(Article changed on February 26, 2013 at 20:06)Some Vital History, Revisited - 'Welcome to the 1930s'
It was a decade ago when I wrote the following article, the below version yet appearing at 'Indybay' Indymedia, unchanged from the way it's stood for the last ten years. Unfortunately, it arguably seems the devastating truths I discuss have sadly become increasingly evident... and, now we face the question of 'where do we go from here?'
by Chiara Marra
Investigative journalist Ritt Goldstein's chilling commentary upon the growth of contemporary fascism. Versions have been printed in Europe, but this is the first time in English, this version created for Goldstein's fellow Americans.Versions of this piece have been printed in Europe (ie, Memorie moleste degli anni Trenta, April 30, 2003 - http://www.cdbchieri.it/rassegna_stampa/iraq_goldstein.htm), but while the US maintream media has refused to print it, I felt it time to release this painful truth to America. This piece has never been printed in English.
WELCOME TO THE 1930s
By Ritt Goldstein
On the floor of the US Senate, the senior senator from West Virginia, Sen. Robert Byrd, charged that the American people "have been lured into accepting the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign state", Iraq. He added, "like it always does, the truth will emerge".
As regards that truth, "Iraq Bloodbath" had read a wartime headline of Scandinavia's largest daily, Aftonbladet, corpses dotting a picture of what the Bush administration's war machine manufactures. The article reported an American officer as saying that mounds of the dead were piled on sidewalks, a large proportion of the dead feared to be civilians. And amid numerous allegations of Administration fabrications, the much proclaimed weapons of mass destruction have yet to be found, most now believing they never existed. But Iraqi democracy has been put on hold, and a Defense Department report (Strategic Assessment 1999) has surfaced that starkly highlights Oil War as Pentagon policy. So as those who perceive themselves grossly wronged threaten to strike back at us, visions of another era's Blitzkrieg, occupations, attempts to build Empire - is this what they were seeing.
Explaining the Iraq War, of course it is easy to understand that terrorism must be fought, the killing of innocent women and children stopped. But most experts agree that Iraq had no meaningful ties to al Qaeda, and what of dead Iraqi women and children? What of the price our Country's loyal troops have paid and are paying.
As early as 1996, former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brezinski described a vision of American empire quite succinctly, discussing "the grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy". But, only recently is the pressing question of American Empire under debate.
While the horror of the Iraqi conflict is disturbing, more disturbing is the issue of its being a symptom of an older, deadlier disease, a social disorder that previously claimed the lives of tens of millions. And what if the return of this fatal societal contagion had gone largely unrecognized?
In 2001, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi trumpeted the superiority of Western values. In retrospect, Berlusconi's vision of the West "bound to occidentalize and conquer new people" does seem chillingly accurate regarding President Bush's actions.
Of course, the 1930s saw Italy attack Ethiopia, and today's Bush administration has finished Afghanistan, is working on Iraq, and both Iran and Syria have been "warned". If human nature doesn't essentially change, does history merely repeat.
As regards the nature of such questions, in 1941 the social psychologist Erich Fromm published his classic analysis of the impact of social and psychological forces on society, "Escape from Freedom". In it Fromm describes how conditions, similar to today's, meant that human relationships were "poisoned" by a "struggle for the maintenance of power and wealth... by a passionate egocentricity, an insatiable greed". But of course one cannot just say the Enron, WorldCom, Xerox, Halliburton, and other numerous business scandals provide ample testimony to that. Nor can one merely refer to the seemingly all-too-valid complaints of mass-exploitation that the anti-globalization movement voices. However, Fromm charged that "individuals were looked upon as 'objects' to be used and manipulated, or they were ruthlessly destroyed if it suited one's own ends". And such logic does provide good explanation for modern-day robber barons, mass-exploitation, media manipulation, and War. And Senator Byrd did charge that the "events of September 11 have been carefully manipulated".
Escape from Freedom depicts the rise of 1930s fascism. Over a year ago I published an editorial entitled "Deja Vu: The 1930s" - one version contained a WWII picture of the German Wehrmacht marching through a town.
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