More After The So-Called Evidence is a Farce:
An Interview with Stan Goff
Interview conducted 10/24/2001 by Mike McCormick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Note: The Daily Battle has heavily edited, abridged, and rearranged
McCormick's very oral interview in the interest of concision and clarity.
The original text of the interview can be read at
Stan Goff rose to public attention because of an article that received
much attention on the Internet,
The So-Called Evidence Is a Farce. That article began:
I'm a retired Special Forces Master Sergeant. That doesn't
cut much for those who will only accept the opinions of former officers
on military matters, since we enlisted swine are assumed to be incapable
of grasping the nuances of doctrine.
Mike McCormick: I was hoping you could go through and reiterate everything
or a lot of what you had covered in your article The So-Called
Evidence is a Farce.
But I wasn't just in the army. I studied and taught military
science and doctrine. I was a tactics instructor at the Jungle Operations
Training Center in Panama, and I taught Military Science at West
Point. And contrary to the popular image of what Special Forces
does, SF's mission is to teach. We offer advice and assistance to
foreign forces. That's everything from teaching marksmanship to
a private to instructing a Battalion staff on how to coordinate
effective air operations with a sister service.
Based on that experience, and operations in eight designated
conflict areas from Vietnam to Haiti, I have to say that the story
we hear on the news and read in the newspapers is simply not believable.
The most cursory glance at the verifiable facts, before, during,
and after September 11th, does not support the official line or
conform to the current actions of the United States government.
Stan Goff: While it's important to emphasize there's a lack of credibility
built into the structure of the official story on this and there's
a deep lack of credibility related to whether this is a pre-existing
agenda -- I think it's pretty clear that it was -- I don't want people
to think that I'm trying to advance some specific conspiracy theory.
I don't know what happened on Sept. 11th and I think it's important
to know, but it's even more important to know what is this agenda
that's being pursued because I think it's an extremely dangerous agenda
and I think it can be traced all the way back to as early as 1973
in the first oil shock with the OPEC embargo. So that's my preface.
MM:Do you think the media are accurately portraying what is happening
SG: The public is kept pretty much in the dark. I strongly suspect
that the collateral damage as they call it is far worse than they
are going to allow anyone to know. And it's a dumb operation. It's
just not a very smart operation in a lot of ways. I think it's comparable
in many respects to Somalia.
MM: How so? How's it similar?
SG: Well, I'll have to give you a little background on this. When
I was with Special Forces, we were part of a foreign policy doctrine
called IDAD, which is Internal Defense and Development. Special Forces
basically had four primary kind of missions. Some of them were combat
missions but a lot of them were advice and assistance kinds of missions.
That's changed. There's a much stronger doctrinal and technological
emphasis now on something called OOTW or Operations Other Than War
and that's got some sinister implications for us at home because it
really is part of this whole sort of merger between police and military
The problem in Somalia and the problem here is related to a military
that's still predicated on a structure that was developed out of the
Cold War where we were facing off against the Warsaw Pact. Everything
was designed to stop the Russians at the Fulda Gap. Afghanistan is
a far different reality. When I went with the task force to capture
Mohammed Fara Aidid in Somalia, we had all these gadgets, the most
technologically sophisticated Special Operations Force probably ever
assembled up to that time. That's why people were stunned in the United
States when all of a sudden that task force comes home with its dead
and wounded and its tail between its legs and its been defeated by
this feudal warlord.
There's been all kinds of nonsense written about how this happened,
this perennial claim that politicians keep soldiers from exerting
the necessary force to get the job done, the same thing they said
about Vietnam. It's really a military rationalization. Military success
is not a function of force, or force alone. It's not a function of
geography and weather alone. It's not a function of technology alone.
It's not a function of intelligence alone. It's not a function of
political context alone. You see it's a combination of all these things.
Then you throw into the equation a host of all sorts of other uncontrollable
variables, just accidents and there's no shortage of fools in the
military. It's a bureaucracy and so it sort of breeds these folks.
They have a real strong vested interest in mystifying military operations
for the public because they want the public to leave it to the experts
and ignore their dishonesty, their corruption and accept their little
BS excuses for their failures. It's a very contagious thing and I
think it's actually infected George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and all
these other would-be generalissimos that are running the United States
What they think they can do is they think they can win in Afghanistan
but again going back to Somalia, Afghanistan is similar in the following
ways. Afghanistan is backward, it's tribalistic. It's coherent as
a nation only because they've got a boundary around it that says this
is a political geographic definition but within that geographic definition
there is nothing that resembles a nation. The Taliban is one of many
many groups, made in the USA by the way. But there's not one singular
cogent military force for the U.S. to focus its efforts against and
that's a violation of a principle of war called objective.
There's a host of factions. They're all very well armed thanks to
the United States because the U.S. armed them to topple a socialist
regime there years ago, and they change alliances down there like
you and I change underwear. Its a country that's physically divided
by some very forbidding and mountainous terrain. There is no infrastructure.
You can't attack a society's infrastructure if it doesn't exist and
so it nullifies the kind of strategy they used against Iraq for instance.
So there's no clear enemy and without a clear enemy there's no clear
decisive objective. I'm speaking strictly in a morally neutral way
here. A military task force can't conquer a nation if there's not
really a nation there.
So you take this situation and you got all these different warlords
and factions and you can introduce a couple dozen Stinger missiles
or 500 assault rifles or like in Somalia 200 RPGs and that can instantly
shift the entire balance of power in a region and completely change
the character of the battlefield. Our military is not versatile or
agile enough to respond to that and moreover there's still no clearly
defined objectives. So just from the point of view of the military
The Taliban, they claim they have 10,000 or there about Afghani Arabs
which are not Afghanis at all. Bin Laden for instance is a Saudi.
His daddy is a big construction magnate with connections to the Bush
family back in Saudi Arabia.
38% of Afghanistan is Pashtun and even the Pashtun ethnicity is subdivided
between the Ghilazi and Durrani and 25% of Afghanistan are Tajiks.
Their loyalties are divided between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Then
the Hazara who are Shites constitute 19% and they are kind of prone
to favor the Iranians and then there are Uzbeks. Then you've got a
Sunni majority among the Muslims but you've got a Shite minority that's
fairly significant. Most of the folks there speak a form of Farsi
called Dari. That's a Pashtun dialect but you have Turkic dialects,
there's about 30 minor languages alone.
Then the U.S. says they are going to make an alliance with this Northern
Alliance, it's not even an alliance. The only thing that those people
are allied around is their opposition to the Taliban. When they're
not allied against the Taliban then they spend as much time blood
letting among themselves as they do doing anything else and in fact
they've been very opposed to Pashtun nationalism in the past and the
Pashtun have a much closer ties to Pakistan...
You see what I'm saying? This is extremely complex and it's dynamic.
It changes from day to day and there's no way that a great power,
unquote, like the United States can go in there and achieve some sort
of a military resolution to the problem. Journalists have called it
a quagmire, you know mission creep and all that stuff. To me it's
like Uncle Remus' story tar babies. That's what's going on there.
This is going to be far more problematic than Vietnam from a military
MM: So you mentioned earlier that some of the real reasons that what
we're doing in Afghanistan date back to 1973. Could you go into that?
SG: Well I think that first of all we just have to be clear that this
is about oil. You've got to look at oil production as something that's
finite. Oil as an extractable resource follows something called
a Hubbert curve. Once it peaks in production it then begins
a very precipitous decline, forever, because it's a physically finite
resource. But it doesn't peak in production in all the same regions,
so you've got aggregate world production peaking at one point and
then you have different regions peaking at different points along
the way. This really changes the kind of power dynamics that exist
between these different regions.
In 1973 we got hammered by an oil embargo that was primarily the work
of the Gulf States through OPEC. The Gulf States to this day still
have the largest repository of recoverable oil. Especially Saudi Arabia
but also Iran and also Iraq, and there's a fair amount in the Caspian
basin in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan and around there. Right now the
world is consuming somewhere around 75 million barrels a day.
World oil production as an aggregate is peaking sometime between now
and next year and then it'll begin a permanent decline aggregate worldwide.
Demand is going up so that around 2010 our demand is going
to be 100 million barrels a day. The problem is even with everything
they're trying to do right now to increase the recovery of oil in
the Gulf States and the Caspian, which requires the introduction of
around a trillion dollars worth of infrastructure, still, they would
recover only around 15 additional million barrels a day, which means
they still have a 10 million barrel deficit
Now that's not the real trick. The real trick here is if you divide
the world up, just for the sake of argument into OPEC which is primarily
Gulf States, but also Venezuela.Then you look at all the non-OPEC
and I just call them NOPEC for the sake of argument. NOPEC production
peaked years ago. It peaked in the last decade. It's on the way down
so NOPEC is losing its relative power to control the market and NOPEC
is something that the United States was very heavily invested in for
the purpose of offsetting the potential power of the Gulf States as
oil producers. But now OPEC is on the rise until 2010, so between
now and 2010, every day that goes by, OPEC gains more power to control
the world market for petroleum.
The only thing that attenuates that problem for the U.S. right now
is that after 1973 the U.S. began a very aggressive program of offering
all sorts of perquisites to the Saudis and convinced them to invest
their petroleum money in U.S. financial instruments and so the dollar
became the petrodollar. But when the dollar became the petrodollar
it also became the foundation currency for world trade. One reason
the dollar has maintained its strength is because it's what's oil
is traded in. But the Saudi regime that protects our interests there,
right now, and some of the other regimes in the region, who would
potentially protect our interests, are in a lot of trouble. There's
a great deal of social unrest.
When you look at the U.S. attacking Osama Bin Laden in a place like
Afghanistan, you have to wonder, since Osama Bin Laden represents
right now -- and I think represents very well --not Islam but Islamism,
the radical fundamentalism that's taken root in really a sea of declining
social conditions over there. As oil profits have declined, the Saudi
standard of living and the standard of living throughout the region
have gone down, while corruption has rooted itself further and further
in these regimes. This has created an ocean of potentially 100 million
people whose lives are getting worse all the time, really fertile
ground for something like this Islamism, this radical fundamentalism
to take root. So Osama Bin Laden in a sense is really the potential
opposition in a place like Saudi Arabia...
And Saudi Arabia is the prize. Whoever controls Saudi Arabia controls
oil worldwide and Bin Laden said himself a couple of years ago at
a public interview that he was going to raise the price of oil to
$144 a barrel. Now I don't know where that number came from or why
it was that arbitrary and specific but at $50 a barrel U.S. power
dissolves. Our stock market crashes. So members of this administration
have got some real concerns and they also have some very specific
concerns as individuals because most of them also heavily invested
in oil. This trillion dollars of potential infrastructure going into
the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia is something that Halliburton
Oil, Dick Cheney's old company very well may be contracted to construct.
I don't want to bore listeners with all the details but there's more
here than meets the eye.
MM: I don't think you're boring us at all with the details. So can
you make the connection to potentially the benefits of getting Afghanistan
under control for the extraction of oil?
SG: I think it's a pipe dream. I don't think they can get Afghanistan
under control. What I've come to believe is that really the U.S.'s
ability to dominate the entire planet is unraveling. This is just
part of a historical evolution that is at some point inevitable. I
think what they're doing now is not something they're doing out of
a position of strength but out of a position of desperation and panic.
I think historically we can go back and see that when big capital
gets in trouble and the market's not working for them anymore they
have to find a way... Right now there is a worldwide production over-capacity
that's created a recession that's about to go deep and about to go
long. One of the ways that they've traditionally gotten themselves
out of that is to liquidate a bunch of that capital. And the best
way to liquidate capital real fast is war. That's the way they correct
the problem. They use non-market mechanisms to correct for a fallen
rate of profit within a market economy.
What's even more dangerous is we are looking at this huge imperial
power that's the United States right now and they're trying to control
everything at once and their empire is beginning to unravel on them.
What is particularly dangerous for people like me and probably people
like y'all and a lot of your listeners is that in the process of doing
this they're going to have to exercise more and more despotic measures
at home to step on resistance. And so I think we're really in very
serious and immediate danger of an emergence of a form of fascism
in the United States. John Ashcroft at the helm of the Justice Dept.
is not a particularly great thing. Take a close look at the kinds
of initiatives he's involved in right now, this bizarre Orwellian
sounding Office of Homeland Security, with Tom Ridge of
all people. These are very disturbing developments.
One of the reactions that the public had to the events of Sept. 11th
-- and it's a very sensible and understandable reaction -- is this
incredible sense of a loss of security and a sense of endangerment.
But what people need to understand, if we are going to appeal to the
public at large about what their interests are, is that the policies
that are being pursued by the de facto Bush administration are in
fact a threat to our long term security... It's just an attempt to
consolidate a citadel of power for a handful of the elite in this
country at the expense of everyone else.
It's only a matter of time before they turn on us too. Because this
is not a crisis that can be overcome. Oil is running out in the long
term and we have 6 to 7 billion people living on the planet right
now that thoroughly depend on this one resource that's not just a
regular commodity. It's the life blood of the entire global capitalist
system and it's going to be cut off. It's going to be cut off by nature;
it's not going to be cut off by us; but in the process I think again
that you'll see a retrenchment of power and it's that retrenchment
that I think is extremely dangerous.
MM: Can you go into some more specifics of how the current policies
that the Bush administration is following are a threat to our security?
SG: Start with the notion of going over what I think is really the
beginning of a war of extermination among a 100 million Muslim people.
That don't strike me as something very secure. If they wanted to find
a good way to go out there and manufacture new terrorists they're
going about it exactly the right way. This unilateralism and this
willingness to go over there and drop bombs on Afghani civilians which
they are doing. That's exactly why they've cut the media off.
But I think there's also some real geostrategic issues. They are introducing
a much higher level of tension now between the Pakistanis and the
Indians who've been on the brink of nuclear war with one another already.
And I think within a couple of years when they begin what's gonna
be inevitably the attempt to break up Uzbekistan and Turkminestan
and to pull them away from the orbit of the Russians I think that's
going to create another problem. The Russians are working with us
right now but that's short term.
I think domestically, and again I go back to this doctrine of Operations
Other Than War (OOTW). Worldwide this recession is going to kick in
and create problems in the center, in the industrialized nations,
but also in the periphery. And I think they've been very alarmed by
the growth of this anti-globalization movement. These things are very
disturbing to the power elite right now, and we've seen it already
over time, this closer and closer relationship and blurring of the
lines between the military and police.
I mean I participated in this. In the early eighties I was actually
involved as an active duty military in training the FBI's Hostage
Rescue Team. They were just "Woofo" SWAT, Washington Field Office
SWAT, at the time, so we were militarizing them and at the same time
they started doing operations with Special Forces and the Marines
augmenting the Border Patrol. So there was already in progress this
developmental trajectory that was beginning to merge the roles of
the police and the military.
I think what we're seeing is worldwide -- especially under the influence
of the United States. There is a hallucination, out there, of the
Pax Americana, and what they're developing now is a military and police
doctrine for urban civil war. And for us that means in the short term
that they are developing a doctrine for severe population control.
I don't know about any one else, but that don't make me feel anymore
secure. (chuckles). That makes me feel very insecure. Because it's
only a short step before people start getting thrown in jail for what
they believe in again. I think we're moving toward the reintroduction
of something similar to the Smith Act in this country right now.
MM: What was that?
SG: The Smith Act was finally declared unconstitutional, but only
after people spent like a decade in jail. That's back in the Post
WWII, the whole McCarthyist phenomenon. They introduced something
called the Smith Act, rounded up people who belonged to socialist
organizations, threw them all in jail, for the crime of thinking.
They did absolutely nothing wrong, and they just put them in jail
for their beliefs. I don't think we are but a hop skip and a jump
away from that right now.
MM: Well especially with this week where I believe the FBI is now
seeking changing the laws so they will be allowed to torture people.
SG: Yeah. Did you see that? Or if they can't torture them here, they'll
ship them overseas to someone who can. You know, the people need to
be paying attention. Stop waving that flag for about five minutes
and go take a real close look at what's going on because this has
nothing to do with patriotism. I care about my country. Heck, I was
born and raised here, you know. Members of my family are American
citizens. Don't equate the notion of caring about your country with
supporting the asinine, dangerous, opportunistic policies of an illegitimate
administration. I don't buy it. It's not the same thing. I will never
support the Bush Administration. I don't care what they do, because
first of all they weren't elected. People seemed to have forgotten
that. And that's why I say, man, you know, what's the ol' saying,
cui bono, who benefits?
MM: Go into that some more. In your email that somehow turned into
a somewhat famous article, you talked about how many people in the
current Bush Administration have connections to oil.
SG: Start with Bush, the de facto president right now. He was the
CEO of Harken Energy. That is his own little company, you know. As
it turns out, he wasn't very good at it. You know, his dad, was an
oil man. So you've got two generations in oil right there.
And his dad, the former President, the former Vice-President, the
former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, George Herbert
Walker Bush, is on the board of Carlyle Group, which is right now
a $12 billion dollar equity company. But it's heavily invested in
all kinds of things, including oil and it's also I think the 11th
or 12th whatever, biggest defense contractor in the country. It's
getting very incestuous. In fact, Carlyle put Bush junior on the board
of one of its subsidiaries, Cater Air, a little shuttle service, a
little puddle jumper service. Sort of as a sop to dad.
The new ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Robert Jordan, is a Dallas lawyer
and an old Bush booster. Jordan works for a Baker Botts, a firm with
offices in Riyadh. Baker Botts represents Carlyle Group over there.
And the Baker in Baker Botts is James Baker, who was Secretary of
State for George Herbert Walker Bush, but also the guy that engineered
the whole Florida coup d'etat in the 2000 election.
Some of the other folks in Carlyle: Fidel Ramos, former Chief of the
Philippines. Park Tae Joon of South Korea. John Major. Everybody remember
John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs?
And you can go back with the Bush family. Prescott Bush, Rockefellers,
Duponts, Standard Oil, Morgans, Fords, all these other folks were
anti-Semites and anti-Communists way back. They also actually financed
the rise to power of Adolph Hitler. They financed it. I mean, that's
a historical fact. It's irrefutable. And Prescott Bush did business
with the Nazis all the way up to 1942 until he was censured by the
United States under the Trading with the Enemy Act. And after the
War, he turned right around and ran for Congress in Connecticut and
won. This is an interesting family.
Anyway, Dick Cheney, CEO of Halliburton Oil. Got $34 million before
he took office in stock options from Halliburton. As the CEO, Cheney
oversaw $23.8 billion dollars in oil industry contracts to Iraq alone.
Cheney found the loopholes in the embargo on Iraq. Now the attack
on Iraq was done when Cheney was the Secretary of Defense. He stepped
down as Secretary of Defense and turned right around and became the
CEO of Halliburton, took advantage of the loopholes and went back
there and made $23.8 billion dollars in Iraq by rebuilding the infrastructure
that we bombed out of existence.
Halliburton is also involved with the Russian mob. They've got sort
of two things going on. One is oil and the other is drug trafficking.
Halliburton is a story all by itself.
Secretary of State, Colin Powell. This man has no diplomatic credentials.
He was the former chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff and all of sudden
he is in charge of the entire diplomatic corps of the United States.
That's interesting just by itself. He has cash holdings or stock holdings
in a number of defense contractors.
Tony Prinicipi, Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Lockheed Martin, defense
contractor. The biggest defense contractor in the world. Andrew Card,
Chief of Staff. General Motors. Secretary of the Navy, Gordon England.
General Dynamics. Secretary of the Airforce, James Roche, Northrup
Grummond. Secretary of the Army, General Thomas White retired. Enron
Energy. These folks are (chuckles) all defense contractors or oil
people. The whole bunch of them are.
Donald Rumsfeld is Secretary of Defense. What people don't realize
is he is also the former CEO of Searle Pharmaceuticals. They get big
defense contracts. But he is also with General Signal Corporation,
a defense contractor. And interestingly enough, he is also heavily
invested in biotech, which is probably gonna make a killing here pretty
soon with whatever Anthrax vaccines.
Dick Armitage. Deputy Secretary of Defense, he's a guy like me, a
former special ops guy, a Seal. He had to leave the Reagan Administration
because he was up to his neck in Iran contra drug problems. And now
he's working directly with the Russian Mafia. And he is also a board
member of Carlyle. Remember that? Chief of Carlyle is Mr. Carlucci,
who is also with the Middle East Policy Council. You see how this
stuff intersects? Commerce Secretary is Donald Evans who owns Colorado
Oil Company. You have to take a very close look at this cabinet, which
I think was constructed in a very systematic way, to figure out what
their foreign policy priorities are.
MM: Let me also ask you about the actual if we could go into the actual
events on September 11th.
SG: Well, and again, and I don't want to imply that there's a conspiracy,
it might just be incompetence, but it strikes me as very odd. First
of all, every fifteen seconds they would show on the TV these planes
blowing-up into the World Trade Center, over and over. It was like
we were trying to be hypnotized by that-by that image. Almost as if
they didn't want us to think about well how did this come to pass,
Well, it came to pass in a situation that was unprecedented in the
history of the world. Four, simultaneous hijackings inside the United
States. That's never happened. Never ever, ever. And hijacked in a
span of twenty-five minutes. 7:45-8:10am. Eastern daylight. And all
these planes are on FAA radar. You fly around the United States, you
are on FAA radar. You've got four hijackings, and nobody notifies
The President is going to this visit to an elementary school down
in Florida. By 8:15, somebody should know something is wrong because
these planes have deviated from their flight plans, but nothing happens.
The President, he's skinin and grinin' with the teachers and doing
his photo op thing. 8:45: American Airlines flight 11 hits the World
Trade Center. Okay, 8:45. Now Bush, he's at Booker Elementary. You've
got four planes hijacked and one of them has just crashed into the
World Trade Center and still nobody is notifying the Commander in
Chief. No one has scrambled a single Air Force air-to-air attack missile
or airplane. There are no Air Force inceptors in the air.
9:03 United flight 175 hits the other building in the World Trade
Center. 9:05 Andrew Card finally bends over to the President and whispers
something in his ear, okay. Did the President stop and convene the
meeting? Hun-ah. He goes back to reading with second graders.
Now they've tracked American Airlines flight 77. It's over Ohio headed
west, conducts a point turn unscheduled and off the flight plan over
Ohio and turns around and starts making a beeLine for Washington D.C.
Has Andrew Card been told to scramble the Air Force? No! Twenty-five
minutes later, the President finally gives a public statement telling
people that there has been some hijacked planes flown into the World
Trade Center. By this time, we've all seen it live on TV.
And, in meantime, there's this plane that is still headed to D.C.
Air Force has still not been scrambled. 9:30 The President makes his
announcement. Flight 77 is still ten minutes from the Pentagon. Actually
over ten minutes. The Administration later on tells people that they
didn't know the Pentagon was the target and they thought it was the
White House, but in fact, this was on FAA radar and it's shown that
it had already flown south past the White House no-fly zone and was
headed to Alexandria.
9:35 This plane conducts another turn. This is very strange turn.
It's at altitude, it conducts a 360 degree turn and begins a maneuver.
A tight spiral descent. This pilot, who was supposedly trained at
this Florida puddle jumper school, where they teach you how to fly
a Cessna, has conducted this spiral turn, descends 7,000 feet in 2
and 1/2 minutes. Brings the plane up, stable, flat, flies it in so
low that it knocks the electric lines down across the street from
the Pentagon and with pinpoint accuracy slams into the building going
Later on, you know, people saying wait a minute, how in the hell did
someone learn how to fly a plane that well and this little ol' school
down in Florida? And the people turn around and start adding on to
the story. Well, he went to a flight simulator. That's like saying
you prepared your teenager for her first drive on I-40 at rush hour
by buying her a video driving game. This don't make any sense. Now,
what happened? I don't know, you know. But at a very bare minimum,
we've either got a criminal conspiracy or criminal negligence on the
part of this Administration. In either case, there are parts of this
thing that could have been prevented but nobody did a thing. That's
what it looks like from where I'm sitting.
MM: That was one of the things that really stuck out because I think
a lot of us still have questions about that, and none of the media,
no one is asking these questions.
SG: But, you have to remember that they are also invested in defense
companies and oil companies. Westinghouse and GE are some of the biggest
defense contractors around. All of them got oil stocks.
It's not like a big conspiracy. You know what I saw in El Salvador.
A lot of the reporters down there would hangout at the Camino Real
Hotel, which is right down the street from the Embassy. And they would
not dare say anything that would piss off anyone at the Embassy, because
then the Embassy would cut them off from their scoops. So they really
have to nurture relationships with these power holders and if they
do anything without clearing it with them, then they are subject to
being squeezed out, and that eventually throws their career off track.
So it doesn't work like from the top down, it's very systemic.
MM: Well I guess I could understand the corporate media not doing
that, but even amongst, let's say the alternative media there's been
very little questioning of the incidents themselves.
SG: I think that's part of, what I consider, an intellectual malaise
on the Left in the United States. They've deserted their roots; they
have forgotten how to do analysis. They get involved in this moral
score keeping. It's almost reminiscent of Vietnam, you know, who has
a bigger body count. So people on the Left say well the Americans
have the bigger body count so they're worse. It doesn't tell us a
thing about motives. It doesn't tell us a thing about the trajectory
of the system. It doesn't tell us a thing about the historical development
of the situation. It doesn't tell us any of that stuff.
The Left has really done itself a disservice in getting involved in
this tit-for-tat competition for the moral high ground with the Right,
when they need to be subjecting the situation to some intense analysis
and getting people the information they need to begin to ask the right
questions. So I hold progressives accountable on that too. I think
we've failed in a lot of ways.
It's important to say that politics is hypocritical, but most of us
already know that. That's just the nature of politics. It's not designed
to be morally consistent. What they tell you is a story to legitimatize
an action that has a motive that they can't expose to the public,
otherwise, they'll lose their support.
I think our job is to expose those motives to the public, and not
just ...you know, well, the United States did bad things too. First
of all, in a deeply racialized society, like ours, it doesn't fly.
Most people in this country don't care that we're bombing Afghani
children. They don't care. Because there's already a predominant racist
ideology in this country that says if you're not white Anglo-Saxon,
Protestant, in some cases, that you're less than human, that your
life has less value. Or if you get into this jingo patriotism it's
like I don't care if we kill a million of them as long as we save
one American life. So, we're not going to gain anyone's ear by comparing
moralities, I don't think. Some people you will, some people will
be called to account on that. But I think we have to appeal to the
self-interest too and what's going on right now is going to be very
bad for most Americans in a very short period of time.
MM: All right. What do you see that we need to start focusing on as
a country if we are going to get our country back, basically?
SG: Oh gosh, I'm not qualified to speak for ... I know what I'm doing.
I'm getting involved in the organizing. Where I am, there's two different
pieces going on. I think the broader forces need to be brought together
in an anti-war movement to create something for people to plug into
as they begin to be disillusioned, as they inevitably will be, with
this foreign policy. That they've got a movement to plug into. The
same as an anti-war movement back during the Vietnam era that finally
stopped all that nonsense.
And then for people who are more consciously Left or consciously progressive,
it's really important for us to begin articulating, not just articulating
but begin to do the organizing to develop some sort of nucleus for
an anti-fascist movement inside this country. I think it's been coming
for a long time, it's not just something that happened September 11th.
It began with the popular acceptance of books like the Bell Curve.
But it has much more urgency now. So I'm involved in anti-war organizing
with my colleagues around here and friends. We're also beginning to
talk about what we can do to ensure that we are not subjected to the
same thing that Germany was subjected to because it only took them
a couple of years to tumble into barbarism. It won't take us nearly
as long, because we're much closer to start with.
MM: When anyone questions the current direction that our Administration,
our government is taking right now, they are called unpatriotic. Would
you address that?
SG: You know, they're wrong. But that's the way this works. It's a
creation of an atmosphere of intimidation. I have seen and talked
to a number of people who have begun displaying flags as a form of
self-protection, especially Muslim folks. And folks from the Middle
East around here started hanging flags all over everything they own
just as a way to protect themselves. I've seen a lot of people among
my African-American colleagues and friends whose neighborhoods now
are sprouting American flags like mushrooms after a four-day rain.
These aren't folks who are really caught up in this whole patriotic
thing. In fact, theyhave some serious reservations about hanging that
flag out there when the flag was the one that also flew over slavery
and Jim Crow and so forth, but that atmosphere of intimidation is
I think there is only one way to overcome that and that's for the
people who do understand what's going on to be kind of bold and step
out. You've got to be up front. People have to be aggressive about
defending their positions. You have to demonstrate to other people
that you don't have to be afraid. Because if we do back away now,
that's going to allow this tendency to strengthen and that's what
we can't do. I think we have to fight fascism before it emerges, not
And we need to continue to construct a counter-narrative to all this
stuff that is official propaganda. To give people information and
give it to them, not necessarily in a real confrontational way. I
don't think I've ever changed anyone's mind by preaching to them,
but if you present them with some alternative information and they
have some time to sit down and process that then a lot of times they'll
come around. A lot of work to do. A lot of work to do.
MM: What are some good sources that you'd recommend for alternative
SG: Well for people who have computer access, there's a number of
good websites: Alternet.org, Indymedia.com, Globalcircle.com, Emperors-Clothes.
Dieoff.org is a very good one to read about petroleum. But also alternative
newspapers...depends on where you are. There's some close by somewhere.
And, there are some books out there too. Some of the stuff like William
Blum and folks like that written in the last few years. You know it
doesn't hurt to get a hold of South End, Common Courage Press, and
see what's on their lists. There are some analytical and well-documented
books out there that talk about the historical development of the
situation that we find ourselves in right now.
And you know listening to shows like this on the radio don't hurt.
(chuckles) A lot of people listen to the radio and that's what I do
when I'm stuck in traffic, I listen to the radio. You know you all
have a powerful medium and I appreciate someone using it for the right