Thursday, March 20, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 10: The Decline of the Democratic Ideal Segment 7/13
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4. "Rallying to Chamorro"

The Kim Il Sung-style unanimity considered so natural and appropriate by the Times has, in fact, been characteristic of the "divisive foreign policy issue" that is said to have rent the United States in the past decade. As has been extensively documented, both reporting and permissible opinion in the media were virtually restricted to the question of the choice of means for returning Nicaragua to "the Central American mode." There was indeed a "division": Should this result be achieved by contra terror, or, if violence proved ineffective, by arrangements enforced by the death squad democracies that already observe the approved "regional standards," as advocated by Tom Wicker and other doves? This spectrum of thought was safeguarded at a level approaching 100% in the national press, a most impressive achievement.29

Pre-election coverage maintained the same high standards of conformism. It was uniformly anti-Sandinista. The UNO coalition were the democrats, on the sole grounds that the coalition had been forged in Washington and included the major business interests, sufficient proof of democratic credentials by the conventions of U.S. political discourse. On similar assumptions, Bob Woodward describes the CIA operations launched by Carter as a "program to boost the democratic alternative to the Sandinistas"; no evidence of any concern for democracy is provided, or needed, on the conventional understanding of the concept of democracy.

Commentary and reporting on the Sandinistas was harsh and derisive. Some did break ranks. The Boston Globe ran an Op-Ed by Daniel Ortega a few days before the election, but the editors were careful to add an accompanying caricature of an ominous thug in a Soviet Field Marshal's uniform wearing designer glasses, just to ensure that readers would not be misled.30 Media monitors have yet to come up with a single phrase suggesting that an FSLN victory might be the best thing for Nicaragua. Even journalists who privately felt that way did not say it, perhaps because they felt the idea would be unintelligible, on a par with "the U.S. is a leading terrorist state," or "Washington is blocking the peace process," or "maybe we should tell the truth about Cambodia and Timor," or other departures from dogma. Such statements lack cognitive meaning. They are imprecations, like shouting "Fuck You" in public; they can only elicit a stream of abuse, not a rational response. We see here the ultimate achievement of thought control, well beyond what Orwell imagined. Large parts of the language are simply determined to be devoid of meaning. It all makes good sense: In a Free Society, all must goose step on command, or keep silent. Anything else is just too dangerous.

On TV, Peter Jennings, also regarded as prone to left-wing deviation, opened the international news by announcing that Nicaragua is going to have its "first free election in a decade."31 Three crucial doctrines are presupposed: first, the elections under Somoza were free; second, there was no free election in 1984; third, the 1990 election was free and uncoerced. A standard footnote is that Ortega was driven to accept the 1990 elections by U.S. pressure; here opinion divides, with the right and the left each claiming credit for the achievement.

We may disregard the first point, though not without noting that it has been a staple of the "establishment left," with its frequent reference to "restoring democracy" in Nicaragua. The second expresses a fundamental dogma, which brooks no deviation and is immune to fact; I need not review this matter, familiar outside of the reigning doctrinal system. The footnote ignores the unacceptable (hence unreportable) fact that the next election had been scheduled for 1990, and that the total effect of U.S. machinations was to advance it by a few months.

The most interesting point, however, is the third. Suppose that the USSR were to follow the U.S. model as the Baltic states declare independence, organizing a proxy army to attack them from foreign bases, training its terrorist forces to hit "soft targets" (health centers, schools, etc.) so that the governments cannot provide social services, reducing the economies to ruin through embargo and other sanctions, and so on, in the familiar routine. Suppose further that when elections come, the Kremlin informs the population, loud and clear, that they can vote for the CP or starve. Perhaps some unreconstructed Stalinist might call this a "free and fair election." Surely no one else would.

Or suppose that the Arab states were to reduce Israel to the level of Ethiopia, then issuing a credible threat that they would drive it the rest of the way unless it "cried uncle" and voted for their candidate. Someone who called this a "democratic election," "free and fair," would rightly be condemned as an outright Nazi.

Go to the next segment.

29 See Necessary Illusions, particularly 61-6; Manufacturing Consent.

30 BG, Feb. 22, 1990.

31 ABC World News Tonight, Feb. 20, 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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posted by u2r2h at 8:08 PM


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