Sep 282007

Check out the following transcript of author Naomi Klein and Amy Goodman on Democracy Now verbally skewering (that’s probably putting it politely) former Fed chief Alan Greenspan. I thought it was quite brave when Greenspan appeared on Jon Stewart recently to plug his new book, but compared to the grilling he got from Goodman and Klein, Stewart’s swipes pale severely. Here are a few snippets:

“NAOMI KLEIN: Well, I’m just wondering if it troubles Mr. Greenspan at all that wars over resources in other countries are actually illegal. Mr. Greenspan has praised the rule of law, the importance of the rule of law, in his book. But in his statements about the reasons why this has not been publicly discussed, he has said that it’s not politically expedient at this moment. But it’s not just that it’s not politically expedient, Mr. Greenspan. Are you aware that, according to the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Conventions, it is illegal for one country to invade another over its natural resources?

ALAN GREENSPAN: No. What I was saying is that the issue which, as you know, most people who were pressing for the war were concerned with were weapons of mass destruction. I personally believed that Saddam was behaving in a way that he probably very well had, almost certainly had, weapons of mass destruction. I was surprised, as most, that he didn’t. But what I was saying is that my reason for being pleased to see Saddam out of office had nothing to do with the weapons of mass destruction. It had to do with the potential threat that he could create to the rest of the world.

NAOMI KLEIN: Yes, I realize that, but he was not simply deposed. The US invaded Iraq, occupied it and took control over its resources. And under international law, that it is illegal to wage wars to gain access to other countries’, sovereign countries’, natural resources.”

and then there is this:

“AMY GOODMAN: Well, they are talking about, in one day, for example, the East Rutherford operation center of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 100 Orchard Street in East Rutherford, a tractor-trailer truck pulling up, and though accustomed to receiving and shipping large quantities of cash, the vault had never before processed a single order of this magnitude: $2.4 billion in $100 bills. But ultimately, again, $9 billion of $12 billion gone missing in Iraq.

ALAN GREENSPAN: I am not familiar with any such evidence. And it was certainly not brought to my attention. I, frankly, find it very unlikely that those orders of magnitude were involved in any of the numbers that we were dealing with. You have to make certain that — there’s been a lot of confusion about losses, and people have used the dinar, the basic currency unit of Iraq, and assumed they were American dollars. And, of course, that gives you a highly distorted view. There’s been, I’ve seen, several reports fairly recently in which that sort of mistake was being made. But what I can tell you is that no such numbers of any order of magnitude of the type you are discussing came to the attention of the Federal Reserve.

AMY GOODMAN: This is based on that award-winning article in Vanity Fair, or the team who have won —

ALAN GREENSPAN: Let me put it this way, award-winning doesn’t necessarily —

AMY GOODMAN: Well, no, no. I mean Don Barlett and Jim Steele, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists. I’m sure you know their work. But Naomi Klein?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, I would just add that it’s quite surprising, actually, that Mr. Greenspan is unaware of this scandal around Iraq’s missing billions, because Paul Bremer had to testify before Congress and was asked directly about those missing billions. It’s been the subject of very high-level investigations. There is a huge paper trail around it. So this is hardly a secret, and it’s hardly just a matter that’s confined to Vanity Fair.”

Unfortunately, although totally predictably, the MSM is tripping all over itself to hype Greenspan’s book. As Arianna Huffington points out,

“On one side is Alan Greenspan, whose The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World offers his usual free market uber alles philosophy, while attempting to rehabilitate his tattered image (which is worth about as much as the U.S. dollar these days).

On the other side is Naomi Klein, whose The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism offers an alternative economic history of the last 30 years and, using the war in Iraq as a mind-blowing example, pulls the curtain back on free market myths and exposes the forces that are really driving our economy.

Klein’s book is powerful and prophetic. Greenspan’s is pitiful and pathetic.

Yet it is Greenspan’s 500-page memoir that been getting all the attention, as almost no traditional media outlet has been able to resist what Josh Marshall has aptly dubbed “The Greenspan Embarrassment Tour.?”

As for why Greenspan appeared on The Daily Show instead of Klein, it is instructive to note that as I write this, only one of the last 25 guests on the show has been a woman. As much as we bemoan misogynist exclusion in the MSM, we need to be cognizant that it happens in “liberal”, “alternative” venues all too frequently as well.

*Kudos to those of you who know where the title of this post comes from :-)

 September 28, 2007  Posted by on September 28, 2007

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