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Oliver Stone on the Untold U.S. History from the Atomic Age to Vietnam to Obama’s Drone Wars

In a new series, Stone explores the disconnect in U.S. history between what's officially reported and what actually happened.

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OLIVER STONE: Yeah. Yeah, no, it’s a—

AMY GOODMAN: You’re fiercely critical of him, but you also supported him.

OLIVER STONE: I supported him because the alternative was more frightening. It’s a limited choice that Americans have. We live inside now a—no longer a national security state. I think it’s a global security state. Obama has made it very clear, as did Romney, that it’s about American power. We are the, quote, "indispensable" nation in the world, which is a form of American exceptionalism. And he made it very clear that he is going to take troops and so forth out of Afghanistan and Iraq, but he is committing, on a full-spectrum dominance, to a containment of China. He said it. Hillary Clinton has said the 21st century will be America’s Pacific century, which is a version, an echo, of Henry Luce’s statement. So, it doesn’t end. And we’re going to—and you’ll see Obama, I think, is going to move—make alliances, treaties with countries all around the world. He’s already expanding the Bush version of security. You know about the terror state. I guess you have done shows about—he hasn’t gone back on any of the civil liberty laws. Peter, you want add something?

PETER KUZNICK: And he’s expanded it. We were so critical of Bush for doing surveillance against people without judicial review. Obama is targeting and killing people without judicial review. We’re acting as judge, jury and executioner now.

AMY GOODMAN: This is President Obama on the secret drug war on CNN—drone war.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It has to be a target that is authorized by our laws. It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative. It has to be a situation in which we can’t capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States. And this is an example of where I think there’s been some misreporting. Our preference is always to capture if we can, because we can gather intelligence. But a lot of the terrorist networks that target the United States, the most dangerous ones, operate in very remote regions, and it’s very difficult to capture them. And we’ve got to make sure that, in whatever operations we conduct, we are very careful about avoiding civilian casualties.

AMY GOODMAN: There is President Obama speaking. We only have a minute left, but I was just thinking about the Yemeni cleric Awlaki’s 16-year-old son who was killed, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, two weeks after his father was killed, also in a drone strike.

OLIVER STONE: The human beings is one—people will hate us more for doing this, and we’re invading the sovereignty of Pakistan and Yemen and so many countries. I mean, the United States is acting with impunity. But the bigger issue is simply that there has been never—in the history of empires, and they’ve all fallen, no one has a monopoly on any weapon ever, and whether it’s the atomic bomb—was copied—or the hydrogen bomb. Or, in this case, Predator drones will be made by other people, and they will be coming this way or to our—we have 800 bases around the world under this empire that we’ve created. So, we’re very vulnerable. In most of them, we’ve created hatred and a desire for revenge.

PETER KUZNICK: And it doesn’t work. That’s the other point, that when we started our drone attacks in Yemen, there were 300 members of al-Qaeda there; now there are 700 or 800 members. It backfires, these policies. We just make people hate us. We refer—the CIA operators who target people in Pakistan refer to them as "bugsplats," the people who are killed there. To the Pakistanis, those are human beings. To the operators here, they’re bugsplats. That’s the attitude.