Thursday, August 16, 2007

doublethink and truthspeak

In George Orwell’s book 1984 he writes about a negative utopia where people are taught that war is peace, truth is a collection of lies and big brother (the government) is always right. Noam Chomsky in his book Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance, explores the shocking reality of America’s quest for Hegemony at the risk of the survival of the human race. Through careful research and thoughtful comparison Chomsky reveals the greed and abuse American foreign policy has consistently demonstrated since World War II. The American government has consistently used fallacious logic (doublethink) and lies (truthspeak) under the guise of freedom and patriotism.

Chomsky shows how the United States has consistently violated international law (98–105) or circumvented it through exercising its permanent role on the UN Security Council. As Colin Powell has said, “‘Obviously the [UN Security] Council can always go off and have other discussions,’ but ‘we have the authority to do what we believe is necessary’” (32). Also, citing examples from Latin America countries like Nicaragua, Cuba and Grenada, as well as Turkey, Kosovo, and East Timor Chomsky exposes the big business interests that too often dominate US foreign policy. He even demonstrates how the United States has used military force to remove democratically elected leaders because they didn’t think their natural resources belonged to US corporations (cf. 142).

A large portion of Chomsky’s book is devoted to the current Iraq debacle. He argues that, “The war with Iraq was undertaken with the recognition that it might well lead to proliferation of WMD and terror, risks considered insignificant compared with the prospect of gaining control over Iraq, firmly establishing the norm of preventative war, and strengthening the hold on domestic power” (121). While I don’t think he provides a significant enough reason for Iraq from the administration’s perspective his argument is quite strong. Statistics show a rise in terrorism and Al Qaeda recruitment since the US invasion Iraq. The benefits of controlling such an oil rich country are obvious and the patriot act is probably one of the most appalling abuses of American civil rights since the 1960s.

One of the most sobering sections of his book is chapter 8, “Terrorism and Justice: Some Useful Truisms” (187–216). Chomsky explores the definition of terrorism and its application to the actions of the United States. He writes, “A US Army manual defined terrorism as ‘the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature . . . through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear’” (188). Unfortunately, it is difficult to find a definition of terrorism these days because, “official definitions of terrorism are virtually the same as the definitions of counterterror . . . . But counterterror is official US policy, and it plainly will not due to say that the US is officially committed to terrorism” (188–189). Chomsky goes on to cite numerous examples of terrorism committed by the US (193–198). Bush says, “If you harbor terrorists, you’re a terrorist; if you aid and abet terrorists, you’re a terrorist—and you will be treated like one” (204). What then is the United States military and CIA? If you doublethink and truthspeak the answer is obvious. I’ll give you a hint: they wear white hats.

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adam said...
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