own actions (e.g., helping dismantle the Soviet Union and pressing Russian
"reform"; positively encouraging Slovenian and Croatian exit from Yugoslavia
and the breakup of that state, and without dealing with the problem of
stranded minorities, etc.) is completely unrecognized.
The Times then goes
on to blame terrorism on "religious fanaticism…the anger among those left
behind by globalization," and the "distaste of Western civilization and
cultural values" among the global dispossessed. The blinders and
self-deception in such a statement are truly mind-boggling. As if corporate
globalization, pushed by the U.S. government and its closest allies, with the
help of the World Trade Organization, World Bank and IMF, had not unleashed a
tremendous immiseration process on the Third World, with budget cuts and
import devastation of artisans and small farmers. Many of these hundreds of
millions of losers are quite aware of the role of the United States in this
process. It is the U.S. public who by and large have been kept in the dark.
Vast numbers have
also suffered from U.S. policies of supporting rightwing rule and state
terrorism, in the interest of combating "nationalistic regimes maintained in
large part by appeals to the masses" and threatening to respond to "an
increasing popular demand for immediate improvement in the low living
standards of the masses," as fearfully expressed in a 1954 National Security
Council report, whose contents were never found to be "news fit to print." In
connection with such policies, in the U.S. sphere of influence a dozen
National Security States came into existence in the 1960s and 1970s, and as
Noam Chomsky and I reported back in 1979, of 35 countries using torture on an
administrative basis in the late 1970s, 26 were clients of the United States.
The idea that many of those torture victims and their families, and the
families of the thousands of "disappeared" in Latin America in the 1960s
through the 1980s, may have harbored some ill-feelings toward the United
States remains unthinkable to U.S. commentators.
During the Vietnam
war the United States used its enormous military power to try to install in
South Vietnam a minority government of U.S. choice, with its military
operations based on the knowledge that the people there were the enemy. This
country killed millions and left Vietnam (and the rest of Indochina)
devastated. A Wall Street Journal report in 1997 estimated that perhaps
500,000 children in Vietnam suffer from serious birth defects resulting from
the U.S. use of chemical weapons there. Here again there could be a great many
people with well-grounded hostile feelings toward the United States.
The same is true of
millions in southern Africa, where the United States supported Savimbi in
Angola and carried out a policy of "constructive engagement" with apartheid
South Africa as it carried out a huge cross-border terroristic operation
against the frontline states in the 1970s and 1980s, with enormous casualties.
U.S. support of "our kind of guy" Suharto as he killed and stole at home and
in East Timor, and its long warm relation with Philippine dictator Ferdinand
Marcos, also may have generated a great deal of hostility toward this country
among the numerous victims.
Iranians may remember
that the United States installed the Shah as an amenable dictator in 1953,
trained his secret services in "methods of interrogation," and lauded him as
he ran his regime of torture; and they surely remember that the United States
supported Saddam Hussein all through the 1980s as he carried out his war with
them, and turned a blind eye to his use of chemical weapons against the enemy
state. Their civilian airliner 655 that was destroyed in 1988, killing 290
people, was downed by a U.S. warship engaged in helping Saddam Hussein fight
his war with Iran. Many Iranians may know that the commander of that ship was
given a Legion of Merit award in 1990 for his "outstanding service" (but
readers of the New York Times would not know this as the paper has never
mentioned this high level commendation).
The unbending U.S.
backing for Israel as that country has carried out a long-term policy of
expropriating Palestinian land in a major ethnic cleansing process, has
produced two intifadas– uprisings reflecting the desperation of an oppressed
people. But these uprisings and this fight for elementary rights have had no
constructive consequences because the United States gives the ethnic cleanser
arms, diplomatic protection, and carte blanche as regards policy.
All of these victims
may well have a distaste for "Western civilization and cultural values," but
that is because they recognize that these include the ruthless imposition of a
neoliberal regime that serves Western transnational corporate interests, along
with a willingness to use unlimited force to achieve Western ends. This is
genuine imperialism, sometimes using economic coercion alone, sometimes
supplementing it with violence, but with many millions–perhaps even
billions–of people "unworthy victims." The Times editors do not recognize
this, or at least do not admit it, because they are spokespersons for an
imperialism that is riding high and whose principals are unprepared to change
its policies. This bodes ill for the future. But it is of great importance
right now to stress the fact that imperial terrorism inevitably produces
retail terrorist responses; that the urgent need is the curbing of the causal
force, which is the rampaging empire.