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"They hate us for our values"

This is Bob Wall's first headline piece for Webdiary but for regular Webdiarists he requires no introduction. Bob regularly posts updates on events in the United States on Kerryn Higgs'  The irises and Patrick Fitzgerald. Variously Bob predicts an ignoble demise of the Bush government in the courts. Time will tell, but meanwhile he has provided us with an extraordinary collection of links and updates spanning three months of eventful time. Here he brings back to our attention one scandal which must never, ever be forgotten.

by Bob Wall

The name Abu Ghraib became notorious when photographs of abuse of Iraqi prisoners became public. That a prison notorious under the ousted regime should again be the scene of gross abuses of human rights under US control focuses attention on one of the standard rationales used by the administration to explain 9/11 - "They hate us for our values".

The administration was quick to punish a "few bad apples" and try to sweep the matter under the carpet. They succeeded to a large extent as the matter became largely a concern for antiwar critics but not of the more general public. It bubbled away beneath the surface until becoming a focus of attention again with the recent release of further photographs: here in Australia on SBS television, while the US, possibly in response to the renewed interest in the matter, has recently announced that it will close Abu Ghraib.

Events at Abu Ghraib should not be forgotten nor treated in isolation. Bagram, secret renditions and Guantanamo Bay are names and behaviours that require attention. They are not behaviours of governments that uphold the principles of democracy but rather those that demean and diminish democracy and do great discredit to those who perpetrate them. Then there is the blowback, not only in how Coalition troops might be treated if they were captured but in fomenting hatred of the West in those who perceive themslves as targets. This can be seen in attitudes to the US presence in Iraq.

Salon.com has now released The Abu Ghraib Files composed of 279 photos and 19 videos and and account of events and investigations of the events:

Although the world is now sadly familiar with images of naked, hooded prisoners in scenes of horrifying humiliation and abuse, this is the first time that the full dossier of the Army's own photographic evidence of the scandal has been made public. Most of the photos have already been seen, but the Army's own analysis of the story behind the photos has never been fully told. It is a shocking, night-by-night record of three months inside Abu Ghraib's notorious cell block 1A, and it tells the story, in more graphic detail than ever before, of the rampant abuse of prisoners there. The annotated archive also includes new details about the role of the CIA, military intelligence and the CID itself in abuse captured by cameras in the fall of 2003.

The Bush administration, which recently announced plans to shut the notorious prison and transfer detainees to other sites in Iraq, would like the world to believe that it has dealt with the abuse, and that it's time to move on. But questions about what took place there, and who was responsible, won't end with Abu Ghraib's closure.

In fact, after two years of relative silence, there's suddenly new interest in asking questions. A CID spokesman recently told Salon that the agency has reopened its investigation into Abu Ghraib "to pursue some additional information" after having called the case closed in October 2005. Just this week, one of two prison dog handlers accused of torturing detainees by threatening them with dogs went on trial in Fort Meade, Md. Lawyers for Army Sgt. Michael J. Smith argue that he was only implementing dog-use policies approved by his superiors, and Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the former commander of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib, was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony at Smith's trial.

There is much more and much more to it than a "few bad apples". What do you see when you confront these images and the processes that created the environment in which the abuses occurred? What sense, if any, does it make?

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Rebuttal Of Will Howard -

On April 4, 2006 - 3:22pm.

1) Will Howard lectures me on "detection" vs. "attribution," then on the partition of Palestine says: "In my view it's legal."

R: Discussing the legality of the partition of Palestine is a total distraction; I neither addressed this issue nor is it at all relevant.

2) Will Howard: "If you're trying to claim Palestinians have been 'mass-murdered'..."

R: I'm not and I didn't. It's the Iraqis who are being mass-murdered. For the Palestinians it's just an occasional thing - spread over 60 years, say.

3) Will Howard: "you wrongly attribute a thesis to me: "The victims are guilty! ... you do not say who you think the 'aggressors' and 'victims' are."

R: Hmmm. Difficult? Are the victims guilty? I think we both agree, that Iraqis are victims; and I suppose also that we can both agree that the Palestinians were originally victims, and that'd make the Israelis originally aggressors, even if only by simple logic - as opposed to design, say. Q: So, what's changed? A: Not much.

4) Will Howard: "a false dichotomy". ([Phil]: Either a) 'the Israel Lobby' has effect, and what you see is what you get, or b) it's a total waste of time, money and effort.)

R: How so? IMHO, the choice could not be clearer. What you see is what you get: a 60 year struggle by an occupied Palestine, now mass-murder in Iraq. The system ('the Israel Lobby') seems to work.

5) Will Howard: "Flying Spaghetti Monster..."

R: How stupidly childish.

Not Worth Discussing

Phil Kendall, hi, as to your:

"G'day Bob: 'the sacrifices continue to be made'. - Err, what 'sacrifices'[1]?"

I refer you to Rice's use of the word "sacrificed" - that was the basis for my use of it.

Similarly, the "when did Bush decide" was bas based on the article linked above it. However, we do not know for sure when the "set in stone" decision was made. I also have mentioned Bush's desire to be a war president as a post of 22/3 shows.

Now to substance.

There has been little serious debate about Rice's comments:

“We faced the outcome of an ideology of hatred throughout the Middle East that had to be dealt with. Saddam Hussein was a part of that old Middle East. The new Iraq will be a part of the new Middle East, and we will all be safer.”

Here is an article that explores the scope of those comments in relation to the Nuremberg Principles and the UN Charter.

This new rationale – essentially an assertion of a special U.S. right to invade and occupy any country that is perceived as an obstacle to U.S. goals in the world – is a spin-off of the neoconservative Project for a New American Century of the 1990s.

“In neoconservative eyes, the Iraq war was not about terrorism; it was about the pivotal relationship between Saddam Hussein and the assertion of American power,” Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke observed in their book, America Alone. “Hussein provided, in effect, the opportunity to clarify American global objectives and moral obligations.”

The PNAC architects saw Hussein as a blot on American global dominance because he had survived standoffs with the first Bush administration and the Clinton administration. His removal would demonstrate that overt resistance to America’s permanent status as the world’s uni-polar power had dire consequences.

Yet implicit in the U.S. news media’s non-coverage of Rice’s new rationale for war is that there is nothing objectionable or alarming about the Bush administration turning its back on principles of civilized behavior promulgated by U.S. statesmen at the Nuremberg Tribunal six decades ago.

The agenda has such a vast scope that it could be seen as remaking the world in America's image. How many tyrants, regime's governments etc have ever announced such a plan?

Something not put in previously about Putin from the White House Memo.

And according to a previously undisclosed portion of this memo--a passage obtained by The Nation--Bush and Blair discussed what to do about Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was opposed to a war in Iraq. Bush told Blair he had come up with a possible solution: send Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to lecture Putin on free-market economics.

Doggy Doings.

The photograph, seen worldwide, is one of the defining images from Abu Ghraib: a dog strains at its leash, lunging at a terrified prisoner in an orange jumpsuit. One United States military dog handler was recently convicted of abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib, the prison in Iraq, and the court-martial of another is to start in May.

But for Ibrahim Turkmen and Akhil Sachdeva, the image evokes something closer to home: the dogs used inside the Passaic County Jail in New Jersey. The two men, plaintiffs in a pending class-action lawsuit known as Turkmen v. Ashcroft, were among hundreds of immigrant detainees held in the Passaic jail for months after 9/11 before they were cleared of links to terrorism and deported on visa violations.

Until now, lawsuits brought by former detainees against top American officials have focused attention on the maximum security unit of a federal detention center in Brooklyn where the Justice Department's inspector general found widespread abuse. But today in Toronto, as Mr. Sachdeva, a Canadian citizen born in India, gives his first deposition for the class-action lawsuit, the spotlight will shift to the New Jersey jail.

There, about 400 of the 762 mainly Muslim detainees rounded up in the United States after 9/11 were held. The lawsuit charges that the detainees' confinement was arbitrary, illegally based on their religion or national origin, and that guards routinely terrorized them with aggressive dogs.

In November 2004, federal officials who oversee the detention of immigrants facing deportation said they would no longer send detainees to jails that used dogs to patrol inside. That decision by the Department of Homeland Security came a day after National Public Radio broadcast an investigative report saying that the dogs had been used over a three-year period to intimidate, attack and, in at least two cases, bite immigrant detainees in the Passaic County Jail.

To hear about the use of dogs in this way within the United States is truly shocking," said Jonathan Turley, a professor of national security and constitutional law at George Washington University, who is not involved in the case. "But Abu Ghraib didn't spring from the head of Zeus."

Note that last paragraph.

Are these the "thousands of mistakes"?

From several ex-soldiers comes a vivid image of America's house-to-house methods of searching for "insurgents." A small block of C-4 plastique is fixed to the front door of a house, the door is blown in, and several armored giants rush through the shock and smoke with their automatic weapons at the ready. Women and children are held to one side at gunpoint, while any men are taken roughly for questioning. In most cases, the men have nothing worthwhile to say, but they and other members of their families are left with a terrifying experience they will never forget.

These violent procedures have been repeated thousands of times, both in Iraq and in the mountain villages of Afghanistan. Could this be part of what Condoleezza Rice meant when she said recently in Britain that despite thousands of tactical mistakes, America's basic strategy was sound? Can you imagine her saying the same thing if Washington-area police blew her door down and stormed into her home in Chevy Chase or whatever other exclusive area she lives, perhaps looking for drug dealers or murderers, suspecting her home because she is black?

Remaking the world in America's image?

On "enduring" bases in Iraq.

There is Pentagon and US governmental obfuscation surrounding United States permanent bases in Iraq. Whilst Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defence, continues to deny a permanent US presence there, the facts appear to contradict his statements.

In February 2002, Zoltan Grossman wrote the following cogent perception entitled New US Bases: Side Effects or Causes of War? “Even if this administration pulls combat troops out of Iraq in the future, it intends to keep at least four large permanent military bases, and access or 'basing rights' to many smaller bases, to keep control over oil supplies and shipments, support counterinsurgency operations, and to use Iraq as a launching pad against Iran or Syria. The only way that Washington can avoid this impression is to explicitly renounce any future permanent military bases in Iraq.

Oh, does that mean they would lie? Perish the thought.

through the looking-glass

G'day again Will Howard, g'day Michael Park.

To your "'Tisn't!", my "'Tis!"

I mentioned facts, so can we please leave out the quotes from raving rabid righties? And even go so far as to drop left/right altogether?

Some relevant facts are:

a) an aggressive, invasive, illegal war in Iraq.

b) practically the same thing in Palestine, but there it's called 'partition'.

Neither did the Iraqis ask to be invaded, nor did the Palestinians ask to be partitioned - and therefore mass-murdered on the one hand and kicked out of their own country on the other.

Your thesis would presumably be "The victims are guilty!" - since you obviously 'champion' the aggressors.

Here are some more facts:

That "the Israel Lobby" exists.

That lobbies in general bring results.

That (some) lobbies are corrupt (Abramoff).

That GB Bush & Co are infested by lobbies (K-Street).

etc, etc, then:

It only remains, to evaluate any result "the Israel Lobby" might be having. Specifically, whadda 'bout the Israel/Palestine mess? Or, since it's thought to be connected, the US slaughter of Iraqis; murder for oil and resulting chaos?

Either a) "the Israel Lobby" has effect, and what you see is what you get, or b) it's a toadal waste of time, money and effort.

Which?

Now, what M-W did in 1,230,209 bytes including 211 footnotes was to suggest that a) "the Israel Lobby" is successful and b) the result is bad, both for the US, for Israel - but not just coincidentally, bad for us, we the people, an' that all over the world.

So, are M-W correct?

All anyone has to do, is use their %$$^&$%& eyes & brains...

My tantrum - minus the lies.

"Your thesis would presumably be "The victims are guilty!" - since you obviously 'champion' the aggressors."

G'day Phil Kendall.

Dear me! I see we've been to the CP School of debating. Far as I can ascertain, I advocated no such "thesis" in any post I can find. Might you please point out where I have "championed" any aggressors on this thread? Any aggressor will do.

"I mentioned facts, so can we please leave out the quotes from raving rabid righties? And even go so far as to drop left/right altogether?"

Don't recall mentioning "left/right" either. Nor do I recall quoting Piers Ackerman or Andrew Bolt. I did, though, point up a review - for Will Howard - by the editor of The New Republic, Martin Peretz.

"Some relevant facts are:

a) an aggressive, invasive, illegal war in Iraq.

b) practically the same thing in Palestine, but there it's called 'partition'.

Neither did the Iraqis ask to be invaded, nor did the Palestinians ask to be partitioned - and therefore mass-murdered on the one hand and kicked out of their own country on the other."

I won't rehash a position - on the Palestinian issue - made clear by Will Howard, other than to add I do not disagree with the "facts" you lay out including the following:

"That 'the Israel Lobby' exists.

That lobbies in general bring results.

That (some) lobbies are corrupt (Abramoff).

That GB Bush & Co are infested by lobbies (K-Street)."

None of which is question. I wonder why it is you felt possessed by a need to tell me that the "Israel Lobby" exists. I believe I ended the post which seems to have energised you so with:

"Now, I believe the 'Lobby' may have a bit more pull that Martin Peretz seemingly credits - as Peretz himself claims:

Mearsheimer and Walt clearly have no clue that U.S. support for the Jewish restoration, rather than a result of Zionist machinations, dates back to the Puritans. And it carries through Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman to, if you'll forgive me, George W. Bush. But rarely without colossal struggle.

A struggle that seems - over all those years - not to have overwhelmed it."

Well bugger me! Here I am writing of something you feel the need to tell me actually exists - even to describing it as having "more pull". I must be more careful.

And then there's this beauty:

"Howard & Park are reacting exactly as was prophesised by Chomsky: 'M-W deserve credit for taking a position that is sure to elicit tantrums and fanatical lies and denunciations, but it's worth noting that there is nothing unusual about that'."

Well if this - in your opinion - is a tantrum, then I can only echo the words of John Paul Jones: I have not yet begun to tant!

The "fanatical lies" also are a work very much in progress.

Left, right and center

Phil Kendall says, "I mentioned facts, so can we please leave out the quotes from raving rabid righties? And even go so far as to drop left/right altogether?"

I introduce quotes from any commentator I think has something useful and relevant to say. I don't care whether they are left, right or center. In this discussion I have not even mentioned the political "left" or "right."

My argument is that M&W are flat-out wrong, based on the facts as I understand them and the intellectual weaknesses of their thesis. I don't care what their political leanings are, or their religion, academic qualifications, hair color, or what kind of car they drive.

Wrong looking-glass

Phil Kendall, you need to remain aware of the difference between "detection" and "attribution."

You point to:

a) an aggressive, invasive, illegal war in Iraq.

b) practically the same thing in Palestine, but there it's called 'partition'.

Neither did the Iraqis ask to be invaded, nor did the Palestinians ask to be partitioned - and therefore mass-murdered on the one hand and kicked out of their own country on the other.

First of all I do not accept the premise that the partition of Palestine is illegal. It has the blessing of the UN General Assembly (Res. 181) and the Security Council (Resolution 242, 338, 1397, 1515). In my view it's legal. If you're trying to claim Palestinians have been "mass-murdered" I disagree strongly with this accusation as well.

I do not dispute any of the other "facts" you've cited.

However, you wrongly attribute a thesis to me: "The victims are guilty! - since you obviously 'champion' the aggressors."

Your accusation is unclear, since you do not say who you think the "aggressors" and "victims" are.

First of all, let's separate two issues which you have wrongly conflated: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iraq War.

I've said before I do not support the invasion of Iraq. To me we have simply substituted one aggressor against the Iraqi people (the regime of Saddam Hussein) for another set (COTW troops to some extent, sectarian militants, Zarqawistas, etc.).

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complex, with "victims" and "aggressors" on both sides. In that conflict I "champion" victims on both sides, and feel that there are aggressors on both sides who share guilt for the continuation of the conflict.

You present the debate with a false dichotomy:

It only remains, to evaluate any result 'the Israel Lobby' might be having. Specifically, whadda 'bout the Israel/Palestine mess? Or, since it's thought to be connected, the US slaughter of Iraqis; murder for oil and resulting chaos?

Either a) 'the Israel Lobby' has effect, and what you see is what you get, or b) it's a toadal waste of time, money and effort.

Which?

Neither.

First of all I reject the idea that the Israel-Palestine mess and Iraq are really so closely connected, for reasons I've elaborated here and in other threads. Yes there are lobby groups like AIPAC who are effective, but not so effective as you assume. If you look at what they push, and what has happened, it's not such an unbroken string of victorious manipulations of the deluded ciphers who who have run the US government over the past few decades.

I could construct an argument similar to yours, except I'd substitute lobby groups like CAIR and the Saudi royal family who put millions of dollars into pushing their interests in the halls of the US government.

Detection and attribution, Phil.

Here's an example:

Detection: I see the sun rise in the east and set in the west.

Attribution: the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" pulls it across the sky everyday.

This explanation has the virtue of explaining the observed phenomenon, but falls down against a whole raft of other facts. Same with The Lobby Theory, as I've detailed in earlier posts.

You conclude "All anyone has to do, is use their %$$^&$%& eyes & brains..."

Good suggestion, Phil, and I'll keep doing just that.

Sacrifice, sacrilege - or just plain murder?

G'day Bob: "the sacrifices continue to be made." - Err, what 'sacrifices'[1]?

1 a voluntary relinquishing of something valued. No. Although the US military is so-called 'all volunteer', most of the cannon-fodder joined up before Iraq was 'set', if not before 9/11. Those who were longer in had no idea, any newbies were most probably mugs inspired by propaganda; I'd say none or very few of them actually 'consented', although we must allow for the real thick ones anywhere. There must in any case be a big question: how does one actually get 'informed consent' here? I presume few recruits faithfully imagine what it will mean for them, as they are turned into brutal people killers. Certainly, there were/are no volunteer Iraqis?

2 a slaughter of an animal or person or surrender of a possession, as an offering to a deity. No. No deity involved here (but purported Devils incarnate aplenty.)

Apart from a few renegade priests, the war was/is regarded by the great majority as unjust. Further, the invasion was by definition a war of aggression (definitely no self defence), and lacked even the fig-leaf of UNSC sanction. If one allows the concept of the sanctity[3] of human life, then the killing is both sacrilegious[2] & illegal; murder for oil.

NB: I personally do not 'do' religion; I include it because some do, and B, B & H claim ours as 'Christian societies'. Hypocrites? If yes, then knowingly? And just how bloody cynical is that? Don't ask. Don't answer. So much for our 'democracy', and our 'values'.

-=*=-

Bob: "The fundamental question is when did Bush decide to go to war?"

I thought it was generally accepted that he had the idea well before he was even 'elected' in 2000. IMHO, Bush signed up both Blair & Howard in 2002; I think they both visited Crawford around then? As to why, I've just remembered another reason; Bush always wanted to be a 'war president'. I wrote of this back then; all US presidents love wars, and they don't seem to care that that makes them all killers.

My Iraq war motives list. I'm interested in opinions vis-à-vis this list; is it correct, is it complete?

a) The 90's US inspired UN sanctions against Iraq were unsustainable; they had to end sooner rather than later, then the US stood to lose out to competitors. Note also, the death toll from the sanctions, just from 91-96 of perhaps a million, 1/2 of whom were kids; Albright replied: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it." (the 'original' CBS 60mins transcript is gone, presumably down 'the data black-hole'...) just for a giggle, you could try this, [Bush's Desolate Imperium].

An example: "Bush squandered it all away and morphed 'America the Benevolent Giant' into 'America the Shrill Bully'. Bush's vision of a dog-eat-dog Hobbesian universe in which the US plays by its own rules is repellent to most nations." and all this, from 2003... what now?

b) They wanted to 'control' the oil; Saddam was moving / had already moved to the EURO.

c) To prop up the US petro-dollar; to continue the US' free ride by simply printing money.

d) To 'rule the world'; ever more permanent military bases - complete and utter thugs.

e) To support the Israeli inhumanity vs. Palestine (and the rest of the Arab/Muslim world).

f) To 'ensure their access to oil' for their obese, greenhouse causing life-style incl. behemoth SUVs (& here, fat 4WDs).

g) To enrich their 'mates'; Halliburton and Co.

h) Bush wanted war, like all US presidents.

i) Because 'they could'.

Please note that e) was a 'late addition', as well as not 'doing' religion, I generally don't 'do' Israel either. Also, that h) is my latest addition, although it was probably the original impulse.

However, while mentioning "the Israel Lobby" topic, this:

I note that both Will Howard and Michael Park call the Mearsheimer & Walt piece a "working paper" (as do the authors but without the quotes), and both Howard and Park have come out in great detail and all the force they can muster (be it manufactured or borrowed) to denigrate M-W's (good) work. Apart from the only slightly denigratory quotes, their fulminations are pretty-well 'full-on'.

Again I question: why this? The only answer that I can imagine is that M-W have really 'hit the nail right on the head', and Howard & Park are reacting exactly as was prophesised by Chomsky: "M-W deserve credit for taking a position that is sure to elicit tantrums and fanatical lies and denunciations, but it's worth noting that there is nothing unusual about that. Take any topic that has risen to the level of Holy Writ among 'the herd of independent minds'..."

As to the subject of censorship, the UK publisher of M-W's piece has now been accused of anti-Semitism: again, just par for the course - for a 'herd of independent minds', that is.

What M-W said that gets up all those noses(!), is not that there's an Israel Lobby (there is), not that it influences US policy (it does), but that that influence is actually in neither the US' nor Israel's best interests. If you think that the illegal invasion of Iraq is a possible pre-cursor to a wider war on Muslims - even WW3, then M-W are probably right, and in spades. Here's M-W's conclusion:

But there is a ray of hope. Although the Lobby remains a powerful force, the adverse effects of its influence are increasingly difficult to hide. Powerful states can maintain flawed policies for quite some time, but reality cannot be ignored forever. What is needed, therefore, is a candid discussion of the Lobby’s influence and a more open debate about U.S. interests in this vital region. Israel’s well-being is one of those interests, but not its continued occupation of the West Bank or its broader regional agenda. Open debate will expose the limits of the strategic and moral case for one-sided U.S. support and could move the United States to a position more consistent with its own national interest, with the interests of the other states in the region, and with Israel’s long-term interests as well.

-=*end*=-

PS Note to Mossad: With all due respect, I couldn't give a s**t (about what Israel does); apart from the truth, all I care about is stopping the killings - Oh yeah, and the rip-offs, and the greenhouse...)

-=*=-

Refs (POD):

[1] sacrifice —n. 1 a voluntary relinquishing of something valued. b thing so relinquished. c the loss entailed. 2 a slaughter of an animal or person or surrender of a possession, as an offering to a deity. b animal, person, or thing so offered. —v. (-cing) 1 give up (a thing) as a sacrifice. 2 (foll. by to) devote or give over to. 3 (also absol.) offer or kill as a sacrifice.  sacrificial adj. [Latin: related to *sacred]

[2] sacrilege n. violation of what is regarded as sacred.  sacrilegious adj. [Latin: related to *sacred, lego take]

[3] sanctity n. holiness, sacredness; inviolability. [Latin sanctus holy]

More on Casualties and Why.

Here is Part 2 of the LA Times article on US wounded.

Why is it happening? Tom Englehardt's view.

Stomach churning moments from Lateline last night.

JACK STRAW, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: There is, frankly, no doubt that the political vacuum that is here at the moment is not assisting the security situation.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, US SECRETARY OF STATE: The international partners, particularly the United States and Great Britain and others, who have forces on the ground and have sacrificed here, have a deep desire and, I think, a right to expect that this process will keep moving forward.

Why is there a political vacuum in the first place? And why are the cannon fodder being sacrificed? Not to mention the tens of thousands of Iraqis sacrificed.

Questions raised in the wake of the White House Memo.

The fundamental question is when did Bush decide to go to war?

Developing story on CIA travel service.

Amnesty International is set to release a report claiming that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used private aircraft operators and front companies to hide CIA rendition flights and "black site" detention facilities in foreign countries.

The report also details dozens of destinations around the world where planes associated with rendition flights landed and took off. In addition, the report lists the private airlines with permission to land at U.S. military bases worldwide.

More as it appears.

More dying from sectarian violence than from terrorist bombs.

Nearly eight times as many Iraqis died last month in execution-style sectarian killings as in terrorist bombings carried out by insurgents, new US military statistics show.

US military officials and human rights monitors attribute much of the violence to Shi'ite militias that began targeting Sunnis to retaliate for the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shi'ite shrine.

Until now, the Sunni-led insurgency was seen as the greatest threat to US plans in Iraq, killing hundreds and at times more than 1,000 Iraqi civilians per month. But the new figures suggest that the Shi'ite militias, loyal to powerful Shi'ite politicians, are poised to become as great a threat to Iraq's security.

The military said 1,313 Iraqi civilians perished in sectarian murders in March, compared with 173 killed in suicide bombings. The victims, an average of 36 per day, included Sunni men found with holes drilled through their heads and Shi'ite men with the words "traitor" written or carved across their bodies.

The process is moving somewhere, and the sacrifices continue to be made.

where there's smoke?

What's all the fuss about, please?

Will Howard, if "the Israel Lobby" is such an hoary old Chestnut ('long-discredited Jewish-tail-wags-US-dog nonsense'), then why all the fuss? You, for example, have devoted nearly 500 words to it - why so many words if it's such insignificant nonsense?

Firstly, if anyone wants to attack one of my pieces, please feel free; but y'betta come armed with facts, otherwise it'll just be a ho-hum no-contest.

Example, for Will Howard's attack "it was not 'censored' at all"; try this:

Professor Says American Publisher Turned Him Down
By Ori Nir
March 24, 2006
John Mearsheimer says that the pro-Israel lobby is so powerful that he and co-author Stephen Walt would never have been able to place their report in a American-based scientific publication.

"I do not believe that we could have gotten it published in the United States," Mearsheimer told the Forward. He said that the paper was originally commissioned in the fall of 2002 by one of America's leading magazines, "but the publishers told us that it was virtually impossible to get the piece published in the United States."

In the second place; this is not the US, it's Australia. I really don't give a flying f**k about any Jewish-tail-wagging-the-US-dog; we of the wide-brown "Fair go!" land treat all comers equally - don't we? But when entering, one should a) wipe one's feet and b) leave one's prejudices outside.

3rd and last - opinion: Here's the "fire": after 60 looong years, the Palestinians are still 'out in the cold' and are still being killed by Israelis, the same Israelis more often than not armed or financed or just plain 'supported' by the US.

(Before anyone attacks the above statement, please read Pape's Dying to Win. Also, if you wanna shout "Terrorism!" please recall July 2, 1946; the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.)

The proof of the pudding, matey; what you see is what you get. Lots'n lots'a dispossessed Palestinians, living lives of utter privation while the Israelis live it up in (=occupy) the land that used to be Palestine. But really daaarlings, the rape of Palestine is older than Methuselah; I don't expect a solution any time soon. Basically, I suspect that's because the big movers'n shakers (ie the US) just don't want a (fair) solution that'd allow the Palestinians to finally have a relax. Put yourself in their shoes, for once - and ask yourself just why the US doesn't solve the Palestinian problem? Hmmm? Probably not because there's a huge lobby pushing for Israel - Oh, no! - don't speak of it (=the Elephant in the room) - which is exactly what's going on? i.e. don't speak of it (=censorship); while the Elephant gaily tramples on, killing Palestinians as it goes?

Indeed what is all the fuss?

Phil Kendall asks, about the Mearsheimer & Walt "working paper:"

"What's all the fuss about, please?"

I don't know. You brought it up.

The facts do speak for themselves, and I'm "armed" with lots of 'em.

Here are two: 1) M&W's paper was published (indeed it made the cover!) in the LRB and 2) remains freely available on the Harvard Kennedy School's website. I don't know how you get "censorship" out of this. Who exactly is doing all this "censoring?" Oh, I know... THE LOBBY. Mearsheimer says he "could not have gotten the paper published in the US?" Really? Did he submit it somewhere? Is it just possible it would have been rejected because of its academic lack of merit? Which publishers told him it was "impossible?"

Facts, Phil, facts.

Onya, Phil

Great stuff, Phil! It echoes many sentiments I've expressed on Webdiary. As well as the Israeli lobby, there is of course the geo-political strategic advantage  for America of having a nuclear-armed mini-America in Israel.

Palestine is a microcosm which accurately reflects the double-standards which infect our world. America reflects the grossest example of misuse of power and dearth of values in the world today.

Get into 'em, Phil. I support you 100%!

Others Suffer.

The LATimes is running a series on what happens to Americans wounded in Iraq.

This is Part 1 of 3. The others will be published in the next two days.

UK report concludes Iraq was a contributing factor in the London bombings.

Last week, in response to questions about Rumsfeld, Bush said he (Rummy) was "doing a fine job". Gen. Zinni does not agree.

Zinni, who headed the US Central Command from 1997 to 2000, was asked if anyone should lose their job over how Washington has managed its Iraq policy.

"Secretary of defense to begin with," he told NBC's "Meet the Press" program.

"Integrity and getting on with the mission and doing it right is more important than loyalty. Both are great traits, but integrity, honesty and performance and competence have to outweigh, in this business, loyalty," the former Marine Corps general said.

There is much to do, so perhaps Bush thinks he needs Rummy. A case of someone who will go ahead and implement crazy plans? Forget about the incompetence - a more competent and clear thinking person would be less likely to do it. Such as the question of why not Iran?

Why not indeed.

The Government is to hold secret talks with defence chiefs tomorrow to discuss possible military strikes against Iran.

A high-level meeting will take place in the Ministry of Defence at which senior defence chiefs and government officials will consider the consequences of an attack on Iran.

It is believed that an American-led attack, designed to destroy Iran's ability to develop a nuclear bomb, is "inevitable" if Teheran's leaders fail to comply with United Nations demands to freeze their uranium enrichment programme.

Tomorrow's meeting will be attended by Gen Sir Michael Walker, the chief of the defence staff, Lt Gen Andrew Ridgway, the chief of defence intelligence and Maj Gen Bill Rollo, the assistant chief of the general staff, together with officials from the Foreign Office and Downing Street.

If they go ahead then expect much worse than reported in the first two articles in this post.

As tensions increase between the United States and Iran, U.S. intelligence and terrorism experts say they believe Iran would respond to U.S. military strikes on its nuclear sites by deploying its intelligence operatives and Hezbollah teams to carry out terrorist attacks worldwide.

Iran would mount attacks against U.S. targets inside Iraq, where Iranian intelligence agents are already plentiful, predicted these experts. There is also a growing consensus that Iran's agents would target civilians in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, they said.

U.S. officials would not discuss what evidence they have indicating Iran would undertake terrorist action, but the matter "is consuming a lot of time" throughout the U.S. intelligence apparatus, one senior official said. "It's a huge issue," another said.

Citing prohibitions against discussing classified information, U.S. intelligence officials declined to say whether they have detected preparatory measures, such as increased surveillance, counter-surveillance or message traffic, on the part of Iran's foreign-based intelligence operatives.

But terrorism experts considered Iranian-backed or controlled groups - namely the country's Ministry of Intelligence and Security operatives, its Revolutionary Guards and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah - to be better organized, trained and equipped than the al-Qaeda network that carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Something to think about.

rescuing the yanks

Angela, it does give a warm inner glow to have rescued the yanks even though we did it as our part of sucking America into the war. Noone knew, but Japan didn't intend to invade us, just neutralise us. Australia was also first to defeat Japan on land.

Also Australia was a world power at the end of WW2. The world's 4th largest airforce, third nation to join the space race (but then we pulled up), and we would have been 4th nation with nukes if it wasn't for the Americians preventing us.

I don't pretend it is black and white. There are ideological positions that are developed into a political philosophy. Real life mediates between the two. An example is China with a structualist ideology, in their case communism, but their politics have become quite market based.

My values are Westphalian with an overlay of Nuremberg. Westphalian doesn't say war is bad just that states are sovereign. Nuremberg lays down when war is ok (basically defence).

I personally am quite prepared to move to an interventionist ideology if someone can show me how it won't be used by those with power against those without. Until that happens I think we should stay with states are sovereign.

East Timor was made possible by the agreement of Indonesia. There was no invasion.

Post cold war, the thing I notice about interventions is that they are against socialist and communist governments.

Serbia and Serbians had good reasons to go to war. Large parts of Serbia had been given to other republics to gerrymander the voting system in Yugoslavia. The first state that broke away from Yugoslavia had no Serb minority. Serbia said "seeya later". Croatia and Bosnia passed laws discriminating against people of Serb background. Kosovo had always discriminated against Serbs. Yet the West choose to support the dispossession of Serbs. I believe it was based on the fact the Serbian govt was from the former Communist party.

Iraq had a socialist government.

With Cuba and Venezuela I believe the Americans are still waging an anti-socialist war.

So until international law is something other than a peg to hang propaganda on I cannot accept the UN security council resolutions are anything but the powerful finding a pretext for war.

Therefore I believe at this time the only course of action is no aggressive war and no interference in other states.

If you don't like your life, then change it!

"You have to take life as it happens, but you should try to make it happen the way you want to take it." - German Proverb

-=*=-

If, as I 'believe', we only get this one (short) life, then it behoves us all to use it well: enjoy every minute!

The temptation is to say "Stuff y's all, I'm gunna do what I want!"

Then, of course, unless one is toadally alone, one thinks "Yeah. But the best not just for me, but also for mine."

The question then becomes, where do you stop - defining what's 'yours'? - Children, parents, siblings - relatives near or far, then neighbours?

One logical conclusion is: "We're all in this together. Each of us as humans have similar feelings; there's nothing really different between us, so we should all have the same (or at least very similar) chances, and perhaps most importantly, the same (or at least very similar) shares".

Ooops! Marxism if not communism. (Bad words; spit spit! Wash your mouth out - with soap!) Nevertheless, this idea is engraved deeply into the Australian psyche and goes by the catch-phrase of "Fair go, mate!"

While we're being starry-eyed optimists, we can think back to the Greeks who got more than just a few things right; and the particular one I have in mind here is one of the main thoughts behind the Hippocratic Oath, namely "Do no harm". Here, I'm thinking of the environment; we should not degrade it, for to do so means passing on 'damaged goods', and would be therefore an unfairness. (How are we doing? Not well; the ice is starting to melt...)

-=*=-

Basically, that's 'it'. No more of the same; the Libs and Labs both are failing us, and the 'big end of town' seems to have it in for us, we the people. If we sit still on our bums, we can hardly expect anything to change; the world will continue as is, ie going ever more rapidly down the tubes.

So, just where do you 'sit' on the following scale:

Total 'dead-end' bludger <- 'TV zombie' <- 'OK, Jack!' <- start here -> seeker of truth -> caller for change -> implementer -> save the world?

Oil & Israel

Jay White, anyone that argues for or against the "it's all about oil" theory on staight commercial grounds (they could have bought it cheaper) is just being silly.

A secure supply of oil is a vital strategic interest of the US ("The US does not need money from oil export, it is holding not selling." - and that should be "using", not "holding".) Check some of the Peak Oil threads.

And, "There are other nations that need imported oil a lot more than the US. You might like to start with Germany and France." Old Europe! That's them sorted out then.

Will Howard, wasn't the message fairly explicit about Israel? My recollection is that the line was something like this: Once we bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East (a few months, a year, max), the support for the Palestinian terrorists will wither and we can get back to the real task of sorting out the Palestinian problem. It hasn't worked out so far, and it was only ever a matter of taking the "easy" option. And I don't think any sane Israeli would have believed it, though they would have hoped the Yanks could bring it off.

My own opinion on the reasons for the war haven't changed much since The anti-American question back in February 2003. Oil came in at three, after imperial and domestic politics. Israel didn't rate a mention, though it was a minor factor in both sorts of politics.

Re: Oil & Israel

Mark Sergeant writes: "wasn't the message fairly explicit about Israel? My recollection is that the line was something like this: Once we bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East (a few months, a year, max), the support for the Palestinian terrorists will wither and we can get back to the real task of sorting out the Palestinian problem. It hasn't worked out so far, and it was only ever a matter of taking the 'easy' option. And I don't think any sane Israeli would have believed it, though they would have hoped the Yanks could bring it off."

Most Israelis I know, sane or not, did not believe the Bush Admin. line about bringing "freedom & democracy" to the Mideast being necessarily better for Israel's relations with its neighbours. A number of analysts in the Israeli establishment expressed this scepticism and I have previously provided links to their analyses. Most Israelis I know, and the security establishment, also had a much more realistic assessment of Iraq's WMD capabilities (or lack thereof) than did the Bush Administration. Does Israel think it would be "good" in and of itself if its neighbors were democracies? Sure. But what it means for Israel is less clear.

Phil Kendall, I have seen the Mearsheimer & Walt "working paper." First of all, it was not "censored" at all - indeed it was published in the London Review of Books, a prominent magazine. The paper is also available on the web site of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Some censorship.

M&W are trying to peddle the same old long-discredited Jewish-tail-wags-US-dog nonsense that's been around for so long it has to be played on a 78 RPM record.

Let's take a few examples. If this "Jewish lobby" is so all-powerful, and so willing to sacrifice America's national interests for Jewish/Israeli interests, how do you explain the Clinton Administration's interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo? On behalf of Muslims who had no oil, and no conceivable relevance to Israel.

The Clinton Administration, by the way, was chockful of Jews in top-ranking Cabinet positions, including Secretary of State Albright, Secretary of Defense Cohen, Secretary of Treasury Rubin, Secretary of Labor Reich, and National Security Advisor Berger. There has never been a more "Jewish" White House in US history. They did not invade Iraq, they went further than any other US administration in pushing for an Israel-Palestine deal (we could get into a pissing contest about whether Arafat was offered 90%, 95%, or 97% of the West Bank and Gaza. Or whether he was offered the bottom half or the top half of the Temple Mount), and made PLO Chairman Arafat a frequent guest in the White House. They did all this with the support of prominent Jewish Senators and Congressmen as well.

If Israeli flunkeys are the ones pulling the strings, why didn't the US invade Iran? If Israel has been beating war drums about anything, it's been about Iran. And Syria. The IAEA and the EU have been taking the lead in putting pressure on Iran, and the French have been the ones putting the squeeze on Syria. The EU and France - not exactly known for being sympathetic to Israel, or Jews.

Then there's the Jews-have-brought-down-the-wrath-al-Qaeda story. I've commented extensively on this furphy as well. Bin Laden hardly talked about the Palestinians until well after 9/11, and resentment of Israel is hardly the motivator of radical Muslim movement in Indonesia, the Phillipines, Thailand, and Chechnya. Bin Laden does not want to establish a Palestinian state, he wants to restore the whole caliphate. Conflicts in Kashmir? The Uighar region of China? Nigeria? All because of Israel?

How about the other Mideast and South Asian allies of the US? Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. All nasty in their violations of human rights (Cypriots, Kurds, Bangladeshis, anyone who isn't Muslim). Pakistan posing a far worse nuclear proliferation danger than nearly any other country. Don't get me started on Saudi Arabia. Yet the US supports these regimes, arguably in opposition to its own national interests.

But wait, where are the campus petitions for "divestment" from these nations? Where's the talk of a mysterious, shadowy, "Pakistani lobby?"

Links to Mearsheimer & Walt paper and responses

In case anyone's concerned about "censorship" here's a link to the full text of the "working paper" by Mearsheimer and Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy . A shorter version, simply entitled The Israel Lobby, was published in the London Review of Books, vol 28, #6 - 23 March 2006. Responses can be found in the letters section of the LRB, as well as in the "Forum" section of the ENGAGE website.

Historian Michael B Oren has also responded, in the essay Quiet Riot.

Harvey Sicherman of the Foreign Policy Research Institute also commented on the definition of "National Interest," noting:

Some states, however, deviate from the national interest as understood by the 'realists.' How to explain it? There are three answers. The first is that the policymakers are too stupid to understand the real national interest. Those with experience in government know that stupidity is a factor much underestimated by outside analysts. But it is very difficult to determine the mental acuity of leaders, especially for analysts without access to high-level meetings.

A second explanation is that leaders define the national interest differently from the professors. It is just possible, of course, that the policymakers are correct. Suffice to say that the professors do not prefer this answer.

A third explanation-the preferred one-is that the leader agrees with the professors but is prevented from pursuing the correct national interest by domestic politics, namely, interest group 'lobbies.'

Professors Mearsheimer and Walt see the Israel Lobby, defined broadly as those actively supporting Israel's cause, in this light. Hobbled by a captive Congress, president after president succumbs to electoral politics, the Lobby's blend of financial pressures and intellectual intimidation, making the national interest the victim. For a realist, this is a statesman's ultimate dereliction. Crime would not be too strong a word. Perhaps, this accounts for the heated language that permeates the working paper and its shorter version."

A parody of the M&W screed was written by Barry Rubin: The British Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.

M&W deconstructed.

There's possibly a better piece on the supposed "working paper" of Mearsheimer and Walt Will Howard in the current edition of The New Republic. I'm uncertain as to whether you need to subscribe to read (I subscribe to far too much evidently), but here's a cornflakes carton excerpt:

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," a "faculty research working paper" recently produced for Harvard's John F. Kennedy (trade) School of Government by Stephen Walt, its academic dean, and John Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, weighs in at nearly 35,000 words. The word "oil," however, appears in the document exactly seven times - all of them generic or trivial. None of the references relate to the systemic U.S. dependence on foreign crude or, more to the point, to the truly powerful lobby that has worked for many decades to satisfy it through arranging that the producer governments get what they want: mainly protection against radical Muslims or Muslim radicals and against fuel-efficient cars. Israel's friends - foreign affairs idealists and realists, rightists, leftists, centrists, Christians, Jews, nonbelievers - know the power of this oil lobby, with which they have tangled to ensure that the United States supports an ally against its many unworthy enemies...

Mearsheimer and Walt, despite their standing as exemplars of the realist school of international politics, know ironically little about reality. They are abstractionists, constructing imaginary solutions to real conflict. Mearsheimer, for instance, has argued that nuclear proliferation is the best guarantee of peace. Germany should have the bomb - also Japan and Ukraine. This, he maintains, is not simply manageable, but preferable. What's so dangerous if Iraq and Iran have it, too?

To be sure, there is a pro-Israel lobby--or, to be precise, many pro-Israel lobbies (some of them favoring what others oppose)--and it wields some influence. But this is not at all the devious, capital-L "Lobby" that Mearsheimer and Walt claim. After all, the Lobby includes everyone from Jerry Falwell to New York Representative Eliot Engel to, well, me. Thank God I was not left out, as I was from Richard Nixon's enemies list.

And he ends with:

Professor Walt is vacating his position as academic dean of the Kennedy School in June. Even though he decided to leave the job of his own volition some time ago, Harvard should be grateful for his departure from this seat. An academic dean is supposed to be the shepherd of his faculty's (and his students') respect for evidence and scholarship. Having traduced the rules of evidence and the spirit of scholarly inquiry, he can no longer perform this function. Regrettably, Walt will not likely suffer any crueler fate than this. He has tenure, and tenure insulates one from all kinds of infractions against truth and honor.

Now, I believe the "Lobby" may have a bit more pull that Martin Peretz seemimgly credits - as Peretz himself claims:

Mearsheimer and Walt clearly have no clue that U.S. support for the Jewish restoration, rather than a result of Zionist machinations, dates back to the Puritans. And it carries through Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman to, if you'll forgive me, George W. Bush. But rarely without colossal struggle.

A struggle that seems - over all those years - not to have overwhelmed it.

Re: M&W deconstructed

Thanks for that New Republic link, Michael Park, and yes you do need a subscription to read the whole article. I think I got the gist from that excerpt.

Here's the part I love about all this: if critics were to simply ignore the M&W piece, introduced to this forum by Phil Kendall, then it would be considered by its promoters "affirmed by silence." If attacked on its substance, as I have done, then it's also declared affirmed by its promoters, with the "if it's not true why have you paid so much attention to it?" defense.

I have have brought up several factual, substantial replies to M&W in this thread, and have seen none of them rebutted in and of themselves. Come on, people. You can do better than that!

David Seymour of Lancaster University has commented further on the M&W piece in his essay "When reason sleeps, the monsters do awake". Seymour comments on the attractiveness of the unifying idea embodied in the M&W paper:

What is so fortuitous about what has become known as the “M and W article” is that it seems so suited to the moment. In what can only amount to a wet dream of the more disreputable and/or unthinking wing of the antiwar and antiglobalisation “movements” of the 'left', of those poor, poor, liberals who just want an 'honest debate', and of the far right, it seems that three of their leading bete noir – Bush’s foreign policy, the war on Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Palestine and its brutal treatment of Palestinians - have now been brought together under the cohesive power of one maelvolent body: 'The Lobby'. All of the greatest plagues of the present moment found in one house. The curse has turned into a blessing.

Having brought together three of the most difficult and pressing issues together under one simple formula, it offers hope to the seeming irrationality, hopelessness and paranioa that appeared to have grasped the world. Confused by the inability of the world superpower to defeat a ramshackle but determined enemy, scared at the possibility of random acts of terror and violence (9/11; Madrid, London, Baghdad, Israel, Palestine, Darfur amongst many others), disenchanted with the formal processes of democracy, the Lobby article seems to provide meaning to this meaningless. Armed with the argument of 'the Lobby’s' power, everything now makes sense. Another sigh of relief; the world may still be terrible, but at least we know why, at least we have an answer. Thank God for that!

The answer provided by 'M and W' is timely in a further sense. It fits perfectly into a political world reduced to the political principle of 'you are either with us or you are against us'. It was not only Bushites who found virtue in this aphorism. What was less certain was who it was one was “for” and one was 'against'. Now, however, that uncertainty has been settled. 'They' are the enemy, 'we' are the friend. 'They' have caused all wars and destruction, 'we' oppose all wars and destruction. Another sigh of relief as grey on grey becomes black and white.

In ancient times, people made up all sorts of stories about gods and spirits to explain the phenomena that seemed so mysterious. We now regard these explanatory stories as "primitive" myths; though they have "explanatory" power (as any story does) they do not stand up to subsequent observation of the physical world. Similarly, M&W's "Lobby" does not stand up to factual scrutiny. We congratulate ourselves on our "rationality" and "objectivity," by noting rather condescendingly that primitive peoples did not have access to the knowledge we have now. They had to make up fairy tales. So what's Mearsheimer & Walt's excuse?

A Reminder and A Survey.

For those who missed it - Lateline featured the White House Memo last night.

There was a background segment followed by an interview with Philippe Sands.

Philip Lobe on the latest Confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Index.

Phil kendall

Phil kendall One last thing on the idiotic line pushed by some in Australia that we should not be good friends with the US. Some of these idiots in a small nation such as Australia that is the 12th richest nation in the world that has likely the most enviable lifestyle in the world think we should out of the blue give the finger to a nation that has never harmed us or would harm us and move on. It is almost two stupid for words.

One conversation I remember hearing a few years back. A guy obviously a professional bludger is on tv whining about working for the dole. This of course effected his human right to be a supported bludger. This clown says he blames #### Howard for taking up the ##### US system. Now I ask you what has the US got to do with Australia work for the dole? Perhaps this clown may have been better off looking at his fellow citizens who are taxpayers who likely have had enough of paying for professional layabouts.

Seriously have you ever heard anyone whinning about a dole bludger in Australia using the words such and such and the ##### Swedish system? Ya lets all blame the Swedes for our social security problems.  And this is the sort of crap the Greens party and fellow travellers push as a constant theme.

Phil kendall

Phil kendall "Perkins makes very grave accusations against the US which if true (IMHO yes), flushes any 'noble' idea down the tubes into what you might call the can".

The thing that amazes me is the people most against the US. They actually put more stock into what the US is meant in someway to stand for than supporters such as myself.

I have never ever said the US was a super human nation of total good. I have always said they have made a lot of errors and in fact they are only one nation similar in that to others. Why should the US be judged on levels different to the way a person would judge any other nation? I mean of course they make self interest a priority what nation does not?

What I am saying is that much of the world needs them to be at least interested in lending a hand. This is a pragmatic view of things. Who else is going to take up this slack?

"Australia ort'a invest in the UN (reformed, to what it should be) rather than the US, and as for trying to 'call in' any favour based on WW2 that's, err - well, I dunno; a bit past it? One can only grovel in abject gratitude for so long. Besides, forelock tugging while cuddling up to a bully is not just unbecoming, but a craven, cowardly thing to boot, don'cha reckon?

Yes the UN a collection of other like minded self interested nations. Of course by putting them all together somehow they will all forget self interest and things should all be just rosy. Perhaps in dream world Phil not the real world. When it comes time to pass around the money hat the UN will always need the US dipping in it's pockets. It will also always need help in other areas otherwise it simply will not work.

I think the US has offered Australia much more than just WWII favours. Perhaps if you ever took the blinkers off your eyes one day you might see some things for yourself. Australians are not cowering in fear of US bombs and invasions now are they?

Why is it we can get along so easily with this nation whilst others cannot? Are Australians really so much smarter?

The US is the Law

"Why should the US be judged on levels different to the way a person would judge any other nation?"

Because Jay, the US - sorry, the administration - simply removes itself from any form of judgment. Any who dare pass a (dissenting) judgment upon it are dismissed and ridiculed. It is - by fiat - on a different level.

This, of course, does not stop the US from judging all and sundry as it sees fit.

They love us for our consistency.

a few short words on a non-noble US

Jay, Chomsky wasn't talking about US policy 60 years ago, he was talking about 60 years looong (at least), and far into the future.

Perkins makes very grave accusations against the US which if true (IMHO yes), flushes any 'noble' idea down the tubes into what you might call the can.

Pape explains terrorism and according to him, it has almost SFA to do with Jihad (although religion can be utilised), but almost all to do with ejecting occupiers.

If B, B & H would lie us off to an illegal war (they did), they'd be capable of lying about anything - so you can't believe a word they say (apart from obvious stuff), can't you see that? In any contest between Blair or Bush vs. Chomsky, Pape or Perkins, I know who I'd sooner believe. Let me call a spade a bloody shovel: Bush, Rice, Blair etc are known liars, geddit yet?

Your posts seem highly reminiscent of the current MSM paradigm, thought to be highly inaccurate (massive understatement). Kindly do yourself a favour; read through the Chomsky, Pape (you research 'im) and Perkins articles and then at least you may begin to understand a bit about what I'm on about - and the bloody bind we're in.

Ausralia ort'a invest in the UN (reformed, to what it should be) rather than the US, and as for trying to 'call in' any favour based on WW2 that's, err - well, I dunno; a bit past it? One can only grovel in abject gratitude for so long. Besides, forelock tugging while cuddling up to a bully is not just unbecoming, but a craven, cowardly thing to boot, don'cha reckon?

Avagoodweegend.

How could you not like the USA?

Phil Kendall:

Prologue: I have just seen Jay White's "democracy or stability?"

Listen, mate, I think the gulf that separates us is unbridgeable. You appear to accept "the pushed paradigm" hook, line and sinker; whereas I think that not only is that paradigm nothing but rubbishy propaganda (= whopping lies), I see the US, not as part of any possible solution, but as THE BIGGEST PROBLEM itself. Only one of us can be right; I refer not to what they say (asserted values), but to what they do (actual values). Truth will out. Hmmm?

Now this part I find most interesting. I hope if the US does leave Iraq these forums are not filled with stories about Iraqis wishing for democracy being thrown to the wolves by evil America. I mean none of these people exist right?

Now if you are speaking as a Australian you could not surely have anything against the States. I mean they helped you out in WWII and there has always been a close relationship. You could in fact with passport in hand get on a plane today and go to Disneyland no questions asked. Along with that many Australians quiet happily work for American companies and earn quiet well from them. The US also saves Australia mega bucks in defence spending that is not needed.

Admit it, as an Australian you could not have anything against the US, could you?

you are all stupid

In December 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour and then Singapore, Australia declared war on Japan. We did not wait for a British declaration, nor did we consider ourselves a part of the British declaration.

We rescued them not them us. Of course we did it for our own reasons.

I have to say you are all stupid. What is the point of talking shit at cross purposes? As there is no common reference there can be no argument.

You are either in the non-interference with other states camp, or any state can intervene in any other state camp.

If you are in the latter then may I suggest you advocate an invasion of the USA to free the death row inmates and the massive gaoled black population?

Untill you argue about your ideological values anything else is just moronic.

And to those who believe in the former, advocate non-interference in Rwanda, Somalia, Serbia, East Timor (though Timor was with permission of the state), etc.

equal intervention or turf wars?

Hi David, nice to think of us coming to the rescue of the American cousins, a bit like the mouse and the lion. Not really. They need a bit of rescue now again, but from those within, themselves. Turn off the TVs guys and smell what is coming. We'd rather the devil we know doesn't implode! They hated the Romans until they left.

(And as to why war occured and the background to it and... but the history of Pearl Harbour is another thing to discuss elsewhere. Lost a relative in that, he wasn't on the latest aircraft carrier was he...)

As to intervention, is it really so black and white as you say? Perhaps a  compromise is what has been accepted in the past, althought usually when it suits economic/politic gain from the powers that rock the throne. Hence wasn't East Timor intervention UN determined and hence "legal", fitting that model of limited permitted interference. It was a less legal NATO intervention in the Balkans to protect certain interests, and the Sudan? Well just who do you think funds the  "resistance" that some versions say derailed the treaties and peace agreements signed and are equally guilty of atrocites?

A study of Africa is a study in proxy wars for the sake of pillaging resources. Nigeria is going to be messy soon, hence the huge military contracts to suppress the local people's dissent. Nice that the LRA, a Christian group of barbaric criminal record, appears to have lost its "steam."

Perkins, I was an Economic Hitman should be compulsory reading for all at schools, especially Western.

Unless there is an independent body that gives international legal sanction to an invasion and regime change then we have the law of the jungle where He with the most aircraft can bomb away any group and then sell of their assets to their men, a bit like old fashion Roman plundering. Reminds me of Iraq.

(We also have laws governing the behaviour of armies, the Geneva convention, and occupying forces signed by leaders that knew today's occupiers in Europe were yesterdays defeated. It seems the US assumes they will never be in that position. Should we? Then again it seems those rules were only ever enforced by the victors.)

It would also mean that those with no assets/geopolitical advantages can still seek help and get it. In theory.

The reason why the UN is not working, I think, is the many agendas running that pervert the role of international law and dealt equality before that of all persons and nations - no matter how powerful. A bit like a powerful person in Australia, say any name like James or Lachlan, should still be held equally responsible before the law, just as anyone else is, say Jodie or Dick Cheney, say, shooting someone whle drunk, with impunity. As if that scenario would happen and be reported and no consequnces be accepted. Imagine if he were a black Moslem lad. Zap.

That is why international law fails too. Israeli military do things to Palestinian families that even British government would not get away with, nor would the British people want them to! That is a difference, too. No-one has paid any attention to the ICJ ruling on the Wall taking Palestinian lands being illegal and inhumane, yet in other situations it would be, methinks, when it suits. Unaccountable unreported actions only get worse, we saw that last century. Both peoples suffered. If you believed really in the Mills of G grinding then one would be awfully scared. People have justified all this in their minds in a way that diminishes them.

Locally and internationally, it is important for those with power now to realise that respecting the rule of law, even if it hurts sometimes, benfits them as well as the greater community (and hence them again) in the long run. Otherwise we have one big international "mafia" that use government facilities to sort out turf wars for exploitation.

Cheers, on that hapy note.

Proof is a waste of time

Phil Kendall: "Excuse please, but I don't recall seeing your 'proof', could you please point out exactly where you show this? Please note, that mere assertions won't do it, you need some checkable, reputable quotes".

This is an opinion based forum. I could give you quotes about this from both Blair and Bush but you would not believe them anyway. I prefer not to waste my time.

2. "A possible reason for exactly why it was oil: "... US grand strategy based on control of what the State Department described 60 years ago as the 'stupendous source of strategic power' of ME oil and the immense wealth from this unparalleled 'material prize'."
[Chomsky via ZNet via ICH]: "The Israel Lobby?"

We have been discussing for two days the way US policy has changed from sixty years ago. I think Israel too has moved on from those days I mean they don't even have any oil. They still however have actual worthwhile industries outside of one and cities far more advanced along with a much higher standard of living for the general population.

Look, in simple terms the US drills its own oil but exports none of it. It is the highest importer in the world of it. Iraq was one of the highest exporters of it. This in itself should tell you two things.

1. The US does not need money from oil export, it is holding not selling.

2. Iraq needs money from oil export and it needs it badly. It has no alternative viable industry. Like most Arab nations outside of oil the place is a economic wasteland that has not progressed.

This is a very good starting point for the US to drive a very hard bargain which of course they did for many years. Saddam would have jumped through hoops to have them off his back. He loved Reagan and he loved the US. He could not do enough for them.

With the money spent on Iraq so far the US could have bought every drop of oil in the Iraqi ground already. Anyhow there is always a Middle East dictator willing to sell everything the country has. It is an expensive excercise living in the lap of luxury.

There are other nations that need imported oil a lot more than the US. You might like to start with Germany and France.

why has the US failed

Hi Jay, Israel did have an export oil and refining industry at one point didn't it? Haifa complex is wonderfully placed to take pipelines, as it had, from Iraq and send it on to the hungry European markets. My understanding is that this pipeline is being replaced with larger gauge according to a Turkish article I read, and this would be a lovely spot for the Kurds to export their new black gold. A transition fee for Jordan of course.

There is also a gas development between UK and Egypt just off Gaza in negotiation too. Although that wouild be the Palestinians' wouldn't it? Still there must be more pools of gas along the coast further up.

So, the Haifa pipeline was shut off I understand, by Saddam. Ouch. Then in the 1980s the US tried to negotiate reopening it, but this was refused. So be it. Nice for Israel that the pipeline is to be reopened and that the sale of oil via Israel by the Kurds cannot be vetoed by the central government due to the new consitution that was so opposed. Nice that the threat to Israel's security has been removed. Wasn't there something about this in the Feith /Pearl paper to Netanyahu about plans to "secure the realm". Fitted nicely with the 1998 PNAC paper too.

Let us not talk of chalk and cheese and compare them deceptively, Israel wouldn't exist were it not for the US handouts. How about  looking at all people of the region and consider truthfully the problems and how peace and justice can come to the region and with it, prosperity.

The reasons for the Iraq war: oil/water/bourse dollar, hegemony, and Israel (security, oil supply and money, regional instability, removal of Palestinian backer/voice) Kurdish nationalism and oil control, removal of a threat to neighbours, UK aspirations, increase Iran power via Shiite and removal threat, Russia furthering status as energy provider to EU, Saudi exploitation and removal unified threat to oil and power, and wahabism promotion now secular Sadddam gone, Jordan a transit fee for oil and less Palestinian nuisance, Kuwait money military hardware, Katar huge military investment and permanent base... what did I miss? (Australia? SFA and loss of wheat contracts and now more a terrorist target (Mick Kelty interview).)

The reasons for peace and US success: hegemony for US. and complete control of oil... (ie less reliance upon israel and Saudi for Middle east foot hold. And oil, peace would also give profit to US companies investment in sale of Iraqi public companies.This is different to those invested in Kurdish areas).

The reason for failure? See all above.

Cheers.

Haifa pipeline

Angela Ryan writes: "The Haifa pipeline was shut off I understand, by Saddam." This is incorrect. The Haifa pipeline had been out of commission since the 1948 War. There has been some talk about rebuilding the pipeline, initiated by the US. I don't know the status of the idea now.

Angela also notes, "Israel wouldn't exist were it not for the US handouts." So, Angela, how did Israel manage from 1948 to 1967, an interval of time in which little US aid of any kind was given to Israel?

Failure in Iraq will be disaster for all

Will Howard I agree the theory is likely correct however in a political context the time and money available is not there to wait for the natural course of events to sort themselves out. Without Iraqi help there simply is no hope. They of course will become the biggest losers in that situation.

As I have said previously the US is only one nation. It cannot do all the heavy lifting for the world. That is why failure in Iraq will be a disaster not for the US but for many other parts of the world. It will not be a victory for the European way or anything coming close to that. Blair understands this only to well.

A disengaged US changes everything. I will be most interested in hearing the next Presidential candidates. I think we will soon have a good idea which way we are headed. No doubt they are out and about at this minute doing all the polling.

Bob Wall "A very worrying

Bob Wall "A very worrying aspect of situation is, that despite the mess in Iraq, the Bush administration is turning its attention to Iran. Analysts have noted the similarity in prewar propaganda - Deja vu all over again and such. People say they wouldn't be stupid enough to try that but they did go into Iraq ill-prepared in so many ways. Delusion rules and then there is the factor of Bush being desperate to try to reverse his plunging poll figures. Divert attention by having another war. And it might just be God's Will. According to Bush and some of his supporters".

Oh I dont think Bush is all that worried about his poll figures. It may have escaped your notice but he cannot go for re-election.

Iran is a nation with the highest percentage per capita in the world of people under the age of thirty. I do not really think the US is all that keen on a ground war. It may also of escaped your notice but many of its youngsters are not as keen on the strict religious line as their 70's parents. A lot of the reason I suspect that the system is stacked against them from ever electing any thing other than a extreme religious lunatic for at least the time being.

Being the political skeptic that I am I would suspect the best way to at least in the short term get these "young reformers" on side would be to find a common enemy. Come on down Israel and the US. As the added kicker ramp up the us-against-them bit by producing nuclear weapons that is sure to get a desired response.

Now the problem with a white light seeing unstable lunatic is that he actually might be silly enough to use or attempt to use one of these weapons. Now heres the rub Bob, this will not result in a little US invasion, this will result in his nation being wiped from the face of the earth. Perhaps that is why when watching BBC world one Iranian youngster said it probably is not such a good idea Iran has these weapons. Being around twenty with most of your life ahead of you has a habit of making you think along these lines.

Anyhow Bob as you say Iran has no nuclear program so of course much of its population has nothing to fear.

Worried? No, scared sh**less more likely.

"Oh I don't think Bush is all that worried about his poll figures. It may have escaped your notice but he cannot go for re-election."

In as much as George Bush worries about anything Jay, he may be worried about this. Unless Karl has already explained that he can't run again.

The GOP though, is worried witless. You see it hasn't escaped their attention that a goodly percentage of the Republican House and Senate are up for re-election.Those candidates are presently avoiding dear George with as much - or in many cases as little - grace and style as they can muster. Involving George in your campaign would be akin to using Chernobyl as a selling point for the nuclear power industry. Bit like Hiroshima on the hustings?

The polls seem to make it reasonably clear that the US electorate has made up its mind with respect to both Bush and the meandering misadventure in Mesopotamia.

How that plays in the mid-terms is probably best indicated by the detours Republican candidates are making around Bush and his administration.

the US: noble world saviour or criminal thieving thugs?

Preamble: In the spirit of truth-seeking, I quote the following totally without prejudice (and really, daaarlings, I couldn't give a s**t; apart from the truth, all I care about is stopping the killings - Oh, yeah: and the rip-offs, and the greenhouse...)

G'day Jay White. To avoid any possible repetition of Hamish's (g'day) charge of, "a race-based theory of domination ... not just as a conspiracy theory, but a really silly one", I will only give 3rd party quotes. (OK, with a minimum smattering of opinion.)

Hey Phil, my point was made, however appropriate or not the weight or the target of it. For my part, no hard feelings, and I back off.

1. Jay White: "going to Iraq was never about the oil and I have already shown the stupidity and pointlessness of the US even thinking about having a military action policy based on this."

{me}: Excuse please, but I don't recall seeing your 'proof', could you please point out exactly where you show this? Please note, that mere assertions won't do it, you need some checkable, reputable quotes.

2. A possible reason for exactly why it was oil: "...US grand strategy based on control of what the State Department described 60 years ago as the 'stupendous source of strategic power' of ME oil and the immense wealth from this unparalleled 'material prize'."
[Chomsky via ZNet via ICH]: "The Israel Lobby?"

3. Will Howard: "if it's all about oil, why support Israel?"

4. Two men's argument: "For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread ‘democracy’ throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world."
[Mearsheimer & Walt via lrb via ICH]: "The Israel Lobby" (This piece attracted some censorship, I heard.)

{me, reiterating}: quoted without prejudice; and that doesn't mean that a) I support any of it, or b) believe any of it: make up your own mind, perhaps after checking all links - or your own prejudices.

5. For a rebuttal: "The thesis M-W propose does however have plenty of appeal. The reason, I think, is that it leaves the US government untouched on its high pinnacle of nobility, 'Wilsonian idealism,' etc., merely in the grip of an all-powerful force that it cannot escape. It's rather like attributing the crimes of the past 60 years to 'exaggerated Cold War illusions,' etc. Convenient, but not too convincing. In either case."
[Chomsky, ibid.]

{me}: What are some of "the crimes of the past 60 years?"

6. An interview with John Perkins: "Our next guest says he helped the US cheat poor countries in Latin America and around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then taking over their economies."
[author of ...Economic Hit Man]

{me}: "What possibilities for the future?"

7. John Perkins again: "...if we want a peaceful and prosperous future for our children, we must recognize basic human needs; we must insist that all people - not just those at the top - have the right to justice and dignity."
[Predictions of an Economic Hit Man]

-=*=-

Intermezzo; I risk an opinion: from my observations since 1st hearing the dreaded words "Shock and Awe" (= Blitzkrieg), I have seen that the MSM does not inform us as we might expect; perhaps, in fact, totally to the contrary. In addition, I have long suspected that TV rots the minds of 'addicts', as over time it can (and does) portray all possible perversions, and the medium itself bypasses all 'input checking' - our brains' audio/visual systems having been evolved over, say, 600mio years as 'what you see is what you get.' In other words, it's simply no use saying "Oh, it's just a movie." Then, there's the ads; as well as Hollywood, the US has Madison Ave, and both together scientifically design their input for maximum effect on the audience (you?) Long story short: they tell you only what they want you to hear, and political spin is far more urgent (to the corrupt beneficiaries) than selling DVDs. Simplistic? Perhaps, but also grim.

In addition to 'Hit Man,' there is another key book, Dying to Win by Robert Pape. This book puts the lie to "They hate us for our values!" and not just by-the-way totally invalidates the WoT.

Speaking of lies, hardly a day goes past without hearing of yet another of one of B, B & H's 'little whites'.

Conclusion: IMHO, 'noble world saviour' just doesn't stack up.

-=*=-

Prologue: I have just seen Jay White's "democracy or stability?"

Listen, mate, I think the gulf that separates us is unbridgeable. You appear to accept "the pushed paradigm" hook, line and sinker; whereas I think that not only is that paradigm nothing but rubbishy propaganda (= whopping lies), I see the US, not as part of any possible solution, but as THE BIGGEST PROBLEM itself. Only one of us can be right; I refer not to what they say (asserted values), but to what they do (actual values). Truth will out. Hmmm?

Liar-in-Chief.

Phil Kendall, the truth keeps coming out - the latest that Bush was told about doubts about the veracity of the aluminium tubes claim before he made his 2003 SOTU address. 

Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews.

Add that to the list of evidence and it should not take even 45 minutes to respond: "They are a bunch of liars."

As a note of interest for those who haven't seen my post on Irises 29/3, here is an extract:

Although the situation remains fluid, it's possible, these sources said, that Fitzgerald may seek to indict both Rove and Hadley, charging them with perjury, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy related to their roles in the leak of Plame Wilson's identity and their effort to cover up their involvement following a Justice Department investigation.

The continuing appearance of evidence lying makes one extremely reluctant to take the utterances of members of the COW at face value.

Meanwhile, Dave Lindorff sees dark motives in US policy towards Iraq.

Iraq's pm is not happy to be told to quit.

There are questions as to why the US went into Iraq and what their real plans are. That there were lies told to justify it should be clear to anyone. War is difficult to justify at the best of times but to base the justification on lies is surely proof that it is not justified.

A very worrying aspect of situation is, that despite the mess in Iraq, the Bush administration is turning its attention to Iran. Analysts have noted the similarity in prewar propaganda - Deja vu all over again and such. People say they wouldn't be stupid enough to try that but they did go into Iraq ill-prepared in so many ways. Delusion rules and then there is the factor of Bush being desperate to try to reverse his plunging poll figures. Divert attention by having another war. And it might just be God's Will. According to Bush and some of his supporters.

Have you stopped bashing your wife yet?

Bob Wall: "Also, as you raised the date of 1995 I remind you that 60 years goes a long way further back to 1995. Can you inform us of any event/s in 1945 that is/are considered key to US foreign policy towards the ME - a starting point perhaps?"

Oh, well indeed. Why stop in 1945?

Let's go back to 1805 when the Marine's landed in Libya hunting Barbary pirates.

I mean, when planning one's "analysis" of "Why someone hates us", there will always be resort to an infinite range of potential features in any society that can be held up as "the causes".

That's the purpose of any stunt like this.

It's a bit like saying "Has George W Bush stopped bashing Lara Bush? Let's examine the evidence for the 'No' case."

In fact, I'm rather amazed nobody actually tried that yet.

Angela Ryan: "I am intrigued, C Parsons, what is the even more obviously fake island ('al jazeera')?"

Oh, Mark Sergeant mentioned earlier that the fake al Jazeera source you quoted from was merely one of a number of such fake sources being peddled on the web.

See his comment at March 27, 2006 - 5:48pm;

There is at least one other Al Jazeera online, though this one spells itself differently (and it may be a "fake" - though not very convincing).

That being the third fake al Jazeera (the Island).

The Three Fakes

You can't get away with that, C Parsons.

I know of one Al Jazeera (aljazeerah.info) that could be considered fake. It was founded in 2001, so the famous one was already famous and there's a good chance this one was cashing in. But it has a disclaimer at the bottom of the home page, so it's a bit sad if you were taken in, CP.

aljazeera.com is not a fake. The organisation was founded four years before the satellite channel and the web-site was probably up long before aljazeera.net.

But on your count (3), The Famous Al Jazeera must be a fake as well. Is it a fake because you don't like what it says? It would be a major change in the usual definition, but I like having a living, changing language.

What I said before was

Apparently, Al Jazeera means "The Island" in Arabic, and is commonly used to refer to the Arabian Peninsula.

I was making the point that "Al Jazeera" is (apparently) commonly used to refer to the Arabian Peninsula (in spite of literally meaning "The Island"). The fact that there are different organisations that use the name is about as surprising as it would be to find organisations using "Shire" or "Peninsula" at different ends of Sydney.

In the discussion on wikipedia, they say:

What I know is that the word "Al Jazeera" means "the island" in Arabic. Strictly speaking, it is never means "the peninsula", except in one case: when referring to the Arabian Peninsula. This is because the phrase "Al Jazeera", in this context, is the contraction of the phrase "Al Jazeera Al Arabia", which is furthermore the contraction of the phrase "Shibh Al Jazeera Al Arabia", which means "the Arabian Peninsula"...

Framing

C Parsons "It's a bit like saying 'Has George W Bush stopped bashing Lara Bush? Let's examine the evidence for the 'No' case."

This is an example of "framing." The very title of this thread was a "frame" for debating the issue in terms that would favour the author's contentions. In fairness, all sides of politics do this.

My understanding of modern Mideast history is that US engagement in Middle East politics didn't really get going until the 1950's when both the US and the Soviet Union began to see the region as another battleground-by-proxy of the Cold War.

And before anyone starts getting into the usual predictable twist about Israel, the US didn't really do much to support Israel (other than recognising it) until after 1967 war. Indeed one of the earliest direct US involvements in the Mideast was in direct opposition to the British-French-Israeli action in Sinai in 1956. Other dealings include the suspected CIA-MI6 installation of the Shah in Iran, also in the 50's (1953 I think), and the US intervention in Lebanon in 1958.

democracy or stability?

Bob Wall: “However, as you seem so concerned about the issue of Bush administration involvement in policies that did cause ill-feeling, and recalling Rice's admission of errors in US policies towards the ME 'for the last 60 years', can you detail any changes in policies by the Bush administration before 9/11 aimed at reversing these problems?"

What part of the entire policy are you missing? The doctrine is a simple one attempting to have every nation select their preferred government through democratic means and improving economic empowerment. For example this has happened in Afghanistan hopefully in Iraq and there have been moves made towards this in Gulf States such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia etc. Along with economic agreements made with nations outside the first world that under the old circumstances would not stand a hope in hell of that opportunity.

The question you should be asking yourself is what for example would have happened under a different administration say a Gore one the day after 9/11? He most surely would have had to do something dramatic with the way the American mood was at the time because if not, it would have been a case of don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out.

The previous held policy would have been a more pragmatic way around things. Likely Afghanistan would have been invaded, now whether or not it would have went on to become a democracy is in the air. It would also have been a case of divide and conquer. Mid East dictators have just as much to lose from religious fanatics as anybody else. It could if not controlled one day see them out of a job. No more western business deals done in trendy European nightclubs and all that.

It would be so easy for the US to enter into a deal of equal understanding about similar likes and dislikes and who and what groups should find their lives under lets say pressure. Make no mistake about it this is exactly what people mean when they speak of pragmatisms taking over from the dream of a fully democratic Middle East and other areas in the world. It is the process of giving over foreign policy to shrouded organisations and think tanks. The strict short term national interest is pushed unmercifully and people and governments outside the US find themselves in the good and bad books depending on the circumstances.

This policy does not win the US a great deal of love depending on which side of the fence a person stands. It is however ruthlessly effective as victory in the cold war attests. The fear however is that one day the happenings of 9/11 could well take place. This is why the Bush administration was faced with one way or the other. Their way was the more moral now whether or not this stands the test of time the jury is still out.

A reverse of the Bush policy would see many outside our cosy Western world that actually would like to see themselves living in a democratic and prosperous (for all) nation thrown to the wolves of the pragmatic. It would also see a beefed up security wise US and “friends” living in a protective like shield free from the dirty underbelly of outside problems. If US efforts for democracy fail and the nation disengages into this stance I cannot see it turning back in at least mine and likely your lifetime.

Without US hands on help and will power large sections of the world not only will not be changing, they will have “no hope” of change and this time around nobody will be listening, least of all the US people. In the Middle East it really is getting to the stage of make a decision time. As you know by your constant posting of critical links, a lot of rumblings of discontent are coming out of the Republican party itself. Will power and, more importantly without world help, economic aid cannot go on for ever. People really should stop, listen and think about what Tony Blair is actually saying!

Now if COTW are to be withdrawn could you make up your mind on what side will win the free for all and could you advise us all? I mean future US administrations will want to get in on backing the winner and start to make happy relations early on. You see Bob for most of these places in the real world, the dice has always been loaded against them.

For further reading and from a Muslim perspective I suggest you read this. This section deals with exactly what we all may soon be dealing with

Be that as it may, there are some people who say "stability", not liberty, is what the US should be promoting in the Islamic world. Their view is that championing electoral democracy does not immediately serve US interests abroad, particularly in the war on terrorism, and that the hearts and minds of terrorists and suicide bombers are not turned by the virtues of democracy. They say the war against terrorism must be waged with an iron hand, not soft gloves woven from the fabric of constitutional liberties.

These views on democracy and stability in the Muslim world are not only wrong but carry grave consequences.

Another of Ibrahim's points

Jay White, another very important point comes near the end of Anwar Ibrahim's essay:

To be successful in its efforts to spread freedom, the US must remember that constitutional democracy cannot take root in a society, secular or Islamic, without the firm commitment of the politically empowered to protect the fundamental rights to liberty, equality and freedom of all.

The true cultivation of democracy requires more than the introduction of elections. It also requires establishing democratic processes and levelling the political playing field. It needs the guarantee of a separation of powers and the liberation of the judicial system from the stranglehold of autocrats and tyrants. Most of all, it requires the protection of fundamental liberties and a free press.

It is in these prerequisites that the US and the Muslim world need to invest, with far more effort, for the causes of liberty to truly prevail.

To me, what he's saying is that democracy is necessary but not sufficient to ensure access to the kind of freedoms we take for granted. What's that saying? Something like: "democracy has to be more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner." I agree with Ibrahim that the Bush Administration has not put enough emphasis on these "prerequisites." Democracy takes time to develop - I would argue that even after a couple of centuries, the US and other Western liberal democracies still haven't gotten it quite right.

Francis Fukuyama and Adam Garfinkle commented on this issue in the Wall Street Journal (sorry I only have online access to the excerpt from the "Cut & Paste" section of The Australian), in contending "There is a better idea than democracy promotion". They argue "The essential problem with the [Bush] administration's approach is that it conflates two issues that are separate. The first has to do with violent, anti-modern radical Islamism (on display in the reaction to the Danish cartoons and in the mosque bombing in Samarra); the second concerns the dysfunctionality of political and social institutions in much of the Arab world" and "Authoritarian political cultures do function as enablers of radical Islamism, but the essential cause of the latter is the difficulty that some societies and individuals have in coming to terms with social change. That is why rapid modernisation is likely to produce more short-term radicalism, not less."

Rapid modernisation often includes democratisation, a "Western" notion many radical Islamists regard as a blasphemous rejection of God's authority over Man.

Beyond Bush

Phil Kendall: "To Jay White, champion of the 'noble' US; this makes me pretty sad: 'That in fact many people in areas such as the Middle East are not worthy of democracy and should be treated on a lesser level than other more enlightened nations.' So much for your values".

This is of course not my view. The danger is that this view becomes widely held if the US disengages from the world. Without US aid the world has no hope of spreading peace and democracy and brutal pragmatism takes hold.

If you do not believe me simply look at post WWII policy for most of the Western world. A good example is indeed Suharto's Indonesia and pre Howard Australian governments treatment towards this nation.

The Klu Klux Klan resistance in Iraq is not planning to take power and happily share it amongst the people. In fact when one gets away from the anti-American bias it is easy to see with ones own eyes that most killing is not of American soldiers but other Iraqis. In fact like most Arab nations they have killed more of their own people than they ever have Israelis or Americans. The easiest thing in the world would be for the US to leave and allow them to fight it out eventually siding with the winner.

It is quite delusional to believe future American voters will blame the Bush administration for the every one of the world's problems. This is not in their make up. This is why it is pointless focusing on a few hicks that have been punished and their carry on in a prison. They will simply blame those that have rejected their help and move on.

This will not and I repeat will not make large parts of the world a safer place from tyrants and dictators. Rather than focus on a administration that will not be around in two years it would be a good idea for the world to start to focus on the future under a new administration.

Tony Blair is attempting to get people to do this. Unfortunately the message does not appear to be sinking in.

Right on, bruvver.

Bob Wall: "Right on target. And what of the the Bush administration's response to the hatred they helped engender?"

Oh, yes. They loved us before George Bush was President.

Now, when did planning for September 11 start again? Oh, that's right. Some time before 1995.

Darnn.

Art or Science?

Indeed CP, the hatred is neither new nor limited to the current administration's term of office. Just as the hypocrisy is neither new nor limited to the current administration.

The real question is whether that rank hypocrisy has been raised by the current administration – along with chutzpah – to an art form or, is its practice now a science?

The mild acceptance of the Pakistani wrist tap over the sale of nuclear weapons materials and the agreement to supply the "rogue" Indian nuclear programme must certainly go down well with an Arab/Muslim world that – it  must be said – never expects consistency from the West's paragon of virtue.

Do you reckon the mullahs might be thinking they too might cut a deal for nuclear material if they can just test that bomb – that Washington's so sure they're making – before they're shocked and awed?

Sloppy Language.

CP, I apologise for my sloppy language, I should have said continued instead of engendered. It was carelessness.

However, as you seem so concerned about the issue of Bush administration involvement in policies that did cause ill-feeling, and recalling Rice's admission of errors in US policies towards the ME "for the last 60 years", can you detail any changes in policies by the Bush administration before 9/11 aimed at reversing these problems?

Also, as you raised the date of 1995 I remind you that 60 years goes a long way further back to 1995. Can you inform us of any event/s in 1945 that is/are considered key to US foreign policy towards the ME - a starting point perhaps?

On Target.

Michael Park, "They despise us for our rank hypocrisy."

Right on target. And what of the the Bush administration's response to the hatred they helped engender? See Rice's comments I posted yesterday.

Some more food for thought:

On the US idea of democracy for others. 

President George W Bush has made it clear that he does not want Ibrahim al-Jaafari to remain prime minister of Iraq in a move likely to increase hostility between the US and the Shia community.

Mr Bush has written to the Shi'ite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Shi'ite Alliance asking him to nominate somebody else for the post. " The Americans are very firm about this," said a senior official. " They don't want Jaafari at any price."

Robert Dreyfuss on the two insurgencies and US manipulation.

One week into the fourth year of the war in Iraq, the United States is now fighting two robust insurgencies, not one. The first insurgency, of course, is the Sunni-led one, a resistance movement made up of former and current Iraqi Baathists, many loyal to Saddam Hussein, former Iraqi military officers and fighters from the old Republican Guard and a coalition of tribal and Sunni religious leaders bitterly opposed to the U.S. occupation. That force shows no sign of weakening. And indeed, it is steadily killing American soldiers and Marines, along with scores of Iraqi army and police recruits weekly.

But now a Shiite insurgency has emerged—nearly full-blown and with Iranian support—to confront the occupation. Because it can draw on the majority of Iraq’s population, and because it can count on lethal assistance from Tehran, it is a far more deadly threat to U.S. forces than the first insurgency. It’s safe to say that most Americans, who’ve been paying attention to the first insurgency, have failed to notice the emergence of the second.

Needless to say, the two insurgencies are also battling each other, in what can only be called Iraq’s civil war. There’s little chance that they will unite against their common foe, the United States. But that doesn’t make the situation any less deadly for U.S. forces in Iraq. What is means is that the United States is now fighting virtually the entire Iraqi Arab population. Only the non-Arab Kurds seem loyal to the United States now, and the notoriously fickle Kurds, famed for shifting their allegiances on a dime, can’t be counted on as permanent friends, either.

"If  you start looking at them as humans, then how are you gonna kill them?"

Evidence from the mouths of vets on the environment that has been created.

That is the way of war - do not humanise the enemy. But what happens to soldiers when they realise what they have actually done?

For those who do not have it, here is a source for the Downing Street Memos.

There is a recreation of the original memo, so although not his voice you can actually listen to Tony's words.

it's the values, stupid! - Oh, yeah - and oil

Cupidity, stupidity or insanity - or all three and more?

G'day Bob Wall, and thanks for the tip on the Straw/Powell Waldorf meeting. The story was also reported back then by the SMH on 1Jun'03.

"What are called the 'Waldorf transcripts' are being circulated in Nato diplomatic circles. It is not being revealed how the transcripts came to be made; however, they appear to have been leaked by diplomats who supported the war against Iraq even when the evidence about Saddam Hussein's programme of weapons of mass destruction was fuzzy, and who now believe they were lied to." [Guardian]


I am acquainted with a diplomat, Nr.2 at his embassy. He told me that diplomacy was the art of telling someone to go to Hell while convincing that same someone that they'll enjoy the trip. With all due respect for him, I think of most diplomats as being slightly more than professional liars, where the 'slightly' borrows from the reputed oldest profession. Whatever, but one thing is certain: they think they posses some secret(s) reserved from us, we the people. (Why that? - Not nice to keep secrets; they keep harping that this is a democracy!)

Imagine, from the Guardian story: diplomats complaining about being lied to! Even worse, the story is self-contradictory, why should diplomats who supported the war leak? ... Ah-ha! They found out later - but didn't suspect, back then? We, the anti-wars certainly (99.9%) did; the CIA etc completely failed to point Blix at anything!

This thread is about values, here we have some demonstrated: liars!

Above diplomats (or below, depending on perspective) are the so-called 'leaders'. I've already mentioned democracy, now here it comes again. Our so-called 'leaders' are supposed to represent us but we the anti-wars were not represented, we were betrayed. We said "No war!" - but B, B & H did it anyway: they didn't listen. We anticipated this betrayal: "Not in our name!"

War involves killing; 'everybody' says so, just as probably the same 'everybody' says "All politicians lie!" To have a proper war, you need an enemy; the people of Iraq have been chosen this time by B, B & H. Of course, the militarists say that they only want to kill soldiers, but they acknowledge that innocent civilians can be promoted to 'collaterals'.

The people of Iraq have suffered lots'a 'collaterals' over the years, starting a looong time ago. For instance, Churchill said it was quite OK to gas them:

"In the 1920’s, government minister Winston Churchill authorized use of poisonous mustard gas against Kurdish tribesmen in Iraq and Pushtuns in Afghanistan (today’s Taliban). The RAF crushed all revolts against British colonial rule." [Eric Margolis, Lew Rockwell via ICH]


This thread is about values, here we have some demonstrated: killers!

They like to 'pin' the latest round of killing in Iraq on Saddam, the bastard - but as they also like to say, he was their bastard. Oh, yeah, as if the 'noble' US had, like, nothing to do with it?

To Jay White, champion of the 'noble' US; this makes me pretty sad: "That in fact many people in areas such as the Middle East are not worthy of democracy and should be treated on a lesser level than other more enlightened nations." So much for your values.

Getting back to war, killing and lies: exactly because war implies killing, also of innocents, it is not meant to be taken lightly (massive understatement), nor should looting be any part of 'the deal'. But that's what we've got, looting; be it 'control of oil' or outright theft, it doesn't change things, daaarlings: looting is looting. My personal opinion is that war is invalid and should be outlawed. Have defence forces by all means (anyway or anywhere, a waste'a dough!) but such defence forces should be garrisoned only in their home countries. Make sense? Then why not make it the bloody law? Using force is just so primitive...

So we got war - whether we wanted it or not - and we didn't want. War based on lies but worse, predicated on theft. Anyone who doesn't accept this by now has his/her head well and truly in the sand - or up some darker place.

This thread is about values, here we have some demonstrated: lies, killing based on lies, but not 'just' lies; killing predicated on theft = murder for oil. Talk about bastards - in this case lying, thieving and murderous bastards - and what's worse, they're our bastards.

-=*=-

[POD]:

cupidity n. greed; avarice.

democracy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a government by the whole population, usu. through elected representatives. b State so governed. 2 classless and tolerant society. [Greek demokratia rule of the people]

diplomat n. 1 member of a diplomatic service. 2 tactful person.

insane adj. 1 mad. 2 colloq. extremely foolish.  insanely adv. insanity n. (pl. -ies).

stupid adj. (stupider, stupidest) 1 unintelligent, foolish (a stupid fellow). 2 typical of stupid persons (stupid mistake). 3 uninteresting, boring. 4 in a stupor.  stupidity n. (pl. -ies). stupidly adv.

stupor n. dazed, torpid, or helplessly amazed state.

Listen to Tony

Phil Kendall, going to Iraq was never about the oil and I have already shown the stupidity and pointlessness of the US even thinking about having a military action policy based on this. There was never ever ANY need. Saddam would have more than happily supplied them (US) with as much of the stuff as they wished at very reasonable rates. If the AWB affair has taught you anything it should be that when business is involved there are not friends and enemies just cold hard business.

To me there seems to be a severe lack of understanding on this board by some people about not only the workings of Mid East politics but those of the US also. Will Howard is totally correct - the majority of people who identify as Jewish Americans have always overwhelmingly supported the Democratic Party. This has not changed during both elections of George W Bush.

George W Bush won the 2000 election on a traditional GOP platform of low taxes and US isolationism. He did not want the US to be the world's police force and this was one of his strongest attacks against Gore. He believed the UN to be nothing more than a body propped up on US cash and man power. He believed this to be a waste of money and US resources. Many people including myself agreed with him.

9/11 changed much of this thinking and led to Bush and Co looking at previous US foreign policy (the policy Dr Rice speaks of). The belief then came about that, because of the previous US policy of turning to a extent a blind eye to undemocratic nations and their dictators, this fermented a dislike of the US. In fact the belief became that most of these nations’ peoples wished for democracy.

The sense I am getting is that in many US quarters this belief is becoming highly doubted. That in fact many people in areas such as the Middle East are not worthy of democracy and should be treated on a lesser level than other more enlightened nations. In fact a reverse back to previous policy held in the Mid East and large parts of South America and Africa.

The sting in the tail is exactly that which Tony Blair is trying to get across. This will not only affect foreign policy matters, it will also affect economic ones. I believe the eventual conclusion is that it will lead to smaller alliances between like minded nations locking out those less fortunate in all areas. In effect the rich will get a lot richer and more powerful whilst the poor a lot poorer and less powerful.

In a world such as this a blind eye will be turned on a lot of very unfortunate future events. Democracy failing in Iraq should be the last thing the left celebrates. A rich half of the world shutting up the security and economic shop will not further any of its causes.

Tony Blair, a Labor man, understands this only to well and should be listened to very carefully.

A Resource and a Confirmation.

Here is the link to the ACLU website where you will find much more about US abuse and torture.

The Pentagon has released more photos and videos in response to an ACLU law suit.

Recognizing the importance of these images for shedding light on command failures that led to the abuse, the district court agreed with the ACLU, but the government objected and appealed the decision. In the stipulation submitted to the court today, the government withdrew its objections and acknowledged that it is bound by the district court's ruling ordering the release of the images.

The ACLU said the government's strenuous efforts to resist the ACLU's lawsuit seeking release of the images may ultimately have led to many of the images being leaked -- reportedly by members of the military - to Salon and to the Australian Broadcasting System, among others.

Philippe Sands reveals that there is another memo, this one of a meeting between Colin Powell and Jack Straw just before Powell went to the UN for that speech.

SANDS: Another memo which records a conversation between Colin Powell and his counterpart in the United Kingdom, Jack Straw, which makes it clear that in Colin Powell’s eyes if there wasn’t enough evidence for a second Security Council resolution, then there wasn’t enough evidence to justify the U.S. going it alone.

As Tiny Revolution notes, a May 2003 UK Guardian article reported on a transcript of a meeting between Powell and Straw in which the two discussed their doubts that WMDs existed in Iraq. The paper later agreed to retract portions of the story after Straw “made it clear that no such meeting took place.” It seems the Guardian was right after all.

There is a video of the interview.

the dreaded c-word (no, the one with 10 letters)

G'day Hamish, re: not a conspiracy theory?

In the first instance, you know that I've only recently been 'sensitised' to the use of the c-word. And secondly, my usage was not meant to refer to my then current piece (stunned mullet) but to Jay White's Can't be just about oil: "They [the US] could have got their hands on it from Saddam any time they wished. More conspiracy theory nonsense bandied about in a attempt to degrade the US..."

Now, my "Most of the neoCon cabal are either actual Israelis (i.e. Jewish, but we try not to use such words) or sympathisers." was in response to Will Howard's "if it's all about oil, why support Israel?"

But if we must pursue 'neoCon cabal', how high would you like to set the bar?

It'd probably be of no use listing any PNAC members, or pointing out that a lot of them now infest the top of the current US regime?

As for relevancy, how about this (grabbed the 1st thing I could find): "Eric Margolis: Neocon ambitions and the spectacular disaster of Iraq : In reality, the Bush Administration went to war to attain two objectives: 1. Seizing Iraq’s vast oil reserves, and turning Iraq into a base to dominate the Middle East; 2. Destroying one of Israel’s two main enemies(Iran being the other)."
[khaleejtimes via ICH]

If that’s not enough, recall Will Howard's own statement, it implies invading Iraq was about Israel; I just reacted.

Yeah, I did say 'Israeli or Jewish', actually trying *not* to offend any person living or dead. The offending paragraph was a 'late addition' and contains 302 words, the cabal sentence 21 out'a the total for the whole piece of 1341. How about I admit to careless usage, and be done with it? Sorry.

Cabal is such a lovely word, don't you think? - n. 1 secret intrigue. 2 political clique. [POD]

PS between composing this & posting, I see that Will Howard at 5:04pm has done quite a sensible piece on this topic; thanks.

confirming a website's content

G'day Angela Ryan, and thanks for your thanks, but I didn't post what the AusBC had back then on the alleged pommy SAS psyop just to update any laggards; I did it to show that your quoted website (of whatever pedigree) had essentially correct info, as far as we ever get correct info from the largely corrupt MSM.

One of the many dirty tricks that the US is playing on us, we the people, is 'micro-managing' (=censoring) info that should freely flow out'a Iraq. Largely, we have to depend on pet 'embeds' or brave independents, and few of any of them ever get out of the Green-Zone. The US can 'fire free' at any and all targets, and does; Fallujah etc.

No democracy can function in an information vacuum, just another (ho, hum) indication of the bastardisation of our society by the US.

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