William Blum on the Naïve Trust of Countries Invaded by US

William Blum, in issue 4 of his Anti-Empire Report, published in December 2003, discussed how the Iraqis tried to prevent the US invasion of their country by offering to let American troops enter and show them that they very definitely didn’t have Weapons of Mass Distraction. Blum notes that the Iraqis weren’t the only country, who trusted America, and believed that if they simply gave in and acceded to the US’ demands, or demonstrated their good faith in another way, the US wouldn’t invade or try to overthrow the government. There’s a long list of such nations, which then also included Syria. Blum writes

We now know that Iraq tried to negotiate a peace deal with the United States to avoid the American invasion in March. Iraqi officials, including the chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, wanted Washington to know that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction and offered to allow American troops and experts to conduct a search; full support for any US plan in the Arab-Israeli peace process, and handing over a man accused of being involved in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 were also offered. If this is about oil, they said, they would also talk about US oil concessions.

What is most surprising about this is not the offers per se, but the naivete – undoubtedly fueled by desperation – on the part of the Iraqis that apparently led them to believe that the Americans were open to negotiation, to discussion, to being somewhat reasonable. The Iraqis apparently were sufficiently innocent about the fanaticism of the Bush administration that at one point they pledged to hold UN-supervised free elections. Surely free elections is something the United States believes in, the Iraqis reasoned, and will be moved by.

Other countries have harbored similar illusions about American leaders. Over the years, a number of Third-World leaders, under imminent military and/or political threat by the United States, have made appeals to Washington officials, even to the president in person, under the apparently hopeful belief that it was all a misunderstanding, that America was not really intent upon crushing them and their movements for social change. Amongst others, the Guatemalan foreign minister in 1954, Cheddi Jagan of British Guiana in 1961, and Maurice Bishop of Grenada in 1983 all made their appeals. All were crushed. In 1961, Che Guevara offered a Kennedy aide several important Cuban concessions if Washington would call off the dogs of war. To no avail. In 1994, it was reported that the leader of the Zapatista rebels in Mexico, Subcommander Marcos said that “he expects the United States to support the Zapatistas once US intelligence agencies are convinced the movement is not influenced by Cubans or Russians.” “Finally,” Marcos said, “they are going to conclude that this is a Mexican problem, with just and true causes.” Yet for many years, the United States has been providing the Mexican military with all the training and tools needed to kill Marcos’ followers and, most likely, before long, Marcos himself.

Syria today appears to be the latest example of this belief that somewhere in Washington, somehow, there is a vestige of human-like reasonableness that can be tapped. The Syrians turn over suspected terrorists to the United States and other countries and accept prisoners delivered to them by the US for the clear purpose of them being tortured to elicit information. The Syrians make it clear that they do these things in the hope of appeasing the American beast; this while the United States continues speaking openly of overthrowing the Syrian government and imposes strict sanctions against the country.

The “mystique” of America lives on.

This can be read on the Report’s site at https://williamblum.org/aer/read/4

I wonder how long it will be before the nations of the world decide that America and its allies, including Britain, are irredeemably treacherous, and that no deal can be made with us. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq is a case in point. Hussein at one point was an assassin for America, who tried to kill one of Iraq’s leading politicians after a coup in the 1950s overthrew the Iraqi prime minister installed by us. He was also armed and funded by us during the Iran-Iraq War, as part of our attack on the Islamic Republic. Then, having served his purpose, and with Big Oil demanding the Iraqi oil reserves, and Israel demanding his overthrow because he was funnelling arms to Palestinians – he was discarded and his country invaded and looted. The attacks on Iraq have been responsible for some of the radicalisation of Muslims in this country. Other Black and Asian groups have become disaffected because of the treatment of their peoples and nations by Britain, America and the West. And unfortunately, they’ve got a point. And as long as America goes on leading its allies cynically to break treaties as soon as they see the least advantage, the more this radicalisation will continue.

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2 Responses to “William Blum on the Naïve Trust of Countries Invaded by US”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Morning Beastie, reasonableness and sanity just don’t come into it, its all about maintaining the appearance of being the most powerful, I read this yesterday:

    No-fly zone would ‘require war with Syria and Russia’ – top US general https://www.rt.com/usa/360317-carter-dunford-syria-russia-senate/

    And to get a Westernised view here’s the WSJ on the same story: Top U.S. General Says Either Russia or Syria Attacked Aid Convoy http://www.wsj.com/articles/top-u-s-general-says-either-russia-or-syria-attacked-aid-convoy-1474561880

    Please note at least the WSJ mentioned one of the Russian alternative explanations for the strike “the possibility that the attack came from a U.S. armed drone. The Pentagon dismissed Russia’s allegations as spurious and announced that no U.S. or coalition manned or unmanned aircraft were in the vicinity of the convoy at the time of the attack.”

    Just for the record here’s the official text of some of that military theatre: http://www.defense.gov/News/Speeches/Speech-View/Article/952252/submitted-statement-on-us-national-security-challenges-and-ongoing-military-ope

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks for this, Michelle. A few weeks ago Counterpunch published an on-line article about Hillary Clinton’s hawkish vision for America. She was calling for ‘full spectrum dominance’, which basically means a massive extension of American military power to terrorise and intimidate everyone else in the world. Which includes the Russians and China, natch. This was also coupled to keeping wages in America at poverty level, which the magazine interpreted as meaning that the American military-industrial complex want to keep wages low so they can sell their goods to the emerging middle class in the rest of the world.

      As for American military spending, which is massive, I’m going to have to get around to writing an article about the similarity between the present situation and that of the Fascist nations described Lucien Laurat in his ‘Marxism and Democracy’. He talks about the growth of Fascism in Germany, and the way this resulted in the partial politicisation of the German masses. He felt that the Nazis had drawn into politics millions of people, who would otherwise have remained outside it. But these newly awakened masses were only partially politicised, in that they held naïve or simplistic political views, which the Nazis were able to manipulate.

      He also wrote a piece discussing the way the Nazis and other Fascist regimes were using their rearmament programme as a way of boosting the economy through government intervention. However, he argued that boosting the economy this way would automatically lead to war. Which is obviously true, though I think he missed the point with the Fascist regimes. Yes, the armaments programme were part of an economic strategy to reduce unemployment and boost industry. But this was only one aim. The Fascists themselves, in Germany, Italy and in various other countries, were militarists to whom fighting and combat was an intrinsic part of their worldview. For example, Hitler stopped passing on German military secrets to Mussolini, after the Italian dictator warned the Belgians about the intended Nazi invasion. When Hitler demanded an explanation, he was told by Musso that he wanted to see the Italians put up a better fight.

      Mind you, thinking about it, that also is an intrinsic part of much American popular culture. I can remember being taught when we were studying the rise of Communist and Fascist regimes in Europe at College that one of the factors leading to the rise of Fascism was that they appeared in countries which had an exaggerated respect for the military, and which had been unified by armed forces. That’s Germany under Bismarck, and Italy by Garibaldi. It’s also America. You think of the use of the American military to push westwards in the conquest and dispossession of the indigenous peoples, and the number of military heroes in American popular culture. I’m not denying that America also has an anti-military culture – that also exists, just as it did in Germany and Italy. But respect for the military is certainly a powerful element in American political culture, especially at the moment, when Americans are being called upon to support their forces by sending more recruits to their deaths in wars around the globe, and vote more funds for them.

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