Daniel Ellsberg interview
March 23, 2006 7:57 PM   Subscribe

I don't believe they'll give up on the bases and the oil. Nor will its successors, Republican or Democrat. So I think that's what we will be doing, staying forever. Unless the rest of us, outside the government, force change on the leadership of the Democrats as well as the Republicans, which will be difficult and take a long time.
From DailyKos comes an excellent series of interviews with Daniel Ellsberg; leaker of The Pentagon Papers. Part 1: The Pentagon Papers and the Overlooked 1968 Leaks, Part 2: Judith Miller, the New York Times and Government-Controlled Press, Part 3: The Cult of Secrecy in Government and Its Undermining of Democracy, Part 4: Whistleblowing and Effective Activism, Part 5: Iraq/Vietnam Parallels and Other Foreign Policy Fiascos and Part 6: Bush, the Next 9/11 and the Approaching Police State.
posted by afu (48 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Jewish families are close, but there's this strange malignancy that seems to creep among them -- radicalism. I can imagine how the fact that Ellsberg is in this must really tear a fella like Henry to pieces -- or Garment. Just like the Rosenbergs and all that. It just has to kill them. I feel horrible about it.

Every one's a Jew. Ellsberg's a Jew. Halperin's a Jew.

But there are -- Hiss was not a Jew. Very interesting thing. So few of those who engage in espionage -- are Negroes. ... In fact, very few of them become Communists. If they do, they like, they get into Angela Davis -- they're more the capitalist type. And they throw bombs and this and that. But the Negroes. -- have you ever noticed? ... Any Negro spies?

The Jews -- the Jews are, are born spies. You notice how many of them are just in up to their necks?
posted by orthogonality at 8:01 PM on March 23, 2006


Poor Henry. And war crimes?
posted by grobstein at 8:14 PM on March 23, 2006


Biting my tongue on some pretty angry snark, I just have to ask orthagonality if he could elaborate on his assertions regarding race and religion and explain how they relate to the FPP.
posted by John Smallberries at 8:31 PM on March 23, 2006


orthogonality... uh... what?!
posted by brundlefly at 8:35 PM on March 23, 2006


I believe that orthogonality was quoting Nixon.
posted by empath at 8:39 PM on March 23, 2006


Orthogonality is channeling Dick Nixon.
posted by birdherder at 8:40 PM on March 23, 2006


Gelb's a Jew.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:41 PM on March 23, 2006


Holy crap, orthagonality, that was clever and all, but I really would rather the rest of this thread not be some crazy callout about Jews or Nixon or Godwin or whatever.

I thought Ellsberg's comments in the final part were spot-on. Now on to read the rest....
posted by bigbigdog at 8:47 PM on March 23, 2006


I wanna say i can't believe Judy Miller and WHIG but i totally can.

Now who else is on their payroll? I'm thinking most of the Wash Post, and definitely Nagourney and Bumiller at the Times.
posted by amberglow at 8:53 PM on March 23, 2006


Well, now I am certainly glad I did bite my cheek on saying something rude, because I would feel even dumber than I do now. My apologies, orthagonality... but honestly, could you possibly be a bit less opaque next time?
posted by John Smallberries at 8:56 PM on March 23, 2006


John Smallberries writes "honestly, could you possibly be a bit less opaque next time?"

Sorry. Nixon's quote was about Ellsberg, I figured everybody would get it in the context of a thread about Ellsberg. (And "Henry" [Kissinger] and [Len] Garment are give-aways.)
posted by orthogonality at 9:06 PM on March 23, 2006


Perhaps what was trying to be said is that because the world is a smaller and smaller place each day, each of us, through relationships with others in a physical sense is increasingly a jew, just as we are a negro or asian or arab or fill in related race here. Just a thought.
In other words racism is dead because whether one wishes to face it or not, we are all intermixed and in a sense all the same, therefore it's time we put all that b.s. behind us and have one big group hug.
posted by mk1gti at 9:09 PM on March 23, 2006


The permanemnt bases being built in Iraq are one of the most under-appreciated facets of the Iraq war.

So few in the government will make any official policy statement on the matter, but they are obviously being built, and they are obviously going to be a major part of our foreign policy. And yet, they really are not a part of the debate.

Bush has no intention of leaving Iraq any time soon, it seems, even though he's fucked it up something fierce. A chilling thought. How many more are going to die in vain before we leave?
posted by teece at 9:14 PM on March 23, 2006


he's so right about this: ...If and when there's another 9/11 while Bush is in office, I think he'll get what he wants. And what he wants is - I have a sort of litany of what I think you'd get. Maybe I should just say the list right now.

First, I think you get a new Patriot Act, probably drafted already, that makes the old one look like the Bill of Rights. And the Bill of Rights is gone. Obviously, it hasn't had any reality in the minds of the White House, the administration, as a desideratum, as something to hang onto, since they got in, or since 9/11 anyway.

Second, total surveillance, which apparently we may have right now. When I was saying this a month ago, it wasn't on the assumption that they'd gone as far as it turns out they have. ...

posted by amberglow at 9:14 PM on March 23, 2006


we're not leaving Iraq or the region til the oil's entirely gone.
posted by amberglow at 9:14 PM on March 23, 2006


amberglow, I know it looks bad, but it doesn't have to be that way.
posted by bigbigdog at 9:21 PM on March 23, 2006


I believe that orthogonality was quoting Nixon.

LOL, I belive that too. And I don't even need to look it up, knowing what I do of Nixon and orthogonality's personality, it was obvious.
posted by Paris Hilton at 9:43 PM on March 23, 2006


We don't really get that much of our oil from Iraq itself.

Though I am wondering if Mexico is about to become our "new best friend." Or maybe we'll just invade it!
posted by bim at 9:51 PM on March 23, 2006


U.S. bases in Iraq built with an air of permanence
posted by homunculus at 10:15 PM on March 23, 2006


I'm not a believer in the "we're there forever" doomsayers. IMO, the bases are not for U.S. troops in the long term, but Iraqi troops run by a friendly Iraqi government some time in the far off future. Think of the bases as a down payment in the "sorry we broke your country but please get your shit together and let us get the fuck out" sweepstakes. Ideally, these bases could be used by U.S. troops whenever the nation wants.

That being said, there's a lot of ifs in my theory, so I'm not going to defend it vigorously. ;-)
posted by frogan at 10:36 PM on March 23, 2006


I wouldn't, frogan. It seems pretty wishful and farfetched to me, though it would be nice to think it wasn't.

Can anyone point to huge modern bases built by the US that we've just left and handed over to the country they're in? There may in fact be some, but I doubt any of them are close to the oil. I suppose when we re-deploy our troops from Europe to other areas, some bases might pass into the hands of the locals, like Rammstein, but those are NATO bases, not just US bases.

My money's on us staying until the oil's gone, or until the local people, or the Chinese and/or Russians push us out. Or at least try to.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:12 PM on March 23, 2006


frogan writes "IMO, the bases are not for U.S. troops in the long term, but Iraqi troops run by a friendly Iraqi government some time in the far off future."


So we expect civil war in Iraq through "the far off future"? I mean, giant bases to protect the borders are one thing. But check out this map of only twelve of the fourteen bases:

Click for bigger view and description of the bases


Four of the bases are clustered around Baghdad in the center of the country. One is in Saddam's home village, Tikrit. Three are pretty much situated on top of the oil fields and refineries between Sunni and Kurdish regions, one in the Shiite oil regions to the south.

Now compare the base locations to Iraq's ethnic regions:


Now compare the base map to where Iraq's oil fields are:


So these giants forts seem to have two purposes: controlling Iraq's major population centers, and its oil fields and refineries. That in turn supposes either: a continued occupation by occupiers who believe they'll have to control the cities and safeguard/controlling the oil, or the a continued civil war over Iraq's population centers and major resources.

The military isn't building these bases just for fun; that they're being built by intelligent, experienced military planner expect to have to use them.
posted by orthogonality at 11:20 PM on March 23, 2006


Can anyone point to huge modern bases built by the US that we've just left and handed over to the country they're in?

It's happened. Subic Bay, Philippines is an example of a government kicking the U.S. out., although the area was turned into a commercial zone, not kept on as a military base, after the U.S. turned over the base land to the Philippine government.

Most overseas bases are leased from the home countries. In theory (there's that word again!), these countries could just up and refuse to renew the lease (which is what happened in the Philippines).

Guantanamo Bay is permanently leased from Cuba (!). Cuba claims the lease is not valid, since the U.S. essentially forced the local government to sign the deal after the Spanish-American War. Castro has complained, of course, but the U.S. isn't going anywhere. Yes, we keep sending them checks. No, they don't cash them.
posted by frogan at 11:23 PM on March 23, 2006


If and when there's another 9/11 while Bush is in office, I think he'll get what he wants.

But of course there won't be another 9/11 while Mr. Chertoff is on the case.
posted by homunculus at 11:26 PM on March 23, 2006


The military isn't building these bases just for fun; that they're being built by intelligent, experienced military planner expect to have to use them.

Yes, absolutely.

I mean, giant bases to protect the borders are one thing

But you don't build your giant bases on the border, even if you are truly expecting to repel invaders. You build them on the interior, near the really significant places you want to defend, and within ready access of the borders for quick strikes and counter-strikes.

The military isn't building them for fun, I agree. They're building them in the right places for both themselves now, for long-term Iraqi use and just in case we ever feel the need to come back far, far down the road.

That's my (admittedly optimistic) story and I'm sticking to it. ;-)
posted by frogan at 11:30 PM on March 23, 2006


I find your optimism confusing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:46 PM on March 23, 2006


Read Ellsberg's book on the Pentagon Papers. You'll begin to realize what remains of American ideals hinges on a few good men and women standing up and saying "Enough."
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:54 PM on March 23, 2006


On Our Military Empire: an interview with Chalmers Johnson.
posted by homunculus at 12:04 AM on March 24, 2006


The current war is this: Totalitarian ignorant barbarians with an industrial-military complex VS. totalitarian ignorant barbarians without an industrial-military complex.

Culture war, my ass.
posted by sourwookie at 12:18 AM on March 24, 2006


sourwookie writes "Culture war, my ass."


Oh, you're wrong! Both sides are working to eradicate culture.
posted by orthogonality at 12:23 AM on March 24, 2006


I should add this: assholes, the lot of them.

Follow the bible? Asshole. Adhere to the Koran? Asshole. Believe in an afterlife? Asshole. Sacrifice your life for a carnal reward? Asshole. Restrict reproductive rights? Asshole. Hide feminimity? Asshole. Invade the Middle East? Asshole. Bomb the West? Asshole. Deny science funding? Asshole. Deny science legitimacy? Asshole. Christian? Asshole. Muslim? Asshole.

Do us all a favor: Just dis-a-fucking-pear. Right the fuck now. I mean it. The whole superstitious-ignorant-frightened-violent lot of you can just GO THE FUCK AWAY. Seriously. Self genocide now.

K THNX BYE
posted by sourwookie at 12:29 AM on March 24, 2006


One thing that impressed me about Ellsberg was that he wasn't some egg-head who had a painty-waisted morality attack and decided to spill his guts to the press.

He had gone from an Ivy League education into the Marines, serving as an infantry officer, and later served as an civilian-CIA advisor in SVN in the early 1960s. After that, he was brought into the Vietnam study group to assemble the in-house summary of the war up to 1968, and as such had access and knowledge of the very highest levels of policy decision making.

One thing that the blame-Americans-first brigade (you know, the idiots who think Jane Fonda cost us the war) fail to realize is just how much a crock of shit the war was; eg. how riddled with spies and sympathizers ARVN and Saigon was, and how corrupt both the SVN civilian society and our military presence had become after 10 years of intervention.

Ellsberg had seen the worm's eye picture in the early 1960s, and the big picture of the late 1960s, one of the few to have, and as such was uniquely qualified to make the call to divulge our government's dearly held secrets about the war, even though in doing so he totally eviscerated any war spirit the country still had.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:46 AM on March 24, 2006


Heywood Mogroot writes "He had gone from an Ivy League education"

"I have given orders, you ought to know, that not one Ivy League graduate is going to step foot in the White House while I am President. Ask Bob Haldeman, on the way out, whether it's not true, that I have given him exactly that instruction!"

"I do not simply blame Helms and the C.I.A. After all, they do not support my policies because they are basically for the most part Ivy League...."

Yeah, Nixon loved nothing more than an Ivy League Jew:
In 1971, unhappy about unemployment numbers compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nixon sent an assistant named Frederick Malek to count the Jews in the bureau. Malek reported back: "Thirteen of the 35 fit the demographic criterion which was discussed." At the same time, another aide, Patrick Buchanan, was compiling lists of the educational background of ambassadors in a scheme to eliminate as many as possible who had Ivy League backgrounds.
posted by orthogonality at 1:02 AM on March 24, 2006


Can anyone point to huge modern bases built by the US that we've just left and handed over to the country they're in?
Bien Hoa, Long Binh, Da Nang, etc. etc. Also, missile bases in Turkey, which we gave up to end the Cuban missile crisis.

Not that I think Bush plans to let go of the ones he's building in Iraq, but if it's military, our government has a long history of throwing money away.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:04 AM on March 24, 2006


Absolutely, because a world filled with sourwookies is clearly the real recipe for true worldwide peace and security.
posted by spock at 5:23 AM on March 24, 2006


Subic Bay, Philippines is an example of a government kicking the U.S. out.

Although we might have tried to stay-- except Mt. Pinatubo exploded and pretty much wreck both Subic Bay and Clark AB, which made for a sudden "Oh, okay, we'll go, if we have to, kthaxbye!"

Clark, in particular, was huge -- the largest base of any type overseas.

After the volcano, the Phillipino government spent four years digging it out from the ash, built a second runway, and made it into an international airport.
posted by eriko at 5:28 AM on March 24, 2006


I think they're there to stay. And I don't think the Dems would have or will change it. But then I'm a bastard that way.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:06 AM on March 24, 2006


I'm not a believer in the "we're there forever" doomsayers. IMO, the bases are not for U.S. troops in the long term, but Iraqi troops run by a friendly Iraqi government some time in the far off future.

Dude, we still have bases in Germany and Japan
posted by delmoi at 7:06 AM on March 24, 2006


Ellsberg's comments on what happens if there's another 9/11 are terrifiying - and, I suspect, spot on.

The X factor is the degree to which the American public agrees to go along with it; but we will.

Christ, and me with one kid and another on the way...
posted by kgasmart at 7:12 AM on March 24, 2006


And yeah we got guantanimo after the Spanish American war.
posted by delmoi at 7:15 AM on March 24, 2006


orthogonality writes "So these giants forts seem to have two purposes: controlling Iraq's major population centers, and its oil fields and refineries."

And the later reason begets the former. I've often wondered if the Administration ever really cared how the war in Iraq turned out, so long as we got the chance to establish these bases. Just a quick glance at the map makes the strategic importance blatantly obvious - US in Iraq bases provide checks on Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia in addition to expanding the defense of Israel. And it's another strategic advantage over the EU and China.
posted by mullacc at 8:01 AM on March 24, 2006


The reasons for keeping bases there have nothing to do with oil. I explained the reasons in October of 2003.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:08 AM on March 24, 2006


Ellsberg's comments on what happens if there's another 9/11 are terrifiying - and, I suspect, spot on.

Wasn't part of the shock of a terror attack in 2001 the newness of it? Hasn't the public become a bit jaded to its political 'after-effects', suspicious of its primary causes, and less vulnerable to being 'terrorized'. With approval ratings positive among only a third of those polled, and the president's stated mission being to 'protect the American people', wouldn't another attack be seen as a failure for him and serve to drive his gang from power?
posted by airguitar at 9:33 AM on March 24, 2006


The consequence of another 9/11-scale attack is going to be a function of the state(s) who support or can be linked to the terrorists doing the attack.

If it's Iran, Syria or Sudan, then Bush will get a free hand to expand the footprint of his current efforts, at home and abroad.

If it is anywhere else in the Muslim world, Bush is going to be in trouble. Just look at the Dubai ports deal, or the way we've warmed things up with Lybia. Bush is the best friend that (most of the) Muslim world has ever had in the White House.

The first thing we'd see after a Saudi-linked attack, or, God forbid, a Pakistani-linked attack, is Hillary Clinton and John McCain strongly-outhawking Bush, demanding prompt reprisals and tough internal measures in the U.S. while Bush talks about civil liberties protection and diplomacy and law enforcement efforts.
posted by MattD at 9:45 AM on March 24, 2006


Steven C., I would take the assertions in your post a lot more seriously if we were actually helping the Iraqis rebuild and stand on their own feet with some new version of the Marshall Plan. However, we are not.

It would be nice to think we're restoring the place and energizing the population in a new direction as we did Japan and Germany, but it's simply not happening, mostly because the situation on the ground is approximately 100% different from either of those countries. For instance, both were completely destroyed and demoralized at the end of WWII, with mostly unarmed populations which were also enthnically and religiously homogenous.

In any event, what you espouse is not any kind of exit strategy, it's a "stay there until we've forced them to behave and be our friends" strategy. Not necessarily a bad iidea, but it's being executed rather poorly in my opinion. At this point it seems we will be there for the foreseeable future, and thus these bases can certainly be called "permanent."

And as far as the permanence of the bases, it would be good to investigate how they're being handled in terms of logistics, aka supplies. Some things can be flown in, but a lot of military hardware and expendable supplies, like ammunition, are very, very heavy and would be cheaper in the long run to manufacture in-country under contract. A look at KBR/Halliburton's in-country contract developments might be enlightening, if we could get one...
posted by zoogleplex at 4:13 PM on March 24, 2006


But of course there won't be another 9/11 while Mr. Chertoff is on the case.

I wonder if Chertoff ever thinks, "I gave up a lifetime position on the 3rd Circuit for all of this."
posted by mlis at 5:14 PM on March 24, 2006


orthogonality, those are interesting conclusions. I thought of a couple of different maps when I was looking at them, though.

This one:


and this one (which I just made from the other one):


Weak points in this thought process: fewer bases near Syria than you'd think, and Shindand is all but abandoned.

It's happened. Subic Bay, Philippines is an example of a government kicking the U.S. out

Subic was a sore loss for the Navy, but it wasn't really a brand new base. In particular, it was heavily damaged during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, and the US considered forgoing the maintenance and repair a bit of the peace dividend (and a means of improving our relations with the country). But Subic Bay was just one example -- we'd reduced our overseas bases by an enormous amount beginning in the 1960s and with another wave in the 1980s and 1990s. Numerous bases in Britain and Germany, especially, have been turned over to local control. If there's any base we really regret losing, it's Cam Ranh Bay, actually (which became a major Soviet base for a while, but was commercialized after they left).

the U.S. essentially forced the local government to sign the deal after the Spanish-American War

That's the line on Guantanamo these days, but most of the new Cuban government were pro-American -- some even advocated statehood. Beginning in the 1850s, most Cuban independence advocates had organized from US soil. To them, a US presence, however paternalistic, was protection from European colonialism.
posted by dhartung at 6:53 PM on March 24, 2006


I would have to presume that the gray line on your map might represent the outer range of the Iranian Air Force's aerial bombardment capability, dhartung, though I'm not sure of the scale.

Meanwhile there's another thread above this one about GWB's latest "legal claims" that bears on this one, and Ellsberg's ideas, I think.
posted by zoogleplex at 7:43 PM on March 24, 2006


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