Noam Chomsky on JFK and Vietnam, contra Oliver Stone (transcribed interview with Chomsky)

Noam Chomsky on JFK and Vietnam, contra Oliver Stone (transcribed interview with Chomsky)

Cross-posted from Medium

by Bob Buzzanco

I recently debated Oliver Stone’s writer James DiEugenio about the JFK Conspiracy theory and that will soon be up on Green & Red Podcast. Meantime, we just had my interview with Noam Chomsky about Stone’s movie and documentary alleging that the “Deep State” — the Military-Industrial Complex, the Intelligence Community, even perhaps Vice-President Lyndon Johnson — had JFK killed because he was going to end the Cold War and withdraw from Vietnam — transcribed, and here it is below.

In addition, see my interview with Noam Chomsky.

Scott and I also had a show going into more detail on JFK’s real policies, which were aggressive and hawkish.

I’ve also written a 3-part article on this topic on this Medium page, “John F. Kennedy Goes Hollywood: Oliver Stone’s Fantastic History,” part 1 at, part 2 at and part 3.

Transcript of my interview with Noam Chomsky, 6 January 2022

Robert Buzzanco (RB) Welcome to the Green and Red Podcast. I’m Bob Buzzanco, the co-host, and I’m going solo today as Scott is on his day job. And I’m really excited today to be talking again with Noam Chomsky. Noam needs no introduction, but today I want to open and if you’re on YouTube, you can see this. If not, I’m holding a copy of Rethinking Camelot, which he published in 1993, and the subtitle of the book is JFK, The Vietnam War, and US Political Culture. It was written in the aftermath of Oliver Stone’s blockbuster movie JFK, which claimed that Kennedy was about to withdraw from Vietnam, which is a key point of it, and end the Cold War, break up the power of the intelligence community, and usher in a new era of global peace and nirvana. And because of that, according to Stone, the Deep State, the military industrial complex, the CIA, the FBI and even LBJ were part of this massive plot to have him assassinated. Stone’s back now to commemorate the 30th anniversary of that film with a documentary called “JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass.” And he’s been doing a lot of media to continue spreading these conspiracy theories. And he often invokes new documents which have been released since the nineties as being some kind of definitive, almost smoking gun proof. So first, thanks for coming to the Green and Red Podcast before specifically talking about JFK and Vietnam. I’m kind of curious what you think accounts for the legacy of Kennedy. He’s now seen as this heroic figure a peacemaker, a rebel. And people on the left like Jacobin and Counterpunch and Majority Report have been giving a lot of airplay and a lot of ink to Stone’s argument. How did Kennedy become such an icon for liberals, progressives, or even radicals based on what he actually did here?

Noam Chomsky (NC): It’s very similar to what happened with Reagan, and I rather suspect that Reagan’s propaganda agents used Kennedy as a model. If you look back at Reagan, he was not a particularly popular president. If you look at polling, sort of normal. After his death, there was a huge propaganda campaign launched, Reagan’s legacy, a massive campaign, which turned him into a godlike figure. I mean, it reached the point where you could read a book by two scholars at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University years later who said that whatever our troubles may be, it’s not too bad because Ronald Reagan’s spirit is hovering over us like a warm and friendly ghost. That’s the scholarly community. Well, that was achieved by enormous propaganda, denying, playing down his massive crimes and atrocities, which was pretty easy because the liberal intellectuals also played them down as they’re just mistakes and so on, nothing really terrible and concocting this divine figure. Pretty much the same with Kennedy. You look at his actual record, it was awful. I mean, before the assassination . . you go through it. . . . . he launched a major terrorist war against Cuba and a serious terrorism out of hysteria after the Bay of Pigs. He turned down Khrushchev’s offer for détente, reducing offensive military weapons could have led to a much more peaceful world. Instead, he reacted by the biggest military buildup probably in peacetime history, though the US was way ahead. Those were the two factors that led Khrushchev to put missiles in Cuba, almost led to the destruction of the world in Latin America 1962.

NC: He shifted the mission of the Latin American military, which of course the US can control, shifted it from hemispheric defense, which was an anachronism from the Second World War to internal security. Internal security in the Latin American context means, well, I won’t use my words. I’ll use the words of his leading specialist in counterinsurgency, head of counterinsurgency under Kennedy and Johnson, Charles Mechling. He said this signaled a change from tolerance for the rapacity and brutality of the Latin American military to direct participation by the United States in crimes that you could trace back to Goebbels and Himmler. Well, that’s the head of counterinsurgency under Kennedy, and he’s correct. If you look at what happened that Kennedy actually sent a Special Forces mission to Colombia, which was the scene of the worst atrocities, and they recommended paramilitary terror against non-communist adherents, which means priests organizing peasants, human rights workers and so on [and] led to a huge increase in atrocities. In Vietnam, when Kennedy came in, it was bad enough the Eisenhower administration had been supporting a terrorist regime which had already killed maybe 50–60,000 people, beginning to elicit resistance. Kennedy sharply escalated the war. 1961 and ’62 authorized napalm, authorized crop destruction, began sending US Air Force planes under South Vietnamese markings to carry out bombing programs to drive peasants who the US intelligence knew were supporting the National Liberation Front, to drive them into what amounted to concentration camps, strategic hamlets where they could be so-called protected from the guerrillas that they were supporting….. a massive escalation of the war.

NC: In fact, if you look around the total record, it’s pretty awful. Then came the assassination, actually even before the assassination, the propaganda was strong enough so that the public opinion polls regarded him as one of the great American presidents. So even before the [and] then after the assassination came something that was later duplicated in the Reagan legacy propaganda. And we’re now seeing right in front of us with the adoration of Trump. Once you start adoring a political figure, all reason disappears it. And madness. We’ve seen plenty of examples of that in history. Today happens to be a good example. You take a look at the what’s called “the big lie,” believed by maybe two-thirds of Republicans. Republican figures in the Congress either are too terrified to open their mouths or too cowardly, and they’re groveling at the foot of the great man. Or maybe they even believe it. Well, that’s not unlike the efforts to try to show that Kennedy was just about to do wonderful and great things. The evidence against that is overwhelming. It’s comparable to the evidence about the big lie. It happens to be mostly liberal intellectuals, in this case, not MAGA supporters. But take a look at it. . . . .

RB: Exactly. We’re speaking on January 6th, the anniversary of last year’s riots. And so I was actually thinking about the comparison between Trump and Kennedy. Kennedy ran explicitly, overtly as a cold warrior. And when I think of that era, you think of people like Acheson and Kennedy who were kind of primary among that. He was a close confidante of McCarthy, refused to even censure him. In the 1960 campaign, he ran to the right of Nixon, claiming there was a missile gap, which was true. The US had 16,000 nuclear weapons and the Soviet Union had, I think 1000. [The numbers were closer to 18,000+ and 1600 — RB]. And then in Vietnam, as you pointed out, he ramped up the war, increased the number of troops from 800 to 16,000. So you have this record, which is public, you can read about this in The New York Times. And yet these kind of especially Ivy League intellectuals really kind of sucked it all up. And we know that they were advocates of the Cold War. . . . What’s really weird today, too, is you just recently saw the bizarre spectacle in Dallas where QAnon was there trying basically, I guess they thought his son or maybe even he was going to come back to life. Like, how does he kind of appeal this idea, appeal to both the left and the right? And that’s kind of scary when you idolize and make a hero out of somebody who was this kind of prototypical cold warrior who engaged, as you said, in massive war crimes.

NC: You’ve seen it before. There are figures in history who have succeeded, partly by their own talents, if you want to call it that, partly by the kind of adoring support that they managed to organize around them to become figures before whom large parts of the population simply fell in love and adoration. It takes a German . . . in Germany in the 1920s was literally the peak of Western civilization, was at the forefront in the arts and sciences. The Weimar Republic was regarded as a model of democracy by political scientists. The Nazis had about 4% of the vote. What happened a decade later? Well, I don’t want to compare that to this, but the phenomena are not fundamentally so different. And once you start adoring a great figure, any amount of[inaudible] goes by. You compare …. [not sure of name] P.R. piece on January 6th. It’s not all that different than what’s being written by sensible, intelligent, liberal intellectuals, some of them friends, about what Kennedy was about to do and how Johnson stopped it. Not a particle of evidence. Literally, you look at the whole record, very rich record, all declassified. Incidentally, it was pretty much the same as what was reported at the time.

NC: Newspaper reports was perfectly accurate. Even the internal documents like this NSAM 263, it was described in The New York Times. Nothing hidden. It’s all there. Not a particle of evidence to support the idea that Kennedy had any thought of withdrawing. There was the Taylor-MacNamara proposal to withdraw 1000 troops before the election, mainly for P.R. reasons. Kennedy didn’t reject it, but he insisted on adding after victory, only after victory. And that was his consistent position up to the day of the assassination. Literally, the speech he gave in Dallas repeated it “after victory.” Then what about Johnson for the first year and Johnson’s year in office he was resisting the efforts of the Kennedy liberals to escalate the war, probably for his sense of political reasons, it wouldn’t sell at home. But whatever the reasons, that’s the record. It’s about 100%. This is not a particle to the contrary, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a big lie which is discounted and make up stories. He was going to do this and he was going to do that.

RB: Well, when we talked last spring, we talked a lot about your role in the Vietnam anti-war movement. And I think you were there really at the at the outset, kind of present at the creation. And in the 1961, 1962, you see this massive increase not just in the US effort, but in money being sent to the new regime in the number of troops the United States was paying for offensive operations. Paul Harkins, the commander, was a big advocate of technology and said “This scares the hell out of the Vietnamese.” How hard was it for you to talk to people about this? Because the media and you know, it’s funny what you said about the media. I remember Gabriel Kolko once told me you could write a great history of Vietnam just using The New York Times because this stuff was always being done in the open. So all this stuff is out there. How hard was it for you to try to talk to people and explain what was really going on? Because there was this kind of euphoric Cold War triumphalism.

NC: Try to talk to the MAGA guys with the red hats. They won the election.

RB: Yeah.

NC: Try to talk to half of Republicans, according to polls, who believe that humans were created 10,000 years ago. Exactly. Now, can you do it? Try to.

RB: I’ve tried. No, I’m not very good at that, no.

NC: The Kennedy was at the hawkish end of his administration, and that Johnson was, if anything, slightly milder. It doesn’t matter what the facts are. Pile them up to the sky. Read through all the documentary records, everything that people said close to 100%. You don’t get things like that in history. You don’t get that kind of strong evidential support for a particular conclusion, makes a difference. We want to believe that he was a god. He was a wonderful, amazing person. Country lost its innocence on that day as we were this wonderful country, but then we lost our innocence. All sorts of terrible things happen if you believe it and you’re committed to it, like a MAGA supporter of Trump, no amount of facts will change it. Just Germany and the late thirties. You want to try to convince people that the Jewish Bolshevik heresy is not trying to destroy the Aryan race. Try.

RB:] What struck me, Stone, in a recent interview, said that Kennedy understood — apparently, he was the first president to understand — that the military budgets, the intelligence and military communities were getting huge budgets, and that having global conflict was good for business for them. And Stone said, “this is what Kennedy understood and this is what he paid for in his life.” So you have this narrative now that Kennedy is the first person apparently to have this revelation that the United States in the Cold War is spending this immense amount of money intervening all over the world. And Kennedy is the first person to get that. How? I mean, where does he come up with this?

NC: So take Eisenhower in 1953, when he just came into office, he gave one of the strongest, maybe the strongest speech that any American president has given against the military budget. Very eloquent speech about.

RB: The Cross of Iron speech?

NC: Yeah. Every dollar we spend on a jet plane, schools and so on, very powerful.

RB: Humanity hanging by a cross of iron.

NC: Close to that. What Kennedy did. Let’s take a look. The facts are not in question. Khrushchev recognized that Russia could not carry out economic development if it was in a military race with a far richer, stronger power. He understood that. So he approached the Kennedy administration with a proposal. Let’s cut back military spending. Let’s reduce offensive weapons by a substantial percent. And let’s move towards some kind of peaceful negotiations. The Russians were, of course, far behind, way behind militarily. What you said about the missiles is one striking example of they had 4 missiles on an open air field somewhere. Kennedy understood all of this. The Kennedy administration considered Khrushchev’s offer, rejected it, and instead launched, I think, the greatest military buildup in peacetime history. Knowing that the U.S. was far ahead. As for the missile gap, George Bundy, Kennedy’s national security advisor, said, “well, it’s a useful shorthand for the policies we want to carry out. Of course, it’s all total lies, but it’s a good shorthand, so let’s keep it.” And that’s Kennedy. And in addition to escalating the war in Vietnam sharply and to the horror stories in Latin America. That’s what the particle of truth behind this fairy tale is, that after the missile crisis, which virtually led to mutual destruction, Kennedy did realize that marching on to escalating the threat of war was suicidal. So he did make some gestures about maybe we ought to. He didn’t put it this way. But what it amounted to is maybe we ought to accept Russian offers for cutting back slight, slightly on the huge military expenditures. That’s about it. Never close to Eisenhower. No, no.

RB: Well, and I want to get back to that. But just to kind of finish up on Vietnam, because I think it’s important because this argument that Kennedy was going to get out of Vietnam, Kennedy greenlit a coup and there’s extensive documentation on this. One would think if you’re trying to get out of a country, you’re not going to kind of have your fingerprints all over this coup and a murder that went wrong. And also, George McT. Kahin pointed out many years ago that the repression of the Buddhists was the public reason for dissociating with the Ngos. But in reality, Nhu had been making overtures to Hanoi, to the Politburo there, and Kennedy was afraid a negotiated settlement would break out, which would be essentially a defeat for the United States. So again, we’re looking at somebody who’s not trying to get out of Vietnam, but in fact, is dedicating and doubling down on success there.

NC: Absolutely. I mean, if Kennedy had the slightest interest in getting out, he had a perfect opportunity in August and September, as it’s understood, detailed record understood that the Diem government was beginning to deal with the North, was moving towards a policy of accommodation, cutting back the conflict neutralization of a united Vietnam. He needed to get out and declare a victory if you want to do it.

RB: Exactly.

NC: Now they’re all at peace and we can leave. What did Kennedy do? Organized a coup to kill them. Didn’t intend to kill them just to throw them out. To put in rabid, hawkish generals who would escalate the war the way Kennedy wanted them to do. That happened a couple of, right before the assassination. The end doesn’t matter any more than the fact that there’s no voting fraud found.

RB: Right, right, right.

NC: Doesn’t make a difference what the facts are.

RB: Yeah. In Arizona yesterday, in your state yesterday, even the Republicans came out, said, no, it was a clean election. Yeah. Facts are stupid things, is what Reagan said?

NC:] Only difference between this case and numerous other cases like the Trump phenomenon, or that in this case it’s liberal intellectuals. Usually it’s people who the liberal intellectuals like to deride as deplorables, uneducated. This time it’s us.

RB: I’m going to blurb myself for a minute. This is a book that I wrote called Masters of War: Military Dissent and Politics in the Vietnam Era. And what I think, and I think it’s important because what I found in there, and this is based on, I really was kind of motivated to do this by Rethinking Camelot. And I went and looked at what the military was telling Kennedy between January of 1961 and November of 1963. They were bleak. There was no military demand to go to war. They were very candid and honest about how difficult it was. They were trained to fight in Europe, not in the jungles of Southeast Asia. So the idea that they would have Kennedy assassinated for not wanting to fight is preposterous because in fact, they could have been Kennedy’s cover. The military had very little interest in Vietnam, and this goes kind of all the way through. So again, he was rejecting advice to de-escalate and instead ramping things up. And as you’re well aware, in these final interviews he did just right before he was assassinated with Chet Huntley and Walter Cronkite, he called Vietnam a very important struggle and said, “I think we should stay.” And Stone, in his movie, really kind of chopped those interviews and left that stuff out. And I think people need to understand that Kennedy was all in and gung ho until the very end.

NC: Absolutely. In fact, that’s a very powerful book. And it really undercuts this story, also [the] analysis of the so-called military historians on whom Stone relied, like John Newman. But and in fact, you know better than I do. But some of the military were condemning the war in terms that I couldn’t have gotten away with.

RB: David Shoup.

NC: There were things Should said I wouldn’t have gotten away with.

RB: Ridgway, yeah.

RB: I don’t want to take up a huge amount of time, but I want an important point that comes out of rethinking Camelot, which really made an impact on me, was how you pointed out that people, especially Schlesinger and I think Sorenson, also changed their stories about Vietnam. When Kennedy was first right after he was killed, they were gung ho about the war and and saying, you know, look at what he had done to stop communism in Vietnam and Indochina. And then later, especially after Tet and the war had gone sour, they had kind of converted in their narrative. Their stories had changed. You want to just kind of tell us about that? Because I think that’s really critical point, the way that they kind of flipped when the entire country decided Vietnam had gone badly.

NC: Well, Schlesinger is a good example. He was very close to Kennedy. Take a look at Schlesinger’s diaries, which were published recently. Diaries from the early sixties, the glorious days of Camelot. It’s full of euphoria about exciting things happening, like watching Ethel jump into the swimming pool at midnight.

RB: Touch football.

NC: It’s not almost nothing about Vietnam. We don’t care. The war is building up, turning into total monstrosity. Bernard Fall, leading historian and a hawk himself was saying, you’re devastating, destroying the country. Who cares? Ethel jumped into the swimming pool and I had a champagne glass in my hand. That’s Camelot. You know, for liberal intellectuals, it was just unbelievable. We’re sitting right next to the center of power. How much more exciting can it could be. You take a look at his writing, A Thousand Days, This is a memoir of Kennedy. This is 1962, the year that Kennedy sharply escalated the war. Says 1962 was a good year, aggression was stopped in South Vietnam. What was the aggression? It’s the aggression that Kennedy called the assault from within. Internal aggression, as Stevenson called it. In other words, people are protecting themselves against a US attack. And that’s what it was. That was a good year because we stopped the assault from within. [In] 1966, Schlesinger and also Robert Kennedy, I should say, began to have some misgivings about the war. And Schlesinger wrote his book, which was called a dovish book at the time. But look at what he said. He was debating with Joseph Alsop, his friend, who was a hawk, and he said he thought, Alsop thought we ought to just go in there and wipe them all out. Schlesinger said, “We all pray that Mr. Alsop will be right and that more American troops will, in fact win the war for us in a land which we’re turning to wreck and ruin.” That’s Schlesinger We all pray that he’ll we will be able to win after turning the land into a land of wreck and ruin. But probably it won’t work. I mean, you could read that in the Nazi archives after Stalingrad. It’s a mistake. We should have knocked out England first. Do we praise them? I mean, Robert Kennedy shifted a little bit later, of course, after the Tet Offensive, but everyone suddenly became a long time opponent of the war. Right.

RB: One last piece about Stone’s argument is he keeps citing these new documents regarding Oswald. I went back and looked at the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which I think was an adjunct of the Church and Pike Committee if I’m not mistaken. And so this is in the seventies. There is an entire section on Intelligence Committee surveillance of Oswald prior to the assassination. So he was well on the radar. So this idea that the intelligence communities had these contacts with them and they kept them secret, I don’t quite get because I think everybody knew he was the head, one of the heads of the Fair Play for Cuba committee. He was publicly defending the Castro revolution. So the idea that somehow he was working with the deep state seems to me fairly preposterous because the Deep State had him on the radar. They knew what he was. They knew who he was. He was a marine marksman. Again, why you know, why create this fantasy which is pretty easily disproven if you just do a little bit of background on it?

NC: Well, at least in that case, you can give a kind of justification. The fact of the matter is that the record of intelligence is awful.

RB: Yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

NC: Intelligence are almost unbelievable. Things you could see right in front of your eyes. I’ll just give you one example. I happened to go to North Vietnam in 1970. The reason was there was a bombing pause, a brief bombing pause. And I was invited through American activists to go to North Vietnam to lecture at the wreckage of the Polytechnic University. During the brief bombing pause, they were bringing people back to Hanoi. So I spent a couple of days lecturing there. So basically that’s what I was doing there, but I did meet the high officials, top people and we had frank discussions. They made it. In fact, it wasn’t even a hidden. Their concern was China, they didn’t care about the United States. The United States was smashing in the bids, but they knew as they said, you’re destroying us, but you’re going to go home. China’s not, they’re there. That’s their concern. The first morning I was there, I was there. I was taken to the War Museum and I spent a couple hours in a very boring presentation of all the battles that the Vietnamese fought 1000 years ago against China. Point was to make it clear, Look, we don’t care about you. China is our enemy. American intelligence could never understand this. Get through their heads. Russia and China were at war and they were still talking about the Sino-Soviet plot to conquer the world. I mean, diligence is just. . . . They are so insulated from reality by their own propagandistic conceptions, they can’t see what’s in front of their eyes.

NC: I got this from, I can’t name him, but a close associate of Johnson’s very close who was on the scene at the time. He described to me how in the early days of the Johnson administration, Johnson sent him to Vietnam to try to figure out what was going on because he didn’t believe any of this stuff that was coming from the Kennedy people. They hated each other. So he went and he found what is evident in the direct reporting of province advisors. Jeff Race…very good. He said on the ground everybody knew what was happening. They described the exactly the Viet Cong, so-called Viet Cong. Everybody supports them. They’re winning political war. U.S. is trying to fight a military war, is never going to work. That’s on the ground. Trace it up through the levels of reporting until it gets to the Oval Office. At each level of reporting gets a little bit modified where the people know what the guys up above want to hear. So I’ll slightly modify it. By the time it gets to the Oval Office, we’re winning the war. Couple of months, it’ll all be over. That’s this case. Let me take 911. All the information was there, was in the FBI files. Nobody paid attention. That’s just mind. We want to invade Iraq, conquer the Middle East. Who cares? That’s intelligence. So going back to this, to say that intelligence screwed up on Oswald, maybe because there’s so much incompetence they could have done that to.

RB: Well, that’s the entire book I did was based on that idea that everybody was telling Kennedy and Johnson that this was a mistake. John Vann, Jeff Race. But it goes way beyond that. Even Westmoreland was writing pretty honest critiques when he first got to Vietnam. So it was it was ugly. Before we go, we’ve talked a good deal about Vietnam and Stone. And I think we agree that this is really kind of a bad idea for the left to turn him into a hero. There are certainly more pressing issues, but it’s 2022. COVID is still with us, and we’re looking at an election which is probably going to be very ugly. There haven’t been any consequences yet for last what happened a year ago today on January 6th. I mean, is there any way out of this? What do you see happening in the coming months, coming next couple of years?

NC: Well, today is January 6th.

RB: Yep.

NC: A year ago, there was a coup attempt. No getting around it. It was an attempt to overthrow an elected government. Came very close to success. If a few, handful of Republicans had changed their minds and gone along with Trump. Could have succeeded. Now since the coup, the Republican Party has been dedicated, openly, publicly, nothing hidden to implement a kind of soft coup, to make sure that next time it works, they’re doing it. Nothing hidden, its in the open wandriting about it, trying to set things up so that Republican legislatures will be able to intervene to overthrow votes. People at the election sites will be able to intimidate voters. If you don’t like the results, you throw them out. It isn’t difficult to keep the wrong people from voting. Make sure that a minority of White supremacist, Christian nationalist, so called conservatives, in fact reactionaries will be able to carry out permanent minority rule. That’s in the works. Nothing secret in front of our eyes. Yeah, of course. There. The strategy in Congress. McConnell’s strategy is very sensible. Harm the country as much as possible. Make sure that no legislation passes. that could help anyone. Blame it on the Democrats. Come back to power out of justified rage with misplaced focus. We’re doing it, but we’ll blame them and your people will see us. Life’s getting worse and so on. So it must be the fault of the Democrats. So we’ll come back into power. We’ll consummate our coup, it’s the end of American democracy. We can race forward on destroying the environment. Enriching the very rich. All of their main policy programs. We might be facing. Something like not just the end of American democracy, but species destruction. It’s very hard to exaggerate these days. Yes, real literary talent to exaggerate, because what were the simple facts that are before our eyes are frightening enough.

RB: Something I talked about a lot last year and I’m kind of interested in what I call ruling class fissures or fractures. From the election through January 6th last year, if any group was really adamantly against Trump and I think prevented him from getting away with anything, it was people like Jamie Dimon and Mark Milley and the National Association of Manufacturers. You have the ruling class, which was actually like, because Trump had destabilized the system. And I mean, we can’t keep relying on that. But do you think there’s that continued fissure between these crazy policies of the Republican Party and kind of this Wall Street corporate liberal elite that wants some kind of stability, which obviously isn’t happening when you have the riot, the Capitol being breached with violent people. I mean, is that our last hope that Wall Street will step in and kind of keep things somewhat stable or are we really doomed?

NC: Well, if you take a look at American politics. There’s a lot of talk about polarization and divisiveness. It’s very misleading. If you take a look at the United States on a comparative basis, compare it with other wealthy countries, the US is far to the right . . . take say Bernie Sanders. That was one of the editors of the Financial Times, the world’s leading business journals, Rana Foroohar, sort of half jokingly, only half jokingly said that if Bernie Sanders was in Germany, he could be running on the Christian Democrat program, the Conservative Party. And if you look at his programs, that’s true. Universal health care, free, higher education, maternal leave. Who doesn’t have that? Everybody is. But what’s called radical in the United States is kind of, you don’t even talk about it in other, not even rich countries, take Brazil, not a rich country. Four months of guaranteed maternity leave. Two months more if you ask for it. Every country in the world has it except a couple of Pacific Islands in the United States. The free education. Mexico. Germany. Finland. It’s not a health care. Universal health care. You don’t talk about it. Well, you told me your mafia friends in Sicily don’t question.

RB: No, no. I’d rather be around the mob, and I’m well aware of what they’re like. But I trust them more than the GOP in the United States.

NC: So think of universal health care or something.

RB: Oh, yeah. The furthest right wing people I know in Italy, Salvini People would never think of getting rid of education or health care. I mean, there’s there’s there’s a group called Casa Pound dedicated to every pound. They’re far right. They Mussolini lovers, and they wouldn’t get rid of health care.

NC:] So the polarization, what it is, is a sort of a centrist Democratic Party and a moderate, moderately social democratic centrist by world standards. And then over to the Republicans who I now begin to rank, if you look at attitudes, along with the far right parties in Europe with neofascist origins. Look at the range of attitudes. It’s not very different. It’s been studied. So that’s the polarization. Well, what can we look forward to? What we can look for. Fortunately, among younger people, there is more energy, commitment, desire to help create a world in which they can survive decently. Maybe they can. That kind of power here and around the world can save us from a very grim future that’s developing.

RB: Well, just one last thing to people on, let’s say, on the left who are writing favorably about Stone’s work and about the Kennedy conspiracy. What would you say to them? It’s recently been in Counterpunch, Jacobin, Majority Report, all kinds of so called liberal places who are kind of buying into this, too. What would you say to them?

NC: Look at the record.

RB: Look at the record, Okay.

NC: Sure. You guys are intellectuals, you’re educated. You know how to read documents, you know how to read newspaper reports. Take a look at it.

RB: You can read Rethinking Camelot.

NC: Or your book. Same thing on the war managers. So you don’t like, you don’t believe what’s in the books? Fine. Go look at the public record Public. Just a tap on the key in the Internet. You can find it all.

RB: Well, we’re going to work on getting you a vowel, some vowels at the end of your name so you can go to Tuscany. So I’m thinking of Chomskarelli right now, so. And I’ll. I’ll tell my people there. So we’ll set you up in some vineyard among the lemon and orange groves. Thank you so much. There’s nobody who knows this better than you do. And I really appreciate it. Joining us again on the Green and Red podcast, you’re a great friend and a real treasure to alternative media. So thank you very much.

Scott Parkin’s outro: You are listening to the silky smooth sounds of the Green and Red podcast.

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