Monday, October 01, 2007

Eternal War Continued: Iran

If you haven't yet read Seymour Hersch's latest piece in The New Yorker, now's the time. Quote:

“They’re moving everybody to the Iran desk,” one recently retired C.I.A. official said. “They’re dragging in a lot of analysts and ramping up everything. It’s just like the fall of 2002”—the months before the invasion of Iraq, when the Iraqi Operations Group became the most important in the agency. He added, “The guys now running the Iranian program have limited direct experience with Iran. In the event of an attack, how will the Iranians react? They will react, and the Administration has not thought it all the way through.”

That theme was echoed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national-security adviser, who said that he had heard discussions of the White House’s more limited bombing plans for Iran. Brzezinski said that Iran would likely react to an American attack “by intensifying the conflict in Iraq and also in Afghanistan, their neighbors, and that could draw in Pakistan. We will be stuck in a regional war for twenty years.”

Hersh points out that the Bush-Cheny cabal is changing tactics in how they're pushing for an attack on Iran and framing the continued occupation of Iraq. Since they're not getting enough war fever going by pumping up the volume about the Iranian nuclear program, they're switching to the excuse that we have to attack Iran because of their alleged widespread action against us in Iraq -- essentially an undocumented claim. Hersh claims the targeting is moving from nuclear facilities to those connected with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard:

Now the emphasis is on “surgical” strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism.

Hersh explains that "President Bush and members of his Administration have redefined the war in Iraq, to an increasing degree, as a strategic battle between the United States and Iran." Very convenient if you want to continue to build permanent bases in Iraq, try to hang onto Iraqi oil futures for your corporate oil pals, keep the occupation going until the next president takes office and make sure that president can't easily get American troops extricated from the region because you've brought Iran and maybe others into the war mix.

How cooperative of the Congressional Democrats to vote enmasse in both the Senate and House for measures supporting the official branding of Iran's Revolutionary Guard as "Specially Designated Global Terrorists." (Sen. Jeff Bingaman voted no, but Rep. Tom Udall voted yes.) Could it be any easier for the neocons to get Dems to fall into line as they build another manufactured case for a preemptive military attack? Either the Dems haven't learned a thing about the nefarious tactics BushCo is willing to employ in trumping up military attacks, or that they do, in fact, concur with Bush's plans. Which is it?

Additional reading: Truth and Lies in the Middle East by Philip Giraldi in today's Salon. House roll call on Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007. Senate roll call on Lieberman-Kyl Amendment on Iran.

October 1, 2007 at 09:54 AM in Iran, Iraq War, Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Madness: Threatening Lieberman-Kyl Amendment on Iran Passes

The U.S. Senate just passed the dangerous Lieberman-Kyl Amendment to the Defense Authorization Act by a margin of 76-22 with 2 not voting (McCain and Obama). Lieberman-Kyle expresses the "sense of the Senate" about Iran. Some changes to the original amendment were made today to tone down some of the language but it's still a threatening, warmongering measure. Especially disturbing is the language placing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the list of "Specially Designated Global Terrorists," which officially makes them targets in the war on terror and may be used to justify U.S. military attacks on them within Iran. Here's the marked up version that passed.

All those voting against the measure were Democrats except for Sen. Lugar of Indiana, Sen. Hagel of Nebraska and Independent Sen. Sanders of Vermont. The nay voters included our own Sen. Jeff Bingaman. Hurrah for Sen. Bingaman for voting against the madness instead of joining the herd that's apparently running scared from potential Repub smears. As might be expected, Sen. Pete Domenici voted for it. Shamefully, 30 Dems, including "Independent" Joe Lieberman, voted for the amendment (see list below).

Yesterday, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) called the amendment "Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream" and said that it could be interpreted to declare war on Iran. He added: "Those who regret their vote five years ago to authorize military action in Iraq should think hard before supporting this approach. Because, in my view, it has the same potential to do harm where many are seeking to do good. At best, it’s a deliberate attempt to divert attention from a failed diplomatic policy. At worst, it could be read as a backdoor method of gaining Congressional validation for military action, without one hearing and without serious debate.”

Cowardly Dems Voting for Lieberman-Kyl
Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Whitehouse (D-RI)

Brave Nay Votes Against Lieberman-Kyl
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Dodd (D-CT)
Feingold (D-WI)
Hagel (R-NE)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Leahy (D-VT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Lugar (R-IN)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Sanders (I-VT)
Tester (D-MT)
Webb (D-VA)
Wyden (D-OR

September 26, 2007 at 01:56 PM in Iran | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pause. Think. Do Something.

Someone forwarded this to me the other day and said: It gave me pause. It might do the same for you. This is a set of fascinating photographs of contemporary Teheran accompanied by music. Any of you who have ever visited Teheran or lived there will be especially touched by these remarkably illuminating images. All who are deeply concerned about the possibility of another tragic and unnecessary war in the Middle East will be deeply moved by the message they convey. You may wish to share this message with others. Click Here: Check out "peacetrain"

September 25, 2007 at 08:00 AM in Iran | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

American Democracy: Time Has Come Today

CryingI often feel speechless these days, which isn't a natural state for me. But what more can really be said about the eternal, unabated horrors of the Bush administration and its assaults on government accountability, reason, democracy, the Constitution, civil liberties, the rule of law, the environment, the economy and even common decency? It's all been said -- the savaging of so much has been documented infinitely clearly, repeatedly. And there's more new evidence every day.

What's needed is some listening and, most of all, action on the part of people who have the power to do something about this lawless demogogue and his complicit cronies. We need them (if there are any) to get real -- to be as serious about their opposition as BushCo is about its relentless assault on justice and democracy. Without that, we are dead. Our democracy is dead. Our future is dead. The planet is dead.

Instead, we have business as usual in the Congress, business as usual in the traditional media, business as usual in the citizenry, business as usual everywhere. Are we really supposed to content ourselves with weak, toothless, picky complaints about minor, peripheral matters as the infrastructure of self-government implodes in full sight of anyone willing and able raise their eyes to it?

I do it myself. Busy myself with political day-to-day, with the latest wrinkles in the latest political maneuverings, with the minutia of the machine. I convince myself that doing things that might possibly help to mitigate the worst of BushCo's impacts is worth it, at least for now. But with almost zero in the way of genuine, effective or honest responses from our "leaders" and "representatives," how much longer can I keep it up?

TornflagI'm sure many of you reading this can relate. We can't afford any more beating around the bush, literally or figuratively. What we need is for people with real power to wake up and use it on behalf of the people and the democracy. As ex-Marine Bruce Clark (whose son is stationed north of Baghdad) said at the recent Iraq Summer event -- this is TREASON, this is TYRANNY. More and more of the people -- some in relatively high places -- are admitting it, yet our public figures and power brokers limp on, murmuring platitudes. We raise our voices, we protest, we petition, we build cases, we attempt to apply pressure but no matter how convincingly or loudly we do these things, the status quo is allowed to carry on or worsen.

There is a sort of deadly paralysis infecting those who should know better, those who know in their hearts they must act now or forever be silent. We can only do so much out here in the hinterlands. Those in the circles of power are the ones who must, at last, LEAD. They must take it all seriously, for what it is: a no-holds-barred attack on our democracy and everything positive it has ever achieved or can achieve. But is it already too late for even that?

Eloquent critic and writer Chris Floyd says it is in his very long, chilling, but eminently logical piece entitled, "Post-Mortem America: Bush's Year of Triumph and the Hard Way Ahead." I can't possibly quote enough for you to get the full flavor, so please do read the entire post. Here are just a few nuggests, to lure you into reading the whole thing:

The Republic you wanted -- and at one time might have had the power to take back -- is finished. You no longer have the power to keep it; it's not there. It was kidnapped in December 2000, raped by the primed and ready exploiters of 9/11, whored by the war pimps of the 2003 aggression, gut-knifed by the corrupters of the 2004 vote, and raped again by its "rescuers" after the 2006 election. Beaten, abused, diseased and abandoned, it finally died. We are living in its grave.

The annus horribilis of 2007 has turned out to be a year of triumph for the Bush Faction -- the hit men who delivered the coup de grâce to the long-moribund Republic. Bush was written off as a lame duck after the Democrat's November 2006 election "triumph" (in fact, the narrowest of victories eked out despite an orgy of cheating and fixing by the losers), and the subsequent salvo of Establishment consensus from the Iraq Study Group, advocating a de-escalation of the war in Iraq. Then came a series of scandals, investigations, high-profile resignations, even the criminal conviction of a top White House official. But despite all this -- and abysmal poll ratings as well -- over the past eight months Bush and his coupsters have seen every single element of their violent tyranny confirmed, countenanced and extended.

What can we do? What can we do? What can we do? Does anyone know the answer? How can we get those in positions of power to act -- appropriately, strongly and now?

In certain circles words like rebellion and revolution and anarchy and resistance are bandied about as necessities, as the only ways to counteract the forces of high tech fascism. But even in these enclaves, there is no movement strong enough to make a dent. There is only more hand-wringing, criticism, fatalism, empty gestures, rote responses. I suppose this post is just more of the same. The truth is, no-one seems to know what to do or how to do it or how to foment it or how to shape it and inspire it.

The war which we were told the Democrats and ISG consensus would end or wind down has of course been escalated to its greatest level yet -- more troops, more airstrikes, more mercenaries, more Iraqi captives swelling the mammoth prison camps of the occupying power, more instability destroying the very fabric of Iraqi society. The patently illegal surveillance programs of the authoritarian regime have now been codified into law by the Democratic Congress, which has also let stand the evisceration of habeas corpus in the Military Commissions Act, and a raft of other liberty-stripping laws, rules, regulations and executive orders. Bush's self-proclaimed arbitrary power to seize American citizens (and others) without charge and hold them indefinitely -- even kill them -- has likewise been unchallenged by the legislators. Bush has brazenly defied Congressional subpoenas -- and even arbitrarily stripped the Justice Department of the power to enforce them -- to no other reaction than a stern promise from Democratic leaders to "look further into this matter." His spokesmen -- and his "signing statements" -- now openly proclaim his utter disdain for representative government, and assert at every turn his sovereign right to "interpret" -- or ignore -- legislation as he wishes.

CheneyshadesWhat we lack are leaders up to the task, no matter where we look, whether within or without. We need a new Martin Luther King, Jr., a new Mahatma, a new Mother Jones, a new Jefferson, a new suffragette city of sorts. I don't sense anything or anyone like that on the horizon, do you? And I certainly don't sense anything truly up to the task within myself. How about you? Can we the people rise at last, bidden or unbidden, and make any difference at all? Isn't there at least intrinsic value in trying something? But what?

Again, as Floyd writes:

... there is no place left for the kind of [civil disobedience] action that Thoreau advocated. His way – and that of Gandhi and King, who took so much from him – envisions a state opponent which one could hope to shame into honorable action by the superior moral force of principled civil disobedience. But the very hallmark of the present regime is its shamelessness, its utter lack of any sense of honor or principle, its bestial addiction to raw power.

Still, there is this, if only this:

So whatever we can do, we must do it ourselves. If we have no power or influence, if we cannot take large actions, then we must take small ones. Every word or action raised against the overthrow of the Republic will find an echo somewhere, from one person to another to another to the next -- each isolated, individual voice slowly finding its way into a swelling chorus of dissent.

Roy_2

September 4, 2007 at 02:42 PM in Civil Liberties, Corporatism, Crime, Economy, Populism, Environment, Impeachment, Iran, Iraq War, Peace, Public Policy | Permalink | Comments (6)

Monday, September 03, 2007

We Can't Make It Here Anymore: Labor Day Edition

The mood of the country this Labor Day seems ripe for a little James McMurtry. A house of cards collapsing in on itself because of crooked deals and unpayable debt. "Free" trade robber barons piling up their tax-free bloat. Criminals in the board rooms and government and K Street. We're entrenched in one corporate quagmire war, while another threatens as Bush plots ways to attack Iran. Oh, and here's what our Democratic "leaders" are saying about continuing funding for Iraq. Happy Labor Day 2007. Think I'll head to the mountains, for some grounding.

September 3, 2007 at 08:59 AM in Civil Liberties, Corporatism, Crime, Economy, Populism, Impeachment, Iran, Iraq War, Labor, Music, Peace, Veterans, Visuals | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quagmire: Let's Keep It Going Another 10 Years

... and toss in an attack on Iran. Deja vu all over again. See Democracy Now for another view. Sen. John Kerry issued a statement in response to Bush's speech yesterday before the VFW:

“Invoking the tragedy of Vietnam to defend the failed policy in Iraq is as irresponsible as it is ignorant of the realities of both of those wars,” Senator Kerry said. “Half of the soldiers whose names are on the Vietnam Memorial Wall died after the politicians knew our strategy would not work. The lesson is to change the strategy not just to change the rhetoric. We want democracy in Iraq, but Iraqis must want it as much as we do. Our brave soldiers can’t bring democracy to Iraq if Iraq’s leaders are unable or unwilling themselves to make the compromises that democracy requires. No American soldier should be sacrificed because Iraqi politicians refuse to resolve their sectarian and political differences.

“It is unfortunate that President Bush would want to invoke a false comparison of Vietnam to Iraq, but not surprising that he would oversimplify the differences and overlook the tragic similarities. As in Vietnam, we engaged militarily in Iraq based on official deception. As in Vietnam, more American soldiers are being sent to fight and die in a civil war we can’t stop and an insurgency we can’t bomb into submission. If the President wants to heed the lessons of Vietnam, he should change course and change course now.”

Remember that Kerry served honorably and bravely in Vietnam, and worked hard with other Vietnam vets to end the war after returning hoime. Decades later, we have Bush the drunken AWOL Air National Guard cokehead pretending to know what happened there and why. To me, the words "hypocrite" and "ignoramous" don't even begin to convey the depraved nature of Bush in using self-serving, distorted, revisionist history to defend his unyielding push for unending war. Obviously, there's no limit to how low he'll go to perpetrate the myths and bald-faced lies he employs to justify his madness.

August 23, 2007 at 12:48 PM in Iran, Iraq War | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Dem Senators Vote Unanimously for Iran War Run-Up Amendment

Yes, you read that right. And not only did all the Dem Senators vote for it -- EVERY SENATOR voted for it. What's the amendment in question that was tacked onto the Defense Authorization Act? Chris Floyd over at Empire Burlesque has the story:

[On Wednesday] the U.S. Senate unanimously declared that Iran was committing acts of war against the United States: a 97-0 vote to give George W. Bush a clear and unmistakable casus belli for attacking Iran whenever Dick Cheney tells him to.

The bipartisan Senate resolution – the brainchild (or rather the bilechild) of Fightin' Joe Lieberman – affirmed as official fact all of the specious, unproven, ever-changing allegations of direct Iranian involvement in attacks on the American forces now occupying Iraq. The Senators appear to have relied heavily on the recent New York Times story by Michael Gordon that stovepiped unchallenged Pentagon spin directly onto the paper's front page. As Firedoglake points out, John McCain cited the heavily criticized story on the Senate floor as he cast his vote. [Senators Levin (D-MI) and Salazar (D-CO) were added as cosponsors.]

It goes without saying that all of this is a nightmarish replay of the run-up to the war of aggression against Iraq: The NYT funneling false flag stories from Bush insiders. Warmongers citing the NYT stories as "proof" justifying any and all action to "defend the Homeland." Credulous and craven Democratic politicians swallowing the Bush line hook and sinker.

... Of course, the United States is already at war with Iran. We are directing covert ops and terrorist attacks inside Iran, with the help of groups that our own government has declared terrorist renegades. We are kidnapping Iranian officials in Iraq and holding them hostage. We have a bristling naval armada on Iran's doorstep, put there for the express purpose of threatening Tehran with military action. The U.S. Congress has overwhelmingly passed measures calling for the overthrow of the Iranian government. And now the U.S. Senate has unanimously declared that Iran is waging war on America, and has given official notice that this will not be tolerated. It is only a very small step to move from this war in all but name to the full monty of an overt military assault.

IrannextDemocrats like our Senate leader Dick Durbin insist their vote for this amendment doesn't provide King George with permission to, you know, start another war of choice whenever he feels like it. After all, George has been so profoundly dedicated to telling the truth, following the Constitution and honoring the separation of powers that you'd have to be crazy to doubt him. Why not go ahead and continue trying to appear as "strong" as Bush by embracing war drumming and "national defense" madness? Election time is coming and the swing voters will demand it, even if the polls say otherwise!

Oops, there is the tiny matter of Bush's already having issued one of his royal edicts on July 10th to the feckless Carl Levin to inform the supine Congress he won't pay any attention to their Constitutionally derived powers, whether they pertain to Iraq or now Iran:

[The letter] says the White House will veto any Congressional effort to either "direct or prohibit" any military, intelligence or diplomatic action regarding Iran.

So what does Levin do in response? Cosponsor Lieberman's bogus Iran amendment laying out how war with Iran is justified. Now that's some Democratic backbone.

Notice that no edicts or amendments are circulating to threaten Saudi Arabia even though it's been determined that the majority of the small numbers of foreign fighters in Iraq are from that country, not Iran, not Syria, not Jordan.

One has to figure that either Levin and the others who voted for Lieberman's warmongering amendment have been programmed by cosmic rays to suddenly trust Bush to use the amendment to achieve peace, not war, or that they support attacking Iran. What other options are there?

July 16, 2007 at 12:08 PM in Democratic Party, Iran, Middle East | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

What's Goin' On While Congress and The Commander Do the Politico Shuffle

We'll never see this on anything to do with the American mainstream media. Good thing, since so many of our dishonorable, dishonest, cold-blooded politicos think it's just fine to wait until September to get out of Iraq, or maybe next year, or perhaps 2009, or even decades down the road. Or is it widening and eternal war that's on our horizon? We wouldn't want the media to show the American people what's really happening on the ground in Iraq. They'd be even madder than they are today. Not that it matters much to those in power and those who allow them to stay in power.

What we've got is one political party full of pseudo-power and oil addicts and another political party too full of enablers and go-alongs. I mean, they don't even make adjustments in response to poll results anymore, except maybe in terms of their half-hearted rhetoric. Most of our political "leaders" and "representatives" seem to be residing in a bubble, apart from the passions of the people and the suffering they are prolonging. Lip service is the order of the day.

But then, you all know that. What needs to be found is some way to stop them on their unrelenting descent into unconstitutional and unconscionable madness in almost every area of endeavor, from foreign policy to health care to the environement to the economy and beyond. So much is broken, but widespread denial brings only paralysis and business as usual attitudes. Out here, we're sensing and often experiencing real emergencies and a profound sense of foreboding. But inside the privileged status quo it's still the same as it ever was -- sloganeering and posturing seems enough. When will the bubble break? And what will happen then? So much depends on us, yet many of us have rarely felt so helpless. And time is running out. What can we do?

July 15, 2007 at 11:48 AM in Candidates & Races, Current Affairs, Democratic Party, Iran, Iraq War | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Free Screening of 'War Made Easy' Set for July at CNM

Wareasy

Stop the War Machine will hold a premier showing of Norman Solomon's new film WAR MADE EASY: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, narrated by Sean Penn and based on Solomon's best selling book by the same name. The new film was featured on Democracy Now (read or stream the DN interview on May 29, 2007).

The film will be shown Monday, July 9, 2007 at 7:00 PM at Smith-Brasher Hall on the campus of Central New Mexico Community College. Parking is in the  large lot to the southwest of the intersection of University and Coal SE in Albuquerque. Admission is free.

Organizations wishing to put up information tables should contact stopthewarmachine@comcast.net.

According to the film's website:

War Made Easy brings to the screen Norman Solomon's insightful analysis of the strategies used by administrations, both Democratic and Republican, to promote their agendas for war from Vietnam to Iraq. By familiarizing viewers with the techniques of war propaganda, War Made Easy encourages us to think critically about the messages put out by today's spin doctors - messages which are designed to promote and prolong a policy of militarism under the guise of the "war on terror."

Congress and the Bush Administration are currently debating the next steps in the war in Iraq, and the country is poised for a war with Iran. Now is the time for citizens to engage with one another around issues of military spending, U.S. occupation of foreign countries, war propaganda, and more. The documentary film War Made Easy educates viewers about how administrations lead us into war and inspires necessary debate and discussion about the role that citizens can play in preventing the next war.

June 16, 2007 at 02:24 PM in Film, Iran, Iraq War | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Richard Becker to Speak on Iraq, Iran in Santa Fe & ABQ

From Stop the War Machine: Richard Becker will speak on "What Does It Take to Get Out of Iraq (and Not Go Into Iran)," on Sunday, June 3, from 7 to 10 PM at Smith Brasher Hall, on the campus of Central New Mexico Community College. The hall is in the big building to the SW at the corner of University Blvd and Coal SE in Albuquerque. Click for flyer (pdf).

Becker will also speak on the topic on Saturday, June 2, at 6 PM at the Unitarian Church, 107 West Barcelona Road, just off Galisteo near Cordova, in Santa Fe. This free event is sponsored by Mother Media (www.mothermedia.org or 982-3609).

Richard Becker is the Western Regional Coordinator of the International ANSWER-Act Now to Stop War and End Racism-Coalition. ANSWER. has organized numerous mass protests of hundreds of thousands of people against the war in Iraq, from mid-2002 to the present. Becker has been a central organizer of, and featured speaker at, many of the West Coast mass mobilizations in San Francisco and Los Angeles.  In December 2005, Becker traveled to Damascus, Syria to participate in a conference on Palestinian Refugees and the Right of Return. One of the few US activists to visit Syria in recent years, Becker has spoken out in opposition to the US-led campaign for regime change in that country at numerous public forums and media events. (Email contact: rbecker17@yahoo.com)

June 1, 2007 at 10:40 AM in Iran, Iraq War | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Edwards Rejects "War on Terror" Frame

John Edwards gave a major policy speech on foreign relations today in New York. Although, like every Democratic presidential candidate except Kucinich, he advocates increased military spending -- he does come out strongly against Bush's politically useful and calculated framing of a "global war on terror." Like the damaging and deceptive "war on drugs," this construct does nothing to solve the real problems afoot in our world, but works quite well as a fear-making slogan. Click to read an outline of Edwards' remarks or a complete text of his speech. Excerpt:

Moving Beyond the "War on Terror"
“The core of this presidency has been a political doctrine that George Bush calls the ‘Global War on Terror.’ He has used this doctrine like a sledgehammer to justify the worst abuses and biggest mistakes of his administration, from Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, to the war in Iraq. The worst thing about the Global War on Terror approach is that it has backfired—our military has been strained to the breaking point and the threat from terrorism has grown.”

“We need a post-Bush, post-9/11, post-Iraq American military that is mission-focused on protecting Americans from 21st century threats, not misused for discredited ideological pursuits. We need to recognize that we have far more powerful weapons available to us than just bombs, and we need to bring them to bear. We need to reengage the world with the full weight of our moral leadership.”

“What we need is not more slogans but a comprehensive strategy to deal with the complex challenge of both delivering justice and being just. Not hard power. Not soft power. Smart power.”

Wouldn't it be refreshing -- and effective -- if we started approaching problems as complex situations that require wise and nuanced long-term strategies instead of labeling each as another "war" on something? To me, what these "war on whatever" assaults do is create more chaos, fear and hysteria so that huge sums of money can be pumped into the hands of special interests. Oh, the DEA and Halliburton and arms merchants love all the "wars on whatever." Then again, they don't have to keep paying for them for generations as the real causes of the problems are left to fester. What a merry-go-round for well connected war profiteers and corporatists.

May 23, 2007 at 05:53 PM in 2008 Presidential Primary, Iran, Iraq War, Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Three Scariest Things I Read Today

First off, two blood curdling posts on Iran in two days by Chris Floyd at Empire Burlesque. They're long, but I think they're essential reading at this moment in time:

I hadn't discovered Floyd until one of my favorite blogs, Suburban Guerilla, provided the pointer. I'll certainly be reading Empire Burlesque regularly from now on though. Excerpt:

The cowardice of the Democrats is one possible reason why the Bushists’ lies are growing more open, more cynical. (And let us not lay the flattering unction to ourselves that this is because the Bush Faction is getting more desperate. It would be very nice to think so, but as noted above, they already know nothing bad is going to happen to them personally; so what would they be desperate about?) But there is one other possible reason for their brazenness: because they know that something is brewing, something is coming that will wipe away the memory of their present lies — or else make it more dangerous to point them out. Juan Cole detects some tantalizing hints in the notable absence of many of Iraq’s main political players from the scene: Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the most powerful Shiite party, has left Iraq, going first to the United States and now to Iran for cancer treatment. Mahdi Army leader Moqtada al-Sadr is still in hiding. And now Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, is going to a fat farm in the United States for three weeks to try to lose some weight. That’s right; Iraq’s head of state has left his nation in the midst of a life-and-death struggle in order to drop a few pounds in a pricey Stateside resort. […]

How soon then before we find out at last how transparent these lies have been as well? Is this the big thing brewing, a strike on Iran, a new and even more horrible war certain to provoke even more horrible responses, even on American soil — thus solidifying the tyranny of the Bush Faction, sweeping away all the “petty carping” about the law and the Constitution as the Leader does “whatever it takes” to keep us safe? [Just by the by, Bush also signed an order recently giving himself the sole power to constitute the entire federal government in the event of a broad range of “national emergencies.”]As Cole noted in his piece on Talabani, these are just speculations. But consider: every single lie told by the Bush Faction has masked a reality more sinister than most American citizens could have imagined. “Compassionate conservatism” really was a cynical scam for ruthless corporate predation, callous disregard and a savage, ideological assault on the very notion of a “common good” — all exemplified in the Katrina disaster.

The Bushists really did lie about “weapons of mass destruction” and al Qaeda ties in order to launch a war of aggression against Iraq. Bush really did lie, knowingly and repeatedly and publicly, about the mass surveillance he is conducting upon the American people, as Greenwald has shown so clearly.

Thus we are fully justified in asking this question: What sinister reality lies in wait behind the relentless barrage of lies about Iran? The answer to that question seems transparently clear — and unfathomably evil.

Now add this morsel to deepen your sense of impending doom. From Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran at ABC News:

The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.

Backed against the wall on Iraq, it's totally in character for Bush et al. to reach for more chaos, not less. Fear, lies, unilateral provocation, constant widening war -- the trademarks of this blood-lusting bunch. Who can or will stop them?

May 23, 2007 at 08:00 AM in Iran | Permalink | Comments (3)