5 February

A brilliant short essay at Counterpunch by Diana Johnstone (The Good Inventions That Pave the Road to War: R 2 P and Genocide Prevention) rebukes the disingenuous rationale behind so much of the rhetorical, public-relations side of our foreign policy, if not the broader set of policies or deep-seated ideologies actually motivating U S leadership. What came to mind immediately when reading this piece: the gradual recognition that the common understanding Americans have of the events in Rwanda, 1994, is incomplete at best. In other words, Neal Ascherson's How Millions Have Been Dying in the Congo, published in the center-left New York Review of Books, would not have been published before David Peterson and Edward S Herman's Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Propaganda System, published in the Marxist magazine Monthly Review. Nonetheless, Ascherson's article certainly does not suggest any major shift in thought among elite Americans, especially not the foreign-policy establishment. The New York Review also published Robert Malley and Hussein Agha's article about Bill Clinton's failed Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative of 2000-2001 (Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors); that piece completely deflated right-wing propaganda proclaiming Yasir Arafat's unfortunate decision to reject what Ehud Barak had offered, which was not in any way an independent state, and did not address the problem of the Palestinian diaspora. Yet the Israelis continue to rely upon blindly-loyal support from the U S Congress and our mainstream news media. And you can still hear Bill Maher telling H B O viewers, whenever the topic arises, that Arafat's choice was irresponsible. Similarly, the likes of Samantha Power, author of '"The Problem From Hell": America and the Age of Genocide', rise to positions of influence in our government, finding whatever good suggestions they've made based upon years of research (not to mention the bad suggestions) turned into justification for more illegal wars against the latest evil dictator (who we've also worked with, of course, whenever we needed a place to send "terrorist" suspects to be tortured).