's Hafez el-Assad, a minority-based tyrant indistinguishable from Saddam Hussein. That these partners should share Washington's preference for Saddam Hussein's variety of "stability" is hardly a surprise.

The last of the "coalition partners," Egypt, is the only one that could be called "a country." Though a tyranny, it has a degree of internal freedom. We therefore turn to its semi-official press to assess the "strikingly unanimous view." The Times article is datelined Damascus, April 10. The day before, Deputy Editor Salaheddin Hafez of Egypt's leading daily, Al-Ahram, commented on Saddam's demolition of the rebels "under the umbrella of the Western alliance's forces." US support for Saddam Hussein proved what Egypt had been saying all along, Hafez wrote. American rhetoric about "the savage beast" was merely a cover for the true goals: to cut Iraq down to size and establish US hegemony in the region. The West turned out to be in total agreement with the beast on the need to "block any progress and abort all hopes, however dim, for freedom or equality and for progress towards democracy," working in "collusion with Saddam himself" if necessary.

Egypt's reaction is also no surprise. The "victory celebration" in Egypt had been "muted and totally official," correspondent Hani Shukrallah reported from Cairo. "Cairenes are identifying more with the vanquished `enemy' than the triumphant `allies'," particularly the poor and students, three of whom were killed by police in an anti-government demonstration. Post-cease fire developments seemed "to have intensifed the [popular] feelings of anger against the leading members of the anti-Iraq coalition," feelings exacerbated by Kuwait's atrocities against Egyptians. The Egyptian press also bitterly condemned the US conditions imposed on Iraq, a transparent effort to insure US-Israeli military dominance, Al-Ahram charged. "Not in over a decade have Egyptians felt and expressed so intently their hostility to the US, Israel and the West," political scientist Ahmad Abdallah observed.

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13 WSJ, April 8, 1991.

14 NYT, April 11, 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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