The main job of an imperialist diplomat is to lie. And to lie with conviction. If lucky, they don’t get caught in a flagrant lie.

Strangely enough, career diplomat Madeleine Albright, who died March 23, is most infamous for her one slip up when, caught off guard, she told the truth. And she exposed just how criminal U.S. policies are.

Syracuse, New York, 2016.  WW Photo: Minnie Bruce Pratt

To be U.S. secretary of state means being the chief liar of world imperialism. It’s true; people in this post may help plan wars, subversion, interventions, anything and everything to try to keep the U.S. and its monopolies atop the world. John Foster Dulles in the 1950s and Dean Rusk in the 1960s advised. Others just obeyed. 

But they all lied.

Gen. Colin Powell, who succeeded Madeleine Albright as secretary of state in 2001, had the task of telling one Big Lie with a straight face. Before the United Nations and to the whole world, he swore that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. This created a pretext for the March 2003 U.S.-British invasion and destruction of Iraq.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright did her share of lying. She defended every bomb and rocket launched by the Pentagon and any of the other NATO war machines against Serbia in 1999, including those that hit bridges, schools and television studios, calling them military targets. She lied about the alleged crimes of the leaders of Serbia. And she praised the gangsters leading the Kosovo terrorists. 

Unembarrassed by her lies, she was upended the one time she told the truth. On the interview show “60 Minutes,” May 12, 1996, host Leslie Stahl asked Albright, who was then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, “We have heard that half a million [Iraqi] children have died [from U.S. sanctions]. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

“I think that is a very hard choice,” Albright answered, “but the price, we think, the price is worth it.”

Like the imperialist strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, Albright’s roots were in Eastern Europe, hers in Czechoslovakia, and she was a confirmed anti-communist, anti-Russia diplomat all her academic and diplomatic life. She was especially active in the U.S. campaign to destroy multinational Yugoslavia and expand NATO eastward. One can argue today that the war in Ukraine is part of Albright’s legacy. 

But she could never live down her moment of truth. U.S. imperialism aimed to crush Iraq; and if it took the untimely death of a half million Iraqi children, Albright showed she was tough enough to do it. Being a world-class war criminal is part of the job description for the U.S. secretary of state, no matter what obstacles — even patriarchal bias — one had to overcome to get appointed. It goes with the territory.

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