"The First Prime-Time Bombing in History"

An Interview with Noam Chomsky

by Joan Mandell , Zachary Lockman
published in MER140

Noam Chomsky has been active in the movement against US military intervention for many years. His most recent book on the Middle East is The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians (South End, 1986). His latest book, Turning the Tide (South End, 1986), is on US policy toward Central America. Joan Mandell and Zachary Lockman spoke with him in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in late April.

Why Libya and why right now?

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Mad Dogs and Presidents

by Joe Stork
published in MER140

When Ronald Reagan ordered US warplanes to attack Libya on April 15, terrorism was the occasion rather than the cause. Like the electronic confetti spewed out to muddle Libyan radar screens, the terrorism issue was snow to disarm and deflect critics of American military intervention. Such intervention is an essential part of the Reagan Administration’s regimen for restoring Washington’s command of global politics.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER142

The US Federal Reserve Bank recently reported that over one third of the wealth in the United States is currently held by only 1 percent of all families. And in recent years, it seems, concentration has actually been increasing. Wealth, and the power that goes with it, is in the hands of the very few, though largely invisible in everyday existence.

"American Reactions Are a Little Primitive"

published in MER144

In early November 1986, just as the Iran arms story was breaking, Washington Times editor Arnaud de Borchgrave interviewed French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac. On November 7, de Borchgrave published a front-page story based on the interview highlighting Chirac’s suspicion, which the prime minister also attributed to West German leaders, that the well-publicized Syrian bomb plot against an Israeli jetliner was concocted by the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. Israeli and American officials and media were then playing up the London trial of suspect Nizar Hindawi in order to distract attention from the Iran arms scandal and the capture of American mercenary Eugene Hasenfus in Nicaragua.

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Low-Intensity Warfare

Key Strategy for the Third World Theater

by Jochen Hippler
published in MER144

The US Navy calls it “violent peace.” One of its foremost academic boosters says it means “to fight without appearing to fight.” They are talking about low-intensity conflict. This is the term the US government uses to describe a strategy of fighting small, relatively cheap wars. Few US troops are involved, so there are few American casualties and there is no need for a draft. The US people may not even be aware of -- let alone oppose -- US involvement. The goal is to destabilize or overthrow “undesirable” Third World governments or to underpin the stability of “friendly” governments. As Col. John D.

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Futile Military Financing

by Chris Toensing | published April 3, 2013

One of the more regrettable things that Uncle Sam does with your tax dollars is sending $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel every year. He’ll be doing that until 2018 -- and probably after, unless Americans decide enough is enough.

When President Barack Obama traveled to Israel in March, he was keen to “reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations” and “to restate America’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.” Over the years, Washington has displayed this resolve in several ways. One of the most consequential has been the continuous stream of taxpayer dollars that has kept Israel armed to the teeth and reduced the prospects for Middle East peace.

Rubenberg, Israel and the American National Interest

by Edward Danforth
published in MER151

Cheryl A. Rubenberg, Israel and the American National Interest: A Critical Examination, (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986.)


Imagine a planet which two superstates dominate after global wars have crippled other contenders. Then assume their rivalry delimits a decisive zone where they compete -- a region so situated, so booty-laden and so volatile that each adversary defines that region as “vital” to its own security.

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Cover-up and Blowback

What Congress Left Out of the Iran-Contra Report

by Jonathan Marshall
published in MER151

The House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran and Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition. Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair. (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1987.)

Of the millions of Americans who watched some or all of the televised hearings on the Iran-Contra scandal during the summer of 1987, only a handful will slog through the 690 pages of fine print that make up the final report of the congressional investigating committees. That’s a shame, because the report succeeds in many areas where the hearings failed dismally.

Reagan's Iran

Factions Behind US Policy in the Gulf

by Eric Hooglund
published in MER151

Despite its reputation for having inflexible ideological positions on all foreign policy issues, the Reagan administration actually came to office in January 1981 without a coherent policy for dealing with Iran. At first the new administration was content to let Iran fade from the spotlight of national media attention that it had held during the last 14 months of the Carter administration. The hostage crisis had been resolved, fatefully on the very day Reagan was inaugurated. The administration contributed rhetorically to the Iran-bashing mood of the country, but since Iraq still seemed to have the upper hand in the war that it had begun a few months earlier in September 1980, there was a general perception that Iran was contained and could be ignored.

Rewiring a State

The Techno-Politics of Electricity in the CPA's Iraq

by Nida Alahmad
published in MER266

The Coalition Provisional Authority, the US-British body that briefly ruled in Baghdad from May 2003 to June 2004, had grand ambitions for Iraq. The idea was to transform the country completely from what was basically a command economy (notwithstanding liberalization measures in the 1990s) into an open market and from a dictatorship into a liberal democracy. The radical nature of these plans and orders, coupled with the CPA’s swift dissolution, has led many to dismiss the body as a hasty and ill-conceived imperial experiment. Indeed it was -- and a destructive one as well. But the CPA period still deserves serious examination. It was the only time when the US, in its capacity as occupier, was in charge of Iraq administratively and legally.