Friday, January 08, 2010

Answering Helen Thomas on Why

By Ray McGovern
January 8, 2009

Thank God for Helen Thomas, the only person to show any courage at the White House press briefing after President Barack Obama gave a flaccid account of the intelligence screw-up that almost downed an airliner on Christmas Day.

Read on.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

George W. Bush did give an answer to this "why?" question. Of course it was an answer that did not satisfy anyone with an ounce of intelligence, but it was an answer that was happily picked up by most on the right. "They hate us for our freedoms".

Actually there may be some merit to this response if our freedoms to invade, occupy, terrorize and torture are included. No doubt they do hate us for exercising these freedoms of an imperial power.

It recently occured to me, however, that Bush's response to this question is actually an echo from the past. His childish sounding words were not an exact quote, but certainly the public was encouraged to believe exactly the same thing about the Soviet Union during the cold war.

Thinking back on that time, there clearly was a public sentiment that for some reason the Soviets hated us even though we were such nice people, and it surely must be because they envied us our freedoms.

Reuben said...

Helen Thomas has that amazing ability to find the one question so notable in its absence, and then asks it. Of course if anyone commits a major crime motive is always one of the first questions, but as soon no one seemed to be asking about this one. And of course it is especially glaring when you consider how little attention is given to the greater question of why Islamic extremists (and many secular citizens of the world) have a hatred of the US government. I hope Helen lives forever.

Anonymous said...

I read Consortiumnews to get the facts and the hole story. Keep it up. Helen Thomas is the only one with balls.

Joan E said...

Wish your article had come out about a week earlier. That's when I attempted to have this very conversation at the dinner table with Republican friends. I will tell you that it did not go well. I swear I saw "flames" in the eyes of the male host (conservative Republican, conservative R.Catholic, antiabortion, avaricious Fox News fan . ..you get the picture). It was unreal. He wouldn't even entertain the banter which speculated on "why". "YOU'RE SAYING WE ARE TO BLAME FOR ALL OF THIS?!!!" Awful, awful. He was just short of calling me a traitor and un-American. How do you get any kind of legitimate conversation going by the President when you can't get past the rubbish labels of the Bush-Cheney years at a dinner table?

Morton Kurzweil said...

Why? Because power and influence drives our self image. The sense of authority is enough to allow the hypocrite in each of us to confirm a belief in our moral
judgments.
The rules become stricter in the judgment of others and more lenient in the actions of the powerful. This process may use religion or any cultural expression to increase the sense of power.
When individuals are convinced that they are victimized and can achieve authority and influence by abolishing all types of oppressive government, incite political disorder, and reject all forms of authority, they are called anarchists. When anarchists intend to substitute their own ideas of government, they must be oppressive, whether that government is based on a religious or any other idealized representation of power.

Anonymous said...

Ronald Reagan, great rightwing advocate for US military ventures, might have answered Helen Thomas by saying, with his considerable charm: "Helen, what you are asking is, 'why are some people the willing servants of evil?' I can only tell you that it is our job to resist evil." Reagan probably believed that this was the duty of the United States. I doubt that Brennan is such a moral absolutist, which is why he has a hard time answering this question; his job is merely to defend US policy. Charitably, Brennan might not say easily, as Rudy Giuliani has said (but President Obama has so-far resisted), that we are at war against "Islamic terrorism." In some ways Brennan is a worse figure than Reagan, for though he may or may not be inclined to condemn Muslims (at least ones potentially swayed by al Qaeda) as evil, he remains a spokesman for the US policies which attack them (for whatever reason) and invade their countries. This notion of Reagan may not be accurate, but my point is that while many people believe that the US is engaged in a war against evil, others simply make use of that belief to further their policy concerns. The morality of our actions is never argued.
And this is the tragedy of, not the Democrats or the Republicans, but the elite handlers in Washington who form the political class to which both groups belong: they are unable to consider that what the United States is doing in the Mid-East may be fundamentally wrong. That perspective, that very notion, is never expressed by the mainstream media in any significant way. Thus that worldview becomes, by default, the view of the elite political class rather than the American public (for it is never presented neutrally to the public), and its proponents become, in essence, purveyors of propaganda. What drives US policy is not morality, but self-interest, and not merely national interest, but monetary interest. In this sense only, the goal of US policy is the maintenance of the US "way of life," for it is not public freedom that our national policy espouses, but elite class aggrandizement through a variety of means, up to and including military invasion. We should question the actions of our leadership and the results of our national policy, even as Helen Thomas does here. She deserves an answer, as we all do.
Don't get me wrong. Some people truly believe that we are fighting the war of good versus evil. It is an easy thing to demonize other people when you never see them as human or understand their concerns. This impersonal inclination we should resist in the name of morality. It is not that we should give in to violence, but resist it, both in ourselves and others. Ironically, it is not only ethics, but public objectivity characterized by self-determination, that points us in that direction.

Andrew said...

I find it curious that Google cannot find any other mention of this “Sheikh Yassin Revenge Brigade” other than in the article "Answering Helen Thomas on Why" written by Ray McGovern and published here on Consortium.

Is Mr McGovern the only person in the world who has said anything at all about the "Sheikh Yassin Revenge Brigade"?

Thomas said...

When the job requires courage, send Ray.... He has more than enough for mortal matters...

Yova said...

After 9/11 we did ask "why do they hate us"? the answer was provided by Osama bin-Laden - over 500,00 Iraqi's ded mostly women and children after our first invasion, our unquestioned support of Israel's occupation of Gaza, and our military bases in Saudi Arabia. Given our predisposition of not being able to handle the truth we fabricated such nonsense as they hated our values which remain abstract, our freedoms which were far less prior to 9/11 thanks to our War on Drugs and our way of life which really requires a new way of living.

This time we didn't even bother to ask because we don't want to know the answer that challenges the premise of how a state of perpetual war on terrorism maintains the status quo here at home.

Perhaps one reason they hate us can be found in the murder of 17 innocent men, women and children at Nisoor Square in Iraq 9/16/07 by 5 Blackwater employees when all charges were dropped because the incompetence of the Bush Administration DOJ investigation provided the judge with the legal loop hole to drop all charges.

Hats off to Helen Thomas for still asking a question that begs to be answered that will end our ignorance which continues to respond to the violence of terrorism that our predatory foreign policy perpetuates with acts of state sponsored terrorism.

longgonesam said...

Ward Churchill had it exactly right when he wrote his post 9-11 essay about the chickens coming home to roost. And nothing will "change" under Big Fraud Obama, his ownership by the Keepers notwithstanding, his selection of former IDF Zionist Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff guarantees that US foreign policy, effectively hijacked by Zionist Israel, will remain exactly as it has been for decades. What a message to send to the Muslim world, picking Emanuel as his first appointee. The real terrorists are in the White House and their nation of origin is Israel. There will be no discussion, it is a forbidden subject, one of many in USA, and we will have war without end as those on the receiving end of US/Israeli largesse (genocide and diaspora at the hands of the US Death Star) continue to resist by any means necessary. Analysis of suicide bombers repeatedly points out that the desperation caused by illegal, violent occupations is the primary motivator. Zionist Israel IS the problem, not the Muslim world.

M Henri Day said...

Ray McGovern's analysis of US foreign policy in Southwest Asia hits the nail squarely on the head, as did Helen Thomas' question. But I find it unfortunate - if understandable - that nowhere in his article does Mr McGovern, who after all, is a 27-year veteran of the CIA, examine the issue of whether the so-called «Christmas Day bombing» was not, in fact, a false-flag operation run by his erstwhile employers. Has this topic become so taboo that not even ConsortiumNews dares to bring it up ? If all the suspicious circumstances concerning «L’Affaire Abdulmutallab» can easily be explained and doubts about it merely phantasms in the minds of congenital conspiration theorists, then surely a man with the expertise of Mr McGovern is the one to the lay them to rest, so that we can go on to other matters. But until these doubts are examined, my suggestion is that what we are seeing here is a repeat of Harry S Truman's «scar[ing] the hell out of the country» in 1947, in response to a suggestion by Senator Vandenburg, thus distracting ordinary people in the United States from the real threat to their welfare and indeed, their lives - those responsible for the economic crash. Interested readers are referred to Frank Rich's OpEd, The other plot to wreck America in today's New York Times....

Henri

Anonymous said...

I asked a friend who has traveled several times in the past few years to Israel why the Israelis can get a permanent peace with the Palestinians. His response was that "'... it's because the Palestinians really don't want to.'" Now both of us are pretty critical thinkers and generally quite "liberal" in our politics. The answer made no sense. Because he's a friend I dropped the subject. But the rise of the American Jews favoring the "Not in Our Name" and "J-Street" positions on that issue tell the real story. But as a Jew you risk being called "self-hating" if you question what Israel. (And if you live in Israel you get a lot of aggravation for such criticism.) And as a non-Jew in the U.S. you risk being called an anti-Semite --- even if that is clearly not true. And if you’re an elected U.S. official and you question the Israeli position --- well you can expect a visit from AIPAC. And if you don’t come around then what happened to Senator Percy and others will happen to you. But in the long run Israel’s de facto rigid resistance to a 2-state solution and peace puts their country at great risk.

EricaAmerica said...

Great post. I have been interviewing Helen Thomas for the last 2 1/2 years about the Press Corps and managed news. Thought this video from my archives might resonate with your audience. http://bit.ly/4Fatr1

Reuben said...

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/americas/2010/01/09/dodging-al-qaeda-question-0 has an interesting take on this story, with a contrasting previous position from Brennan. Also includes video of the Thomas question.

Bruce said...

Thank you for an excellent, excellent article. Is there even a slight chance that NPR would pick this up? Probably not.

Rhisiart Gwilym said...

Ray seems not to consider the obvious idea that both the 11 September 01 atrocities, and the ridiculous (non)exploding underpants farce were most likely to have been false-flag operations.

That's to say that -- in this interpretation of the raw facts -- these incidents were made to happen as they did by USAmerican organisers within some faction of the ruling 'elite'.

Certainly there seem to have been foreign actors involved too, either as outwitted patsies, or as double agents. But that doesn't remove the obvious possibility -- in fact I'd say the high probability -- that these were essentially false-flag operations, originated and made in the US, for reasons of global realpolitik; pretty obvious reasons too, for anyone who wants to look seriously.

I can't believe that Ray doesn't know about these ideas. Yet he still says things which can be interpreted to mean that he believes that foreign jihadis were ultimately responsible for the attacks.

But it's actually much more credible to say that USAmericans are responsible. They're responsible by reason of the massive amounts of death, grief, destruction and injustice that they inflict on the world, for the very basest of realpolitikal reasons, behind the Permanent Bullshit Blizzard put out by media-people and politicians. But they're responsible also in the much more immediate sense that some USAmericans within the ruling 'elites' actually planned and carried out these false-flags operations.

soupson522003 said...

Any chance of getting this excellent piece out as an OP ED? NYT, WP???

Anonymous said...

What in the World is the point of this long long pointed drivel...The author starts with a point and ends with a forced opinion...Prejudice...do we know the question has not been asked??? Presumption!

Is it the Admin-past and present-fault that MSM reps do not do their job!?