Tag Archives: American empire

7 brilliant insights from Noam Chomsky on American empire


Reposted from AlterNet.  Note: I rearranged the entries in the article from shorter to longer.

by Laura Gottesdiener, AlterNet

Noam Chomsky is an expert on many matters — linguistics, how our economy functions and propaganda, among others. One area where his wisdom especially shines through is in articulating the structure and functioning of the American empire. Chomsky has been speaking and publishing on the topic since the ’60s. Below are seven powerful quotes on the evils, atrocities and ironies of the American empire taken from his personal site and from a fan-curated Web site dedicated to collecting Chomsky‘s observations.

1. “[The U.S. still names] military helicopter gunships after victims of genocide. Nobody bats an eyelash about that: Blackhawk. Apache. And Comanche. If the Luftwaffe named its military helicopters Jew and Gypsy, I suppose people would notice.” — Propaganda and the Public Mind: Conversations with Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian

2. “Suppose that, say, China established military bases in Colombia to carry out chemical warfare in Kentucky and North Carolina to destroy this lethal crop [tobacco] that is killing huge numbers of Chinese.” — Noam Chomsky on the irony of the drug war waged by the United States in Central and South America

3. “If something is right (or wrong) for us, it’s right (or wrong) for others. It follows that if it’s wrong for Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and a long list of others to bomb Washington and New York, then it’s wrong for Rumsfeld to bomb Afghanistan (on much flimsier pretexts), and he should be brought before war crimes trials.” — “On Terrorism,”Noam Chomsky interviewed by John Bolender, Jump Arts Journal, January 2004

4. “Globalization is the result of powerful governments, especially that of the United States, pushing trade deals and other accords down the throats of the world’s people to make it easier for corporations and the wealthy to dominate the economies of nations around the world without having obligations to the peoples of those nations.” — Profit over People: Neoliberalism and the Global Order Continue reading

Cafferty mirrors Santorum? Santorum mirrors Cafferty?

I enjoy Jack Cafferty’s rants on CNN, but see them only on youtube these days as one needs to pass through the Blitzer to get to Cafferty. Listen to what he said this week:

If you refuse to believe your car is leaking oil, the car will break. And the cost will be high.

And they can carry a t-u-n-e !

“The U.S. military now has more people in its marching bands than the State Department has in its foreign service . . .”

From Nicholas Kristof’s column in today’s NY Times on the absurd, bloated, other worldly-sized US military. 

Most of us know that we spend more on our military than pretty much the entire rest of the world combined, but did you know:

• The United States maintains troops at more than 560 bases and other sites abroad . . .

• The intelligence community is so vast that more people have “top secret” clearance than live in Washington, D.C.

• The U.S. will spend more on the war in Afghanistan this year, adjusting for inflation, than we spent on the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War combined.

Food for thought on the eve of 9/11

In a thread on Wednesday some of us were discussing empire and the cost of  the U.S. military. Commenter D.I.D. offered some valuable insight into how it got to where it is. It’s a good read and I hoped to post it in its entirely here on the front page but on second thought, I can see it’s too long to put it in this post. (Here’s a direct link to his full comment.) Perhaps before reading further you might want to take a look at this portion of President Dwight Eishenhower’s famous speech where he addressed the danger of the emerging ‘military industrial complex’. 

Below are some excerpts from D.I.D.’s post on the subject. I don’t agree with everything my blogfriend says here, but he makes a very good case about how the culture of and reason for the present military-corporate complex became less about national defense and more about corporate defense. They needed a continuing American empire to maintain themselves.  (D.I.D. also makes a good case for the geopolitical need to have a strong military in the 20th century.

Here’s D.I.D.:

“. . .  from approximately 1945-1991, America led the Western world in a primarily defensive struggle, but, realizing that it could not wage a defensive war forever, also made moves for the collapse of Communism. It was during this period that the global military-industrial empire was built. High military spending was the order of the day, as was the increasing entanglement between the government and numerous corporate interests. The most important corporate interests in that age of hostilities were the defense and weapons industries, as well as the industries controlling strategic resources for the production and use of weapons (e.g., oil).

To me, all of this was legitimate and wholesome for that period, but the American Empire is not wholesome for today. To me, the story of the “Evil American-Corporate” Empire begins with the fall of the Soviet Union

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the greatest threat to the Western ways of life died with it. Given this, it was assumed that the noble ideas expressed nearly half a century before could be realised, where different nations and their ideologies could coexist peacefully. All of those far-flung military installations of the USA government where no longer necessary for national defense, as there was no major threat to the American way of life. NATO (and to a lesser extent NORAD) had lost its raison d’être with the collapse of its main antagonist.

By all that is right and reasonable, the USA should have slowly lowered its military budget and withdrawn from areas of the world where there is little or no critical American interests, as did most other Western nations. Unfortunately, corporate groups  . . .pressured the US government to maintain a presence there to maintain their interests. (In addition, many conservatives these days seem to tout “American Exceptionalism” and “spreading liberty to the oppressed” to a level that is eerily reminiscent of “Master Race” and “the White Man’s Burden”). 

 Thus began [today’s] American Empire, an entity forged out of an evil necessity that evolved to deny fundamental American principles. “