Fundamental Human Rights

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Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Let’s interrupt their fun

Posted by terres on March 27, 2010

Whichever way you look at it, the final war before the COLLAPSE has started

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger describes the increasing American war front across the world: from Afghanistan to Africa and Latin America. This is the Third World War in all but name, waged by the only aggressive “ism” that denies it is an ideology and threatened not by introverted tribesmen in faraway places but by the anti-war instincts of its own citizens.

Have a nice world war, folks

25 Mar 2010
John Pilger

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger describes the increasing American war front across the world: from Afghanistan to Africa and Latin America. This is the Third World War in all but name, waged by the only aggressive “ism” that denies it is an ideology and threatened not by introverted tribesmen in faraway places but by the anti-war instincts of its own citizens.

Here is news of the Third World War. The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, American missiles have been placed in four Persian Gulf states, and “bunker-buster” bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls in order to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia, from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the secretary of “defence” Robert Gates complains that “the general [European] public and the political class” are so opposed to war they are an “impediment” to peace. Remember this is the month of the March Hare.

According to an American general, the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is not so much a real war as a “war of perception”. Thus, the recent “liberation of the city of Marja” from the Taliban’s “command and control structure” was pure Hollywood. Marja is not a city; there was no Taliban command and control. The heroic liberators killed the usual civilians, poorest of the poor. Otherwise, it was fake. A war of perception is meant to provide fake news for the folks back home, to make a failed colonial adventure seem worthwhile and patriotic, as if The Hurt Locker were real and parades of flag-wrapped coffins through the Wiltshire town of Wooten Basset were not a cynical propaganda exercise.

“War is fun”, the helmets in Vietnam used to say with bleakest irony, meaning that if a war is revealed as having no purpose other than to justify voracious power in the cause of lucrative fanaticisms such as the weapons industry, the danger of truth beckons. This danger can be illustrated by the liberal perception of Tony Blair in 1997 as one “who wants to create a world [where] ideology has surrendered entirely to values” (Hugo Young, the Guardian) compared with today’s public reckoning of a liar and war criminal.

Western war-states such as the US and Britain are not threatened by the Taliban or any other introverted tribesmen in faraway places, but by the anti-war instincts of their own citizens. Consider the draconian sentences handed down in London to scores of young people who protested Israel’s assault on Gaza in January last year. Following demonstrations in which paramilitary police “kettled” (corralled) thousands, first-offenders have received two and a half years in prison for minor offences that would not normally carry custodial sentences. On both sides of the Atlantic, serious dissent exposing illegal war has become a serious crime.

Silence in other high places allows this moral travesty. Across the arts, literature, journalism and the law, liberal elites, having hurried away from the debris of Blair and now Obama, continue to fudge their indifference to the barbarism and aims of western state crimes by promoting retrospectively the evils of their convenient demons, like Saddam Hussein. With Harold Pinter gone, try compiling a list of famous writers, artists and advocates whose principles are not consumed by the “market” or neutered by their celebrity. Who among them have spoken out about the holocaust in Iraq during almost 20 years of lethal blockade and assault? And all of it has been deliberate. On 22 January 1991, the US Defence Intelligence Agency predicted in impressive detail how a blockade would systematically destroy Iraq’s clean water system and lead to “increased incidences, if not epidemics of disease”. So the US set about eliminating clean water for the Iraqi population: one of the causes, noted Unicef, of the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five. But this extremism apparently has no name.

Norman Mailer once said he believed the United States, in its endless pursuit of war and domination, had entered a “pre-fascist era”. Mailer seemed tentative, as if trying to warn about something even he could not quite define. “Fascism” is not right, for it invokes lazy historical precedents, conjuring yet again the iconography of German and Italian repression. On the other hand, American authoritarianism, as the cultural critic Henry Giroux pointed out recently, is “more nuance, less theatrical, more cunning, less concerned with repressive modes of control than with manipulative modes of consent.”

This is Americanism, the only predatory ideology to deny that it is an ideology. The rise of tentacular corporations that are dictatorships in their own right and of a military that is now a state with the state, set behind the façade of the best democracy 35,000 Washington lobbyists can buy, and a popular culture programmed to divert and stultify, is without precedent. More nuanced perhaps, but the results are both unambiguous and familiar. Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, the senior United Nations officials in Iraq during the American and British-led blockade, are in no doubt they witnessed genocide. They saw no gas chambers. Insidious, undeclared, even presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, the Third World War and its genocide proceeded, human being by human being.

In the coming election campaign in Britain, the candidates will refer to this war only to laud “our boys”. The candidates are almost identical political mummies shrouded in the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes. As Blair demonstrated a mite too eagerly, the British elite loves America because America allows it to barrack and bomb the natives and call itself a “partner”. We should interrupt their fun.

Copyright: The author/publication.

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Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq War, Somalia, US basis in Colombia, Yemen | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

US troops are dying in a foreign civil war

Posted by terres on October 27, 2009

As 14 more US personnel are killed in 3 helicopter crashes, AND another 8 troops lose their lives in southern Afghanistan, senior U.S. official resigns over ‘pointless war’

‘US troops are dying for what is essentially a foreign civil war’

Matthew Hoh, a former Marine Corps captain and the senior U.S. civilian in Zabul province resigns.

matthew hoh
“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” Matthew Hoh wrote in his resignation letter. Photo: Gerald Martineau / The Washington Post. Image may be subject to copyright.

Hoh, 36, is the first U.S. official to publicly resign in protest over the Afghan war, which he had come to believe fueled the civil war in Afghanistan.

“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”

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Posted in NATO air strike, Obama’s Vietnam, pointless war, senior U.S. official resigns, US presence in Afghanistan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Are you going to kill me, too?

Posted by terres on October 6, 2009

Image of the Day: Children Who Grow Up Loving America!

President Barack Obama has ruled out any strategy that involves  a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan,  despite the real prospects of losing the increasingly unpopular war.

Afghan girl
An Afghan girl looks at US Marines as they speak with her father during a patrol in Garmsir district of the Helmand province in Afghanistan. Photo: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters. Image may be subject to copyright.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said withdrawing the troops from Afghanistan was not “on the table” despite the deteriorating security situation.

“I don’t think we have the option to leave,” Gibbs said. “That’s quite clear.”

The top American war lord in Afghanistan, Gen McChrystal, has warned in a “leaked” confidential assessment that the US would lose the war without additional troops and changes in strategy, though Obama has already nearly doubled the number of U.S. Occupation troops in Afghanistan.

“I believe that the decisions that the president will make for the next stage of the Afghanistan campaign will be among the most important of his presidency,” the war pimp, and the U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, as he called for “patience and discretion,” urging advisers to secrecy, especially as decisions were being made.

“In this process it is imperative that all of us taking part in these deliberation – civilian and military alike – provide our best advice to the president, candidly but privately,”  Gates lectured an Army convention in Washington.

Gates is right about the secrecy, of course, since the people shall have no right to know the truth, especially the ugly version.

Eight occupation soldiers were killed on Saturday after tribal fighters attacked two US  outposts in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, the worst US losses  in more than a year.

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Posted in Afghan War, Afghanistan, Afghanistan Assesment, AfPak region, Eight US soldiers killed, Mcchrystal, Mcchrystal Afghanistan, Mcchrystal Failure, Mission Failure, Mission Failure Afghanistan, More Troops Afghanistan, Politics News, Robert gates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Two Straws that Broke Barack’s Back

Posted by terres on October 3, 2009

Obama, ISAF kill another round of civilians

ISAF Airstrike in Afghanistan Kills at least 9 Civilians

ISAF forces (US and NATO troops)  in western Afghanistan are reviewing reports that their precision airstrike killed at least nine civilians, mostly women and children.

ISAF admitted that one of its aircraft dropped a precision-guided bomb in Helmand province’s Nad Ali district.

obama mcchrystal
The two war criminals Obama and McChrytal
meet on the same day the Olympics Committee rejected Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic games. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza). [Obama and his First Lady are unaffordable liabilities, as far as the people of Chicago are concerned.]

Officials from the International Security Assistance Force have visited the area to observe the extent of casualties,  AFP reported.

The latest airstrike occurred amid “new guidelines” recently issued by General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and ISAF commander in Afghanistan,  to limit civilian casualties.

The General was reported as saying in London on Thursday that the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating and that foreign forces have little time to reverse the momentum.

General McChrystal has asked the  White House to send thousands of additional troops to the “AfPak” region by the end of the year, at a time when the US should withdraw from Afghanistan.

“U.S. forces are being increased by 21,000, to 68,000, bringing the coalition total to 110,000. About 9,000 are from Britain, where support for the war is waning. Counterinsurgency theory concerning the time and the ratio of forces required to protect the population indicates that, nationwide, Afghanistan would need hundreds of thousands of coalition troops, perhaps for a decade or more. That is inconceivable.” Washington post said.

War criminal Obama has already sent 21,000 extra US troops to Afghanistan this year. Gen McChrystal had reported earlier that his mission was likely to fail unless he was given even more troops. [Until the next similar report.]

According to “analysts”  McChrystal may have asked for up to an additional 40,000 troops to “win” the unwinnable  war.

McChrystal must have borrowed the defective calculator that the Soviets used to their ultimate demise.

  • Total No of Soviet Troops who fought in Afghanistan over the 9-year period: up to 700,000
  • Total number of troops occupying Afghanistan at any one time (1985) :  120,000
  • Soviet Troops Killed in Afghanistan: 15,000
  • Wounded in action: 54,000
  • Troops fell sick: 470,000

[Note: Large number of troops fell ill because of unsanitary conditions and rapid spread of infectious diseases.]

Monetary cost of war: about $100 billion

Other Losses:

  • 451 aircraft (includes 333 helicopters)
  • 147 tanks
  • 1,314  (other fighting and armored vehicles)
  • 433 artillery guns and mortars
  • 1,138 command vehicles
  • 510 engineering vehicles
  • 11,369 trucks and petrol tankers

Afghan Casualties and Damage to Afghanistan

  • Total number of  Afghan civilians killed in the 9-year conflict: at least 1.2 million, possibly as many as 2 million.

War Refugees:

  • 5 million Afghans fled to Pakistan and Iran (30 percent of the prewar population of Afghanistan.
  • 2 million more people were displaced within the country.
  • During the 9-year  war, one out of two refugees in the world was an Afghan.

Other casualties

  • 1.2 million Afghans disabled (Mujahideen, government troops and civilians)
  • 3 million more were maimed or wounded (mostly civilians).
  • Afghanistan irrigation systems, vital to its agriculture, were destroyed by aerial bombing and strafing both by the by Soviet or government forces.
  • In Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second largest city, the population was decimated from 200,000 before the war to about 25,000, by way “months-long campaign of carpet bombing and bulldozing by the Soviets and Afghan communist soldiers in 1987.”
  • 25,000 Afghans were killed by land mines during the war. Another 10 million land mines, mostly planted by the Soviet and government forces, were left scattered throughout the countryside to kill and maim even more people.
  • Children were the primary victims of the land mines which maimed and disabled  3-4% of the Afghan population.
  • In 1985 child mortality rate reached 31%.  Some 67% of the survivors were severely malnourished, with malnutrition increasing with age.


Pullout of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. 1988. Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev.  For licensing details click here.

Iraq, Obama’s War in Afghanistan: The Two Straws that Broke the US Camel’s Back

  • The heavily underestimated cost of war in Afghanistan:  $228,204,281,888 [and mounting]
  • The cost in your community: National Priorities

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Posted in Mcchrystal, Mcchrystal Afghanistan, Mcchrystal Failure, Mission Failure, Mission Failure Afghanistan, More Troops Afghanistan, Politics News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Yes, Israel Is a Terrorist State!

Posted by terres on February 23, 2009

Once Again, Chomsky States the Obvious!

Chomsky On Gaza

By Christiana Voniati  –

16 February, 2009
Source:  Countercurrents.org

Voniati: The international public opinion and especially the Muslim world seem to have great expectations from the historic election of Obama. Can we, in your opinion, expect any real change regarding the US approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Chomsky: Not much. Quite the contrary: it may be harsher than before. In the case of Gaza, Obama maintained silence, he didn’t say a word. He said well there’s only one president so I can’t talk about it. Of course he was talking about a lot of other things but he chose not to talk about this. His campaign did repeat a statement that he had made while visiting Israel six months earlier –he had visited Sderot where the rockets hit- and he said “if this where happening to my daughters, I wouldn’t think of any reaction as legitimate”, but he couldn’t say anything about Palestinian children. Now, the attack on Gaza was at time so that it ended right before the inauguration, which is what I expected. I presume that the point was so that they could make sure that Obama didn’t have to say something, so he didn’t. And then he gave his first foreign policy declaration, it was a couple of days later when he appointed George Mitchell as his emissary, and he said nothing about Gaza except that “our paramount interest is preserving the security of Israel”. Palestine apparently doesn’t have any requirement of security. And then in his declaration he said of course we are not going to deal with Hamas -the elected government the US immediately, as soon as the government was elected in a free election the US and Israel with the help of European Union immediately started severely punishing the Palestinian population for voting in the “wrong way” in a free election and that’s what we mean by democracy. The only substantive comment he made in the declaration was to say that the arab peace plan had constructive elements, because it called for a normalization of relations with Israel and he urged the arab states to proceed with the normalization of relations. Now, he is an intelligent person, he knows that that was not what the arab peace plan said. The arab peace plan called for a two state settlement on the international border that is in accord with the long standing international consensus that the US has blocked for over 30 years and in that context of the two state settlement we should even proceed further and move towards a normalization of relations with Israel. Well, Obama carefully excluded the main content about the two state settlement and just talked about the corollary, for which a two state settlement is a precondition. Now that’s not an oversight, it can’t be. That’s a careful wording, sending the message that we are not going to change their (Israel’s) rejectionist policy. We ‘ll continue to be opposed to the international consensus on this issue, and everything else he said accords with it. We will continue in other words to support Israel’s settlement policies- those policies are undermining any possible opportunity or hope for a viable Palestinian entity of some kind. And it’s a continued reliance on force in both parts of occupied Palestine. That’s the only conclusion you could draw.

Voniati: Let us talk about the timing of the assault on the Gaza Strip. Was it accidental or did it purposefully happen in a vacuum of power? To explain myself, the global financial crisis has challenged the almost absolute US global hegemony. Furthermore, the attack on Gaza was launched during the presidential change of guard. So, did this vacuum of power benefit the Israeli assault on Gaza?

Chomsky: Well, the timing was certainly convenient since attention was focused elsewhere. There was no strong pressure on the president or other high officials of the US to say anything about it. I mean Bush was on his way out, and Obama could hide behind the pretext that he’s not yet in. And pretty much the same was in Europe, so that they could just say, well we can’t talk about it now, it’s too difficult a time. The assault was well chosen in that respect. It was well chosen in other respects too: the bombing began shortly after Hamas had offered a return to the 2005 agreement, which in fact was supported by the US. They said, ok, let’s go back to the 2005 agreement that was before Hamas was elected. That means no violence and open the borders. Closing the borders is a siege, it’s an act of war……… not very harmful but it’s an act of war. Israel of all countries insists on that. I mean Israel went to war twice in 1956 and 1967 on the grounds, it claimed, that its access to the outside world was being hampered. It wasn’t a siege, its access through the Gulf of Aqaba was being hampered. Well if that is an act of war then certainly a siege is, and so it’s understood.

So Khaled Mashaal asked for an end of the state of the war, which would include opening the borders. Well, a couple of days later, when Israel didn’t react to that, Israel attacked. The attack was timed for Saturday morning – the Sabbath day in Israel – at about 11:30, which happens to be the moment when children are leaving school and crowds are miling in the streets of this very heavily crowded city… The explicit target was police cadets… Now, there are civilians, in fact we now know that for several months the legal department of the Israeli army had been arguing against this plan because it said it was a direct attack against civilians. And of course, plenty civilians will be killed if you bomb a crowded city, especially at a time like that. But finally the legal department was sort of bludgeoned into silence by the military so they said alright. So that’s when they opened –on a Sabbath morning. Now two weeks later, Israel – on Saturday as well- blocked the humanitarian aid because they didn’t want to disgrace Sabbath. Well, that’s interesting too. But the main point about the timing was that there was an effort to undercut the efforts for a peaceful settlement and it was terminated just in time to prevent pressure on Obama to say something about it. It’s hard to believe that this isn’t conscious. We know that it was very meticulously planned for many months beforehand.

Voniati: In a recent interview with LBC, you said that the policies of Hamas are more conducive to peace than the US’s or Israel’s.

Chomsky: Oh yes, that’s clear.

Voniati: Also, that the policies of Hamas are closer to international consensus on a political peaceful settlement than those of Israel and the US. Can you explain your stance?

Chomsky: Well for several years Hamas has been very clear and explicit, repeatedly, that they favor a two state settlement on the international border. They said they would not recognize Israel but they would accept a two state settlement and a prolonged truce, maybe decades, maybe 50 years. Now, that’s not exactly the international consensus but it’s pretty close to it. On the other hand, the United States and Israel flatly reject it. They reject it in deeds, that’s why they are building all the construction development activities in the West Bank, not only in violation of international laws, US and Israel know that the illegal constructions are designed explicitly to convert the West Bank into what the architect of the policy, Arial Sharon, called bantustan. Israel takes over what it wants, break up Palestine into unviable fragments. That’s undermining a political settlement. So in deeds, yes of course they are undermining it, but also in words: that goes back to 1976 when the US vetoed the Security Council resolution put forward by the arab states which called for a two state settlement and it goes around until today. In December, last December, at the meetings of the UN’s General Assembly there were many resolutions passed. One of them was a resolution calling for recognition of the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people. It didn’t call for a state, just the right of self-determination. It passed with 173 to 5. The 5 were the US, Israel and a few small pacific islands. Of course that can’t be reported in the US. So they are rejecting it even in words, as well as –more significantly- in acts. On the other hand, Hamas comes pretty close to accepting it. Now, the demand which Obama repeated on Hamas is that they must meet three conditions: they must recognize Israel’s right to exist, they must renounce violence and they must accept past agreements, and in particular the Road Map. Well, what about the US and Israel? I mean, obviously they don’t renounce violence, they reject the Road Map – technically they accepted it but Israel immediately entered 14 reservations (which weren’t reported here) which completely eliminated its content, and the US went along. So the US and Israel completely violate those two conditions, and of course they violate the first, they don’t recognize Palestine. So sure, there’s a lot to criticize about Hamas, but on these matters they seem to be much closer to –not only international opinion- but even to a just settlement than the US and Israel are.

Voniati: On the other hand, Hamas has been accused of using human shields to hide and protect itself. Israel insists that the war was a matter of defense. Is Hamas a terrorist organization, as it is accused to be? Is Israel a terrorist state?

Chomsky: Well, Hamas is accused of using human shields, rightly or wrongly. But we know that Israel does it all the time. Is Israel a terrorist state? Well yes according to official definitions. I mean, one of the main things holding up cease fire right now is that Israel insists that it will not allow a cease fire until Hamas returns a captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit – he’s very famous in the West everybody knows he was captured. Well, one day before Gilad Shalit was captured, Israeli forces went into Gaza City and kidnapped two Palestinian civilians (the Muamar Brothers) and brought them across the border to Israel in violation of international law and hid them somewhere in the huge Israeli prisons. Nobody knows what happened to them since. I mean, kidnapping civilians is a much worse crime than capturing a soldier of an attacking army. And furthermore this has been regular Israeli practice for decades. They’ve been kidnapping civilians in Lebanon or on the high seas…They take them to Israel, put them into prisons, sometimes keeping them as hostages for long periods. So you know, if the capturing of Gilad Shalit is a terrorist act, well, then israel’s regular practice supported by the US is incomparably worse. And that’s quite apart from repeated aggression and other crimes. I don’t like Hamas by any means, there is plenty to criticize about them, but if you compare their actions with US and Israel, they are minor criminals.

Voniati: Though of Jewish decent, you have been repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism. How do you respond?

Chomsky: The most important comment about that was made by the distinguished statesman Abba Eban, maybe 35 years ago, in an address to the American people. He said that there are two kinds of criticism of Zionism (by Zionism I mean the policies of the state of Israel). One is criticism by anti-Semites and the other is criticism by neurotic self-hating Jews. That eliminates 100% of possible criticism. The neurotic self-hating Jews, he actually mentioned two, I was one and I.F. Stone, a well-known writer was another). I mean that’s the kind of thing that would come out of a communist party in its worst days. But you see, I can’t really be called anti-semite because I’m jewish so I must be a neurotic self-hating Jew, by definition. The assumption is that the policies of the state of Israel are perfect, so therefore any kind of criticism must be illegitimate. And that’s from Abba Eban, one of the most distinguished figures in Israel, the most westernised … praised, considered a dove.

Voniati: How do you comment on the Davos incident concerning Erdogan’s verbal attack against Peres?

Chomsky: It was impolite. You are not supposed to behave like that at Davos. But the idea that Peres was given 25 minutes to justify major atrocities and aggression, that’s what’s shocking. Why have that at Davos? I mean, do you allow Saddam Husein in such a gathering to justify the invasion of Kuwait? So Erdogan reacted, in my view, not in accord with the gentile atmosphere of the collection of the people who but basically appropriate under the circumstances.

Voniati: Have you, by any chance, been informed about the Cypriot-flagged vessel “Monchegorsk” that is docked in Limassol and seems to have been carrying weapons to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip? Israel and the United States requested that the vessel be stopped…

Chomsky: I don’t know about the Iranian vessel but I do know that right in the middle of the Gaza attack, Dignity was blocked in international waters and attacked by the Israeli navy and almost sunk. Now, that’s a major crime. That’s much worse than piracy off the coast of Somalia for example. If the Iranian vessel was stopped in international waters, that’s completely illegitimate. Israel has no authority to do anything in international waters. And the talk about not sending arms to Gaza …I mean, do they stop sending arms to Israel? I mean right in the middle of the Gaza war, the pentagon announced that it was sending a huge shipman of armaments to Israel. Did anybody stop that? They should say that those armaments are not intended for use by the Israeli army. The pentagon also announced that they are being prepositioned, that is, that they re being placed in Israel for the use of the US army In other words what they re saying is –and it’s been true for a long time- is that the US regards Israel as an offshore military base of its own, which they can use for their aggressive acts throughout the region.

Christiana Voniati is head of International News Department POLITIS Newspaper, Nicosia, Cyprus.
E-mail: christiana.voniati@politis-news.com
Blogspot: http://www.voniati.blogspot.com

Also mirrored at:  Information Clearing House

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Posted in Davos, Erdogan, License to Kill, Obama, palestine | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Defending Torture?

Posted by terres on February 15, 2009

Americans Want Torture Inquiry, Obama Doesn’t

By Thomas R. Eddlem

(New American Magazine ). A Gallup Poll released February 12 revealed that 62 percent of Americans want to investigate or criminally prosecute Bush administration officials who authorized torture in the so-called “war on terror.” But even though President Obama has said numerous times that “nobody’s above the law,” on February 10 he used the Bush administration’s “state secrets” gambit to quash a lawsuit attempting to penalize some of those involved in renditioning torture subjects.

That lawsuit sought damages against a private airline used by the CIA to rendition low-value suspects for torture by dictatorial regimes abroad. One of the five plaintiffs, Benyam Muhammed (a British and Ethiopian citizen), alleged he was renditioned to Morocco where torturers made razor cuts on his penis. The lawsuit alleges that San Jose-based Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. should have known that its planes were being used to ferry suspects for torture and is therefore liable for damages.

But because the Obama administration invoked the “state secrets” policy at the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the lawsuit’s likelihood of revealing felony torture on the part of Bush officials is now remote.

“This is not change,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero correctly told the Associated Press. “Candidate Obama ran on a platform that would reform the abuse of state secrets, but President Obama’s Justice Department has disappointingly reneged on that important civil liberties issue.”

The Obama policy in San Francisco also drew a rare condemnation of a Democrat from the New York Times editorial page.

The Gallup Poll came just two weeks after it was revealed that the Obama administration’s Justice Department has dispatched several government lawyers to defend Bush-era Justice Department official John Yoo from a lawsuit by torture victim Jose Padilla.

Jordan Paust of the University of Houston Law Center calls giving Justice Department lawyers to alleged international war criminals “an outrage and constitute an embarrassing embrace of international criminal conduct that the international community has demanded must result in absolutely no form of impunity.” Paust says that alleged criminals should bear the costs of their own defense, and notes there is a long historical case for this. At “a 1781 Resolution of the Continental Congress, the Founders expected that ‘the author of … injuries [that are “offenses against the law of nations”] should compensate the damage out of his private fortune.’”

President Obama’s actions are fast diverging from his public rhetoric.

Posted in CIA, Jeppesen DataPlan Inc., John Yoo, Jose Padilla, Justice Department | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Promised Land?

Posted by feww on November 8, 2008

Obama, Emanuel and Israel

By JOHN V. WHITBECK

(Counterpunch) In the first major appointment of his administration, President-elect Barack Obama has named as his chief of staff Congressman Rahm Emanuel, an Israeli citizen and Israeli army veteran whose father, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, was a member of Menachem Begin’s Irgun forces during the Nakba and named his son after “a Lehi combatant who was killed” — i.e., a member of Yitzhak Shamir’s terrorist Stern Gang, responsible for, in addition to other atrocities against Palestinians, the more famous bombing of the King David Hotel and assassination of the UN peace envoy Count Folke Bernadotte.

In rapid response to this news, the editorial in the next day’s Arab News (Jeddah) was entitled “Don’t pin much hope on Obama — Emanuel is his chief of staff and that sends a message”. This editorial referred to the Irgun as a “terror organization” (a judgment call) and concluded: “Far from challenging Israel, the new team may turn out to be as pro-Israel as the one it is replacing.”


Rep. Rahm Emanuel (left) is declaring his support for Sen. Barack Obama after months of remaining neutral. Now that Emanuel is unleashed, he can help shore up support for Obama in the Jewish community. (Image AP/Chicago Sun-Times). Image may be subject to copyright.

That was always likely. Obama repeatedly pledged unconditional allegiance to Israel during his campaign, most memorably in an address to the AIPAC national convention which Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery characterized as “a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning“, and America’s electing a black president has always been more easily imagined than any American president’s declaring his country’s independence from Israeli domination.

Still, one of the greatest advantages for the United States in electing Barack Hussein Obama was the prospect that the world’s billion-plus Muslims, who now view the United States with almost universal loathing and hatred, would be dazzled by the new president’s eloquence, life story, skin color and middle name, would think again with open minds and would give America a chance to redeem itself in their eyes and hearts — not incidently, drastically shortening the long lines of aspiring jihadis eager to sacrifice their lives while striking a blow against the evil empire.
The profound loathing and hatred of the Muslim world toward the United States, which has always had its roots for America’s unconditional support for the injustices inflicted and still being inflicted on the Palestinians, can fairly be considered the core of the primary foreign policy and “national security” problems confronting the United States in recent years. Why would Obama, a man of unquested brilliance, have chosen to send such a contemptuous message to the Muslim world with his first major appointment? Why would he wish to disabuse the Muslim world of its hopes (however modest) and slap it across the face at the earliest opportunity?

A further contemptuous message is widely rumored to be forthcoming — the naming as “Special Envoy for Middle East Peace” of Dennis Ross, the notorious Israel-Firster who, throughout the 12 years of the Bush the First and Clinton administrations, ensured that American policy toward the Palestinians did not deviate one millimeter from Israeli policy and that no progress toward peace could be made and who has since headed the AIPAC spin-off “think tank”, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Nevertheless, since it is almost always constructive to seek a silver lining in the darkest clouds, a silver lining can be found and cited. For decades, the Palestinian leadership has been “waiting for Godot” — waiting for the U.S. Government to finally do the right thing (if only in its own obvious self-interest) and to force Israel to comply with international law and UN Resolutions and permit them to have a decent mini-state on a tiny portion of the land that once was theirs.

This was never a realistic hope. It has not happened, and it will never happen. So it may well be salutary not to waste eight more days (let alone eight more years) playing along and playing the fool while more Palestinian lands are confiscated and more Jewish colonies and Jews-only bypass roads are built on them, clinging to the delusion that the charming Mr. Obama, admirable though he may be in so many other respects, will eventually (if only in a second term, when he no longer has to worry about reelection) see the light and do the right thing. It is long overdue for the Palestinians themselves to seize the initiative, to reset the agenda and to declare a new “only game in town”.

Furthermore, in February, Israel will elect a new Knesset. Bibi Netanyahu, who, most polls and coalition-building calculations suggest, is most likely to emerge as the next prime minister, has one (if only one) great virtue. He is absolutely honest in not professing any desire (however insincere) to see the creation of any Palestinian “state” (whether decent or less-than-a-Bantustan in nature) or to engage in any talks (even never-ending and fraudulent ones) ostensibly about that possibility. His return to power would definitively slam the door on the illusion of a “two-state solution” somewhere over an ever-receding horizon.

This would constitute a blessing and a liberation for Palestinian minds and Palestinian aspirations. Their leadership(s) could then return, after a long, costly and painful diversion, to fundamental principles, to pursuing the goal of a democratic, nonracist and nonsectarian state in all of Israel/Palestine with equal rights for all who live there.

This just goal could and should be pursued by strictly nonviolent means. If the goal is to convince a determined and powerful settler-colonial movement which wishes to seize your land, settle it and keep it (eventually cleansing it of you and your fellow natives) that it should cease, desist and leave, nonviolent forms of resistance are suicidal. If, however, the goal were to be to obtain the full rights of citizenship in a democratic, nonracist state (as was the case in the American civil rights movement and the South African anti-apartheid movement), then nonviolence would be the only viable approach. Violence would be totally inappropriate and counterproductive. The morally impeccable approach would also be the tactically effective approach. The high road would be the only road.

No American president — least of all Barack Obama — could easily support racism and apartheid and oppose democracy and equal rights, particularly if democracy and equal rights were being pursued by nonviolent means. No one anywhere could easily do so. The writing would be on the wall, and the clock would be running out on the tired game of using a perpetual “peace process” as an excuse to delay decisions (while building more “facts on the ground”) forever.

Democracy and equal rights would not come quickly or easily. Forty years passed between when, on the night before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King cried out that he had been to the mountain top and had seen the promised land and when Barack Obama was elected as president of the United States. (The Bible suggests a similar waiting period in the wilderness for Moses.) Forty-six years passed between the installation of a formal apartheid regime in South Africa and the election of Nelson Mandela as president of a fully democratic and nonracist “rainbow nation”.

While it may be be hoped that the transformation would be significantly quicker in Israel/Palestine, it is clear that many who already qualify as “senior citizens” will not live to see the promised land. However, if the promised land of a democratic state with equal rights for all is correctly and clearly perceived and persistently and peacefully pursued, there is ample reason for confidence that Israel/Palestine will one day experience the tearful exaltation of a “Mandela Moment” or an “Obama Moment”, restoring hope in the moral potential both of a nation and of mankind, and that the Jews, Muslims and Christians who live there will finally reach their promised land.

John V. Whitbeck, an international lawyer who has advised the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel, is author of “The World According to Whitbeck”. Copyright author/Counterpunch. See Fair Use Notice.

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Between Hope and Reality: “Hope and change!”

Posted by msrb on November 8, 2008

In the Public Interest

Wed 11/5/2008

by Ralph Nader

Dear Senator Obama:

In your nearly two-year presidential campaign, the words “hope and change,” “change and hope” have been your trademark declarations. Yet there is an asymmetry between those objectives and your political character that succumbs to contrary centers of power that want not “hope and change” but the continuation of the power-entrenched status quo.

Far more than Senator McCain, you have received enormous, unprecedented contributions from corporate interests, Wall Street interests and, most interestingly, big corporate law firm attorneys. Never before has a Democratic nominee for President achieved this supremacy over his Republican counterpart. Why, apart from your unconditional vote for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, are these large corporate interests investing so much in Senator Obama? Could it be that in your state Senate record, your U.S. Senate record and your presidential campaign record (favoring nuclear power, coal plants, offshore oil drilling, corporate subsidies including the 1872 Mining Act and avoiding any comprehensive program to crack down on the corporate crime wave and the bloated, wasteful military budget, for example) you have shown that you are their man?

To advance change and hope, the presidential persona requires character, courage, integrity– not expediency, accommodation and short-range opportunism. Take, for example, your transformation from an articulate defender of Palestinian rights in Chicago before your run for the U.S. Senate to an acolyte, a dittoman for the hard-line AIPAC lobby, which bolsters the militaristic oppression, occupation, blockage, colonization and land-water seizures over the years of the Palestinian peoples and their shrunken territories in the West Bank and Gaza. Eric Alterman summarized numerous polls in a December 2007 issue of The Nation magazine showing that AIPAC policies are opposed by a majority of Jewish-Americans.

You know quite well that only when the U.S. Government supports the Israeli and Palestinian peace movements, that years ago worked out a detailed two-state solution (which is supported by a majority of Israelis and Palestinians), will there be a chance for a peaceful resolution of this 60-year plus conflict. Yet you align yourself with the hard-liners, so much so that in your infamous, demeaning speech to the AIPAC convention right after you gained the nomination of the Democratic Party, you supported an “undivided Jerusalem,” and opposed negotiations with Hamas– the elected government in Gaza. Once again, you ignored the will of the Israeli people who, in a March 1, 2008 poll by the respected newspaper Haaretz, showed that 64% of Israelis favored “direct negotiations with Hamas.” Siding with the AIPAC hard-liners is what one of the many leading Palestinians advocating dialogue and peace with the Israeli people was describing when he wrote “Anti-semitism today is the persecu  tion of Palestinian society by the Israeli state.”

During your visit to Israel this summer, you scheduled a mere 45 minutes of your time for Palestinians with no news conference, and no visit to Palestinian refugee camps that would have focused the media on the brutalization of the Palestinians. Your trip supported the illegal, cruel blockade of Gaza in defiance of international law and the United Nations charter. You focused on southern Israeli casualties which during the past year have totaled one civilian casualty to every 400 Palestinian casualties on the Gaza side. Instead of a statesmanship that decried all violence and its replacement with acceptance of the Arab League’s 2002 proposal to permit a viable Palestinian state within the 1967 borders in return for full economic and diplomatic relations between Arab countries and Israel, you played the role of a cheap politician, leaving the area and Palestinians with the feeling of much shock and little awe.

David Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator, described your trip succinctly: “There was almost a willful display of indifference to the fact that there are two narratives here. This could serve him well as a candidate, but not as a President.”

Palestinian American commentator, Ali Abunimah, noted that Obama did not utter a single criticism of Israel, “of its relentless settlement and wall construction, of the closures that make life unlivable for millions of Palestinians. … Even the Bush administration recently criticized Israeli’s use of cluster bombs against Lebanese civilians [see http://www.atfl.org <http://nader.org/www.atfl.org&gt; for elaboration]. But Obama defended Israeli’s assault on Lebanon as an exercise of its ‘legitimate right to defend itself.'”

In numerous columns Gideon Levy, writing in Haaretz, strongly criticized the Israeli government’s assault on civilians in Gaza, including attacks on “the heart of a crowded refugee camp… with horrible bloodshed” in early 2008.

Israeli writer and peace advocate—Uri Avnery—described Obama’s appearance before AIPAC as one that “broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning, adding that Obama “is prepared to sacrifice the most basic American interests. After all, the US has a vital interest in achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace that will allow it to find ways to the hearts of the Arab masses from Iraq to Morocco. Obama has harmed his image in the Muslim world and mortgaged his future—if and when he is elected president,” he said, adding, “Of one thing I am certain: Obama’s declarations at the AIPAC conference are very, very bad for peace. And what is bad for peace is bad for Israel, bad for the world and bad for the Palestinian people.”

A further illustration of your deficiency of character is the way you turned your back on the Muslim-Americans in this country. You refused to send surrogates to speak to voters at their events. Having visited numerous churches and synagogues, you refused to visit a single Mosque in America. Even George W. Bush visited the Grand Mosque in Washington D.C. after 9/11 to express proper sentiments of tolerance before a frightened major religious group of innocents.

Although the New York Times published a major article on June 24, 2008 titled “Muslim Voters Detect a Snub from Obama” (by Andrea Elliott), citing examples of your aversion to these Americans who come from all walks of life, who serve in the armed forces and who work to live the American dream. Three days earlier the International Herald Tribune published an article by Roger Cohen titled “Why Obama Should Visit a Mosque.” None of these comments and reports change your political bigotry against Muslim-Americans– even though your father was a Muslim from Kenya.

Perhaps nothing illustrated your utter lack of political courage or even the mildest version of this trait than your surrendering to demands of the hard-liners to prohibit former president Jimmy Carter from speaking at the Democratic National Convention. This is a tradition for former presidents and one accorded in prime time to Bill Clinton this year.

Here was a President who negotiated peace between Israel and Egypt, but his recent book pressing the dominant Israeli superpower to avoid Apartheid of the Palestinians and make peace was all that it took to sideline him. Instead of an important address to the nation by Jimmy Carter on this critical international problem, he was relegated to a stroll across the stage to “tumultuous applause,” following a showing of a film about the Carter Center’s post-Katrina work. Shame on you, Barack Obama!

But then your shameful behavior has extended to many other areas of American life. (See the factual analysis by my running mate, Matt Gonzalez, on http://www.votenader.org <http://nader.org/www.votenader.org&gt;). You have turned your back on the 100-million poor Americans composed of poor whites, African-Americans, and Latinos. You always mention helping the “middle class” but you omit, repeatedly, mention of the “poor” in America.

Should you be elected President, it must be more than an unprecedented upward career move following a brilliantly unprincipled campaign that spoke “change” yet demonstrated actual obeisance to the concentration power of the “corporate supremacists.” It must be about shifting the power from the few to the many. It must be a White House presided over by a black man who does not turn his back on the downtrodden here and abroad but challenges the forces of greed, dictatorial control of labor, consumers and taxpayers, and the militarization of foreign policy. It must be a White House that is transforming of American politics– opening it up to the public funding of elections (through voluntary approaches)– and allowing smaller candidates to have a chance to be heard on debates and in the fullness of their now restricted civil liberties. Call it a competitive democracy.

Your presidential campaign again and again has demonstrated cowardly stands. “Hope” some say springs eternal.” But not when “reality” consumes it daily.

Sincerely,
Ralph Nader

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Posted in AIPAC lobby, corporate interests, Israel, Palestinians, Wall Street bailout | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

What Presidential Debates?

Posted by terres on October 21, 2008

In the Public Interest

Debatable Debates
By Ralph Nader

The three so-called presidential debates—really parallel interviews by reporters chosen by the Obama and McCain campaigns—are over and they are remarkable for two characteristics—convergence and avoidance.

A remarkable similarity between McCain and Obama on foreign and military policy kept enlarging as Obama seemed to enter into a clinch with McCain each time McCain questioned his inexperience or softness or using military force.

If anyone can detect a difference between the two candidates regarding

  • belligerence toward Iran and Russia,
  • more U.S. soldiers into the quagmire of Afghanistan (next to Pakistan),
  • kneejerk support of the Israeli military oppression,
  • brutalization and colonization of the Palestinians and their shrinking lands,
  • keeping soldiers and bases in Iraq, despite Obama’s use of the word “withdrawal,” and
  • their desire to enlarge an already bloated, wasteful military budget which already consumes half of the federal government’s operating expenses,

please illuminate the crevices between them.

This past spring, the foreign affairs reporters, not columnists, for the New York Times and the Washington Post concluded that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are advancing foreign and military policies similar to those adopted by George W. Bush in his second term.

Where then is the “hope” and “change” from the junior Senator from Illinois?

Moreover, both Obama and McCain want

  • more nuclear power plants,
  • more coal production, and
  • more offshore oil drilling.

Our national priority should be energy efficient consumer technologies (motor vehicles, heating, air conditioning and electric systems) and renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal.

Both support the gigantic taxpayer funded Wall Street bailout, without expressed amendments. Both support

  • the notorious Patriot Act,
  • the revised FISA act which opened the door to spy on Americans without judicial approval, and
  • Obama agrees with McCain in vigorously opposing the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.


Photo: Reuters. Image may be subject to copyright.

What about avoidance? Did you see them speak about a comprehensive enforcement program to prosecute corporate crooks in the midst of the greatest corporate crime wave in our history? Did you see them allude to doing anything about consumer protection (credit card gouging, price of medicines, the awful exploitation and deprivation of the people in the inner city) and the ripoffs of buyers in ever more obscure and inescapable ways?

Wasn’t it remarkable how they never mentioned the poor, and only use the middle class when they refer to “regular people?” There are one hundred million poor people and children in this nation and no one in Washington, D.C. associates Senator Obama, much less John McCain, with any worthy program to treat the abundant poverty-related injustices.

What about labor issues? Worker health and safety, pensions looted and drained, growing permanent unemployment and underemployment, and outsourcing more and more jobs to fascists and communist dictatorships are not even on the peripheries of the topics covered in the debates.

When I was asked my opinion about who won the debates, I say they were not debates. But I know what won and what lost. The winners were

  • big business,
  • bailouts for Wall Street,
  • an expansionary NATO,
  • a boondoggle missile defense program,
  • nuclear power,
  • the military-industrial complex and its insatiable thirst for trillions of taxpayer dollars, for starters.

What’s lost was

  • peace advocacy,
  • international law,
  • the Israeli-Palestinian peace movement,
  • taxpayers,
  • consumers,
  • Africa and
  • We the People.

The language of avoidance to address and challenge corporate power is spoken by both McCain and Obama, though interestingly enough, McCain occasionally uses words like “corporate greed” to describe his taking on the giant Boeing tanker contract with the Pentagon.

Funded by beer, tobacco, auto and telecommunications companies over the years, the corporation known as the Commission on Presidential Debates features only two corporate-funded candidates, excludes all others and closes off a major forum for smaller candidates, who are on a majority of the states, to reach tens of millions of voters.

In the future, this theatre of the absurd can be replaced with a grand coalition of national and local citizen groups who, starting in March, 2012 lay out many debates from Boston to San Diego, rural, suburban and urban, summon the presidential candidates to public auditoriums to react to the peoples’ agendas.

Can the Democratic and Republican nominees reject this combination of labor, neighborhood, farmer, cooperative, veteran’s, religious, student, consumer and good government with tens of millions of members? It will be interesting to see what happens if they do or if they do not. END

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War With Russia Is On The Agenda

Posted by terres on August 27, 2008

By Paul Craig Roberts

26/08/08 “ICH” — Thinking about the massive failure of the US media to report truthfully is sobering.  The United States, bristling with nuclear weapons and pursuing a policy of world hegemony, has a population that is kept in the dark—indeed brainwashed—about the most important and most dangerous events of our time.

The power of the Israel Lobby is an important component of keeping Americans in the dark. Recently I watched a documentary that demonstrates the control that the Israel Lobby exercises over Americans’ view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The documentary is available here: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14055.htm

nuclear-missile.jpg
Public Domain Photo: USAF/Dept of Defense. The Orwellian named
MGM-118A “Peacekeeper
nuclear missile”

As a result of the US media’s one-sided coverage, few Americans are aware that for decades Israel has been ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their homes and lands under protection of America’s veto in the United Nations.  Instead, the dispossessed Palestinians are portrayed as mindless terrorists who attack innocent Israel.

If one reads Israeli newspapers, such as Haaretz, or publications from Israeli organizations, such as the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, one gets a radically different view of the situation than the propagandistic version delivered by US media and evangelical pulpits.

Most Americans know of the 2000 attack by Muslim terrorists on the USS Cole in Aden harbor that resulted in 17 dead and 39 wounded American sailors. But few have heard of Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty that left 34 American sailors dead and 174 wounded.  Pressured by the Israel Lobby, President Johnson ordered Admiral McCain, father of the Republican presidential nominee, to cover up the attack. To this day there never has been a congressional investigation.

Torpedo damage to Liberty’s research compartment (Starboard side).

Russian peacekeepers, together with Georgian ones, had been stationed in South Ossetia since the early 1990s. On orders from Mikheil Saakashvili, the American puppet “president” of Georgia, the Georgian peacekeepers turned their weapons on the unsuspecting Russian peacekeepers and murdered them.

This action by Saakashvili, elected with money from the neoconservative National Endowment for Democracy, an election-rigging tool of US hegemony, was a war crime.  In truth, the Russians should have hung Saakashvili, as he is far more guilty than was Saddam Hussein.  But it is Russia, not Saakashvili, that the US media has demonized.

Americans have become perfect subjects for George Orwell’s Big Brother.  They sit stupidly in front of the TV news or the New York Times or Washington Post and absorb the lies fed to them.  What is wrong with Americans?  Why do they put up with it?  Are Americans the nation of sheep that Judge Andrew P. Napolitano says they are?  Americans flaunt “freedom and democracy” and live under a Ministry of Propaganda.

Two decades ago, President Reagan reached agreement with Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev to end the dangerous cold war.  But every one of Reagan’s successors has sought to pick a new fight with Russia.  In violation of the agreement, NATO has been taken to Russia’s borders, and the US is determined to put former constituent parts of Russia herself into NATO.  In an effort to neutralize Russia’s nuclear deterrent and compromise her independence, the US is putting anti-ballistic missile bases on Russia’s borders.

The failure of the American media is again evident in the coverage of the Georgian-Russian conflict.  The US media presented the conflict as a Russian invasion of Georgia, whereas in actual fact the American and Israeli trained and equipped Georgian military launched a sneak attack to kill and to drive the Russian population out of South Ossetia, a separatist province.

A Minuteman III ICBM test launch from Vandenberg AFB, California, United States.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The gratuitously aggressive US military policy toward Russia will lead to nuclear war. I am confident that if Americans elect John McCain, or the Republicans steal another presidential election, there will be nuclear war in the second decade of the 21st century.  The neocon lies, propaganda, macho flag-waving, and use of US foreign policy in the interests of a few military-security firms, oil companies, and Israel are all leading in that direction.

The November election is perhaps the last chance to avoid nuclear war. But the opportunity might already have been missed.  The Republicans have chosen as their candidate one of the most

ignorant warmongers alive.  The Democrats’ choice was between one of the most divisive women in America and a man of mixed race with a funny name.  Considering American’s taste for war, the Democratic candidate could fail to defeat the GOP war candidate.

Many Americans will vote against Obama because he is black.  Why does mixed ancestry confer the black label?  If America’s population was predominantly black, would Obama be considered white?

Race and propaganda are more likely to determine the outcome of the November election than any awareness or consideration of real issues by voters.

The real issues are suffocated by the media.  The American middle class is being destroyed by jobs offshoring and work visas for foreigners, while the incomes of the super rich are soaring. The US dollar’s reserve currency status is eroded. The US is massively in debt at home and abroad.  Health insurance is unaffordable for the vast majority of the population. Injured veterans are being nickeled and dimed, while Halliburton’s profits escalate. Americans are losing their homes, while the US government bails out banks. Wars with Iran, Russia, and China are being planned in order to secure US hegemony.

Americans no longer have a government that is for the people and by the people. They have a government for and by special interests and an insane ideology.

Trident missile launch at sea from a UK submarine. Source: Wikimedia Commons

But Americans have war, which lets them take out all their frustrations, resentments, and disappointments on “Muslim terrorists” and “Russian aggressors.”  Few Americans are disturbed that 1.25 million Iraqis and an unknown number of Afghans have died as a result of American invasions based on Bush regime lies and deceptions. Even Americans, like Senator Biden, Obama’s selection for vice president, who understand that the wars are based on lies, still want the US to win.  So, it was all a mistake and a deception, but let’s win anyway and keep on killing.

I know people who still complain that the US did not nuke North Vietnam.  When I ask why Vietnam should have been nuked, they reply, “if we had nuked them we would have won.”

What would America have won?  The answer is world loathing and the loss of the cold war.

For many Americans, war is like a sports contest in which they take vicarious pleasure and cheer on their side to victory.  Millions of Americans are still bitter that “the liberal media” and war protesters caused America to lose the Vietnam war, and they are determined that this won’t happen again.  These Americans have no realization that there was no more reason for the US to be fighting in Vietnam 40 years ago than to be fighting today in Iraq and Afghanistan or tomorrow in Iran.

Obama, if elected, is no guarantee against nuclear war.  Obama has shown that he is as much under the Israel Lobby’s thumb as McCain.  Obama’s foreign affairs advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, is not a neocon, but he was born in Warsaw, Poland, and has the Pole’s animosity toward Russia.  The Bush administration has already changed US war doctrine to permit preemptive nuclear attack. With the US government determined to ring Russia with puppet states and military bases, war is inevitable.

Presidential appointees face confirmation in the Senate. Any of Obama’s appointees who might be out of step with plans for US and Israeli hegemony could expect opposition from large corporations and the Israel Lobby.  There is no assurance that an Obama administration would not be positioned on “the issues” by the same special interests that have positioned the Bush administration.

Americans are filled with hubris, not with knowledge.  They have no awareness of the calamity that their government’s pursuit of hegemony is bringing to themselves and to life on earth.

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is a former Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, a 16-year columnist for Business Week, and a columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service and Creator’s Syndicate in Los Angeles. He has held numerous university professorships, including the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by the President of France and the US Treasury’s Silver Medal for “outstanding contributions to the formulation of US economic policy.”

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Posted in bush, china, environment, GENOCIDE, GOP war candidate, human rights, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel, palestine, politics, President Reagan, racism, Russia’s nuclear deterrent, Senator Biden, Zbigniew Brzezinski | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »