The Culture of Terrorism

The Culture of Terrorism

The Culture of Terrorism

The Culture of Terrorism

Synopsis

This scathing critique of U. S. political culture is a brilliant analysis of the Iran-Contra scandal. Chomsky offers a message of hope, reminding us resistance is possible.

Excerpt

The 1986 "scandals" and their aftermath are instructive for those who are concerned to understand American society, and particularly, for those who hope to change its character and course. Temporarily at least, the scandals caused some disarray and retreat among state planners and ideologists, discrediting certain of the more violent policies as they were partially exposed. These developments encouraged moves within Central America towards the kind of political settlement that would long have been possible had it not been for the commitment of the United States to establish its own terms by force. Even if successful, these steps could not in themselves lay the groundwork for confronting the deep-seated problems facing the societies of Central America, problems that result in no small measure from earlier U.S. intervention in the region, where the U.S. has been the dominant outside influence through the century. But if domestic inhibitions suffice to constrain the advocates of force in Washington, then there might be a respite from the worst terror, and a small window of opportunity might open for constructive efforts to overcome the legacy of a bitter past.

The scandals of 1986, in turn, are a tribute to the popular movements that developed in the 1960s and that have not been tamed, despite major efforts by business, government and intellectual elites in the post-Vietnam period. This important fact will not be the topic of books and articles, and indeed will not penetrate to official history, just as the comparable lesson of the Vietnam years can hardly be recognized within an ideological system dedicated to the service of power. It is important, however . . .

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