Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Some Things You Need to Know Before the World Ends

The excellent William Blum has an article in Counterpunch, 20 June 2005, that should be read in full.

Some quotes:

"Progressives of my generation became anti-anti-communists because the powers-that-be in the United States, for decades and decades, used the sins - real and (often) fabricated - of the Soviet Union as a justification for US foreign policy.

"Thus, the horrors carried out by the US in Korea were justified because 'we're fighting communism'.

"Thus, the horrors carried out by the US in Vietnam were justified because 'we're fighting communism'.

"Ditto the horrors of Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Chile, Guatemala, Salvador, Nicaragua, etc., etc., etc. (Now, of course, 'we're fighting terrorism', but it's for the exact same imperialist reasons.)

"Another myth ... : The Yalta agreement of 1945, in planning for 'the establishment of order in Europe', affirmed 'the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live.' We've been told ever since that it was the evil commies that caused this noble agreement to fall apart.

"But, in fact, it was the United States and the United Kingdom who cynically violated this affirmation before Stalin did. In Greece. Before the war in Europe even ended! By grossly interfering in the civil war, taking the side of those who had supported the Nazis in the war (sic), thus enabling them to defeat those who had fought against the Nazis. The latter, you see, had amongst its number some who could be called (choke, gasp) 'communists'."


"August 6 and 9 will mark the 60th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan. We can expect the usual speeches and editorials telling us how the use of the bombs obviated the need for a land invasion of Japan, thus saving a huge number of US servicemen's lives.

"'Omission,' wrote George Orwell, 'is the most powerful form of lie.'

"The principal omissions from the a-bomb story is that Japan's military capability had been hopelessly destroyed and the Japanese government had been frantically sending peace feelers to the United States for a long time before those fateful days of August; peace feelers which Washington completely ignored because they wanted to use the atomic bombs."


"Indonesian officials saying they're going to reform the military is like officials in Nevada saying they're going to crack down on gambling. For 40 years the Indonesian military has engaged in mass murder and other atrocities, in Jakarta, East Timor, Aceh, Papua, and elsewhere, taking the lives of well over a million people, including several Americans in recent years.

"For 40 years relations between the US and Indonesian militaries have been one of the very closest of such contacts in the third world for the United States, despite the occasional objections and prohibitions from Congress. For 40 years, American officials have been saying that they have to continue training and arming Indonesia's military because the contact with the American military will have some kind of ennobling effect. For 40 years it has had no such effect at all.

"As Senator Tom Harkin (D.-Iowa) observed in 1999: 'I have seen no evidence in my 24 years in Congress of one instance where because of American military involvement with another military that the Americans have stopped that foreign army from carrying out atrocities against their own people. No evidence, none.'

"Yet the pretense continues, for what else can an American official say? Something like this? - 'We don't care how brutal the Indonesian military is because they got rid of Sukarno and his irritating nationalism for us, and for 40 years they've been killing people we call communists, killing people we call terrorists, and protecting our oil, natural gas, mining, and other corporate interests against Indonesian protestors. Now if that's not freedom and democracy, I don't know what is.'"


William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II,

Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only Super Power,

and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir.


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