'AT LAST THE TRUTH TVOTW HAS BEEN TALKING ABOUT IS CONFIRMED - A 76 YEAR OLD AMERICAN FINDS THE COURAGE TO SPEAK'
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VIDAL: OIL BEHIND BUSH'S AFGHAN FIASCO
The outspoken 76-year-old said America provoked the September 11 attacks with its own military intervention in countries around the world.
Staunch democrat Gore, a former White House aide to John F Kennedy, insisted the US should stop meddling in other people's affairs.
In an interview with LA Weekly reporter MARC COOPER he claimed Bush's attack on Afghanistan was motivated by oil, not revenge. Here's his views:
LA WEEKLY: Are you arguing that the 3,000 killed on September 11 somehow deserved their fate?
GORE VIDAL: I don't think we, the American people, deserved what happened. Nor do we deserve the sort of governments we have had over the past 40 years. Our governments have brought this upon us by their actions all over the world.
I have a list in my new book that gives the reader some idea how busy we have been.
Unfortunately, we only get disinformation from The New York Times and other official places. Americans have no idea of the extent of their government's mischief.
The number of military strikes we have made unprovoked, against other countries, since 1947 is more than 250.
These are major strikes from Panama to Iran. It isn't even a complete list. It doesn't include places like Chile, as that was a CIA operation. I was only listing military attacks.
Americans are either not told about these things or are told we attacked them because...well...
Noriega is the centre of all world drug traffic and we have to get rid of him. So we kill some Panamanians in the process.
Actually we killed quite a few. We brought in our Air Force. Panama didn't have an air force. But it looked good to have our Air Force there, busy, blowing up buildings.
Then we kidnap their leader, Noriega, a former CIA man who worked loyally for the US. We arrest him. Try him in an American court that has no jurisdiction over him and lock him up - nobody knows why.
And that was supposed to end the drug trade because he had been demonised by The New York Times and the rest of the imperial press.
(The government) plays off (Americans') relative innocence, or ignorance to be more precise.
This is probably why geography has not really been taught since World War II - to keep people in the dark as to where we are blowing things up.
Because Enron wants to blow them up. Or Unocal, the great pipeline company, wants a war going some place.
And people in the countries who are recipients of our bombs get angry. The Afghans had nothing to do with what happened to our country on September 11. But Saudi Arabia did. It seems Osama is involved, but we don't really know.
I mean, when we went into Afghanistan to take over the place and blow it up, our commanding general was asked how long it was going to take to find bin Laden. The general looked surprised and said, well, that's not why we are here.
Oh no? So what was all this about? "It was about the Taliban being very, very bad people and that they treated women very badly, you see.
They're not really into women's rights, and we here are very strong on women's rights, and we should be with Bush on that one because he's taking those burlap sacks off of women's heads." Well, that's not what it was about.
What it was really about is that this is an imperial grab for energy resources. Until now, the Persian Gulf has been our main source for imported oil. We went there, to Afghanistan, not to get Osama and vengeance.
We went partly because the Taliban - who we had installed during the Russian occupation - were getting too flaky and because Unocal, the California corporation, had made a deal with the Taliban for a pipeline to get the Caspian-area oil - the richest oil reserve on Earth.
They wanted to get that oil by pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan and from there to ship it off to China, which would be enormously profitable.
Whichever big company could cash in would make a fortune.
And you'll see that all these companies go back to Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld or someone else on the Gas and Oil Junta, which, along with the Pentagon, governs the United States.
We had planned to occupy Afghanistan in October, and Osama, or whoever hit us in September, launched a pre-emptory strike. They knew we were coming. This was a warning to throw us off guard.
LA WEEKLY: Still, even if one reads the chart of military interventions in your book and concludes that, indeed, the US government is a "source of evil" can't you conceive there might be other forces of evil as well? Can't you imagine forces of religious obscurantism, for example, that act independently of us and might do bad things to us, because they are evil?
VIDAL: Oh yes. But you picked the wrong group. You picked one of the richest families in the world - the bin Ladens. They are close to the royal family of Saudi Arabia, which has conned us into acting as their bodyguard against their own people - who are even more fundamentalist than they are. So we are dealing with a powerful entity if it is Osama.
What isn't true is that people like him just come out of the blue. The average American thinks we just give away billions in foreign aid, when we are the lowest in foreign aid among developed countries. Most of what we give goes to Israel and Egypt.
I was in Guatemala when the CIA was preparing its attack on the Arbenz government (in 1954).
Arbenz, who was a democratically elected president, mildly socialist.
His state had no revenues. Its biggest income maker was United Fruit Company. So Arbenz put the tiniest of taxes on bananas and Henry Cabot Lodge said in the Senate the Communists have taken over Guatemala and we must act.
He got to Eisenhower, who sent in the CIA, and they overthrew the government. We installed a military dictator and there's been nothing but bloodshed ever since.
Now, if I were a Guatemalan and I had the means to drop something on somebody in Washington I would be tempted to do it. Especially if I had lost my family and seen my country blown to bits because United Fruit didn't want to pay taxes. Now, that's the way we operate. And that's why we got to be so hated.
LA WEEKLY: You've spent decades bemoaning the erosion of civil liberties and the conversion of the US from a republic into what you call an empire. Have the after effects of September 11, things like the USA Patriot Bill, pushed us further down the road or are they, in fact, some sort of historic turning point?
VIDAL: The second law of thermodynamics always rules: Everything is always running down.
And so is our Bill of Rights. The current junta in charge of our affairs, one not legally elected but put in charge of us by the Supreme Court in the interests of the oil, gas and defence lobbies, have used Oklahoma City and now September 11 to further erode things. And when it comes to Oklahoma and Tim McVeigh, well, he had his reasons as well to carry out his deed.
Millions agree with his general reasoning, though no-one agrees with the value of blowing up children.
But the American people instinctively know when the government goes off the rails like it did at Waco and Ruby Ridge. No-one has been elected president in the past 50 years unless he ran against the federal government. So, the government should get through its head that it is hated not only by foreigners whose countries we have wrecked, but also by Americans whose lives have been wrecked. The Patriot movement was based on folks run off their family farms. We have millions of disaffected Americans who do not like the way the place is run and see no place where they can prosper.
LA WEEKLY: And yet Americans seem quite susceptible to a sort of jingoistic "enemy-of-the-month club" coming out of Washington. You say millions of Americans hate the government. But something like 75 per cent say they support George W. Bush, especially on the issue of the war.
VIDAL: I hope you don't believe those figures. Don't you know how the polls are rigged?
It's simple. After 9/11 the country was shocked and terrified. (Bush) does a war dance and talks about evil axis and all the countries he's going to go after. And how long it is going to take, he says with a happy smile, because it means billions for the Pentagon and for his oil friends.
And it means curtailing our liberties, so this is very thrilling for him. He's out there bombing Afghanistan. Well, he might as well have been bombing Denmark.
Denmark had nothing to do with 9/11. And neither did Afghanistan.
So the question is still asked, are you standing tall with the president? Standing with him as he defends us? Eventually, they will figure it out.
LA WEEKLY: They being who? The American people?
VIDAL: Yeah, the American people. They are asked these quick questions. Do you approve of him? Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh yeah, he blew up all those funny-sounding cities over there.
That doesn't mean they like him. Mark my words. He will leave office the most unpopular president in history. The junta has done too much wreckage.
They were suspiciously ready with the Patriot Act as soon as we were hit. Which means they have already got their police state.
LA WEEKLY: Let's pick away at one of your favourite bones, the American media. Some say they have done a better-than-usual job since 9/11. But I suspect you're not buying that?
VIDAL: No, I don't buy it. Part of the year I live in Italy. And I find out more about what's going on in the Middle East by reading the British, the French, even the Italian press.
Everything here is slanted. I mean, to watch Bush doing his war dance in Congress...about "evil doers" and this "axis of evil" - Iran, Iraq and North Korea. I thought, he doesn't even know what the word axis means.
LA WEEKLY: What about George W. Bush, the man?
VIDAL: You mean George W. Bush, the cheerleader. That's the only thing he ever did of some note. He had some involvement with a baseball team...
LA WEEKLY: He owned it...
VIDAL: Yeah, bought with other people' s money. Oil people's money. So he's never really worked and shows little capacity for learning.
LA WEEKLY: Should the US just pack up its military from everywhere and go home?
VIDAL: Yes. With no exceptions. We are not the world's policeman. We cannot even police the United States.
GORE Vidal's latest book is entitled: Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got To Be So Hated.
[TVOTW Video Insert - 11 Jul 2004 - Compare The Blair Rhetoric Now - Be Warned Of The Implications For Prosecution Against Bush & Blair For Actions And Conduct At The Worst End Of The Criminal Spectrum!! - A Most Feeble Attempt To Perpetuate A Pack Of The Most Monstrous Lies - 218kb - 6 Jul 2004. And this from Bush - On Saddam - 'What We Don't Know Yet - Is What We Thought' - 3 Feb 2004.]
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