Discourses on Iraq and the Middle East

author: Noam Chomsky, Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
published: March 7, 2013,   recorded: May 2005,   views: 3048
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U.S. actions in Iraq get a thorough thrashing in this final chapter of the Reconstructing Iraq series. First, Yosef Jabareen sprints through editorial page cartoons from Arab print media, which represent the U.S. as immoral, abusive, greedy and above all, hegemonic. The drawings depict George Bush burning the world or swallowing up Arab nations, and a map of Iraq morphs into a division of the U.S. energy department. One cartoon shows the United Nations watching passively as the globe commits suicide. In these images, Arab leaders are corrupt puppets of U.S. policy and Iraqi insurgents are brutally oppressed heroes.

Noam Chomsky paints his own cynical picture of the conflict in Iraq. “The U.S. goal … certainly had nothing to do with stopping atrocities,” he says, and even less to do with advancing political freedom. “The U.S. promotes democracy when it’s in our strategic and economic interests and opposes democracy when it’s not.” Chomsky continues, “It’s almost inconceivable that the U.S. could permit a sovereign, democratic Iraq. The reasons are transparent.” Iraq, he predicts, would form an alliance with Iran, helping foment Shiite rebellion in Saudi Arabia, leading to “a Shiite alliance controlling most of the world’s energy.” Even more worrisome, Iraq would “rearm and develop weapons of mass destruction as a deterrent.” Chomsky notes, “The one thing the U.S. invasion taught everyone is you better have WMDs to protect yourself from U.S. attack.” Poses Chomsky, “Would the U.S. sit by and allow this? …. The chances are zero.” So contrary to our own “messianic vision” of implementing democracy, the U.S. will try to “run Iraq.” Chomsky’s alternative: pay Iraq billions in reparations for having supported Saddam Hussein, for years of painful sanctions, and hand the country over to the Iraqis as soon as possible.

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