Friday, March 21, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 6: Nefarious Aggression Segment 12/14
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Such problems led to a noteworthy account (and endorsement) of the militant U.S. stance in the New York Times, in a front page article by Thomas Friedman. He attributed the Administration's refusal even to consider "a diplomatic track" to its concern that negotiations might "defuse the crisis" and restore the previous status quo at the cost of "a few token gains in Kuwait" for the Iraqi dictator (perhaps "a Kuwaiti island or minor border adjustments," all matters long under dispute). Thus, anything short of a total victory for U.S. force is unacceptable, even if it means a catastrophic war, with unpredictable consequences. As for the possibility that diplomacy might defuse the crisis, leaving such fateful and long-neglected questions as proliferation of lethal weaponry in the region (not just Iraq) to be approached calmly through diplomatic means -- that is a disaster to be avoided, not an option to be explored.52

The Times chief diplomatic correspondent went on to attribute the pressure for negotiations to Jordan and the ever slimy PLO, whose effort to mediate is their "only way to justify their support for President Hussein's invasion." Jordan had not supported the invasion, though it also did not support the U.S. response to it; as British correspondent Martin Woollacott reports more accurately from Amman, the King's "efforts since the crisis began have been aimed at putting the genie back in the bottle, bringing about a withdrawal from Kuwait, and in general restoring the status quo." And even though the Times judged the fact unfit to print, it is hard to believe that its leading Middle East specialist was unaware that a few days before he wrote, the PLO had issued its first official declaration on the crisis, which called for a solution that would "safeguard the integrity and security of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, of the Gulf and the whole Arab region" (my emphasis; carried by wire services). Placing the blame on "the Palestinian interpretation of events," and on the bad behavior of Jordan is another notable contribution to establishing the U.S.-Israel propaganda line.53

Little solid information was available on the Jordanian and PLO positions. The Israeli press quoted a PLO plan read by Palestinian activist Faisal Husseini in Jerusalem, calling for immediate withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait, peace talks between Iraq and Kuwait on borders and oil policy, and the right of the Kuwaiti people "to choose the central government in their land, with no foreign influence, either Arab or other." According to PLO sources, Jordan and the PLO advanced a plan under which the U.N. would introduce a peace-keeping force and coordinate talks on the future government of Kuwait, possibly calling for a plebiscite in Kuwait. Like other proposals for a diplomatic track, these were ignored or quickly dismissed by the White House, Congress, and the media.54

While warning against the temptations of the diplomatic track, the Times also called for diplomacy in preference to the immediate resort to force. But as already noted, "diplomacy" meant delivery of an ultimatum: capitulate or die. In reality, diplomatic options were undcut from the outset, along with the sanctions option.

One should bear in mind that the U.S. government, like any actor in world affairs, will always be publicly advocating diplomacy, not force. That was the U.S. stance while seeking to bar negotiations and political settlement in Vietnam and Central America, and has always been the public posture with regard to the Israel-Arab conflict, even as the U.S. has been leading the rejectionist camp. Whatever the U.S. position may be, the media depict it as a yearning for diplomacy and peaceful means. Thus we read of "the American effort to keep attention focused on diplomacy and sanctions, not the drums of war"55 -- when in fact the effort is to block the diplomatic track, reject negotiations, and keep to force and coercion, under an international cover if possible, otherwise alone. As in other cases, it is a point of logic, immune to fact, that Washington is seeking to resolve the problem peacefully, without the use of force.

Several early openings for a "diplomatic track" have been mentioned: the August 12 Iraqi proposal concerning withdrawal from all occupied Arab lands; the August 19 proposal that the status of Kuwait be settled by the Arab states alone; the August 23 offer published by Newsday, and a "similar offer" (or perhaps this one) that the Times kept under wraps at the same time; and the reported Jordanian and PLO proposals. Others continued to surface, receiving similar treatment. The business pages of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported a "near-panic of stock buying late in the day" on December 4, after a British TV report of an Iraqi offer to withdraw from Kuwait apart from the Rumailah oil fields, with no other conditions except Kuwaiti agreement to discuss a lease of the two Gulf islands after the withdrawal. Wire services carried the story, but not the news sections. News reports did, however, express uneasiness that proposed discussions with Iraq (actually, delivery of an ultimatum, according to the White House) "might encourage some European partners to launch unhelpful peace feelers..."56

In late December, Iraq made another proposal, disclosed by U.S. officials on January 2: an offer "to withdraw from Kuwait if the United States pledges not to attack as soldiers are pulled out, if foreign troops leave the region, and if there is agreement on the Palestinian problem and on the banning of all weapons of mass destruction in the region."57 Officials described the offer as "interesting" because it dropped the border issues, and "signals Iraqi interest in a negotiated settlement." A State Department Mideast expert described the proposal as a "serious prenegotiation position." The U.S. "immediately dismissed the proposal," the report notes. It passed without mention in the national press, and was barely noted elsewhere.

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52 Friedman, "Behind Bush's Hard Line," NYT, Aug. 22, 1990.

53 Ibid.; Woollacott, Manchester Guardian Weekly, Aug. 26; "PLO says it favors integrity of Kuwait," Reuters, BG, Aug. 20, 1990.

54 Yehuda Litani, Hadashot, Aug. 17 (The Other Front, Jerusalem, Aug. 23). UPI, BG, Aug. 26; compare the proposals in the Times editorial the same day. See also Paul Lalor, Middle East International, Aug. 31, 1990.

55 Andrew Rosenthal, NYT, Sept. 3, 1990.

56 AP, Dec. 4; WSJ, sec. C, p. 2, Dec. 5; NYT, business section, Dec. 5; Gerald Seib, WSJ, Dec. 3, 1990.

57 Knut Royce, Newsday, Jan. 3, 1990. 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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