Thursday, November 10, 2005

Social Change Today, Noam Chomsky interviewed by Steven Durel: "There are many signs of movement towards a more repressive authoritarian State and it happens to be extreme in the Bush Administration. They call themselves conservatives, but that is an insult to conservativism. They are right wing, reactionary statists. They want a very powerful State to control personal life, the economic world and international society, and they use force if necessary. There's nothing conservative about that.

SD: I went down to Washington a few weeks ago for a gathering of 100,000 war protestors. Most of them were demanding an immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq. Conversely, the majority of politicians are telling us that we can't leave and to do so would be to subject Iraq to some kind of theocracy that might take root. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

NC: Whatever you thought about Saddam Hussein, it was a secular government. Now it's very likely that there will be a large theocracy. What's more, it's likely that the theocracy will be oriented with Iran. There are close connections between the Shiite south and Iran. A lot of Shiite leadership comes from Iran. Ayatollah Sistani, a large majority of the religious leaders and the main militia in the south, the Badr Brigades, are Iranian trained and armed.

The effect of the American invasion has been to devastate the society. By last October, the best estimates we had were that about 100,000 people had been killed. By now it’s got to be much worse. The level of malnutrition doubled. Child malnutrition is now at the level of Burundi.

What does the population want? A couple days ago, the major Shiite party demanded that the British soldiers in the south stay in their barracks. The Sunni population obviously wants the American troops out. This Sadr group has announced that they want the Americans to leave."

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