The Chequebook & the Cruise-Missile

chqbook cruise

A collection of interviews with Arundhati Roy, conducted by David Barsamian between 2001 and 2003.

Topics discussed include the political influence of big business; the uncompensated displacement of 1000s due to the building of dams in India; the continuing effects and influences of Imperialism in its multiple forms; and the role played by the media.

A few excerpts:

I’m still taken aback at the extent of indoctrination and propaganda in the United States. It is as if people there are being reared in a sort of altered reality…

Osama Bin Laden and George Bush are both terrorists. They are both building international networks that perpetrate terror and devastate people’s lives. Bush with the Pentagon, the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank. Bin Laden with Al Qaeda. The difference is that nobody elected Bin Laden. Bush was elected ( in a manner of speaking), so U.S. citizens are more responsible for his actions than Iraqis are for the actions of Saddam Hussein or Afghans are for the Taliban. And yet hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans have been killed, either by economic sanctions or cruise missiles, and we are told that these deaths are the result of “just wars”.

Terrorism has become te excuse for states to do just what they please in the name of protecting citizens against terrorism. Hundreds of people are being held in prisons under the antiterrorism law in India. Many of them are poor people, Dalits and Adivasis, who are protesting against “development projects” that deprive them of their lands and livelihoods. Poverty and protest are being conflated with terrorism.

Referring to the timing of the Iraq war, a Bush administration spokesperson said, “from a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August”. They were asking themselves, what’s the best season to introduce this new product? When should you start the ad campaign? When should you actually launch it? Today, the crossover between Hollywood and the U.S. military is getting more and more promiscuous.

War is also an economic necessity now. A significant section of the U.S. economy depends on the sale and manufacture of weapons. There has to be a turnover. You can’t have cruise missiles lying around on the factory floor. The economies of Europe and the United States depend on the sale and manufacture of weapons. This is a huge imperative to go to war.