Itâ€™s like Noam Chomsky says: if you want to see how shockingly narrow the spectrum of acceptable political debate and ideological contestation is in the
Itâ€™s often as much about what the Times and other such â€œleftmostâ€ outlets (Newsweek, for example) DO NOT say and delete as it is about what they include. I am repeatedly amazed by the remarkable lengths to which power-worshipping â€œliberalâ€ reporters, columnists, and/or their editors go to NOT to observe â€“ to ignore â€“ graphically obvious contradictions between elite rhetoric and elite behavior.
A recently published ZNet Sustainer Commentary of mine (to purchase commentaries go to www.zmag.org/Commentaries/donorform.htm) bears the ominous title â€œThe Times speaks on â€œPetroleum-Related Criminal Activity.â€ It shows the Timesâ€™ editorial board recently applauding the U.S. Army for moving away from the curiously obsolete (for the Times) question of the criminal Iraq Warâ€™s legitimacy and genesis. The Army was getting down to what the Times calls “a useful project: figuring out why the Bush administration’s plans worked out so badly” and “incorporat[ing] the hard lessons learned in Iraq into future military plans,” so “that the size and composition of [a future] American intervention force” is “based onâ€¦what is needed” not just to “defeat the organized armed forces of an enemy government” (on its own oil/soil) but also to prevent “insurgency before it [takes] root and spread[s]” (“Learning From Iraq,” New York Times, 26 November 2006, sec. 4, p. 9).
Yes, three cheers for more effective, competent implementation of future illegal imperial “interventions” (invasions and occupations) on the supposedly sovereign soil of “enemy” states! Howâ€™s that for liberal leftism over at the Times?! The same ZNet commentary in question quotes the Times recently relaying without any hint of irony an angry Bush administration report on how Iraqi â€œinsurgentsâ€ are funding their resistance with money gained from â€œpetroleum-related criminal activity.â€ If the
This little bit of missing irony reminds me of the time that the Times dutifully reported U.S. National Intelligence chief and war criminal John Negroponteâ€™s criticism of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez for “spending considerable sums involving himself in the political and economic life of other countries in Latin America and elsewhere.â€ Chavez was doing this, Negroponte said, â€œdespite the very real economic development and social needs of his own country. Itâ€™s clear,â€ Negroponte told a Congressional hearing last March, that Chavez â€œis spending hundreds of millions, if note more, for his very extravagant foreign policy.â€
Negroponteâ€™s tone of concern over Chavez’s “extravagance” was repeated in a Timesâ€™ article bearing the alarming title â€œCHAVEZ SEEKING FOREIGN ALLIES, SPENDING BILLIONS: Oil Used in Rivalry With U.S. for Influence in the
Put all that aside and reflect further upon the curious fact, naturally not mentioned by the Times, that the U.S. is a great perpetrator when it comes to the crime of sacrificing domestic social and economic health and development to the pursuit of an “extravagant foreign policy” involving massive interference in the internal affairs of other nations.
This is only one way in which Uncle Sam â€œinvolv[es] himself in the political and economic life of other countries in
This global â€œextravaganceâ€ transpires while more than 37 million (United States of) Americans (residents of what US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson [R-Texas] has called “the beacon to the world of the way life should be”) languish beneath the federal government’s notoriously low poverty level ($15,219 for a family of three in 2004) and more than 13 million or 18 percent of US children live below that sorry measure. The
Speaking of missing irony, the Timesâ€™ liberal columnist Nicolas Kristof recently penned a column in which in which he noted â€œa fatigue in the West with an Arab world that sometimes seems to put its creative juices mostly into building better bombs.â€ Kristof usefully criticized the â€œbigotedâ€ (heâ€™s right) view of Islam as â€œintrinsically backward, misogynistic and violentâ€ (N.Kristof, â€œThe Muslim Stereotype,â€ New York Times, 10 December 2006, sec. 4, p. 13).
His column predictably says nothing, however, about the Westâ€™s and especially the United Statesâ€™ destructive and violent tendency to elevate the building of â€œbetter bombsâ€ (and missiles and artillery shells and bullets and military lasers and helicopter gun-ships and bombers and torpedoes and submarines and fighter jets and grenades and drones and the like) over the higher and more just things in life! On April 4, 1967 (39 years to the day before the above Times article on Chavezâ€™s â€œextravagantâ€ foreign policy), the
Also naturally deleted from Kristofâ€™s column is any appropriate acknowledgement that such Arab propensity as exists for â€œbuilding better bombsâ€ owes no small part of its existence to murderous and illegal occupations conducted by the
Appropriately enough, the liberal Kristofâ€™s column appears on the same Times page in which you can read the following snippet of brilliant commentary on the Iraq Study Group Report from the neoconservative Hoover Institutionâ€™s Larry Diamond: â€œAmong the 79 recommendations of the report is one addressed explicitly to President Bush: He â€˜should state that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Iraq.â€™ Why is this so important? Since May 2003, a growing number of Iraqis and most of the Sunni minority have felt their country is under American occupation. This has been one of two factors driving the vicious Sunni insurgencyâ€ (Diamond, â€œClose the Bases,â€ New York Times, 10 December 2006, sec. 4, p. 13).
Yes, you read that correctly: â€œhave FELT (!) their country is under
Kristof is also on record calling for the White House to renounce permanent
You have to look far beyond the Times, to places like Z Magazine, International Socialist Review, New Left Review, Socialist Worker, and Monthly Review to find honest discussion of the cold imperial ambitions driving â€œOperation Iraqi Liberationâ€ (O.I.L.).
You also have to go beyond the Times to see candid and sustained treatment of the officially unworthy victims of O.I.L.: the hundreds of thousands of faceless Iraq civilians who have perished because of the criminal, imperialist U.S. invasion, surely a remarkable example of murderous foreign policy â€œextravaganceâ€ that has been executed at no small cost to â€œthe very real economic development and social needs of [the White Houseâ€™s] own country.â€ Donâ€™t look for the Times to ever include Iraqis in the little boxed-in biographies it embeds deep in its newsprint under the title â€œNames of the Dead.â€