Obama is as spineless as they come – William Blum
Hello. This is John Robles. I’m speaking with Mr. William Blum. He is an American author and historian and a long-standing critic of US foreign policy.
Robles: We’ve had a lot of talk regarding the cancellation by Barack Obama of talks with President Putin here, in Moscow, in September. I’ve just got a report that talks were not cancelled they were postponed. A lot of this has to do with Syria, but mainly it has to do with Edward Snowden. Why such a huge, it seems, unbalanced reaction towards this one individual, in your opinion?
Blum: Because the US Congress and the US media are full of crazies they are fully accustomed to being on top of the world. Anybody who stands up to them, as Snowden has, or Bradley Manning, they simply lose their cool completely. They cannot take such opposition.
They are so unaccustomed to being opposed by anyone of any influence that it immediately bends them out of shape and so Snowden has and Manning and Julianne Assange. those three guys have really stood up to the Empire and the Empire cannot take that. You hear the expression “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. OK. I would add “Hell hath no fury like an Empire embarrassed”.
Robles: Very good, Bill.
Blum: And the revelations by Manning really embarrassed the Empire.
Robles: It just seems like ridiculous, especially since it was the US’s own idiocy that led Snowden get away in the first place and, you know, left him stranded in Moscow. If they hadn’t revoked his passport, he would have just moved on.
Blum: Yes but by then in Washington they had no choice. Such a man had to be punished as a warning to anyone who wants to act like him. They have to get very tough to make it clear to every possible future whistleblower, that is what I would call it.
They refuse to use that word because it’s an acceptable word, a whistleblower, so they refuse to call him a whistleblower and they call him by traitor.
Robles: I’ve got some hate mail today. It was really interesting by somebody in the United States. He said that Snowden was a traitor and he was US property and he needs to be handed back.
Blum: Par for the course.
Robles: Can I ask you a question now about the CIA. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe, you’re an older hand than I am and you remember further back than I do I’m sure. And you’ve been in the game much longer than I have.
It seemed to me that the USA, they CIA, they used to provide intelligence and then policy was formulated, right. So, for example, the CIA says “Oh, this country A has moved a nuclear bomb to country D”, right? So the government makes a policy okay: “We have to go for the country A” or something like that.
Now it seems that the CIA is formulating intelligence in order to back up policy. I see they want an invasion of Syria, the CIA is going to create the intelligence for it, and they wanted an invasion of Iraq, the CIA created yellow cake and all this other stuff. What do you think about that?
Blum: Your point is well taken but it’s not entirely that way. The CIA, during its heyday in the 50s and 60s and 710s. I could find examples of them in effect making policy. Subtlety now maybe it’s more open. But it’s not entirely new that the agency would attempt to make policy.
You see in those days the CIA had the whole power to do such things and now there is also the NSA and the Homeland Security and the Defense Department which has its own intelligence agencies. There are more players in the game so the CIA doesn’t have as much power as it used to have.
Robles: Ok, who would you say is controlling the US government now: the military industrial complex, or the “war department” or the Defense Department? Who is calling the shot?
Blum: I don’t usually think in such terms. The defense corporations which are actually war corporations, they have a lot of influence they make a lot of money out of war and their people, executives with these corporations go the government in high positions and when they leave the government they go back to the corporations.
The revolving door between these two institutions. They have a lot of chances to influence matters.
I think the president if had any backbone could counter much of these things we’re talking about, but Obama has no backbone. He is as spineless as they come. and he has taken out the presidency from this equation.
So we are left with the Defense Department and the CIA and the NSA and so on. Obama doesn’t really care, it’s not that he wanted to do something but he didn’t have the nerve, he doesn’t care. I’ve said this about him since he took office and even when he was a candidate. The man has no strong beliefs except to be president of the United States. That is all that he cares about. There is nothing overridingly important to him.
Robles: Yes, you’ve said that before. And I think the more of him we see the more that your words are becoming unarguably correct. I agree with you 100%. But he was very careful in making all his promises about change and everything else. So…
Blum: Yes, people called him Mr. Hopey-Changey.
Robles: Mr. Hopey-Changey?
Blum: Yes. Those were the two leading points of his platform: Hope and Change.
Robles: And now he is Mr. Hopey-Changey. Ok. I like that, Bill. I appreciate that.
On Syria: do you see an expansion of the front there or do you think maybe the US government is just trying to find a way to back out off the whole conflict or… Do you think that is a possibility?
Blum: In light of the statement of today which you quoted from the CIA official I really can’t predict. I seldom engage in predicitions I prefer to analyze what have already taken place.
Robles: Yes. OK. You’re more of a historian than a fortuneteller if you will. Okay.
Blum: Have a nice weekend!
Robles: Okay you too! You have a wonderful weekend and thanks a lot.
Blum: You’re welcome. Bye bye.
That was an interview with Mr. William Blum, an American author and historian and a long-standing critic of US foreign policy. Thank you very much for listening and as always I wish you all the best wherever you may be. Stay with us.