What You Need to Succeed is Sincerity, And If You Can Fake
Sincerity You've Got It Made. (Old Hollywood axiom)
By William Blum
months ago I told the American people that I did not
trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best
intentions still tell me that is true, but the facts
and evidence tell me it is not." — President
Ronald Reagan, 1987 1
-- On April
23, speaking at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC,
President Barack Obama told his assembled audience that as
president "I've done my utmost ... to prevent and end
Do the facts and evidence tell him that his words are not true?
Well, let's see ... There's the multiple atrocities carried out
in Iraq by American forces under President Obama. There's the
multiple atrocities carried out in Afghanistan by American
forces under Obama. There's the multiple atrocities carried out
in Pakistan by American forces under Obama. There's the multiple
atrocities carried out in Libya by American/NATO forces under
Obama. There are also the hundreds of American drone attacks
against people and homes in Somalia and in Yemen (including
against American citizens in the latter). Might the friends and
families of these victims regard the murder of their loved ones
and the loss of their homes as atrocities?
Ronald Reagan was pre-Alzheimer's when he uttered the above.
What excuse can be made for Barack Obama?
The president then continued in the same fashion by saying: "We
possess many tools ... and using these tools over the past three
years, I believe — I know — that we have saved countless lives."
Obama pointed out that this includes Libya, where the United
States, in conjunction with NATO, took part in seven months of
almost daily bombing missions. We may never learn from the new
pro-NATO Libyan government how many the bombs killed, or the
extent of the damage to homes and infrastructure. But the
President of the United States assured his Holocaust Museum
audience that "today, the Libyan people are forging their own
future, and the world can take pride in the innocent lives that
we saved." (As I described in last month's report, Libya could
now qualify as a failed state.)
Language is an invention that makes it possible for a person to
deny what he is doing even as he does it.
Mr. Obama closed with these stirring words; "It can be tempting
to throw up our hands and resign ourselves to man's endless
capacity for cruelty. It's tempting sometimes to believe that
there is nothing we can do." But Barack Obama is not one of
those doubters. He knows there is something he can do about
man's endless capacity for cruelty. He can add to it. Greatly.
And yet, I am certain that, with exceedingly few exceptions,
those in his Holocaust audience left with no doubt that this was
a man wholly deserving of his Nobel Peace Prize.
And future American history books may well certify the
president's words as factual, his motivation sincere, for his
talk indeed possessed the quality needed for schoolbooks.
The Israeli-American-Iranian-Holocaust-NobelPeacePrize Circus
It's a textbook case of how the American media is at its worst
when it comes to US foreign policy and particularly when an
Officially Designated Enemy (ODE) is involved. I've discussed
this case several times in this report in recent years. The ODE
is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The accusation has
been that he had threatened violence against Israel, based on
his 2005 remark calling for "wiping Israel off the map". Who can
count the number of times this has been repeated in every kind
of media, in every country of the world, without questioning the
accuracy of what was reported? A Lexis-Nexis search of "All News
(English)" for <Iran and Israel and "off the map"> for the past
seven years produced the message: "This search has been
interrupted because it will return more than 3000 results."
As I've pointed out, Ahmadinejad's "threat of violence" was a
serious misinterpretation, one piece of evidence being that the
following year he declared: "The Zionist regime will be wiped
out soon, the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will
achieve freedom." 2 Obviously, he was not calling for any kind
of violent attack upon Israel, for the dissolution of the Soviet
Union took place remarkably peacefully. But the myth of course
Now, finally, we have the following exchange from the radio-TV
simulcast, Democracy Now!, of April 19:
A top Israeli official has acknowledged that Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never said that Iran seeks to "wipe Israel
off the face of the map." The falsely translated statement has
been widely attributed to Ahmadinejad and used repeatedly by
U.S. and Israeli government officials to back military action
and sanctions against Iran. But speaking to Teymoor Nabili of
the network Al Jazeera,
Israeli Deputy Prime
Minister Dan Meridor admitted
Ahmadinejad had been
Teymoor Nabili: "As we know, Ahmadinejad didn't say that he
plans to exterminate Israel, nor did he say that Iran policy is
to exterminate Israel. Ahmadinejad's position and Iran's
position always has been, and they've made this — they've said
this as many times as Ahmadinejad has criticized Israel, he has
said as many times that he has no plans to attack Israel. ..."
Dan Meridor: "Well, I have to disagree, with all due respect.
You speak of Ahmadinejad. I speak of Khamenei, Ahmadinejad,
Rafsanjani, Shamkhani. I give the names of all these people.
They all come, basically ideologically, religiously, with the
statement that Israel is an unnatural creature, it will not
survive. They didn't say, 'We'll wipe it out,' you're right. But
'It will not survive, it is a cancerous tumor that should be
removed,' was said just two weeks ago again."
Teymoor Nabili: "Well, I'm glad you've acknowledged that they
didn't say they will wipe it out."
So that's that. Right? Of course not. Fox News, NPR, CNN, NBC,
et al. will likely continue to claim that Ahmadinejad threatened
violence against Israel, threatened to "wipe it off the map".
And that's only Ahmadinejad the Israeli Killer. There's still
Ahmadinejad the Holocaust Denier. So until a high Israeli
official finally admits that that too is a lie, keep in mind
that Ahmadinejad has never said simply, clearly, unambiguously,
and unequivocally that he thinks that what we historically know
as the Holocaust never happened. He has instead commented about
the peculiarity and injustice of a Holocaust which took place in
Europe resulting in a state for the Jews in the Middle East
instead of in Europe. Why are the Palestinians paying a price
for a German crime? he asks. And he has questioned the figure of
six million Jews killed by Nazi Germany, as have many other
people of various political stripes. In a speech at Columbia
University on September 24, 2007, in reply to a question about
the Holocaust, the Iranian president declared: "I'm not saying
that it didn't happen at all. This is not the judgment that I'm
passing here." 3
Let us now listen to Elie Wiesel, the simplistic, reactionary
man who's built a career around being a Holocaust survivor,
introducing President Obama at the Holocaust Museum for the talk
referred to above, some five days after the statement made by
the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister:
"How is it that the Holocaust's No. 1 denier, Ahmadinejad, is
still a president? He who threatens to use nuclear weapons — to
use nuclear weapons — to destroy the Jewish state. Have we not
learned? We must. We must know that when evil has power, it is
almost too late."
"Nuclear weapons" is of course adding a new myth on the back of
the old myth.
Wiesel, like Obama, is a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. As is
Henry Kissinger and Menachim Begin. And several other such
war-loving beauties. When will that monumental farce of a prize
be put to sleep?
For the record, let it be noted that on March 4, speaking before
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Obama
said: "Let's begin with a basic truth that you all understand:
No Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands
of a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel
off the map, and sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel's
Postscript: Each time I strongly criticize Barack Obama a few of
my readers ask to unsubscribe. I'm really sorry to lose them but
it's important that those on the left rid themselves of their
attachment to the Democratic Party. I'm not certain how best to
institute revolutionary change in the United States, but I do
know that it will not happen through the Democratic Party, and
the sooner those on the left cut their umbilical cord to the
Democrats, the sooner we can start to get more serious about
this thing called revolution.
Written on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2012
Two simple suggestions as part of a plan to save the planet.
1. Population control: limit families to two children
All else being equal, a markedly reduced population count would
have a markedly beneficial effect upon global warming, air
pollution, and food and water availability; as well as finding a
parking spot, getting a seat on the subway, getting on the
flight you prefer, and much, much more. Some favor limiting
families to one child. Still others, who spend a major part of
each day digesting the awful news of the world, are calling for
a limit of zero. (The Chinese government announced in 2008 that
the country would have about 400 million more people if it
wasn't for its limit of one or two children per couple. 5
But, within the environmental movement, there is still
significant opposition to this. Part of the reason is fear of
ethnic criticism inasmuch as population programs have
traditionally been aimed at — or seen to be aimed at — primarily
the poor, the weak, and various "outsiders". There is also the
fear of the religious right and its medieval views on birth
2. Eliminate the greatest consumer of energy in the world: The
United States military.
Here's Michael Klare, professor of Peace and World Security
Studies at Hampshire College, Mass. in 2007:
Sixteen gallons of oil. That's how much the average American
soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan consumes on a daily basis —
either directly, through the use of Humvees, tanks, trucks, and
helicopters, or indirectly, by calling in air strikes. Multiply
this figure by 162,000 soldiers in Iraq, 24,000 in Afghanistan,
and 30,000 in the surrounding region (including sailors aboard
U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf) and you arrive at
approximately 3.5 million gallons of oil: the daily petroleum
tab for U.S. combat operations in the Middle East war zone.
Multiply that daily tab by 365 and you get 1.3 billion gallons:
the estimated annual oil expenditure for U.S. combat operations
in Southwest Asia. That's greater than the total annual oil
usage of Bangladesh, population 150 million — and yet it's a
gross underestimate of the Pentagon's wartime consumption. 6
The United States military, for decades, with its legion of
bases and its numerous wars has also produced and left behind a
deadly toxic legacy. From the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam in
the 1960s to the open-air burn pits on US bases in Iraq and
Afghanistan in the 21st century, countless local people have
been sickened and killed; and in between those two periods we
could read things such as this from a lengthy article on the
subject in the Los Angeles Times in 1990:
U.S. military installations have polluted the drinking water of
the Pacific island of Guam, poured tons of toxic chemicals into
Subic Bay in the Philippines, leaked carcinogens into the water
source of a German spa, spewed tons of sulfurous coal smoke into
the skies of Central Europe and pumped millions of gallons of
raw sewage into the oceans. 7
The military has caused similar harm to the environment in the
United States at a number of its installations. (Do a Google
search for <"U.S. military bases" toxic>)
When I suggest eliminating the military I am usually rebuked for
leaving "a defenseless America open to foreign military
invasion". And I usually reply:
"Tell me who would invade us? Which country?"
"What do you mean which country? It could be any country."
"So then it should be easy to name one."
"Okay, any of the 200 members of the United Nations!"
"No, I'd like you to name a specific country that you think
would invade the United States. Name just one."
"Okay, Paraguay. You happy now?"
"No, you have to tell me why Paraguay would invade the United
"How would I know?"
Etc., etc., and if this charming dialogue continues, I ask the
person to tell me how many troops the invading country would
have to have to occupy a country of more than 300 million
The questions concerning immigration into the United States from
south of the border go on year after year, with the same issues
argued back and forth: What's the best way to block the flow
into the country? How shall we punish those caught here
illegally? Should we separate families, which happens when
parents are deported but their American-born children remain?
Should the police and various other institutions have the right
to ask for proof of legal residence from anyone they suspect of
being here illegally? Should we punish employers who hire
illegal immigrants? Should we grant amnesty to at least some of
the immigrants already here for years? ... on and on, round and
round it goes, for decades. Every once in a while someone
opposed to immigration will make it a point to declare that the
United States does not have any moral obligation to take in
these Latino immigrants.
But the counter-argument to the last is almost never mentioned:
Yes, the United States does have a moral obligation because so
many of the immigrants are escaping situations in their
homelands made hopeless by American interventions and policy. In
Guatemala and Nicaragua Washington overthrew progressive
governments which were sincerely committed to fighting poverty.
In El Salvador the US played a major role in suppressing a
movement striving to install such a government, and to a lesser
extent played such a role in Honduras. And in Mexico, although
Washington has not intervened militarily in Mexico since 1919,
over the years the US has been providing training, arms, and
surveillance technology to Mexico's police and armed forces to
better their ability to suppress their own people's aspirations,
as in Chiapas, and this has added to the influx of the
impoverished to the United States. Moreover, Washington's North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has brought a flood of
cheap, subsidized US agricultural products into Mexico and
driven many Mexican farmers off the land.
The end result of all these policies has been an army of
migrants heading north in search of a better life. It's not that
these people prefer to live in the United States. They'd much
rather remain with their families and friends, be able to speak
their native language at all times, and avoid the hardships
imposed on them by American police and right-wingers.
Several readers have asked me why Counterpunch, one of the most
important progressive websites, no longer runs this report. It's
been going on for about six months. Awhile ago I wrote to the
two gentlemen who run the site, asking what happened. Neither
one answered. It's a big mystery, particularly since I seemed to
be on very friendly terms with them. Any reader who shares my
concern can feel free to contact the editors; perhaps you'll
have more luck than I did.
March 5, 1987
December 12, 2006
President Ahmadinejad Delivers Remarks at
Columbia University, Transcript,
Washington Post, September 24, 2007
Remarks by the President at AIPAC Policy
Conference, White House Office of
the Press Secretary, March 4, 2012
March 3, 2008
The Pentagon v. Peak Oil,
TomDispatch.com, June 14, 2007
Los Angeles Times,
June 18, 1990
William Blum is the author of:
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War
Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire
Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased,
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