Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

This book certainly has its critics. It's as if the concepts that Chomsky is always talking about were suddenly thrust into the light. People lash out because they don't want to believe them...even if possibly true.

If you dig deeper, however, you'll most likely find that at least the backdrop story is all correct. Finding out whether Perkins had all these off-the-record discussions - well, that's another story. The book held my interest, and was a quick read. I did tire of his constant harping about how badly he felt about his actions throughout the story, and if I was the editor, I would have pared that down a bit.

One particular interesting point for me - he talks a lot about Panama. I for one cannot believe there are still people walking around that think we invaded Panama for noble reasons, or for any sort of drug interdiction, even. That's just laughable, but the willfully ignorant and naive buy it, I guess. Even back in the days when I rarely read non-fiction, I had deep suspicions about that one. Years later, I read Noriega was on and off the CIA payroll for years.

Turns out an anecdote should have clued me in - I happened to go to a Philadelphia school at the time we invaded. One of my friends was from Panama (well she graduated from there, she was originally from Israel). Let's call her Ann. Ann was back home during the invasion over Xmas break, so she was a bit delayed in getting back. When she got back to school, I asked if everything was okay, etc., she said dismissively, "oh, that fighting was only where the poor people live". Ann went to a very small (and apparently very elite) school - there were maybe about 2 dozen people in her graduation pictures. And here's the kicker: Noriega was in the pictures from her graduation, shaking hands with her dad. I've seen the pictures.

Now all this is a long way of saying that when Ann laughed out loud at the pronouncements of Daddy Bush, I should have took note. It kind of blew by me then (although as an American, I was taken aback by the blatant class warfare - we like to pretend that class doesn't exist), but years later, I wonder what HER dad did. Was he a CIA asset? Mossad? The School of Americas used to be in Panama, even though it was moved by 1989. I cannot help but think that someone from Israel lands in Panama and is rubbing elbows with Noriega is an interesting coincidence.

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