God Shed His Grace on Us …

I haven’t been watching the news real carefully the last few days, and I didn’t see or read about Harold Pinter’s Nobel address (accepting the prize in literature) until I stumbled across it on Today in Iraq this morning. The speech is part about artistic process and the search for truth, but mostly about the United States and its influence in the world for the last 60 years. “Bitter” hardly begins to describe it; “enraged” might be more on the mark — though all the more effective for being controlled.

An excerpt:

The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.

Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it.

It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It’s a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, ‘the American people’, as in the sentence, ‘I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.’

Full text and video on the Nobel site.

5 Replies to “God Shed His Grace on Us …”

  1. I looked up a little information about Mr. Pinter and it turns out we were born on the same day (different year of course).

  2. For a guy who was just awarded a Nobel he seems a bit crabby. Maybe I’ll send him a copy of Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking”. Now that’s writing worthy of the Nobel Prize.

  3. Dear JB; [are those your real initials?] Anyway, Pinter’s words were crabby alright, [but true]. But dear writer, you sound so cranky, but, also gifted. How’s that for A liberal, but, judicious use of buts?

  4. I know what you mean Pop, but I finally get a headache when listening to this whole story, coming endlessly from the Nobel laureate, from Noam Chomsky, and to a lesser and (who am I to talk?) low-brow degree from Oliver Stone or Michael Moore. Call it “original sin burnout”, I suppose.
    I reckon that, at least for the forseeable future, The Republic/Empire will continue to blunder blindly into that good night until some other nation becomes the world’s pre-eminent, all around ass-kicker. I only hope they save Wal-Mart. That is a store where Noam Chomsky would be proud to shop!

  5. Actually, the part of what Pinter said that got to me most was the bit about Nicaragua. “Moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers.” When is the last time you heard anybody in mainstream politics even mention Nicaragua and what we did there? How about Panama — a mini-war that caused many civilian casualties, launched to effect a narcotics arrest? This is the one part of 9/11 that Americans really don’t understand. What happened that day was an example of the kind of blind, destructive force that we’re capable of directing, and have regularly directed, at the rest of the world at will. Yes, using force was an appropriate response to the act of war committed against us in 2001. Our problem is that that’s all we got — no intelligence, no strategy, no understanding to try to put things back together once we blow them up. Today we’ve got all the LeMay we need with hardly any of the Marshall and MacArthur.

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