Noam Chomsky, the renowned US academic, author and political activist, speaks to Avi Lewis on Al Jazeera's Inside USA.
They discuss whether the US election this year will bring real change, the ongoing conflict in Iraq and why Americans should look to their Southern American counterparts for political inspiration.
The Democrats in this election campaign have been talking a lot, maybe less so more recently, about withdrawing from Iraq.
What are the chances that a new president will significantly change course on the occupation and might there be any change for the people of Iraq as a result of the electoral moment in the US?
Well, one of the few journalists who really covers Iraq intimately from inside is Nir Rosen, who speaks Arabic and passes for Arab, gets through society, has been there for five or six years and has done wonderful reporting. His conclusion, recently published, as he puts it, is there are no solutions.
This has been worse than the Mongol invasions of the 13th century - you can only look for the least bad solution but the country is destroyed.
And it has in fact been catastrophic. The Democrats are now silenced because of the supposed success of the surge which itself is interesting, it reflects the fact that there's no principled criticism of the war – so if it turns out that your gaining your goals, well, then it was OK.
We didn't act that way when the Russians invaded Chechnya and, as it happens, they're doing much better than the US in Iraq.
In fact what's actually happening in Iraq is kind of ironic. The Iraqi government, the al-Maliki government, is the sector of Iraqi society most supported by Iran, the so-called army - just another militia - is largely based on the Badr brigade which is trained in Iran, fought on the Iranian side during the Iran-Iraq war, was part of the hated Revolutionary Guard, it didn't intervene when Saddam was massacring Shiites with US approval after the first Gulf war, that's the core of the army.
The figure who is most disliked by the Iranians is of course Muqtada al-Sadr, for the same reason he's disliked by the Americans – he's independent.
If you read the American press, you'd think his first name was renegade or something, it's always the "renegade cleric" or the "radical cleric" or something - that's the phrase that means he's independent, he has popular support and he doesn't favour occupation.
Well, the Iranian government doesn't like him for the same reason. So, they [Iran] are perfectly happy to see the US institute a government that's receptive to their influence and for the Iraqi people it's a disaster.
And it'll become a worse disaster once the effects of the warlordism and tribalism and sectarianism sink in more deeply.
Read the full discussion at Al-Jazeera.
Or watch it here.
Inside USA - Noam Chomsky - 20 June 08 Part 1
Inside USA - Noam Chomsky - 20 June 08 Part 2