excerpts from the book

Rogue State

A Guide to the World's Only Superpower

by William Blum

Common Courage Press, 2000

Neither is it that US foreign policy is cruel because American leaders are cruel. It's that our leaders are cruel because only those willing to be inordinately cruel and remorseless can hold positions of leadership in the foreign policy establishment; it might as well be written into the job description. People capable of expressing a full human measure of compassion and empathy toward faraway powerless strangers - (let alone American soldiers - do not become president of the United States, or vice president, or secretary of state, or national security adviser or secretary of the treasury. Nor do they want to.


Propaganda is to a democracy what violence is to a dictatorship.


... at the beginning of the 21st century do the American people really need to be reminded that governments lie, that great powers lie greater, that the world's only superpower has the most to lie about, i.e., cover up?


... doing the right thing is not a principle of American foreign policy, not an ideal or a goal of policy in and of itself. If it happens that doing the right thing coincides with, or is irrelevant to, Washington's overriding international ambitions, American officials have no problem walking the high moral ground. But this is rarely the case. ... the engine of American foreign policy has been fueled not by a devotion to any kind of morality, nor even simple decency, but rather by the necessity to serve other masters ...


America cherishes her enemies. Without enemies, she is a nation without purpose and direction. The various components of the National Security State need enemies to justify their swollen budgets, to aggrandize their work, to protect their jobs, to give themselves a mission in the aftermath of the Soviet Union ...


American foreign-policy makers are exquisitely attuned to the rise of a government, or a movement that might take power, that will not lie down and happily become an American client state, that will not look upon the free market or the privatization of the world known as "globalization" as the summum bonum, that will not change its laws to favor foreign investment, that will not be unconcerned about the effects of foreign investment upon the welfare of its own people, that will not produce primarily for export, that will not allow asbestos, banned pesticides and other products restricted in the developed world to be dumped onto their people, that will not easily tolerate the International Monetary Fund or the World Trade Organization inflicting a scorched-earth policy upon the country's social services or standard of living, that will not allow an American or NATO military installation upon its soil... Given the proper pretext, such bad examples have to be reduced to basket cases, or, where feasible, simply overthrown.


p 26
It can be argued-based on the objective facts of what Washington has inflicted upon the world for more than half a century [that] American foreign policy has, in actuality, been clinically mad.


There appears to be something about launching bombs or missiles from afar onto cities and people that appeals to American military and political leaders. In part it has to do with a conscious desire to not risk American lives in ground combat. And in part, perhaps not entirely conscious, it has to do with not wishing to look upon the gory remains of the victims, allowing American Gls and TV viewers at home to cling to their warm fuzzy feelings about themselves and their government.


A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn't have an air force


... in 1982 and 1983 [in the UN] the US was alone in voting against a declaration that education, work, health care, proper nourishment and national development are human rights.



What keeps most Americans from being shocked by the shredding of the Bill of Rights is that they have yet to feel the consequences, either personally or through someone close to them. It would appear, however, that they only have to wait.



President Reagan, 1983, about the UN vote on the bombing of Grenada (Rogue State, p185)

"One hundred nations in the UN have not agreed with us on just about everything that's come before them where we're involved, and it didn't upset my breakfast at all.''


George Orwell - from his book 1984

Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it... There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment...You had to live - did live, from habit that became instinct-in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.


First Lady Hillary Clinton said about the medical and insurance industries for putting their profits ahead of the public's health.

"The market knows the price of everything but the value of nothing."


Inspector Basil Lambrou, Greece, 1960s
"You make yourself ridiculous by thinking you can do anything. The world is divided in two. There are the communists on that side and on this side the free world. The Russians and the Americans, no one else. What are we? Americans. Behind me there is the government, behind the government is NATO, behind NATO is the U.S. You can't fight us, we are Americans."


Dan Mitrione, an employee of the US Office of Public Safety (part of the Agency for International Development), which trained and armed foreign police forces, was stationed in Montevideo, Uruguay - late 1960s

"The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect," was Mitrione's motto.

"When you get what you want, and I always get it," he said, "it may be good to prolong the session a little to apply another softening-up. Not to extract information now, but only as a political measure, to create a healthy fear of meddling in subversive activities."


C. Douglas Lummis, political scientist (Rogue State, p92)
... while "wanton destruction of towns, cities and villages" is a war crime of long standing, the bombing of cities from airplanes goes not only unpunished but virtually unaccused. Air bombardment is state terrorism, the terrorism of the rich. It has burned up and blasted apart more innocents in the past six decades than have all the anti-state terrorists who ever lived. Something has benumbed our consciousness against this reality. In the United States we would not consider for the presidency a man who had once thrown a bomb into a crowded restaurant, 5. but we are happy to elect a man who once dropped bombs from airplanes that destroyed not only restaurants but the buildings that contained them and the neighborhoods that surrounded them. I went to Iraq after the Gulf War and saw for myself what the bombs did; "wanton destruction" is just the term for it.


Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), during a congressional debate in 1998 about imposing sanctions against countries that allow religious persecution. The sanctions were opposed by US business interests.

"We've got to figure out what we believe in our country. Do we believe in capitalism and money or do we believe in human rights?"


Karl Marx

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.


Joseph Schumpeter, 1919
The Roman Empire

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. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest - why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted. The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors. . .The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs...Even less than in the cases that have already been discussed, can an attempt be made here to comprehend these wars of conquest from the point of view of concrete objectives. Here there was neither a warrior nation in our sense, nor, in the beginning, a military despotism or an aristocracy of specifically military orientation. Thus there is but one way to an understanding: scrutiny of domestic class interests, the question of who stood to gain.


Arnold Toynbee, 1961

America is today the leader of a world-wide anti-revolutionary movement in the defense of vested interests. She now stands for what Rome stood for. Rome consistently supported the rich against the poor in all foreign communities that fell under her sway; and, since the poor, so far, have always and everywhere been far more numerous than the rich, Rome's policy made for inequality, for injustice, and for the least happiness of the greatest number.


H.L. Mencken, 1920

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence, clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.


General Douglas MacArthur, speaking of large Pentagon budgets, 1957
(William Manchester, , American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, Dell 1978, p827)

Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear-kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor-with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil. . . to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.


From a 1995 study by the U.S. Strategic Command, the headquarters responsible for the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal

Because of the value that comes from the ambiguity of what the US may do to an adversary if the acts we seek to deter are carried out, it hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed. The fact that some elements may appear to be potentially "out of control' can be beneficial to creating and reinforcing fears and doubts within the minds of an adversary's decision makers. This essential sense of fear is the working force of deterrence. That the US may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked should be a part of the national persona we project to all adversaries.


From the Pentagon (Rogue State, p 25)

US Space Command-dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment. Integrating Space Forces into war-fighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict...During the early portion of the 21st century, space power will also evolve into a separate and equal medium of warfare...The emerging synergy of space superiority with land, sea and air superiority will lead to Full Spectrum Dominance...Development of ballistic missile defenses using space systems and planning for precision strikes from space offers a counter to the worldwide proliferation of WMD [weapons of mass destruction]...Space is a region with increasing commercial, civil, international and military interests and investments. The threat to these vital systems is also increasing...Control of Space is the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium and an ability to deny others the use of space, if required...Control of Space is a complex mission that casts USCINCSPACE [US Commander-in-Chief of space] in a classic war-fighter role and mandates an established AOR [area of responsibility]....With regard to space dominance, we have it, we like it, and we're going to keep it....We will engage terrestrial targets someday-ships, airplanes, land targets-from space...We're going to fight in space. We're going to fight from space and we're going to fight into space.


Jose Barrera, Honduran torturer(Rogue State, p 49)

"They always asked to be killed. Torture is worse than death."


FBI definition of terrorism (Rogue State, p 32)

The FBI defines international terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence committed by a group or individual, who has some connection to a foreign power or whose activities transcend national boundaries, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

The FBI definition, although meant to describe acts directed against the United States, would seem to cover rather well countless acts of the US government itself. Many of these acts will be found in the pages of this book, under the headings of bombings, interventions, torture, chemical and biological warfare, etc.


From 1954 White House commission to study the ClA's covert activities (Doolittle Report) (Rogue State, p 42)

It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the United States is to survive, long-standing American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated, and more effective methods than those used against us. It may become necessary that the American people be made acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy.


CIA "Study of Assassination", written early 1950 (Rogue State, p 43)

"For secret assassinations...the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated. The most efficient accident...is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface. Elevator shafts, stair wells, unscreened windows and bridges will serve...The act may be executed by sudden, vigorous grabbing of the ankles, tipping the subject over the edge. If the assassin immediately sets up an outcry, playing the 'horrified witness', no alibi or surreptitious withdrawal necessary."

"Drugs can be very effective. If the assassin is trained as a doctor or nurse and the subject is under medical care, this is an easy and sure method. An overdose of morphine administered as a sedative will cause death without disturbance and is difficult to detect. The size of the dose will depend upon whether the subject has been using narcotics regularly. If not, two grains will suffice. If the subject drinks heavily, morphine or a similar narcotic can be injected at the passing out stage, and the cause of death will often be held to be acute alcoholism."

"Edge weapons: Any legally obtained edge device may be successfully employed. A certain minimum of anatomical knowledge is needed for reliability. Puncture wounds of the body cavity may not be reliable unless the heart is reached. The heart is protected by the rib cage and is not always easy to locate...Absolute reliability is obtained by severing the spinal cord in the cervical region. This can be done with the point of a knife or a light blow of an axe or hatchet. Another reliable method is the severing of both jugular and carotid vessels on both sides of the windpipe."

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