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The crime of making Americans aware of their own history

Is history getting too close for comfort for the fragile little American heart and mind? Their schools and their favorite media have done an excellent job of keeping them ignorant of what their favorite country has done to the rest of the world, but lately some discomforting points of view have managed to find their way into this well-defended American consciousness.

First, Congressman Ron Paul during a presidential debate last month expressed the belief that those who carried out the September 11 attack were retaliating for the many abuses perpetrated against Arab countries by the United States over the years. The audience booed him, loudly.

Then, popular-song icon Tony Bennett, in a radio interview, said the United States caused the 9/11 attacks because of its actions in the Persian Gulf, adding that President George W. Bush had told him in 2005 that the Iraq war was a mistake. Bennett of course came under some nasty fire. FOX News (September 24), carefully choosing its comments charmingly as usual, used words like “insane”, “twisted mind”, and “absurdities”. Bennett felt obliged to post a statement on Facebook saying that his experience in World War II had taught him that “war is the lowest form of human behavior.” He said there’s no excuse for terrorism, and he added, “I’m sorry if my statements suggested anything other than an expression of love for my country.” (NBC September 21)

Then came the Islamic cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, who for some time had been blaming US foreign policy in the Middle East as the cause of anti-American hatred and terrorist acts. So we killed him. Ron Paul and Tony Bennett can count themselves lucky.

What, then, is the basis of all this? What has the United States actually been doing in the Middle East in the recent past?

• the shooting down of two Libyan planes in 1981

• the bombing of Lebanon in 1983 and 1984

• the bombing of Libya in 1986

• the bombing and sinking of an Iranian ship in 1987

• the shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane in 1988

• the shooting down of two more Libyan planes in 1989

• the massive bombing of the Iraqi people in 1991

• the continuing bombings and draconian sanctions against Iraq for the next 12 years

• the bombing of Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998

• the habitual support of Israel despite the routine devastation and torture it inflicts upon the Palestinian people

• the habitual condemnation of Palestinian resistance to this

• the abduction of “suspected terrorists” from Muslim countries, such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Albania, who were then taken to places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where they were tortured

• the large military and hi-tech presence in Islam’s holiest land, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region

• the support of numerous undemocratic, authoritarian Middle East governments from the Shah of Iran to Mubarak of Egypt to the Saudi royal family

• the invasion, bombing and occupation of Afghanistan, 2001 to the present, and Iraq, 2003 to the present

• the bombings and continuous firing of missiles to assassinate individuals in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and Libya during the period of 2006-2011

It can’t be repeated or emphasized enough. The biggest lie of the “war on terrorism”, although weakening, is that the targets of America’s attacks have an irrational hatred of the United States and its way of life, based on religious and cultural misunderstandings and envy. The large body of evidence to the contrary includes a 2004 report from the Defense Science Board, “a Federal advisory committee established to provide independent advice to the Secretary of Defense.” The report states:

Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.

The report concludes: “No public relations campaign can save America from flawed policies.” (Christian Science Monitor, November 29, 2004)

The Pentagon released the study after the New York Times ran a story about it on November 24, 2004. The Times reported that although the board’s report does not constitute official government policy, it captures “the essential themes of a debate that is now roiling not just the Defense Department but the entire United States government.”

“Homeland security is a rightwing concept fostered following 9/11 as the answer to the effects of 50 years of bad foreign policies in the Middle East. The amount of homeland security we actually need is inversely related to how good our foreign policy is.” – Sam Smith, editor of The Progressive Review

The lies that will not die

In his September 22 address at the United Nations, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad mentioned the Nazi Holocaust just twice:

“Some European countries still use the Holocaust, after six decades, as the excuse to pay fines or ransom to the Zionists.”

“They threaten anyone who questions the Holocaust and the September 11 event with sanctions and military action.”

That was it.

By the term “questions the Holocaust” the Iranian president has made clear repeatedly over the years what he’s referring to. He has commented about the peculiarity and injustice of a tragedy which took place in Europe resulting in a state for the Jews in the Middle East instead of in Europe. Why are the Palestinians paying a price for a German crime? he asks. And he has questioned the figure of six million Jews killed by Nazi Germany, as have many historians and others of all political stripes who think the total was probably less. This has nothing to do with the Holocaust not taking place.

But, as usual, the Western media pretends that it doesn’t understand.

The New York Post (September 22) referred to the Iranian president as “the world’s foremost Holocaust denier, the would-be genocidist Ahmadinejad”.

Agence France Presse (September 22) stated: “The Iranian leader repeated comments casting doubt on the origins of the Holocaust.”

The Washington Post wrote of “Ahmadinejad’s speech suggesting larger conspiracies were behind the Holocaust and the Sept. 11 attacks caused delegates to walk out.” (September 23)

And Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! (September 23) included this amongst the radio program’s news headlines: “For the third straight year, Ahmadinejad sent delegates to the exits after questioning the Nazi Holocaust.”

Without further explanation of that incendiary term — and none was given — what can “questioning the Nazi Holocaust” mean or imply to most listeners other than that Ahmadinejad was questioning whether the Holocaust had actually taken place?

Once again I must point out that I have yet to read of Ahmadinejad ever saying simply, clearly, unambiguously, and unequivocally that he thinks that what we know as the Holocaust never happened. For the record, in a speech at Columbia University on September 24, 2007, in reply to a question about the Holocaust, the Iranian president declared: “I’m not saying that it didn’t happen at all. This is not the judgment that I’m passing here.”

Indeed, I do not know if any of the so-called “Holocaust-deniers” actually, ever, umm, y’know … deny the Holocaust. They question certain aspects of the Holocaust history that’s been handed down to us, but they don’t explicitly say that what we know as the Holocaust never took place. (Yes, I’m sure you can find at least one nut-case somewhere.)

Another enduring lie about Ahmadinejad is that he has called for violence against Israel: His 2005 remark re “wiping Israel off the map”, besides being a very questionable translation, has been seriously misinterpreted, as evidenced by the fact that the following year he declared: “The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon, the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom.” (Associated Press, December 12, 2006) Obviously, the man was not calling for any kind of violent attack upon Israel, for the dissolution of the Soviet Union took place peacefully.

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About the Author

William Blum

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William Blum
William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of numerous books, including "Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II" and "Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower". 
  • Chris

    If only all citizens of the US would wake up. We actually have a chance right now to change this.

  • Adan Rodriguez

    Wow. Is that all he said? This article has shown more professionalism in journalism in one article than every news network on TV has shown in decades. (Except comedy central)

  • Carrie

    I am ashamed of U.S. foreign policy. It has made us less safe, less free and cost us dearly in terms of blood and treasure. It has been the financial mainstay of the military / industrial / banking complex, though. The political elites LOVE it!

    This article gives me hope that the voice of reason may fall on a few ears that are not completely deaf. Thank you for an accurate, logical written portrait of a once great and free nation’s fall from international grace.

  • Kate

    Absolutely truthful article! My fellow americans turn a deaf ear to the truth, because these facts are to them too burdensome to carry. When these atrocities by chance happen to those who have wrapped themselves in the american flag through “Patriotism” to country instead of devotion to God in Spirit and in Truth, it will be too late for them. Satan truly does project himself as an angel of light.

  • http://www.youtube.com/misstammychannel TLR

    Mr. Blum thank you for your positive Ron Paul article. Millions of Americans agree with him, and you, on foreign policy, but the media ignores our voice too. Please keep writing on this topic, everywhere you can. People are waking up everywhere. America needs writers like you in our corner. Thank you again.

  • http://N/A Tom

    At the inception of the article, the author really had me. I was in complete agreement and was anticipating a rundown of some of the most horrible policies that the United States has pursued stretching back more than half a century. Then I read the bulleted list. The worst things that have taken place, objectively, were largely left out. Instead, the author chooses to criticize policies and actions that, by and large, are debatably wrong rather than those that are indubitably wrong and rather minor when compared to other wrongs I would have included. Sorry author, you lost me at your bullet points.

    • Christy

      This is an opinion piece. I’m with you that I was loving the article until the bullet points. He says that they are from his personal journal so maybe that accounts for the odd selection?

      • http://www.thefullertonian.com Mark Stouffer

        I agree. It looks like we were just raiding other countries like Libya. What about them downing our passenger jet? And what about the Islamist goal of imposing religious law? Why should we expect them to be friends of freedom when we see the controls they put on their own citizens?

    • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

      Such as?

  • K

    Very good analysis BUT the Cuban, Iranian, Venezuelan leaders are not any better – socialists, communists, dictators, etc. are good at pointing fingers and dispelling a critical eye towards their own intentions. The world is a mess – the US is merely at the helm of a sinking ship.

  • http://www.NathanielWenger.com Nathaniel Wenger

    I am surprised William Blum didn’t publicly advocate civilocity in this article, a form of government where the people watch the ruler entirely amongst their reign. We cannot allow the leader of a country to cover up unlawful behavior going on.

    Civilocity is the one and only solution to make sure the leader of a country cannot cover up unlawful behavior going on. Every other way to make sure the leader of a country is not covering up unlawful behavior going on doesn’t work and is wrong. Killing is wrong. Preaching peace is wrong. Civilocity is better than peace it works. A form of government where the people watch the ruler entirely amongst their reign.

  • CB

    Great article! How refreshing to hear truth in journalism! Not enough people will wake up – they are too influenced by media that glosses over the turth or just completely lies.

  • Kerry

    Black this out,

    For all who believe this information is Blacked OUT!

    make your voice heard!

    We, Ron Paul’s INTERNET grassroots, are organizing a 24h donation BOMB, to give the man a voice! and means!

  • Kerry

    Black this out,

    For all who believe this information is Blacked OUT!

    make your voice heard!

    We, Ron Paul’s INTERNET grassroots, are organizing a 24h donation BOMB, to give the man a voice! and means!

    “Black This Out”: October 19 Moneybomb for Ron Paul

  • Mikhail

    We did all this to stabilize the region by destabilizing it first-the wards of high ranking foreign affairs department. Heard from N. Chomsky

  • Ed Stephens

    How long does America need to serve England and Israel? Are our people so destined to failure?

    • Blammo

      America is getting paid back for what they did to my ancestors, red savages I believe they referred to them as.

  • Shawn Khalilian

    What a great article! For any of you who agree with these sentiments–you should be supporting Ron Paul. He has been preaching this message for decades.

    Don’t let this black this message out any longer.
    http://www.blackthisout.com/

    • thoughts_from_sara

      Ron Paul – 2012!!!!

  • Shawn Khalilian

    Don’t let them* black this message out any longer.

  • thoughts_from_sara

    I’m a HUGE supporter of Ron Paul. I extremely enjoyed this article and finally some real journalism for a change. It seems our Administration (no matter which one you choose) and our media have ignore the fact of truths. Our Administration throughout decades have made our enemies from abroad and now in our own country as well. For the sake of their pockets to increase, they’ve developed a plan for absolute collateral damage at any cost. WE THE PEOPLE are the collateral damage along with the many innocent citizens abroad. Our government is the real reason for the creation of terrorism. Government needs to be limited and all who involved shall be prosecuted.

  • http://www.homeschooltweet.com Paisley Parmer

    I can’t share this post fast enough in hopes that it will help open the eyes of just one more person. Thank you so much for writing it!