Dreaming War

Blood for Oil and the Bush-Cheney Junta

by Gore Vidal

Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002, paper

Spiro Agnew
"The United States for all its faults, is still the greatest nation in the country."

Justice John Paul Stevens about the 2000 presidential election in which the U.S. Supreme Court chose George W. Bush the winner although Al Gore had received a greater number of votes.

"One thing ... is certain. Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."

The Pentagon even though [2001] received 51 percent of the discretionary budget.

The military -- Cheney, Powell, et al. -- will be calling the tune, and the whole nation will be on constant alert, for, James Baker has already warned us, Terrorism is everywhere on the march. We cannot be too vigilant. Welcome to Asuncion. Yes! We have no bananas.

... it does seem fairly plain to many civil libertarians that 9/11 put paid not only to our fragile Bill of Rights, but also to our once-envied republican system of government which had abruptly taken a mortal blow the previous year, when the Supreme Court did a little dance in 5-4 time and replaced an elected president with the oil-and-gas Cheney-Bush junta.

... for some years, it has been no secret that Corporate America openly and generously pays for our presidential elections (Bush-Gore in 2000 cost them $3 billion); they also own the Media, which is kept well-nourished by disinformation from executive-controlled secret agencies like the CIA.

CIA Director George tenet briefed the Bush Administration at the beginning of July 2001

"Based on a review of all sources reporting over the last five months, we believe that [Osama bin Laden] will launch a significant terrorist attack against U.S. and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Council on Foreign Relations study of 1997, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives

... America's primary interest is to help ensure that no single [other] power comes to control this geopolitical space [Central Asia] and that the global community has unhindered financial and economic access to it... Eurasia accounts for 60% of the world's GNP and three-fourths of the world's known energy resources.

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed on Zbigniew Brzezinski's policy statement regarding why America was attacked Sept 11, 2001

"Brzezinski clearly envisaged that the establishment, consolidation and expansion of US military hegemony over Eurasia through Central Asia would require the unprecedented, open-ended militarization of foreign policy, coupled with an unprecedented manufacture of domestic support and consensus on this militarization campaign."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Council on Foreign Relations study of 1997, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives

... as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat."

Afghanistan ... was made safe not only for democracy, but for Union Oil of California, whose proposed pipeline, from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan to Pakistan and the Indian Ocean port of Karachi, had been abandoned under the Taliban's chaotic regime. Currently, the pipeline is a go-project thanks to the junta's installation of a Unocal employee as American envoy to the newly born democracy whose president is also a former Unocal employee.

The behavior of President George W. Bush on 9/11 certainly gives rise to all sorts of suspicions. I can think of no other modern chief of state who would continue to pose for "warm" pictures of himself listening to a young girl telling stories about her pet goat while hijacked planes were slamming into three famous buildings.

Constitutionally, Bush is not only chief of state, he is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Normally, a commander in such a crisis would go straight to headquarters and direct operations while receiving the latest intelligence as to who, where, what.

This is what Bush actually did-or did not do- according to Stan Goff, a retired twenty-six-year U.S Army veteran who has taught Military Science and Doctrine at West Point. Goff writes in: "The So-called Evidence is a Farce"

"I have no idea why people aren't asking some very specific questions about the actions of Bush and company on the day of the attacks. Four planes get hijacked and deviate from their flight plan, all the while on FAA radar."

... The planes are all hijacked between 7:45 and 8:10 AM Eastern Daylight Time. Who is notified? This is an event already that is unprecedented. But the President is not notified and going to a Florida elementary school to hear children read.

By around 8:15 AM it should be very apparent that something is terribly wrong. The President is glad-handing teachers. By 8:45, when American Airlines' Flight 11 crashes into the World Trade Center, Bush is settling in with children for his photo-ops at Booker Elementary. Four planes have obviously been hijacked simultaneously, an event never before seen in history, and one has just dived into the world's best-known twin towers, and still no one notifies the nominal Commander-in-Chief.

No one has apparently scrambled [sent aloft] any Air Force interceptors either. At 9:03, United Flight 175 crashes into the remaining World Trade Center building. At 9:05 Andrew Card, the Presidential Chief-of-Staff, whispers to George W. Bush [who] "briefly turns somber" according to reporters. Does he cancel the school visit and convene an emergency meeting? No. He resumes listening to second graders . . . and continues the banality even as American Airlines' Flight 77 conducts an unscheduled point turn over Ohio and heads in the direction of Washington DC.

Has he instructed Chief-of-Staff Card to scramble the Air Force? No. An excruciating 25 minutes later, he finally deigns to give a public statement telling the United States what they have already figured out-that there's been an attack by hijacked planes on the World Trade Center. There's a hijacked plane beelining to Washington, but has the Air Force been scrambled to defend anything yet? No.

At 9:30 when he makes his announcement, American Flight 77 is still ten minutes from its target, the Pentagon. The Administration will later claim they had no way of knowing that the Pentagon might be a target, and they thought Flight 77 was headed to the White House, but the fact is that the plane has already flown South and past the White House no-fly zone, and is in fact tearing through the sky at 400 nauts.

At 9:35, this plane conducts another turn, 360 degrees over the Pentagon, all the while being tracked by radar, and the Pentagon is not evacuated, and there are still no fast-movers from the Air Force in the sky over Alexandria and DC. Now the real kicker: a pilot they want us to believe was trained at a Florida puddle-jumper school for Piper Cubs and Cessnas, conducts a well-controlled downward spiral descending the last 7000 feet in two-and-a-half minutes, brings the plane in so low and flat that it clips the electrical wires across the street from the Pentagon, and flies it with pinpoint accuracy into the side of the building at 460 nauts.

When the theory about learning to fly this well at the puddle-jumper school began to lose ground, it was added that they received further training on a flight simulator. This is like saying you prepared your teenager for her first drive on I-40 at rush hour by buying her a video driving game.... There is a story being constructed about these events.

Canadian media analyst Barry Zwicker on CBC-TV, January 28, 2002

Throughout the northeastern United States are many air bases. But that morning no interceptors responded in a timely fashion to the highest alert situation. This includes the Andrews squadrons which have the longest lead-time and are twelve miles from the White House. Whatever the explanation for the huge failure, there have been no reports, to my knowledge, of reprimands. This further weakens the "Incompetence Theory." Incompetence usually earns reprimands. This causes me to ask -- if there were "stand down" orders.

CNN, January 2002

President Bush personally asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle Tuesday to limit the Congressional investigation into the events of September 11, Congressional and White House sources told CNN.... The request was made at a private meeting with Congressional leaders.... Sources said Bush initiated the conversation.... He asked that only the House and Senate intelligence committees look into the potential breakdowns among federal agencies that could have allowed the terrorist attacks to occur, rather than a broader inquiry that some lawmakers have proposed.... Tuesday's discussion followed a rare call from Vice President Dick Cheney last Friday to make the same request ...

... the senior Bush, gainfully employed by the Carlyle Group, which has ownership in at least 164 companies worldwide, inspiring admiration in that staunch friend to the wealthy, the Wall Street Journal, who noted, as early as September 27, '01:

If the US boosts defense spending in its quest to stop Osama bin Laden's alleged terrorist activities, there may be one unexpected beneficiary: Mr. bin Laden's family . . . the well-heeled Saudi Arabia clan . . . is an investor in a fund established by Carlyle Group, a well-connected Washington merchant bank specializing in buyouts of defense and aerospace companies.... Osama is one of more than 50 children of Mohammed bin Laden who built the family's $5 billion business.

Judicial Watch, September 28, 2001

"George H. W. Bush, the father of President Bush, works for the bin Laden family business in Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group, an international consulting firm. The senior Bush had met with the bin Laden family at least twice."

Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman

"The idea of the President's father, an ex-president himself, doing business with a company under investigation by the FBI in the terror attacks of September 11 is horrible."

Agence France Presse. November 7, 2001

"FBI agents in the United States probing relatives of Saudi-born terror suspect Osama . . . were told to back off soon after George W. Bush became president ..."


BBC-TV's Newsnight (November 6, 2001)

... just days after the hijackers took off from Boston aiming for the Twin Towers, a special charter flight out of the same airport whisked 11 members of Osama's family off to Saudi Arabia. That did not concern the White House. Their official line is that the bin Ladens are above suspicion."

Above the Law (Green Press, February, 2002)

" ... we had what looked like the biggest failure of the intelligence community since Pearl Harbor but what we are learning now is it wasn't a failure, it was a directive."

Although the U.S. had, for some years, fingered Osama as a mastermind terrorist who had blown up a couple of our embassies in Africa and put a hole in the side of a destroyer berthed in Yemen, no serious attempt had been made pre-9/11 to "bring him to justice dead or alive, innocent or guilty," as Texan law of the jungle requires. Clinton's plan to act was given Condoleezza Rice by Sandy Berger, you will recall, but she says she does not.

As far back as March 1996, when Osama was in Sudan, Major General Elfatih Erwa, Sudanese Minister for Defense, offered to extradite him. According to the Washington Post October 3, 2001; " ... The Sudanese security services, he [Erwa] said, would happily keep close watch on bin Laden for the United States. But if that would not suffice, the government was prepared to place him in custody and hand him over.... [US officials] said, 'Just ask him to leave the country. Just don't let him go to Somalia,' n where he had once been given credit for the successful al Qa'eda attack on American forces in '93 that killed eighteen Rangers. "Erwa said in an interview, 'We said he will go to Afghanistan, and they [U.S. officials] said, "Let him."

In 1996 Sudan expelled Osama and three thousand of his associates. Two years later, the Clinton administration, in the great American tradition of never having to say thank you for Sudan's offer to hand over Osama, proceeded to missile-attack Sudan's Al Shifa's pharmaceutical factory on the ground that Sudan was harboring bin Laden terrorists who were making chemical and biological weapons when they were simply making vaccines for the UN.

Four years later, John O'Neill, a much-admired FBI agent, was reported to have "complained bitterly that the US State Department-and behind it the oil lobby who make up President Bush's entourage-blocked attempts to prove bin Laden's guilt. The US ambassador to Yemen forbade O'Neill (and his FBI team) . . . from entering Yemen in August 2001. O'Neill resigned in frustration and took on a new job as head of security at the World Trade Center. He died in the September 11 attack..." (Irish Times, November 19, 2001). Obviously, Osama has enjoyed bipartisan American support since his enlistment in the CIA's war to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan.

a veteran of World War II

"Odd that Bush and Cheney are so delighted to put us at war when, during Vietnam, they were both what we used to call draft dodgers."

... the conquest of Afghanistan had nothing to do with Osama. He was simply a pretext for replacing the Taliban with a relatively stable government that would allow Union Oil of California to lay its pipeline ...

Joseph Schumpteter, 1919, describing ancient Rome in a way that sounds eerily like the United States in 2001[Stephen Gowans' War in Afghanistan. A $28 Billion Racket ]:

"There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, the allies would be invented.... The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors."

William Pfaff

A second Washington debate is whether to make an unprovoked attack on Iran to destroy a nuclear power reactor being built there with Russian assistance, under inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, within the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of which Iran is a signatory.... No other government in the world would support such an action, other than Israel's [which] would do so not because it expected to be attacked by Iran but because it, not unreasonably, opposes any nuclear capacity in the hands of any Islamic government.

James Madison

Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. As the parent of armies, war encourages debts and taxes, the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the executive is extended . . . and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people....


Post-9/11 ... Congress and Media are silent as the executive, through propaganda and skewed polls, seduces the public mind while heretofore unthinkable centers of power like Homeland Defense are being constructed and 4 percent of the country has recently been invited to join TIPS, a civilian spy system to report on anyone who look suspicious-or who objects to what the executive is doing at home or abroad.

... the Cheney-Bush junta wants a war in order to dominate Afghanistan, build a pipeline, gain control of the oil of the Eurasian Stans for their business associates as well as to do as much damage to Iraq and Iran on the ground that one day those evil countries may carpet our fields of amber grain with anthrax or something.

... the tom-toms [of war] keep beating ... and the fact that most of the world is opposed to our war seems only to bring hectic roses to the cheeks of Bush Senior of the Carlyle Group, Bush Junior of Harken, Cheney of Halliburton, Condoleezza Rice of Chevron-Texaco, Rumsfeld of Occidental, Gale Norton of BP Amoco. If ever there was an administration that should recuse itself in matters dealing with energy, it is the current junta. But they are unlike any other administration in our history. Their hearts are plainly elsewhere, making money (far from our mock Roman temples) while (alas, we are left only with their heads) dreaming of war, preferably against weak peripheral states.

Mohammed Heikal, brilliant Egyptian journalist, to the Guardian, October 10, 2001

Bin Laden has been under surveillance for years: every telephone call was monitored and al Qa'eda has been penetrated by American intelligence, Pakistani intelligence, Saudi intelligence, Egyptian intelligence. They could not have kept secret an operation that required such a degree of organization and sophistication.

Jane's Defense Weekly, September 14, 2001

In 1988, with US knowledge, bin Laden created al Qa'eda (The Base), a conglomerate of quasi-independent Islamic terrorist cells in countries spread across at least 26 or so countries ... Washington turned a blind eye to al Qa'eda.

... thanks to our educational system and a Media that reports only good news from Corporate America, anyone trying to make sense of why we were recently struck by Moslem zealots will need to have the wheel reinvented for him.

... anyone who even suggests that U.S. activities might have brought on the attack is simply an "America-hater" or (lower voice) anti-Semite or worse- as if anything is worse.

[Noam] Chomsky is largely blacked out by U.S. media, and so he has only foreign interviewers-and his books and numerous readers.

What Chomsky and I have in common is an interest in public matters and a fascination with the lies that power tells us, lies we deconstruct, lies which also fascinate and affect-a number of our countrymen who do read seriously.

The some two hundred recorded military unilateral strikes that the U.S. has made against Second and Third World countries is a great scandal not discussed in our Media or known to our taxpayers.

I would never conflate a truly bad-even evil-administration like that of Cheney-Bush with America, a complex of peoples whose republic was largely replaced by the National Security State in 1950 in favor of perpetual war and then, as of Election 2000, the presidency ceased to be within the traditional gift of We the People.

Currently, the United States spends twenty-two times more than the seven designated rogue states of concern) spend combined .

It used to be that true politics involved an accounting of where the people's tax money goes and why. Since the American military currently gets over half of each year's federal revenue, that should have been the most important subject to chat about. But not this year' and so, dutifully, each candidate pledged himself to ever greater spending for the Great War Machine, as it idly trawls about the globe in search of enemies.

Lying is an accursed vice. It is only our words which bind us together and make us human. If we realized the horror and weight of lying, we would see that it is more worthy of the stake than other crimes.... Once let the tongue acquire the habit of lying and it is astonishing how impossible it is to make it give it up.

Republican managers of the impeachment of President Clinton
"We are a nation based on Truth."

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (whose domestic policies-the New Deal-I admire) deliberately provoked the Japanese into attacking us at Pearl Harbor. Why? As of 1940, he wanted us in the war against Hitler, but 80 percent of the American people wanted no European war of any kind after the disappointments of 1917. He could do nothing to budge an isolationist electorate. Luckily for him (and perhaps the world), Japan had a military agreement with Germany and Italy. For several years, Japan had been engaged in an imperial mission to conquer China. Secretly, FDR began a series of provocations to goad the Japanese into what turned out to be an attack on our fleet at Pearl Harbor, thus making inevitable our prompt, wholehearted entry into the Second World War. There is a vast literature on this subject, beginning as early as 1941 with Charles A. Beard's President Roosevelt and the Coming of War and continuing to the current Day of Deceit by Robert B. Stinnett, now being argued about in the U.S. Stinnett gives the most detailed account of the steps toward war initiated by FDR, including the November 26, 1941, ultimatum to Japan, ordering them out of China while insisting they renounce their pact with the Axis powers; this left Japan with no alternative but war. the object of the exercise.

The second great myth was that Harry Truman, FDR's successor, dropped his two atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because he feared that a million American lives would be lost in an invasion (that was the lie he told at the time). Admiral Nimitz, on the spot in the Pacific, and General Eisenhower, brooding elsewhere, disagreed: the Japanese had already lost the war, they said. No nuclear bombs, no invasion was needed; besides, the Japanese had been trying to surrender since the May 1945 devastation of | Tokyo by U.S. B-29 bombers.

David Hume
The Many are kept in order by the Few through Opinion.

The New Republic ... is a propagandist for Israel's Likudite faction, much as the Washington Times supports the line of its proprietor, Korea's Dr. Sun Moon.

The American hard Right has no known interest in the people at large, and a reverence for the 1 percent that pays for their journals and think tanks.

Young people often ask me, with wonder, why so many of us enlisted in 1943. I tell them that since we had been attacked at Pearl Harbor, we were obliged to defend our country. But I should note that where, in 1917, millions of boys were eager to go fight the Hun, we were not eager. We were fatalistic. In the three years that I spent in the army, I heard no soldier express a patriotic sentiment; rather the reverse, when we saw the likes of Errol Flynn on the screen winning freedom's war, or, even worse, John Wayne ... the archetypal draft-dodging actor who, to rub it in, impersonated a Flying Tiger in the movies.

Although we were not enthusiastic warriors, there was a true hatred of the enemy. We were convinced that the "Japs" were subhuman; and our atrocities against them pretty much matched theirs against us. I was in the Pacific Theater of Operations, where the war was not only imperial but racial: the white race was fighting the yellow race, and the crown would go to us as we were the earth's supreme race, or so we had been taught. One of the ugliest aspects of that war was the racial stereotyping on both sides. In Europe we were respectful-even fearful-of the Germans. Since blacks and women were pretty much segregated in our military forces, World War II was, for us, literally, the white man's burden.

So while the Golden Age had its moment in the sun up on deck, down in the engine room the management was inventing the "Defense" Department and the National Security Council with its secret, unconstitutional decrees, and the equally unconstitutional CIA, modeled, Allen Dulles remarked blithely, on the Soviets' NKVD. We were then, without public debate, committed to a never-ending war, even though the management knew that the enemy was no match for us, economically or militarily. But, through relentless CIA "disinformation," they managed to convince us that what was weak was strong, and that the Russians were definitely coming. "Build backyard shelters against the coming atomic war!" A generation was well and truly traumatized.

NATO was created so that the United States could dominate Western Europe militarily, politically, and economically.

Are we not a freedom-loving perfect democracy eager to exhibit our state-of-the-art economy to old Europe as a model of what you can do in the way of making money for the few by eliminating labor unions and such decadent frills as public health and education?

July 26 was the fiftieth anniversary of the National Security Act that, without national debate but very quiet bipartisan Congressional support, replaced the old American Republic with a National Security State very much in the global-empire business ...

At home, [after World War II] the media were beginning to prepare the attentive few for Disappointment. Suddenly, we were faced with the highest personal income taxes in American history to pay for more and more weapons, among them the worldkiller hydrogen bomb-all because the Russians were coming. No one knew quite why they were coming or with what. Weren't they still burying 20 million dead? Official explanations for all this made little sense, but then, as Truman's secretary of state, Dean Acheson, merrily observed, "In the State Department we used to discuss how much time that mythical 'average American citizen' put in each day listening, reading, and arguing about the world outside his own country.... It seemed to us that ten minutes a day would be a high average." So why bore the people? Secret "bipartisan" government is best for what, after all, is-or should be a society of docile workers, enthusiastic consumers, obedient soldiers who will believe just about anything for at least ten minutes. The National Security State, the NATO alliance, the forty-year Cold War were all created without the consent, much less advice, of the American people. Of course, there were elections during this crucial time, but Truman-Dewey, Eisenhower-Stevenson, Kennedy-Nixon were of a single mind as to the desirability of inventing, first, a many-tentacled enemy, Communism, the star of the Chamber of Horrors; then, to combat so much evil, installing a permanent wartime state at home with loyalty oaths, a national "peacetime" draft, and secret police to keep watch over homegrown "traitors," as the few enemies of the National Security State were known. Then followed forty years of mindless wars which created a debt of $5 trillion that hugely benefited aerospace and firms like General Electric, whose longtime TV pitchman was Ronald Reagan, eventually retired to the White House.

Why go into all this now? Have we not done marvelously well as the United States of Amnesia? Our economy is the envy of the earth, the President proclaimed at Denver. No inflation. Jobs for all except the 3 percent of the population in prison and the 5 percent who no longer look for work and so are not counted, bringing our actual unemployment close to the glum European average of 11 percent. And all of this accomplished without ever once succumbing to the sick socialism of Europe. We have no health service or proper public education or, indeed, much of anything for the residents of the fun house. But there are lots of ill-paid work-hours for husband and wife with no care for the children while parents are away from home. Fortunately, Congress is now preparing legislation so that adult prisons can take in delinquent fourteen-year-olds. They, at least, will be taken care of, while, economically, it is only a matter of time before the great globe itself is green-spanned. ,~,

Certainly European bankers envy us our powerless labor l, unions (only 14 percent of the lucky funsters are privileged to belong to a labor union) and our industries-lean, mean, downsized, with no particular place for the redundant to go except into the hell of sizzle and fry and burn. Today we give orders to other countries. We tell them with whom to trade and to which of our courts they must show up for indictment should they disobey us. Meanwhile, FBI agents range the world looking for drug fiends and peddlers while the unconstitutional CIA (they don't submit their accounts to Congress as the Constitution requires) chases "terrorists" now that their onetime colleagues and sometime paymasters in the Russian KGB have gone out of business. -

former vice-president Henry Wallace

"Yesterday March 12, 1947, marked a turning point in American history, [for] it is not a Greek crisis that we face, it is an American crisis. Yesterday, President Truman ... proposed, in effect, that America police Russia's every border. There is no regime too reactionary for us provided it stands in Russia's expansionist path. There is no country too remote to serve as the scene of a contest which may widen until it becomes a world war."

Nine days after Truman declared war on Communism [March 1947], he installed a federal loyalty-oath program. All government employees must now swear allegiance to the new order. Wallace struck again: "The President's executive order creates a master index of public servants. From the janitor in the village post office to the Cabinet members, they are to be sifted, and tested and watched and appraised."

Truman was nervously aware that many regarded Wallace as true heir to Roosevelt's New Deal; Wallace was also likely to enter the presidential race of 1948. Truman now left truth behind in the dust. "The attempt of Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, et al. to fool the world and the American Crackpots Association, represented by Jos. Davies, Henry Wallace, Claude Pepper, and the actors and artists in immoral Greenwich Village, is just like Hitler's and Mussolini's so-called socialist states." Give 'em hell, Harry.

In the wake of Truman's cuckoo-like emergence from the old-fashioned closet of the original American Republic, a new American state was being born in order to save the nation and the great globe itself from Communism. The nature of this militarized state was, from the beginning, beyond rational debate. Characteristically, Truman and Acheson insisted on closed hearings of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. These matters were too important to share with the people whose spare ten minutes was now more and more filling up with television. The committee's Republican leader, Arthur H. Vandenberg, the great goose of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was thrilled to be taken into the confidence of the creators of the new empire, but he did suggest that, practically speaking, if hell wasn't scared out of the American people, Congress would have a hard time raising the revenues to pay for a military buildup in what was still thought to be, inside the ever more isolated fun house, peacetime. The media spoke with a single voice. Time Inc. publisher Henry Luce said it loudest: "God had founded America as a global beacon of freedom." Dissenters, like Wallace, were labeled Communists and ceased to engage meaningfully in public life or, by 1950, even in debate. Like the voice of a ghost, an ancestral voice, he spoke on May 21, 1947: "Today in blind fear of communism, we are turning aside from the United Nations. We are approaching a century of fear." Thus far, he is proved to be half right.

On July 26, 1947, Congress enacted the National Security Act, which created the National Security Council, still going strong, and the Central Intelligence Agency, still apparently going over a cliff as the result of decades of bad intelligence, not to mention all those cheery traitors for whom the country club at Langley, Virginia, was once an impenetrable cover. Years later, a sadder, if not wiser, Truman told his biographer, Merle Miller, that the CIA had become a dangerous mess and ought not to have been set up as it was. But in 1947 the CIA's principal role in Europe was not to counter Soviet activities but to control the politics of NATO members. French and Italian trade unions and publications were subsidized, and a great deal of secret money was poured into Italy to ensure the victory of the Christian Democratic Party in the elections of April 1948.

[Truman's Secretary of State] Acheson, in Present at the Creation, a memoir that compensates in elegance what it lacks in candor, alludes delicately to National Security Council document 68 (the 1950 blueprint for our war against Communism). But in 1969, when he was writing, he sadly notes that the memo is still classified. Only in 1975 was it to be declassified. There are seven points. First, never negotiate with the Soviet Union. No wonder the rebuffed Stalin, ever touchy, kept reacting brutally in Mitteleuropa. Second, develop the hydrogen bomb so that when the Russians go atomic we will still be ahead of them. Third, rapidly build up conventional forces.

Since 1950 the United States has fought perhaps a hundred overt and covert wars. None was declared by the nominal representatives of the American People in Congress Assembled; they had meekly turned over to the executive their principal great power, to wage war. That was: the end of that Constitution.

For fifty years we have supported too many tyrants, overthrown too many democratic governments, wasted too much of our own money in other people's civil wars to pretend that we're just helping out all those poor little folks around the world who love freedom and democracy just like we do.

... aside from all the American and foreign dead from Korea to Vietnam, from Guatemala to the Persian Gulf, the destruction of our old republic's institutions has been the great hurt. Congress has surrendered to the executive not only the first of its great powers, but the second, the power of the purse, looks to be up for grabs as Congress is forcing more money on the Pentagon than even that black hole has asked for ...


Gore Vidal, Book Week, November 3, 1963
"In public services, we lag behind all the industrialized nations of the West, preferring that the public money go not to the people but to big business. The result is a unique society in which we have free enterprise for the poor and socialism for the rich."

... the Depression did not end with the New Deal of 1933 -40. In fact, it flared up again, worse than ever, in 1939 and 1940. Then, when FDR spent some $20 billion on defense (1941), the Depression was over and Lord Keynes was a hero. This relatively small injection of public money into the system reduced unemployment to 8 percent and, not unnaturally, impressed the country's postwar managers: If you want to avoid depression, spend money on war... [but] the same money spent on the country's infrastructure would have saved us debt, grief, blood.

Ever since 1941, when Roosevelt got us out of the Depression by pumping federal money into rearming, war or the threat of war has been the principal engine to our society.

Allan Nairn, Murder as Policy, April 24, 1995,

[the] "real role ... of all U.S. ambassadors [to Guatemala] since 1954 [has been] to cover for and, in many ways, facilitate American support for a killer army."

"I am in blood
Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more
Returning were as tedious as go o'er."

Most members of Congress represent not states or people but corporations ...

1996 TV debate

Our presidents ... are men hired to give the commercials for a state which more and more resembles a conglomerate like General Electric.

Charles Wilson, President of General Motors

"What is good for General Motors is good for :America."

Charles Wilson, President of General Motors

"Instead of looking to disarmament and unpreparedness as a safeguard against war-a thoroughly discredited doctrine-let us try the opposite: full preparedness according to a continuing plan." This was to be the heart of the National Security Act of 1947, and the new nation in whose shabby confines we still rattle about.

Theodore Roosevelt

"No accomplishment of peace is half that of the glories of war."

Cuba was, in effect, our brothel during the Batista years ...

U.S. Marine Corps General Smedley Butler

"I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a ~ gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. Made in Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National \ City Bank boys to collect revenues in.

... the domination of other countries is exercised through the economy (the Marshall Plan after World War II) and through a military presence, preferably low-key (like NATO in Western Europe) and politically through secret police like the CIA, the FBI, the DEA, the DIA, etc.

Although the Soviet Union went out of business [in 1989] we still have bases in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey. In Britain we have seven air force and three naval bases.

... Today, elsewhere, we have military presences in Bermuda, Egypt, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Panama, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc., not to mention all over the United States and our territories as well as two bases in Australia, one of which is a mysterious CIA unit at Alice Springs. If all this does not constitute an empire, I don't know what does. Yet we must not use the word ...

The great problem of living in a country where information and education are so tightly controlled is that very little news about our actual situation ever gets through to the consumers. Instead we are assured that we are so hated by those envious of our wealth and goodness that they commit terrorist acts against us simply out of spite. The damage our presidential and corporate imperialists have done to others in every quarter of the world is a nonsubject.

What to do? Break up the conglomerates. That's a start. And then-well, why not go whole hog-what about a free press, representative government and ... Well, you get the picture.

The National Rifle Association will never wither away as long as there is a single Congressman left to be paid off or a child unarmed.

... 58 percent of those in our federal prisons are there for drug offenses. Most are not dangerous to the public, and even though our overkindly government thinks they are dangerous to themselves, they should still be allowed to pursue their constitutional, if unhealthful, happiness in freedom. Certainly they do not deserve to be confined to a prison system that a Scandinavian commission recently reported to be barbarous for a supposedly First World country.

Unfortunately, the rulers of any system cannot maintain their power without the constant creation of prohibitions that then give the state the right to imprison-or otherwise intimidate-anyone who violates any of the state's often new-minted crimes.

Without communism-once monolithic and on the march-our state lacks a Wizard of Oz to terrify all the people all the time. So the state looks inward, at the true enemy, who turns out to be-who else? the people of the United States.

As of 2000, USA Today reports on its front page that 6.6 million adults (3 percent of the adult population) are in prison or "correction." No other society has ever done so deadly a thing to its people and on such a scale.

... when a people comes to detest the political system in which it is entrapped, that system will not endure for long.

We would like health care of the sort every civilized nation has but we can never have a rational system as long as insurance companies are allowed to benefit. The people may want affordable health care, but they are not going to get it in the United States of America as now constituted.

I don't think we, the American people, deserved what happened [9/11/2001]. Nor do we deserve the sort of governments we have had over the last forty years. Our governments have brought this upon us by their actions all over the world.

Unfortunately, we get only disinformation from the New York Times and other official places. Americans have no idea of the extent of their government's mischief. The number of military strikes we have made unprovoked, against other countries, since 1947-48 is more than 250. These are major strikes everywhere from Panama to Iran.

[The government] plays off [Americans'] relative innocence, or ignorance to be more precise. This is probably why geography has not really been taught since World War II-to keep people in the dark as to where we are blowing things up.

Until now, the Persian Gulf has been our main source for imported oil. We went ... to Afghanistan, not to get Osama [bin Laden] and wreak our vengeance. We went to Afghanistan partly because the Taliban-whom we had installed at the time of the Russian occupation- were getting too flaky and because Unocal, the California corporation, had made a deal with the Taliban for a pipeline to get the Caspian-area oil, which is the richest oil reserve on earth.

Whichever big company could cash in would make a fortune. And you'll see that all these companies go back to Bush or Cheney or to Rumsfeld or someone else on the gas-and-oil junta, which, along with the Pentagon, governs the United States.

... the average American thinks we just give away billions in foreign aid, when we are the lowest in foreign aid among developed countries. And most of what we give goes to Israel and a little bit to Egypt.

I was in Guatemala when the CIA was preparing its attack on the Arbenz government [in 1954]. Arbenz, who was a democratically elected president, mildly socialist. His state had no revenues; its biggest income maker was United Fruit Company. So Arbenz put the tiniest of taxes on bananas, and Henry Cabot Lodge got up in the Senate and said the Communists have taken over Guatemala and we must act. He got to Eisenhower, who sent in the CIA, and they overthrew the government. We installed a military dictator, and there's been nothing but bloodshed ever since.

Now, if I were a Guatemalan and I had the means to drop something on somebody in Washington, or anywhere Americans were, I would be tempted to do it. Especially if I had lost my entire family and seen my country blown to bits because United Fruit didn't want to pay taxes. Now, that's the way we operate. And that's why we got to be so hated.

The whole Patriot movement in the U.S. was based on folks run off their family farms. Or had their parents or grandparents run off.

[The Bush Administration was] very ready with the Patriot Act as soon as we were hit. Ready to lift habeas corpus, due process, the attorney-client privilege. They were ready. Which means they have already got their police state. Just take a plane anywhere today, and you are in the hands of an arbitrary police state.

... I find out more about what's going on in the Middle East by reading the British, the French, even the Italian press. Everything here is slanted.

... [Bush] comes up with about a dozen other countries that might have "evil people" in them, who might commit "terrorist acts." What is a terrorist act? Whatever he thinks is a terrorist act. And we are going to go after them. Because we are good and they are evil. And we're "gonna git 'em."

Anybody who could get up and make that [Axis of Evil] speech to the American people is not himself an idiot, but he's convinced we are idiots. And we are not idiots. We are cowed. Cowed by disinformation from the media, a skewed view of the world, and atrocious taxes that subsidize this permanent war machine. And we have no representation. Only the corporations are represented in Congress. That's why only 24 percent of the American people cast a vote for George W. Bush.

For [the Republicans to put George W. Bush] up as president and for the Supreme Court to make sure that he won was as insulting as when his father, George Bush, appointed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court-done just to taunt the liberals. And then, when he picked Quayle for his vice president, that showed such contempt for the American people.

... So the contempt for the American people has been made more vivid by the two Bushes than all of the presidents before them. Although many of them had the same contempt. But they were more clever about concealing it.

We are not the world's policeman. And we cannot even police the United States, except to steal money from the people and generally wreak havoc. The police are perceived quite often, and correctly, in most parts of the country as the enemy. I think it is time we roll back the empire-it is doing no one any good. It has cost us trillions of dollars ...

There are plenty of legal minds who defend the Bill of Rights, but they don't seem very vigorous. I mean, after 9/11 there was silence as one after another of these draconian, really totalitarian laws were put in place.

... the liberals, of course, are the slowest and the stupidest, because they do not understand their interests. The right wing are the bad guys, but they know what they want-everybody else's money. And they know they don't like blacks and they don't like minorities.

Gore Vidal page

Index of Website

Home Page