The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] Chomsky talk extract

Extract from mid-March 2002 talk by Noam Chomsky.
(full text available on-line at

... What about Iraq?  Well, Bush and Tony Blair, who the London Financial
Times recently described as the U.S. Ambassador to the world.  The other
press describes him in a little less complimentary terms--America's poodle
and things like that.  Bush and Blair have recently, just a couple of days
ago, have repeated the standard line, of Clinton and others, that we've got
to get rid of Saddam Hussein.  He's such a criminal that he has even used
chemical weapons against his own people.  You heard that in Bush's
presidential news conference a couple of days ago.  And that's perfectly
true, he did use chemical weapons against his own people, an ultimate crime.
All that's missing is that he did it with the full approval of Daddy Bush,
who continued to support him right through that period and beyond, as did
Britain.  They thought it was just fine for him to use gas against his own
people, to develop weapons of mass destruction, which he was doing with the
support of the United States and Britain, which continued, irrespective of
his atrocities, because he was useful at that time.

Until those words are mentioned, we know that you can't even use the term
hypocrisy, it's unfair to the term hypocrisy to talk about the coverage of
this with the omission of the fact that the crimes are very real and we
supported them, and continue to support them afterwards.  Bush's support was
particularly fulsome.  In early 1990, well after that, he actually sent a
high level senatorial delegation to Iraq, just a couple of months before the
invasion of Kuwait.  It was headed by Bob Dole, soon to be presidential
candidate.  The purpose of the delegation was to convey to Bush's friend
Saddam his greetings and good wishes, and to assure him that he shouldn't
pay attention to the occasional criticisms he hears in the United States.
It's just that some of the American reporters are kind of out of control and
we've got this free press thing and don't have a way to shut him up.  But in
fact, we think you're a fine guy.

Until some of that is brought in, we know that all the talk about those
reasons are just--don't even rise to the level of nonsense.  So we put that
aside.  I mean, it's true that he's a monster.  He was much more of a
monster then.  It's probably true that he's developing weapons of mass
destruction.  Then, he was certainly doing it with our support, and he was
far more dangerous, way more powerful and much more dangerous.  He's a
threat to anybody within his reach, but the reach is smaller now. He's evil,
all right, but his crimes can't possibly be the reason for the planned

So what is the reason?  Well, I don't think it's very obscure.  Iraq has the
second largest oil reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia.  It's been
clear all along that the United States, one way or another, will find a way
to regain control over those enormous resources, and it will certainly not
permit privileged access to them on the part of its adversaries.  France and
Russia have the inside track now, and that's not tolerable.  Maybe close
behind them is Dick Cheney, according to what I understand, who seems to be
getting Iraqi oil into the country, but I don't know about that.

Anyway, France and Russia can't have privileged access.  The U.S. has to
take control over them.  And, sooner or later, will do so, try to do so.
They may regard this as a window of opportunity.  However, it's not going to
be easy.  There's a lot of talk about the technical difficulty, but there's
a much more fundamental one.  Any regime change in Iraq has to be carried
out in a way which ensures that it is not even marginally democratic, and
there's a good reason for that.  The majority of the population of Iraq is
Shi'ite, and if they have any voice in a new regime, they might draw Iraq
closer to Iran, which is the last thing the United States wants.  The Kurds
are going to press for some kind of autonomy, so that can't be allowed.  It
will drive Turkey berserk.

And therefore the new regime, whatever it is, has to be ruled by Sunni
generals, military force.  That's why the C.I.A. and State Department are
now convening meetings of generals who are defectors from the Iraqi army in
the 1990s.  Unfortunately, their favorite according to the press, General
Khazraji, can't come, he's being detained in Denmark where he's under
investigation for participation in the Halabja massacre, the chemical attack
on the Kurds, so he can't come, even though he's the guy we really want.

But that's the kind of regime that they'll kind of somehow impose.  Again,
none of this is secret, and we can thank Thomas Friedman once again for
having explained it all. You may recall, in March 1991, right at the end of
the Gulf War when the U.S., of course, had total control over the whole
area, there was a rebellion, in the south, a major rebellion, a Shi'ite
rebellion, which could well have overthrown the monster, probably would
have, except for the fact that the U.S. authorized Saddam to use his air
force helicopters, planes, military helicopters to devastate the resistance.
In fact, there were probably more people killed then, more civilians, than
during the war.

This is all while General Stormin' Norman Schwartzkopf was sitting there,
watching it.  He later said that the Iraqis had fooled him, when they asked
him for authorization to use helicopters, he didn't really understand that
they were going to use them.  As he put it, he was "suckered by the Iraqis",
these deceptive creatures, and therefore he didn't realize, and they sort of
destroyed the resistance while he was looking the other way.

At that point, it was so obvious, you just couldn't refuse to report it.
And it was reported.  Thomas Friedman who was chief diplomatic correspondent
for the New York Times, then.  Chief diplomatic correspondent means State
Department spokesperson at the New York Times.  You have lunch with somebody
in the State Department, he tells you what to write, that sort of thing.  He
had a column, a good column, in which he explained the US position.  He
said, we just had to allow Saddam to smash the opposition, and then he
explained, and it still holds, that "the best of all worlds" for the United
States would be "an iron-fisted military junta" that would rule Iraq the
same way Saddam did, and with the support of Saudi Arabia and Turkey and of
course the United States.  That's the best of all worlds, and we'll try to
achieve it somehow.  It's best if the name of the head is not Saddam
Hussein, that's a little embarrassing, but some clone will do.  That's what
we have to aim at.  And that's not easy to achieve ...

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]