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Daily Telegraph    December 11, 2002

The American administration is a bloodthirsty wild animal

By Harold Pinter

Earlier this year, I had a major operation for cancer. The operation and its
after effects were something of a nightmare. I felt I was a man unable to
swim bobbing about under water in a deep dark endless ocean. But I did not
drown and I am very glad to be alive.

However, I found that to emerge from a personal nightmare was to enter an
infinitely more pervasive public nightmare - the nightmare of American
hysteria, ignorance, arrogance, stupidity and belligerence; the most
powerful nation the world has ever known effectively waging war against the
rest of the world.

"If you are not with us, you are against us," President George W. Bush has
said. He has also said: "We will not allow the world's worst weapons to
remain in the hands of the world's worst leaders." Quite right. Look in the
mirror, chum. That's you.

America is at this moment developing advanced systems of "weapons of mass
destruction" and is prepared to use them where it sees fit. It has more of
them than the rest of the world put together. It has walked away from
international agreements on biological and chemical weapons, refusing to
allow inspection of its own factories. The hypocrisy behind its public
declarations and its own actions is almost a joke.

America believes that the 3,000 deaths in New York are the only deaths that
count, the only deaths that matter. They are American deaths. Other deaths
are unreal, abstract, of no consequence.

The 3,000 deaths in Afghanistan are never referred to. The hundreds of
thousands of Iraqi children dead through American and British sanctions
which have deprived them of essential medicines are never referred to.

The effect of depleted uranium, used by America in the Gulf war, is never
referred to. Radiation levels in Iraq are appallingly high. Babies are born
with no brain, no eyes, no genitals. Where they do have ears, mouths or
rectums, all that issues from these orifices is blood.

The 200,000 deaths in East Timor in 1975 brought about by the Indonesian
government but inspired and supported by America are never referred to. The
500,000 deaths in Guatemala, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Uruguay,
Argentina and Haiti, in actions supported and subsidised by America, are
never referred to.

The millions of deaths in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are no longer referred
to. The desperate plight of the Palestinian people, the central factor in
world unrest, is hardly referred to.

But what a misjudgment of the present and what a misreading of history this
is. People do not forget. They do not forget the death of their fellows,
they do not forget torture and mutilation, they do not forget injustice,
they do not forget oppression, they do not forget the terrorism of mighty
powers. They not only don't forget: they also strike back.

The atrocity in New York was predictable and inevitable. It was an act of
retaliation against constant and systematic manifestations of state
terrorism on the part of America over many years, in all parts of the world.

In Britain, the public is now being warned to be "vigilant" in preparation
for potential terrorist acts. The language is in itself preposterous. How
will - or can - public vigilance be embodied? Wearing a scarf over your
mouth to keep out poison gas?

However, terrorist attacks are quite likely, the inevitable result of our
Prime Minister's contemptible and shameful subservience to America.
Apparently a terrorist poison gas attack on the London Underground system
was recently prevented.

But such an act may indeed take place. Thousands of schoolchildren travel on
the Underground every day. If there is a poison gas attack from which they
die, the responsibility will rest entirely on the shoulders of our Prime
Minister. Needless to say, the Prime Minister does not travel on the
Underground himself.

The planned war against Iraq is in fact a plan for premeditated murder of
thousands of civilians in order, apparently, to rescue them from their

America and Britain are pursuing a course that can lead only to an
escalation of violence throughout the world and finally to catastrophe. It
is obvious, however, that America is bursting at the seams to attack Iraq.

I believe that it will do this not only to take control of Iraqi oil, but
also because the American administration is now a bloodthirsty wild animal.
Bombs are its only vocabulary. Many Americans, we know, are horrified by the
posture of their government, but seem to be helpless.

Unless Europe finds the solidarity, intelligence, courage and will to
challenge and resist American power, Europe itself will deserve Alexander
Herzen's declaration - "We are not the doctors. We are the disease".

The article is taken from an address given by Harold Pinter on receiving an
honorary degree at the University of Turin

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