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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/17/11

Synopsis of a Wide-ranging, Recent, and Spot-on Chomsky Commentary

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Chomsky responds to what Ron Paul said

I think what Ron Paul said is completely un controversial.   You can read the same thing in government documents.   You can find it in polls.   Maybe people don't like to hear it, but, as I've mentioned before, it goes back to the 1950s.  


Right after 9/11, the Wall Street Journal, to its credit, did a study of privileged Muslims, sometimes called "monied Muslims" -- people in the Muslim world who are deeply embedded in the U.S. global project:   lawyers, directors of multinational corporations and so on, not the general population.   And their concerns were very much like what Eisenhower and the National Security Council were concerned about in the 1950s:   Then as now, there was a lot of antagonism to U.S. policy in the region, partly because of its support of dictators that are blocking democracy and development, just as the National Security Council concluded in 1958.


And by 2001, there were much more specific things:   particularly a lot of anger about the U.S.   backing for Israeli occupation of the Occupied Territories, settlements, the bitter oppression of the Palestinians, and also, something that isn't discussed much here but that meant a lot there--and remember, these are privileged Muslims, leaders, i.e. those who kind of carry out, implement the general U.S. economic and social policies in the region.   That other thing, besides the U.S. support of Israeli crimes, was the sanctions against Iraq.   This was 2001, remember.   The sanctions against Iraq were brutal and destructive.   They alone killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims, many of them children who died because of the filthy drinking water that resulted from the U.S. blockade on equipment and chemicals necessary to repair and reestablish functional water filtration systems.   Both of the international diplomats who administered the Oil-for-Food program -- distinguished international diplomats like Denis Halliday, and then Hans von Sponeck -- resigned in protest because they regarded the sanctions as genocidal.   The sanctions were, in effect, a kind of a mass slaughter of Iraqis.   And were actually strengthening Saddam Hussein.   They were compelling the population to rely on him just for survival.   These then were major U.S. crimes of the 1990s.   And privileged Muslims, monied Muslims, in the Saudi Arabia, elsewhere, were bitterly opposed to this, not because they hate our freedoms, but because they despised America's murderous and brutal policies.


How U.S. foreign policy helped bin Laden and hurt the USA

According to at least one CIA analyst, the U.S. actually became Osama bin Laden's biggest ally by allowing itself to be drawn into so many wars abroad.   Bin Laden wanted to draw the United States into what intelligence agencies called a trap, which would inflame and incite hostility in the Muslim world, which he hoped would help mobilize people to his cause.   I don't think that happened to the degree he wanted it to, but it did help, and is still helping, to bankrupt the U.S.    There was a recent estimate, in a study out of Brown University, which estimated the cost just of the two wars at about $4 trillion.   If you count in the costs of homeland security, which now employs a million people all across the country, the total cost is probably double that.   So, between the wars, the housing bubble, and the Bush tax cuts for the rich, . . our leaders, our banks, and our big corporations have created the economic crisis we're now in.


More American jobs

In his challenge to Republicans, Obama said in his new jobs proposal that he intends for the $447 billion package to be paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy.   Around $400 billion would be raised by eliminating a number of deductions claimed by wealthy taxpayers.   This latest jobs plan is one of the better things Obama's done.   Problem is, it doesn't go anywhere near far enough;   but at least it has elements that are going in the right direction.  


The stimulus package, tax cuts, and deficit reduction

During the lame-duck session, the serious question was what to do with the Bush tax cuts, which were carefully designed so that, at the beginning, everyone got a little, and you had a feeling taxes were being reduced.   But they were also designed so that as the 10-year period ended, the tax cuts were overwhelmingly going to the very rich.   However, the larger population is strongly opposed to that.   Take a look at polls during the lame-duck session, when this was coming up:   very strong support for increasing taxes for those with incomes over, say, a quarter-million dollars a year.   Yet Obama didn't push that.   If he had gone directly to the public, and made his case to us as forcefully and passionately as he could, he probably could have overcome the opposition of the financial institutions and the new Republican congressional delegation.   But he played it safe and didn't even try.   And more's the pity.   For us.

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)

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