The American Administration
Is A Bloodthirsty Wild Animal
By Harold Pinter
[The Daily Telegraph - UK - 12-11-2]:
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
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
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
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 dictator.
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
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
The article is taken from an address given by Harold
Pinter on receiving an honorary degree at the
University of Turin © Harold Pinter 2002