A virulent if familiar
censorship is about to descend on the U.S. election campaign.
As the cartoon
brute, Donald Trump, seems likely to win the Republican Party’s nomination,
Hillary Clinton is being ordained both as the “women’s candidate” and the
champion of American liberalism in its heroic struggle with the Evil One.
This is drivel, of course; Hillary Clinton leaves a trail of
blood and suffering around the world and a clear record of exploitation and
greed in her own country.
To say so, however, is becoming intolerable in the
land of free speech.
The 2008 presidential campaign
of Barack Obama should have alerted even the most dewy-eyed.
Obama based his
“hope” campaign almost entirely on the fact of an African-American aspiring to
lead the land of slavery.
He was also “antiwar.”
But Obama was never antiwar. On the contrary, like all American
presidents, he was pro-war.
He had voted for George W. Bush’s funding of the
slaughter in Iraq and he was planning to escalate the invasion of Afghanistan.
In the weeks before he took the presidential oath, he secretly approved an
Israeli assault on Gaza, the massacre known as Operation Cast Lead.
to close the concentration camp at Guantanamo and did not. He pledged to help
make the world “free from nuclear weapons” and did the opposite.
As a new kind of marketing manager for the status quo, the
unctuous Obama was an inspired choice.
Even at the end of his blood-spattered
presidency, with his signature drones spreading infinitely more terror and
death around the world than that ignited by jihadists in Paris and Brussels,
Obama is fawned on as “cool” (the Guardian
On March 22 and later, my article, “Start
of a New Cold War
,” was published across the Web (including at
As has been my practice for years, I syndicated it to an
international network, which included Truthout.com, the liberal American
Truthout publishes some important journalism, not least Dahr Jamail’s
outstanding corporate exposes.
But Truthout rejected the piece because, said an
editor, it had appeared on Counterpunch and had broken “guidelines.”
replied that this had never been a problem over many years and I knew of no
My recalcitrance was then given
The article was reprieved provided I submitted to a “review”
and agreed to changes and deletions made by Truthout’s “editorial committee.”
The result was the softening and censoring of my criticism of Hillary Clinton,
and the distancing of her from Trump. The following was cut:
“Trump is a media hate figure. That alone should arouse our
skepticism. Trump’s views on migration are grotesque, but no more grotesque
than David Cameron.
“It is not Trump who is the Great Deporter from the United
States, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama …
“The danger to the rest
of us is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. She is no maverick. She embodies the
resilience and violence of a system …
“As presidential Election Day draws near,
Clinton will be hailed as the first female president, regardless of her crimes
and lies — just as Barack Obama was lauded as the first black president and
liberals swallowed his nonsense about ‘hope.’”
The “editorial committee” clearly wanted me to water down my
argument that Clinton represented a proven extreme
danger to the world. Like all censorship, this was unacceptable.
Maya Schenwar, who runs Truthout, wrote to me that my
unwillingness to submit my work to a “process of revision” meant she had to
take it off her “publication docket.”
Such is the gatekeeper’s way with words.
At the root of this episode is an enduring unsayable.
the need, the compulsion, of many liberals in the United States to embrace a
leader from within a system that is demonstrably imperial and violent.
Obama’s “hope,” Clinton’s gender is no more than a suitable façade.
This is a historical urge. In his 1859 essay On Liberty, to which modern liberals seem to
pay unflagging homage, John Stuart Mill described the power of empire.
“Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians,” he
wrote, “provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by
actually effecting that end.”
The “barbarians” were large sections of humanity
of whom “implicit obedience” was required.
“It’s a nice and convenient myth that liberals are the
peacemakers and conservatives the warmongers,” wrote the British historian
Hywel Williams in 2001, “but the imperialism of the liberal way may be more
dangerous because of its open ended nature – its conviction that it represents
a superior form of life [while denying its] self righteous fanaticism.”
He had in mind a speech by Tony Blair in the aftermath of the
9/11 attacks, in which Blair promised to “reorder this world around us”
according to his “moral values.”
The carnage of a million dead in Iraq was the
Blair’s crimes are not unusual.
Since 1945, some 69 countries —
more than a third of the membership of the United Nations — have suffered some
or all of the following.
They have been invaded, their governments overthrown,
their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted and their people
The historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions.
With the demise of the European empires, this has been the
project of the liberal flame carrier, the “exceptional” United States, whose
celebrated “progressive” president, John F. Kennedy, according to new
, authorized the bombing of Moscow during the Cuban crisis
(As events unfolded, of course, the bombing didn’t happen.)
“If we have to use force,” said Madeleine Albright, U.S.
Secretary of State in the liberal administration of Bill Clinton and today a
passionate campaigner for his wife, “it is because we are America. We are the
indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.”
One of Hillary Clinton’s most searing crimes was the destruction
of Libya in 2011.
At her urging, and with American logistical support, NATO
launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, according to its own records, of
which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets.
They included missiles
with uranium warheads.
See the photographs of the rubble of Misurata and Sirte,
and the mass graves identified by the Red Cross. Read the UNICEF report on the
children killed, “most [of them] under the age of ten.”
In Anglo-American scholarship, followed slavishly by the liberal
media on both sides of the Atlantic, influential theorists known as “liberal
realists” have long taught that liberal imperialists – a term they never use –
are the world’s peace brokers and crisis managers, rather than the cause of a
They have taken the humanity out of the study of nations and congealed
it with a jargon that serves warmongering power.
Laying out whole nations for
autopsy, they have identified “failed states” (nations difficult to exploit)
and “rogue states” (nations resistant to Western dominance).
Whether or not the targeted regime is a democracy or
dictatorship is irrelevant.
In the Middle East, Western liberalism’s
collaborators have long been extremist Islamists, lately Al Qaeda, while
cynical notions of democracy and human rights serve as rhetorical cover for
conquest and mayhem — as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Haiti,
See the public record of those good liberals Bill and Hillary
Clinton. Theirs is a standard to which Trump can only aspire.