Friday, November 30, 2007

Hafiz

Hafiz, c. 1320 to 1389, a beautiful, mystic, Sufi poet from Persia
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

At This Party


I don't want to be the only one here
Telling all the secrets -

Filling up all the bowls at this party,
Taking all the laughs.

I would like you
To start putting things on the table

That can also feed the soul
The way I do.

That way
We can invite

A hell of a lot more
Friends.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Turkish Party Issues Warning on a War on Iran

The following is an excerpt from a Turkish article entitled "Reinventing themselves as apostles of peace in Annapolis, US and Israel are in preparation for hitting Iran" from Milli Gazete appeared on 28 November 2007.

"The Deputy Head of 'Saadet Partisi' [SP] (Felicity Party ) Mr Sevket Kazan warned that the so-called Peace Conference in Annapolis, undertaken by the US and Israel , will be paving the way for World War III: "This war against Iran will be launched by the US and Israel with the support of Turkey. Once the power of these two will prove insufficient; UK , France and then finally the NATO forces –including Turkey- will also get involved. In that case, the Soviet Union [sic] will probably side with Iran merely due to its opposition to the US.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Seven Bad Assumptions We Make About Iran

clipped from www.alternet.org

The Bush Administration's policy (insistence on zero enrichment of uranium, regime change and isolation of Iran) and the policy of the radicals around President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (unlimited civilian nuclear capability, selective inspections and replacing the United States as the region's dominant power) have set the two countries on a collision course. Yet the mere retirement of George W. Bush's neocons or Ahmadinejad's radicals may not be sufficient to avoid the disaster of war.

The ill-informed foreign policy debate on Iran contributes to a paradigm of enmity between the United States and Iran, which limits the foreign policy options of future U.S. administrations to various forms of confrontation while excluding more constructive approaches.

A successful policy on Iran must begin by reassessing some basic assumptions:

blog it
Continuation:
1. Iran is ripe for regime change.
Not true. [...]
2. Iran is irrational and cannot be deterred.
Not true. [...]
3. Iran is inherently anti-American.
Not quite. [...]
4. Enrichment equals a nuclear bomb.
Not necessarily. [...]
5. Iran seeks Israel's destruction.
False. [...]
6. The pressure on Iran is working.
Questionable. [...]
7. Stability in the Middle East can be achieved only through Iran's isolation.
Quite the contrary. [...]

Iran poses a complicated challenge to America, but not an irresolvable one. Despite the tremendous distrust between the two countries, history shows that negotiations can work. In 2001 Tehran and Washington worked closely together to defeat the Taliban and install a new government in Afghanistan. Without Iranian help, the new Constitution of Afghanistan would not have been achieved, according to U.S. diplomats involved in the effort.

[Posted on Clipmarks by Rasmus, who has many excellent clips there. You might also enjoy some of mine there: masbury's clipmarks. It's a great place to stash brief clips, and see those of others. - Monte]

Friday, November 23, 2007

Extra Fuel Shipments To Diego Garcia Bomber Base

The war pimps are smacking their gats up (via Larisa Alexandrovna's blog)
"LONDON, Nov 23 (Reuters) - The U.S. military has stepped up chartering of tankers and requests for extra fuel in the U.S. Central Command area, which includes the Gulf, shipping and oil industry sources say. A Gulf oil industry source said the charters suggested there would be high naval activity, possibly including a demonstration to Iran that the U.S. Navy will protect the Strait of Hormuz oil shipping route during tensions over Tehran's nuclear programme.

The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC) has tendered for four tankers in November to move at least one million barrels of jet and ship fuel between Gulf ports, from Asia to the Gulf and to the Diego Garcia base, tenders seen by Reuters show. It usually tenders for one or two tankers a month to supply Gulf operations, which include missions in Iraq."

A separate requirement is for a tanker to move 147,000 barrels of ship fuel from Singapore to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, close to the Gulf and Arabian Sea.

As Larissa notes:
that is indeed unusual according to a military friend of mine, who in an email this morning wrote: "It has gotten my attention. I don't have an explanation."

Diego Garcia-
The US is secretly upgrading special stealth bomber hangars on the British island protectorate of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to military sources. The improvement of the B1 Spirit jet infrastructure coincides with an “urgent operational need” request for £44m to fit racks to the long-range aircraft. That would allow them to carry experimental 15-ton Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bombs designed to smash underground bunkers buried as much as 200ft beneath the surface through reinforced concrete.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fool Me Once

Mike Thompson, Detroit Free Press
Mike Thompson, Detroit Free Press

Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

First, a caveat:

Although I've been a student of history for many, many years, particularly the Middle-East/Persian/South Asian regions; I do NOT consider myself to be an expert. But, like so many others, I do have an opinion.

All of this sabre-rattling and war-drum beating that has been escalating against Iran has me worried. I can envision it precipitating the end of the world as we now know it. I don't literally mean the end of the world per se, although that could end up being a better option than what we will be forced to endure.

Is Iran enriching weapons-grade uranium? I don't know. Do the Iranians have nuclear weapons ambitions? I don't know that either.

What I DO know however, is that if they're not, they are fools. Nuclear weapons are used for two purposes: Weapons of Intimidation, and Weapons of Deterence. With at least nine nuclear-armed states on this planet, it would be virtual suicide to use them offensively. The United States was one of the original signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), yet is the most egregious violator of the pact. Iran sits surrounded by nuclear powers. Pakistan, India, Israel, and the Iraqi States of America. Three of those four have refused to sign the treaty. If Iran had nuclear weapons, we would not be hearing those war-drums being pounded, or the sabres rattling. If anyone doubts that, take a look at how a little country like North Korea could keep us at bay. I am of the opinion that no one should have nuclear armaments. But a more level playing field would be created if everyone had nuclear arsenals. We could call it another Cold War, or we could term it as Peace.

What right does the U.S. have in deciding who has the weapons and who is un-armed? Some may say that Ahmadinejad is a delusional lunatic, but the same can be said about Bush. Metaphorically speaking, if all your neighbors are aggressive and have guns, and all you have is a stash of knives, it's a logical decision to want to go out and get a gun for yourself. It's a basic survival instinct. Everyone realises that using nuclear weapons in an offensive aggression will in all probability lead to their own demise as well. The United States would do well to remember that. They talk about limited nuclear strikes against Iran; but Tehran sits on the 35th parallel, where the prevailing winds blow from west to east. Does anyone honestly believe that Pakistan; India; China; and Russia, are going to just sit back and say, "Y'all go ahead and send that radio-active fall-out our way, we understand"? Russia still has the fresh memory of Chernobyl.

As I write this, the United States is developing bigger and more destructive nuclear weapons, in clear violation of the NPT. They turn a blind eye towards Israels development programs, and give aid to Pakistan and India; all of which refuse to sign the NPT. Am I the only one who sees this as highly hypocritical? Will saner minds prevail? We can only hope and pray. Ahmadinejad is dumb like a fox. He's a chess master, while Bush has yet to master checkers (he just can't get past that 'King me' thing).

That's my opinion, what say Y'all?

With a Prayer for Peace,
Brother Tim

Monday, November 19, 2007

Patterns of History: Compare & Contrast

I found the below timeline on David Swanson's site, it covers the run up to the Iraq war and it is interesting to read through it and see if any current events echo what was going on 5 years ago. He does not claim it to be comprehensive, but it is thought provoking. It runs March 17th '03 back to October 14th '02. So is déjà vu a neurological hiccup, a glitch in The Matrix or a sign that war pimps are not all that imaginative?
  • March 17, 2003, There were 211,000 U.S. troops deployed to the area.
  • March 17, 2003, Bush gave Saddam Hussein 48 hours to get out.
  • March 12, 2003, The United States advertised its testing of the largest ever non-nuclear bomb.
  • March 11, 2003, Bush said 30 days was too long to wait before launching war.
  • March 9, 2003, Powell said United States would use military force to compel Saddam Hussein to comply with UN resolutions he'd already complied with. Rice said United States would lead a coalition to change the Iraq regime.
  • March 5, 2003, Rumsfeld said that if the United States attacked Iraq it would be to change the regime, and General Tommy Franks said he was ready to attack Iraq.
  • March 4, 2003, U.S. military officials said they had 225,000 troops in the area awaiting orders to attack.
  • March 4, 2003, Marines and amphibious units deployed to Iraq, and Franks reviewed completed Iraq War plans with top commanders.
  • February 28, 2003, There were 153,000 U.S. troops in the area, and Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley published his thoughts on post-war Iraq.
  • February 27, 2003, A sixth carrier battle group was sent to Iraq, B-52 stealth bombers were sent to Diego Garcia, and a high ranking US diplomat John Brady Kiesling resigned in opposition to coming attack on Iraq.
  • February 24, 2003, Rice claimed no new UN authorization needed to attack Iraq, Powell suggested the war might come in March, and media reported United States was training Iraqi rebels in Hungary.
  • February 22, 2003, There were 126,000 U.S. troops in the area.
  • February 21, 2003, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith told the media his thoughts on a post-war Iraq.
  • February 20, 2003, Rumsfeld said coalition forces were ready to attack Iraq.
  • February 17, 2003, There were 106,000 U.S. troops in the area, and the 3rd Armored Cavalry just deployed to Iraq.
  • February 13, 2003, The Pentagon had by this point called up 150,000 Reserve and National Guard troops.
  • February 12, 2003, Hadley laid out thoughts on post-war Iraq, and Powell said U.S. would attack if Iraq did not destroy the weapons it had long since destroyed (a fact that was publicly available).
  • February 11, 2003, Feith gave Senate his thoughts on post-war Iraq.
  • February 10, 2003, There were 100,000 U.S. troops in the area, and Rumsfeld enlisted commercial airlines to get them there.
  • February 7, 2003, Rumsfeld told nations of the world to prepare for a war on Iraq, and sent a fifth carrier battle group to the area.
  • February 6, 2003, U.S. Army ships helicopters to Iraq.
  • February 3, 2003, U.S. military officials detail Iraq war plans to media. There were 70,000 troops in the area. And Time reported that CIA had been doing pre-war work in Iraq for months.
  • January 31, 2003, massive U.S. airstrikes were weakening Iraq in preparation for war, and four carrier battle groups were sent to Iraq with a fifth on the way. U.S. troops in Germany were told to pack for Turkey.
  • January 30, 2003, Bush says it will be weeks, not months. United States send weapons to Jordan to protect against retaliation by Iraq. U.S. troops in the area of Iraq were approaching 90,000 with known plans to increase to between 180,000 and 250,000. The Penatagon admitted that the CIA was already in northern Iraq.
  • January 29, 2003, US ambassador to the UN John Negroponte said the window was closing, and Jordan allowed US troops to stage attack on Iraq from Jordan.
  • January 24, 2003, US and UK military lobbied Turkey unsuccessfully for permission to attack Iraq from there.
  • January 23, 2003, US military ships headed to Iraq raising presence to 4 battle groups. Australian troops also headed to Iraq.
  • January 22, 2003, Guard and Reserves were called up in the US, while British troops and equipment headed to Iraq. Iraq claimed, as it had also on December 23rd, to have shot down an unmanned U.S. plane.
  • January 21, 2003, British troops prepared to go to Iraq.
  • January 20, 2003, There were 57,000 US troops in the area. Rumsfeld said troops were running out. British troop deployment was announced.
  • January 19, 2003, Powell said time was running out. British troops mobilized.
  • January 12, 2003, Rumsfeld signed orders to add 62,000 to the 60,000 U.S. troops in the area.
  • January 11, 2003, Australian troop deployments announced.
  • January 10, 2003, Gen. Meyers described US troops training Iraqis in Hungary.
  • January 9, 2003, US soldiers called up.
  • January 8, 2003, Central Command moved to Qatar and announced US troop deployments.
  • January 6, 2003, US ships arrived in Gulf.
  • January 2, 2003, Bush sent elite forces to Iraq.
  • December 24 - 29, 2002, U.S. troops received deployment orders.
  • December 23, 2002, 52,000 troops were in the area.
  • December 22, 2002, Iraq invited the CIA in to inspect, and the CIA said no.
  • December 18, 2002, Hungary agreed to let the United States train Iraqi exiles there.
  • December 15, 2002, British Royal Navy announced deployment to Gulf. Dozens of teams of elite American soldiers and intelligence specialists had already been sent into Iraq with millions of dollars in cash to woo key tribal leaders away from Saddam Hussein.
  • December 11, 2002, United States made deal with Qatar to use bases there to attack Iraq.
  • December 9, 2002, United States rehearsed Iraq attack with war games in Qatar.
  • December 8, 2002, US troop deployment plans announced.
  • December 4, 2002, British Ministry of Defense reported 300 percent increase since March in bombs dropped on southern Iraq.
  • December 3, 2002, US carrier battle group deployed to gulf, and Rumsfeld claimed US could attack Iraq without UN approval.
  • December 2, 2002, United States set up headquarters in Qatar.
  • November 2002 – March 2003, United States launches 120 air strikes in Iraq, compared with 110 in previous 34 months.
  • November 21, 2002, United States was recruiting force in northern Iraq.
  • November 7, 2002, U.S. base for B-2s set up on Diego Garcia.
  • November 5, 2002, U.S. battle group deployed to Gulf.
  • November 4, 2002, Kuwait allowed United States to attack Iraq from its bases.
  • November 3, 2002, Pentagon outfitted unites with river-crossing equipment for the Euphrates.
  • November 2, 2002, U.S. pilots practiced bombing southern Iraq.
  • November 1, 2002, U.S. Navy sought merchant ships to transport huge amounts of ammunition to the Gulf.
  • October 31, 2002, Boeing tested 500 lb. "smart bomb".
  • October 29, 2002, U.S. ships deployed to Gulf.
  • October 23, 2002, The CIA set up two stations in northern Iraq.
  • October 14, 2002, The United States stationed six spy satelites over Iraq.
  • October 14, 2002, Boeing factory went to double shifts to produce kits to turn "dumb bombs" into "smart bombs," enough "smart bombs" to attack Iraq.

Fabricating the case against Iran

The United States is torturing Iraqis to provide information that implicates Iran in the insurgency. Information obtained by torturing people is known to be unreliable, because people will tell the interrogator anything to make the torture stop. So why do we continue to do it? It doesn't make any sense. Nothing the United States does makes any sense.

From The Guardian

Micah Brose, privately contracted interrogator working for US forces in Iraq.
Photograph: David Smith


Micah Brose, a privately contracted interrogator working for American forces in Iraq, near the Iranian border, told The Observer that information on Iran is 'gold'.

...

Brose, 30, who extracts information from detainees in Iraq, said: 'They push a lot for us to establish a link with Iran. They have pre-categories for us to go through, and by the sheer volume of categories there's clearly a lot more for Iran than there is for other stuff. Of all the recent requests I've had, I'd say 60 to 70 per cent are about Iran.

'It feels a lot like, if you get something and Iran's not involved, it's a let down.' He added: 'I've had people say to me, "They're really pushing the Iran thing. It's like, shit, you know." '


So it sounds like we aren't finding what we're looking for. That's because it's not there. No matter how hard we want blame Iran for the U.S. screw up, there's nothing there to find. So you have to fabricate something. WMD Redux. We're just torturing people for nothing.

It makes me sick to be American. This is not who we are. The Jews have taken over the United States and they're trying to turn it into Israel. Torture is standard operating procedure in Israel. Being evil is standard operating procedure in Israel. Anything at all can be justified in Israel. Even Israel itself can be rationalized. Why not torture too?

This whole stinking mess is about Israel's supposed right to exist. Just screw everyone else, right?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Prophetically Happy

The scenario:

A community exists in the world where the rules of life are clearly spelled out in tradition, unity, and faith. Survival of this community is inherently linked with these traditions, as well as the propagation of the populace through socially accepted means, unity of beliefs and actions, compliance, and conformity to the norm.

All in all, this isn't a bad place, however one day an individual is born who is not the norm, can't conform, won't comply and incessantly questions the traditional doctrines, rules, and laws of the community - usually through the bigoted exclusions aimed in his direction at the behest of the community Elders.

The isolation from the community leads the individual to travel to a foreign land, meet with the "locals" and learn about foreign culture, as well as the possibility of mysteries and "unknowns" that are forbidden in his own society.

When the individual returns home, with a group of foreigners he his met with disdainful racism, and is accused of being the root of the community's growing socio-ecological problems. He is labeled as a threat, and banished into exile.

The individual seeks out the truth, which he learns over a period of time and through many a hardship - and returns to his community once more to help them. Once again, his character is smeared, his quest squashed with the presumptuous attitude that he is crazy.

Until the reality of the situation comes smashing down around them, and their original opinions are forcefully removed. The seeker of truth, having returned in a compassionate manner - regardless of the scorn at the hands of his peers and Elders - saves the day, the community and everyone in it by seeking the truth, and not giving up.

The community grows, both in numbers and in tolerance and acceptance.

The Question:

The scenario I just outlined, is it an ideal outcome for the US and its foreign policies, the "individual" being those of us seeking the truth, and the "Elders" who are intolerant and heavy handed in the use of force and rule in our own country....Or is it the plot to Happy Feet?

Well, actually its the plot to Happy Feet, however I think that this cute and fun animation is jam packed with subtle pokes at American culture, politics and foreign policy. But the moral of the story is inspiring, if you ask me.

The question asked at the and by Noah, the head Elder applies to us very well.

"Do we follow the traditions of the Great Guin..."







"Or succumb to the whims of a dancing fool?"








The dancing fools are lookin' pretty good to me right about now.

John Bolton: International Man Of Idiocy

Well the bullying, forcing his wife to orgies nutcase war criminal (and not just for Iraq, he just loved them torture regimes the US ran in South America) that is John Bolton says that the talks offer in 2003 is a myth, then says he wanted the ambassador who passed it on fired... For the thing that he just claimed never happened. D'oh!
Crooks & Liars.

Something We Both Have

A friend sent me this. She's in Tehran. The subject of her email was "Something we both have"



I don't get it. Someone want to explain it to me?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dear Red States

Dear Red States

We're ticked off at the way you've treated California, and we've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us.

In case you aren't aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and the entire Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get Elliot Spitzer. You get Ken Lay. We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom. We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss. We get 85 percent of America’s venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama. We get two-thirds of the tax revenue; you get to make the red states pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms. Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country's fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation's fresh fruit, 95 percent of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia. We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals than we lefties.

By the way, we have all the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.



And we get 89% of the Jews who vote for Israel. You get to send your kids to Iraq while our kids go to MIT.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This is the Disintegration of Our Country

Cross posting for the moment - just because I think it is important. And 'coz I'm pissed.

Read it here

IAEA Report Analysis

Independent Iranian analyst/writer/journalist Cyrus Safdari does a fine analysis of the IAEA report and what it really means as opposed to how it is being spun by certain war positive hypocrites. Let Cyrus guide the way, a brief summary-
The report generally says that Iran is cooperating with the IAEA as requested, and that the information Iran has provided is consistent with the IAEA's findings. It is pretty much a positive report, which says that some issues are left to be resolved later in accordance with the agreed-upon timetable, but there's no mention of any nuclear weapons programs or anything like that.

1- IRAN IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NPT: The IAEA again states that there's no evidence of any diversion of nuclear material for non-peaceful uses...

2- "UNDECLARED ACTITIVIES" AND THE ADDITIONAL PROTOCOL: The IAEA report states that though it has found no evidence of a nuclear weapons program, the IAEA cannot say that Iran's nuclear activites are exclusively peaceful since the IAEA cannot verify the absence of undeclared nuclear acvitities in Iran...First point, that the IAEA does not verify the absence of undeclared nuclear activities for any country unless they have signed and ratified the Additional Protocol...

Second point: you should know that Iran did in fact voluntarily implement the Additional Protocol by allowing the more stringent inspections for the course of 2 years during the course of the Paris Agreement negotiations with the EU3 - even though it was not legally obligated to do so - and still no evidence of nuclear weapons was found in Iran (in fact the IAEA complained publicly that the evidence that the US had given them of "secret" Iranian nuclear facilities had been bogus.) Iran stopped providing that additional level of cooperation and stopped voluntarily implementing the Additional Protocol when the EU tried to cheat Iran in the course of the Paris Agreement negotiations...

3- ISSUES RESOLVED: According to this report, several issues seem to have been resolved.

4- OUSTANDING ISSUES: THE "LAPTOP OF DEATH" There's some outstanding concern about the traces of highly-enriched uranium which were found in Iran, but to date Iran's statements about those traces have been verified by the IAEA to be accurate...The only major oustanding issue is the reported "Green Salt Project" and other nonesense about a secret Iranian nuclear project. And the only evidence of that comes from a highly questionable laptop computer that supposedly was smuggled out of Iran. You can read more about this "Laptop of Death" at the Next Hurrah.

So stuff those up your war mongering pipe and smoke them! Across the mainstream this report is mediated as sort of complying all the way to- it proves they have eighty million nukes all ready to launch at your baby's face! What does give me pause is the way the US has reacted-
"Partial credit doesn't cut it," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack when asked about a U.N. nuclear watchdog agency report on Iran's nuclear program. The White House and its ambassador at the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, said the United States would continue to work with its allies for a new round of U.N. sanctions against Tehran over its refusal to give up uranium enrichment.


"Unfortunately this report makes clear that Iran seems uninterested in working with the rest of the world and the current Iranian government continues to push the country deeper into isolation," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. "We believe that Iran should be fully cooperating and not stringing along the IAEA during this process."

This is wilful reinterpretation of the report and it screams, screams to me that they are now intent on attacking, official lies, lazy complicit media, bombs away. It will take time but they are doing the same thing they did before, lying about what their target is doing, ignoring the international agencies, using the UN to implement increasingly malicious sanctions and inspection regimes. Eventually the pressure (and cross border raids, the crowded straits of Hormuz, fake intel etc) will create an incident or Iran will simply no longer wish or be able to submit to the onerous demands of the aggressors. Remember Iran offered complete talks in 2003, the US rejected them. I would be interested to see a poll of how many Americans, in fact Europeans, know that, single figures would be my bet.

The picture painted by the media is of a a country sneakily working to make nuclear weapons and we just might have to do the 'right thing' and stop them before they 'wipe Israel off the map'. A powerful and entirely false self serving narrative that also denies Iran's sovereign rights and assumes the Empires moral superiority to act as it pleases. It's just five years later and the letter Q changed to N, the underlying imperial control and resource acquisition strategies are identical. Fuck if this century hasn't started badly and you know what? It wasn't 911 that screwed the pooch it was Florida 2000 & the supreme court coup. The empire's first dictator and if you think things aren't so bad, just remind me what isn't depraved about debating if waterboarding is torture while in denial of killing a million people for their oil? Go on, I could do with a laugh.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

All Too Familiar


I have been doing some reading up on Mussolini, and after reading a short version of his biography, I noticed a few telling similarities. Let me indulge you folks...

First, I should make a note that Benito Mussolini started the National Fascist Party in Italy during a time of turmoil. Many of the supporters of this new-found party were tired of the current conditions and economic turmoil of their country, and adopted the Nationally fueled party with great enthusiasm. While this doesn't match up quite the same as our current Commander in Chief's political start, some of the standard platforms and ideologies do match up with Mussolini's Fascist Ideals.

Mussolini defined fascism as being a right-wing collectivistic ideology in opposition to socialism, liberalism, democracy and individualism. He wrote in The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism:

Anti-individualistic, the fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only insofar as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal will of man as a historic entity.... The fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value.... Fascism is therefore opposed to that form of democracy which equates a nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number.... We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century. If the nineteenth century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and therefore the century of the State.[10]


With the exception of being anti-democratic in nature, many of the other values do coincide, and it is certainly against anything considered to be "left of center" and filled with Nationalistic Pride. Two pervasive and aggressive tell tale symptoms in the current US political climate. Paired with the current administration's disregard for the Constitution, the backbone to our Democracy, I'd say its getting closer and closer to Fascist Party Line all the time.

The origin of Fascism goes on to tell us:

The term fascismo was first coined by the Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini[8] and Hegelian philosopher Giovanni Gentile. It is derived from the Italian word fascio, which means "bundle" or "union",[9] and from the Latin word fasces. The fasces, which consisted of a bundle of rods tied around an axe, were an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrates, and the symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break.


I want you to take a quick look at the left foot of the eagle in the Presidential Seal at the top of this post. What is it clutching? Oh, a fasces. Although the seal was designed prior to Mussolini's Fascist Party, the ideology is there, and ready for the exploitation. Not to mention the numerous times Bush has made mention of "Strength through unity" with regards to current US political affairs, wars and economy.

Now on to a little bit more history, not just comparisons to Bush Jr., but this also includes the works of his father, Bush Sr. as I believe that the son is no more than an extension of the father. (Emphasis and snarky remarks courtesy of yours truly).

His first international crisis as head of Italy made him an Italian hero.{Bush SR. made a similar impact that I believe set the stage for war in Iraq - "Bush's greatest test came when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, then threatened to move into Saudi Arabia. Vowing to free Kuwait, Bush rallied the United Nations, the U. S. people, and Congress and sent 425,000 American troops."}

The crisis was a border dispute between Greece and Albania. Mussolini sent several men to the area representing Italy as part of an International Commission to dispute the issue. On August 23, 1923, all the Italians were murdered and discovered in Greek territory. {Sounds familiar enough to me, 11 years to the day that the father started a war in the Middle East, America was attacked, and although the US was sure of who did the attacking, we..."In a Rage" reacted much like Mussolini did}

In a rage, Mussolini sent the Greek government a list of demands, including a public apology, immediate inquiry into the killings, death sentence to those convicted and payment of 50 million Lira within 5 days. The Greeks refused the demand, since they did not know if it was Greeks who committed the murders.

Mussolini ordered the Italian navy to bombard Corfu (Kerkyra) off the Greek coast. {The US bombed the heck out of Iraq} The shelling was then followed by an amphibious landing of Italian marines. After the League of Nations condemned the act, Mussolini threatened to pull Italy out of the League. {Again, sounds like the conversations between the US and the UN with regards to attacking Iraq}

Mussolini found his country blacklisted by the League of Nations and it forced his relationship closer to Nazi Germany, which was also isolated for their actions. {The US, supporting nations like Pakistan who are enforcing Martial Law - making deals with the Devil}

Mussolini soon realized that the League of Nations did not have the backbone to stop Hitler or himself in gaining new colonies, so he pressed forward. {The US realized that before going into Iraq, and will continue to march on to Iran and any other country we seem to see fit - all met with little support and little success, just like Mussolini}

Italy would find limited success in the war, his conquests in Africa, Greece and Yugoslavia slowly vanished due to poor leadership in the military, and lack of fuel to power their forces. {Did someone say poor leadership, and lack of fuel? How many times has the Attorney General and National Defense Position among others needed to be filled? What is the current price of both oil, and economic and emotional fuel? How much is it costing our country, and how long can it be sustained, and at what price?}


Mussolini also started the "Black shirts" which Hitler copied with his "Brown shirts" which Bush has revived with the "Black shirt" private security company, Blackwater.

The list could go on and on, and indeed it will. Look out for part two.

For now however, I bid you good day.

US Warplanes Violate Iranian Airspace

Tabnak reports that US warplanes from Iraq violated Iran's airspace around Khorramshahr nine times in the 24-hour period from 6 AM on Monday:
"تجاوز هواپيماي آمريکا به خرمشهر در 24ساعت" (13 November 2007). That is unprecedented since the beginning of the occupation of Iraq, as Tabnak notes. An ominous sign.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Now Hear This

If you aren't reading Len Hart's blog, The Existentialist Cowboy, you should be. Read his latest post Bush Risks WWIII with Russia, China and Iran

A snippet:

"Defense analyst Tim Ripley of Jane's Defense Weekly, calls a US attack on Iran a "nightmare scenario", a war that could not be finished. Bush should have some experience in that field. He is utterly incapable of either finishing or winning in Iraq.

Intent on war, it is not surprising that Bush tries to cover up dissenting opinions and dangers. Bush is a "man" who has proven himself impervious to logic, common sense and empathy."[continues]


More to come...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Homeland Hate

Michael 'Weiner' Savage- Let's bring it on! Bomb Iran, bring our boys home now! Bomb Iran, bring our boys home now! Bomb Iran, bring our boys home now! Let's get it on! Bomb Iran, bring our boys home now! Wipe Hezbollah out of America! Cut the tentacles of Iran off! Cut the tentacles of that octopus off now! Get every hunter in America armed to the teeth! Throwback bastards! I'm so sick of them! I'm so sick of the brainwashing about Islam and Muslims and the Koran! Shove it! Shove it all! I'm sick of it!

Savage is sort of a caricature big mouth with a hippie past who became intolerant of all he used to enjoy and now gets rich broadcasting utter fascist drivel to people of low intelligence. This outright racist war mongering is identical to the way radio was used to incite previous genocides. What is remarkable is this is not a drunk loser at the bar but a millionaire media figure. Link to a campaign to persuade advertisers to withdraw their business. Rafael of Ruins of Empire did a Halloween special podcast on hate radio and their motives and practices which gives this some greater context, check it out here.
Xposted at Ten Percent

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fox: Start terror attacks on Iranians!

IN THE MAKING

Fas•cism (noun) [fa’ shizzem]
Authoritarian political ideology where all individual and societal interests are inferior to the needs of the state.


Come!
O ghosts of misery!
Louder than the whole of God,
more wordless than humiliation
breathing hard upon our backs!

Bring forth your most depraved army
over the present carnage of man;
red tongued and in the making!

Come quick under the roaring sky
and lock away hope
in your manifest gulag
of scraggly goddamned vultures!

Thrash all pleasure and goodness
over attentive hearts of dust!

Split the flesh and soul with your shadows!

Program our youth
to cleave all life of what’s left
as hordes of black-shirted assassins!

Keep watch over them
like steely eyed wolves
and stay their dissent with mild anecdote!
In time they’ll be content
to simply live another day
with wet tongue
and fearful consumption...

I detest with all my being that this pillaging horde of scoundrels has twisted the world into a sightless giant of shrieking hell!



(It is Coming - Poetryman Productions)


© 2007 mrp/thepoetryman

Wheels Are Turning

(RawStory/AFP) Israel and the United States have agreed to appoint two working committees in order to hone a joint strategy against Iran's nuclear ambitions, public radio reported on Friday... One committee will deal with intelligence on Iran's nuclear drive and the other with international sanctions...
While Bush is getting Germany onboard.

It Can't Happen Here


Famous last words. News from around the world is coming in at warp speed, and unfortunately, none of it seems to be good.

From Emergency Rule in Pakistan and Georgia to fewer rights and seemingly unending Emergency Rule in both Britain and the US, Newly found French support for the impending war with Iran to Russian Nationalist neo-nazi's, and American's touting "Islamo Fascist Awareness"*.

We are in a lot of trouble.

The fear mongering right and spineless left have found a comfortable place in which to wreak havoc on the world, using any and every possible upheaval, natural disaster, national fear, religious fear and so forth ad naseum. Havoc they have wrought. An article outlining the desperation and debilitating causalities of the never-ending-war in Iraq is heart wrenching. Iraq's New Crisis: is a costly reminder of what war really is, and how badly our country is really behaving.

We want to do this again, with Iran? Good God.

*I would just like to take a second here to talk about the "Islamo-Fascist" debacle for a moment. While I commend Sgt. Kokesh for his outspoken efforts against this sly form of racism, I have to say in his latest interview I feel that he fell flat a little bit. Islamo-Fascism is a racist and bigoted statement, period. It is not even appropriate, in my opinion, in a theoretical or educational setting. It implies that all people who are considered Islamic (by whatever standards) are Fascists. We know this isn't true, just the same as not all Christians are fascists. (For those of you who can't seem to remember any "Christo-Fascists" would do well to google the Inquisition, Hitler's religion - here are some extreme Fascists all who acted, in part, in the name of Christianity). It would be better, and far more appropriate to say, when addressing this particular concern, Fascists who operate under the guise of Islam. Or just plain Fascists. Its just not as catchy.

The inherent racist aspect of stereotyping an entire population of people is a common, and well placed tool to instigate fear. We all know that fear is necessary to any aspiring dictatorship or Fascist Idealist looking to gain some power in his or her favor.

"Islamo-Fascism" however, isn't the only bigot card being played here - immigration, the newest old debate has brought a rise in Americans (and apparently Russians - who are listening to American White Supremacists) to lambaste immigrants, both legal or otherwise.

At first it was the Jews, and then the Roma's (Gypsies), and the homosexuals...

At first it was the Islamists, and then the immigrants, and then the homosexuals....

I think you get the idea.

How Israel makes money from "the war on terror"

How war was turned into a brand


Political chaos means Israel is booming like it's 1999 - and the boom is in defence exports field-tested on Palestinians

Naomi Klein
Saturday June 16, 2007
The Guardian
...

Here's another theory. Israel's economy isn't booming despite the political chaos that devours the headlines but because of it. This phase of development dates back to the mid-90s, when the country was in the vanguard of the information revolution - the most tech-dependent economy in the world. After the dotcom bubble burst in 2000, Israel's economy was devastated, facing its worst year since 1953. Then came 9/11, and suddenly new profit vistas opened up for any company that claimed it could spot terrorists in crowds, seal borders from attack, and extract confessions from closed-mouthed prisoners.

Within three years, large parts of Israel's tech economy had been radically repurposed. Put in Friedmanesque terms, Israel went from inventing the networking tools of the "flat world" to selling fences to an apartheid planet. Many of the country's most successful entrepreneurs are using Israel's status as a fortressed state, surrounded by furious enemies, as a kind of 24-hour-a-day showroom, a living example of how to enjoy relative safety amid constant war. And the reason Israel is now enjoying supergrowth is that those companies are busily exporting that model to the world.

Discussions of Israel's military trade usually focus on the flow of weapons into the country - US-made Caterpillar bulldozers used to destroy homes in the West Bank, and British companies supplying parts for F-16s. Overlooked is Israel's huge and expanding export business. Israel now sends $1.2bn in "defence" products to the United States - up dramatically from $270m in 1999. In 2006, Israel exported $3.4bn in defence products - well over a billion more than it received in American military aid. That makes Israel the fourth largest arms dealer in the world, overtaking Britain.

Much of this growth has been in the so-called homeland security sector. Before 9/11 homeland security barely existed as an industry. By the end of this year, Israeli exports in the sector will reach $1.2bn, an increase of 20%. The key products and services are hi-tech fences, unmanned drones, biometric IDs, video and audio surveillance gear, air passenger profiling and prisoner interrogation systems - precisely the tools and technologies Israel has used to lock in the occupied territories.

Read more ... (ht2 RickB)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Gagging The Messenger

(IPS) - A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear programme, and thus make the document more supportive of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's militarily aggressive policy toward Iran, according to accounts of the process provided by participants to two former Central Intelligence Agency officers.
Very much worth reading it all, remember 'fixing the intelligence around the policy'? Highlights if you are short on time... (you know you're in trouble when 'Death Squad' John Negroponte is the voice of reason)-
  • intelligence analysts have had to review and rewrite their findings three times, because of pressure from the White House.
  • The White House has now apparently decided to release the unsatisfactory draft NIE, but without making its key findings public.
  • Frank J. Gaffney, a protégé of neoconservative heavyweight Richard Perle, complained that Negroponte was "absurdly declaring the Iranian regime to be years away from having nuclear weapons".
  • an unsubtle signal to the intelligence community that the White House was determined to obtain a more alarmist conclusion on the Iranian nuclear programme.


PS. U.S. defense officials have signaled that up-to-date attack plans are available if needed in the escalating crisis over Iran's nuclear aims, although no strike appears imminent.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Warmongering Liars And Their Media Enablers

Ok now I want to make sure you are sitting down so you don't injure yourself should you faint dead away with shock-
George Bush tells lies in an effort to cause wars and the corporate media helps him.

Are you okay? I know that might be...what? You already knew that? You're not remotely surprised? But, but...I mean after lying the 'coalition' into Iraq surely he'd be impeached and the media would learn form their poor behaviour and were now acting as a fourth estate providing checks and balances on power. Why are you laughing?

We're going through it all over again this time with even higher stakes and the kid shouting the King has no clothes is being more firmly gagged than before. The idiot boy King addiction brain-damaged thug today-
(Reuters)U.S. President George W. Bush defended in a television interview on Wednesday his recent comments suggesting Iran's nuclear ambitions might trigger World War Three and insisted he wanted a diplomatic solution.

Bush told a news conference last month that preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons would be a means of avoiding a new global conflict.

"The reason I said that is because this is a country that has defied the IAEA -- in other words, didn't disclose all their program -- have said they want to destroy Israel," Bush said in the interview with German broadcaster RTL.

"If you want to see World War Three, you know, a way to do that is to attack Israel with a nuclear weapon," Bush added. "And so I said, now is the time to move. It wasn't a prediction, nor a desire."

Asked whether there was a point when the United States would decide military action was the only possible option for dealing with Iran, Bush said: "I would never say that."

"I would say that we would always try to try diplomacy first," he said.

Erm...defied the IAEA, hmmm now first the refutation-
Vaeidi said Iran replied to all outstanding IAEA questions, and there would be no more technical talks until the IAEA board of governors met on November 22.

Iran and the IAEA agreed in August on a plan of action that aims to remove all technical ambiguities by the IAEA over Iran’s nuclear projects, and at the same time prepare the ground for political talks between Jalili and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

And now, the suspicion of how may I put this...'coordination' with Israel-
Campaigning for tougher sanctions on Tehran, Israel went on the offensive on Tuesday against the UN nuclear watchdog, accusing its chief Mohammed ElBaradei of playing into Iran's hands over its atomic drive.
The campaign comes with the International Atomic Energy Agency poised to publish a new report on Iran's nuclear ambitions, to serve as a key part of further discussions at the United Nations on whether to impose a third round of sanctions on Tehran.
"Unfortunately there are foreign officials playing the Iranians' game by contributing to the Iranian strategy of foot-dragging," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev told AFP.
"From this point of view the International (Atomic Energy) Agency and its leadership are guilty," Regev added.
"One could ask whether the agency agreed to fulfil the role the Iranians want it to play, to allow Tehran to implement its strategy," he said.

So Bush mischaracterises, ok lies about IAEA findings and coming up with the left hook Israel attacks their credibility just to be sure. The old one, two.
Now the Bush lie, the destroying Israel comment, well we all know that is crap but just for the record read this.
But the really, really, really, really BIG LIE (and unsurprisingly inarticulately put) is "we would always try to try diplomacy first". Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you Mr Juan Cole-
Lawrence Wilkerson, an aide to Colin Powell when he was secretary of state says that Iran in 2003 offered to help stabilize Iraq and to cut off aid to Hizbullah in Lebanon and to Hamas. Wilkerson says that the State Department was interested in pursuing the offer, which presumably came from reformist president Mohammad Khatami. He says that when the issue was broached with VP Richard Bruce Cheney, Cheney shot down any notion of "talking to evil." As if Mohammad Khatami is evil and Richard Bruce Cheney is not. (Cheney's lies about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and connection to 9/11 have gotten hundreds of thousands of people killed).
What this article doesn't mention is that the rightwing Likud cabal in Cheney's office, such as Irv Lewis Libby, with its connections to the Israeli far right, almost certainly played a key role in this rejection. I think John Hannah was already there then, too. David Wurmser came later, after getting up the fraudulent case against Iraq in the Pentagon "Office of Special Plans" (i.e. foreign policy plumbers) set up by Likudnik Douglas Feith, then the number 3 man in the Pentagon.

Ok, now I have been able to reference the 2003 rejection of talks which immediately proves Bush is lying in this interview, so why not some shiny eyed professional journalists type? I mean Chomsky's propaganda model aside, just out of sheer professional pride... I guess at a certain level of income' whore' no longer haunts you, 'courtesan' sounds kinda cool huh?

Gurus of Endless War

Shadia Drury is a Canadian Professor of Ploitical Science in University of Regina and she has authority in tracing the contemporary perils of neoconservatism to the "cult" of Straussians: a group of dangerous people who need to be exposed and analyzed not in terms of what they say, but what they do.

In her New Humanist Essay, Gurus of War, she has a serious warning:
In the pages of the neocon bible, The Weekly Standard, William Kristol has attacked the incompetence of the administration, even though it has been doing his bidding. In his recent book America at the Crossroads (2006), Francis Fukuyama has declared that he is a neocon no more. All this has led conventional wisdom to declare the death of neoconservatism as a political force and to relegate its adherents to the trash bin of history. But this is much too optimistic.

In the first place, the neocons have not admitted defeat. They believe that the incompetence of the Bush administration is the only reason for the failure of their brilliant plans. They refuse to abandon their devotion to military solutions, continuing to advocate a military attack on Iran. They refuse to admit that the invasion of Iraq was supported by lies, propaganda and the manipulation of public opinion. They concede only that the Bush administration has made errors that were a result of incompetence and limited information. They continue to link the invasion of Iraq with the so called “War on Terror”, which is merely a convenient term that makes their project of world dominance more palatable. But the neocons refuse to countenance any suggestion that the project of world domination is seriously flawed. They refuse to link the mistakes of the Bush administration to the gargantuan and reckless nature of neoconservative policies.

[...]

In truth, the ineptitude of the Bush administration has highlighted the inherent defects of neoconservatism. The neoconservatives were never content with the political realism of a Hobbes or even a Henry Kissinger. They adopted the more strident realism of Leo Strauss, laced as it is with religious self-righteousness – God is on our side and our enemies are allied with the forces of evil. Strauss himself was an atheist, but he thought that religion was the “pious fraud”, indispensable for cultivating deference to authority, undermining hedonism, instilling discipline and making people ready to die for their country. Religion was vital to prepare people for death, tragedy and the horrors of war.

Irving Kristol, in his Autobiography of an Idea, echoed Leo Strauss when he argued that there was no reason to choose between the rational atheism of Freud and the religion of Moses, since the two can be reconciled by adopting, “a double standard of truth. Let men believe in the lies of religion since they cannot do without them, and let the handful of sages, who know the truth and can live with it, keep it among themselves. Men are then divided into the wise and the foolish, the philosophers and the common men, and atheism becomes a guarded esoteric doctrine – for if the illusions of religion were to be discredited, there is no telling with what madness men would be seized, with what uncontrollable anguish.”

Not all the neoconservatives are covert atheists. But the Straussian neocons are deluded into thinking that they are a special breed; they live by a different rule; they are the superior few who can face the abyss of nihilism; they know that God is dead and they have replaced him. For these mortal gods, lying, deceit and the manipulation of public opinion are honourable because the masses are not fit for truth – they need a diet of noble delusions intended to link the political interests of the state with the cosmic forces of justice, goodness and truth.

This double standard is integral to Strauss’s trust in the salutary effects of the covert tyranny of the wise. In his work he returned to classical sources to frame this justification of deception. In City and Man (1964) Strauss revisits the case of Alcibiades, the treasonous Athenian general who was suspected of plotting to destroy Athenian democracy. Strauss defends him by arguing that this would have been the best thing for Athens, adding, “It is impossible for a wise man to benefit his city except by deceiving it.” This glorification of lying and tyranny has had disastrous consequences.

Abram Shulsky, the Director of the Office of Special Plans, which was created by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to find intelligence that would justify the invasion of Iraq, has stated bluntly that he learned from Strauss that “deception is the norm in political life.” We know now that the intelligence used to justify the war was misleading, exaggerated or false. The facts were made to fit the policy and not the other way around.

It is no surprise that one of the Straussians in high office, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, has been convicted of lying to the FBI, obstruction of justice and other criminal offences. Libby was Vice President Dick Cheney’s Straussian-educated chief of staff. He was a student of Paul Wolfowitz, who was a student of Leo Strauss and Allan Bloom. Wolfowitz was Deputy Minister of Defense and a key architect of the war on Iraq. Now he is presiding over the World Bank, where he is mired in scandal for fraud, deception and nepotism.

These Straussians will no doubt compare their predicament to the persecution of Socrates by the Athenian mob: wise men vilified by the ignorant masses. But the comparison is disingenuous. Socrates preferred the death penalty to breaking the law. In contrast, Strauss has cultivated arrogant and unprincipled crooks, liars, cynics and snobs.

But despite the fall from grace of so many of their clan, and the demise of neoconservatism as a brand, this does not mean that the neoconservative culture of war will disappear. The militancy of the neocons is not an aberration in American politics. It is intimately linked to the narcissism at the heart of America’s psyche.

There has always been a tendency for Americans to believe that they are an exceptional nation with a divine calling. It is quite normal for Americans of every political stripe to believe that their manifest destiny is to be servants of truth and justice, an inspiration to all humanity and a beacon of freedom and progress – a nation under God, and a Zion that will light up the world: “The last, best hope for the world”.

This is why something akin to neoconservatism is a perennial American temptation. Long after the defeat of the Bush administration, an aggressive foreign policy similar to that of the neoconservatives will continue to beckon American leaders.


P.S. Also read Francis Boyle's account of the "schooling" of these Straussians.

Rich Lowry (2002) Catastrophe if Bush doesn't Invade [Iraq]

In May 2002, National Review Editor Rich Lowry warned that the American military was being a lousy lazy entity to be actively warning and discouraging President Bush's Vow to War!

The war monger fellow wrote:
As Clemenceau said, war is too important to be left to the generals. [A]ll great wartime leaders — Lincoln, Clemenceau, Churchill, Ben Gurion — never left the military to make its own policy, but constantly prodded, challenged, and gave it direction. In this spirit, Bush should (within reason) refuse to take "no" for an answer from the Joint Chiefs. If they can't come up with a plausible plan for invading Iraq, they should think harder. If they can't contemplate the risks involved in invading without Saudi bases, they should get over it.
Strike the Roots:
What is wrong with this picture, other than the fact that Mr. Lowry is happy to send others to their deaths while he remains safely seated behind his computer console? For starters, the list of four men who "prodded" their militaries into alleged greatness leaves out the best example of a leader who "knew better": Adolph Hitler. He always "rode herd" over his generals on how best to waste, I mean spend, Germany's military resources. The results, according to many historians, cost Germany the war.

Make no mistake: Hitler's generals were no shrinking violets. They were well equipped professional soldiers who loved their country and were dedicated to advancing its goals. They were not, however, in favor of squandering their nation's resources, human and otherwise, for little gain. Therefore, they did their best to dissuade Hitler from his most disastrous ideas.

Did Hitler listen? He did not. He was the Man with the Plan, and could see in his mind's eye exactly how everything would unfold, if only those damn generals would stop being such naysayers. It would be glorious! He was also, of course, a fool and a madman, whose head was filled with carnage above all else, and who, in the end, visited that carnage back upon his own nation. In other words, Hitler bears, in this respect as well, an uncanny resemblance to men like Rich Lowry, with their visions of glory for the New American Empire. The neocons are not quite stupid enough to adopt the word "Fatherland," but the dream is the same.
IOZ writes:

It's All Just a Little Bit of History Repeating

[Introduction]: American liberals accuse their conservative counterparts of atavism, but they themselves are equally guilty--if not guiltier--of eying an imaginary past. Because their program is untethered from the history and reality of the actual United States, a vapid, vacuous series of exhortations to the better angels of our nature without the slightest attempt to grapple with the real actions of our country over the past centuries, they propose it as a reinvigoration or restoration of a peaceable, humanitarian, democratic tradition that never in fact existed. As partisans, it's understandable that they would want to exculpate their own political and intellectual forebears. Likewise, it's easy to see why the myth of a Just America plays so heavily in their rhetorical contortions. I'll make the point again: all politics is conservative in the sense that it seeks to fulfill the promise of an heroic past. The impediment is that the past wasn't heroic, but that's never stopped anyone.
[Succinct and poignant Analysis]
[Conclusion]:What accounts for this deliberate blindness? Is it intellectual laziness? Is it political "tribalism," to use Arthur Silber's going term? To a degree. More substantially, it's blindness motivated by moral and intellectual cowardice. If, after all, President Bush is the continuation of an historic trend; if present policies are the apotheoses of past practices; then the complete hollowness of choosing Obama over Clinton over Edwards becomes readily apparent. The bankruptcy of investing time and energy in people who will do nothing to change the fundamental principles of the American empire because they are products of the empire becomes evident. If, however, that were the case, then one would be less inclined to imagine himself vaguely as a revolutionary for the courage of pulling a democratic lever in a curtained-off little room. He would first have to confront his sundry importance. His dispensibility. His irrelevance. He would then have to confront what it means to be one more disposable body in a vast military and mercantile empire. He would have to see that the only real politics are a more radical politics than he is willing to entertain, and he would have to admit that if change comes, it will not come within his lifetime. The principle here is Copernican. To understand your actual place, you must first discover that you're not at the center, and then discover that you are very, very small. There's a different kind of power in that knowledge than in the delusion of grandness and centrality. But it isn't a power that bears quadrennial rewards of falling balloons and butterflies on inauguration day.

Bush's Big Blunder

November 6, 2007 at 23:17:12

Pakistan and the Collapse of the Bush Administration's Freedom Agenda

by Scott O'Reilly

The invasion and botched occupation of Iraq will probably go down in history as one of the greatest strategic blunders in all of military history. It remains to be seen of course, whether or not the Bush administration’s misjudgment will end up instigating a regional conflagration, or even WWIII. What is clear, however, is that the U.S. invasion has succeeded in making the most volatile region of the planet even more unstable.Will Turkey invade Iraq? Will the United States strike Iran? Will Pakistan explode? And what happens if Musharaff falls and extremists get their hands on the Bomb? You can be sure that U.S. contingency plans include the possibility Special Forces operations inside Pakistan to try and prevent that nightmare scenario from happening.

All of this falls on the heels of Israel’s apparently successful raid on a Syrian nuclear facility.No doubt, hawks in the administration, especially Dick Cheney, will tout the Israeli operation as proof that preemption still works. The problem, of course, is no one can calculate how a preemptive military strike against Iran (which would be the Bush administration’s second unprovoked attack against a Muslim country) will complicate American interests in Iraq, Pakistan, and the wider Middle East. An attack could set back Iran’s nuclear program months or even years, but at the cost of destabilizing Pakistan to the point where extremists get their hands on nuclear weapons. Read more ...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Empire Building Lubricant

Ten Percent in the muthaluvvin' house! Thanks to Naj's kind invitation it is I- RickB with my first post to this fine group blog/meta blog whose goal I feel is nothing less than world peace and the end of Empire Americana! Easy, I thought it might be something challenging, what am I going to do next week with all my spare time? Oh ok, I'll cure AIDS & cancer. Yeah supertalented and overwhelmingly humble too, like the aristocratic fool said- Bring it on!

Now, as well as all the other uses Iran is being put to by the US government (scapegoat, bogeyman, military budget enlarger) it is also being put to work by American imperialists as both a lubricant and aphrodisiac to expand US influence into Europe.
(Reuters) The United States intends to proceed with a radar and missile shield in central Europe despite Russian objections, a senior U.S. official said on Monday. "We are continuing negotiations with those countries (Poland and the Czech Republic)," Daniel Fried, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, told a news conference in Baku.

"We hope to succeed, and if we succeed, we will proceed with the development of a radar system for the Czech Republic and missiles for Poland," he added. The plan for a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland to avert potential missile strikes from Iran has angered Russia, which says the defense shield would threaten its security.

The logic is impeccable, no wait the other thing- absurd. Exactly why and indeed how would Iran be attacking Poland or the Czech Republic is something probably only spiritualists and groundhogs could divine. But apparently the Whitehouse are down to any old nonsense coupled to base xenophobia to sell their incredibly expensive, non-functional empire enlarging boondogle. Without Iran they would be left to hint that maybe aliens might be about to attack and without the missile shield nothing would stand between brain sucking slimy green xenomorphs and our poor innocent children.

There is a very detailed and completely hilarious article on the farcical world of the US missile shield/military industrial gravy train by Jack Hitt in a recent Rolling Stone(I am not kidding when I say the ex-guitarist from the Doobie Brothers plays a key role in missile defence & the previously mentioned alien invasion... is seen as a risk, but they'd need more money to fight it), you can read it here, and a quick taste-
Missile defense exists in a world of its own. It has a special budget process that exempts it from most congressional oversight, and it is pioneering a new acquisitions process that redefines the very nature of what constitutes a "threat." The system has a separate definition to denote what it means for a weapon to "work" and even what it means to "know" something to be true.

Most of the time, the Patriot missed its mark. And in 2003, at the start of the Iraq War, Patriots killed two British soldiers and an American pilot, Lt. Nathan White. It turns out that even the Patriot -- the only part of missile defense that has actually been battle-tested -- suffers from basic problems, sometimes mistaking our own planes for enemy missiles.

To justify the deployment of untested technologies, officials at the Missile Defense Agency changed the fundamental epistemology of weapons procurement. In bureaucratic-speak, they ceased following a "knowledge-based" system and relied instead upon what they called a "capability-based" standard. In simple terms, it's the difference between knowing that something works because you've tested it, and believing that something works because all the parts, when put together, should be capable of working. It's the difference between test-driving a car before mass-producing it, and building one from a schematic but deciding not to turn the key for the first time until there's an emergency. It's the difference between the old carpenter's advice of "measure twice, cut once," and the new, Rumsfeldian directive: "Cut already."

How to treat Islamophobia

Responding to Islamophobia: A Pro-Active Strategy

Phyllis Bennis | October 24, 2007

Editor: Erik Leaver



Foreign Policy In Focus


It is clearly no coincidence that the areas that are the ultimate targets of the so-called "war on terror," countries where Islam is preeminent as majority populations and often the basis for governance, are the same countries and regions where strategic resources--most notably oil and natural gas--are concentrated. It is also no coincidence that both the 2002 and 2006 versions of the Pentagon's "Quadriennial Review" demonized Muslims, Islamic countries and Islam, in various guises, as grave threats to U.S. security. read more ...

Is it really "either - or"?

As David Corn writes in MotherJones, Joe Biden may have given the best comment in the October 30 presidential candidates' debate. Here's an excerpt:
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Biden, would you pledge to the American people that Iran would not build a nuclear bomb on your watch?

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards each wiggled his or her way out of the question, essentially pledging to do what they could to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Then Russert turned to Biden, and Biden threw the question back in Russert's face.

SEN. BIDEN: I would pledge to keep us safe. If you told me, Tim -- and this is not -- this is complicated stuff. We talk about this in isolation. The fact of the matter is the Iranians may get 2.6 kilograms of highly enriched uranium; the Pakistanis have hundreds, thousands of kilograms of highly enriched uranium.
If by attacking Iran to stop them from getting 2.6 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, the government in Pakistan falls, who has missiles already deployed, with nuclear weapons on them ... then that's a bad bargain. ...
What is the greatest threat to the United States of America: 2.6 kilograms of highly enriched uranium in Tehran or an out of control Pakistan? It's not close.
Biden was taking the mature approach to foreign policy, daring to challenge the false dichotomy: let Iran go nuclear or start a war.
Now, one could certainly challenge the idea of whether Iran will ever develop a nuclear weapon. Likewise, one could challenge the arrogance which assumes the nuclear USA has the right to decide who else joins the club.

But I do applaud Biden's refusal to comply with Russert's simplistic question; and I do applaud his attack on the absurd idea that foreign policy is ever as simple as Bush's binary: "Submit to the will of a foreign power or be bombed." Is either one a viable option to an elected leader of a sovereign nation?

Once again, Bush cannot see his policy as the catalyst that turns animosity to bellicosity.

Erroneous assumptions about Iran

The Nation: article | posted November 1, 2007 (November 19, 2007 issue)

The Iranian Challenge


Trita Parsi



Iran will be the top foreign policy challenge for the United States in the coming years. The Bush Administration's policy (insistence on zero enrichment of uranium, regime change and isolation of Iran) and the policy of the radicals around President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (unlimited civilian nuclear capability, selective inspections and replacing the United States as the region's dominant power) have set the two countries on a collision course. Yet the mere retirement of George W. Bush's neocons or Ahmadinejad's radicals may not be sufficient to avoid the disaster of war.

The ill-informed foreign policy debate on Iran contributes to a paradigm of enmity between the United States and Iran, which limits the foreign policy options of future US administrations to various forms of confrontation while excluding more constructive approaches. These policies of collision are in no small part born of the erroneous assumptions we adopted about Iran back in the days when we could afford to ignore that country. But as America sinks deeper into the Iraqi quicksand, remaining in the dark about the realities of Iran and the actual policies of its decision-makers is no longer an option.

A successful policy on Iran must begin by reassessing some basic assumptions:
Read more ...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Who is the terrorist?

Definition of terrorism:Terrorism in the modern sense is violence or other harmful acts committed (or threatened) against civilians for political or other ideological goals. Most definitions of terrorism include only those acts which are intended to create fear or "terror", are perpetrated for an ideological goal ...


Is there something amusing about Americans accusing others of "terrorism" ?

Checkout these headlines!

Bomb Iran LA Times (last year)
We must Bomb Iran
, says US republican guru The Telegraph, UK
Bomb, Bomb Iran New York times
Podhoretz secretly urged Bush to Bomb Iran Politco
Likud members: Bomb Iran Ynet News
Bomb Iran? U.S. Requests Bunker-Buster Bombs ABC news
We may have to Bomb Iran Times (last year)

The Case for Bombing Iran, I hope and pray that President Bush will do it. Wall Street Journal
Bolton Calls for Bombing Iran The Guardian
We must attack Iran before it gets the bomb The Telegraph, UK
US plans to Bomb Iran, inspite denials The Independent
The Plane that will Bomb Iran
The Atlantic
Bomb Iran Now Jewcy.com
US planning contingency plan to Bomb Iran Reuters
Bomb Iran: For Israel and America!CounterPunch
(originally posted at http://iranfacts.blogspot.com)