Pilger interview: Truth and lies in the 'war on terror'


Journalist John Pilger will be speaking at a public meeting in Sydney on February 15, the anniversary of the biggest ever global protests against war. Pip Hinman spoke to Pilger about the truth and lies in the "war on terror".

What do you make of developments in Iraq?

The US occupation is in deep trouble. The ship is sinking and more and more are deserting — ex-treasury secretary Paul O'Neill, and now the US Military War College are distancing themselves. The British are also in trouble; the Shiites are clearly girding themselves to take charge, either with their majority vote, or in a full-scale uprising.

This is not to say the Americans will not react massively. Remember, they destroyed the infrastructure of the National Liberation Front in Vietnam in just a couple of years. They want to repeat this in Iraq, with help from the 10,000 secret police they are training under the leadership of Saddam Hussein's most senior security officials.

Do you think the anti-war movement should be supporting Iraq's anti-occupation resistance?

Yes, I do. We cannot afford to be choosy. While we abhor and condemn the continuing loss of innocent life in Iraq, we have no choice now but to support the resistance, for if the resistance fails, the "Bush gang" will attack another country. If they succeed, a grievous blow will be suffered by the Bush gang.

In Afghanistan, the allied invasion force is now helping entrench Northern Alliance warlords and gunmen, hoping for a compliant regime. Isn't this a risky strategy?

Yes, it is. But remember the US doesn't want to occupy Afghanistan as it does Iraq. It's following the British (and the Soviet) imperial design of "commanding" the country from strategic bases. With 16 bases established in surrounding countries since the invasion in October 2001, the US has realised important aims.

Controlling the warlords (as the British found) is another matter. At present, the US maintains its mafiosi role by shelling out millions of dollars to the likes of Rashid Dostum, whom US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld has visited twice to "congratulate" on his part in the "war on terror". This is the same Dostum who killed about 4000 prisoners of war.

Shouldn't this supposedly endless "war on terror" make us feel rather gloomy about prospects for peace?

I don't know about "gloomy". I don't think we have time to be gloomy: too much to do! The US warmongers fear public opinion, because they must pay lip service to a semblance of democracy. We must give them good cause to go on fearing it.

[For public meeting details and bookings, or visit the new Stop the War Coalition web site on <http://www.stopwarcoalition.org>.]

From Green Left Weekly, January 28, 2004.
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