William Blum interviewed by Jason Miller
(including satirical commentary by Miller)
“We have morality on our side….”
Ironic words flowing from the pen of a man who has devoted forty years of his life to hard-core dissent against the United States, the most moral nation in the history of civilization.
We are a nation founded upon bedrock principles of Christianity.
Would Christ not have approved of chattel slavery, the Native American genocide, and the millions of “savages” we have slaughtered to expand our borders and to maintain “Pax Americana?” Those who have died to sustain our peace and prosperity were but martyrs for a cause greater than themselves. In a sense, each one of them was a little Jesus.
Jesus certainly would have approved of American Capitalism. He was a fisher of men. Our bourgeois are fishers of men’s wealth. Those who reach the apex of our system’s hierarchy enable Christianity to flourish. By clawing their way to the top (driven by the greed and selfishness which our cynical culture rewards), they provide a criminal ruling class for us to bestow our compassion upon. More importantly, by condemning a large percentage of the population to economic struggle or poverty, they present us with an endless supply of hungry, broken people to whom we can minister and tend.
The book of Genesis clearly states that God gave us “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” So relax. Rapacious consumption resulting in severe environmental damage, the infliction of intense suffering upon animals, and species extinction is a divine right. Who are we to argue with God’s edict that humans rule?
Jehovah set the gold standard when he deployed fire and brimstone, but we have managed to approximate his divine wrath. Just ask the people of Nagasaki, Hiroshima, North Vietnam, or a host of other malefactors we punished with a well-deserved rain of fire.
Clearly we Americans are fulfilling our divine mission to maintain the moral order of the world each day. We continue to drive a stake through the heart of Godless Communism. We torture terrorists. We execute murderers. We topple dictators, spread liberty, and punish Islamofascist nations harshly.
Yet despite all we do for the world, there are still those who hate us. Worse still, there are Americans, like William Blum, who have the audacity to bad-mouth this great nation. It is a tribute to our patience and humanity that we put up with such ingratitude and calumny. Thankfully, he represents a tiny segment of our overwhelmingly patriotic populace.
While people like him slander our magnificent country with idiotic little T-shirt slogans like, “Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity”, our men and women in uniform are fighting to keep the world safe for democracy.
How do such so-called progressives think? Let’s find out by eavesdropping on that incessant moralist, Jason Miller, as he questions Blum, a widely published author and scathing critic of the land of the free:
JM: You are quite a remarkable individual. False modesty aside, if you were introducing yourself to an individual who didn’t know you and giving them a summary of who William Blum is, how would that introduction go?
WB: It would of course depend largely on who the person was and what the circumstances were, but I might say that I spent the first half of my life in the “bourgeois” world, including IBM and the Department of State, and then was radicalized by Vietnam and became a drug-using, semi-hippie, underground-press writer, world traveler, book author, campus speaker, commie terrorist threat to all that is decent and holy.
JM: In early 2006, Osama bin Laden told US Americans that they needed to read your book, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower. What were the immediate effects and consequences for you?
WB: Instant celebrity, on many of the major news programs, including CNN, CSPAN, MSNBC, etc., with a chance to say things to the great unwashed that I would never otherwise have had; 1000 emails, half hostile, a couple threatening.
JM: Obviously, the dust has had plenty of time to settle. How has bin Laden’s “endorsement” affected your book sales and impact as a political educator and social activist?
WB: About 15,000 extra copies of Rogue State sold. I use the experience in my talks on campus, explaining why I was not embarrassed by the endorsement, as I had mentioned on air, and which had bothered my interviewers, like Wolf Blitzer, who wanted me to disown the entire endorsement.
JM: In Rogue State, you write, “No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine.” To what extent can you attribute this conclusion to first-hand knowledge derived from your years with the State Department, or otherwise?
WB: I was a computer systems analyst and programmer at the State Dept; not much privy to important secrets except for the lists they kept of baddies, foreign and domestic. Reading the news carefully, with a knowledge of the past, is enough to make one suspicious.
JM: I note that you spent some time in Chile observing Allende’s attempt to implement socialism. Had Allende survived, how successful do you think he would have been in fending off the relentless tide of neoliberalism?
WB: I think he would have done pretty well at that. He was a sincere man of the left, not a Democratic Party type liberal.
JM: How much affinity did Allende have for Castro?
WB: As far as I remember, a lot.
JM: Please briefly compare and contrast Allende and Hugo Chavez.
WB: Allende didn’t deliberately antagonize the US as Chavez does. I wish Chavez would cool it a bit. He’s antagonizing homicidal maniacs, literally. Yet, Allende’s moderation in language and policy didn’t save him from Washington’s wrath. Once you’re an ODE (Officially Designated Enemy) of Washington, your days are numbered, or at least your life and program will be made next to impossible.
JM: What chance do you believe the Bolivarian Revolution has of succeeding in becoming a viable alternative and genuine threat to the hegemony of the militaristic, rapacious imperialism which is inextricably linked to “American Capitalism?”
WB: Based on past experience, not much chance. But what’s new is the oil money. That changes the picture. But I can’t predict what’s going to happen.
JM: You left the State Department in 1967 because of your opposition to the Vietnam War. What do you think the opposition to the Iraqi Occupation, which obviously comprises many people, needs to do to increase its effectiveness?
WB: All I can ever suggest is education. Educate yourself and as many others as you can. I write my books and give public talks with that in mind, giving activists talking points to help them to convince others, giving newcomers new food for thought, planting seeds. Our numbers are indeed growing and I can only hope that at some point it will reach a critical mass and “explode”. I can’t offer more than that.
JM: During the Vietnam War, you founded and edited the Washington Free Press. Since there was no Internet, how did you distribute your underground publication?
WB: Mainly in street sales and at events, plus dozens of book stores and other venues; at our peak we sold maybe 20-25 thousand each issue.
JM: What contact, if any, did you have with radical groups like the Black Panthers and the Weathermen, whose members were investigated, pursued, incarcerated, or in some cases, murdered, by our government?
WB: I knew individual members, some wrote for the Free Press, but I personally was never a member of any group. In later years, I was a member of Trotskyist groups in the US and the UK.
JM: While there are distinct parallels between Vietnam and Afghanistan/Iraq, there are also a number of differences. Would you kindly lend us your insight by briefly comparing and contrasting the two?
WB: The US had no intention of occupying Vietnam. But in Iraq and Afghanistan they have done so because of oil and oil pipelines.
JM: What did your work with Philip Agee, former CIA agent and author of Inside the Company: CIA Diary, entail?
WB: I didn’t work with him so much as with other people in London who had a relationship with him. We were engaged in exposing covert CIA officers in the US embassy.
JM: You publicly supported Ralph Nader’s bids for the presidency. I have been repeatedly lambasted for voting for Nader. How would you respond to critics who claim that voting outside the deeply corrupt duopoly is a “wasted vote”?
WB: It would be hard to imagine a more wasted vote than voting for someone you don’t like or support. I should add that I think that most people who voted for Nader would not have voted at all if he was not a candidate. So for all these people, Nader votes did not rob the Democrats of a vote.
JM: When can we expect another book from you?
WB: I don’t know. I’m sort of burnt out. I’m not an author who feels obliged to keep turning out book after book. I have to see a gap to fill.
JM: You words here: “I’m committed to fighting U.S. foreign policy, the greatest threat to peace and happiness in the world, and being in the United States is the best place for carrying out the battle. This is the belly of the beast, and I try to be an ulcer inside of it.” As a veteran of this struggle, you are a true inspiration to the rest of us aspiring ulcers. What words of advice and encouragement do you have for us?
WB: See my reply above about education. And when you’re in ideological conflict with one of the bad guys, and he’s mouthing the usual patriotic/conservative clichés, don’t be shy of challenging any of those clichés. He’s so unused to having them challenged that he’s often thrown for a loss. Like always, question the motivation of the US in their interventions from a MORAL point of view. We have morality on our side — look at Iraq, et al. The conservatives have a very difficult time dealing with this.
As we can plainly see, these two men—Blum and Miller– are representative of that nefarious counter-culture which began to rear its ugly head in the sixties, aborted our valiant efforts to save Vietnam, and persists to this very day. Their utopian, and let’s be candid here, utterly inane attempts to universally apply moral principles such as compassion, justice, and human dignity are roadblocks to American progress and success.
As we know, civilization would devolve into chaos if the United States collapsed. Ergo, regardless of the cost in human lives or damage to the environment, the truly moral thing to do is to pursue America’s interests.
Now who has morality on their side?
[Author’s Note: I extend my sincere thanks to William Blum for granting me a cyber-interview. It was truly an honor to engage in the Q&A and a joy to write the accompanying satirical analysis.]
William Blum is the author of: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire, and West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir. Visit his website: http://www.killinghope.org/. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. His essays have been widely published, he is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor ( http://www.bestcyrano.org/), and he volunteers at homeless shelters. He welcomes constructive correspondence at email@example.com or via his blog, Thomas Paine’s Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/
Books by William Blum: