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Friday, July 02, 2004

Ask the White House

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage must be on crack. From today's Ask the White House (emphasis added in all cases):
Wendy, from Riverside, CA writes:
Mr. Richard Armitage,After all your international experiences - are you able to justify the blatant disregard of U.S. foreign policy for the majority world's right to self-determination? Do you not detect that "terrorism" is the new "communism" - euphemisms to excuse the growing overtly imperialistic tendancies of the U.S. government?

And if you are on the side of justice - what can you do to change it?

Richard Armitage
Thank you for your comment. No nation in the world ever gives up their right of self defense. This President was not going to wait while a storm gathered and attacked us considering the horror our citizens felt after 9/11.

Terrorism is not the new communism, it is worse.

Regarding imperialism, it is interesting to note -- as far as I know -- in all of the military activities that the United States has taken part in, in over a century, we never asked for more land of any country than the six feet necessary to bury our dead. Period.

Without even looking it up, I can name a bunch of land that the U.S. has grabbed and kept for lengthy periods of time, many of which continue, and which are not exclusively or even mostly cemeteries: Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany. Clark and Subic bases in the Philippines (held from WWII until 1992). The whole Philippines (approx. 1900 until 1941). Guantanamo Bay. Some fifty bases on Okinawa, plus others in Japan. Bagram base in Afghanistan. The Green Zone in Iraq, plus several bases currently occupied or under construction. Bases in Panama and Haiti. And many more military installations. Not to mention the oil rigs, mines, plantations and thousands of other "private" American imperial outposts around the world that all of those military bases protect.

And terrorism worse than communism? That's all in how you define them, I suppose; I'd probably feel safer going to a private meeting with Fidel Castro than with Osama bin Laden. And terrible things were done by supposed communists like Stalin and Mao, each of whom killed millions. But the U.S. fought two bloody wars in Asia, killing millions and losing over 100,000 dead, and sponsored the killing of hundreds of thousands more people all around the world in the name of fighting communism, and Armitage thinks terrorism is worse? That is only conceivable if he includes those same American-sponsored killings in Latin America and Burma and Palestine and East Timor and Africa and Haiti and so on as terrorism, and you know that Armitage doesn't. His definition of terrorism is probably mostly Muslim/Arab attacks on the U.S. and Israel, along with maybe a few Chechyns and Japanese and Colombians. With that restricted definition, he'd be hard pressed to come up with total fatalities from terrorism which would match a bad month in Stalin's Soviet Union, Mao's China, or in Guatemala.

And there's this: "This President was not going to wait while a storm gathered." Of course not. He might have had to wait until long after he'd been voted out of office, so he went out and created the storm himself.

And a later question:
Mark, from Santa Fe writes:
So many current and former BushReaganCheney adminstration staff profit from war. What do you think of that? Isn't it in their interest to promote war instead of peace?

Richard Armitage
I don't know how they can profit from war. If you are speaking about investments, stock ownings in previous companies when they were in the private sector, most of us have to give up our stocks before we enter government. We have to sell them, so there is no way we can profit

No one profits from war except those who are free from subjugation.
Does he actually believe that? Or did he time his crack just for that question? At least it's evident that the natives are starting to get restless. Here are two more questions:
Bruce, from Connecticut writes:
Why do the people of Iraq have so much hate for the Americans and nothing is said about Saddam Hussain? Are we wrong about how terrible he treated them?

Richard Armitage
I think the people of Iraq had no patience for occupiers. And although initially we were greeted as liberators, we rapidly became seen as occupiers. That situation changed three days ago when the government of the new Iraq took sovereign control of their country.

It is very difficult to imagine that the Iraqi people will ever again in large numbers express an affection for Saddam Hussein. He treated them terribly, at least those who were not in a favored ethnic group.

Don, from Denver writes:
Why did you, and the rest of the administration, lie to the American people about the reasons for the war with Iraq? Do you, or any of your close friends, have children serving in Iraq or Afghanistan?

Richard Armitage
I have children, not serving in the military. Many of my friends do. I have served in Vietnam for six years. We went to war with Iraq, first of all, as a matter of self defense. Second of all to make a region safer and more stable. Third of all, to make sure that a man who had a WMD program, who had the expertise to develop them, and who had money would not own those weapons. Not now or not ever.