Political activist Noam Chomsky says that although President Obama views the Iraq invasion merely as "a mistake" or "strategic blunder," it is, in fact, a "major crime" designed to enable America to control the Middle East oil reserves.
"It's ("strategic blunder") probably what the German general staff was telling Hitler after Stalingrad," Chomsky quipped, referring to the big Nazi defeat by the Soviet army in 1943.
"There is basically no significant change in the fundamental traditional conception that if we can control Middle East energy resources, then we can control the world," he said.
In a lecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London Oct. 27th, Chomsky warned against expecting significant foreign policy changes from Obama, according to a report by Mamoon Alabbasi published on MWC News.net. Alabbasi is an editor at Middle East Online.
"As Obama came into office, (former Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice predicted he would follow the policies of Bush's second term, and that is pretty much what happened, apart from a different rhetorical style," Chomsky said.
Chomsky said the U.S. operates under the "Mafia principle," explaining "the Godfather does not tolerate 'successful defiance'" and must be stamped out "so that others understand that disobedience is not an option."
Despite pressure on the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq, Alabbasi reported, Chomsky said the U.S. continues to seek a long-term presence in the country and the huge U.S. embassy in Baghdad is to be expanded under Obama.
"As late as November, 2007, the U.S. was still insisting that the 'Status of Forces Agreement' allow for an indefinite U.S. military presence and privileged access to Iraq's resources by U.S. investors," Chomsky added. "Well, they didn't get that on paper at least. They had to back down," Alabbasi quotes him as saying.
Chomsky said Middle East oil reserves are understood to be "a stupendous source of strategic power" and "one of the greatest material prizes in world history."
Concerning Iran, Chomsky said the U.S. acted to overthrow its parliamentary democracy in 1953 "to retain control of Iranian resources" and when the Iranians reasserted themselves in 1979, the U.S. acted "to support Saddam Hussein's merciless invasion" of that country.
"The torture of Iran continued without a break and still does, with sanctions and other means," Chomsky said. According to Alabbasi, Chomsky "mocked the idea" presented by mainstream media that a nuclear-armed Iran might attack nuclear-armed Israel. Iranian leaders would have to have a "fanatic death wish" to attack Israel, which reportedly has 200 nuclear weapons or more.
"The chance of Iran launching a missile attack, nuclear or not, is about at the level of an asteroid hitting the earth," Chomsky said. He said the presence of U.S. anti-missile weapons in Israel are really meant for preparing a possible attack on Iran, not for self-defense, as they are often presented.
Chomsky is professor emeritus of linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
(Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based media consultant who formerly reported for the Chicago Daily News and worked as a columnist for wire services. Reach him at email@example.com)