Friday, March 21, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 6: Nefarious Aggression Segment 10/14
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In its new-found zeal for international law and the United Nations, the New York Times repeatedly turned to one heroic figure: Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He was brought forth as an expert witness on "the new spirit of unanimity at the United Nations," explaining that there were "some pretty egregious violations of international law in the past," but now "the major powers have convergent interests and the mechanism of the U.N. is there waiting to be used." His "firm espousal of international law" was lauded in a review of his study The Law of Nations. The reviewer took note of his "sardonic, righteous anger," which recalls "the impassioned professor who suspects no one's listening" while he is "clearly fuming that an idea as morally impeccable as international law is routinely disregarded as disposable and naive." In a Times Magazine story, we learn further that Moynihan is "taking particular delight" in being proven right in his long struggle to promote international law and the United Nations system, "abstractions" that "matter dearly" to him. At last, everybody is "riding Moynihan's hobbyhorse" instead of ignoring the principles he has upheld with such conviction for so many years. No longer need Moynihan "revel in his martyrdom." Now "history has caught up with him."43

Omitted from these accolades was a review of Moynihan's record as U.N. Ambassador, when he had the opportunity to put his principles into practice. In a cablegram to Henry Kissinger on January 23, 1976, he reported the "considerable progress" that had been made by his arm-twisting tactics at the U.N. "toward a basic foreign policy goal, that of breaking up the massive blocs of nations, mostly new nations, which for so long have been arrayed against us in international forums and in diplomatic encounters generally." Moynihan cited two relevant cases: his success in undermining a U.N. reaction to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor and to Moroccan aggression in the Sahara, both supported by the U.S., the former with particular vigor. He had more to say about these matters in his memoir of his years at the United Nations, where he describes frankly his role as Indonesia invaded East Timor in December 1975:

The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.
He adds that within a few weeks some 60,000 people had been killed, "10 percent of the population, almost the proportion of casualties experienced by the Soviet Union during the Second World War."44

The U.N. episode, briefly sampled here, gives no little insight into the intellectual culture. The U.N. is "functional" today because it is (more or less) doing what Washington wants, a fact that has virtually nothing to do with the end of the Cold War, the Russians, or Third World maladies. The "shrill, anti-Western rhetoric" of the Third World has, very often, been a call for observance of international law. For once, the U.S. and its allies happen to be opposed to acts of aggression, annexation, and human rights violations. Therefore the U.N. is able to act in its peacekeeping role. These truths being unacceptable, they do not exist. They belong to the domain of "abuse of reality" (actual history), not reality itself (what we prefer to believe).45

These are basic elements of our traditional intellectual values. Our traditional moral values were also illustrated throughout, notably as elite opposition to the U.S. war plans began to crystallize. An early sign was an interview with the commander of the U.S. forces, General Norman Schwartzkopf, featured in a front-page story in the New York Times that opened as follows:

The commander of the American forces facing Iraq said today that his troops could obliterate Iraq, but cautioned that total destruction of that country might not be "in the interest of the long-term balance of power in this region."
His warning was elaborated by others. In a typical example, Times Middle East specialist Judith Miller, under the heading "Political Cost of Victory Questioned," wrote: There are few who doubt that if there is a war in the Persian Gulf, the United States and its allies can "turn Baghdad into a parking lot," as an American diplomat in the Middle East recently put it. But many analysts are increasingly concerned about the probable effect of such a victory on longer-term American interests in the region. William Crowe, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned last week that "many Arabs would deeply resent a campaign that would necessarily kill large numbers of their Muslim brothers..." In short, we could slaughter 17 million people and wipe a country off the face of the earth, but mass extermination might be tactically unwise, harmful to our interests. The issues were thoughtfully discussed in many articles, which were notable for the lack of any signs of the "squeamishness" exhibited by the India office in 1919 over the use of poison gas against "uncivilised tribesman." Those who have expressed concern over the decline of our traditional values may rest assured.46
Go to the next segment.

43 Elaine Sciolino, "Peacekeeping in a New Era: The Superpowers Act in Harmony," @u{NYT}, Aug. 28; Roger Rosenblatt, "Give Law a Chance," lead review, NYT Book Review, Aug. 26; James Traub, @u(NYT Magazine), Sept. 16, 1990.

44 NYT, Jan. 28, 1976; Moynihan, A Dangerous Place (Little, Brown, 1978).

45 See p. 19.

46 Youssef Ibrahim, NYT, Nov. 2; Judith Miller, NYT, Dec. 6, 1990. General Schwartzkopf did inform the "Iraqi people" that "our argument is not with" them, and that we would prefer to avoid the "thousands and thousands of innocent casualties." 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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