Chomsky on Saddam & Neville Chamberlain = Tony Blair

.. and! with a sarcasm that seems a little more pronounced than usual, here's Chomsky on Saddam's capture. Thanks to AlterNet. Chomsky does a succinct job on unwinding the conveniant hypocrisy being employed in selecting & determining the culpability for Hussein's actions, when in the past the US and other democratic powers supported various nefarious actions by the dictator, such as the quashing of the Shiite rebellion in the early '90s.

Next up are the observations comparing Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich with the contemporary globe. There's a number of notes to be raised. First and foremost, what strikes me hard is the comparison I jotted down, late one night, of Neville Chamberlain to Tony Blair. I was shocked at the lengths to which Chamberlain, throughout the '30s, went to appease Hitler. Hitler's initial successes lay not in his military strength (Germany was in fact quite underpowered compared to France, Britain and even Czechoslovakia), but in his ability to twist, with the abilities of a cunning maniacal public persona and a cunning diplomatic doppelganger, each nation to his will. Chamberlain, as well as France, Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia were complicit in the fall of independent Austria. Hungary and Poland remained especially complicit to Czechoslovakia's downfall, taking sections for themselves--and Chamberlain despised the free, democratic state centred in Prague. Russia wanted Poland. And so on. The historical purview of the good vs. evil whitewash in which we view Nazi politics is complicated considerably when one considers the culpability of the major powers (and some of the lesser ones) in Hitler's rise to power--not to mention, of course, the German people's. How does this compare to today? Tony Blair, despite his rhetoric of virility, is as much an accomplice to Bush's unmitigated war as Chamberlain was to Hitler. Blair has gone out of his way to appease Bush's corporate drive for Middle Eastern power. Unfortunately, whereas Chamberlain eventually had Churchill to contend with, there seems to be no strong opposition to Blair either in the UK (save for London's Mayor, Livingstone), in Europe (save for the opportunism of France, and ironically, Germany), or of course in North America (and to make matters worse, the new Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Liberal party, Paul Martin, is making it his top duty to bring Canada in line--like Australia--with US policies, despite a majority public disapproval of US warmongering).

Throughout this slight analysis is the assumption that Bush bears some resemblance to Hitler. In that he doesn't--at least not personally. Hitler was a wounded, evil genius, a brilliant orator, an incredible organiser, ruthless and cutthroat. Bush is a has-been drunkard and cocaine binger. His power lies in the corporation, like Mussolini's fascism, and in his idiocy--he speaks at the level of which America, or at least 'middle America', or TV-land America, wants to think. Like Reagan, he is a TV character (analysed with excellence by Brian Massumi in Parables for the Virtual). But Bush is a strange brew. His religious fanaticism and American fatalism promises a similar 'American Destiny' as to that envisioned by Hitler for the German people. Bush's patriotic insistence reeks of Germany's 'Blood and Soil' rhetoric of the Fatherland. There is something eery and uncanny about reading Shirer's self-confident analysis, as an American journalist in Germany, as he constantly criticizes the Europeans for their inability to recognise (nevermind act upon) the demented anger and vengeful depths of Hitler's Nazi Germany. Fifty years history switches its two-step tunes. For today it is the United States which occupies the structural position of the State aggressor. And its tactics--claiming persecution, wide terrorist networks, and so forth, such as the memorable 1991 incident of Iraqi troops smashing baby incubators, an out-and-out fabrication--are again uncannily similar to those perpetuated by Germany to gain its immediate 'breathing room' of the demilitarized Rhineland, Austria and Czechoslovakia (that pregnant German women were being beaten by Jews and other racial groups in neighbouring countries, etc.). The geography might have changed, the economics are different, propaganda, media and warfare technology are an entirely different beast, and the people involved are night & day, but the means to sway the complacent masses of the nation-state and the basic means of persuasion and violence remain the same in light of the same goals: absolute power, driven by fanaticism.

Oh, you want to know a little about BC politics? This is good.

Newspaper columnist Allan Fotheringham once observed:
In the Maritimes, politics is a disease, in Quebec a religion, in Ontario a business, on the Prairies a protest and in British Columbia entertainment.

posted. Tue - December 23, 2003 @ 08:01 PM           |