Friday, December 28, 2012

Noam Chomsky

The Victors The Agenda of the Doves:1988 The Mortal Sin of Self-Defense The Decline of the Democratic Ideal excerpted from the book Deterring Democracy by Noam Chomsky Hill and Wang, 1992, paper p215 Few, regions of the world have been so dominated by a great power as Central America, which emerged from its usual oblivion in the 1980s, moving to center stage as the traditional order faced an unexpected challenge with the growth of popular movements, inspired in part by the Church's new orientation towards "a preferential option for the poor." After decades of brutal repression and the destructive impact of the US aid programs of the 1960s, the ground was prepared for meaningful social change. The mood in Washington darkened further with the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship. The reaction was vigorous and swift: violent repression, which decimated popular organizations. The ranks of the small guerrilla organizations swelled as state terror mounted. "The guerrilla groups, the revolutionary groups, almost without exception began as associations of teachers, associations of labor unions, campesino unions, or parish organizations . . ." with practical and reformist goals, ex-Ambassador Robert White testified before Congress in 1982. The same point was made by the assassinated Salvadoran Jesuit intellectual Father Ignacio Martin-Baro, among many others. A decade later, the United States and its local allies could claim substantial success. The challenge to the traditional order was effectively contained. The misery of the vast majority had deepened, while the power of the military and the privileged sectors was enhanced behind a facade of democratic forms. Some 200,000 people had been killed. Countless others were maimed, tortured, "disappeared," driven from their homes. The people, the communities, the environment were devastated, possibly beyond repair. It was truly a grand victory. Elite reaction is one of gratification and relief. "For the first time, all five of the countries are led by presidents who were elected in contests widely considered free and fair," Washington Post Central America correspondent Lee Hockstader reports from Guatemala City, expressing the general satisfaction over the victory of "conservative politicians" in elections which, we are to understand, took place on a level playing field with no use of force and no foreign influence. It is true, he continues, that "conservative politicians in Central America traditionally represented the established order," defending the wealthy "despite their countries' grossly distorted income patterns.... But the wave of democracy that has swept the region in recent years appears to be shifting politicians' priorities," so the bad old days are gone for ever. The student of American history and culture will recognize the familiar moves. Once again, we witness the miraculous change of course that occurs whenever some particularly brutal state excesses have been exposed. Hence all of history, and the reasons for its persistent character, may be dismissed as irrelevant, while we march forward, leading our flock to a new and better world. The Post news report does not merely assert that the new conservatives are dedicated populists, unlike those whom the US used to support in the days of its naiveté and inadvertent error, now thankfully behind us. It goes on to provide evidence for this central claim. The shift of priorities to a welcome populism is demonstrated by the outcome of the conference of the five presidents in Antigua, Guatemala, just completed. The presidents, all "committed to free-market economics," have abandoned worthless goals of social reform, Hockstader explains. "Neither in the plan nor in the lengthier and more general 'Declaration of Antigua' was there any mention of land reform or suggestion of new government social welfare programs to help the poor." Rather, they are adopting "a trickle-down approach to aid the poor." "The idea is to help the poor without threatening the basic power structure," a regional economist observes, contemplating these imaginative new ideas on how to pursue our vocation of serving the suffering masses. The headline reads: "Central Americans to use Trickle-down Strategy in War on Poverty," capturing the basic thrust of the news story and the assumptions that frame it: aiding the poor is the highest priority of this new breed of populist conservatives, as it always has been for Washington and the political culture generally. What is newsworthy, and so promising, is the populism of the conservatives we support, and their ingenious and startlingly innovative approach to our traditional commitment to help the poor and suffering, a trickle-down strategy of enriching the wealthy-a "preferential option for the rich," overcoming the errors of the Latin American bishops. One participant in the meeting is quoted as saying: "These past ten years have been gruesome for poor people, they've taken a beating." Putting aside the conventions, one might observe that the political outcomes hailed as a triumph of democracy are in no small measure a tribute to the salutary efficacy of US terror, and that the presidents who hold formal power, and their sponsors, might have had something other than a war on poverty in mind. There is also a history of trickle-down approaches to relieving poverty that might be explored. Such an inquiry might lead us to expect that the next ten years will be no less gruesome for the poor. But that path is not pursued, here or elsewhere in the mainstream. While the three-day conference of populist conservatives was taking place in Antigua, thirty-three tortured, bullet-riddled bodies were discovered in Guatemala. They did not disturb the celebration over the triumph of freedom and democracy, or even make the news. Nor did the rest of the 125 bodies half with signs of torture, found throughout the country that month, according to the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission. The Commission identified seventy-nine as victims of "extrajudicial execution" by the security forces. Another twenty-nine were kidnapped and forty-nine injured in kidnap attempts. The report comes to us from Mexico, where the Commission is based, so that human rights workers can survive now that the US has succeeded in establishing democracy in their homeland. The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) reports that the percentage of the Guatemalan population living in extreme poverty increased rapidly after the establishment of democracy in 1985: from 45 percent in that year to 76 percent in 1988. A study by the Nutritional Institute of Central America and Panama (INCAP) estimates that half the population live under conditions of extreme poverty and that in rural areas, where the situation is worse, thirteen out of every hundred children under five die of illnesses related to malnutrition. Other studies estimate that 20,000 Guatemalans die of hunger every year, that more than 1000 children died of measles alone in the first four months of 1990, and that "the majority of Guatemala's four million children receive no protection at all, not even for the most elemental rights." The Communique of the January 1990 Conference of Guatemalan Bishops reviews the steady deterioration of the critical situation of the mass of the population as "the economic crisis has degenerated into a social crisis" and human rights, even "the right to dignity, . . . do not exist." Throughout the region, the desperate situation of the poor majority has become still more grave with the grand triumph of our values. Three weeks before the Antigua conference, in his homily marking the completion of President Alfredo Cristiani's first year in office, Archbishop Rivera y Damas of San Salvador deplored the policies of his administration, which have worsened the already desperate plight of the poor; the new conservative populist so admired in Washington and New York "is working to maintain the system," the Archbishop said, "favoring a market economy which is making the poor yet poorer." In the neighboring countries, the situation is much the same. A few days after the encouraging Washington Post report on the Antigua meeting an editorial in a leading Honduran journal appeared under the headline "Misery is increasing in Honduras because of the economic adjustment," referring to the new trickle-down strategy that the Post found so promising - actually the traditional strategy, its lethal features now more firmly entrenched. The main victims are "the usual neglected groups: children, women, and the aged," according to the conclusions of an academic seminar on "Social Policy in the Context of Crisis," confirmed by "the Catholic Church, the unions, several political parties, and noted economists and statisticians of the country." Two-thirds of the population live below the poverty line, over half of these below the level of "dire need." Unemployment, undernourishment, and severe malnutrition are increasing. The Pan American Health Organization estimates that of 850,000 children born every year in Central America, 100,000 will die before the age of five and two-thirds of those who survive will suffer from malnutrition, with attendant physical or mental development problems. The Inter-American Development Bank reports that per capita income has fallen to the level of 1971 in Guatemala, 1961 in El Salvador, 1973 in Honduras, 1960 in Nicaragua, 1974 in Costa Rica, and 1982 in Panama. Nicaragua was an exception to this trend of increasing misery, but the US terrorist attack and economic warfare succeeded in reversing earlier gains. Nevertheless, infant mortality halved over the decade, from 128 to 62 deaths per thousand births: "Such a reduction is exceptional on the international level," a UNICEF official said, "especially when the country's war-ravaged economy is taken into account." Studies by CEPAL, the World Health Organization, and others "cast dramatic light on the situation," Mexico's leading daily reports. They reveal that fifteen million Central Americans, almost 60 per cent of the population, live in poverty, of whom 9.7 million live in "extreme poverty." Severe malnutrition is rampant among children. Seventy-five percent of the peasants in Guatemala, 60 percent in El Salvador, 40 percent in Nicaragua, and 35 percent in Honduras lack health care. To make matters worse, Washington has applied "stunning quotas on sugar, beef, cocoa, cheese, textiles, and limestone, as well as compensation laws and 'antidumping' policies in cement, flowers, and operations of cellulose and glass. " The European Community and Japan have followed suit, also imposing harmful protectionist measures. The environment shares the fate of those who people it. Deforestation, soil erosion, pesticide poisoning, and other forms of environmental destruction, increasing through the victorious 1980s, are traceable in large measure to the development model imposed upon the region and US militarization of it in recent years. Intense exploitation of resources by agribusiness and export-oriented production have enriched wealthy sectors and their foreign sponsors, and led to statistical growth, with a devastating impact on the land and the people. In El Salvador, large areas have become virtual wastelands as the military has sought to undermine the guerrillas' peasant base by extensive bombardment, and by forest and crop destruction. There have been occasional efforts to stem the ongoing catastrophe. Like the Arbenz government overthrown in the ClA-run coup that restored the military regime in Guatemala, the Sandinistas initiated environmental reforms and protections. These were desperately needed, both in the countryside and near Managua, where industrial plants had been permitted to dump waste freely. The most notorious case was the US Penwalt Corporation, which poured mercury into Lake Managua until 1981. The foreign-imposed development model has emphasized "nontraditional exports" in recent years. Under the free-market conditions approved for defenseless Third World countries, the search for survival and gain will naturally lead to products that maximize profit, whatever the consequences. Coca production has soared in the Andes and elsewhere for this reason but there are other examples as well. After the discovery of clandestine "human farms" and "fattening houses" for children in Honduras and Guatemala, Dr Luis Genaro Morales, president of the Guatemalan Pediatric Association, said that child trafficking "is becoming one of the principal nontraditional export products," generating $20 million of business a year. The International Human Rights Federation, after an inquiry in Guatemala, gave a more conservative estimate, reporting that about three hundred children are kidnapped every year, taken to secret nurseries, then sold for adoption at about $10,000 per child. The IHRF investigators could not confirm reports that babies' organs were being sold to foreign buyers. This macabre belief is widely held in the region, however; indicative of the general mood, though hardly credible. The Honduran journal El Tiempo reported that the Paraguayan police rescued seven Brazilian babies from a gang that "intended to sacrifice them to organ banks in the United States, according to a charge in the courts." Brazil's Justice Ministry ordered federal police to investigate allegations that adopted children are being used for organ transplants in Europe, a practice "known to exist in Mexico and Thailand," the London Guardian reports, adding that "handicapped children are said to be preferred for transplant operations" and reviewing the process by which children are allegedly kidnapped, "disappeared," or given up by impoverished mothers, then adopted or used for transplants. Tiempo reported shortly after that an Appeals Judge in Honduras ordered "a meticulous investigation into the sale of Honduran children for the purpose of using their organs for transplant operations." A year earlier, the Secretary-General of the National Council of Social Services, which is in charge of adoptions, had reported that Honduran children "were being sold to the body traffic industry" for organ transplant. A Resolution of the European Parliament on the Trafficking of Central American Children alleged that near a "human farm" in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, infant corpses were found that "had been stripped of one or a number of organs." At another "human farm" in Guatemala, babies ranging from eleven days old to four months old had been found. The director of the farm, at the time of his arrest, declared that the children "were sold to American or Israeli families whose children needed organ transplants at the cost of $75,000 per child," the Resolution continues, expressing "its horror in the light of the facts" and calling for investigation and preventive measures. As the region sinks into further misery, these reports continue to appear. In July 1990, a right-wing Honduran daily, under the headline "Loathsome Sale of Human Flesh," reported that police in El Salvador had discovered a group, headed by a lawyer, that was buying children to resell in the United States. An estimated 20,000 children disappear every year in Mexico, the report continues, destined for this end or for use in criminal activities such as transport of drugs "inside their bodies." "The most gory fact, however, is that many little ones are used for transplant of organs to children in the U.S.," which, it is suggested, may account for the fact that the highest rate of kidnapping of children from infants to eighteen-year-olds is in the Mexican regions bordering on the United States. p227 Brazil is another country with rich resources and potential, long subject to European influence, then US intervention primarily since the Kennedy years. We cannot, however, simply speak of "Brazil." There are two very different Brazils. In a scholarly study of the Brazilian economy, Peter Evans writes that "the fundamental conflict in Brazil is between the 1, or perhaps 5, percent of the population that comprises the elite and the 80 percent that has been left out of the 'Brazilian model' of development." The Brazilian journal Veja reports on these two Brazils-the first modem and Westernized, the second sunk in the deepest misery. Seventy percent of the population consume fewer calories than Iranians, Mexicans, or Paraguayans. Over half the population have family incomes below the minimum wage. For 40 percent of the population the median annual salary is $287, while inflation skyrockets and even minimal necessities are beyond reach. A World Bank report on the Brazilian educational system compares it unfavorably to those of Ethiopia and Pakistan, with a dropout rate of 80 percent in primary school, growing illiteracy, and falling budgets. The Ministry of Education reports that the government spends over a third of the education budget on school meals, because most of the students will either eat at school or not at all. The journal South, which describes itself as "The Business Magazine of 7 the Developing World," reports on Brazil under the heading "The Underside of Paradise." A country with enormous wealth, no security concerns, a relatively homogeneous population, and a favorable climate, Brazil nevertheless has problems: The problem is that this cornucopia is inhabited by a population enduring social conditions among the worst in the world. Two-thirds do not get enough to eat. Brazil has a higher infant mortality rate than Sri Lanka, a higher illiteracy rate than Paraguay, and worse social indicators than many far poorer African countries. Fewer children finish first-grade school than in Ethiopia, fewer are vaccinated than in Tanzania and Botswana. Thirty-two percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Seven million abandoned children beg, steal and sniff glue on the streets. For scores of millions, home is a shack in a slum, a room in the inner city, or increasingly, a patch of ground under a bridge. The share of the poorer classes in the national income is "steadily falling giving Brazil probably the highest concentration of income in the world." It has no progressive income tax or capital gains tax, but it does have galloping inflation and a huge foreign debt, while participating in a "Marshall Plan in reverse," in the words of former President Jose Sarney, referring to debt payments. It would only be fair to add that the authorities are concerned with the mounting problem of homeless and starving children, and are trying to reduce their numbers. Amnesty International reports that death squads, often run by the police, are killing street children at a rate of about one a day, while "many more children, forced onto the streets to support their families, are being beaten and tortured by the police" (Reuters, citing AI). "Poor children in Brazil are treated with contempt by the authorities, risking their lives simply by being on the streets," AI alleged. Most of the torture takes place under police custody or in state institutions. There are few complaints by victims or witnesses because of fear of the police, and the few cases that are investigated judicially result in light sentences. For three-quarters of the population of this cornucopia, the conditions of Eastern Europe are dreams beyond reach, another triumph of the Free World. A UN "Report on Human Development" ranks Brazil, with the world's eighth largest economy, in eightieth place in general welfare (as measured by education, health, hygiene)-near Albania, Paraguay and Thailand. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced on October 18 that more than 40 percent of the population (almost fifty-three million people) are hungry. The Brazilian Health Ministry estimates that hundreds of thousands of children die of hunger every year. Recall that these are the conditions that hold on the twenty-fifth anniversary of "the single most decisive victory of freedom in the mid-twentieth century" (Lincoln Gordon, US Ambassador to Brazil at the time)-that is, the overthrow of parliamentary democracy by Brazilian generals backed by the United States, which then praised the "economic miracle" produced by the neo-Nazi National Security State they established. In the months before the generals' coup, Washington assured its traditional military allies of its support and provided them with aid, because the military was essential to "the strategy for restraining left-wing excesses" of the elected Goulart government, Ambassador Gordon cabled the State Department. The US actively supported the coup, preparing to intervene directly if its help was needed for what Gordon described as the "democratic rebellion" of the generals. This "de facto ouster" of the elected president was "a great victory for the free world," Gordon reported, adding that it should "create a greatly improved climate for private investment." US labor leaders demanded their proper share of the credit for the overthrow of the parliamentary regime, while the new government proceeded to crush the labor movement and subordinate poor and working people to the overriding needs of business interests, primarily foreign. Secretary of State Dean Rusk justified US recognition for the regime on the grounds that "the succession there occurred as foreseen by the Constitution," which had just been blatantly violated. The US proceeded to provide ample aid as torture and repression mounted, the relics of constitutional government faded away, and the climate for investors improved under the rule of what Washington hailed as the "democratic forces." The circumstances of the poor in Brazil continue to regress as austerity measures are imposed on the standard IMF formula in an effort to deal somehow with this catastrophe of capitalism. The same is true in Argentina, where the Christian Democratic Party called on its members to resign from the Cabinet in March 1990 "in order not to validate, by their presence in the government, the anti-popular [economic] measures of the regime." In a further protest over these measures, the Party expelled the current Minister of the Economy. Experts say that the socioeconomic situation has become "unbearable," and that a third of the population lives in extreme poverty. ~ The fate of Argentina is addressed in a report in the Washington Post by Eugene Robinson. One of the ten richest countries in the world at the turn of the century, with abundant resources and great advantages, Argentina is becoming a Third World country, Robinson observes. About one-third of its thirty-one million inhabitants live below the poverty line. Eighteen thousand children die each year before their first birthday, most from malnutrition and preventable disease. The capital, once considered "the most elegant and European city this side of the Atlantic," is "ringed by a widening belt of shantytowns, called villas miserias, or 'miseryvilles,' where the homes are cobbled-together huts and the sewers are open ditches." Here too the IMF-style reforms "have made life even more precarious the poor." p230 David Felix concludes that Argentina's decline results from "political factors such as prolonged class warfare and a lack of national commitment on the part of Argentina's elite," which took advantage of the free-market policies of the murderous military dictatorship. These led to massive redistribution of income towards the wealthy and a sharp fall in per capita income along with a huge increase in debt as a result of capital flight, tax evasion and consumption by the rich beneficiaries of the system; Reaganomics, in essence. In oil-rich Venezuela, over 40 percent live in extreme poverty according to official figures, and the food situation is considered "hyper-critical," the Chamber of Food Industries reported in 1989. Malnutrition is so common that it is often not noted in medical histories, according to hospital officials, who warn that "the future is horrible." Prostitution has also increased, reaching the level of about 170,000 women or more, according to the Ministry of Health. The Ministry also reports an innovation, beyond the classic prostitution of women of low income. Many "executive secretaries and housewives and college students accompany tourists and executives during a weekend, earning at times up to [about S150] per contact." Child prostitution is also increasing and is now "extremely widespread," along with child abuse. Brutal exploitation of women is a standard feature of the "economic miracles" in the realms of capitalist democracy. The huge flow of women from impoverished rural areas in Thailand to service the prostitution industry-one of the success stories of the economic takeoff sparked by the Indochina wars-is one of the many features of the Free World triumph that escape notice. The savage working conditions for young women largely from the rural areas are notorious; young women, because few others are capable of enduring these conditions of labor, or survive to continue with it. Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship is another famous success story. Antonio Garza Morales reports in Excelsior that "the social cost which has been paid by the Chilean people is the highest in Latin America," with the number of poor rising from one million after Allende to seven million today, while the population has remained stable at twelve million. Christian Democratic Party leader Senator Anselmo Sule, returned from exile, says that economic growth that benefits 10 percent of the population has been achieved (Pinochet's official institutions agree), but development has not. Unless the economic disaster for the majority is remedied, "we are finished," he adds. According to David Felix, "Chile, hit especially hard in the 1982-84 period, is now growing faster than during the preceding decade of the Chicago Boys," enthralled by the free-market ideology that is, indeed, highly beneficial for some: the wealthy, crucially including foreign investors. Chile's recovery, Felix argues, can be traced to "a combination of severe wage repression by the Pinochet regime, an astutely managed bailout of the bankrupt private sector by the economic team that replaced the discredited Chicago Boys, and access to unusually generous lending by the international financial institutions," much impressed by the favorable climate for business operations. Environmental degradation is also a severe problem in Chile. The Chilean journal Apsi devoted a recent issue to the environmental crisis accelerated by the "radical neoliberalism" of the period following the US-backed coup that overthrew the parliamentary democracy. Recent studies show that about half the country is becoming a desert, a problem that "seems much farther away than the daily poisoning of those who live in Santiago," the capital city, which competes with Sao Paolo (Brazil) and Mexico City for the pollution prize for the hemisphere (for the world, the journal alleges). "The liquid that emerges from the millions of faucets in the homes and alleys of Santiago have levels of copper, iron, magnesium and lead which exceed by many times the maximum tolerable norms." The lands that "supply the fruits and vegetables of the Metropolitan Region are irrigated with waters that exceed by 1000 times the maximum quantity of coliforms acceptable," which is why Santiago "has levels of hepatitis, typhoid, and parasites which are not seen in any other part of the continent" (one of every three children in the capital has parasites). Economists and environmentalists attribute the problem to the "development model," crucially, its "transnational style, "in which the most important decisions tend to be adopted outside the ambit of the countries themselves," consistent with the assigned "function" of the Third World: to serve the needs of the industrial West. p248 On a visit to Europe a few days before he was assassinated by elite government forces in San Salvador in November 1989, Father Ignacio Ellacuria, rector of the University of Central America, addressed the West on the underlying issues. You "have organized your lives around inhuman values," These values " are inhuman because they cannot be universalized. The system rests on a few using the majority of the resources, while the majority can't even cover their basic necessities. It is crucial to define a system of values and a norm of living that takes into account every human being." p254 In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the common interests were to overcome the "crisis of democracy" that arose at home with the awakening of the ignorant masses, to reverse the declining fortunes of US business in the face of international competition and lowered profitability, and to overcome the threat of Third World "ultranationalism" that responds to domestic concerns and popular pressures rather than the transcendent needs of the rich industrial societies. The common interests therefore required an attack on labor and the welfare system, expansion of the public subsidy to high-technology industry through the standard Pentagon funnel and other measures to enrich the wealthy, a more aggressive foreign policy, and domestic propaganda to whip the ignorant masses into line in fear for their lives. Such policy proposals were advanced by the Carter Administration, then implemented under Reagan; military spending, for example, was in general accord with Carter Administration projections apart from the shape of the curve, a brief propaganda success at the outset having been exploited to accelerate spending, which then leveled off. Throughout the period, the public continued its long-term drift towards support for New Deal-style welfare state measures, while in articulate opinion the "L word" ("liberal") followed the "S word" ("socialist") into disgrace and oblivion, and government policy, with general bipartisan support, implemented the agenda of the powerful. The common interests were outlined by the experts as state management shifted from Carter to the Reaganites, committed to the use of state power as an instrument of privilege. In the domain of international policy, a perceptive analysis by Robert Tucker in Foreign Affairs gave a foretaste of what was to come on the eve of the inauguration. The costs of the Vietnam War had compelled a temporary abandonment of the postwar policy of containment in favor of détente, he observed, but now a more activist foreign policy was required for a "resurgent America." Tucker distinguished between "needs" and "wants." Domination of the oil-producing regions of the Middle East is a "need"; therefore we should be prepared to use force to bar threats arising "from developments indigenous to the Gulf' that might endanger our "right of access" or our "economic well-being and the integrity of [the nation's] basic institutions." Turning from "the realm of necessity," Tucker identified a second major area where forceful intervention was in order: Central America, where we have only "wants," not "needs." Our right to satisfy our "wants" in this region is conferred by history: "We have regularly played a determining role in making and unmaking governments, and we have defined what we have considered to be the acceptable behavior of governments." Thus "reasons of pride and historical tradition" confer upon us the authority to ensure that "radical movements or radical regimes must be defeated" while "right-wing governments will have to be given steady outside support, even, if necessary, by sending in American forces." Such intervention should be relatively costless for us, so the liberal counterargument is voided, he argued. Tucker feared that "the prevailing public mood" might permit only the halfway measures of "moderate containment" and impede the proper pursuit of our "wants." He therefore recommended the conventional appeal to "security interests" to manufacture consent to these imperatives; as events were to show, the refractory public was less malleable than he had anticipated. Meanwhile Jeane Kirkpatrick derided the idea that "forceful intervention in the affairs of another nation is impractical and immoral," while the editors of the New Republic deplored Carter's "failure to defend the capitalist democratic idea" and his "moralistic excesses," urging military intervention if necessary to rescue the ruling killers in El Salvador, and preference for a Somoza over the Sandinistas if these are the only realistic alternatives. The bloody onslaught on Central America ensued. p325 A fundamental goal of US policy towards Latin America (and elsewhere), long-standing and well documented, is to take control of the police and military so as to assure that the population will not act upon unacceptable ideas. One goal, then, will be eventually to restore something like the Somozist National Guard, following the prescriptions of the Carter doves. A secondary goal is to destroy any independent press. Sometimes this requires murderous violence, as in El Salvador and Guatemala. The broad elite approval of the practice is evident from the reaction when it is carried out: typically, silence, coupled with praise for the advances towards democracy. Sometimes market forces suffice, as in Costa Rica, where the Spanish language press is a monopoly of the ultra-right. More generally, there are two legitimate forces in Latin America: first and foremost, the United States; secondarily, the local oligarchy, military, and business groups that associate themselves with the interests of US economic and political elites. If these forces hold power without challenge, all is well. The playing field is level, and if formal elections are held, it will be called "democracy. " If there is any challenge from the general population, a firm response is necessary. The establishment, left and right, will tolerate some range of opinion over appropriate levels of savagery, repression, and general misery. In Nicaragua, it will not be so simple to attain the traditional objectives. Any resistance to them will be condemned as "Sandinista totalitarianism." One can write the editorials in advance. Perhaps the political coalition constructed by Washington will be unable to meet the demands imposed upon it by the master. If so, new managers will be needed. One option is a turn to the right, a virtual reflex. Vice President Virgilio Godoy may qualify as an adequate hardline autocrat, and ex-Contras should be available to use the terrorist skills imparted to them by their trainers from the US and its mercenary states. Or others may be found to do the job, as circumstances allow. Another option is to follow a different and also well-traveled road. There is one mass-based political organization in Nicaragua. It may disintegrate under repression, or social and economic deterioriation, or simply the inevitable pressures under monopoly of resources by the right-wing and its imperial associate. Or it may regain the vitality it has at least partially lost. If it remains, and if it can be brought to heel, perhaps its leadership can be assigned the task of social management under US command. The point was made obliquely by the Wall Street Journal, in its triumphal editorial on the elections. "In time," the editors wrote, "Daniel Ortega may discover the moderating influences of democratic elections, as did Jamaica's Michael Manley, himself formerly a committed Marxist." Translating from Newspeak, the US may have to fall back on the Jamaican model, first working to undermine and destroy a popular movement, then lavishly supporting the preferred capitalist alternative that proved to be a miserable failure, then turning to the populist Manley to manage the resulting disaster-but for us. The point is widely understood, though generally left tacit in polite commentary. As if by instinct, when the election returns were announced Ortega was instantaneously transformed from a villain into a statesman, with real promise. He can be kept in the wings, to be called upon if needed to follow our directions, if only he can learn his manners. The policy is routine. Once the rabble have been tamed, once the dream of a better future is abandoned and "the masses" understand that their only hope is to shine shoes for Whitey, then it makes good sense to allow a "democratic process" that may even bring former enemies to power. They can then administer the ruins-for us. A side benefit is that populist forces are thereby discredited. Thus the US was quite willing to permit Manley to take over after the dismal failure of the Reaganite free-market experiment, and would have observed with equanimity (indeed, much pride in our tolerance of diversity) if Juan Bosch had won the 1990 elections in the Dominican Republic. There is no longer any need to send the Marines to bar him from office as in 1965, when the population arose, defeating the army and restoring the populist constitutional regime that had been overthrown by a US-backed coup. After years of death squads, starvation, mass flight of desperate boat people, and takeover of the rest of the economy by US corporations, we need not be troubled by democratic forms. On the same reasoning, it is sometimes a good idea to encourage Black mayors- if possible, civil rights leaders-to preside over the decline of what is left of the inner cities of the domestic Third World. Once demoralization is thorough and complete, they can run the wreckage and control the population. Perhaps Ortega and the Sandinistas, having come to their senses after a dose of reality administered by the guardian of order, will be prepared to take on this task if the chosen US proxies fail. Years ago, a Jesuit priest working in Nicaragua, who had been active in Chile prior to the Pinochet coup, commented: "In Chile, the Americans made a mistake," killing the revolution there "too abruptly" and thus failing to "kill the dream." "In Nicaragua they're trying to kill the dream," he suggested. That is surely a more rational policy, because if the dream is not killed, trouble might erupt again. But once the hope of a more free and just society is lost, and the proper habits are "ingrained" (as in Manley's Jamaica, according to the World Bank official whose satisfied evaluation was quoted earlier), then things should settle down to the traditional endurance of suffering and privation, without disturbing noises from the servants' quarters. If all works well, Maynes's establishment left will once again be able to celebrate what he calls the US campaign "to spread the cause of democracy." It is true, he observes, that sometimes things don't quite work out. Thus "specialists may point out that the cause of democracy suffered some long-run setbacks in such places as Guatemala and Iran because of earlier CIA 'successes' in overthrowing governments there." But ordinary folk should not be troubled by the human consequences of these setbacks. More successful is the case of Grenada, where the cause of democracy triumphed at not too great a cost to us, Maynes observes, "and the island has not been heard from since." There has been no need to report the recent meaningless elections, the social dissolution and decay, the state of siege instituted by the official democrats, the decline of living conditions, and other standard concomitants of "the defense of freedom." Perhaps, with luck, Nicaragua will prove to be a success of which we can be equally proud. Panama is already well along the familiar road. With proper management, then, we should be able to leave the Sandinistas, at least in anything like their earlier incarnation, down somewhere in "the ash heap of history" where they belong, and "return Central America to the obscurity it so richly deserves" in accord with the prescriptions of the establishment left (Alan Tonelson, Maynes's predecessor at Foreign Policy). Outside of the official left-right spectrum, the nonpeople have other values and commitments, and a quite different understanding of responsibility to something other than themselves and of the cause of democracy and freedom. They should also understand that solidarity work is now becoming even more critically important than before. Every effort will be made to de-educate the general population so that they sink to the intellectual and moral level of the cultural and social managers. Those who do not succumb have a historic mission, and should not forget that. Deterring Democracy Index of Website Problems of Population Control The Post-Cold War Era Nefarious Aggression excerpted from the book Deterring Democracy by Noam Chomsky Hill and Wang, 1992, paper p107 For US elites the easing of Cold War tensions was a mixed blessing. True, the decline of the Soviet deterrent facilitates US resort to violence and coercion in the Third World, and the collapse of the Soviet system paves the way to integration of much of East and Central Europe into the domains that are to "complement the industrial economies of the West. " But problems arise in controlling the ever-threatening public at home and maintaining influence over the allies, now credible rivals in terms of economic power and ahead in the project of adapting the new Third World to their needs. Here lie many problems, of a potentially serious nature. It was therefore hardly surprising that Gorbachev's initiatives should have elicited such ambivalent reactions, tinged with visible annoyance and thoughts as to how they could be exploited to Washington's advantage; or that his unilateral concessions and offers were so commonly interpreted as moves in a game of PR one-upmanship, in which our side unfortunately lacked the talent to compete. The "Unsettling Specter of Peace" raises "knotty 'peace' questions," the Wall Street Journal observes.' Crucially, it threatens the regular resort to the military Keynesian programs that have served as the major device of state economic management through the postwar years. The Journal quotes former army chief of staff General Edward Meyer, who thinks that a more capital-intensive and high-tech military will ensure "a big business out there for industry": robot tanks, unmanned aircraft, sophisticated electronics-all of dubious use for any defensive (or probably any) military purpose, but that is not the point. It is, however, a rather lame hope; how will the public be bludgeoned into paying the costs, without a plausible Red Menace on the horizon? p108 Business circles have long taken for granted that the state must play a major role in maintaining the system of private profit. They may welcome talk about free enterprise and laissez-faire, but only as a weapon to prevent diversion of public resources to the , 7 population at large, or to facilitate the exploitation of the dependencies. The assumption has been that a probable alternative to the Pentagon system is investment for social needs. While perhaps technically feasible by the abstract standards of the economist, this option interferes with the prerogatives of owners and managers and is therefore ruled out as a policy option. But unless driven by fear, the public will neither choose the path that best serves corporate interests nor support foreign adventures undertaken to subordinate the Third World to the same demands. Problems of social control mount in so far as the state is limited in its capacity to coerce. It is, after all, hardly a law of nature that a few should command while the multitude obey, that the economy should be geared to ensuring luxuries for some instead of necessities for all, or that the fate-^ even the survival-of future generations be dismissed as irrelevant to planning. If ordinary folk are free to reflect on the causes of human misery (in Barrington Moore's phrase), they may well draw all the wrong conclusions. Therefore, they must be indoctrinated or diverted, a task that requires unremitting efforts. The means are many; engendering fear of a threatening enemy has always been a powerful tool in the kit. The Vietnam years awakened many minds. To counter the threat, it was necessary to restore the image of American benevolence and to rebuild the structure of fear. Both challenges were addressed with the dedication they demand. The congressional human rights campaign, itself a reflection of the improvement in the moral and intellectual climate, was skillfully exploited for the former end. In the featured article of the Foreign Affairs annual review of the world, Robert Tucker comments, cynically but accurately, that since the mid 1970s "human rights have served to legitimize a part of the nation's post-Vietnam foreign policy and to give policy a sense of purpose that apparently has been needed to elicit public support." He adds "the simple truth that human rights is little more than a refurbished version of America's historic purpose of advancing the cause of freedom in the world," as in Vietnam, a noble effort "undertaken in defense of a free people resisting communist aggression." Such State Department handouts are all that one can expect about Vietnam in respectable circles; the plain truth is far too threatening to be thinkable. But the comments on "America's historic purpose"-also conventional-do merit some notice. Such rhetoric would elicit only ridicule outside of remnants of pre-Enlightenment fanaticism-perhaps among the mullahs in Qom, or in disciplined Western intellectual circles. In the Reagan years, a "yearning for democracy" was added to the battery of population control measures. As Tucker puts it, under the Reagan Doctrine "the legitimacy of governments will no longer rest simply on their effectiveness, but on conformity with the democratic process," and "there is a right of intervention" against illegitimate governments-a goal too ambitious, he feels, but otherwise unproblematic. The naive might ask why we failed to exercise this right of intervention in South Korea, Indonesia, South Africa, or El Salvador, among other candidates. There is no inconsistency, however. These countries are committed to "democracy" in the operative meaning of the term: unchallenged rule by elite elements (business, oligarchy, military) that generally respect the interests of US investors, with appropriate forms for occasional ratification by segments of the public. When these conditions are not satisfied, intervention is legitimate to "restore democracy." p113 In the early Reagan years, the Soviet threat was manipulated for the twin goals of Third World intervention and entrenching the welfare state for the privileged. Transmitting Washington's rhetoric, the media helped to create a brief period of public support for the arms build-up while constructing a useful myth of the immense popularity of the charismatic "great communicator" to justify the state-organized party for the rich. Other devices were also used. Thanks to the government-media campaign, 6 percent of the public came to perceive Nicaragua as a "vital interest" of the United States by 1986, well above France, Brazil, or India. By the mid 1980s, international terrorism, particularly in the Middle East, assumed center stage. To appreciate the brilliance of this propaganda feat, one must bear in mind that even in the peak years of concern, 1985-6, the US and its Israeli ally were responsible for the most serious acts of international terrorism in this region, not to speak of the leading role of the United States in international terrorism elsewhere in the world, and in earlier years. p114 To fit the part, a menace must be grave, or at least portrayable as such. Defense against the menace must engender a suitable martial spirit among the population, which must accord its rulers free rein to pursue policies motivated on other grounds and must tolerate the erosion of civil liberties, a side benefit of particular importance for the statist reactionaries who masquerade as conservatives. Furthermore, since the purpose is to divert attention away from power and its operations-from federal offices, corporate boardrooms, and the like-a menace for today should be remote: "the other," very different from "us," or at least what we are trained to aspire to be. The designated targets should also be weak enough to be attacked without cost; the wrong color helps as well. In short, the menace should be situated in the Third World, whether abroad or in the inner city at home. The war against the menace should also be designed to be winnable, a precedent for future operations. A crucial requirement for the entire effort is that the media launch a properly structured propaganda campaign, never a problem. A war on drugs was a natural choice for the next crusade. p115 Seventy percent of the Bush-Bennett drug budget was for law enforcement; if the underclass cannot be cooped up in urban reservations and limited to preying on itself, then it can be imprisoned outright. Countering criticism from soft-hearted liberals, Bennett supported "tough policy" over "drug education programs": "If I have the choice of only one, I will take policy every time because I know children. And you might say this is not a very romantic view of children, not a very rosy view of children. And I would say, 'You're right'." Bennett is somewhat understating his position when he says that punishment is to be preferred if only one choice is available. In his previous post as Secretary of Education, he sought to cut drug education funds and has expressed skepticism about their value. The flashiest proposal was military aid to Colombia after the murder of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan. However, as his brother Alberto pointed out, "the drug dealers' core military power lies in paramilitary groups they have organized with the support of large landowners and military officers." Apart from strengthening "repressive and anti-democratic forces," Galan continued, Washington's strategy avoids "the core of the problem"- that is, "the economic ties between the legal and illegal worlds," the "large financial corporations" that handle the drug money. "It would make more sense to attack and prosecute the few at the top of the drug business rather than fill prisons with thousands of small fish without the powerful financial structure that gives life to the drug market." It would indeed make more sense, if the goal were a war on drugs. But it makes no sense for the goal of population control, and it is in any event unthinkable, because of the requirement that state policy protect power and privilege, a natural concomitant of the "level playing field" at home. As Drug Czar under the Reagan Administration, George Bush was instrumental in terminating the main thrust of the real "war on drugs." Officials in the enforcement section of the Treasury Department monitored the sharp increase in cash inflow to Florida (later Los Angeles) banks as the cocaine trade boomed in the 1970s, and "connected it to the large-scale laundering of drug receipts" (Treasury Department brief). They brought detailed information about these matters to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Justice Department. After some public exposes, the government launched Operation Greenback in 1979 to prosecute money-launderers. It soon foundered; the banking industry is not a proper target for the drug war. The Reagan Administration reduced the limited monitoring, and Bush "wasn't really too interested in financial prosecution," the chief prosecutor in Operation Greenback recalls. The program was soon defunct, and Bush's new war on drugs aims at more acceptable targets. Reviewing this record, Jefferson Morley comments that the priorities are illustrated by the actions of Bush's successor in the "war against drugs." When an $8 billion surplus was announced for Miami and Los Angeles banks, William Bennett raised no questions about the morality of their practices and initiated no inquiries, though he did expedite eviction notices for low-income, mostly Black residents of public housing in Washington where drug use had been reported. There may also be some fine-tuning. A small Panamanian bank was pressured into pleading guilty on a money-laundering charge after a sting operation. But the US government dropped criminal charges against its parent bank, one of Latin America's major financial institutions, based in one of the centers of the Colombian drug cartel. There also appear to have been no serious efforts to pursue the public allegations by cartel money-launderers about their contacts with major US banks. The announced war on drugs has a few other gaps that are difficult to reconcile with the announced intentions, though quite reasonable on the principles that guide social policy. Drug processing requires ether and acetone, which are imported into Latin America. Rafael Perl, drug-policy adviser at the Congressional Research Service, estimates that more than 90 percent ~ of the chemicals used to produce cocaine comes from the United States. ', In the nine months before the announcement of the drug war, Colombian ~ police say they seized 1.5 million gallons of such chemicals, many found | in drums displaying US corporate logos. A CIA study concluded that US exports of these chemicals to Latin America far exceed amounts used for any legal commercial purpose, concluding that enormous amounts are being siphoned off to produce heroin and cocaine. Nevertheless, chemical companies are off limits. "Most DEA offices have only one agent working on chemical diversions," a US official reports, so monitoring is impossible. ~ And there have been no reported raids by Delta Force on the corporate | headquarters in Manhattan. Reference to the CIA brings to mind another interesting gap in the program. The CIA and other US government agencies have been instrumental | in establishing and maintaining the drug racket since World War II, when J Mafia connections were used to split and undermine the French labor unions and the Communist Party, laying the groundwork for the "French connection" based in Marseilles. The Golden Triangle (Laos, Burma, Thailand) became a major narcotics center as Chinese Nationalist troops fled to the region after their defeat in China and, not long after, as the CIA helped implement the drug flow as part of its effort to recruit a mercenary "clandestine army" of highland tribesmen for its counterinsurgency operations in Laos. Over the years, the drug traffic came to involve other US clients as well. In 1989 General Ramon Montano, chief of the Philippine constabulary, testified in a public hearing in Manila that drug syndicates operating in the Golden Triangle use the Philippines as a transshipment point to other parts of Asia and the West, and conceded that military officers are involved, as a Senate investigation had reported. The Philippines are on their way to "becoming like Colombia," one Senator observed. p119 There are good reasons why the CIA and drugs are so closely linked. Clandestine terror requires hidden funds, and the criminal elements to whom the intelligence agencies naturally turn expect a quid pro quo. Drugs are the obvious answer. Washington's long-term involvement in the drug racket is part and parcel of its international operations, notably during the Reagan-Bush administrations. One prime target for an authentic drug war would therefore be close at hand. p120 Hodding Carter, Wall Street Journal observed The mass media in America have an overwhelming tendency to jump up and down and bark in concert whenever the White House-any White House snaps its fingers." p120 Shortly after the November 1988 elections, 34 percent of the public had selected the budget deficit as "George Bush's No. 1 priority once he takes office." Three percent selected drugs as top priority, down from previous months. After the media blitz of September 1989, "a remarkable 43% say that drugs are the nation's single most important issue," the Wall Street Journal reports, with the budget deficit a distant second at 6 percent. In a June 1987 poll of registered voters in New York, taxes were selected as the number 1 issue facing the state (15 percent), with drugs far down the list (5 percent). A repeat in September 1989 gave dramatically different results: taxes were selected by 8 percent while the drug problem ranked far above any other, at a phenomenal 46 percent. The real world had hardly changed; its image had, as transmitted through the ideological institutions, reflecting the current needs of power. A martial tone has broader benefits for those who advocate state violence and repression to secure privilege. The government-media campaign helped create the required atmosphere among the general public and Congress. In a typical flourish, Senator Mark Hatfield, often a critic of reliance on force, said that in every congressional district "the troops are out there. All they're waiting for is the orders, a plan of attack, and they're ready to march." The bill approved by Congress widens the application of the death penalty, limits appeals by prisoners, and allows police broader latitude in obtaining evidence, among other measures. The entire repressive apparatus of the state is looking forward to benefits from this new "war," including the intelligence system and the Pentagon (which, however, is reluctant to be drawn into direct military actions that will quickly lose popular support). Military industry, troubled by the unsettling specter of peace, scents new markets here, and is "pushing swords as weapons in the drug war," Frank Greve reports from Washington. "Analysts say sales for drug-war work could spell relief for some sectors, such as commando operations, defense intelligence and counterterrorism," and Federal military laboratories may also find a new role. Army Colonel John Waghelstein, a leading counterinsurgency specialist, suggested that the narco-guerrilla connection could be exploited to mobilize public support for counterinsurgency programs and to discredit critics: A melding in the American public's mind and in Congress of this connection would lead to the necessary support to counter the guerrilla/narcotics terrorists in this hemisphere. Generating that support would be relatively easy once the connection was proven and an all-out war was declared by the National Command Authority. Congress would find it difficult to stand in the way of supporting our allies with the training, advice and security assistance necessary to do the job. Those church and academic groups that have slavishly supported insurgency in Latin America would find themselves on the wrong side of the moral issue. Above all, we would have the unassailable moral position from which to launch a concerted offensive effort using Department of Defense (DOD) and non-DOD assets. p121 "Substance abuse," to use the technical term, takes a terrible toll. The grim facts are reviewed by Ethan Nadelmann in Science magazine. Deaths attributable to consumption of tobacco are estimated at over 300,000 a year, while alcohol use adds an additional 50,000 to 200,000 annual deaths. Among fifteen-to-twenty-four-year-olds, alcohol is the leading cause of death, also serving as a "gateway" drug that leads to use of others, according to the National Council on Alcoholism. In addition, a few thousand deaths from illegal drugs are recorded: 3562 deaths were reported in 1985, from all illegal drugs combined. According to these estimates, over 99 percent of deaths from substance abuse are attributable to tobacco and alcohol. There are also enormous health costs, again primarily from alcohol and tobacco use: "the health costs of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin combined amount to only a small fraction of those caused by either of the two licit substances [alcohol and tobacco]," Nadelmann continues. Also to be considered is the distribution of victims. Illicit drugs primarily affect the user, but their legal cousins seriously affect others, including passive smokers and victims of drunken driving and alcohol-induced violence; "no illicit drug . . . is as strongly associated with violent behavior as is alcohol," Nadelmann observes, and alcohol abuse is a factor in some 40 percent of roughly 50,000 annual traffic deaths. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 3800 nonsmokers die every year from lung cancer caused by breathing other people's tobacco smoke, and that the toll of passive smoking may be as many as 46,000 annually if heart disease and respiratory ailments are included. Officials say that if confirmed, these conclusions would require that tobacco smoke be listed as a very hazardous carcinogen (class A), along with such chemicals as benzene and radon. University of California statistician Stanton Glantz describes passive smoking as "the third leading cause of preventable death, behind smoking and alcohol." Illegal drugs are far from uniform in their effects. Thus, "among the roughly 60 million Americans who have smoked marijuana, not one has died from a marijuana overdose," Nadelmann reports. As he and others have observed, federal interdiction efforts have helped to shift drug use from relatively harmless marijuana to far more dangerous drugs. One might ask why tobacco is legal and marijuana not. A possible answer is suggested by the nature of the crop. Marijuana can be grown almost anywhere, with little difficulty. It might not be easily marketable by major corporations. Tobacco is quite another story. p139 The reactionary statist tendencies of the post-Vietnam period arose in response to a dual challenge: the decline of US dominance of the international order and the popular activism of the 1960s, which challenged the dominance of the same privileged sectors at home. Neither Kennedy's "Grand Design" nor the efforts of the Nixon Administration succeeded in restricting Europe to its "regional interests" within the "overall framework of order" managed by the United States, as Kissinger urged. There was no alternative to the trilateralism embraced by the Carter neoliberals, who, like their predecessors, were no less troubled by the popular democratic thrust at home-their "crisis of democracy" that threatened to bring the general population into the political arena in a meaningful way. As already discussed, these challenges inspired a campaign to restore the population to apathy and obedience and thus overcome the "crisis of democracy," and to enhance business power generally. By 1978, UAW President Doug Fraser had seen the handwriting on the wall. Resigning from the Labor-Management Group, he denounced the "leaders of the business community" for having "chosen to wage a one-sided class war in this country-a war against working people, the unemployed, the poor, the minorities, the very young and the very old, and even many in the middle class of our society," and having "broken and discarded the fragile, unwritten compact previously existing during a period of growth and progress." A year later, in another recognition of reality, Cleveland's populist mayor Dennis Kucinich told a UAW meeting that there is only one political party in the United States, the pro-business "Demipublicans."' The period of steady economic progress was over. The challenge of rival powers was real for the first time since World War 11, and the fragile social compact could not be sustained. Programs designed through the 1970s were implemented, with an extra touch of crudity, during the Reagan years with the general support of the other faction of the business party and the ideological apparatus. The historical and planning record and underlying institutional factors provide good reason to expect the post-Cold War era to be much like the past as far as relations between the United States and the Third World are concerned, apart from tactics and propaganda. "Radical nationalism" and experiments with independent development geared to domestic needs will raise the danger flags and call forth a reaction, varying with circumstances and the functions of the region. The same continuity is to be expected with regard to the concomitants of these policy goals, including the persistent support for human rights violations, the general hostility to social reform and the principled antagonism to democracy. Democratic forms can be tolerated, even admired, if only for propaganda purposes. But this stance can be adopted only when the distribution of effective power ensures that meaningful participation of the "popular classes" has been barred. When they organize and threaten the control of the political system by the business-landowner elite and the military, strong measures must be taken, with tactical variations depending on the ranking of the target population on the scale of importance. At the lowest rank, in the Third World, virtually no holds are barred. If the security forces are under control, the death squads can be unleashed while we wring our hands over our painful inability to instill our passion for human rights in the hearts of our unworthy allies. Other means are required when control of the security forces has been lost. Nicaragua, the obsession of the 1980s, was one such case, a particularly dangerous one because it was feared that the government in power was one "that cares for its people," in the words of Jose Figueres, referring to the Sandinistas who, he said, brought Nicaragua the first such government in its history, popularly elected in a free and fair election that he observed in 1984. It was for expressing such improper sentiments as these that the leading figure of Central American democracy had to be rigorously excluded from the US media throughout the 1980s. It is therefore not at all surprising that hostility to the Sandinistas was virtually uniform in media commentary and other elite circles. The official reasons (human rights, democracy, the Soviet threat, and so on) are too far-fetched to take seriously, and were, in any event, thoroughly refuted so many times, with no effect, as to reveal the pointlessness of the exercise. The real issue is the one Figueres identified. Throughout, the only debatable question has been tactical: how to restore Nicaragua to "the Central American mode" and impose "regional standards"-those of the US client states. Such matters as freedom of the press and human rights aroused profound libertarian and moral passions in Nicaragua, as distinct from the death squad democracies next door, or other states with vastly worse records but with the compensating merit that they too were properly respectful of US priorities. Similarly, elections in the terror states revealed heartening progress towards democracy, but not in Nicaragua, where radically different standards were applied. The 1984 elections were intolerable to the United States because they could not be controlled. Therefore Washington did what it could to disrupt them, and they were dismissed and eliminated from history by the media, as required. In the case of the long-scheduled 1990 elections, the US interfered massively from the outset to gain victory for its candidates, not only by the enormous financial aid that received some publicity, but-far more significant and considered quite uncontroversial-by White House announcements that only a victory by the US candidate would bring an end to the illegal US economic sanctions and restoration of aid. In brief, Nicaraguan voters were informed that they had a free choice: Vote for our candidate, or watch your children starve. These efforts to subvert the 1990 election in Nicaragua are highlighted by a comparison to the reaction at exactly the same time to elections in neighboring Honduras. Its November 1989 elections received scanty but generally favorable coverage in the US media, which described them as "a milestone for the United States, which has used Honduras as evidence that the democratically elected governments it supports in Central America are taking hold." President Bush, meeting with Honduran President Rafael Callejas after his election, called the Honduran government "an inspiring example of the democratic promise that today is spreading throughout the Americas. A closer look helps us to understand what is meant by "democracy" in the political culture. The November elections were effectively restricted to the two traditional parties. One candidate was from a family of wealthy industrialists, the other from a family of large landowners. Their top advisers "acknowledge that there is little substantive difference between the two and the policies they would follow as president," we learn from the press report that hails this milestone in the progress of democracy. Both parties represent large landowners and industrialists and have close ties with the military, the effective rulers, who are independent of civilian authority under the Constitution but heavily dependent on the United States, as is the economy. The Guatemalan Central America Report adds: "in the absence of substantial debate, both candidates rely on insults and accusations to entertain the crowds at campaign rallies and political functions"-if that sounds familiar to a US audience, it is not mere coincidence. Popular participation was limited to ritual voting. The legal opposition parties (Christian Democratic and Social Democratic) charged massive electoral fraud. Human rights abuses by the security forces escalated as the election approached. In the preceding weeks there were attacks with bombs and rifle fire against independent political figures, journalists, and union leaders, condemned as a plan to repress popular organizations by the head of the Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations, ex-rector of the National University Juan Almendares. In preceding months the armed forces conducted a campaign of political violence, including assassination of union leaders and other extrajudicial executions, leaving tortured and mutilated bodies by roadsides for the first time. The human rights organization CODEH reported at least seventy-eight people killed by the security forces between January and July, while reported cases of torture and beatings more than tripled over the preceding year. But state terror remained at levels low enough not to disturb US elite opinion. Starvation and general misery are rampant, the extreme concentration of wealth increased during the decade of "democracy," and 70 percent of the population are malnourished. Despite substantial US aid and no guerrilla conflict, the economy is collapsing, with capital flight and a sharp drop in foreign investment, and almost half of export earnings devoted to debt service. But there is no major threat to order, and profits flow. In short, Honduras, like Colombia, is a praiseworthy democracy, and there is no concern over the "level playing field" for its elections, unlike those in Nicaragua. Even El Salvador and Guatemala, murderous gangster states run by the US-backed military, are considered democracies. Elite opinion expresses considerable pride in having established and maintained these charnel houses, with "free elections" permitted after a wave of slaughter, torture, disappearance, mutilation, and other effective devices of control. Physical destruction of the independent media and murder of editors and journalists by the security forces passes virtually without comment-often literally without report-among their US colleagues, among many other atrocities. Occasionally, one hears an honest comment. Joachim Maitre of Boston University, one of the leading academic supporters of Reagan Administration policies in Central America, observes that the US has "installed democracies of the style of Hitler Germany" in El Salvador and Guatemala. But such candor is far from the norm. Nicaragua, however, was different, because of the threat of independent nationalism and social reform, heightened by the loss of US control of the security forces-a problem that has arisen elsewhere as well, and a serious one, because the standard device for repressing and eliminating undesirable tendencies is then no longer available. In the case of Guatemala and Chile it was necessary to resort to economic strangulation, subversion, and military force to overthrow the democratic regimes and establish the preferred regional standards. In the case of the Dominican Republic in 1965, direct invasion was required to bar the restoration of a constitutional regime. The response to the Cuban problem was direct aggression at the Bay of Pigs, and when Soviet deterrence made further such attempts unfeasible, an unprecedented campaign of international terrorism along with unremitting economic and ideological warfare-again, surely not motivated by the reasons advanced in the official government-media line, which are hardly credible. Other cases require different measures, including Panama, another long-term target of US intervention, to which we turn directly. p143 We may continue to think of the Third World in the terms used in early post-World War II planning: as the region that is to "fulfill its major function as a source of raw materials and a market" for the Western industrial societies. One long-standing source of international conflict was the Soviet empire's failure to fulfill its function in the required way. This problem, it is hoped, will now be remedied as Eastern Europe advances towards the conditions of Mexico, Brazil, and the Philippines. The fear of "creeping Communism" can then be put to rest, as the modem forms of colonialism expand towards their natural borders. The three major power groupings are eagerly swooping down upon the collapsing Soviet empire (as on China, a few years earlier) in search of markets, resources, opportunities for investment and export of pollution, cheap labor, tax havens, and other familiar Third World amenities. These efforts to impose the preferred model of two-tiered societies open to exploitation and under business rule are accompanied by appropriate flourishes about the triumph of political pluralism and democracy. We can readily determine the seriousness of intent by a look at the reaction to popular movements that might actually implement democracy and pluralism in the traditional Third World countries, and to the "crisis of democracy" within the industrial societies themselves. The rhetoric need not detain us. We may also take note of the broad-if tacit-understanding that the capitalist model has limited application; business leaders have long recognized that it is not for them. The successful industrial societies depart significantly from this model, as in the past-one reason why they are successful industrial societies. In the United States, the sectors of the economy that remain competitive are those that feed from the public trough: high-tech industry and capital-intensive agriculture, along with pharmaceuticals and others. Departures are still more radical in most of the other state capitalist systems, where planning is coordinated by state institutions and financial-industrial conglomerates, sometimes with democratic processes and a social contract of varying sorts, sometimes not. The glories of Free Enterprise provide a useful weapon against government policies that might benefit the general population, and of course, capitalism will do just fine for the former colonies and the Soviet empire. For those who are to "fulfill their functions" in service to the masters of the world order, the model is highly recommended; it facilitates their exploitation. But the rich and powerful at home have long appreciated the need to protect themselves from the destructive forces of free-market capitalism, which may provide suitable themes for rousing I oratory, but only so long as the public handout and the regulatory and protectionist apparatus are secure, and state power is on call when needed. What, then, is the probable evolution of US policy towards the Third World in the post-Cold War era? The answer to this question, implicit in the earlier discussion, was announced loud and clear by the Bush Administration on December 20, 1989: More of the same. But not precisely the same. One problem is that some adjustments are needed in the propaganda framework. The US invasion of Panama is a historic event in one respect. In a departure from the routine, it was not justified as a response to an imminent Soviet threat. When the US invaded Grenada six years earlier, it was still possible to portray the act as a defensive reaction to the machinations of the Russian bear, seeking to strangle us in pursuit of its global designs. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff could solemnly intone that in the event of a Soviet attack on Western Europe, Grenada might interdict the Caribbean sea lanes and prevent the US from providing oil to its beleaguered allies, with the endorsement of a new category of scholars created for the purpose. Through the 1980s, the attack against Nicaragua was justified by the danger that if we don't stop the Commies there, they'll be pouring across the border at Harlingen, Texas, two days' drive away. There are more sophisticated (and equally weighty) variants for the educated classes. But in the case of Panama, not even the imagination of the State Department and the editorial writers extended that far. Fortunately, the problem had been foreseen. When the White House decided that its friend Noriega was getting too big for his britches and had to go, the media took their cue and launched a campaign to convert him into the most nefarious demon since Attila the Hun, a repeat of the Qaddafi project a few years earlier. The effort was enhanced by the "drug war," the government-media hoax launched in an effort to mobilize the population in fear now that it is becoming impossible to invoke the Kremlin design-though for completeness, we should also take note of the official version, dutifully reported as fact in the New York Times: "the campaign against drugs has increasingly become a priority for the Administration as well as Congress as a diminishing Soviet threat has given Washington an opportunity to turn to domestic issues. The propaganda operation was a smashing success. "Manuel Noriega belongs to that special fraternity of international villains, men like Qaddafi, Idi Amin, and the Ayatollah Khomeini, whom Americans just love to hate," Ted Koppel orated, so "strong public support for a reprisal [sic] was all but guaranteed." Why did Americans hate Noriega in 1989, but not in 1985? Why is it necessary to overthrow him now, but not then? The questions that immediately come to mind were systematically evaded. With a fringe of exceptions-mostly well after the tasks had been accomplished- the media rallied around the flag with due piety and enthusiasm, funneling the most absurd White House tales to the public. while scrupulously refraining from asking the obvious questions, or seeing the most obvious facts. There were some who found all this a bit too much. Commenting on the Panama coverage, David Nyhan of the Boston Globe described the media as "a docile, not to say boot-licking, lot, subsisting largely on occasional bones of access tossed into the press kennel," happy to respond to lies with "worshipful prose. " The Wall Street Journal noted that the four television networks gave "the home team's version of the story. " There was a scattering of skepticism in reporting and commentary, but most toed the line in their enthusiasm for what George Will called an exercise of the "good-neighbor policy," an act of "hemispheric hygiene" expressing our "rights and responsibilities" in the hemisphere-whatever the delinquents beyond our borders may think, as revealed by their near-universal condemnation. The Bush Administration was, naturally, overjoyed. A State Department official observed that "the Republican conservatives are happy because we were willing to show some muscle, and the Democratic liberals can't criticize because it's being so widely seen as a success:" the State Department follows standard conventions, contrasting "conservatives," who advocate a powerful and violent state, with "liberals," who sometimes disagree with the "conservatives" on tactical grounds, fearing that the cost to us may be too high. These salutary developments "can't help but give us more clout," the same official continued. As for the general population, many doubtless were also enthusiastic about the opportunity to "kick a little ass" in Panama-to borrow some of the rhetoric designed by George Bush's handlers in their comical effort to shape an effete New England aristocrat into a Texas redneck. But it is interesting to read the letters to the editor in major newspapers, which tended to express hostility to the aggression, along with much shame and distress, and often provided information, analysis and insights that the professionals were careful to avoid. A more professional reaction was given by the respected Washington Post correspondent David Broder. He notes that there has been some carping at "the prudence of Bush's action" from "the left" (meaning, presumably, the National Council of Churches and some centrist liberals, anything else being far beyond his horizons, as is the idea that there might be criticism on grounds other than prudence). But he dismisses "this static on the left" with scorn: "what nonsense." Rather, the invasion of Panama helped to clarify "the circumstances in which military intervention makes sense." The "best single definition" of the "new national consensus," he goes on to explain, was given by Reagan's Defense Secretary, Caspar Weinberger, who outlined six "well-considered and well-phrased" criteria. Four of them state that intervention should be designed to succeed. The other two add that the action should be deemed "vital to our national interest" and a "last resort" to achieve it. Oddly, Broder neglected to add the obvious remark about these impressive criteria: they could readily have been invoked by Hitler. p200 UN Ambassador Daniel Moynihan in a cablegram to Henry Kissinger on January 23, 1976, reported the "considerable progress" that had been made by his arm-twisting tactics at the UN "toward a basic foreign policy goal, that of breaking up the massive blocs of nations, mostly new nations, which for so long have been arrayed against us in international forums and in diplomatic encounters generally." Moynihan cited two relevant cases: his success in undermining a UN reaction to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor and to Moroccan aggression in the Sahara, both supported by the US, the former with particular vigor. p200 Former UN Ambassador Daniel Moynihan in his memoir of his years at the United Nations, where he describes frankly his role as Indonesia invaded East Timor in December 1975: "... within a few weeks some 60,000 people had been killed, "10 percent of the population, almost the proportion of casualties experienced by the Soviet Union during the Second World War." "The United states wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success." Deterring Democracy Index of Website Home Page Democracy in the Industrial Societies Force and Opinion Afterward excerpted from the book Deterring Democracy by Noam Chomsky Hill and Wang, 1992, paper p331 No belief concerning US foreign policy is more deeply entrenched than the one expressed by New York Times diplomatic correspondent Neil Lewis, quoted earlier: "The yearning to see American-style democracy duplicated throughout the world has been a persistent theme in American foreign policy. " The thesis is commonly not even expressed, merely J presupposed as the basis for reasonable discourse on the US role in the world. The faith in this doctrine may seem surprising. Even a cursory inspection of the historical record reveals that a persistent theme in American foreign policy has been the subversion and overthrow of parliamentary regimes, and the resort to violence to destroy popular organizations that might offer the majority of the population an opportunity to enter the political arena. p332 In the client states of the Third World, the preference for democratic forms is often largely a matter of public relations. But where the society is stable and privilege is secure, other factors enter. Business interests have an ambiguous attitude towards the state. They want it to subsidize research and development, production and export (the Pentagon system, much of the foreign aid program, and so on), regulate markets, ensure a favorable climate for business operations abroad, and in many other ways to serve as a welfare state for the wealthy. But they do not want the state to have the power to interfere with the prerogatives of owners and managers. The latter concern leads to support for democratic forms, as long as business dominance of the political system is secure. If a country satisfies certain basic conditions, then, the US is tolerant of democratic forms, though in the Third World, where a proper outcome is hard to guarantee, often just barely. But relations with the industrial world show clearly that the US government is not opposed to democratic forms as such. In the stable business-dominated Western democracies, we would not expect the US to carry out programs of subversion, terror, or military assault as has been common in the Third World. p334 ... the United States was committed to restoring the traditional conservative order. To achieve this aim, it was necessary to destroy the anti-Fascist resistance, often in favor of Nazi and Fascist collaborators, to weaken unions and other popular organizations, and to block the threat of radical democracy and social reform, which were live options under the conditions of the time. These policies were pursued worldwide: in Asia, including South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Indochina, and crucially Japan; in Europe, including Greece, Italy, France, and crucially Germany; in Latin America, including what the CIA took to be the most severe threats at the time, "radical nationalism" in Guatemala and Bolivia. Sometimes the task required considerable brutality. In South Korea, about 100,000 people were killed in the late 1940s by security forces installed and directed by the United States. This was before the Korean War, which Jon Halliday and Bruce Cumings describe as "in essence" a phase-marked by massive outside intervention-in "a civil war fought between two domestic forces: a revolutionary nationalist movement, which had its roots in tough anti-colonial struggle, and a conservative movement tied to the status quo, especially to an unequal land system," restored to power under the US occupation. In Greece in the same years, hundreds of thousands were killed, tortured, imprisoned or expelled in the course of a counterinsurgency operation, organized and directed by the United States, which restored traditional elites to power, including Nazi collaborators, and suppressed the peasant- and worker-based Communist-led forces that had fought the Nazis. In the industrial societies, the same essential goals were realized, but by less violent means. Once its institutional structure is in place, capitalist democracy will function only if all subordinate their interests to the needs of those who control investment decisions, from the country club to the soup kitchen. It is only a matter of time before an independent working-class culture erodes, along with the institutions and organizations that sustain it, given the distribution of resources and power. And with popular organizations weakened or eliminated, isolated individuals are unable to participate in the political system in a meaningful way. It will, over time, become largely a symbolic pageant or, at most, a device whereby the public can select among competing elite groups and ratify their decisions, playing the role assigned them by progressive democratic theorists of the Walter Lippmann variety. That was a plausible assumption in the early postwar period and has proven largely accurate so far, despite many rifts, tensions and conflicts. European elites have a stake in the preservation of this system, and fear their domestic populations no less than the US authorities did. Hence their commitment to Cold War confrontation, which came to serve as an effective technique of domestic social management, and their willingness, with occasional mutterings of discontent, to line up in US global crusades. The system is oppressive, and often brutal, but that is no problem as long as others are the victims. It also raises constant threats of large-scale catastrophe, but these too do not enter into planning decisions shaped by the goal of maximization of short-term advantage, which remains the operative principle. p352 David Hume, First Principles of Government ... the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and to observe the implicit submission with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is brought about, we shall find, that as Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. 'Tis therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular. p354 The comparison between the Soviet and US satellites is so striking and obvious that it takes real dedication not to perceive it, and outside of Western intellectual circles, it is a commonplace. A writer in the Mexican daily Excelsior, describing how US relations with Latin America deteriorated through the 1980s, comments on the "striking contrast" between Soviet behavior towards its satellites and "US policy in the Western Hemisphere, where intransigence, interventionism and the application of typical police state instruments have traditionally marked Washington's actions": "In Europe, the USSR and Gorbachev are associated with the struggle for freedom of travel, political rights, and respect for public opinion. In the Americas, the U.S. and Bush are associated with indiscriminate bombings of civilians, the organization, training and financing of death squads, and programs of mass murder"-not quite the story in New York and Washington, where the United States is hailed as an "inspiration for the triumph of democracy in our time" (The New Republic). In El Salvador, the journal Proceso of the Jesuit University observed: The so-called Salvadoran "democratic process" could learn a lot from the capacity ( for self-criticism that the socialist nations are demonstrating. If Lech Walesa had been doing his organizing work in El Salvador, he would have already entered into the ranks of the disappeared-at the hands of "heavily armed men dressed in civilian clothes"; or have been blown to pieces in a dynamite attack on his union headquarters. If Alexander Dubcek were a politician in our country, he would have been assassinated like Hector Oqueli [the social democratic leader assassinated in Guatemala, by Salvadoran death squads, according to the Guatemalan government]. If Andrei Sakharov had worked here in favor of human rights, he would have met the same fate as Herbert Anaya [one of the many murdered leaders of the independent Salvadoran Human Rights Commission CDHES]. If Ota-Sik or Vaclav Havel had been carrying out their intellectual work in El Salvador, they would have woken up one sinister moming, Iying on the patio of a university campus with their heads destroyed by the bullets of an elite ammy battalion. The comparison was broadened in a seminar on Christian opportunity and mission called by the Latin American Council of Churches in San Jose, Costa Rica, reported in Mexico's leading daily. Participants contrasted positive developments in the Soviet Union and its domains with the circumstances of Central America, "marked by United States intervention and the rightward tum of control of govemment power." The pastoral letter "Hope against Hope" announced at the end of the meeting went on to say that in this context, "military, institutional, financial, political and cultural powers, means of communication, as well as the power of some churches 'indifferent to social problems' will be deployed with greater force in Central Arnerica, 'with serious consequences for the impoverished majority"'; the reference is presumably to the fundamentalist churches backed by the US in an effort to divert the poor population from any struggle for amelioration of the conditions of this meaningless life on earth. The decade of the l980s "was notable in the region for the growth of the gap between rich and poor, a political rightward tum and a conservative offensive on the economic front." The goal of the Central American peace plan was to "put the Nicaraguan revolution on neoliberal-democracy tracks and to defend governments such as the Salvadoran." With these results achieved, the US-backed regimes and their sponsor will "bury the demands" about human rights and social justice. The same comparison was drawn by the [exilted] Guatemalan journalist JulioGodoy after a brief visit to Guatemala. He had fled a year earlier when his newspaper, La Epoca, was blown up by state terrorists-an operation that aroused no interest in the United States; it was not reported, though well known. At the time, the media were much exercised over the fact that the US-funded joumal La Prensa, which was openly aligned with the US-run forces attacking Nicaragua, had missed an issue because of a shortage of newsprint, an atrocity that led to passionate diatribes about Sandinista totalitarianism. In the face of this crime, Westem commentators could hardly be expected to notice that the US-backed security forces had silenced the one small independent voice in Guatemala in their usual fashion. This is simply another illustration of the total contempt for freedom of the press in Westem circles, revealed as well by the silence that accompanies the violent destruction of the independent Salvadoran press by state terror, the routine closure of newspapers under absurd pretexts and the arrest and torture of joumalists in the Israeli-occupied territories and sometimes in Israel proper, the stomming of the headquarters of a major South Korean broadcasting network by riot police to arrest the leader of the union on the charge that he had organized labor protests, and other such contributions to order and good form. Eastern Europeans are, "in a way, luckier than Central Americans," Godoy wrote: "while the Moscow-imposed government in Prague would degrade and humiliate reformers, the Washington-made government in Guatemala would kill them. It still does, in a virtual genocide that has taken more than 150,000 victims . . . [in what Amnesty International calls] a 'government program of political murder'." That, he suggested, is "the main explanation ' for the fearless character of the students' recent uprising in Prague: the Czechoslovak Army doesn't shoot to kill.... In Guatemala, not to mention El Salvador, random terror is used to keep unions and peasant associations from seeking their own way"-and to ensure that the press conforms or disappears, so that Western liberals need not fret over censorship in the "fledgling democracies" they applaud. There is an "important difference in the nature of the armies and of their foreign tutors. " In the Soviet satellites, the armies are "apolitical and obedient to their national government," while in the US satellites, "the army is the power," doing what they have been trained to do for many decades by their foreign tutor. "One is tempted to believe that some people in the White House worship Aztec gods-with the offering of Central American blood." They backed forces in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua that "can easily compete against Nicolae Ceausescu's Securitate for the World Cruelty Prize." Godoy quotes a European diplomat who says, "as long as the Americans don't change their attitude towards the region, there's no space here for the truth or for hope." Surely no space for nonviolence and love. One will search far to find such truisms in US commentary, or the West in general, which much prefers largely meaningless (though self-flattering) comparisons between Eastern and Western Europe. Nor is the hideous catastrophe of capitalism in the past years a major theme of contemporary discourse-a catastrophe that is dramatic in Latin America and other domains of the industrial West, in the "internal Third World" of the United States, and the "exported slums" of Europe. Nor are we likely to find much attention to the fact, hard to ignore, that the economic success stories typically involve coordination of the state and financial-industrial conglomerates, another sign of the collapse of capitalism in the past sixty years. It is only the Third World that is to be subjected to the destructive forces of free market capitalism, so that it can be more efficiently robbed and exploited by the powerful. p364 It is often not appreciated how profound and deeply rooted is the contempt for democracy in the elite culture, and the fear it arouses. When political life and independent thought revived in the 1960s, the problem arose again, and the reaction was the same. The Trilateral Commission, bringing together liberal elites from Europe, Japan, and the United States, warned of an impending "crisis of democracy" as segments of the public sought to enter the political arena. This "excess of democracy" was posing a threat to the unhampered rule of privileged elites-what is called "democracy" in political theology. The problem was the usual one: the rabble were trying to arrange their own affairs, gaining control over their communities and pressing their political demands. There were organizing efforts among young people, ethnic minorities, women, social activists, and others, encouraged by the struggles of benighted masses elsewhere for freedom and independence. More "moderation in democracy" would be required, the Commission concluded, perhaps a return to the days when "Truman had been able to govern the country with the cooperation of a relatively small number of Wall Street lawyers and bankers," as the American rapporteur commented. Irving Kristol adds that "insignificant nations, like insignificant people, can quickly experience delusions of significance." But as a leading neoconservative, he has no time for the softer means of manufacture of consent, which are, in any event, not warranted for insignificant people outside the domains of Western civilization. Hence the delusions of significance must be driven from their tiny minds by force: "In truth, the days of 'gunboat diplomacy' are never over.... Gunboats are as necessary for international order as police cars are for domestic order." These ideas bring us to the Reagan Administration, which established a state propaganda agency (the Office of Public Diplomacy) that was by far the most elaborate in American history, much to the delight of the advocates of a powerful and interventionist state who are called "conservatives" in one of the current corruptions of political discourse. When the program was exposed, a high official described it as the kind of operation carried out in "enemy territory"-an apt phrase, expressing standard elite attitudes towards the public. In this case, the enemy was not completely subdued. Popular movements deepened their roots and spread into new sectors of the population, and were able to drive the state underground to clandestine terror instead of the more efficient forms of overt violence that Presidents Kennedy and Johnson could undertake before the public I had been aroused. p366 In accordance with the prevailing conceptions, there is no infringement of democracy if a few corporations control the information system: in fact, that is the essence of democracy. The leading figure of the public relations industry, Edward Bernays, explained that "the very essence of the democratic process" is "the freedom to persuade and suggest," what he calls "the engineering of consent." If the freedom to persuade happens to be concentrated in a few hands, we must recognize that such is the nature of a free society. Since the early twentieth century, the public relations industry has devoted huge resources to "educating the American people about the economic facts of life" to ensure a favorable climate for business. Its task is to control "the public mind," which is "the only serious danger confronting the company," an AT&T executive observed eighty years ago. And today, the Wall Street Journal describes with enthusiasm the "concerted efforts" of corporate America "to change the attitudes and values of workers" on a vast scale with "New Age workshops" and other contemporary devices of indoctrination and stupefaction designed to convert "worker apathy into corporate allegiance." The agents of Reverend Moon and Christian evangelicals employ similar devices to bar the threat of peasant organizing and to undermine a Church that serves the poor in Latin America, aided by intelligence agencies and the closely linked international organizations of the ultra-right. Bernays expressed the basic point in a 1928 public relations manual: "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.... It is the intelligent minorities which need to make use of propaganda continuously and systematically." p368 A properly functioning system of indoctrination has a variety of tasks, some rather delicate. One of its targets is the stupid and ignorant masses. They must be kept that way, diverted with emotionally potent oversimplifications, marginalized, and isolated. Ideally, each person should be alone in front of the television screen watching sports, soap operas, or comedies, deprived of organizational structures that permit individuals lacking resources to discover what they think and believe in interaction with others, to formulate their own concerns and programs, and to act to realize them. They can then be permitted, even encouraged, to ratify the decisions of their betters in periodic elections. The rascal multitude are the proper targets of the mass media and a public education system geared to obedience and training in needed skills, including the skill of repeating patriotic slogans on timely occasions. p372 Control over investment, production, commerce, finance, conditions of work, and other crucial aspects of social policy lies in private hands. Unwillingness to adapt to this structure of authority and domination carries costs, ranging from state force to the costs of privation and struggle; even an individual of independent mind can hardly fail to compare these to the benefits, however meager, that accrue to submission. Meaningful choices are thus narrowly limited. Similar factors limit the range of ideas and opinion in obvious ways. Articulate expression is shaped by the same private powers that control the economy. It is largely dominated by major corporations that sell audiences to advertisers and naturally reflect the interests of the owners and their market. The ability to articulate and communicate one's views, concerns, and interests-or even to discover them-is thus narrowly constrained as well. p373 The United States is near the limit in its safeguards for freedom from state coercion, and also in the poverty of its political life. There is essentially one political party, the business party, with two factions. Shifting coalitions of investors account for a large part of political history. Unions, or other popular organizations that might offer a way for the general public to play some role in influencing programs and policy choices, scarcely function apart from the narrowest realm. The ideological system is bounded by the consensus of the privileged. Elections are largely a ritual form. In congressional elections, virtually all incumbents are returned to office, a reflection of the vacuity of the political system and the choices it offers. There is scarcely a pretense that substantive issues are at stake in the presidential campaigns. Articulated programs are hardly more than a device to garner votes, and candidates adjust their messages to their audiences as public relations tacticians advise. Political commentators ponder such questions as whether Reagan will remember his lines, or whether Mondale looks too gloomy, or whether Dukakis can duck the slime flung at him by George Bush's speechwriters. In the 1984 elections, the two political factions virtually exchanged traditional policies, the Republicans presenting themselves as the party of Keynesian growth and state intervention in the economy, the Democrats as the advocates of fiscal conservatism; few even noticed. Half the population does not bother to mark the ballots, and those who take the trouble often consciously vote against their own interest. ... during the Reagan years. The population overwhelmingly opposed the policies of his Administration, and even the Reagan voters in 1984, by about three to two, hoped that his legislative program would not be enacted. In the 1980 elections, 4 percent of the electorate voted for Reagan because they regarded him as a "real conservative." In 1984, this dropped to 1 percent. That is what is called "a landslide victory for conservatism" in political rhetoric. Furthermore, contrary to much pretense, Reagan's popularity was never particularly high, and much of the population seemed to understand that he was a media creation, who had only the foggiest idea of what government policy might be. It is noteworthy that the fact is now tacitly conceded; the instant that the "great communicator" was no longer of any use as a symbol, he was quietly tucked away. After eight years of pretense about the "revolution" that Reagan wrought, no one would dream of asking its standard-bearer for his thoughts about any topic, because it is understood, as it always was, that he has none. When Reagan was invited to Japan as an elder statesman, his hosts were surprised ... to discover that he could not hold press conferences or talk on any subject. Their discomfiture aroused some amusement in the American press: the Japanese believed what they had read about this remarkable figure, failing to comprehend the workings of the mysterious occidental mind. p376 ... unless the rich and powerful are satisfied, everyone will suffer, because they control the basic social levers, determining what will be produced and consumed, and what crumbs will filter down to their subjects. p377 Consider political commentator Michael Kinsley, who represents "t~7 left" in mainstream commentary and television debate. When the State Department publicly confirmed US support for terrorist attacks on agricultural cooperatives in Nicaragua, Kinsley wrote that we should not be too quick to condemn this official policy. Such international terrorist operations doubtless cause "vast civilian suffering," he conceded. But if they manage "to undermine morale and confidence in the government," then they may be "perfectly legitimate." The policy is "sensible" if "cost-benefit analysis" shows that "the amount of blood and misery that will be poured in" yields "democracy," in the conventional sense already discussed. As a spokesman for the establishment left, Kinsley insists that terror must meet the pragmatic criterion; violence should not be employed for its own sake, merely because we find it amusing. This more humane conception would readily be accepted by Saddam Hussein, Abu Nidal, and the Hizbollah kidnappers, who, presumably, also consider terror pointless unless it is of value for their ends. These facts help us situate enlightened Western opinion on the international spectrum. Such reasoned discussion of the justification for terror is not at all unusual, which is why it elicits no reaction in respectable circles just as there is no word of comment among its left-liberal contributors and readers when the New Republic, long considered the beacon of American liberalism, advocates military aid to "Latin-style fascists ... regardless of how many are murdered" because "there are higher American priorities than Salvadoran human rights." Appreciation of the "salutary efficacy'' of terror-to borrow John Quincy Adams's phrase-has been a standard feature of enlightened Western thought. It provides the basic framework for the propaganda campaign concerning international terrorism in the 1980s. Naturally, terrorism directed against us and our friends is bitterly denounced as a reversion to barbarism. But far more extreme terrorism that we and our agents conduct is considered constructive, or at worst insignificant, if it meets the pragmatic criterion. p378 The guiding principle is clear and straightforward: their terror is terror, and the flimsiest evidence suffices to denounce it and to exact retribution upon civilian bystanders who happen to be in the way; our terror, even if far more extreme, is merely statecraft, and therefore does not enter into the discussion of the plague of the modem age. The practice is understandable on the principles already discussed. Sometimes, the adaptability of the system might surprise even the most p388 The continuity of US policy is well illustrated by the record of the Atlacatl Battalion, "whose soldiers professionally obeyed orders from their officers to kill the Jesuits in cold blood," Americas Watch observed on the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Romero, proceeding to review some of the achievements of this elite unit, "created, trained and equipped by the United States." It was formed in March 1981, when fifteen specialists in counterinsurgency were sent to El Salvador from the US Army School of Special Forces. From the start, the Battalion "was engaged in the murder of large numbers of civilians." A professor at the US Army School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, described its soldiers as "particularly ferocious": "We've always had a hard time getting [them] to take prisoners instead of ears." In December 1981, the Battalion took part in an operation in which hundreds of civilians were killed in an orgy of murder, rape, and burning-over 1000, according to the Church legal aid office. Later it was involved in the bombing of villages and the murder of hundreds of civilians by shooting, drowning, and other methods, the vast majority being women, children, and the elderly. This has been the systematic pattern of special warfare in El Salvador since the first major military operation in May 1980, when six hundred civilians were murdered and mutilated at the Rio Sumpul in a joint operation of the Salvadoran and Honduran armies, a slaughter revealed by Church sources, human rights investigators, and the foreign press, but not the US media, which also have their psychological warfare function. The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights alleged in a letter to Defense Secretary Cheney that the killers of the Jesuits were trained by US Special Forces up to three days before the assassinations. Father Jon de Cortina, Dean of Engineering at the Jesuit University in El Salvador where the priests were murdered, alleged further that the US military instructors were the same US soldiers who were trapped in a San Salvador hotel a few days later, in a highly publicized incident. In earlier years, some of the Atlacatl Battalion's worst massacres occurred when it was fresh from US training. The nature of Salvadoran army training was described by a deserter who received political asylum in Texas in July 1990 after the immigration judge rejected a State Department request that he be denied asylum and sent back to E1 Salvador. In this "fledgling democracy" the wealthy are immune from conscription; rather, teenagers are rounded up in sweeps in slums and refugee camps. According to this deserter-whose name was withheld by the court, for obvious reasons-conscripts were made to kill dogs and vultures by biting their throats and twisting off their heads, and had to watch as soldiers tortured and killed suspected dissidents, tearing out their fingernails, cutting off their heads, cutting a body to pieces "as though it was a toy and they played with the arms for entertainment," or starving and torturing them to death. Recruits were told that they would be assigned the same tasks, and that torturing people and animals "makes you more of a man and gives you more courage." In another recent case, an admitted member of a Salvadoran death squad associated with the Atlacatl Battalion, Cesar Vielman Joya Martinez, testified on his first-hand experience in state terror, providing detailed information about the murder operations with the complicity of US intelligence advisers and the government to the highest level, including evidence extremely relevant to the murder of the Jesuit priests. His testimony is corroborated by an associate who also defected, in allegations to a Mexican rights commission. After an initial pretense that it would investigate Martinez's story, the Bush Administration proceeded to make every effort to silence him and ship him back to probable death in El Salvador, despite the pleas of human rights organizations and Congress that he be protected and that his testimony be heard. The treatment of the main witness to the assassination of the Jesuits was similar. It might be noted that the treatment of the murdered Jesuit intellectuals themselves is not really different. Their murder and the judicial inquiry (such as it is) received attention, but not what they had to say. About this one will find very little, even when it would take no initiative to discover it. For example, the August 1990 conference of the American Psychological Association in Boston had a series of panels and symposia dealing with the work of Father Martin-Baro, including one in which the videotape of his California talk shortly before his assassination was played. The conference was covered by the Boston Globe, but not these sessions. On the day they were held, the Globe preferred a paper on male facial expressions that are attractive to women. First things first, after all. When Antonio Gramsci was imprisoned after the Fascist takeover of Italy, the government summed up its case by saying: "We must stop this brain from functioning for twenty years." Our current favorites leave less to chance: the brains must be stopped from functioning for ever, and we agree that their thoughts about such matters as state terrorism had best not be heard. The results of US military training are evident in abundance in the documentation by human rights groups and the Salvadoran Church. They are graphically described by Reverend Daniel Santiago, a Catholic priest working in El Salvador, in the Jesuit journal America. He reports the story of a peasant woman, who returned home one day to find her mother, sister, and three children sitting around a table, the decapitated head of each person placed carefully on the table in front of the body, the hands arranged on top "as if each body was stroking its own head." The assassins, from the Salvadoran National Guard, had found it hard to keep the head of an eighteen-month-old baby in place, so they nailed the hands onto it. A large plastic bowl filled with blood was tastefully displayed in the center of the table. To take just one further example, striking because of the circumstances, we may turn back to January 1988, when the US completed its demolition of the Central America peace accords, exempting its murderous clients from the provisions calling for "justice, freedom and democracy," "respect for human rights," and guarantees for "the inviolability of all forms of life and liberty." Just as this cynical success was being recorded, the bodies of two men and a teenage boy were found at a well-known death squad dumping ground, blindfolded with hands tied behind their backs and signs of torture. The nongovemmental Human Rights Commission, which continues to function despite the assassination of its founders and directors, reported that thirteen bodies had been found in the preceding two weeks, most showing signs of torture, including two women who had been hanged from a tree by their hair, their breasts cut off and their faces painted red. The reports were given anonymously, in fear of state terror. No one failed to recognize the traditional marks of the death squads. The information was reported by the wire services and prominently published in Canada, but not by the US national press. Reverend Santiago writes that macabre scenes of the kind he recounts are designed by the armed forces for the purpose of intimidation. People are not just killed by death squads in El Salvador.-they are decapitated and then their heads are placed on pikes and used to dot the landscape. Men are not just disemboweled by the Salvadoran Treasury Police; their severed genitalia are stuffed into their mouths. Salvadoran women are not just raped by the National Guard; their wombs are cut from their bodies and used to cover their faces. It is not enough to kill children; they are dragged over barbed wire until the flesh falls from their bones while parents are forced to watch.... The aesthetics of terror in El Salvador is religious. The intention is to ensure that the individual is totally subordinated to the interests of the Fatherland, which is why the death squads are sometimes called the "Army of National Salvation" by the governing ARENA Party, whose members (including President Cristiani) take a blood oath to the "leader-for-life," Roberto d'Aubuisson. The armed forces "scoop up recruits" from the age of thirteen, and indoctrinate them with rituals adopted from the Nazi SS, including brutalization and rape, so that they are prepared for killing with sexual overtones, as a religious rite. The stories of training "are not fairy tales"; they are "punctuated with the hard evidence of corpses, mutilated flesh, splattered brains and eyewitnesses." This "sadomasochistic killing creates terror," and "terror creates passivity in the face of oppression. A passive population is easy to control," so that there will be plenty of docile workers, and no complaints, and the sociopolitical project can be pursued with equanimity. Reverend Santiago reminds us that the current wave of violence is a reaction to attempts by the Church to organize the poor in the 1970s. State terror mounted as the Church began forming peasant associations and self-help groups, which, along with other popular organizations, "spread like wildfire through Latin American communities," Lars Schoultz writes. That the United States should turn at once to massive repression, with the cooperation of local elites, will surprise only those who are willfully ignorant of history and the planning record. Father Ignacio Ellacuria, rector of the Jesuit University before he was assassinated along with Father Martin-Baro, described El Salvador as "a lacerated reality, almost mortally wounded." He was a close associate of Archbishop Romero and was with him when the Archbishop wrote to President Carter, pleading in vain for the withdrawal of aid from the junta. The Archbishop informed Father Ellacuria that his letter was prompted "by the new concept of special warfare, which consists in murderously eliminating every endeavor of the popular organizations under the allegation of Communism or terrorism . . ." 73 Special warfare-whether called counterinsurgency, or low-intensity conflict, or some other euphemism-is simply international terrorism-and it has long been official US policy, a weapon in the arsenal used for the larger sociopolitical project. The same has been true in neighboring Guatemala. Latin America scholar Piero Gleijeses writes that in the traditional "culture of fear," ferocious repression sufficed to impose peace and order; "Just as the Indian was branded a savage beast to justify his exploitation, so those who sought social reform were branded communists to justify their persecution. " The decade 1944-54 was a unique departure, marked by "political democracy, the strong communist influence in the administration of President Jacobo Arbenz (1951-54), and Arbenz's agrarian reform"-"years of spring in the country of eternal tyranny," in the words of a Guatemalan poet. Half a million people received desperately needed land, the first time in the country's history that "the Indians were offered land, rather than being robbed of it": A new wind was stirring the Guatemalan countryside. The culture of fear was loosening its grip over the great masses of the Guatemalan population. In a not unreachable future, it might have faded away, a distant nightmare. The Communist Party leaders were regarded by the US Embassy as the sole exception to venality and ambition. They "were very honest, very committed," "the only people who were committed to hard work," one Embassy official commented. "This was the tragedy," he added: they were "our worst enemies," and had to be removed along with the reforms they helped to implement. The nightmare was restored in a coup organized by the CIA, with the cooperation of Guatemalan officers who betrayed their country in fear of the regional superpower, Gleijeses concludes. With regular US support, the regime of terror and torture and disappearance has been maintained, peaking in the late 1960s with direct US government participation. As the terror somewhat abated, there was "a wave of concientizacio' (heightening of political awareness)," largely under Church auspices. It inspired the usual reaction: the army "intensified the terror, murdering cooperative leaders, bilingual teachers, community leaders, and grassroots organizers"-in fact, following the same script as in El Salvador and Nicaragua. By the early 1980s, the terror reached the level of wholesale massacre in the Indian highlands. The Reagan Administration was not merely supportive but enthusiastic about the achievements of their friends. Recall that the Guatemalan generals are moderates who observe the pragmatic criterion. When Indians who had fled to the mountains to survive drifted back, unable to cope with the harsh conditions and begging forgiveness, "the army was generous," Gleijeses observes: "It no longer murdered the supplicants, except now and then, as a reminder." When order was once again restored, the generals accepted US advice and instituted a democratic facade, behind which they and their allies in the oligarchy would continue to rule. p397 Rousseau's classic lament that people are born free but are everywhere in chains p397 Those who adopt the common-sense principle that freedom is our natural right and essential need will agree with Bertrand Russell that anarchism is "the ultimate ideal to which society should approximate." Structures of hierarchy and domination are fundamentally illegitimate. They can be defended only on grounds of contingent need, an argument that rarely stands up to analysis. As Russell went on to observe seventy years ago, "the old bonds of authority" have little intrinsic merit. Reasons are needed for people to abandon their rights, "and the reasons offered are counterfeit reasons, convincing only to those who have a selfish interest in being convinced.... The condition of revolt," he went on, "exists in women towards men, in oppressed nations towards their oppressors, and above all in labour towards capital. It is a state full of danger, as all past history shows, yet also full of hope." p401 Whether the instinct for freedom is real or not, we do not know. If it is, history teaches that it can be dulled, but has yet to be killed. The courage and dedication of people struggling for freedom, their willingness to confront extreme state terror and violence, are often remarkable. There has been a slow growth of consciousness over many years, and goals have been achieved that were considered utopian or scarcely contemplated in earlier eras. An inveterate optimist can point to this record and express the hope that with a new decade, and soon a new century, humanity may be able to overcome some of its social maladies; others might draw a different lesson from recent history. It is hard to see rational grounds for affirming one or the other perspective. As in the case of many of the natural beliefs that guide our lives, we can do no better than to choose according to our intuition and hopes. The consequences of such a choice are not obscure. By denying the instinct for freedom we will only prove that humans are a lethal mutation, an evolutionary dead end; by nurturing it, if it is real, we may find ways to deal with dreadful human tragedies and problems that are awesome in scale. p407 Few in the South would contest the judgment of the Times of India that in the Gulf crisis the traditional warrior states-the US and UK-sought a "regional Yalta where the powerful nations agree among themselves to a share of Arab spoils . . . [Their] conduct throughout this one month [January-February 1991] has revealed the seamiest sides of Western civilization: its unrestricted appetite for dominance, its morbid fascination for hi-tech military might, its insensitivity to 'alien' cultures, its appalling jingoism...." The general mood was captured by Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns of Sao Paulo, Brazil, who wrote that in the Arab countries "the rich sided with the US government while the millions of poor condemned this military aggression." Throughout the Third World, "there is hatred and fear: When will they decide to invade us," and on what pretext? Within the US, the major issue remains the unraveling of the society under the impact of the Reagan-Bush social and economic programs. These reflected a broad elite consensus in favor of a welfare state for the rich even beyond the norm. Policy was designed to transfer resources to privileged sectors, with the costs to be borne by the general population and future generations. Given the narrow interests of its constituency, the Administration has no serious proposals to deal with the consequences of these policies. It is therefore necessary to divert the public. Two classic devices are to inspire fear of terrible enemies and worship of our grand leaders, who rescue us just in the nick of time. The enemies may be domestic (criminal Blacks, uppity women, subversives undermining the tradition, etc.), but foreign demons have natural advantages. The Russians served the purpose for many years; their collapse has called for innovative and audacious tactics. As the standard pretext vanished, the domestic population has been frightened-with some success-by images of Qaddafi's hordes of international terrorists, Sandinistas marching on Texas, Grenada interdicting sea lanes and threatening the homeland itself, Hispanic narcotraffickers directed by the arch-maniac Noriega, and crazed Arabs generally, most recently, the Beast of Baghdad, after he underwent the usual conversion from favored friend to Attila the Hun after committing the one unforgivable crime, the crime of disobedience, on August 2, 1990. The scenario requires Awe as well as Fear. There must, then, be foreign triumphs, domestic ones being beyond even the imagination of the cultural managers. Our noble leaders must courageously confront and miraculously defeat the barbarians at the gate, so that we can once again "stand tall" (the President's boast, after overcoming Grenada's threat to our existence) and march forward towards a New World Order of peace and justice. Since each foreign triumph is in fact a fiasco, the aftermath must be obscured as the government-media alliance turns to some new crusade. The barbarians must be defenseless: it would be foolish to confront anyone who might fight back. Moreover, the notable rise in the moral and cultural level of the general population since the 1960s, including the unwillingness to tolerate atrocities and aggression, a grave disease called "the Vietnam syndrome," has further limited the options. The problem was addressed in a National Security Policy Review from the first months of the Bush presidency, dealing with "third world threats." It reads: "In cases where the U.S. confronts much weaker enemies, our challenge will be not simply to defeat them, but to defeat them decisively and rapidly." Any other outcome would be "embarrassing" and might "undercut political support," understood to be thin. The intervention options are therefore restricted to clandestine terror (called "low-intensity conflict," etc., often assisted by mercenary states), or quick demolition of a "much weaker enemy." Disappearance of the Soviet deterrent enhances this second option: the US need no longer fight with "one hand tied," that is, with concern for the consequences to itself. Deterring Democracy