Some Choice Morsels, Past and Present
all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs
of Iraq” (Paul Wolfowitz, 2003—Note: These words have
inspired the Iraqi resistance in their efforts to oust the “coalition.”
Wolfowitz of course assumes that the coalition members are not
foreigners, as they are U.S. citizens and folks approved by us,
therefore possessing a Godfather’s right to be at home anywhere
within his domains).
Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect
to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional
power against his neighbors” (Colin Powell, February 2001,
before the propaganda line was firm).
able to keep his arms from him [Saddam Hussein]. His military
forces have not been rebuilt” (Condoleeza Rice in April 2001,
also before the party line hardened).
can now doubt the word of America” (George Bush, Jan. 20,
2004—meaning that his team may lie without restraint, and
violate our “word” and legal obligation to adhere to
international law, but the world does not doubt that the Bushies
will carry out threats to commit violence against defenseless
can justify the loss of innocent lives” (Colin Powell in
August 2003, commenting on innocent lives lost after an Al Qaeda
attack; he would no doubt qualify this to take account of “tragic
to Livy, the Romans conquered the world in their own defense”
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
we’re Democrats, I don’t think we have to come up with
an alternative point of view if we think he is right” (Democratic
Party Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, agreeing with the Bush
team’s skepticism about the work of the UN weapons inspection
team, that was not finding those WMD that Bush and Daschle knew
were there and that threatened our national security).
haven’t given up on the United Nations process,’ one
administration official said” (January 2003—“UN
process” as used here means getting the UN to do exactly
what we want, which if not successful, and we are forced to “give
up,” would mean simply ignoring the UN and UN Charter).
of peace, the war party insists on making preparation for war.
As soon as prepared for war, it insists on making war. If there
is no sufficient reason for war, the war party will make war on
one pretext, then invent another, possibly more effective, pretext,
after the war is on” (Senator Bob La Follette, Sr., June
said NATO had a ‘moral obligation’ to support a U.S.-led
war on Iraq, adding any decision to take military action against
Iraq ‘will be taken by [Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein’”
, December 28, 2002).
no voice, the people can always be brought to do the bidding of
the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they
are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism
and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country”
(Hermann Goering, Hitler’s number two person).
light of Operation Northwoods documents, it is clear that deceiving
the public and trumping up wars for Americans to fight and die
in was standard, approved policy at the highest levels of the
Pentagon” (James Bamford—Northwoods was an official
plan to provoke a war with Cuba by killing U.S. civilians and
blaming it on Cuba, and though it was never carried out, it “had
the support of every single member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff…”).
before Saddam invaded Kuwait, the good senator [Alan Simpson,
who later called reporter Peter Arnett a “traitor”]
met the Butcher of Baghdad and told him: ‘I enjoy meeting
candid and open people…. I believe that your problems lie with
the Western media and not with the U.S. government [and surely
not with any deficiencies in Saddam]…. It is a haughty and
pampered press; they all consider themselves geniuses…they
are very cynical—what I advise is that you invite them to
come here and see for themselves” (Miron Ruzen).
the mid-terms; this [the proposed regressive tax cuts] is our
due” (Vice President Dick Cheney in November 2002, answering
O’Neill’s argument that such tax cuts were not justified.
The key word “our” obviously does not refer to the U.S.
citizenry in general, but rather to the tiny corporate elite—of
which Cheney, Rumsfeld, and many of the rest of the gang are longstanding
members—which funds Bush and benefits disproportionately
from his tax cuts and other policies).
seeking…is the unexcelled protector of the consumer.”
Government regulation represents “force and fraud” as
a means of protecting the consumer. The market system is a “superlatively
moral system that the welfare statists propose to improve upon
by means of preventive law, snooping bureaucrats, and the chronic
goad of fear” (Alan Greenspan, writing in a 1966 book edited
by Ayn Rand).
become increasingly difficult for policy-makers who wish to practice,
as they put it, a more ‘caring’ capitalism, to realize
the full potential of their economies” (Alan Greenspan, in
In his congressional
testimony of July 1997 Alan Greenspan explained that inflation
was not rising despite the lowering unemployment rate because
of “a heightened sense of job insecurity,” which he
described elsewhere as the case of the “traumatized worker,”
helpful in keeping wages down. He didn’t suggest that job
insecurity or traumatization of workers was a “goad of fear”
or had any negative implications for welfare. In his book
Robert Pollin shows that mainstream economists
were very slow to recognize greater job insecurity as a key factor
altering the unemployment/inflation relationship, but that when
they did recognize it this did not trouble them.
Janet Yellen, co-author with Alan Blinder of a book on the 1990s
The Fabulous Decade
, told the Federal Reserve
Open Market Committee in 1996 that “while the labor market
is tight, job insecurity is alive and well. Real wage aspirations
seem modest, and the bargaining power of workers is surprisingly
low.” Pollin notes that Yellen and Blinder didn’t let
this interfere with their conclusion that the 1990s were “fabulous.”
Apparently these economists, like Clinton, don’t “feel
pain” as long as only workers suffer.
They are also
a throwback to 17th and 18th century mercantilist analysts, who
argued, that “high wages would prove destructive of national
well-being because they would reduce England’s competing
power by raising production costs. The prevalent doctrine held
that wages should be kept at the level of the cost of physical
subsistence. Hence the apparent anomaly of the laborer’s
position: whereas his theoretical social importance was large,
his actual economic reward was miserably small…. [Under mercantilism]
the dominant class will attempt to bind the burdens upon the shoulders
of those groups whose political power is too slight to defend
them from exploitation and will find justification for its policies
in the plea of national necessity” (Edgar S. Furniss,
of the Laborer in a System of Nationalism
I considered matters from the point of view of
humanity. I now consider them more particularly from the perspective
of economics [i.e., productivity versus support of peasant proprietors]”
(L’Abbe Mirabeau, an 18th century French economist-intellectual).
is doing fine, but the people aren’t” (Brazilian head-of-state,
General Emilio Medici, in 1971).
an economic miracle…. Chile is an even more amazing political
miracle. A military regime has supported reforms that sharply
reduce the role of the state and replace control from the top
with control from the bottom” (Milton Friedman, January 1982—by
control from the “bottom” Friedman means control by
private companies, not workers or ordinary citizens deprived of
a vote, freedom of speech, and freedom of organization in the
admirable dictatorship; these latter losses do not compromise
the “political miracle” for this freedom-lover).
is tough. He is in charge…. He speaks his mind. His aides
and ministries, mostly civilian professionals, flinch.… Peace.
Tranquility. Order. Pinochet has brought Chile those things”
, Nov. 16, 1980—Shirley
Christian was soon recruited to cover Chile for the
CEO of the Canadian transnational, Horsham Corp., explained that
Pinochet “had created a model that…has generated more
profit per capita in a Latin American forgotten country than in
any other comparable period.” As to people in jail, Munk
contends that the end justified the means “because it brought
wealth to an enormous number of people. I mean in my terms. If
you ask somebody who is in jail he’ll say no. But that’s
the wonderful thing about our world: we can have the freedom to
Globe & Mail
, May 10, 1996).
knowledge, science, hospitality, travel—these are the things
which should of their nature be international. But let goods be
homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible,
and, above all, let finance be primarily national…. The policy
of increased national self-sufficiency is to be considered, not
as an ideal in itself, but as directed to the creation of an environment
in which other ideals can be safely and conveniently pursued….
We all need to be as free as possible from interference from economic
changes elsewhere, in order to make our own favorite experiments
towards the ideal social republic of the future” (John Maynard
O’Brien’s rationale for opposing the academic boycott
of South Africa is as weak as Hitchens’ defense of Noam Chomsky”
(Alan Wolfe, 1988—perhaps the champion of hit-and-run smears
of Chomsky, although the competition is keen).
There has been
“no serious loss of life” resulting from the Bush bombing
of Afghanistan because the Administration has followed “an
almost pedantic policy of avoiding ‘collateral damage’”
, Dec. 17, 2001—the
loss of life from the bombing easily exceeded that of the 9/11
attack, but these were Afghans. Hitchens’s confidence in
the civilian-protective concern of Bush bombing policy comes from
faith in the truthfulness of those who have lied frequently in
the past, but are now “valiantly” fighting Islamic fascism).
us because they’re losers and we’re winners” (Dan
could be seen on the satellite going through the motions of a
bombing. He practiced describing how it was not known how many
casualties were caused by the bombing” (Rather was caught
rehearsing coverage of an Iraq bombing run, including his apologetics
for civilian casualties, the rehearsal mistakenly beamed to TV
affiliates via satellite).
Bush is the president, he makes the decisions and, you know, as
just one American, he wants me to line up, just tell me where”
(Dan Rather on the “David Letterman Show,” Sept. 18,
2001—Rather did line up where Bush would want him to, as
mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base
as itself” (Joseph Pulitzer, 1904).
is a country of a modest, very fucked class, which will never
stop being fucked…. Television has the obligation to bring
diversion to these people and remove them from their sad reality
and difficult future” (Emilio Azcarraga, late Mexican media
imagination is continually led to the brink of vice by a system
of terror and denunciations, people fling themselves over the
precipice from the mere dread of falling” (William Hazlitt,
S. Herman is an economist, author, and media analyst.